So I've had some practice now at getting minis completed in a much shorter amount of time than normal. Here are some of the things I'm taking away from the experience. Bear in mind these minis have averaged less than 30 minutes each.
Painting up your minis to play with them is a mindset issue, not a skillset issue. You can already do this, but if you have an enormous pile of shame, chances are you have simply forgotten what it is you're trying to do.
Remember, army painting isn't focused on the individual model, it's on the overall look of the army on the table. Not focused on one model from 3 inches away.
It doesn't matter
Much of the process that we spend so much time tormenting ourselves over simply doesn't matter when it comes to army painting.
Getting colour perfectly in the lines is not essential. From a distance, you don't even really notice. Your eye and brain start to cut corners. It's a shadow, or dirt or something, but for army unit painting, being so fastidious that it stops you from getting on with the next mini is unnecessary.
Get paint on the model. Colour not essential
It isn't even that important that it's the right colour. Thanks to the work happening in your brain, it's missing colour that you notice. If there is a colour on there your eye skims right past it. So bang something bland on the bits you missed and keep going.
Only Half of the hobgrots are highlighted. It doesn't matter.
Halfway through the hobgrots, I went for dinner. I had done an extra level of highlights and detailing on 10 of them but not the rest. When I mixed them in on the table... no one. Not a single person noticed. It didn't matter. That saved over an hour.
So what matters?
I'm not saying you shouldn't care about how things look, or that you shouldn't pay any attention to what you're doing, but I am saying that you should put your attention where it pays off.
Contrast helps. I don't just mean Contrast paints (although they do a lot of really excellent work) I mean the contrast between colours, and contrast between light and shadow. Make volume! Exaggerate! More highlights, deeper shadows!
If you're painting to push yourself, then you should ignore all of the corners I'm suggesting you cut. (Unless the push is speed!). I'm not saying you should never try your best, or that painting well isn't relevant or useful. I'm saying remember what it is you're trying to achieve. For most of us, that's the impression a nicely painted army makes on the tabletop. We want the game to look great and to feel like the movies we see in our heads when we imagine it. That needs a load of painted minis. Not two beautifully painted Insta-famous generals and a sea of grey plastic on the table and a pile of shame at home.
Get some paint on them! Don't let perfect be the enemy of four foot fabulous!