I have mostly been working on a single miniature this week and while I’ve made some good progress, it wouldn’t really make for an interesting update so I thought I’d tackle a topic that I don’t talk about or show off very much on my site. I’ve had the idea of exploring this for a little while and something else happened this week that made this the perfect topic. So let’s take a look at some notable hobby failures I’ve had and what I learned from them.
One night this week, I happened to look at the diorama base in between applying paints and thought the rug was “warping” (something I am a bit concerned about with how soft the plastic is). It turns out that it wasn’t so much warping as the glue was holding it down anymore. I pulled the rug off the base without even trying. Not good. I then tested the wooden planks and two of those popped off two. Even worse! Truthfully, I cannot remember whether I used wood glue or super glue on either part. I decided to give the base a bath since it is resin which I should have done from the beginning (hobby failure number one!) just to be safe and then I’ll try to superglue the planks back on soon. I want to try and get some more of the glue off the wooden parts so I can attempt to reglue the rug on as well. I’m hoping that super glue will hold that down better and that I can then get everything back to where it was. I am obviously a bit concerned about this as gluing and assembly is part of the diorama that I was hoping would be pretty easy. I’d really hate to have put this much time in the dio and have it not come together but I’m refusing to believe that that outcome is very likely at his point. I’ll let you know how I get on with this once I have had a chance to work on it further. Its on my to-do list this weekend.
So that is my recent hobby failure. Let’s look at some less recent ones and talk about what went wrong there and what I learned. Next up is Arwen and truthfully, I cannot remember why I bought this miniature. There is another Arwen sculpt in resin instead of metal which is much higher quality and has a better likeness to Liv Tyler than this original one but for whatever reason, I decided I wanted to paint her in a color scheme that is a bit different than in the movie.
While it was a good idea, I didn’t get very far unfortunately and I quickly learned why most people paint the other sculpt for painting competitions Golden Demon. This is a really old metal sculpt that came out when Fellowship of the Ring did and it really lacks detail in the robes. The face is off and those cheekbones are a nightmare to paint correctly. Even worse are the eyes which looked bug-eyed sadly after I attempted 3-4 times to get them right and I just couldn’t do it. I think the reason for this is that the eyes are poorly sculpted which doesn’t give you much of a guide to painting them correctly. I learned a valuable lesson from this mini that you need to paint on a nice canvas to get your best work. While I don’t want to blame the sculpt exclusively, I set myself up for a difficult task and my abilities at the time were not up to it. I think I could do a lot better on the robes, for example, if I painted this now but I have absolutely no desire to do anything with this sculpt and should probably give it to someone who might enjoy painting and owning it (after they strip the poor job I’ve done).
That one was an obvious failure but the next one is a little less obvious. A while back I painted this lady who I am still proud of.
I had some big plans for her as well. What I wanted to do was paint her mirror and husband and then create a kind of diorama of sorts. Unfortunately, the project has stalled and has since been cancelled. The first thing that went wrong was painting Celeborn just did not come together like Galadriel did unfortunately. Let’s start with his face which has pretty tiny eyes and I could not get the two of them to match up very well which annoys me every time I see him. Getting the eyes right is just one of those things you have to do if you want to have a nicely painted mini.
The eyes alone didn’t stop me from working on this guy though. I put a fair bit of time into the back of the mini and his hair as well. The hair is by far the nicest part which I think looks very realistic and elven. Unfortunately, I do not like how his cloak has turned out and I don’t really know what to do with it to fix it.
I actually consulted with my painting friend on the robes and he suggested that I crank up the “edge” highlights and while I don’t think they look terrible, I just don’t like how they look, especially compared to how Galadriel’s are. They were a bit less noticeable before I took this advice but even then, I still didn’t like how it looked. It might be because I’m not that comfortable or knowledgeable about the specific shades of blue I used. That can make things difficult for you as well at times. Once I realized how stumped I was on Celeborn, I stopped with this project.
It might be just as well because my idea was to finish him and the mirror and then buy this MDF kit from TTCombat to make a kind of diorama with it.
I had this idea before I realized that I have some storage/space issues so I think making something like this just for this display (when I don’t even have space to display it in the first place) was deeply flawed. At some point, I realized an even bigger issue. Even if I did all this and made it look great, I think properly lighting the scene of Galadriel and Celeborn under the pavilion to get a good picture would very, very tough with the fact that the top of the pavilion lets in no light. So you’d have to work the light in on the sides which I don’t think would look that great or at least not to the level I would want after putting in all of that work. So in that sense, I think this project was unfortunately somewhat doomed from the start. Certainly well before I ran into trouble with Celeborn.
So what did I learn from this hobby failure? Make sure you really think through your diorama ideas to make sure they’re a good idea. This plan had a lot of flaws in it and even if Celeborn and the mirror got done (which was unlikely because every time I look at it and I want to put it away and not paint it), I think it ultimately would not have been the level of success that I originally envisioned and hoped for. So I really encourage you to think through projects as much as you can before starting them. I don’t have regrets that this one didn’t turn out. I think it actually taught me some valuable lessons and I’m still really pleased with how Galadriel looks so I got something positive out of it as well but it could have easily been a bigger time and money sink before I realized its flaws.
I hope you got something positive out of reading this article and I think it can be liberating to own hobby mistakes and put some thought into why they occurred and how you can improve in the future. Not unlike the plot in the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, our hobby paths are a long-term journey and the setbacks don’t define us, unless we give up and let them. Ultimately, if a project fizzles out, there is often a newer and better one that emerges and we can later be proud of when it ends in success.