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My hobby story

The purpose of this report is to explain how I became involved in murky, addictive world of Warhammer and Warhammer 40000. I intent to write approximately 600 words in one hour as a test for my ICE written assignment. This document must be interesting, to the point and produced efficiently.

I first became involved with the Games Workshop hobby whilst still in Junior School. During year 6 I travelled to the Lake District with Mr Gallagher and his Year 6 class. We went for a long walk and to get back to the hostel the clas shad two options; walk back or take an open top bus. I chose to take the open top bus and on that bus a class mate of mine, Joseph Keenan, had a small promotional pamphlet. If I had chosen to walk back to the hostel I never would have read that pamphlet and not have spent many thousands of pounds creating fantasy battles.

The pamphlet was stuffed with colourful images of beautifully painted miniatures fighting across wonderfully detailed table top battlefields. I was hooked! When I returned home to my parents, it wasn’t long before I was trawling through the Argos catalogue looking for the Games Workshop starter box (Argos was £40, £10 cheaper than the Games Workshop store).

I decided upon the fantasy boxed set that contained Lizardmen and Bretonians. I chose this above the Warhammer 40k option as it contained 8 more figures. Its funny to think that my gaming experiences could have been so different if I had have chosen to fight my battles in the 41st millennium.

My involvement for the hobby was spurred on by Mr Cartwrights Friday evening wargaming club. I did not know this club existed until he mentioned after one of our Friday afternoon history lessons, but I attended the following week and thoroughly enjoyed the splender that was the Franco Prussian war in 6mm (this battle is now a distant memory but it is probably the most impressive battlefield that I have seen). I digress…. Following the purchase of the Warhammer Fantasy boxed game I set about painting my first army. I chose the Bretonnians, they were the noble Knights similar to something from Camelot. In my dads garage I set up a small painting station from a fishing seat and an up turned bin. I knew nothing of undercoating or acrylic paint and instead used gloss paint supplied to me by my uncle Graham in coffee jars (these paints were stolen from the British Army’s supply stores, I doubt any body cared).

MY first efforts were extremely poor. The archers had yellow and red tunics, black boots and a black bow. The faces were not painted as I did not have a colour that resembled flesh tone.

Having read the Battle Book supplied with the starter set from cover to cover, I decided upon my first visit to a Games Workshop store. I had been further seduced by the wonderful models pictured in the publication. MY intention was to purchase some ‘spearmen’ for my Bretonnian army. I was ignorant of the fact that they were actually called ‘man at arms’ and my purchase plans were futile as I had no money to buy more miniatures and my parents would not readily part with there cash when approximately 80 models remained unpainted at home.

I stumbled on with the hobby for a short time. I then visited Games Workshop another time for hints and tips on how to paint my lizardmen. I was under the false impression that the scaley critters would be difficult to paint. I was proved to be wrong. The store manager base coated some of my Saurus warriors green and some Skinks blue and then continued to show me simple techniques such as dry brushing. In a very short period of time I was the proud owner of 4 ‘perfectly’ painted miniatures. My idea for an army of glittering Bretonnian Knights was cast aside and I became the creator of a cold blooded Lizardmen Horde.

My Lizardmen army was my first, and potentially favourite, army. It contained numerous skinks and saurus warriors and was supported by lizard swarms, a terradon and spitting salamander. The majestic leader of this army was a Slann Mage Priest held aloft on a palanquin. MY efforts to construct this miniature were disastrous. I never got the shoulders of the four saurus warriors to line up with the sections that supported the palanquin. In later life I learnt that I should have chopped the ‘slot key’ from beneath the feet of the saurus to ensure they lined up. At the time my engineering mind was not so well developed. Just over a year ago I purchased a second slann model that was cast in approx 1998, I intend to address my inability to successfully complete the slann model.

I fought my very battle with my fully painted Lizardmen army. I fought a young St Catherine’s student named Lee Costello. The battle was 2000 points. There were no particular rules for army selection. I had very few models and so bumped my army upto 2000 points by taking extremely expensive character models. Lee chose to take 1000 points of Bretonnians supported by 1000 points of Dogs of War. Very few models in his army were painted and to this day I believe that his selection was ‘beardy’. I suffered a massive defeat but was proud that my army reflected the effort I had put into it. Lee’s marching metal and plastic did not hold any visual appeal.

I spent many years looking over numerous White Dwarf magazines in my parent’s house. I would sit quite contently for hours on the arm chair beneath the bay window looking at items I couldn’t hope to have. Two articles really made an impression, one was ‘Orks Drift’ and the second was ‘storm the trenches’. I couldn’t possibly hope, at the time, to recreate these battles using my own models due to two factors:

• A distinct lack of money to purchase the models • A fading interest in the hobby due to lack of playing partners, parental support and a fear of ridicule if any one found out I was a table top gamer.

