Friday, October 26, 2018

Guest Article : Matt Hayward's War Against the Grey

Hello, Realmgaters!  I will be filling in today for Chuck during his infiltration and inevitable assault on the Mortal Realm of Britain.  My name is Matt, one of Chuck's closest friends and confidants.  Chuck mentions me somewhat frequently so I might sound familiar to the engaged reader.  I've been playing Warhammer for a little over a decade.  I got started in 40k, tried to play Fantasy, dabbled in Middle Earth, and I picked up AoS from Day 1 (which is now my game of choice, in no small part because of Chuck).

This brings me to the main subject of today's article; the War Against the Grey.  I started this hobby by buying a box of Devastator Marines with the intent of painting them up and putting them around my computer desk.  However, as fate would have it, a friend of a friend heard that I was painting some Space Marines, and he uttered the ominous phrase "You know... if you just painted a couple more units, we'd be able to play..."  So, 6 months later, I have a 1000 point Ultramarines army.  A hideous, no wash, no dry brush, no edge highlighting Ultramarine army, but painted, nonetheless.  The problem was, the army I built was completely useless; Assault Marines, Dreadnoughts, Devastators with all different weapons.

I had acquired the itch to play, but not even the foundation of an army.  I stripped down my Ultramarines and started again with Imperial Fists.  The problem was, that I was about halfway through painting what I had already bought and was usable.  On one of my trips down to my LFGS, I realized that almost every table was Marines Vs. Marines.  At this point, I should probably tell you that I am one of those players that like to feel somewhat unique.  So, when I realized that I was just one of the pack, I knew I had to stop, recalculate, and start anew.  I was reading the novels, and I came to love the Grey Knights, however, that time was the end of 5th Edition where they were overpowered, and I wasn't going to be That Guy.  So, I settled on my second choice, Space Wolves.

I had saved up, done my research, and came up with a fairly competitive list, for a beginner.  I bought and built the entire army, and made it to the priming stage and faltered after that.  I didn't play often, and my local community wasn't very embracing.  So, in combination with not playing frequently, and my other hobbies (video games, comics, anime, etc.), I never felt like sacrificing time from those hobbies to get my Wolves painted.  Weeks turned into months, months into years.  When 7th Edition came out, Grey Knights were no longer considered overpowered, so I decided to start anew, again.  However, I fell into the same trap.  Bought, built, primed, stopped.  This trend continued with Dark Angels, Ad Mech, Deathwatch, and even as current as Custodes.

When it came to AoS, I picked up the starter set, like everyone else.  Now, just because I was playing a new game, didn't mean that I was about to change.  I continued my Buy-Build-Prime trend with Stormcast, Seraphon, Dispossessed, and Fyreslayers.  However, there was something different this time.  I had Chuck and a fledgling community that heavily relied on anyone willing to play.  As I entered local tournaments and events, I slowly realized that I was That Guy, but not the one playing overpowered army lists, but the one that always had an excuse why my army wasn't painted.

I'm not a person that enjoys painting, so I didn't want to put the time into painting an army that wasn't the perfect army for me.  But somewhere along the way, I realized that there is no perfect army.  I will always want another army or try something new, and unless always wanted to be That Guy, I needed to change.

I started by picking an army.  I love Duardin.  Always have, always will.  Fyreslayers are fun, but lack of unit variety kind of pushed me away.  So, when the Kharadron Overlord were announced, I made my decision; I was going to be a Kharadron Overlords player!  So, needless to say, I was disappointed when they came out.  Very low unit variety, awkward and clunky rules, only one list was viable, and they weren't fun to play against.  But still, I was tired of making excuses, I was tired of the semi-serious ribbing from my friends, and I was tired of being the only one without a painted army.  I began painting them late last winter / early spring.  My reluctance and lack of excitement was really putting a damper on my progress, but I was moving forward.  Around this time Chuck was in consideration for running the AoS events at the Nova Open, and he wanted me to be the Ringer.  I thought that was the perfect deadline for me to finish my KO.  I could wrap them up mid-summer, and then learn the ins and outs until Nova.  But then, the newest General's Handbook came out.  If you aren't privy of the KO changes, let's just say... they weren't great.  So, now, at this point, my army wasn't fun to play against, wasn't fun to play, and the battletome was largely inaccurate.  It felt like I was just making excuses again, but I knew I couldn't bring this to Nova as the ringer army.  Those games are supposed to be fun!  Not annoying and bothersome!

