Monday, 22 September 2014

Painted vs. Unpainted: Why Even Bother?

"The Hobby" as we know it, revolves around miniatures and game rules.  Those are the two components that are the fundamental cornerstones of our obsession.  Before "The Hobby", there were games, and there were models.  But just like a certain sweet treat that I have a certain fondness for, marrying two great things often makes for a fantastic fattening nom-nom that is far sweeter than the sum of it's parts.

Can you remember the first time you were exposed to miniature games?  Did you walk by a games store, pop in looking for toys, and see a beautifully laid out gaming table, with gorgeously painted miniatures and dice battling it out, and two (or more) gamers having a blast?  Or did you start off playing Dungeons and Dragons, and delighted in finding that one miniature that perfectly represented the character you had been role-playing for some time now?  

The point is, there's something different about playing a miniatures game, rather than a board game, card game, or video game.  There's a sense of ownership over an army, and the miniatures more fully belong to you than some cheap Chinese injection molded chess pieces or chits on a piece of cardboard.  It's somehow more elevated, more personal, and definitely more characterful.  And it's not just in your imagination, it's tactile, and visually decadent.

I'm incredibly passionate about "The Hobby", as a gamer, and as a modeller.  So a part of me cries inside whenever I see people dispassionately playing games with unpainted or single-colour primered models.

Recently, Bush Craft posted some coverage from Nova, and in it, he pointed out that only a few people showed up for a $15 painting seminar by one of the biggest names in the industry, Justin McCoy of Secret Weapon Miniatures.

Justin's "Zombie Truck" with working LED lights and fantastic weathering
Now Justin is just an amazing miniature painter, but with an extensive background in the pure modelling side of things.  He is an IPMS (International Plastic Modellers Society) award winner, and founded and runs a company that produces some of the best modelling and painting supplies in the world.  His products have helped the likes of Mathieu Fontaine win multiple Golden Demon awards, and the rest of us create really nice finished gaming models.  Getting a chance to sit down with him and ask him questions and watch him demonstrate his techniques is a rare privilege, and I was shocked to hear that so few people took advantage of this opportunity.

I wrote a comment to that effect, and probably worded things a bit more harshly than I intended to.  I also picked on one particular gaming system, and it's fans in general, which is something I should have qualified a bit better to explain why I felt that way.  It was a knee-jerk reaction (emphasis on the "jerk"), and I apologize for how it was worded, but I should explain my position and the reasons of my ire.

Here's the link to the post on House of Paincakes, and my comment below:

"Only 8 attendees for a Masterclass with Justin McCoy??? There's something seriously wrong with that number. Is it just me, or are there more and more gamers who just don't give a crap about playing with nicely painted models? 

I blame WarmaHordes... every tournament I've witnessed of those systems has a ratio of 1 painted army to about 12 unpainted or simply primered ones. The ones that ARE painted are usually gorgeous, but most PP gamers simply don't care about what their models LOOK like, just what they do in the game."

To be fair, EVERY game system has players who couldn't care less what their models looked like.  Every game system has players who don't think anything is amiss if they field a mess of reflective bare metal models and legions of dull grey plastic.

But what is it about Warmachine and Hordes players that seems to encourage a total disregard for miniature painting?  Or conversions?  Or doing much of anything to inject character and life into their models?

I guess I'm making a gross example of WarmaHordes players based solely off my own personal experiences with their gaming crowd.  As far as gaming is concerned, I'm not particularly widely travelled, and I can only judge based off of what I've seen in my neck of the woods.  But what I've seen are in-store gaming nights where one player in twelve actually has paint on their models.  And large tournaments where only 6-8 players fielded half painted armies, and only 3-4 players had fully painted armies.  The vast majority of players seem to have done nothing to their models except glue the parts together, and maybe marked the facings on the bases.

By contrast, the local tournaments for Infinity, Malifaux, Flames of War, Warhammer 40K and Fantasy are bursting with colour.  FoW models have intricate unit markings painted on tiny little tanks.  Infinity and Malifaux models are usually well painted and mounted to amazingly atmospheric bases.  And even the "worst" painted miniatures in the GW tournaments show incredibly characterful conversions and fantastical army display stands.

I'm no Infinity, Malifaux, or FoW player, but I do have a Warmachine army (fully painted), and a number of 40K and Fantasy armies (in various stages of painting, but a number of them are fully painted and proudly occupy a glass fig case at home).

