Friday 1 January 2021

2020 in review

Happy New Year, and welcome to ten years of Dead Lead Project! I'd like to say that so much has changed since that very first post, but alas I'm still flitting from project to project painting what I fancy and then badly photographing them to show you all!

So, as is tradition, we analyse the year that was:


47 vs 147 = -100

Looking on the bright side - that's one more painted than the previous year!

I had such hopes that I'd be able to pull my usual last minute eleventh hour hail mary to push that painted total up to 52 to hit that Challenge target, but having been burning the candle at both ends since being furloughed the week before Christmas, my 'evening painting time' often turned into 'falling asleep putting the toddler to bed and then blearily stumbling downstairs to make a cup of tea and try to dab paint at miniatures for twenty minutes'. But honestly, of all years this one is the one where we shouldn't be beating ourselves up for what we have achieved.

So, ten years of stats!

2020: -100 (47 painted)

2019: +3 (46 painted)

2018: +52 (52 painted)

2017: -14 (47 painted)

2016: -287 (56 painted)

2015: -96 (59 painted)

2014: 0 (80 painted)

2013: -416 (25 painted)

2012: -103 (68 painted)

2011: -173 (122 painted)

Here’s a graph of that, added the day after this post went live:

I've no idea how 24 year old me managed to paint 122 miniatures in a year. He had fewer hobbies and no children vying for his attention, which might have something to do with it!


25 this year, unusually quite evenly spread throughout the months rather than the usual summer drought (although lockdown might have had something to do with that, as my making terrain for Rangers of Shadow Deep kept posts going even when painting was sparse!). Nowhere near the dizzying heights of 2014 where I managed 69 posts, but the secret to that was that I got a lot of painting done while my heavily pregnant wife napped!

Last Year's Challenge:

  • Finish something  old
  • Finish a piece of terrain
  • Prep all of the monkeys in the monkey box
  • Paint all of the miniatures in a boxed game
  • Play a board game with fully painted miniatures
  • Finish a complete skirmish force for a project (at least 16 miniatures, unless it's for a much smaller scale game like Batman)
  • Repaint something (either a miniature that I have previously painted, or one that was received painted
  • Convert a miniature and show WIP pic
  • Finish the last member of the Nextwave team
  • Complete the classes project (potentially adding the races from the Players Handbook to the mix)
  • Add at least 4 entries to the Monstrous Alphabet Project
  • Average at least a miniature a week by the end of the year (so, paint 52 miniatures)
  • End the year with the Tally in the positive!

The less said about this this year the better I think! A few things were half done (there's an unfinished conversion I was hoping to polish off and post, for example), but as previously stated, this isn't the year for anyone to beat themselves up over what they did and didn't achieve... Even if not for the ongoing global pandemic, the Challenge has always been something to hopefully guide me if I'm looking for some direction, rather than a stick to beat myself with!

Projects (according to the last end of year post):

Warhammer Quest Blackstone Fortress

Nothing painted in 2020, as so many other things took my focus! In hindsight, this could also work perfectly well as a solo project, so here's to hoping 2021 sees more BSF love!


I saw myself painting a lot more D&D miniatures this year than I actually did, truth be told! With the pandemic and various lockdowns though, solo war gaming was my main focus (not that any actually has happened yet) instead. Having not played D&D since March though, I’ve got a bit of a craving for it, enough that I’ve worked out the basis of a campaign to run at some point when the world rights itself. Who knows when I’ll find the time to actually play it though, but that’s a problem for future Olly...


Nothing added this year. Got some character miniatures for Christmas though, so who knows what next year will bring...


Nothing painted, nothing played. I think the thing stopping me getting started on this is that absolutely everything is unpainted, which is a bit daunting when you aim to do it all, and there are other projects on the go that use existing painted miniatures that you can add a little to, or a small project that you can paint a handful of miniatures for and call it good...

Star Wars

May the Fourth completed, but nothing else. I’ll always love Star Wars though, so it’s likely to continue on as a main project even if nothing major gets added to it for long stretches of time!


Zomtober successfully completed again this year, and added more to the positive Tally than anything else, truth be told! With Salute’s cancellation (well, technically delay I guess) there were no Walking Dead bargains to be had, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing given my existing backlog of unpainted miniatures...

The Thing

I still need to find a suitable dog head, as converting the dog thing is the mental roadblock between me and polishing off the rest of this project.

Reality's Edge

I painted a Cyberpunk! I have a couple of other bits in the painting queue, but they haven’t made their way to finished yet. Probably not helped by the troubling launch of Cyberpunk 2077, which I’ve held off on getting until they have a chance to fix it a bit (which was a bit of an awkward conversation with my wife, having to ask if she’d bought it for me and telling her not to if not!)

40K - I was sure I'd painted a Howling Banshee in the last year, but apparently that was in 2019!
Necromunda - nada
Fallout - nada
ROTPOTA - At this point it’s almost a joke keeping this on the project list, but one day, one day I’ll come back to you my sweet monkeys...

