Miniature Painting As A Family Bonding Experience

As much as I have compared painting to writing, I have not painted in over a year, if not longer. I remember painting miniatures fondly and not so fondly. Painting a miniature is fun and relaxing, even when the brush refuses to cooperate. Painting an army is a pain the ass, akin to a job you like but don’t like; I like painting, but I do not like feeling like a factory worker churning out piece after piece. Yet, when the army hits the table the factory work makes me smile. Even if all I did was spray paint all of them black and hand paint anarchy symbols on every figure and vehicle.

space-marineTwo or three Christmas’s ago, our boy expressed an interest in playing Warhammer 40k. He really liked the look of the Tyranids. Wanting to get him into a different type of game, one that has a hobby aspect, and one I am familiar with we purchased him a starter box.

Unfortunately, that was the wrong time. He did not want to learn how to assemble the miniatures, he did not want to read the rules, he just did not want to do anything. We tried a few small games and while he was excited with his non-knowledge of the rules, especially his troops he could not play.

How times have changed. He pestered me to pull out the miniatures and play. I said, read the rules. He has been reading the rules non-stop, even taking a rulebook with him on a car trip. I made a deal with him, read the rules and we can start playing.

Then, Tanks came along. Our girl loves (LOVES) Tanks. She gets me in a game often, has read the rules, and gets excited when I tell her a tank she is interested in can be ordered and more excited when that tank arrives. I wanted to paint the tanks because the plastic color of the German pieces (a weird yellow-green) bugged me. So I painted the tanks. Then I painted some more tanks. Then I wanted to paint more.

The kids watching me paint wanted to learn how to paint. I pulled out the much HATED Robotech RPG Tactics figures. The game sucks, but the miniatures would get put to good use, practice figures. Due to my stand against giving the game any kind of positive press, their first figures will get be shown. However, from practice figures they have moved onto figures they are actually interested in.

paintingOur boy works on his Tyranid army,  a squad of genestealers. I work on a squad of space marines. Our girl is painting a dragon. Barb joined into to paint a frog and spider. As a family we sit around the table painting, teaching, and best of all communicating and bonding. Soon the figures, most of them, will hit the table to wage war on one another. And more figures will get painted.

Writing and painting have a lot in common, the one difference they have that I enjoy, is painting has become a family activity. 🙂


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