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Facing my shelf of shame


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All theatres and event locations in Switzerland are closed again, so it's back to short-time work for me.


I figured I might as well use the extra time I now have to confront the minis that have accumulated on my shelf of shame. While I have enough unpainted minis to last me for a lifetime (or more...) there were a few I gave up on for one reason or another. Those are the ones ending up on this shelf. Having enough of their accusing stares, I'm going to tackle them, one by one. Some will be fun, some will mean I have to face my nightmares from the past, all will teach me valuable lessons.


This rules I set for myself:

  1. Project runs until my regular work starts again - or until the shelf is cleared (I really hope for the former...)
  2. For every two minis I finish I may pick a new one from my collection of unpainted minis (but I don't have to)
  3. I will try to post an update every other day or so, mostly to keep me motivated because a lot of this isn't necessarily fun. Those minis all ended up on the shelf for a reason.
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Meet the shelf:




  1. Barros and Tempest (Reaper DHL): One of the first Minis I had. Painted the unicorn in light blue for a cold white. Didn't like it. Back to the shelf. Painted it white. Got scared. Also: No Idea what to do with the base. Also: big. And a horse. Then got some suggestion here in the forum about what to do with the base. But still: big. And a horse. One of my major traumas.
  2. A monk on a horse by metal magic: Came in a set with another monk I used for a diorama. Not too scared of that one, although he also has a horse. Decided to pair him with a little construct from warlord on a small diorama. Lets see...
  3. Laurana (Reaper DHL): Came with the old LTPK2. I have forgotten how often she went to the stripping pond. Finally managed to paint her scroll with the help of the forum. Then gave up after about ten attempts with her eyes. The end boss. Don't mention Laurana to me, it's not good for my mental health!
  4. Winged serpent (Reaper Warlord familiar): 2nd or 3rd attempt. But I finally decided on a color scheme and a base. Has already seen some progress, feeling fairly confident.
  5. White dragon (Dark Sword): Really like the sculpt, but have no idea how to attach the wings. They don't really fit the slots and I am scared to mess it up (since you only get one chance with super glue). 
  6. Battle troll (Reaper DHL): Too big. And it was a gift, I really don't feel a connection with it. Painted it red - didn't like it. Then white - didn't like it. No idea what to do with him or how to motivate myself. Shares "longest on shelf" with Barros.
  7. An amazon (Dark Sword): At least two attempts. Then I dropped her. Now her sword ist bent and I am afraid I break it when bending it back. Should be doable once I find the courage to straighten her sword.
  8. A Lava Elemental (forgot the manufacturer): Thought this would be a quick and easy dry brushing job. That looked absolutely horrible, so I stripped it. Gave up after painting yellow on the second attempt. Member of the quartet of horror (together with Barros, the troll and Laurana)
  9. Two squigs (GW): Left over from a set of five. The hearders and a third squid are already finished. I see them as a sorbet, to clear the palate (or better: the palette...)
  10. Two more warlord familiars (Reaper): Tried to paint the mummy once, without success. The skeleton is still fresh. And requires some freehand (shudder!).
  11. A fish monster (Dunwich Detectives / Metal Magic): Planing to paint this one up as a fish and play around with some water effects. Actually looking forward to this one.
  12. Le croquemitaine (Rackham): I really wanted to paint this one! It's a Samedi! Then it broke. Tried to reattach it with superglue. Didn't hold. Tried again. Still didn't hold. Then I got frustrated. So Samedi went on the shelf. It's mainly a problem of figuring out how to fix the mini.
  13. Not on the picture: Ulthalokh the Unclean (Reaper DHL): Almost finished, in the 3rd attempt!

Alright, it's on, wish me luck! 

Comments and suggestions are very welcome!

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Well - I have to confess I started this project around Christmas. I couldn't visit my family because of travel restrictions, so I already had some time to paint:




Ulthalokh was sitting on my shelf with all the metal parts and the axe done and the cloth basecoated in white and washed with a blue wash from Citadel. The wash was really grainy, I really hated it and Ulthalokh had to go back on the shelf.

