A Miniature Odyssey

Miniature Gaming Reviews, Tutorials & Musings

Servo Skull Musings: When Obsession is Defeated by Reality — December 12, 2017

Servo Skull Musings: When Obsession is Defeated by Reality

As we stand less than a month away from a new year, I find myself reviewing my objective of completing the Infantry component of my Chaos-worshipping traitors.

I still have about seventy models remaining with about twenty nearing completion. This of course excludes Champions, Standard Bearers, Discipline Masters, Officers, Ogryns and Tanks.

That is not to say that there has not been progress on other previously sidelined projects. To avoid themed army burnout, I have switched gears periodically to work on terrain boards, returning to the Forge World Fortress Walls that have seen little progress until recently.

With that said, after spending a year working on a massive army, while balancing life, family and everything in between, I have been forced to revaluate the scope of my project.

Currently in bags and boxes, armies of Horus Heresy Word Bearers, Solar Auxilia, Death Korps of Krieg, Elysian Drop Troopers, Eldar War Host, Cult Mechanicus Skitarii and an Astra Militarum Armoured Battlegroup desperately seek attention. This is in addition to years of one-off kits and releases from Dreadfleet to Shadow War Armageddon that accumulate dust.

While these collections wait patiently for some twisted obsessive-compulsive collection to become complete, the reality and awareness of the scope of work ahead of me has finally become blatant. I surmise that even if I dedicated forty hours a week to this hobby, there would still be five to ten years of work before me.

This is certainly not an “I Quit” blog. Quite the contrary; it is in fact a recommitment by way of narrowing my focus.

I have decided in fact to redirect my focus on a much smaller (yet still Apocalypse-scaled collection). It will be based around a force of Solar Auxilia allied with an Imperialis Militia, thusly giving my Death Korps of Krieg a future aspiration to be built and painted. This will oppose a company of Word Bearers supported by a Warp Cult.

That means, quite simply, that I am converting to the Horus Heresy. That also means that I aspire to become more then a collector, but look to playing games in the Age of Darkness. I will likely keep a collection of other characterful models in hopes of one day using them for Rogue Trader or Dark Heresy or Inquisitor 28mm.

So, that leaves the Great Purge! Already I have begun parting ways with many armies having sold a Chaos Space Marine Army, and an Age of Sigmar Army. A Khorne-based Age of Sigmar Army is also on ebay with many more to follow.

It is a challenging thing to part ways with such collections and I know my variety of Forge World wares will be the most difficult to let go of. A decade of collecting Forge World 40K will be beginning to head to eBay over the next two months and I clear house to keep my sanity and redirect my focus.

As such the future will hold the completion of now-Warp Cults Army, then the Word Bearers, Krieg-based Militia and the Solar Auxilia. This will be done with regular deviations to the gaming display table that continues to take shape in the basement.

This is a time of mixed feelings. I have been quite attached to this ever-growing collection, yet I must admit that they are simply collecting dust. I think a reduction will help continue the progress towards completing an entire army.

I am not one to shamelessly self promote, but as I know what few readers I have are of like-mind when it comes to our hobby, I will keep people posted when some of the more unique and massive Forge World-related items begin to make their way to Ebay.

More to come…


Mr. Kalidor

Servo Skull Musings: Work, Life, Hobby Balance — July 4, 2016

Servo Skull Musings: Work, Life, Hobby Balance

Working adults need work/life balance; a phrase often thrown around, yet rarely realistic.

This has been a subject on my mind lately as my hobby collection receives less attention then usual due to work and life. The thought pattern evolved to highlight the irony of the hobby. When I was young, and discovered this hobby of ours, there was time but no money. As the years move forward into young adulthood, adulthood and now that thirty-plus era, money can fluctuate, but is more readily available then that younger version possessed. That younger self seemingly had all of the time in the world. Now, the other side of that is the total lack of time to enjoy the purchases or creative investments due to the inevitability of increasing adult responsibilities.

While I am the first to admit work/life balance exists for me, it is however unwholesomely skewed towards the work aspect. I am forced to wonder in which crack of the edifice of the work/life balance concept one’s hobby falls into? I understand that the situation is common and I am not unique in these requirements.

I have a young son. I have a demanding job. I have a house to care for. As aforementioned, nothing unique, and certainly not atypical. So how do others conduct their unusual miniature-based hobbies? How do others partake without sacrificing work, family or home? All represent non-negotiables in my life. The collection is present and growing, the ‘special space’ to work on and store them exists, yet progress is slow. Time is limited. Energy is not present.