You certainly can't blame the Privateer Press studio.  Just about every miniature they put out is amazing in detail, pose, and character.  They employ some of the most talented sculptors and in-house painters in the industry.  Their models certainly do not compare badly in any way to those produced by other miniature gaming companies.

A PP model I painted years ago.  Fantastic sculpt, and so much fun to paint!
And check out fellow Vancouverite Arthur Nicholson's blog for some gorgeous PP fully painted models that he games with quite often.
But let's put aside my confusion regarding end-use of their models for a second.  Let me tell you why I think miniature painting is an integral part of our hobby, and explain why I'm so passionate about the hobby as a whole (gaming + painting).

I didn't start off buying miniatures for the sole purpose of painting them.  I bought them to game with.  Way back in the '80s, my cousin got me hooked on the very first edition of a role-playing game called "Gamma World".  This led (of course) to me playing and hosting games of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons.  My first miniatures were cast from lead, and represented my characters and the various monsters that they encountered.  We moved them about on a wet-erase grid map, and handled them with fingers stained with cheese dust and pop.

Later, one of my friends picked up copies of the original Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader and Warhammer Fantasy rulebooks, and we marvelled at the idea of controlling entire armies of miniatures (such as they were at the time... no giant games of Apocalypse for us.  An army consisted of a handful of whatever models we had).  There was a rudimentary introduction to painting miniatures in the book, and after picking up a few issues of White Dwarf magazine, some Testors enamel paints and crappy synthetic brushes, and the now legendary RT1 plastic Space Marine boxed set, I tried my hand at miniature painting.

I was SO proud of these when I did them. Freehand and shading... awesome!

Once I learned how to drybrush, I drybrushed EVERYTHING!!!
Enamel paints, and my first attempts at washes.  Oh, and real blood on the weapons (I accidentally cut my finger, and thought, "Why not?")

To put it bluntly and honestly, I sucked at painting miniatures.  Sure, I can blame the poor tools and choice of paints I had at the time (oil based enamels and brushes that were too cheap to sell at a dollar store?), but I lacked any skill, training, planning, or patience.  But the crazy thing was, I was damn proud of those first paintjobs.

And I kept at it.  Pre-internet, all I had to go off of was the occasional painting article in White Dwarf (painters of my era will always owe a huge debt to Mike McVey and the rest of the Eavy Metal team).  No one else I knew was painting miniatures either.  I continued to stink, but every time I learned a new skill (OMG!  Drybrushing!!!!), I got really excited and proudly showed off my models to everyone I gamed with.

But I was still a gamer, first and foremost.  It wasn't something that competed with miniature painting.  They went hand-in-hand for me.  I spent a considerable amount of time poring over army lists, reading and re-reading rules books (you had to, otherwise the rules lawyers would annoy the heck out of you every time), and alternating playing games of miniature games and pen-and-paper RPGs.  I even managed to get competent enough at the gaming aspect to win a few tournaments and write an on-going wargaming column on one of the earliest and definitely one of the highest traffic-ed hubs of the gaming internet: Portent.  But I also painted whenever I had some quiet time to myself, and whenever I wanted to field a new unit at my next game night.

And I wasn't the only one in my gaming circle that painted their miniatures.  We all painted models.  It was just viewed as part of the hobby, and another aspect that we all loved about it.  Every game night was a mutual admiration love-fest, as we scrutinized each other's latest paintjobs and commented on them.  And while we poked fun at each other's sense of style once in awhile (I still recall my buddy Rob fielding a Space Marine captain with a sculpted afro and disco riser boots.  He got ribbed about it constantly, but it only made him smile with satisfaction), we also complimented each other all the time.

Pardon me for getting nostalgic for a moment, but those were great, great days of gaming.  We quickly learned that the easiest way to beat my friend Mike was to target his most recently painted miniature / unit, and wipe it out on the first turn.  He would be so incensed for the rest of the game, that he completely lost track of any mission objectives and would simply rush his models across the table in search of revenge.

My friend Darren had this one unit of Guardsmen that he painted in orange tiger stripe.  They were simply garish and utterly atrocious to look at, but he took so much pride in them that they always showed up to battle every game.  Despite having the exact same stats as every other unit of generic Guardsmen, they were somehow "elite" and special to him.

