Thursday, 14 June 2012

Steal This Book

Specifically this one;

that  Orlygg at Realm of Chaos has scanned for us all. The photo history of the 1988 Golden Demon painting contest. Beautiful.

What's refreshing about this book, viewed through jaundiced 2012 eyes that is, is the way the hobby of modelling Citadel Miniatures was so much one of your imagination where the toys were just raw materials to match your inner vision of a fantasy or science-fiction. You did what you wanted, rather than what some codex or GW-approved image of what Warhammer is told you to do. As I sarcastically said in Orlygg's comments (and I meant it) this was when GW's customers were "allowed" to have an imagination.

How did we end up in this place where people have to ask about whether they will be allowed to play in tournaments with converted models or what the "official" company distinctions for the 3rd company of Space Buttfuckers is or whether neckbeards will refuse to play against them if they paint their Space Marines in camouflage?

Fucking spoonfeeding that's how.

Yes Mommy, more official colour schemes please!

 Chapter fucking Approved indeed.

(On a happier note, as the neckbeard who ripped off Full Thrust only with post-apoc cars rather than spacecraft wrote Axles and Alloys I am as pleased as punch to be reminded of the year when, inspired by the presence of Dark Future in the GW lineup, Golden Demon had a category for converted Matchbox cars. Get in.)

LATER EDIT - In the interests of fairness towards and even-handed treatment of a younger generation I feel I should admit that not five minutes after posting this screed I came across this in Chapter Approved - The Book of the Astronomican from 1988. Oh well.

(To be fair cut the words "in the uniforms shown on the box" from the question, along with "Is it permitted to use a Marine Chapter of my own invention. I ask because" and I can't disagree with the sentiments, Warmahordes players.)


  1. Nice choice. I have a couple of the fantasy miniatures collection books from the 80's and they are wonderful. The tap-dancing eldar dreadnought being a favourite. I don't think I have as robust an opinion as yourself on modern painting and converting, but then, I play in more independent gaming tourneys and you can paint your guys pretty much however the hell you want. Themed, counts-as and converted minis are part of what I love most about the hobby. Having said that, I do miss the days when GW had a more of a sense of humour and whimsy in the design of their games and miniatures.

  2. Over on the October Wargames FB page there is actually a discussion going on about playing people with painted/ unpainted figures. Hormachine has come up.

    It all started because of a thread on TMP.

  3. I think what goes on over in unpainted, unassembled Hormachine land is that the game has a strong meta. So whereas a 40K player will have an army of n-thousand points and will then only tweak it or make space for new releases (unless he's uber WAAC of course), the metagame of Hormachine changes from week to week.

    So the players need a certain model this week to fulfill the requirements of some cheesy combo because it might not needed next week so don't paint it because it might be used once only or be no longer "the thing" by the time the paint has dried. It being akin to MTG but with pieces of metal not pieces of cardboard.

    Personally I came into wargaming via the "recreate history" school of Mr. Featherstone and am currently trying to make my mind up as to which tobacco pipe to buy for future gentlemanly games.

  4. The 'unofficial' roleplay version of Warhammer 40,000 run by Bob Avery attracted a large crowd of spectators


  5. Actually I think the Warhammer/ 40K changes from week to week more than Hormacchine but i certainly get where you are coming from. Privateer Press certainly seem to encourage playing the game rather than selling the figures like GW.

    I wont play with unpainted figures although when I played with my Cygnar force on Tuesday the figures weren't highlighted or shaded. I had only started them on Sunday though.

  6. gonna have to disagree with you here coop, you get a real insane creative genius at the official GW tournaments (not that they have tournaments anymore, it being a word JJ doesn't approve of, but thats another rant).

    take a look here for example at the star wars themed blood angels army:

    I've also seen personally 2 different incredible Napoleonic themed competion armies, one a WFB Ogre peninsular British army, and a french 40k army only using halflings, sheer fucking madness.

    The restrictive nature of the event breeds incredible creativity.

    Unlike the pipe smoking featherstone crowd who go mental when a figures cuff links are the wrong colour.

    1. (The pipe thing is a Waylands Forge in-joke Web refering to gentleman gamers rather than the damaged individuals who haunt the Napoloeonics board on TMP. I can see you with one TBH).

