Chairman of the Hoard


There’s so much stuff in my life no room for me to grow
One day I’m going to break from my life due south down to Mexico
I’m going to burn down my house it’s the only way to let it go
~ James, Waterfall

Okay, so that’s a slightly extreme response, but seriously people, I think I need help. And soon.

Continuing a break from maudlin introspection, I’m asking for help; not because I’m a madster (as my dear friend E-J put it); but because I’m crazy in another way. I don’t expect you to be kind, in fact I think I need the brutal truth and your directness.

You see, I have a dirty and not-so-secret secret.

For the last 7 years I have been painting Games Workshop models. Yes, to anyone whose been round my house (or even erm… looked at this blog) it’s not a well-kept secret I grant you.

In those seven years, my skills with a paintbrush have increased greatly, and I’m genuinely proud (if slightly embarrassed) of the models I’ve produced. I’ve even given some as bespoke gifts to friends. Spread the shame I say! 🙂

However, I’ve come to realise that in those years I have become much more proficient in another aspect of this ‘hobby’ as the following photo will demonstrate:

stash

This is my secret. This is my shame.

This photo of boxes and sprues and containers of unassembled/part-finished models; covering an entire double bed; isn’t even the full extent of my stockpiling shame. I have more boxes scattered around the house. Oh, and the models I’m currently ‘working-on’.

I dread to think how much money I have spent on these little plastic and metal soldiers over the years. I’d hazard a guess at £800. I suspect the true figure tops a grand.

Ouch.

So it is with a heavy heart that I am forced to admit I am far more skilled at buying, keeping and hoarding miniature models than I am at assembling and painting them. I have more than enough models now to last me the next decade (especially at the speed I paint).

And yet… and yet…

There’s still more models I would like to own. More fascinating little (and not so little) sculpts and characters I wish to add to my collection. And I know that I will buy yet more models this year. This month. This week even.

What does that say about me, and hoarders like me?

That I’m shallow and materialistic?

I hope not, although I know I can be. There’s always the new clothes or shoes I want. I’ve wanted a MacBook Pro for ooh, 4 years now and counting. But that’s aspirational, rather than being materialistic and demanding right?

I think the fact that I’m willing to pour so much of my time and energy into creative hobbies and crafts shows I’m not the vapid airhead I sometimes appear to be (although there are certain occasions – that Kate and Alan will attest to – where I am waaay to ditzy to be allowed out on my own!)

That I have a magpie mind?

Oh, yes. Of that I am certain. I know that my mind is never at rest, always looking for the next thing to absorb my attention, fill me with wonder and present a delightful distraction. I know that there will always be…

…ooh, new shoes… …pretty…

That I’m indecisive?

I think it could be argued that the collector or avid hobbyist is indecisive and unable to settle on a task until completion. That being said however, serious collecting of craft/hobby materials requires a great deal of discipline and an organised mind:

  • Keeping track of the items in your stash and being able to locate bit ‘x’ or part ‘y’;
  • The acquisition of beautiful storage boxes (us hoarders love this bit!). After all we need the boxes to enable us to pursue our hobby ‘properly’ – right?
  • The little white lies we tell (and have to keep track of).
    That new box or packet we come home with and shove to the back of the cupboard.
    “What? No, I’ve had that ages, look where you found it, I must have had it for a year or two.”
    “Oh no, not too much, I think it was about £8 *cough* and they had an offer on or something, and quick! what’s that behind you…”

That I have vision?

Whatever you’re doing, whether it’s painting little models, woodturning, or knitting – I think one thing that all people who enjoy craft-based hobbies have in common is quite simple:

  • We can see the promise of wonder in the materials we acquire.

Every box of sprues, every ball of yarn, every block of wood contains the potential to ‘be’ something beautiful. And not just one thing. In it’s raw unfinished form – there are myriad opportunities for us to give it love, to have some fun and to create something unique. Something that is more than the materials it’s made from.

Collecting the raw materials of a craft or hobby is as much a part of the hobby as the hobby itself. You cannot have one without the other.

Please remember that, when you come to judge us hoarders with our piles of accumulated ‘rubbish’. Contained within each box of ‘stuff’ is hope and opportunity. Our little dreams to make something delightful out of something small are held tight within each lovingly organised container.

Squeal! Lovely sorted boxes!

And so dear reader, I ask for your help.

  • Don’t help me throw away or sell off my piles of plastic men.
  • Don’t hide my credit card and prevent me visiting little plastic model shops.

No, instead, help me to keep painting and offering encouragement.

That is all I need. That is all us crafty creative people need.

We all like to hear it, just a few little words:

“That’s kinda cool”

“I really like that”

“You made it yourself? Wow.”

Who knows? Maybe if you’re good boys and girls, I’ll repay the encouraging words by ‘gifting’ you with a finely painted Ork! 😉

For now though, I leave you with a few pictures of models I have finished. The few that balance the many, so to speak:

Orks! I am such a geek...

Advertisements

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Captain caveman on February 6th 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Ooh! Ooh! Can I have an ork?!

    I just have one question: do you wear a disguise when you walk into Games workshop shops? … You know, to avoid people thinking that you are a mouth breathing sexual predator who lives with his mum? Or do you hold your head up high and stroll in confidently (with a swish of cashmere and freshly presssed linen) before making loud remarks about your WIFE and laying down a crisp 20 to purchase the latest version of Sccchpaaaaaaschhe HUULK!

    Reply

    • That’s a very interesting question Cavey, and touches a nerve. I’ve often joked that I’d be less embarrassed being caught leaving a sex-shop with a dildo and a gimp mask in a paper bag than be caught leaving a Games Workshop store! In fact, both Colin and Kate will tell you of the times I bottle it and chicken out of getting the paints I need.

      That being said, I am trying to come to terms with my inner geek. In some ways it’s been harder than coming to terms with other parts of myself, 😉

      Pride and a head held high from now on it is!

      Reply

    • And yes, you can have an Ork!

      🙂

      Reply

  2. Look around, this is a period in life when geek is cool. Everyone loves a geek. Have you watched The OC or The Big Bang Theory?

    You work in IT for God sake, half the people in your office spend evenings playing Call of Duty with each other instead of talking to their wife. That’s sad!.

    I’ve spent all day setting up a new laptop and transferring files. I’ve genuinely enjoyed it. Not a lie. Not ashamed.

    I loved going to Games Workshop as a kid, what spoiled it for me was my inability to paint the models. I was useless and I’m really jealous of your talent. Why be ashamed.

    Celebrate all your talents and interests. They’re well worth it.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: