07 January 2018

How to count painted models ?

It's a common thing amongst painters to count the number of models painted over a given period to see or show how productive we are. While most of us get satisfaction from exceding the numbers from the previous period and frustration from not meeting them, one thing is far less common amongst us : the way to count painted models.

"How is that even a question ?" 

I've heard it in the back, don't lie. Well if you're asking the question, it probably means you do not paint enough models, or don't count them or even worse... you don't care.

Do you feel we should count bases, heads, models, profiles ?
Now we at Scale Creep® believe that fun is too serious a thing to mess with and if something is worth doing, then its worth doing right.

We're going to expose you to the multiple model counting techniques we've developped over time so that you can pick the right one (the Predator one).

The Predator Rule

"if it bleeds we can count it"

The very idea behind the Predator counting system is that you count models with both the miniature and its gaming profile in mind.
Basically, if it has a profile, it counts as one, no matter the size, no matter how it's based.

See the examples below, no matter the size, they all count as one.

These guys count as 2 :

Pros : You have an accurate account of the number of models that you have painted based on the number of figures you can put down on a board when playing a game.

Cons : You get the same number of points when you paint a rat as you do when you paint a giant. Or a massive War machine. Or a castle. 

The Gimli system

"It still counts as one !"

So you've painted a gorgeous Chariot. You spend three weeks highlighting the armour on the Champion to ride it. The driver took another weekend that your significant other will now hold against you for the rest of your life. Then you put off the horses for two months cos you hate painting horses. But they are done. And now you have mounted it all on a gorgeously detailed scenic chariot base.

Finished. 5 beautifully rendered models.


Only counts as one though..... Sorry !

Pros : It gives you an accurate representation of the number of units you have painted based on what you can put down on a gaming table.

Cons : It's 5 fucking models! I painted 5 different models. Count them! Aaaaarrrgggghhhhh!

One thing is one thing system

"I painted it therefore it counts..."

In this system equal weight is given to all the various parts of the hobby. Wargaming isn't just about the figures you paint. Vehicles, buildings, objectives, trees, cats and all manner of other signifiers of human existence need to be painted in order for your tabletop experience to become realistic. When tallying your painted models of course you would count them. It makes sense. If you dry brushed a piece of fencing and painted a banner then they are both painted pieces. It all adds up.

These each count as one :

Pros : Gives you an accurate tally of the number of items that you have painted in a year.

Cons : You put a wash on an MDF fence. Well 16 pieces of fence. And you painted a shield on an Orc. When you report to your mates that you painted 765 "things" last year, you may get lynched.

Points mean prizes system

"I've painted a thousand points of Chaos since 2.30pm"

As we all know, the armies that our games utilise are based on a point system in order to produce a balanced competitive system. It can sometimes be useful to tallying your years worth of painting by counting the number of points that you have successfully completed in one circuit round the sun. Obviously this must be based on Warhammer armies but there are variations that allow you to use the points guidance system in the big orange book and with Rogue Trader you have a broad range of army lists to use in order to maximise your output. This is a useful system for friendly army painting challenges between internet friends.

Picture from Nico's blog, that's 2500 points

Pros : Gives an accurate representation of the amount of miniatures you have painted in order to play a game on a table top.

Cons : But I have a Skaven army! What do you mean you've painted an unit of Ogre's to cover 3 months of entries? That can't be right? What the bloody fuck?

also - Different games have different point costs. We don't all play fucking warhammer you know!

42 points in Dragon Rampant, probably 50 times that in Warhammer

The Rocket scientist system

"See, by taking into account the speed of the wind and the time of the year, the painting output is more accurately determined"

You've decided all other systems are flawed and dismiss vital information. So you've come up with a formula that takes into account the size, weight, surface, texture, intricacy level, number of parts, shape of the base and god knows how many other things.
You've finally done it, all the coefficients are set and balanced to be as accurate as possible... But someone else's come up with ANOTHER formula...

Pros : You've finally done it. You've come up with the ultimate counting system.

Cons : Noone but you will ever use it.

The Wankstain system

"Well, that was a pretty good year mate, despite having all sorts of terrible problems I managed to get 320 models painted."

