Friday, 21 February 2014

Pains and Painting

I am a terrible 40k collector. I have something of hobby ADHD; I build an army list, get the models, assemble and base the models, and then do nothing with said models for months at a time. I'm also a bit of a codex whore, I'm the sad act who owns every major digital rulebook release, save for the dataslates.
Recently, I've taken an interest in the Orks (thanks to the hilarious ravings of the Ork Mekboy from Retribution, mentioned in the previous post), so I dusted off the remnants of my Black Reach box set, long forgotten in the tides of modelling yore, and started gluing stuff together.
This Warboss isn't quite finished, he needs a few more layers to him, some brighter skin, another wash, and a good, thick swampy basing, maybe some mushrooms here or there!
What I find important about this little deviance is not the army, but the painting. My beloved girlfriend said to me "can I paint one?" So I dug out an old, unpainted metal Chaos Chosen and let her go mental. I taught her the basics of brush care and which brushes to use when, the importance of washes and thinning pains, and this is what came out! Meet George, Chaos Chosen:
What humbles me is that I had never expected my other half to take an interest in my hobby. I had never even considered the possibility of painting with her, and I had been ignorant enough not to ask. When George was finished, she smiled, and laughed, and said "oh he is just the coolest guy!" Or something to that effect. The important bit is her enthusiasm reminded me of what it's like to see your army roaring into combat, with every model painted and based to the best of your ability. The old adage that painted models play better than unpainted ones rings true if you really put your heart into it. It doesn't have to be perfect quality, and it doesn't have to be a studio level job, but if you feel like it was your best work, you're obviously going to be proud. You can feel that your unit is going to accomplish a great feat in the course of the game, and you feel their loss more keenly when they're off the board. 
I cringed as a volley of Necron warrior fire shot down one of my anti-tank  Stormtalons, but I whooped and cheered as the remaining two swung forward and peppered the monolith to death. Tactical Squads have drop-prodded in, bearing flamers and heavy bolters, who had to defend an objective against Deathwing terminators. Did they die? Yes, and horribly. They were completely out of their depth, and they didn't have the weapons for the job. But they held the line, the second combat squad counter-charge and survived combat long enough for the Chaplain and his own terminators to do something about them. They even brought two of the bastards down themselves, and the Chaplain's Terminators wouldn't have won the combat if the tactical squad hadn't engaged. With two tactical marines left, they held the objective and hid behind the remains of the drop pod.
Now that is an epic event, a mote of action in a much bigger game. If written up, it'd make an awesome action scene in a novel, and would open up the two survivors to some character development, perhaps promotion to Sergeants of other tactical squads. I put a purity seal on each of them, and I remember that battle very clearly. Whenever these regular Bolter boys hit the field, I feel that the squad they're in is destined for great feats.

When my girlfriend jumped for joy at the birth of George, I felt a little spark of happiness in my heart because I'd ignored the call of the hobby for too long. My head was wrapped in competitive lists and model orders, paint schemes and basing effects, future release rumours and current cheese-mongering strategies. Sometimes, we just need to take a step back and say to ourselves "I'm going to paint my Orks with bright pink lipstick, because I think it's funny!"

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