Last week I finally finished the cloth, it was a pain. I tried some shading with that cursed blue wash and hated the consistency. Glad that it is over, I probably won't ever use it again. Also, the sculpt cuts many corners (sides of the cloth under the leg not sculpted, couldn't figure out the undersides of his armes, like where does the leather end and where does the cloth start etc.). I'm not a big fan of that either. All the details and the horns of his helmet were really fun to paint, though. 

Now I just have to wait for the snow to completely dry (Vallejo foam&snow effect, several layers), and then it's just some varnish and I'm done. Yay!


I also started with the serpent yesterday. It was already primed and based. I found some pictures of maya paintings online (even one of the "original" winged snake) and tried to imitate the color scheme. Today I painted the feathers. And the eyes. The area between the wings is really unclear for me. I opted for more feathers, but the sculpt doesn't really tell.

The base will be a nod to the riviera maya - I've seen pictures of mayan temples right next to the beach. One day I would really love to travel there! Since I'm not allowed to travel right now, at least my mini gets to go there!


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Today I painted shadows and highlights on the serpent. Since I'm going for "get it off my shelf quality" rather than for display I consider it done for now, tomorrow I start painting the base.


Also started with the bases for the little mummy-familiar and the fish-thing. The mummy gets a fairly standard desert base. For the fish  I'll shoot for a water base with UV-Resin.





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Maybe to clarify - by "display" I mean something along the lines of "to the best of my ability". Since I don't game at the moment (unfortunately) finished minis will go on the "finished"-shelf to collet some dust. So, technically, they ARE on display... ::D:


Also - the eyes on this serpent are really easy to paint. They are fairly big and can be reached from a lot of angles. Much easier than painting eyes on most humanoid sculpts.

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Did some work on the serpent's base, primed the fish and added some sand to the base of the mummy and the squigs. Then, since everything had to dry, I had to start with something else. I chose the monk (as the least scary of my primed minis) and laid down some color.


Also primed Laurana's face once more, so next time I feel really really confident I can try painting her eyes again. Whenever that may be...


Now I can't concentrate any more and I'm starting to make mistakes. So I call it a day. And a fairly productive one, at least by my standards!

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Right from the start today I had the feeling that I shouldn't paint. Went ahead anyway.


I finished painting the base of the snake, just some drybrushing and touching up of mistakes. Then I decided to make some jungle. So I tried to glue some lichen to the base with super glue. But I was too impatient and the glue wouldn't hold. No problem there - I got out the accelerator!


Now for everyone using super glue accelerator: Please test it on your glue before using it on the mini! As you all probably guessed, the glue turned white. And still didn't hold, for whatever reason. :grr:


So now, my mind barely working, I tried it on another spot. And behold, It held! Only, it didn't really look good there. And the lichen was full of white spots, because of my earlier attempts with the accelerator.


At that point I realised something else: When all the foliage is in place, I won't be able to varnish the mini anymore (since I only have brush-on sealer, and even If I did have spray varnish, it's freezing outside).

So I laid the first coat of varnish and called it a day.


And then it dawned on me: The serpent sits on a floor made of stone tiles. What can't grow on a regular stone tiled floor? Big bushes and small trees! Aaaarhg!:rolleyes:


I will try to fix this with some pumice paste around the lichen. Not all is lost. But Today wasn't a good day to paint.


So if you ever get the feeling you should not work on your minis today - go with your Instincts. And do something else!


Here is the snake, hiding behind a badly placed lichen bush:


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No need for pictures today...


Just another coat of varnish on Ulthalokh and the serpent - Usually I do three coats, (2x gloss, 1x matte), although that might be overkill. Still not decided how to save the serpent, though.


Also I primed the squigs and the mummy, just to have some more options for avoiding the scary stuff.::):


I compensated for my unproductively by ordering more paints. And a few more minis. Not that I don't have enough to last me a lifetime already. :rolleyes:

Bad Samedi! You promised not to do that!:lol:

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23 hours ago, Samedi said:

What can't grow on a regular stone tiled floor? Big bushes and small trees! Aaaarhg!:rolleyes:

I wish this was the case.... 

The snake looks fine though, it appears that the weed is growing from between the stones, so it's within the realms of possibility, especially with a water source close by. 

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So above are my options for the next days. I cut out the minis I absolutely don't want to see right now (Barros, the troll and the elemental).