This year was mostly zombies, peasants to play RoSD, and very random odds and ends that caught my fancy!

Before we set the projects list for 2021, let's have a look back at the projects list from my very fist post and see how much progress has been made over the course of a decade?

Primary Projects:


Not necessarily my main project these days, but every year I strive to complete Zomtober and add some more miniatures to the collection! Rules are half done, but whenever I work on them I tend to end up having new ideas that involve redoing whole chunks of what has already been written, and I start to wonder if it's the best choice or just me being excited at thinking of a new mechanic, and I walk away for a bit...

Three Kingdoms

I have finished exactly one miniature for this in the last ten years. There is a unit of 24 half painted chaps sat on my desk (and has been for around seven years), but it turns out I'm not the hugest fan of large batch painting!


The odd miniature painted here and there. 

Strange Aeons

Apparently I haven't finished anything for this project in the last 8 years, which feels wrong but is alas backed up by hard data! 

Doctor Who

We've gone off Doctor Who a bit, the last episode we watched being I think the first Capaldi episode, and so not many miniatures painted for this! I'd like to go back and start watching from the beginning again, as I hear god things about the current Doctor, but it's the sort of thing I'd like to watch with my daughter, but I don't think at five she's ready for some of the mild peril yet...

Secondary projects:


A couple of miniatures painted - any day now Northstar will release their VSF ruleset and I'll be galvanized to convert some more martians and paint the ones I've already made! I bought a pot of special GW Mars basing paint this year so that I could try it out on a test miniature at some point, so who knows where the future will take us...


The game that got me back into miniatures after some teenage time away, but alas, it's dead on the project radar. 


I finally got around to painting Alexia and the Risen! There are also some Cygnar bits having a nice soak in my stripping pot after I rediscovered Warmachine largely for the fluff...

Anima Tactics

Despite only needing a couple of miniatures painted to call it finished, I never did! 

Evil Genius/7TV

One day I'll get around to painting up a horde of hard hat wearing minions! In other news, I believe they're releasing a sequel to the videogame Evil Genius, which would be exciting news if not for the fact that my laptop is dead as a dodo! 

Marvel Superheroes

One of the projects that has actually had things added to it multiple times over the last ten years - in fact, one of the miniatures that was part of my desperate push to get the Tally up between Christmas and New Year's was a Heroclix repaint!



  • Night Goblins - with Warhammer dead, I've not had much motivation to paint for it! 
  • Skaven - same. We could still play an old edition, I know, but there are so many other games vying for our attention these days!
  • Dwarves - I managed to paint Gotrek and Felix, but again, with Warhammer dead I've not been particularly motivated to paint any Slayers, which is a shame because I'm still inordinately fond of the little orange haired psychopaths!
  • Mordheim - during the first Lockdown, I was struck with a sudden urge to dig out my old Mordheim stuff, so I started working out some warbands to build and paint, but then a chum pointed me towards Rangers of Shadow Deep as a solo game, which then took all of my attention...


  • Witch hunters - I'm so far out of the loop these days that I don't even know what the rules are for these any more. I still have vague plans to convert the occasional Inq28 figure, but no sweeping plans for adding to the army...
  • Chaos - have I really had Huron Blackheart undercoated for ten years? I've been building and undercoating stuff, but that's mostly as far as they get!
  • Space Marines - I made some nerdmarines!
  • Orks - My claims that 'I'll probably come back to them one day though' didn't come to fruition. 
  • Blood Pact - that squad and a half of converted guardsmen with grotesques made from cut down goblin faces are still sat unpainted in a drawer. Looking back, the conversions are a bit clunky, but I'd like to get some paint on them one day regardless..

Discussing this with my wife, she suggested that so many of my old projects making no real headway suggests that we should stop buying my miniatures, but I disagree, it's just that I've started new projects since then! To whit, the projects list of ten years ago looks very different to this one:

2021 Projects

Rangers of Shadow Deep

I want to get my 2020 Lockdown project to the point where I can play some solo games! Last time I checked (back at the end of August), this would mean making:

  • Mystery additional structure
  • Trees
  • Cart
  • Well
  • Woodpile
  • Crates and barrels
  • a playing surface!
  • Treasure tokens 
The trees are underway, as is the woodpile. I’ve got some food supplies undercoated, but I think I want some more general crates and barrels too (2021: the year of scatter terrain?). The mystery structure, cart and well would all be self contained mini projects, and treasure tokens shouldn’t be too much hassle to knock up...


Again, solo play is the target, although I’m not nearly as close to being ready to go with this as I am Rangers. In order to play through Dark Alchemy and Perilous Dark, I’d need some generic fantasy ruins, scatter terrain, wandering monsters, and although I could probably scrounge up a serviceable warband from my already painted miniatures, I'd probably want to paint up a few fresh bits for the occasion!


It’s not out yet, so who knows what I’d need! However, some more generic sci-fi terrain will surely be needed, and once the book is out I can start painting up a crew! I'm dissolving the old Firefly/Serenity project, half of the miniatures will work neatly for Stargrave, whilst the rest will go towards the Cyberpunk project.

