Monday, January 6, 2014

If You Paint It, They Will Come (and Play)

With introductions outta the way, I'll get on to discussing painting project numero uno.

I mentioned in my first post that I've been collecting and painting miniatures, primarily Citadel, for a good long while now. I've learned from reading similar "Oldhammer" blogs that this phenomenon is nowhere near as rare as I once thought. I'd daresay this whole movement is very nearly becoming commonplace in the admittedly niche world of tabletop gaming. It seems like quality blogs about all things Ansell, Priestley, & Halliwell sprout up very regularly these days, and there are a lot of incredibly talented people the world over who are churning out very nice paint jobs using modern techniques on "retro" models (see blog list->). It's all very encouraging. I only wish that there were more people (or, maybe even ONE other person) in my area doing the same. The reason for today's post title is because, where I am, I simply have to put my head down, keep painting, and believe that eventually, cool things like older editions of Warhammer, or Rogue Trader, or even just older versions of D&D, will eventually catch on locally. If I have the models already done, then when they do catch on, I'll be ready, Kevin Costner style.

Whaddayou mean, you don't like Jes Goodwin's Ogres??!!

For a few years now, dating back to the release of WHFB 8th edition, I have felt a strange sense of what I'll call "alienated allegiance" to Citadel miniatures. I delved into the hobby for the first time back in the early 90's as a result of flipping through a friend's White Dwarf and being immediately hooked. Here was an interest that scratched EVERY itch I had hobby-wise at the time: a love of sci-fi/fantasy, a history of D&D gaming, an obsession with historical battle tactics and lore, and a built-in need to constantly work on some sort of creative process with my hands. Check, check, and check across the board.

But then, over the last few years, I have experienced the same sort of malaise towards the GW brand that you can find described in a million blogs and forum posts now. For me, it wasn't as much anger over pricing or frustration with rulesets designed by marketing departments; it was a holding pattern where I found myself holding on to some sort of idea that "if I just keep building armies like I always have, surely things will improve." So while my painting cabinets were still getting filled, the painting itself was often feeling an awful lot like a job.

Then I saw this fella, and everything changed. This is my one Warhammer mini to rule them all, so to speak.

Dwarven Brewmeister from Stonehaven Minis

Here was exactly what I had been after, and I never even knew it. I bought this mini because I thought he was the perfect addition to my Bugman's Rangers force; receiving him in the mail a few days later opened a floodgate somewhere in my psyche. I suddenly didn't feel the need to focus solely on old-school Citadel minis. Stonehaven illustrates the fact that there are plenty of other manufacturers who are, in fact, doing a better job being "Old Citadel" than the company itself is, or even was (in some cases). My ideal army really is an ideal; I don't want its collection to be driven by a page from an old Citadel catalog, but from my daily breakfast time perusal of eBay and miniature forums. Not that there is anything wrong with people who want to collect that way- just the opposite in fact. But I want to create a force collected and assembled from all over the place, that looks purposely rag-tag. The crazy thing is, I've been doing this for some time building small skirmish forces for games like Skulldred, and for minis I use for dungeon crawlers. I kick myself now for taking so long to realize that an army for WHFB can be built exactly the same way.

So, here's a picture of the first few units I collected for my dwarfs a few years ago now, before this realization (1st and 2nd edition Bugman's Rangers, RR1 and RRD1, along with some minor conversions/substitutions):

And here's how I am going about building the army these days. I'm even starting to like the crazy changes in scale because, hey- creatures of the same species aren't all the same sizes and shapes. Lots of Fantasy Tribes and Marauder, yes- but alongside them are now a fair lot of Ral Partha, Asgard, Grenadier, even modern Reaper and Scibor. I'm trying hard to slowly build my armies using only the rules "do I like the miniature and can I get it on the cheap?"

So much happier painting (and collecting) this way. I've even discovered that some sculptors that I previously didn't care for are in fact much better when they work away from the GW Design Studio.


  1. This is going to be one amazing looking dwarf army! Really nice seeing the two Bugman's units side by side!

    1. Thanks very much for the kind words! It's amazing to see just how much the sculpting styles changed between Bugmans v 1.0 and 2.0- quite a difference!

  2. Feeling your pain - and joy. I got back into gaming in the last couple of years and the current GW stuff didn't light my fire. I started hunting down Asgard, Metal Magic, Ral Partha, Chronicle and Grenadier dwarves from Ebay to make up mixed units with an old school feel.. Of late I've also been picking up new Ral Parthas (I'm lucky enough to live near a shop that stocks them) and Hasslefree. As you say, there's plenty of new stuff out there that has the 80's feel. Cool blog by the way.

    1. Definitely far more joy than pain these days. The mix of companies is definitely the way of the future- there are simply too many great little companies making intensely characterful models these days to ignore them. We are so spoiled for choice- it's great! Thanks for stopping by!