My buddy Derek was the star painter of our group.  His Ultramarine army was simply a treat to gaze upon.  I never really cared if I won or lost a game against him... it was just a pleasure to check out his army, ogle his latest paintjobs, and bug him for painting tips.  The experience of playing against such a magnificent looking army was like going out on a date with a supermodel.  The game was fun, but it was much more than just a game.

I have judged many miniature painting scores for various Warhammer Fantasy, Warhammer 40K, and the occasional WarmaHordes tournament.  In order to engage the gamers, I ask each and every one of them to point out the models in their army that they are most proud of.  Even the most inexperienced painter's eyes light up when they get asked this question, and they get really excited when picking up their current favourite models to describe the conversions done to it, what aspects turned out better than they had expected, and the challenges they faced while painting it. 

A fantastic Nurgle army at the 2013 Wet Coast Grand Tournament

An anime style Tau army at the 2013 Wet Coast Grand Tournament

My buddy Nick's Guard army at the 2013 Wet Coast Grand Tournament

Painted models have more personality.  They are infused with a tangible amount of the owner's character.  They aren't just mere chits or chess pieces, but tiny little avatars of the gamer.  They are our representatives on the battlefield.  They proudly take to the field in our colours, and when they die, we are definitely more invested in their heroic ends.

Now ask the owner of an unpainted army if they have ever felt that same pride and sense of ownership when they deployed their models across the gaming table.  Have they ever had their opponent whistle in appreciation at seeing a great looking army?  Have they ever had an opponent ask if they could pick up one of their models to get a closer look at it, and then say, "Wow, really nice work, man"?  Or has anyone asked them for painting tips mid-game, or perhaps asked them how they achieved a particular conversion?

I doubt it.  Because their army looks like every other effing bare metal / plastic army out there.  It has nothing to set itself apart, and it shows no effort or care from its owner.  Frankly, it's BORING.

Would you be excited to play against this army?  Or proud to display it if it was your own?
And how the heck do two opponents tell each others models apart if they both field unpainted identical armies?


If you can't be bothered to paint your models, or convert your models, or do anything except glue the arms on and shove the tabs into the slots, then why the heck are you playing a miniatures game anyway?  You are missing out on so much more.

This hobby isn't just gaming.  It's the background story.  It's the terrain.  It's the shared "in-the-trenches" experience of struggling to paint fricking eyes on a model that's only one damn inch tall.  It's the sheer spectacle of seeing two colourful armies of miniatures raging back and forth across a fully realized 3d representation of a battlefield.  This hobby is AWESOME, and if all you do is game, then you are depriving yourself (and your opponent) of at least half of what this hobby is all about.

Now let me step back for a second, and say that while I think an unpainted army is boring, that's not to say that you can't still have quite a bit of fun while gaming with one.  Gamers with unpainted armies are not necessarily boring to play against either.  It's just that it's not the full experience of miniature gaming, just like watching a good silent movie is not the full cinematic experience of movie enjoyment.  Try watching your favourite movie on mute and with close captioning on, and see what I mean (c'mon... what would Star Wars be like without the John Williams soundtrack?).

So I'm not going to say that I will never play against someone with an unpainted army.  And I'm not saying that everyone HAS to play with painted armies in order to enjoy gaming.  But what I AM saying is that gaming without at least attempting to paint an army makes me just a little sad, because the gamer who never tries their hand at painting will never understand the pride and sense of accomplishment that a fully realized hobbyist (gamer / painter) will.

 Let me finish this rant by recalling a time when I heard a Privateer Press Ganger (a Warmachine / Hordes enthusiast whose job is to grow the hobby and the game's fan base) say that he much preferred the "clean" look of an unpainted army to that of a "badly" painted one.  It's a sentiment that I heard an echo of when Von spoke of armies "ruined to meet a three colour standard".

Let's think about how that might come across to a beginner who is considering trying his hand at painting, or worse yet, to a beginner who has JUST started painting, and is uncertain as to how people may react to his first attempts.

Yup.  It's a tad insensitive to tell people that you'd rather they just left their models unpainted, isn't it?

We all suck at the beginning.  No one produces a Golden Demon winning paintjob on their very first try.  But rough paintjobs are the necessary first step towards getting better, and no one should be self-conscious or embarrassed of their early paintjobs.

