I seemed to have been caught in the last two waves of Liebster Awards from my fellow hobbyists and bloggers Simon and Chris - incidentally two of the people I most respect and admire in the hobby. So, thank you both for your kind gesture.
Apparently, the principle behind Liebster Awards is to promote blogs and to allow the audiences to know more about their authors. The rules are:
1. First you write 11 random facts about yourself;
2. Then you reply to the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you with the award;
3. Finally you send out 11 questions to 11 other people (whose blog must have less than 200 followers). And so on.
Since I got two of them, I will cheat a bit and combine both sets of questions in the same post - so bear with me and try to stay awake!
11 Random Facts
Yet, because it has such an unusual combination of letters, no one can actually pronounce it correctly here in England - unless they are fluent with Portuguese. For this reason, I have been called a multitude of names (some of them hilarious) since I moved to this country. To watch people try and fail to pronounce it is an occupation for me in its own right.
2. I did a Linguistics degree and have two Yoga Teacher qualifications. However, my day job is to timetable and coordinate academics' schedules at University. Life has its strange ways…
3. I like to do impersonations and regularly say "hasta la vista, baby" or "I'll be back" in my best Arnie voice to my work colleagues when I'm off to my lunch break.
4. I love reptiles - especially crocodiles - and for years owned a couple of snapper alligator turtles. By far, the meanest pets I ever had.
5. Some times I enjoy Jazz, hip hop (anything from J. Dilla or People Under the Stairs) and other times heavy metal (Black Sabbath, Motorhead are two of my favourites).
6. I paint sitting in my sleeping bag. It keeps my legs warm and comfortable.
7. James Bond used to be my all-time action hero. That was until I discovered Indiana Jones. An archaeologist and Nazi-killer. Nothing can beat that.
8. I don't like speedy boarders (unless they have kids and must get to the plane first to sort them out before everyone else gets on board). They seem to think that they hold a special status quo in the flying society. Well, guess what? We're all taking off and landing at the same time. Where's the rush?
9. I once watched the extended versions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy in one go. My head and back were hurting for days after the experience.
10. I was 6 or 7 and had a crush on Sandy Duncan when I saw her in the Muppets Show
11. I like goblins and dwarfs in the same way. Is that wrong?
11 Answers to 11 Questions from Stone Cold Lead
In past few years I've possibly collected thousands of models from all sorts of ranges and themes. They all mean something to me, one way or another. However, from all of this panoply, I would have to elect my townsfolk. I love their different characters and how they give life to the town I've been building. I lost count of how many actual citizens I actually own (probably around 500) but only have gotten 'round to painting a few dozens of them. I'll get there one day. Or not.
2. If you could have your likeness sculpted in miniature what type of model would you choose? Snapping alligator turtles. I would love to see a handful of them in miniature (but sort of giant ones). Or various characters from Fighting Fantasy books artwork. Iain McCaig's shapechanger in the amazing cover of Forest of Doom springs to mind.
Or the cat from Secret of Nimh. He always scared the hell out of me when I was a kid.
Dragon, the vicious cat from Secret of Nimh
3. What video game would you most like to see a range of miniatures based upon?
Without a doubt, Legend of Zelda (Ocarina of Time and Windwaker). Both games mean a lot to me as I spent several (thousands?) of hours playing them and going on unforgettable quests.
I always liked the villagers Link (the adventurer) encounters in his missions, so it would be great to see them in miniature shape.
Or the townsfolk from Fable II.
4. Would you like to see Games Workshop go under and disappear from the industry completely?
Games Workshop is probably being managed by a kid who resembles King Joffrey, from Game of Thrones. And we all like to hate him and his absurd realm. And so we complain about GW in the same fashion. On and on.
But the reality is a bit different: imagine you just got into the hobby. You find out about this local store that sells miniatures for fantasy, sci-fi and Lord of the Rings. They also sell all the painting and modelling materials you need to have your figures painted. Plus scenery pieces. Plus rulebooks and army books. And gaming opportunities with local gamers. How cool is this?!
Sure, the prices are a bit high, but the hobby will provide you with endless hours of fun. Well, GW is exactly this. And the targets are the new customers.
However, if you are an existing or old wargamer, forget about expecting GW to go back to the good old days. Those days are over. And not just for GW. The market has changed and its rules too. If you like the good old days that much, go back to the old rulebooks that you've been collecting over the years. They should be as good and as fun as they once were. The same goes for the miniatures. Surelly you must have a few dozens or hundreds of them to play with. And if you don't have your old models anymore, go on eBay. There are thousands of old models waiting to be purchased.
