Coming back to painting minis after years, I've settled more or less for this process:
I blutack individual minis to flat pop sticks for priming, usually 4-5 to a stick. Everything gets grey priming, so order or mixing doesn't matter; I just prime one army at a time on as many sticks as necessary. In parallel, I prepare the bases for the whole army in one go, first by gluing fine medium to the base with PVA and then spray-painting a base colour onto them.
From then on I handle each mini individually. I sort them by elements, paying attention to the poses, etc, for the whole army, and arrange each element group in my work desk.
Since I'm currently painting armies without much differentiation (i.e. no drastically distinct troop types in the army), I can combine elements more or less at will. I take two or three elements and paint them in a small batch, doing each step on all of them before moving on. I try to make it so that I can completely finish them in an evening.
Then I base these two-three elements in one sitting, using grass and scatter mixes that I'll apply to the whole army to get consistent basing.
Once I start doing more multinational or more varied armies I'll probably start doing batches per type, if these are just a few elements.
I just in read Spitzicle's post "A batch should be finished before the next batch is begun" & agree wholeheartedly.
Unfortunately, I have just reorganised the mess that is my painting shelves (that's the "waiting to be resumed stuff, not what's actually on my painting table) & managed to get it down to 10 x A4 trays of "I'll just put this aside for a mo while I look at the newest obsession - be back soon" of lollipopped batches, each a different period, rule set & scale, all in different stages of completion. Oh well...
It has put the kibosh on my thoughts about getting into 10mm DBA for Sumer & Akkad & I solemly promise to paint all of those figures up before I buy any more. Honest, guv.
I batch paint but mix things up by working on 3 armies at a time
I set aside three armies then make up 1 strip of foot and one strip of mounted for each - gluing the figures to strips of cardboard.
These are all kept in a set of plastic drawers with 3 levels * Six (1xfoot/1xmounted for 3 armies) strips underway * Six strips undercoated to be brought up as their predecessor is finished * Six strips glued, ready for undercoating as their predecessor is moved up
About once a week I top up the ready for undercoating set.
At the moment there are only 2 armies underway (Italian Lombard and Musilim Sicily) with the space reserved for army No. 3 being used to bring existing armies up to Purple Code.
Because it has my troops all over it. THAT makes it MINE!!!!
I prefer to buy painted figures or hire someone to paint them I did paint figures for 45 years of my 55 in the hobby. For the first 5 or so, I did individual figures, but in groups. Pick up one, paint pants, pick up another do same. When the group had all pants, would start over with some other part. Maybe flesh first. Then I glued 4 figures to a popsicle stick and did about the same process.
I paint by the base, and I have popsicle sticks that mount 8 15mm figs each, which works perfectly for DBA elements or fow teams. I agree that painting 24 figs is a pain but it’s nice to have an element done and stuck down as soon as you finish them. Not painting by platoon or troop type all at once means you have to write down which paints you’re using though.
Contribute to the DBA Wiki! It'll ensure none of these discussions/suggestions/battle reports/army pics get lost!
As I noted towards the beginning, batch is the mode.
Matter of fact, last night I did flesh - hands, faces, some chests, etc. om a four Essex Norman LH (old model) for Communal Italians, three OG15 Goth archers, a Minifig Celtic javelinman, three OG15 Gallic cavalry, a couple of TTG Sarmation lancers, a mixed half a dozen Donnington Gauls and Britons, etc. for a total of 38 figures.
Again as previously noted, when doing only a couple of figures at a time generally more paint gets washed from the brush than went on the figures. Therefore, doing a single color on number of figures seems more efficient.
As I wanted to finish an element, I did also paint the saddle and harness of one horse - smaller brush with less wastage.
And one troll - lots of exposed flesh so not too bad ratio of figure to brush rag.
I will as I try to do enough figures for a BBDBA army that normally I have a more uniform 'batch.'