Even Matt Wilson, founder of Privateer Press, has admitted to painting miniatures badly.  Years ago, my buddy Zac started a website called, "Tabletop Gaming News" ("TGN" for short, which he later sold to Coolminiornot), and asked his readers to submit questions that they wanted to ask Matt.  Almost all the questions that were selected were submitted by "hard core" Warmachine gamers who were asking all sorts of rules clarifications and questions about game play.  However, Zac also included two questions of mine: "Do you think miniature painting will ever be more widely accepted as art?", and "Do you paint miniatures, and can we see them?"

Now Matt Wilson is a 2D artist of astounding talent.  His work has been used in Dungeons and Dragons, Magic the Gathering, and Warmachine / Hordes (of course).  He has won awards, and his pieces have been featured in such esteemed publications such as Spectrum.  The strange thing was, he admitted to having a number of painted miniatures, admitted that they had definite flaws, and declined to share them publicly. 

To me, that's a shame.  He could have inspired many new painters, and shown them that even the founder of their favourite game company was just a regular guy when it came to learning the ropes of miniature painting.  Instead, his chosen representatives in the gaming community are telling people that unpainted models are nicer looking than beginner painted ones.

And I think that's the wrong message.  Our hobby needs gamers who are bold enough to try painting, even if they know their first few attempts will likely be very rough.  Just as civilized society in general needs art in order to have soul, I think that miniature gaming in general needs miniature painting in order to have personality and life.

And for frick's sake, when you have a chance to take a class taught by an insanely talented and experienced painter / teacher, all for the price of a single unpainted plastic GW character model, make sure you take it!!!


  1. Great article. I am with you, and personally have a rule about never fielding any model until its painted. This is a really strong motivation to get it all painted, without which I'd probably field a half painted mess like most people!

    There are now so few 40K players around here that I only have two regular opponents- one is a pretty poor painter but does try to get it all painted, though there is usually something only half done on the table. The other guy doesn't care at all, fields stuff with its Ebay paintjob, however random, or unpainted, or even barely assembled. Minis have fallen apart and I remember one game where his War Walker squadron included one empty base, one base with just a leg attached to it!

    Both these guys are fun to play, and nice personable guys, but I can't say how much I prefer playing against the painted force, even if it isn't perfect. It just adds so much to the experience.

    1. Can't agree more. Even a half painted force is better than no paint. And empty bases? Might as well use proxy models or Lego kitbashes.

      The "I won't play with it until I've painted it" is a fantastic motivator for painting, although an extremely tough restriction to set for yourself. I actually try keeping to it myself most of the time. It certainly keeps you going though, and one side effect of that policy is that it keeps my hobby spending in check... there are countless occasions where I have walked away from buying a model or kit because I know I've got enough on my painting table already!

  2. Wonderful article. I attended Nova, and attended some of misterjustins classes (the weathering and the airbrushing ones). misterjustin asked why people weren't attending the master classes...we thought it was only for pro level painters. The name was a poor description. It's a bit difficult to fit "This is a class for people who are interested in how you would go about painting to a more competitive level" on the board though.

    I'm also the fellow that took the three hundred or so 40k photos. You'll notice there wasn't any privateer press photos. Their tables were completely uninteresting (outside of a few beautiful armies...but never facing off with one another). compared to the 40k tables. I don't know what it is about that game that just turns me off. I know it has nice balanced rules...but it just looks like a bunch of models lined up across from each other on a nearly barren table.

    Then you walk over and look at the infinity tables and you nearly !&$!()& a brick they look so friggin awesome.

    One thing I have been learning (since I started blogging), is that I think I am begining to enjoy the painting/building part of the hobby more then the gaming part. There seems to be a massive "fun" divide between the two groups. The painting/building guys? ALWAYS having a blast. Always happy to hang out, chill, exchange tips, show off their new models (regardless of system).

    Gaming players? Mixed bag. Some are the same as the hobby guys, but some seem to only care if they are winning, and will do everything they can to get that sweet sweet win, bashing armies and rules if they don't fall in line with what they want to happen.

    I'm rambling. Synsinn is rubbing off on me.

    1. I find that over the decades I've been gaming / painting, the pendulum swings back and forth between me focusing more on gaming, or me focusing more on painting. I think it's a healthy process, and helps keep your interest up in the hobby.

      If it's true that the name "Masterclass" is misleading people, then I agree it should be re-examined. But to what? How about, "Painting with a Master" instead? Still conveys the fact that the teacher isn't just some schmo redshirt pulled from the local GW store, but an award winning maestro of painting.

