Monday, 16 December 2019

Value and desire: hobby purchases

With a fair few parcels arriving most days in the build up to Christmas, I can happily sneakily buy a few hobby purchases that arrive amongst the boxed gifts without much chance of the wife catching me! Aside from a few Contrast Paints I haven't bought anything at all over the past few months, but over the last week I have treated myself to two models from my Most Wanted List and, two pieces of 3D printed scenery and one laser cut one:

There was a fairly heated debate on the Oldhammer Trading Facebook page where someone had (I am led to believe) bought a job lot from another collector for a very reasonable price and then re-listed some of the unwanted models on the same page for a much higher price. He claims that he buys so many models that he could not remember the initial purchase price and lots of other people chimed in saying that he was wrong to increase their sale price.

Now these are vintage, lead Citadel models and the latter group of fellows were upset that he was using a Facebook page to inflate the price of the miniatures (he was called a "scalper" I believe) on a page where the proposed aim is to ensure that collectors get the old school miniatures they want for a reasonable (non-Ebay price). That's the context and I can certainly see both sides of the argument. But for me it is an interesting discussion on inherent value, demand and ownership.

For example. I have desperately wanted to own an iconic, Citadel Thrud model for many, many years. I have missed out on several Ebay auctions, trading pages notices etc, either due to being out-bid or sniped for the former or simply late in seeing the sales post for the latter. An upcoming painting competition which focuses on the sculpts of Bob Naismith made me really, really want to get his Thrud miniature even more, so I broke with my own philosophy and did a BIN on Ebay for £20. I quantify it by thinking what else I would easily spend £20 on? Well, the 5 Contrast paints I bought for a start. And the few pints I had on Friday night, or the quick stop at the Co-Op to buy some provisions for the kids packed lunches. So in context, £20 for something I really want and will spend a good amount of time on in the future, seems about a good price (even though I know I could probably get it cheaper if I persevered).

The second item is a model I've desired for almost as long, simply because of the dynamism of the sculpt; it's an old Citadel Fighter model named Cedric. Again the Naismith competition made me seek out a copy of it with greater fervour and I actually placed a request/advert for it on the afore-mentioned Oldhammer Trading page. Lots of likes and comments later (incidentally about how there is a 40k version with a bolt pistol, how someone once owned one and how someone else create a diorama with this one and the 40k version) and eventually someone came forward and said they had one spare. And here comes the question of value. It was quite clear that there was a demand for it, but the seller asked how much I would pay for it. What is it's value? Clearly I was keen to buy it, so should it be the same value as the Thrud? Well there's less lead so there must be less value! Don't be silly. Is it scarcer than Thrud? (there were a lot of Thruds on Ebay but none of Cedric), perhaps that's just a temporary scarcity, but they are both 30 years old? So I completed an advanced search on Ebay (where else to go?) of previously sold versions of the model and showed the seller the price ranges for which they had sold - which happened to be between £4 and £8. But this seemed too cheap compared to my Thrud purchase. So I completed my correspondence to the seller with the line: "but this is your model, so please price it as you see fit". He graciously offered it to me for £7.50 including postage. Thank you so much!

So I have both models, which in itself is great and actually when you think about it, some achievement. This all happened within a week of the concept of the idea ("I really want to buy Thrud and Cedric to make a diorama") to "can I find them and buy them for a price I can afford"? Now you may think that these prices are higher than your value of the miniatures but I really wanted them. And get them I did, two miniatures that are made of lead (intrinsically low value) and sculpted about 30 years ago. Amazing that they are still amongst us and that easy to get hold of - within a week! What would Bob Naismith think about the fact that his old Citadel sculpts are still of interest and hold a value that is much higher than the cost of their material. His hand as a skillful sculptor (and the association with GW) has clearly added value in this case.

The third, fourth and fifth pieces I've obtained in the Christmas post are two 3D sculpted scenery models, also purchased on Ebay for £8 combined and a laser cut house. They have been on my watch-list for some time, because I couldn't decide whether to scratch-build them or buy them. I love creating my own scenery and know that I could have done a good job and had fun in the process, but the other side of it is that it just takes so much time to build and paint, that I may never get it done behind the growing list of other projects I have. So in this case I decided that my time was more valuable and my desire stronger to own the scenery than make it.

