Success and Pitfalls.

Modelling and Motivation

Almost everyone who have ever picked up miniature modelling as a hobby can attest that time and staying motivated are the biggest problems to keep the hobby.

Just when you think you are ready to change your bad habits for good, a couple of modelling sessions later, you realize the drive is gone and your miniature project hibernates once again.

There are a couple of reasons people have trouble staying motivated. Below are some solutions for the problems that we modellers encounter.

Lack of direction

The backbone of miniature painting and modelling stems from a backstory. All miniatures be it historical, fantasy will have a reason on why it was made.

In fact the most interesting part about miniature modelling is actually the story and event that accompanies it. The main motivation for miniature figure painting and modelling is to understand the story behind the miniature figure and recreate or improvise from that- a pilot driving a plane needs to plan a destination well ahead on where to land before he runs out of fuel.

If you do not have direction, your figure will most likely not get completed or end up being what is not intended.

Know Thy History

When it comes to historical and fantasy miniatures it is all about research, research, research. Research can be from books, internet, museum or even real war relics. That is usually the main guide and inspiration or driving force to accurately depict a scene. Like someone said, you need 'tackling fuel' to drive you forward.

Also the type of pose and accessories is very important in historical models. World War 2 miniature modellers utilise real photographs for their research and try to stay true to what are depicted in those photos. Research is just another great thing that can keep you interested.

Incorrect Painting Techniques

Many of us who started painting and modelling lacked the know hows of what is the most effective ways or the different types of painting techniques.

Some of us have some knowledge from reading about it from various articles but unfortunately did not actually see how it is being done. So most will just visualise how it is being done and end up practising what they think is the 'correct' way.

Unless they start upgrading or learning how certain techniques are done properly, they will never achieve the level of painting skill they want to attain. Instead, after seeing no improvements in their work, they slowly but surely get discouraged and lose interest in miniature painting and modelling.

Today there are many instructional videos or DVDs on miniature painting by award winning miniature painters available. Don't worry too much about which miniature painter is better, the most important thing for us is that the more knowledge about painting from different miniature painters the better it is for us.

Once miniature modellers have taken the right steps to improve their painting skills then the motivation and attachment to this hobby would only grow from strength to strength.

Advanced techniques

20 or more odd years ago a student who wants to learn from a master needs to travel hundreds or thousands of miles and at times across oceans just to be in contact with him. Today, ironically it is just one click away... how fortunate are we!

Once you have gotten the hang of miniature painting and understood the basic steps and comfortable about it, then you probably want to take it to the next level. I like would like to specially talk about Miniature Mentor Tutorials banner found on the right side this website.

What's so special about it? Well for one it is an instructional video by Golden Demon Winner and master painter Laurent Esposito Mas and other award winners. It is also a complete instructional video on advanced techniques on painting a figure. The video tutorials are professionally produced and are of high quality.

These video tutorials are cheaper if you opt to download direct from the site as compared to ordering the DVDs. There are other instructional videos on painting figures around but mostly are DVDs and require additional cost for shipment. Hopefully the other videos will let us have the option to download direct soon as well.

If you want something extra in your miniatures and value for money, then you should consider Miniature Mentor. Below is a sample movie from the tutorial. You can download the sample high quality version from Miniature Mentor website.

Miniature Mentor Sample Clip


It's important to find several different routines that you enjoy and mix them up throughout the time you spend. Painting or modelling the similar kinds of models can get pretty boring after a while.

One thing I found out about modelling is that the majority of modellers started out with modelling other kinds of miniature models besides figures like vehicles or tanks. Eventually they decide to embark on the miniature figure path after initially using miniature figures just as a supporting role such as vehicle crews.

As I discovered, it is more challenging to paint a standalone miniature figure as compared to use it in a diorama because the focus is only on one subject-the miniature figure is the main story.


Another reason certain miniature modellers stay within the hobby is because of tabletop gaming-where essential assembling and painting of miniature figures are required. With the growth and popularity of Games Workshop gaming systems, it seems that there are more and more who are becoming interested in collecting miniatures.

Though I do not personally play such games however, I do collect some Warhammer 40k and 28mm Lord of the Rings miniature armies for painting and creating dioramas.


One of my favorite hobby is building dioramas. It's a great combination of both miniature figures, vehicles, miniature buildings and terrain. It was from dioramas that got me started in miniature modelling.

Different Manufacturers

Modelling with different miniature figure lines can be very interesting. You can compare different brands and releases - eventually discover which brand and line that you like best.


Taking part or visiting modelling competitions will also be good for you because it will drive you to finish your miniature figure projects and guarantee that your projects do not hibernate for months on end. There are quite a number of online competitions as well as conventional modelling competitions that you can participate.


Another skill that adds variety is figure conversion/sculpting. As the name suggests, figure conversion is actually modifying existing figures to pose differently or look totally different from the existing figure.

Set realistic Goals

Too many people focus on too many things at a time . If you keep focusing on the total amount of work you need to do then it can be mentally discouraging. What I have come to realise is that planning and sketching out your idea early will save time and keep you focused on one thing at a time.

Set smaller goals like "I need to assemble one miniature figure or paint a shirt this week." Have a display case to store, showcase and see your progress. Seeing progress is very important. When you see yourself reaching these smaller goals week after week, you will be more motivated to keep going.

If you are one of those people who sets out to be an expert miniature modeller in a short time, cut yourself some slack. It is not healthy to stress yourself up especially if you are new, so make sure your goals are realistic. Do not forget, it is suppose to be something you enjoy doing. It is a gradual process of learning and will eventually get it right.

Time Management

As with all other disciplines, time management is very important since most miniature modellers out there complain of lack of time. Actually spending short periods of time focusing one part of a model a at time is better than trying to finish a model at one sitting. Our human mind can only keep concentration for up to 45 minutes at a time according to memory guru Tony Buzan.

See if you have all the right info about staying motivated, new possibilites will emerge and don't look as daunting as it seems. So are you ready to get started?