Thursday, April 4, 2013

Model/Painting Snobbery

This post may offend or put off some readers.  Now that's out of the way.  Onto the fun.  You've heard the stories.  When my army...  My vehicle...  My HQ...  My Flying Monstrous Creature...  Yep this post is about those lines.

JJ typing, I was very fortunate to have a great assistant to help make my Grey Knights display board/diorama a huge success.  If I was doing it by myself it would not have turned out looking as good.

One of the first things I heard from an opponent recently was how cool his vehicle is going to be.  He's going to have LEDs inside the rhino through the windows.  A blinking LED in another vehicle.  He was talking about these great things he was going to do with his models.  How they are going to look great.  The mentioned rhino was mostly unfinished.  I don't blame him.  Tearing off that front panel to put LEDs in after its glued in place is a terribly inefficient way to construct a model.

You are playing a game at a store with your friend or 40k buddies.  The stars have aligned and there are two fully painted and based armies on the field.  The onlooker is amazed at what he sees.  When there's the smallest of window they interject about how the modifications to his army are going to be awesome.  He stretches his arm out and pantomines what it will exactly look like when he's done.  He may be a stand up guy and admit to gluing together some Bloodletters and has boxes of daemons opened or on the to-do shelf.

How about the guy that comes to tournaments with apparently no respect for his models (I admit that is a thinking error).  He pulls them from boxes and parts break off.  He throws them even more carelessly back into box which they were pulled from.  Before, during and after the game he goes on seemingly without taking a breath about how great his army will be.  He looks down on fully-painted armies and tells the owner how to line-highlight better.  How the object source lighting is off.  How the drybrushing can be improved.  All the while constantly injecting about what his own display board is going to look like.  You see him at the next tourney or GT, guess what?  Yep, possibly a few more models added to his army but no work done.  He goes around doling out instruction and self-praise to anyone that looks his way.

Here's the point of this post.  Couple of games ago I was chatting with Bryan about the aforementioned player talking about putting LEDs in his rhinos.  Bryan was immediately on the same page.  Disgust and disappointment wrought across his face.  I say to Bryan "While I appreciate those guys and their enthusaism.  They talk about how their model is going to look awesome when its done.  Talk about the HQ  conversion.  That made me think about the difference between them and us?"  Bryan sums it up more succently then I ever could "We Do."  Which I said "That's it!  Yeah we may talk about future projects.  We fully paint our armies.  We make the board.  We do."

Yes I can be a snob, and an asshole, about how seriously other players take their hobby.  Guess it comes from more than two decades of having completely painted models.  While I have my to-do shelf, which only grows with the years.  Seems every two boxes I take out and complete, three appear in their place.  My ethic of only playing with a completely painted army stems from the guy that got me into this mess.  It was a solid ethic he imparted upon me.  Thank you, Brian.

I want it noted that I'm not a better general, painter or modeller than others who don't fully paint their armies.  I just follow through where they don't.  This doesn't make me better or elevates me to a different strata.  In fact it probably does the opposite.  This behaviour probably isolates me from those who don't.

Perhaps the snobbery comes from my early painting days and/or rubbing elbows with like minded folk.  I probably participate in those annoying cliques at tournaments.  You've seen those cliques.  The group of guys huddled closely together on the outer fringe leaning heads together whispering about the "have not's."  Barely spoken derision of someones extremely sub-par army.  Aiming threats at those who supposedly challenge their skill.  This group doesn't branch out and talk to other players.  They do post-game briefs together, eat together, carpool together.  When someone outside their clique reaches out to them they practically shrink away.

Putting a positive, and hopefully humble, spin on this post.  Regarding my modelling and painting I am not an island.  "If I have seen farther than other men it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." ~ Newton.  My models are the culumination of many people.  Pressure to have completely painted models before putting them on the table, inspiration from other peoples paint jobs, blogs with painting techniques, losing the best painted army award, all of these and more forge me into the modeller/painter I am today.  Those fires of destruction and creation are not done.  They have only begun their work on my modeller/painter psyche.  The models I paint today are sons and daughters of my first models.  The models today are pale shadows of models I will paint and put on the field in the future.  I am but putty for the imagination.  I look forward to seeing where it takes me.  (ok, apparently not that humble)

slainte mhath


  1. I am a painting snob. There, I said it. I get wanting to try out that new unit before you can paint it our proxying stuff on friendly gaming nights but to field an entire army that never was an never will be painted gets to me so badly. I'm okay with 3 color min too but to not even try? I've never walked away from a game but damn I've wanted too.

    1. Kudos to you, Zab. Painting snobs around the world unite!

      I love proxying, try damned hard not to do it myself. I say proxy away, cheaper than buying an army only to find out you don't like it. Nevermind if the model isn't, or will never be, available.

      I've felt the same. Also never walked away from a table because of it.

  2. I mostly agree with you. I think I'm a little easier on the "dreamer" type, since I catch myself doing that a lot too. That said, I complete at least some of my dream ideas from time to time. I don't complete a lot of them, but at the same time, I hate the idea of playing with unpainted models, at least at a shop or tournament.

    1. You're a stand up guy, Evan. Out of all the painter/modelers I respect you guys the most. You guys have a foot in each world and admit when ideas remain a dream. Nicely said.


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