      I think you're right about combo painter / gamers. Much more laid back in general, and more fun to play against. And far less likely to bitch about rules changes, since we're generally happy so long as the models look bitchin'.

      Actually, I was hoping to post this article up on HoP, but I never got a response when I emailed the contact email address. I have to say that I love the writing over at House of Paincakes... you guys sound like my kind of people. :)

    2. I'm not directly HOP affiliated, I just did a single guest blog post for them. I'd try emailing them again, was probably just lost in a swarm!

      Agree with everything else! Also highly recommend misterjustin's classes. I learned a ton!

      It so inspired me, that I signed up for adepticon (well at least got a hotel), for the primary purpose of attending classes with him, and hopefully James Wappel (one of my fav mini artists).

    3. I admit a certain fondness and admiration for James Wappel's work. I would love to see his stuff in person though... for some reason, his pics come out super saturated in colour when viewed online. Not sure if it's his camera, or if his painting really IS that crazy vibrant. The pics of his stuff in Ravage magazine seem a tad less bright by comparison.

      One of these days, I'll have to try and tag along with Craig, Jason, Chris, and the other Vancouverites that are lucky enough to go to Adepticon every year. Sounds like the kind of fun that I would love (and my wife would loathe!).

  3. Obviously, I agree with everything you said since I also have a painting blog. :P

    I've had the opportunity to take classes from misterjustin a few times at Adepticon -- the only thing keeping me from those classes is the time slot! :P (as in, it overlaps with another class I'm SUPER stoked about, or a tournament or whatever).

    Your comment about Matt Wilson is interesting. My mom was an excellent watercolour artist, and one day she tried to paint some orcs for my brother. Was she ever surprised at how difficult it was. That stuck with me -- this is hard stuff we do. :)

    I'm a little softer on the "won't play with unpainted". This Sunday I played with a unit of ripperdactyls that was 90% done, and an old blood that had been primed. I don't mind playing with them, so long as it all keeps moving along. :) (rippers done last night, Old Blood got a basecoat...)

    1. I'm not saying that you have to be a hard core painter in order to play. A number of my Warmachine models are just base coated and ink washed at this moment, but I have plans on finishing them up at a later date. That doesn't mean I don't feel comfortable playing with them in the meantime. Just having SOME paint on the models adds to the excitement and spectacle of gaming immensely. Not to mention, model recognition is much, much easier with a little bit of colour on them.

      A good example is the most recent battle report post on my friend Matthew Beavis' blog:

      Most of the models in this game are half-finished (some even less!), but everything just pops. Even from arm's length distance, you can tell right away what everything is (no peering up close at the shiny metal blob to see if it was a character model or rank-and-file trooper). And still the game looks awesome, and was probably much more fun to play than if they used fully unpainted models.

      As for painting experience in other art forms not necessarily carrying over into miniature art, that's partially true. The techniques are not necessarily the same, and the mediums and tools we use work a little bit differently. However, if not for my tiny little bit of previous experience in canvas and comic book art, I probably wouldn't be as good at freehand banners as I am now. And painters like Mathieu Fontaine from Quebec, and Roman and Raffa of Massive Voodoo wouldn't be as good as they are without their passion and knowledge of the classical 2d artists, and understanding of the colour theory and lighting that came from that.

      So look for art inspiration everywhere because our art form is still evolving, but still realize that what we do and what we've accomplished as a relatively new art form is amazing.

      But yeah, being a great canvas artist doesn't guarantee that you'll be a great miniature artist, any more than being a great miniature artist guarantees that you will be a great canvas artist. At least, not without the same steep learning curve that everyone else has to go through.

  4. Hmmmm...not sure why the email wasn't answered, probably something to do with the recent handover of admin control from Lauby to Lo. She might not have access to the contact email account yet. I'll find out, she is (we are) always hungry for new posts, especially from new authors, and would have been super stoked to have this on El Hoppo.

    The complaint about class decriptions could go even further. The "airbrush your minis" class with misterjustin had six of us who were surprised to find we were supposed to bring our own airbrushes, compressors, and paints...doh. It didnt even mention bringing minis but at least some of us did that. So it turned into a "ask me how to do random shit" class which ended up being AWESOME. That's the mark of any expert: "Oh, well, change of plans so I guess I'll just pull hours of random knowledge out of my ass with no warning to me at all".

