I usually buy figures in small units: a company of musketeers, one of grenadiers, and perhaps a squadron of cavalry all in one purchase. I find this lessens the drudge factor in painting by providing a little more variety. But there is a downside to this. There may be an interval of a month or so before I paint a second set of figures of the same type. And this means that much of the familiarity with the figure has been lost: the same old mold lines may not be noticed (again), and details of which features to paint up and which to ignore, what to highlight, what to line, all have to be remembered.
I had already painted the rank and file for one company of fusiliers some time ago. I decided that I would try a different approach for the rest, completing the regiment by painting all its remaining figures if not all in one go, then at least in consecutive batches. Perhaps the drudge factor would be more than compensated for by the efficiencies of the method.
Well, the figures have arrived from Tradition of London. As usual the inital reception was one of pleasure (I can't frolic like a new-born lamb anymore, though I do try). But there was a little voice somewhere in my mind doubting that painting them all was really going to be quite so much fun as unpacking them. I set them all out and admired them: admiring figures does not take much effort. But it was when I started to clean them up with a craft knife that I really began to reflect on how long it takes (me at least) to paint thirty six Stadden infantry plus their accompanying officers.
Stadden fusiliers in column of bottletop
I remember the old WRG rules sets with their lengthy lists morale of morale factors. My table for 'painter about to sit and paint' would have factors such as +1 for a sunny day, +1 for a decent programme on the radio, +2 for good anatomy, etc.. I think I made my morale throw, albeit only just.