Blackstone Fortress

Paint and play, same as ever. While I missed out on the majority of the smaller expansions, even the base game (plus the White Dwarf content) is a decent amount to be getting on with! I've got a copy of Escalation of backorder, which will make a dent in the Tally when it finally arrives...

Current progress on having the base game painted:

Explorers: 0/9

Enemies: 8/35


This should really be a back burner project, but here we are - I’ve got enough miniatures to make a couple of warbands, and I’d like to do that. I kinda want the Sartosan pirate vampire miniature for my Undead warband, but he’s pretty expensive on eBay...

A Song of Ice and Fire

I’d like to expand my Lannisters up to the point where I could fill some War of the Ring bases, so up to 8s of each troop type at the very least (mostly because I love the look of ranks of pikemen that I keep seeing on the Never Mind the Billhooks Facebook group). 

Japanese Fantasy

We showed our daughter Princess Mononoke (brief aside - I did not remember it being that violent until I showed it to a five year old) while I was reading the Rangers of Shadow Deep rulebook, and the wheels in my head started turning... No definite plans per se, beyond the temptation to call it Ronin of Shadow Deep, and take inspiration from everything from the aforementioned Princess Mononoke to Ninja Scroll! I’ve had a dig through my drawers of unpainted miniatures and come up with a few suitable minis to get this project started, time and attention span willing... In doing so, I'm dissolving the old Afro Samurai project that I'd been stashing miniatures for - half fit neatly into this project, whilst the other half will get folded into the cyberpunk project.

The Witcher

Yet another Rangers of Shadow Deep based project (because low model count projects seem to be the way my attention falls more often than not), I have some nice Brother Vinni miniatures that cover the named characters, with the potential to then expand the project out to include scrappy mobs of Redanians, Temerians and so on...


I’ll do Zomtober at the very least!

Star Wars

I’ll do May the Fourth, anything beyond that is a bonus! Some minis may get painted that have cross project appeal between Star Wars and Stargrave...

Dungeons & Dragons

I still want to paint some more generic fantasy beasties, especially as not being able to play for the better part of a year has left me with such a craving for it that I've plotted out my own campaign to run at some point in the future...

Back burner:

40k - odds and ends for Inquisitorial warbands, as and when they catch my fancy. There are also some Black Legion miniatures undercoated in the basement, in case my attention swings towards the pointier end of the scale...

Cyberpunk - not a main project, as I have no particular plans for it, but I may well add a mini here and there to it. As previously mentioned, some older projects have been dissolved and their miniatures offered up to this project instead, so it's entirely possible that I'll get distracted and accidentally paint for this like it's a main project!

Zona Alfa - my enthusiasm for this project waned a little when a deal to get hold of the gas mask heads I needed for a couple of conversions fell through, but I've got both scenery and miniatures prepped for this, so may well add to it in the year to come. 

Mass Effect - there’s a remaster of the original trilogy of games as well as a new one coming, so maybe I’ll finally find some heads I like to convert some Cerberus troops? I think I bought minis I planned to use for those conversions when my daughter was born, and she turns six soon...

Rise of the Planet of the Apes: because it just wouldn’t be a year in review post without including this!

Next Year’s Challenge:

  • Finish something old
  • Finish a piece of terrain
  • Finish some scatter terrain (0/3)
  • Prep all of the monkeys in the monkey box
  • Paint all of the miniatures in a boxed game
  • Play a game with fully painted miniatures
  • Finish a complete skirmish force for a project (at least 16 miniatures, unless it's for a much smaller scale game like Frostgrave)
  • Repaint something (either a miniature that I have previously painted, or one that was received painted
  • Convert a miniature and show WIP pics
  • Finish the last member of the Nextwave team
  • Complete the classes project (and when I do that, start a project to have painted miniatures to represent all of the Races in the Players Handbook)
  • Add at least 3 entries to the Monstrous Alphabet Project
  • Average at least a miniature a week by the end of the year (so, paint 52 miniatures)
  • End the year with the Tally in the positive!

I also have a sort of secret challenge, to try to keep the Tally in the positive by not buying new miniatures until I've painted existing ones (this is why I'm digging out old miniatures for the Japanese fantasy project rather than going on a spree and ordering myself some lovely new miniatures), but sod's law is my backordered copy of Blackstone Fortress Escalation will turn up before I manage to finish anything and sink that straight away!


  1. Happy New Year!

    It's been a weird year. 2021 is shaping up to be... interesting... as well... It feels like with so many of the Other Things I've done in previous years not being a thing anymore, I should have gotten so much more hobby stuff done... but I haven't.

    You have a lot of projects going on. But go easy on yourself if you don't see movement forward on all (or ANY!?) of them!

    It will be fun to see whatever you get up to - whether here or on instagram!

  2. A detailed accounting on the year. I think a lot of us didn't fair all that well in our goals. Rangers (and frostgrave) seem like a great idea for porting in cool small warbands. I like the idea of a japanamination one. I was thinking of a 'banner saga' group perhaps.