A few weeks ago I noted that I was rediscovering my interest in Warhammer 40,000. The necessary first step was revisiting the baseline post for the game on this site, which includes a series of rules changes/clarifications that improve what I consider to be the definitive edition, the 2nd.
I should clarify that I'm not one of those people that enjoy painting miniatures for their own sake. I paint to play, period. Absent a gaming environment, I wouldn't own any models at all. The only model kits I retain from my childhood are the ones I adapted to use in wargaming.
That being said, if I know a game is coming up, I will throw myself into the act of creation and few things bring me more joy that watching a unit go through the process of acquisition, assembly, priming, painting and final finishing. My painting table had languished for months, collecting various sundry items I was too lazy to put elsewhere, but now the main space is cleared and groups of models are staged around it, waiting their turn.
Amidst the current turmoil, it's a welcome escape to put on some music and focus my thoughts entirely on what shade of blue will suit the unit of Swooping Hawks I am working on. Yes, the Eldar army is my current focus. While I remain a 2nd ed. loyalist, I have no particularly affinity for Games Workshop's overpriced kits. Many of my armies are built around equivalent figures from other manufacturers.
For example, my Imperial Guard is largely WW II historical models, and I've used some creative color choices on weapons finish and the rim of the base to indicate weapon types in the 40k environment. The armored vehicles are modified Tamiya kits and these have been more extensively altered to feature weapon sponsons, crash bars and other features necessary for combat ops in the Grim Dark Future.
The determinative factors for me are cost and aesthetic. For example, my Tyranid army is only a few years old, the last one I collected. It is exclusively made of GW figures because these fit the bill and older kits are now selling for very reasonable prices. My Eldar, on the other hand, is almost entirely Void models.
Void was a short-lived competitor to Warhammer 40,000 that collapsed after a very ambitious launch sometime in the Aughts. The parent company's demise (i-kore) coincided with worsening economic conditions in Michigan, and the result was many of the independent hobby stores went out of business. As a result, I was able to buy a huge collection of figures for pennies on the dollar. The Void aesthetic was more streamlined and less steampunk than GW's, so these models worked well as the advanced but declining Eldar.
In fact, I only recently bought some actual Eldar models (jet bikes). Again, prices for older edition kits are now quite reasonable, even as the current game's prices soar.
It's axiomatic that miniatures collections are never "finished." People might sell them off, or they might stop using them, but no one ever proclaims the thing complete. There's always room for one more model - and in fact, there's probably more than one model that still needs to be assembled or painted at any given time.
This means that if you take a month or a year off, when you come back, there's something ready and waiting for you to work on, which is nice.