But of course the value of a miniature does not just start at the desire of the buyer and end at the point of purchase. I hope to add some intrinsic value to the pieces of sculpted lead by painting them to the best of my ability and to set them both in a little diorama with some of my model-making skills. Does time+skill= extra value? I don't really care too much, but for me a painted mini on display or being gamed with is so much more valuable than an unpainted one lying bare in a collectors box. In fact going back to the original argument on Facebook, this was my written opinion:

"Surely the owner of the miniature can determine the model's value. It's monetary one, it's aesthetic one (to me being painted > not painted) and it's functional value (to me gaming/display > dormant, unused in a box)."

Jesus, that's slightly embarrassingly written, but then I always think that when I reflect upon what I write (which is quite often why I don't proofread, as sometimes, on relfection, I overthink and would actually prefer to delete the whole piece).
Anyway, I am also sympathetic that the Oldhammer Trading Page was set up to ensure people could be re-united with the models of their youth at an affordable cost, the setting of the price of a miniature has to be determined by the owner of the miniature. If there's no demand for it at the price set, then they can adjust it.

The (now deleted) thread on Facebook piqued my interest and tied in with the two models I have bought this week, hence the monologue of this blog post. Of course all of this philosophising means fuck all if my wife ever works out just how much I've actually spent on my models over the years, (although she is sympathetic to their importance to my down time, she simply cannot understand why I don't sell them off after I've painted them); I'd worry that the value of our relationship might be tested and imagine the ultimate ultimatum: "it's them or me!" Yikes.

So anyway, what's your most wanted miniature?

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Modular Town Tile #4

I've finished my 4th modular town tile, having painted it up pretty quickly from the WIP photos I shared a week or so ago. Lots of drybrushing and washes, so it really was a quick process and I'm really happy with the results, my best one so far! I now plan to do 2 more with canal sections built in so I can have a go at some large scael water features and all the details and scenery that I can add to that (I'm thinking large bridges, sunken boats, open sewers etc).

So here are the photos. Hopefully it's clear that each of the four raised sections can be removed, as can the bridged walkways:

One of my favourite aspects of this tile is the alleyways and raised sections where bridges span them:

This one here is a particularly narrow and dark passage:

Some damage and the temporary wooden bridge:

And here is the board alongside my other three (the light in the attic is directly above the two right hand boards, thus making them look much lighter)

And finally some glamour shots with some of my scenery added to bring them to life a bit more:

And then further details with an adventuring Dwarf warband:

Thanks for looking!

Monday, 2 December 2019

Modular tile #4 (wip)

I've finished the build for my 4th Modular tile, using the same modelling techniques as outlined here. There's quite a bit more interest on this tile though, as I have introduced higher levels, which in turn have created the opportunity to make bridges and dwellings within the raised sections (you can see the doors and windows in the below photos).

However before I started painting, I just wondered whether anyone has any suggestions of extra details that I could add? Perhaps this is enough and the extra interest will be added through my scatter terrain and the like.

Friday, 22 November 2019

Blood Bowl Elf team - tester

On the back of completing a full WFB unit of 21 Rugluds Orcs, I have decided to try and maintain some momentum with batch painting and paint up my old school Elf Blood Bowl team. There is also another reason, I have an Orc team ready to go and my son and I had a quick game of Blood Bowl using those and my primed elf team (forgot to take photos unfortunately). We had a blast, I scored two touchdowns to win 2-0 but only had 5 players left standing at the end and the result is that we want to play some more - but of course it's always better with painted minis (and a scratch-built pitch... stadium) but lets get the team finished first.

So here is my test Elf player:

Initially I wanted to go blue, white and yellow, much like the Bright Crusaders colour scheme below:

Image result for bright crusaders

but realised quite quickly that with the addition of Elf hair colours it would be too much. Therefore the yellow went towards the Elf hair and the white was combined with a range of blue hues for the teams uniform. A bit of red as a spot colour seems to work and I will look to introduce some halves, quarters, patterns and slashes into the paint design. However I would love to hear your opinions before I paint the rest of the team:

The final element is the basing. I've used the cracked earth paint, with some static grass and leaves. Does it look ok or too barren? Should I gloss it to make it look muddier? Thanks in advance!

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Family Gaming in Hauntsville

Kids imaginations never fail to entertain me, so I devised a very simple rule set for them to play with some models and some scenery. Too many rules constraints their imaginations so we played very much in the spirit of an RPG with some Mordheim and WFB mechanisms thrown in. Quite simply, they could do what they liked! The only restrictions were movement; 4" for humans and dwarves, 3" for the undead (apart from the Necromancer). Models could take two actions, but never the same two, the only exception being move and move (sprint) - which the undead could not do. Examples of the two actions might be: move and search, climb and shoot, fight and move, spellcast and communicate etc.