And if you want that special type of model that you wished GW would produce, then look around you: there are dozens of other high quality miniature manufacturers beyond GW - and - surprise surprise - some of them of superior calibre. And keep an eye on Kickstarters. There is so much out there right now, that it's a crime to waste our time moaning about what GW should or should not be.
I should take my own advice and moan less about them too. :)
5. Do you have a guilty pleasure when it comes to miniatures? A particular model or range that kind of sucks but you love it anyway.
I can't think of any in particular - although I do have a tendency to collect some weird models (mushroom men, frogmen and so on)... This fungoid from Mirliton Miniatures is a good example of how weird my taste for miniatures can get.
6. Slotta bases, love 'em or hate 'em?
Neither. I chop ‘em anyway and then place the models in my ultra low bases. I don't like the idea of having models on platforms. They need to be somewhere, but I don't fancy tall bases. If people do choose to place them on tall bases, then they might as well detail and decorate the hell out of those bases. Turn them into mini dioramas or something.
That said, slotta bases are usually easy to deal with: either use them or cut them. Easy. But bases like the ones from Blue Moon Manufacturing (despite how cool the miniatures actually are), are one of those nightmares to get rid of. What were they thinking when they decided to put them on those horrible bases?!
7. What was the most disappointing miniature or game you've ever purchased?
Ironically, the most disappointing miniatures I bought were actually pretty amazing sculpts. But the scale was completely wrong. Dwarf villagers from Olley's Armies (Dwarf World).
I always wanted to make a dwarf village, among other projects. I already had some Ral Partha dwarf villagers (below), but they weren't enough to populate a whole village.
Ral Partha dwarves. Suitable for 25/28mm scale
So I was delighted when I saw Olley's Dwarf villagers for sale and announced as 28mm. Imagine my shock to realise that they were larger than 28mm humans!
Two of Olley's Dwarf World dwarves next to a Citadel slayer and GW human merchant
I kept them despite not being able to use them for my original plan, as they are very characterful and detailed miniatures. Maybe I can use them for a detailed diorama one day...
8. Have you ever seriously considered selling off all your models and games and just packing the whole hobby in?
Every day. There are so many amazing things to do in life, so much travelling, learning... why bother with miniature collection and painting? It's a messy and expensive burden. Maybe one day I'll sell everything and go travel in Australia for a year or so. But before that let me just paint a few more villagers and some more goblins. ;)
9. Will zombies ever lose their appeal amongst painters and gamers?
I don’t think so. Zombies are everywhere and they’re one of those creatures that have the rare versatility to be suitable for fantasy, modern and sci-fi genres. There are zombies for any type of game too (even Nazi zombies). And they’re great fun to play with. Tim Garton created this amazing fast-paced and simple to learn zombie game called Necropolis, which I was very fortunate to test a while back. The cinematic feel of it sold the game to me.
10. What's the best bargain you've got off Ebay (miniatures/gaming related)?
I’m usually a sucker for eBay auctions, especially for old Citadel models. Occasionally I put on preposterous bids to get a model that I’m very keen to get, only to find it months later on the lead pile. So, I can’t be too proud of the money I’ve saved with bargains when overall these are outweighed by the expensive ones.
That said, occasionally I do find a few bargains. I once got Rackham's Cadwallon rulebook for £0.99 (free postage).
11. Gem or opaque dice?
Whatever makes me win. I do enjoy looking at dice, even if I don’t game as often as I should.
11 Answers to 11 Questions from Cianty
1. What was your first miniature and when did you get it?
I got my first set of miniatures back in 1987 or 1988, from a company called Atlantic. It was a boxed set with 1:72 scale Egyptians and a temple.
It took me days to clean the figures and assemble the temple. My dad was always a fan of ancient Egypt, so this was more his treat than mine. But we did have a great time together cleaning, assembling and painting those models. That was a good Summer.
2. Fantasy or Science Fiction (or something else)?
Fantasy any day. Which is sort of sad, as I love sci-fi genre in movies and series (big Star Wars and Alien fan). But somehow I prefer Fantasy as far as miniatures go. Maybe one day I'll change my mind and start collecting some Orks or Necrons (the latter should be easy and quick to batch-paint).
