Wednesday 15 January 2014

Pet Peeves: Sprue Cutters Union #24

Greetings Wargamers and Hobbyists, and welcome to this week's Sprue Cutters Union post (#spruecutters). This week it almost feels as though I am being baited by our esteemed leader, Jon B over at The Combat Workshop, as one of my New Years Resolutions for 2014 was to make a conscious effort to complain less, despite the fact complaining effectively forms a part of my job role. However, this week's question is...

- What do other modelers do that gets under your skin? -

Now though this may sound like an opportunity to simply point super glue encrusted fingers and have a good gripe, it's not. This question is not intended to stir deep seated hatred and factionalise our hobby along lines of modelling preference, it is simply a chance to have a bit of fun with the little things that make us shake our head disapprovingly and sigh. This is a 'fun' hobby after all.

As is often the case, my response to the topic will come with a helping of my 'Wargamer's perspective', because there are a great many areas where the preferences of wargamers and hobby modellers overlap. Now, deep breaths...

Worse for Wear

The first point I want to talk about is the general condition of models that gamers deploy on a battlefield. Wargamers choose their own models to collect, choose in large part how to pose them, paint them and command them on the tabletop, but I feel we owe a certain courtesy to our opponents to at least try and engage their carefully painted and prepared toy soldiers with equally presentable models of our own.

I can live with unpainted models. Heaven knows some of us are not the fastest painters in the world, and some armies take a goodly long while to complete. I can even sympathise when a model is damaged in transport, and a gamer has neither the time or the tools to effect a suitable field repair before the game. What I have never been able to accept is a collection of models which bear long term battle scars, and little to no effort on the part of their owner to repair the damage. Models that have been missing weapons, arms, even heads, for so long we can't even remember seeing them before they were damaged. Tanks with main guns whose barrels broke off when John Major was still Prime Minister. Even models that have had such makeshift repairs that they are barely recognisable under all the encrusted superglue and even sometimes blu-tac!

I wish some people would just sit down and take the time to make their models presentable. Thank heaven I haven't seen anything like that at the club I currently attend.

Vantage Points

Here is another one. Gamers who 'model for advantage'. I don't mean gamers who decide to use either an older version of a model or a newer model because it's taller and so has a better line of sight than the alternative, or shorter and so can make better use of cover, I mean people who deliberately model their miniatures in such a way as to exploit an advantage they were never intended to have. For example modelling an entire unit laying down, so that they can hide behind a low wall and avoid being targeted by enemy fire, or modelling weapons onto an armoured vehicle on an exceptionally tall turret to allow them to see over intervening terrain that typical tanks of their type never could.

I'm all for conversions that look cool, even if they are unusual, but modelling a miniature in an unlikely way purely to gain an advantage or exploit a rule is a step too far in my book.

Smoke and Mirrors

Though I could quite possibly go on for some considerable time yet, I will address just one more point, that of Proxying...

The practice of using a model to represent something else is not all that uncommon in wargaming, and often gamers may employ proxy models because they want to try a unit out before they decide whether or not  pay out a wedge of cash for the correct models, or don't have enough miniatures equipped with a particular weapon type to represent what they want to use, or even because they simply dislike a particular model and have created or bought an alternative set of models to use as a substitute. 

As long a gamers are clear and open about what they are proxying and ideally tell me why they are doing it, I won't have much of an issue. I have even done it myself on occasion.

What does grate on my nerves is a gamer who regularly proxies models or units, sometimes with wholly unsuitable alternatives, simply because they can't be bothered to model the correct (or at least more suitable) models or are not prepared to pay out for the models that they probably should be using. I'm not trying to penalise players who simply can't afford to buy as many new models as they would like, but in my experience the kind of gamers who regularly and unrestrainedly proxy with ambiguous or unsuitable models do so for 'in game benefit': that unit works best against this enemy, so I'll proxy it. Will I ever pick up the models to represent that unit? Nah, what for? I can just use this Swiss Army unit to stand in for pretty much anything, regardless of how confusing it might be for my opponents or how many times I am asked 'what was that unit again?'.

An example of this might be vehicle weapon selections. Many wargamers are choosing wherever possible to assemble their vehicles in a way that allows their weapons to be interchangeable, using magnets or metal pins perhaps, so that when they play their is no chance that their opponent will misunderstand or forget what the vehicle is mounted with and make a tactical error, because the vehicle will always have the correct weapons mounted on it. 

It may take a little more effort when modelling the vehicle initially, but is satisfying when complete, shows a degree is modelling skill, and also shows courtesy to your opponent who will make game decisions based on what they see trundling/hovering/flying/running across the table towards their models.

So that's me done. Being honest, I don't think there are many other modelling related gripes that cause me any consternation, and even these points I have raised will not cause me to throw my dice across the table and stomp away. We play for fun after all.

If you would like to read more blog posts on this same subject from the points of view of the varied members of the Sprue Cutters Union, check out the Topic Hub over at the Combat Workshop, where other members will post the links to their responses - all worth a read. Typically I would post the links here, but it seems this week I am the first to post!

Also, if you fancy joining the ever expanding Sprue Cutters Union yourself, check out this link. All you need to join is a blog of your own, and a passion for miniature modelling.

As always, thanks for reading...

P.S. From now on, I will end my blog entries with a photo of what I am currently working on, a parting shot if you will, so here are the Warriors of Slaanesh I am close to finishing:

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