Denying reality entirely, you've decided to just make things up and come up with a false number people might believe unless they know what kind of piece of excrement you are. Every now and then you'll show some stuff you've made (sometimes old stuff you've already shown) and when asked for group shots, you'll just remember that yeah, low batteries/kids sleeping/the wife's not well/there was a cricket invasion/have you seen the last Starwars? ...

Pros : Max result, min effort

Cons : People will kick your face.

Cheating bastard system

"I have a 3 complete Warhammer armies that I started in January, yeah all table top standard"

This system covers a wide variety of methods but we have decided to group them together as they amount to the same thing. Let's look at these individually.

1) I have bought a load of stuff off eBay and by arranging them on a table I can say that I have 'completed' a unit. I haven't undercoated any of them, never mind painted them but because I have a bunch of them, they are 'complete'.

2) I bought a bunch of plastic figures and I have successfully glued them together. I then had a game with my Steve. I have completed and a legion of Space Marines.

3) I have bought someone else already painted army. I'm just fucking loaded.

4) I have paid someone else to paint all my figures cos I don't have the time/ Hate painting /Can't paint. I know some desperate individuals who will do anything for money.

5) I have paid someone else to block in all the main colours for my figures and I have washed them with a brown gunk and then badly based them. I can't be arsed with this hobby but I want to feel like I'm actually doing something. And I have loads of money

Those are both "painted" :

Pros : This gives an accurate representation of the models that you can put down on a table for the tabletop war-game of your choice.

Cons : Everybody fucking hates you.

So please tell us which system you use or maybe you have a system of your own to offer that would make model counting possible ?


  1. It's the 'One Thing = One Thing" system for me. And yes, a crate is the same value as a massive scratchbuilt building :D

  2. 'The Tally' that I use on my blog is basically one thing = 1 thing. It's in its eight year now, so I'm probably not going to rejig my calculation method...

    1. Why would you?

      It's imperfect, but anything else is madness.


  3. I used to use the first method, but I have up, counting is a fool's errand.

    1. Correct.
      "Predator" is waaay too subjective.

      And the movie is wildly overrated.

  4. What Axiom - obviously a guy with his head screwed on right - said.

    1. You sound like my kind of guy cheetor!

    2. You deniying your own Gimli system... SAD

    3. One Thing is One Thing IS the Gimli System.

      Your failure to define these concepts accurately on you mec.

  5. I lean towards the “one thing = one thing”, but like that the “predator” counts cavalry as two!

    I’ll save my vote for when I actually paint enough models to make it worth it. However, Gimli can do one! I have Nurglings Bases in my future!!!

  6. Do you know the Marius System (by The Psilète) ? The number of points depends of the size.
    - Base 25/32 mm : 3 Marius
    - Base 40 mm / cavalry / bike : 6 Marius
    - Base 60mm, non-véhicle : 15 Marius
    - Little vehicle (walker, transport...) : 30 Marius
    - Middle vehicle (from 10 to 20 cm long) : 45 Marius
    - Big vehicle : from 60 to 100 Marius


    1. Jeez, that's the engineer system, a twisted version of the rocket scientist one ^^

    2. I bet ten thousand quatloos that the "Marius" system is a truly inspired, deadpan joke.

  7. I go with the gimli system but don't count terrain towards my total.
    That said I do count miniatures sold on towards my yearly tally.

  8. Moi je fais une photo du tout et pis vala. ^^

  9. I paint 15mm and 28mm so am truly damned by any counting method. Do you report two values and look like a hair splitter? Or do you lump them together and get something unreasonable seeming?

    1. Two 15mm = One 28mm...

      But I'd split the values as the detail on 15mm will be lesser and thus quicker to paint :-)

    2. Differing scales do make things more complicated.

      I would call them all "1" anyway.

      15mm figs are roughly about the same size as a 28mm goblin, and I wouldn't make a distinction there.

  10. Hmm. I probably sway between the Gimli and one thing system, though this Marius thing is pretty exciting. If we can get physical Marius currency I'm all in.

  11. I usually start the year with the Predator system then give up as my low tally gets further and further below my expected output!

  12. Probably one thing = on thing. In the fence example I might count the lot as one thing. The example of "painted" at the end is hilarious.

  13. Predator system, without doubt. Although whatever system I use my count for last year is pitiful :(