Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thinking. Always a mistake.


Those of you who've explored the darker corners of this blog may have noticed the occasional bit of GW product.  Not just Fantasy Battle stuff, but *gasp* the occasional bit of 40k as well.  Some of this is nostalgia, but the recent surge of tasty 40k newness over the web, along with some discussions at the club, have got me thinking about hobby stuff of late.

The new chaos "not-dreadnaught"

For those of you in self-imposed seclusion, GW has been trumpeting their new 40k starter box, which includes some decent Dark Angels and chaos cultists, but also some exceedingly tasty Chaos Chosen, a Chaos lord, and some kind of bad-ass super dreadnaught.

New Chaos chosen.  Yummy.

This has me pondering the possibility of once again trying for that holy grail, the display quality army.  There are people out there with a capacity for focus on hobby projects that astonishes me.  There was an army posted recently on Bell of Lost Souls that had me thinking about this, as it rather illustrates the case.  I can also remember period shots in White Dwarf over the years of some guy's Void Reaper marines (I think him), that seemed in contention for Golden Deamons pretty much every year.  There's examples in historical gaming as well.   Olicanalad's posts always blow me away with the size and quality of his collection, and there are others out there who seem able to combine quality with quantity.

The 40k stuff has me thinking about this because my earliest "one day" visions of this kind of project were firmly grounded in the 40k line, especially chaos.  I've had plans at one time or another to do up a force for each of the 4 chaos cults, and for Night Lords and Word Bearers as well.  In theory, this is possible.  I'm a good, if not superlative painter, and enjoy stretching my skills.

Did this years ago for a buddy in NFLD

The trouble is, I seem to lack the single-minded dedication necessary.   I can take the time to stretch myself on a single figure (though, judging by the Gladiator, even that capacity may be waning), but maintaining that level on an entire project just frustrates me.  I want to get stuff finished and on the table!  Doing it for a game I don't really play any more, like 40k, is even harder, since I don't even have the incentive of a game to motivate me.

I've always admired people who are able to focus their attention and skills on a single army for a single game. They seem to have a preternatural capacity for self-control.  They buy a thing, and paint the hell out of it, and seem untroubled by the allure of the new and shiny.  In fantasy sci-fi games, they pick one faction, are collection completists, and patiently await the (re)issue of faction models.  In historical projects, they pick one period, and one scale, and that's their thing.  15mm chariot wars.  28mm napoleonics.  6mm pike and shotte.  They have massive, focused collections reflecting years of patient work.  Meanwhile I have 6 different projects on the go, a dozen others I'm pining to do, even though I know that realistically, I barely have the time to do one.

One day, sweet Nemo, I will paint you again.

I wonder if social context is a factor?  I've had to move a fair bit over the years, which means I tend to play what the local community does (it's why I played a lot of FoW and WFB in Thunder Bay, but not so much now).  Right now, the group I play with in Toronto is diverse, and there's plenty of people pushing good projects, which makes it hard to resist.

How does this work for other people?  Those of you in the "do one thing and do it well" camp, what drives you (or makes it possible for you) to do it?  Those of you with more of a "some of everything" approach, do you ever hear the siren call of "the one true project"?


  1. Thought provoking post! I'm envious of the variety of systems, figures and scales you paint and play. I don't think you need to apologize for sampling the gaming goodness that our hobby is blessed by. :-)

    I'm a historical gamer and the group that got me back into gaming is Field of Glory only. Within FoG, there are hundreds of armies you can paint. I keep painting new armies because I love the reading & research, the painting and finally, putting the army on a table and seeing how it runs. The siren song of other gaming systems is too strong so I've expanded into Impetus and Maurice. I'm trying to get our club to expand into these as well!

    I could never pick one period/one army and paint in it for years. But I respect the people that can and do.

  2. I'm with Monty. FoG was the system that got me really into wargaming and there is something about putting and army - rather than just a few figures - on the table.

  3. One of the blokes at the club I used to go to in Rotherham was like that - he had a massive collection of 15mm Colonial stuff, every possible war or conflict, and in huge numbers. I remember he did several games in which hordes of Zulus would pour onto the table to attack a Rourke's Drift type set-up - most people would bring maybe 100 or 200 figures for the Zulus, and as one wave was wiped out, would re-use the figures for another wave appearing on the table. Not Jim. He brought a couple of thousand figures.

    I've always played either at clubs or with friends where there was a variety of games on offer, so I've always dabbled rather than specialised. I have quite a few 6mm Napoleonic armies back home, because we did a lot of Napoleonic wargaming in that scale, but I also had 15mm ancients, 25mm Early Medieval, 15mm ACW and ECW, 20mm WW2...I like if I can to have several armies within a period and scale, but I don't mind having figures for a period in several scales and based to different rules. Sometimes I'm in a mood for one thing, another time I'm in a mood for another. I now have figures in 3mm, 6mm, 15mm, 20mm and 25mm, in all sorts of periods. I like variety.

  4. Oh dude, Jen is painting the terminator hulks too! I thought the newer sculpt are fantastic!! BTW, I got the Dark angles Terminator from this set too, it's very very nice. I think you should go for it!


  5. I don't game, I'm strictly a painter and for me that equals freedom. The freedom to paint a figure simply because the quality of the sculpt or the character of it appeals to me. I'll paint any scale, any manufacturer or any historical period. My current project is writing a storybook and illustrating it with figures and scratchbuilt terrain. Yes, a single project, but within that project lies everything from 15mm to 32mm, from Dark Sword, to Essex, to Foundry and anything in between.

    Just do what makes you happy.

  6. I'm painting two period for myself at the moment, both in 15mm the NYW and the FIW, it's great to paint a few units them swap and paint a few of the other. Also I'm trying to paint up figures to sell, which is a bit of a grind, I've been trying to paint some GW Dark Angels, I'm in a bit of a quandary as I'm trying to paint them from pictures and haven't a clue what bits what, what the hell is that hanging there?, is that a skull?? I need to buy the codex book, I suppose??

  7. @ Ray - It's GW, so yeah, it's probably a skull ;)

  8. I'm not a total "do one thing and do it well" guy, but I have focused on a primary scale and two general periods my whole gaming career. It isn't that I decided to do this, I followed my desires. "The heart wants what the heart wants," and my heart has stayed on the dark ages, crusades, and 18th century.

    Are there any collector figure groups around? I'd assume there are in Toronto. This is a potential route to go to satisfy your desires to paint to a high standard. It might not work out for you -- but I did that for a decade or so, which is to say it worked for me!

  9. Very very nice painting style! Ok, I don't think those are historic minis so and I'm not the best to judge, but they are looking great!
    The last two pictures are my favourite, with a wonderful talent for relief...

  10. Haven't done fantasy (yet), but your work is always inspiring and impressive. Best, Dean

  11. @ Phil - the first two are actually GW studio pics, the last two are mine. Thanks for the encouraging words all. I might try to do this with the 15mm AB Russians I picked up. They're the kind of figs I'd feel bad not doing my best on, and with 15mm, I can do good work in a reasonable time. We'll see.