I went to the Derby 'Old Glory' wargames show with the shop this weekend (working on my fucking birthday, no less). I thought I'd share a couple of thoughts with the hoi polloi (you) to get a proper update on my blog. And as I'm rusty and out of practice I'm switching targets from Mantic back to Games Workshop. I need an easy target to get back into the swing of things. I have a lot of bile to get rid of, but recent events in my real life have messed with my head (the world is topsy-turvy, I tell you). So, like a rabid stoat in a maternity ward it's easy meat for now.
Old Glory is an independent wargames show in Derby. It is sponsored by the Old Glory miniature company, and is a largely historical show. However, Hasslefree and Heresy were there so it was all right. As it was my birthday weekend I did get away with goofing off, so I spent a bit (a lot) of time smoking and going to the aforementioned stands.
Now, everyone should know I love both companies. They are true exemplars of the indie miniatures scene. Kev and Andy are wonderful to talk to, both very witty and quite free with their time, so you can talk to them at length and they are both really good at masking their irritation and boredom. And Andy is making what ranks as the best dragon miniature (and I use that term ironically, it's fucking huge and will beat up your Forge World dragon and steal it's dinner money). So go ahead and wibble on about stuff that makes no sense, pop a chubby over the Heresy dragon, they love it. I spent my birthday money (working on my fucking birthday, no less) and scored some awesome booty.
From Heresy I got 2 of the Hurn Headtaker limited edition miniatures. Based upon the predator, it's fucking amazing. Like all Heresy models it's really well cast. You get options for wrist blades, spears and hands as well as the obligatory over-the-shoulder plasma cannon. With less than 50 of the limited run left, I'd really recommend picking one up. Value-wise, at £8 it's easily the equal in raw material of the £12 Logan Grimnar Space Wolf from GW, and unarguably cooler. More about GW later.
I also picked up a fantastic bargain from Heresy too. The uber-cool trenchcoat warrior gang Andy did was available in a big ass blister for £37.50. With ten models in the pack it works out to a saving of about £4. That's not much, I hear you cry like the unbelievable tossers you are. Fuck you, I reply. It has a fat guy with a Stinger missile launcher, a nutcase in a leather dress with a flame thrower and a hard nut with a minigun. One of them is cartwheeling with a shotgun. That is all. You go buy them now, I'll carry on when you get back. Really, I'll still be here.
You better have fucking bought them.
I'm going to carry on with the literary gem that is this blog now.
All are exceptionally well cast and wonderfully characterful, really good for use as Delaques in Necromunda (aside from the fact all the GW gangs look puny and insipid next to them) but more on GW later.
Switching over to Hasslefree, I finally got my limited edition resin Axenarf. This model (inspired by the GW original Skrag the Slaughterer, not the wanky one with a cauldron tied to it used nowadays, but more on GW later) is a multi-part armoured Ogre with optional heads and a big certificate of awesomeness (I got number 66) made to celebrate Hasslefree's 6th birthday (I had to work my birthday over the weekend, did I tell you?). I also got a pre-release Goatboy master as a birthday present, and bought what is probably the best example of the female form committed to an artistic medium since Rodin's Danaid, Artemis.
This model is naked (the only other female model I have owned with even a hint of boob was Werner Klocke's Chaos Sorceress) but not in a titillating way. It echoes the statuary of ancient times, and all she is wearing is a helm (looks Spartan to me, Hoplite at a pinch) and sandals. She is holding a shield with a big blank space for freehand as shown in Ali McVey's version and what looks to be a gladius (maybe a Gladius Hispaniensis, but I'm no expert) and is in the 40mm scale.
These miniatures can only be made on the indie circuit where creativity has free reign. The very idea of pitching either Artemis or Hurn to a committee at GW is ludicrous. Now, don't get me wrong, GW do produce some great minis. Aside from the sheer ludicrousness of the High Elf helmet there are some wonderful models in that range.
The new Dark Eldar models are also nice, if looking a little fantasy chaos warrior-ish. With the demand for movement in models there are some bizarre running poses and the skiffs look more and more like Jabba's sail barge in miniature (Sarlacc pit anyone) but it is still strictly within the canon as defined by GW's financial masters. And, I suppose, the design studio.
But therein lies the problem. With no room for innovation outside of Forge World (and most of their stuff is derivative and uninspired) I have been drawn to the following conclusion:
Games Workshop is the death of creativity.
Like some fat, malicious, syphillitic, geriatric sadist teabagging the miniatures industry with it's rotting scrotum whilst simultaneously defecating shit, tumours and rotting Space Marines onto it's forehead, all the time wishing it was Simon Cowell, hence able to force greater consumption of it's product by the bovine, cud-chewing masses (you) and completely dictate the zeitgeist of the tabletop industry.
It already dictates the structure of the average gaming company simply due to the number of disillusioned, fucked-over ex employees who, like the psychologically scarred survivor of a torture porn film just end up repeating the cycle again.
In this way GW has tendrils throughout the industry. Retail employees used to have the 'ten commandments' - common sense guidelines like bathe frequently and don't wank on the shop floor during opening hours (where else did you think they got such shitty superglue from?). You know, the kind of thing people can work out for themselves by being able to act in a social situation. Now there are the doctrines (and you thought my Space Marine metaphors were tortured) which govern how a store will look (taking a leaf out of McDonalds food, the same as all other stores), how to make scenery (only out of GW product unless you work at Warhammer World) and how many Baneblade tanks to sell to the guy who has a High Elf army.
Seriously, WHAT THE FUCK? Who do you fucking think you are? Even painting methodology is dictated, with the emphasis on the flat coat/wash/drybrush/done method. Hello Golden Daemon. No really. With one competitor being told he painted in too French a style to make it through the first cut and another being told by an 'Eavy Metal member he should have entered the competition with a miniature that failed to make first cut one has to wonder what the bean counters are doing trying to gouge a bigger profit from a consumer base renowned for smashing their toys when they fail to validate their reason for being by losing a game and alternating between a cataleptic sate when confronted with a real woman and masturbating furiously to porn/bragging about the sexual gymnastics they would perform with that girl over there and entering a cataleptic state when that girl over there walks near them. Possibly yelping in terror if any female anatomy brushes them then fainting.
I am honestly surprised there hasn't been an incident in the store where one of these social underclass (you) cuts up rough after smearing himself in excrement, or possibly Scorched Brown paint and maybe drybrushes a random staff member with his penis.
And those poor bastards in retail. Conditioned to eat at the trough of blandness through spiritual abuse so they are Pavlovian in their responses. Horrendous sales targets (GW Christmas special training: 'If you really loved your son you'd spend more than the £150 you already have' - I shit you not), bizarre orders, demand for new starters with deep pockets and bitchy corporate culture it's no wonder they try to sell you shit you don't want or need.
In a hobby that thrives on individuality GW (and Mantic) have proven that it's natural state is really a Mediocrity, echoing popular culture.
We're all to blame, but you can make a difference. Spend the money that would have gone on a Baneblade on Heresy or Hasslefree. If you need to spend your cash on a range that supports a game, go to Wargames Inc and buy or order some Flames of War or WarmaHordes. Support the indies, or all you will be left with is GW and some expensive models on Ebay you'll wish you had bought earlier.
Angry at weird life turns ...