My ideas, ambitious plans and projects remain intact. There is the acceptance that for the moment I have slowed down, but I am certainly not out. If fact writing this and as such formalizing my own commitment to myself not to give up, I know this hobby for me is far, far from over.

So what do you do? How do you maintain that special time for your miniature projects without sacrificing family, home or employment?

Servo Skull Musings: The Gateway Hobby — February 9, 2016

Servo Skull Musings: The Gateway Hobby

I have dabbled in the world of miniatures, on and off for some twenty years. Granted there have been gaps within that period that may have consisted of years themselves, miniature collecting and the surrounding fluff was always present to some extent. The time where I paused and returned, the return brought with it a pleasant nostalgia. For, there was no other but Games Workshop and specifically their 40K brand. Simply put, if there was no 40K, there was nothing else. No alternatives, and not even a glimmer of curiosity of what else may be out their as alternative options.

The past decade has seen my interest in 40K grow by leaps and bounds. My level of obsessive collecting, painting, and planning has expanded by such means of my creation of my dedicated modelling and painting studio, my expanding to Age of Sigmar, and even by way of this blog.

With that stated in the past few months my eyes have wandered to other options. This surprised me and forced a deep reflection on what that meant, and where it was going to head.

The internet is full of those deriding the direction, cost and even quality of the wares of GW. I do not share those concerns. I recognize them as mild annoyances, sometimes even necessary evils, but I counterbalance that with my enjoyment, in addition to the depth and beauty of their dark worlds.

Enter my favorite of the GW business units, Forge World. For anyone living under a hobby rock, it can be said that if Games Workshop and their brands Warhammer 40K and Age of Sigmar are Chevrolets, Forge World is their Cadillac. The quality of their models, books and supplemental material surpasses anything on the market. Which is why I order their product in spite of the pain it represents to order something from the UK for delivery in my home country.

The problem being… it never arrived. For three years Forge World has been contacted almost daily and four three years, the same response; “research is pending”. As this continues to slowly work its way up the corporate ladder to that level that represents someone capable of making a decision, my love for my little resin and plastic toys reaches an existential crisis. I wanted models. I waited, and waited, and waited. I still want models. I waited and waited and waited. Now, I simply want a refund. I expect I will be waiting and waiting and waiting. I will not give up, but my Cadillac is quickly proving to be a lemon.

That represents the first push towards expanding my horizons onto other alternatives. At first it was minor deviations from the Games Workshop realms, yet still involving Games Workshops. I discovered the beauty and wonder of the GW licensed products being developed by Fantasy Flight Games; Warhammer 40K board games and role playing games.

While I may never get the chance to play a RPG, the books were remarkable; the depth, the art, the details that pass by the militaristic and dogmatic Imperium proper towards the everyday life of Imperials and as yet unheard of worlds. I have mountains of Rogue Trader and Dark Heresy Second Edition books and that seems to be that first addicting hit.

Soon I found myself scouring Ebay for Battlefleet Gothic ships. I was still very much a GW collector, simply having expanded to other companies producing licenced products and tracking down old out-of-print models.

Then two things occurred that simply took me into new directions that have no connection to my history with GW. The first was the discovery of a Kickstarter I found information about on Faeit 212/Natfka. That was Dropfleet Commander. While I was aware of Dropzone Commander, it held little interest to me. This space/orbital based miniature game however was different, and I found myself excited for the game, and my first exposure to Kickstarter.

Next we have the Fantasy Flight Christmas sale. This saw me pick up numerous great deals including additional Rogue Trader books, but more importantly new games. The Merchant of Venus and the Battle of Westeros Miniature games were added. For the Battle of Westeros in fact, the core game and every single expansion was purchased for the same price one would have paid for just the core set prior to the sale.

Thus, the Warhammer world had officially been invaded by Dropfleet Commander and now the Game-of-Throne game that was Battle of Westeros.

It did not end there. Knowing first hand about the depth and quality everything I had purchased fro Fantasy Flight, I made the final leap.

That leap was towards their X-Wing game. A game with pre-painted miniatures that seems to be increasing in popularity fairly steadily since its release several years ago.

So what happens next? Does Forge World magically regain my trust and faith that they can serve this particular customer? Or will other options continue to pique my interest with GW scaling back in my hobby-life.

Time shall tell, the immediate fallout will however become apparent as my GW related posts are joined by non-GW related posts.

How about you? Are you purists? Do you dabble in alternatives? As always feedback, questions, concerns and conundrums are always welcome.


Mr. Kalidor