Dwarves and Humans (including Necromancers) hit on 3+ and wounded on 4+ (shooting and fighting). Undead (4+ and 5+). A model in cover got a saving throw depending on the type of cover. Skeletons were also armoured so had a 5+ save including a magic ward.
Each warband had a leader and second in command. One of which had to be a fighter and one a spellcaster. The fighters increased their hit and wound by +1 and had a save of 4+. Spellcasters could cast any spell they imagined, the difficulty (determined by me) affecting the difficulty of the dice roll. For example a simple flight or fireball spell might be a 5+. A destroy building a 10+. 

And that was it and even then I changed some rules as we played to help them engage with the game and do as they wanted with their warbands.

 So my 13 year old daughter, seven year old son and I went treasure hunting in a village named (by them) Hauntsville.

Three warbands were on offer, Undead, Humans and Dwarfs. My son was desperate to play the undead and my daughter wanted to play with the human heroes. I was left (but quite happy) with the Dwarfs. 

The Undead (my sons)

The Human Heroes (my daughters)

The Dwarves (dads)

I set up the village using my scenery and gave them a bit of background information:

The village of Hauntsville had been long abandoned by it's inhabitants. Stories of unparalled riches combined with tales of never-returning adventurers were told by neighbouring villages and spread through to larger communities. It was therefore inevitable that more professional adventurers would band together for safety in numbers and descend upon the ghost town looking for that treasure to fill their bags and pockets.

We set up along different edges, diced off for who would go first each turn and decided how many miniatures we wanted to bring on each turn.

My son went first and advanced all his skeletons forward in a long line. I went second and moved my Dwarf scouts forward towards the town center, taking out a skeleton with a well aimed crossbow shot. My daughter than came on and charged my dwarves with a successful Charge! spell (9+)!

A slightly rueful smile as my other dwarves back away and my leader knocks out one of her humans! (I decided at this stage that death after wounding was too harsh - therefore after a successful hit and wound the model was killed on a 5/6, knocked out on a 3/4 (recovers on subsequent turns on a roll of a 4+. 3+ etc) or lightly wounded on a 1/2 (-1 to movement and +/- to hit/hitting etc)

My dwarven boar then charges into the skeletons, taking one down

Before all the other undead gather and close in, eventually killing the tusked mascot. Some more skeletons fall to crossbow bolts and I decide at this point that I have run out of quarrels as my son is not enjoying removing so many skeletons to shooting. I remind him that he can raise the dead and he does, successfully passing his spell test and bringing 3 zombies back.

From the town center and in retaliation, my dwarves cast fireball and return those 3 zombies to the dead undead.

Meanwhile, my daughter has seen the folly in attacking the dwarves and decides to use one of her actions to communicate between her leader and mine, brokering a peace deal. We agree and concentrate our combined forces on the growing undead menace. My son (slightly surprisingly) relishes this!

A massive melee ensues, the action so frenetic that I can barely focus my camera

My daughters humans then decide to break off from the engagement and start searching for treasure in the houses and in particular in the graveyard. Searches were successful on a roll of a 7+ and D6 x 10 gold were found and kept a track of. My daughter was very successful gaining around a 100gp! My son's undead wanted some of this and broke off their engagement with the dwarves and also started searching! He got about 60gp and some new zombies from the graveyard! 

Her barbarian is still knocked out!

All combats are now off  (apart from a couple of skeletons who clearly want to cause more carnage) and everyone goes off searching. I think the wifes shout of "dinner's nearly ready" sped up the game to a conclusion!

The humans continue their successful search for treasure, with the occasional attack by a creature of the undead.

A mad dash for the only building not to be searched, the human second in command gets their first using her sprint, but is then caught, attacked and slain by a wandering skeleton! The dwarf wizard closes in  and destroys the skeleton with a slay undead spell. He then hoovers up the last of the gold coins before dinner is served. 

We tally up the gold coins (humans easily have the most), although the undead have swollen their warband significantly. For our next game I will write up ways that each warband can spend their coinage to improve their warband (extra members, weapons, equipment etc).

It was a fun couple of hours for sure.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Goblinoid Citadel Combat Cards

On the back of completing my unit of Ruglud's Orcs, I realised that I have painted two more greenskins in my attempt to recreate the cards from the Citadel Goblinoid Combat Card collection.

I'm making them by hand, which means they are far from perfect, but they use photos of my own miniatures and when the deck is complete I plan to play with them with my kids. Hopefully they will still be kids by that time.