I'm stuck with the little serpent. This bush takes away all the attention and focus from the actual mini. But it's glued in place with lots of superglue. Remove it? But how? Cut it down and glue a shorter one in it's place? Cut it down and use something else to cover the spot?


I also got stuck with the monk after trying washes on the skin and the horse. Seems there is either the quick & dirty way (Basecoat and a commercial wash, in my case by Army Painter) or the slow and clean way (using a few colours for actual shading and highlighting). And I went down the quick route but now I would have preferred the other one. Probably I just have to keep going, but I don't feel like it right now.


Laurana is waiting for her eyes. She will have to wait some more. 


I could start with some of the other minis I just primed. However, in that case it becomes increasingly difficult to remember what colours I used for what mini. Until now, I have not really worked on multiple projects simultaneously, I would have to get way more organised, plan ahead and take notes, which is not really my strong side. OUsually I just pick a colour that feels right at the moment, just go ahead and see where it leads.


Earlier, when I reached this point I would have sent the minis to the shelf of shame and started with something completely different. And after a while the old attempts would have been stripped of the paint for another round of painting. This time it's not an option - the main point of this project is to push through and keep going, not taking the easy way out. Tomorrow I'll take the day off and start again on monday. With new ideas and lots of energy!

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Thanks for the kind words, @Glitterwolf! After a day off, my motivation is back and I'm looking forward to painting some more! There's just another little project to get under way...



On Sunday  I watched some videos about painting motivation and shelves of shame.There was some good advice on youtube, namely from Vince Venturella of Hobby Cheating (a channel I highly recommend) and Brent of Goobertown Hobbies (watch his videos if you ever feel bad about painting!). 


I realised a few things. Since this is sort of a tangent, I put it in a spoiler, for all those who just want to follow the painting progress. Also - is't quite a lot of text. But it is also about facing the shelf of shame:



I really do have two shelves of shame. One that made me start this project, with all the unfinished minis, and another, much bigger shelf: All the blisters and boxes I bought, but never even started. Both shelves drain my energy by making painting a chore for me rather than something I look forward to.


Ideally, I should find a miniature I like, have an idea on how to paint it, AND THEN DO IT. With all the other minis lying around, however, I feel I have to finish them also. And then the initial energy for the new mini wanes over time, until it just becomes another one in the long queue of minis I "have" to paint. Then the original idea of how to paint it suddenly doesn't seem so good any more. To distract me from this "new chore" into which the mini has now turned, my mind has a wonderful trick: I just get all hyped up over another new mini I absolutely have to buy. I buy the new one, and the unfinished project becomes part of my shelf of shame (in case I started) or ends up in one of the boxes (because I never even started, that ist the mostly the case).


Quite a few minis ended up here because of other reasons: 

  • That battle troll, for example, was a gift. I felt compelled to pain it, but my heart was never in it.
  • Other minis were freebies added to an order. I never chose to buy them or paint them.
  • A lot of my old Ral Partha minis I bought when I saw them In a shop. Even if I didn't connect with the mini I bought them out of sentimentality - I played a lot of AD&D 2nd Ed. back in the days and the sculpts reminded me of that time. Also, they all were OOP, meaning if I didn't buy them now, I would never have the chance to do so later.

To address this problem I went through my collection and sorted out all the minis that were doubles or that I didn't connect with any more. I'm planning to give them away here in the forums, to find them a happier home with more love.


I'll only buy new minis in an emergency (meaning, I need them for an immediate project or they are really, really cool and I can't live without the particular sculpt). Bought minis will be painted as soon as possible and get to jump all queues.


Concerning the painting itself I am planning to focus on only two projects at the same time. This is according to the hobby cheating video - having two projects simultaneously is supposed to be the most effective way to work. I'll try that.


And when I get to pick a new mini from my collection, because I have finished two (as are the rules I set for myself) I will start with that mini immediately, to keep the initial enthusiasm for as long as possible.


Alright, that's it with the theory. Now I'll organise the giveaway and then it's back to painting. And I'm looking forward to it!


Edited by Samedi
I was not aware that giving away minis on this forum violates the rules. Sorry for that. The minis will go to charity.
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