3. A battle of armies or a skirmish with warbands?
As much as I absolutely admire the sight of a tabletop filled with mighty regiments with hundreds of figures and glorious, vast terrain, I have no patience or stamina to paint more than 10, 15 models for a project. Also, I like the characterisation of individual personalities and their gangs (or maybe this is just my simple excuse for being lazy). So, yes, skirmish for me, please!
4. One-off games or campaigns?
I don't think that they should be mutually exclusive as you can tie in one-off games with overall campaigns. Still, I prefer campaigns as they provide a progressive storyline and character development.
5. As a gamer, do you spend more money on figures or on terrain? Why?
Because of available storage space in the house, I tend to buy more miniatures and less terrain - in fact, I rarely buy terrain these days because I make my own as much as possible. So, I spend most of my hobby money on figures. Vintage Citadel models are the biggest culprits here!
6. What was your greatest annoyance in the context of the hobby? A beautiful figure that got ruined when varnishing it? A fellow gamer that always cheated? Figures that were stolen?
I've never had a great annoyance as such, but tiny, shitty little annoyances like taking ages to glue a tiny hand to an arm of a figure. Or getting rid of a base attached to a model. Or trying to find a tool, or model among the chaos that is my workstation. Some times it takes me days to find a particular model in the middle of all this mess.
7. If you had to give away all of your miniatures, terrain, rules, etc. except for one single game including its ascociated figures, what would that be?
Bit of a sadistic question, don't you think? Well, I probably would keep Mordheim rulebook and all the models I managed to buy before GW did an ethnic cleansing on the infamous game. Its artwork, narrative, fluff and obviously the models themselves still have so much to give. Even officially extinct, Mordheim is still going strong and getting people back into the hobby or into it for the first time. Not bad for something that was written in a mood of madness.
Cover from the rulebook. Artwork by Geoff Taylor
8. What is your favourite non-miniature game (board game, video/computer game, etc.)?
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Any day. When it first came out, me and my middle sister couldn't get enough of it. The opening credits, the infinite possibilities for adventure, roaming Hyrule in a 3D approach... It took us ages to unlock levels and progress further. But it didn't matter. Video games were never this good!
9. What is your favourite film/director/genre?
Probably The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Or Heat. And Unforgiven. Godfellas is also one of those films I can always watch regardless of the amount of times I've seen it. Bring me the Head of Alfredo Garcia is another film that, for many reasons, means a lot to me. And Duck Soup, with the Marx Brothers.
Clint Eastwood is my favourite director, although Scorsese is very close to it. I also admire Richard Linklater's work - especially with the Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight love stor(ies). So, yes, lots of favourites!
10. What is your favourite book/author/genre?
Dhammapada. I also love Fighting Fantasy books for completely different reasons. And any books with Adrian Mole (RIP Sue Townsend).
11. What is the miniatures project of your dream that you may tackle some day?
I would like to make a giant board with a whole medieval fantasy realm in it. Super detailed terrain features, different levels, textures and water features. And a detailed map to go with it. And fluff for every single town, village, citizens, gangs, creatures and monsters, and so on. My own Middle Earth.
The Four Worlds map, from my Forge Quest project. Design made using Campaign Cartographer 3
My 11 Nominations
My 11 Nominations
There are several other blogs I follow and would award but already have more than 200 followers.
So here are my nominations (I wish the list was longer, as there are more blogs I would like to include in here):
1. Last Chance War
2. Stonecutters Guild
3. Tales from the Flaming Faggot
4. Quidam Corvus
5. DeathWorld Adventures
6. Realm of Citadel
7. Clamshells and Sea Horses
8. Parva Mundi
9. WK's Miniature Imperium
11. The Black Hole
My 11 questions to you:
2. Do you only collect one brand or from various manufacturers? Why?
3. What was the best or most pleasurable wargames-related book you've ever read? Why would you recommend it to others?
4. If you could incarnate as one of your miniatures for a day, what character would you be?
5. What was the most you spent on a miniature?
6. What part of the hobby do you prefer? Collecting, painting, modelling, converting or gaming? And why?
7. Have you ever had any serious health&safety issues in the hobby? Cuts, bleeding, sharp bit of metal stuck in the eye, etc.?
8. What foods and drinks are acceptable during a wargame/board game and which ones are forbidden?
9. What is your favourite miniatures manufacturer? Why?
10. If you could elect a favourite scale for wargaming, which one would it be and why?
11. What was the wargame/boardgame that gave you more hours of fun?