    Still working on my morning coffee so i'll write somehing coherent later, although it will probably just be a lengthier form of "couldn't agree more!" Lol

    1. Ps. I got picked up as a Secret Weapon Frontliner after I got back from NOVA. Squeeeeeeeeeee! Lol

    2. Kelly,

      My deepest apologies that you haven't gotten any kind of reply about a post or guest post. BC is totally correct in that I am always looking for new writers, even as a one off. I'll say that it's possible you were marked as spam, but the more likely scenario is that I thought your request wasn't legitimate. I get about 5-10 emails a week from "guest post" seekers who are really nothing more than badly disguised malware distributors and I often delete emails that have "guest post" as the subject header as a matter of course.

      Let me tell you that I would adore having your work featured over at the House. I have an enormous fondness for the Butcher, and dude, your version makes me weep with frustration at how terrible a painter I am. (I am well known for loving a lot of things. That crazy man and his LOVELY Lola are very high on the list.)

      Please email me directly at loquaciousaych -at- gmail -dot-com . I look forward to figuring out a way to work together so I can share your stuff with our awesome readers.

      thanks much and I look forward to hearing from you!

    3. BC, congrats on being picked as a Secret Weapon Frontliner. SW's products are awesome. I've got the pigments, crushed glass snow, water effects, and some of the display stands in my painting cabinet, and they are definately worth every penny (well, nickel now... Canada just did away with our penny). Even as cool as their products are, I think you have a tough job ahead of you. Most gamers are cheap as heck, and it's hard to convince them to buy things that are new and different to them. Especially if there isn't an article in White Dwarf every month showing them step by step how to use it. To that end, my suggestion would be to try and do up a step by step (with plenty of pics) for HoP. That way you could give people a link to the article whenever you didn't have time to show them in person.

      Actually, now that I think about it, Justin McCoy and James Wappel might have already done up some step by step articles like that, so I'm not sure I have any constructive advice for you now...

      Loquacious, no need to apologize. I figured my emails probably got lost somewhere along the way (I probably shouldn't have titled them, "Nigerian Prince Needs Your Help!").

      The Butcher suits my playing style very well in WM. The reason is because he is probably the simplest and most straight forward to use. I simply don't play WM often enough to grasp the trickier and more complex strategies, so I prefer to go for mindless destruction and see what happens. He also happens to be an incredibly fun model to paint. It's a winning combination, even if it's a tad predictable for my opponents.

      I'll see about doing another article for HoP, and email a copy to you. Please feel free to let me know if it's inappropriate for your site, or if it needs editing or changes. I'm used to being graded by University newspaper editors and English Lit professors, so I can handle quite a bit of belittling and abuse. ;)

    4. Mindless destruction for the win, Kelly! I look forward to your contribution.

  5. Thanks for pointing me to this article again! My nurgle army in that picture is still one of my favourites to play with. I hope you get to see my 30k deathguard one of these days. I went out of my comfort zone with the oils, but i think it has worked out great. I thinkit will end up being a never ending project. I have about 3000 points painted now, and have not even painted mortarion yet!

  6. I was just at the Attack-X gaming convention in Kamloops this last weekend (where I judge the Sable Shield painting competition), and this blog post came up in conversation with Tom of the "Hobby Night in Canada" podcast. It occurred to me that I should mention that the tournament WarmaHordes scene has improved by leaps and bounds since I wrote this article.

    Lots and lots of painted armies. And not just "3-colour minimum" standard... some of them were actually very well painted. They still have a little bit of catching up to do before it's like the Warhammer 40K scene, but it's really quite promising to see. I'm quite chuffed to see that I am slowly being proven wrong about these guys. It's no longer the "Magic the Gathering with Minis" crowd that it used to be.

    1. I'd like to add, that I saw a lot more painted warmachine at nova open this year! Which is awesome!!!!

    2. It's been hinted at that the Privateer Press crew have been actively trying to change the painting culture within their gaming scene. If this is true, then I applaud their efforts... and it makes good business sense for them too. Think of how many new players started off as simple spectators, walking by a game and being drawn to the spectacle of two beautifully painted armies battling in and out of gorgeous terrain. When your existing customers are your best means of attracting new customers, that's a big win for all involved.

    3. That is so wonderful to hear. My absolute favorite part of the hobby is seeing how everyone builds, converts, and paints their armies. Each a unique and wonderful flavor! (regardless of gaming system). It's just great to see that spreading around!