As I grew older my interest in the hobby faded. I never lost my interest completely but during VI form and university I did not involve myself with the affairs of the fantasy realm or the 41st millennium.

After six years of study I was the proud owner of three a levels, a bachelors degree in Civil Engineering and a Masters Degree in Engineering. I moved into the adult world and began a full time job with a construction company. I cannot remember the exact trigger but at some point I travelled to Sheffield City centre, entered Wargames Emporium and became the proud owner of an 6mm Baccus American Civil war Union Army. I split the pack in two and created a small Confederate army and Union Army. I even created a four piece modular terrain board upon which they could do battle (it was however a little tight). I was back into the wargaming hobby!

MY next significant purchase took me by surprise. I yearned back to my childhood days and googled the White Dwarf article ‘Orks Drift’. I then purchased the limited edition Praetorian 24th boxed set from Ebay.com for approximately £300. The box was shipped to me from America and I became the proud owner of a platoon of the emperors most polished foot sloggers. To complement this purchase I bought around 100 Black Reach orks, much to my surprise I enjoyed painting the orks much more than the Praetorians. To this day the Praetorians remain unfinished yet I have moved onto my second ork army!

I enjoyed paining my ‘Orks Drift’ ork army. Each and every miniature was painted to the best of my ability at that time. But it has not been the most challenging army I have painted. This title definitely goes to my White Scars recon force.

White is renowned for being an extremely difficult colour to paint. I used Lester Bursley’s method to paint my white scars. It is a relatively simple technique but provides extremely striking results (yes, my efforts are not as good as the Golden Demon winner himself but I am content). The idea is to undercoat white, wash black and then highlight up to a crisp white edge again. The method works for infantry and vehicles alike. My miniatures were proudly displayed in the window of a games workshop store, testimony to the method rather than my painting ability I think.

Having spent so much time completing my White Scars I felt in need of a break. MY love for the hobby was high but I couldn’t stomach more tedious, highly detailed, labour intensive work. It was for this reason that I began to look at the Army Painter range of products.

Army Painter is fantastic. It will not give you individual golden demon level results but it will provide you with a fully painted army, that en-mass, looks extremely impressive. I decided that I was going to speed paint my first army using the dipping technique advocated by Army Painter. However, I chose Ronseals quick drying wood stain. A fifth of the price, comparable results and indoor friendly water based mixture (better option all round in my opinion).

My first dipping foray was a skaven army constructed from the Island of Blood starter box. I did not bother buying the boxed set, I just bought a skaven ‘half’, additional clanrats and a doom wheel. I painted this army in a week. The objective was to have a coherent, table top quality army that looked impressive when held at arms length. I was pleased with the results and have ha comments when I have taken the army to Games Workshop stores.

My success with the skaven, and left over dip, made me think that a 40k speed painted army was a good idea. I chose to dip a tyranid army comprising only of genestealers. This army was painted quickly and also is perfectly acceptable table top quality.

I have always been a fan of producing armies with ‘natural’ opponents i.e. painting two armies at one time. This brings a number of benefits:

• Varies what you have available to paint • Your armies always have and opponent (this probably stems from my lack of playing partners when I was growing up)

So, I ensured that my tyranids had suitable enemies in the form of some dipped blood angels. Many people will say that it is foolish ti try and dip marines as they have multiple blank panels on the model. This is true to some extent as dipping is more effective for organic models eg Tyranids and skaven. However, if you manage your expectations and realise that you are getting a completely painted army for relatively little effort, then I believe you will be happy with the results.

I am currently painting my second ork army. These will be deathskulls and the idea is that they will be used to counter my Death Korps of Krieg army that currently resides unpainted and unpainted on my shelf. A second ork army is always a fantastic idea for any ork player as it then means the world of gorkamorka is open to you (yes gorkamorka is silly but if you play it like a stupid ork then it is very entertaining).

When my ork army is complete I am not sure what I will paint next. I am intrigued by the release of the 6th ed 40k boxed set, I believe this should be a compulsory purchase for all hobbyists. You will only kick yourself in future if you do not shed should hard earned cash on it now!

I hope you have enjoyed my story. I am sure some of the points will echo with many readers (particularly leaving the hobby to chase women and then returning later in life) and I am sure that some will think this is nothing but pure drivel. The choice is yours gents!

MY advice to new / young hobbyists:

1. This is a hobby, not a lifestyle. 2. Enoy the hobby but remember it will always be there, beautiful young women will not, therefore pursue the women! 3. Talk to everyone you can and ask their advice 4. Evaluate advice and choose which points to act upon. 5. Its your hobby, no one else’s. Do not try and emulate the achievements of others. Be happy with what you achieve. 6. Set realistic goals 7. If you buy it, paint it and use it! 8. Listen at school, get an awesome job and then you will have the money required to buy the plastic crack we are all addicted to!


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