On the painting front, I thought I was making great progress when I got all of my troops basecoated and shaded, but the steam just went right out of me shortly after. A lot of this has to do with my playing of different style lists that would require a lot more assembly and purchasing - dramatically increasing my painting queue. Just thinking about the money and time I would have to spend sucks the energy right out of me!
I'm looking at running a lot of Razorbacks, where as a noob I bought only Rhinos. I want to start running more Wolf Guard Terminators, and since I didn't magnetize my old ones, I need to get more. I want to run Thunder Cav, obviously, but the conversion nightmare and hunting for a suitable Wolf miniature sounds entirely unappealing. It's really nice to have a core of basecoated troops that I can field and not feel too bad about, but the rest of my models have just been sitting in the foam.
On a more positive note, I have finally found a points level that I like playing at consistently. 1500 point games are great - they give you enough room to squeeze a neat trick or two in, but the games still play very fast and don't often drag past the 2.5 hour mark. It's a shame so many tournaments and events are 1850-2000, because I really don't like the games as much.
My lists are finally starting to coalesce around a few solid choices that I've learned to use well. My Vindicator continues to prove itself despite only taking one. My Predator Annihilator works wonders for getting transports open and giving Thunder Cav something to eat. My troops choices could use a bit more tweaking, but overall I'm very happy with three squads of Grey Hunters. Rune Priests are starting to see less and less play for more consistently awesome HQs and characters like Arjac. I still love the little psykers, but Living Lightning and Jaws just aren't reliable enough for me. Murderous Hurricane is still fantastic, though!
My Chainfist/Storm Shield Lone Wolf is a beast. I haven't been taking a pair of Fenrisian Wolves with him yet, because he has yet to be shot down by anything but the luckiest of rolls. He acts like a mini-Dreadnought, charging across the field and sending troops scattering to get away. I usually screen him with a Rhino or two and then send him around the side to tear shit up.
Despite all this, I'm having a hard time writing lists I like. I end up just tossing 1250 or 1500 points together and seeing how individual things perform, trying out units or characters against different armies. Though I've played at least a half dozen lists at any given points level, I'm never finding one that reaches off the page and says "PLAY ME AGAIN, MOTHERFUCKER!"
I'll keep tryin.