      Well over half the entries in that book that, in 1988, were judged ace enough to be photographed in a GW book wouldn't get a look-in today for not matching the corporate-approved GW corporate vision (Space Marines with converted die-cast cars as some form of Scout/Armoured Car?) or for being painted in a totally different style to that found in WD - i.e. gloss varnish and "amusing" captions.

      The fact that people have to ask (as I have seen online many times) if they are "allowed" to do this and that just shows how much spoon feeding goes on and how people have effectively been reduced to an infantile state (to borrow the psychology lingo of brainwashing and breaking prisoners) of thinking that relying upon the great Nottingham tit for everything is the norm.

      I like that SW army a lot but out of mischief I have to point out that GW's grasping and unenforceable demands on protection of it's IP (the idiocy that tries to prevent people have tattoos with GW stuff) try and forbid the mixing GW IP with other companies. So wonderful as it is and it's the sort of thing I love, GW can't even be fucking consistent about it as it's in breach of their own demands!

    2. If I was still playing 40K, I'd be carting a cardboard Baneblade to my games, and if anyone cried foul, I'd make sure I had with me the copy of White Dwarf with the templates in it.

  7. what did it for me was when GW declared "you can't play a tournament unless you have these mini's".

    In one foul swoop they had shattered my blissful delusion that this fun, imaginative & cool hobby was really (for all intents and purposes) just a deceptive money making machine. I felt like i had been duped.

    And now, at this very moment, when i think about it, this was when my interest in anything that they produced in the future ended.

    From that time on i unconsciously only played 3rd ed WFB and Rogue Trader...and still do to this day.

    I watched from the outside as GW slowly but surely turned it from an inclusive hobby i.e. everyone with an open mind can play, into an exclusive hobby i.e. you can only play if you have "this" and play "this way". Fuck you! i'll play the way i want.

    That's my rant over...time for my Valium.

  8. @ the one - you didn't play in tournaments anyway. You were too busy LARPing.

    For me it was working for the company that killed my interest in the games for a good 10 years. Which is a shame because it looked like I missed out on a good game in Mordheim.

    To add to the painting conversation I once painted my plastic imperial guard (rogue trader era) blue so that they would be rogue troopers. It looked pretty bad but I was a kid with few painting clues back then.

  9. Yes! Fucking excellent!

    Book stolen. I find the miniatures from this era to be absolutely invaluable as references & inspiration.

    Thank you Mr. Coopdevil.

    1. Don't thank me, thank Orlygg! Also, despite reference to Abbie Hofmann in the title you didn't, under the laws of England and Wales, actually _steal_ anything since nothing was lost by the owner.

      Copyright infringement != Theft.

    2. I've since thanked Orlygg at his blog, but I wouldn't have found it (or this lovely .pdf) without your post.

      I'm actually somewhat familiar with the whole filesharing debate, and meant that only flippantly - I'm not in the [very daft] "it's theft" camp by a long shot, and I suspect our views on the subject are quite similar.

      That said, I was hoping to find the physical book on Ebay, but there don't seem to be any for sale at the moment. Is it likely to be super-rare?

  10. Fine post, Coop. I well remember back to the 1980s. Everything Warhammer and 40K did seem very fresh, "have a go", unrestrained and new. There was a real spirit of making things up as you went along. 40K was such a newly designed system, you really could just make up whatever you liked on GM game store tables. A fine time indeed.

    Like you Coop, I think that GW has tried to "channel" that sort of energy a little. I think there's an element of that channeling which does revolve around locking players into the GW universe (which is a "bad" thing), but I also think that the GW systems are simply more developed and GW are aiming for more "organised chaos" than just absolute chaos!

    That being said, it really is still very much our collective hobby....yours, mine, everyone's. So many GW players are still hugely creative, honest and enthusiatic - and they're always going to make their own rules, play their own style of games and paint whatever they want. I honestly don't see GW ever stopping, or wanting to stop that - and like Webby above, I do see GW genuinely trying to embrace that in all sorts of ways.

    The more I look around the hobby today, the more I tend to think that this IS the golden age of gaming, including GW gaming. Just my views Coop :) (keep up with the terrific blog, mate)