However, I was committed to having a fully painted army by Nova.  So, I was scrambling for an army.  Nothing was speaking to me until I went to a doubles tournament held by our friends over at Rend 4.  I saw a couple of Ironjawz players having the time of their lives!  It didn't matter if they were winning or losing, as long as they were charging into battle, enjoyment was had.  It was an army that I had always liked, but never seriously considered.  All of my boxes were being checked, though.  Fun to play?  Check.  Fun to play against?  Check.  And I was able to make a less competitive list easily.

So, I found myself with a bought, built, and primed Ironjawz army with 8 weeks to paint.  I painted like never before.  I was painting 5 to 6 hours a night during the week, and between 16 to 20 hours on the weekend.  Around the halfway point, I felt like I was going to go insane.  Despite all the hair pulling and mental fatigue, I was able to finish my army around 3am on the Thursday of Nova.

Nova was my first time in the hobby of actually fielding a fully painted 200 point army, and it felt a lot better than I thought it would.  During Nova, I found an understanding of the usefulness of a display board.  After many matches, I realized the amount of time it takes to fully load and unload an army, and that constantly putting models in and out of the case can rub off paint and chip bases.  So, when I got home, I started on my Ironjawz display board for Armies on Parade, and another Rend 4 tournament in December.

The display board was an interesting adventure.  I had a basic premise in my mind, with some theoretical knowledge.  Chuck, once again, came to the rescue and helped me buy the materials, and helped with getting the board shaped and assembled.  At that point, I just needed to wait for Western PA weather to give me the opportunity to finish.  I managed to complete the board with time to spare.  I think overall, it took maybe 3 hours and less than $50.

But now that it's all said and done, I'm really glad to be where I am.  It's good to know that if an event pops up, I'm already ready already!  If I decide to start a new army, and don't make a deadline, I have my Ironjawz to fall back on!  now with that being said, I have advice for people without painted armies, and people trying to get other people to paint their armies.

To you, my unpainted brethren, there is a certain feeling of accomplishment that cannot be described.  Honestly, I mainly finished painting an army to shut people up and to not stick out.  But when I finished my Ironjawz, I was so proud of myself; and not because of how great they turned out, but because I set myself a goal, and lived up to it.  Also, once you have a completed army, it makes you realize that a fully painted army is possible.  It makes that vision see-able, and in my opinion, if you can see it, it makes it more doable.  And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying paint ever model you have, I'm just advocating that you get 1 army done.  Just 1.  It will give you a new perspective, and give you a sense of confidence.  Furthermore, some people take it as a sign of respect.  Knowing that they put so much time and effort into this hobby, they appreciate seeing their opponent cares as much and has been through the same trials and tribulations.  If you're having a hard time for motivation, I would recommend changing it up.  Try coming up with a schedule, or sign up for an event to give you a deadline.  Additionally, you could also start a painting league in your community or join a Facebook group like 1HourANight.  Even if you only paint 1 model a week... that's one less model that needs to be painted.

And to you, my stalwart painting warriors, your influence is greater than you know.  Even if there's no outward sign of change, it doesn't mean that they aren't listening.  So, be careful of what you say, as well.  If you're constantly railing your buddy for not having painted models, you could be dissuading him from picking up a brush.  If you want to encourage him or her to start painting, play against them with fully painted armies, as well.  Try to schedule get-togethers where you just paint.  When they do paint something, acknowledge it!  And if all that doesn't work, challenge them in a game that if you win, they have to paint 1 unit in the next month.  If that still doesn't work, just remember, there's only so much you can do.  But don't let it sour your relationship.  The last thing you want to do it to be That Guy, the guy that only harps about unpainted models.  At the end of the day, this is a hobby where we pretend little plastic models are fighting one another.  It's not worth conflict.  Just push that imagination a little further, and pretend they're painted.  And just remember, it might take years, but your influence will eventually take hold!

So, with that, I want to say thank you to all the readers.  I know I'm no Chuck, but I hope I was able to scratch that Realmgate itch.  My Twitter is largely unused, but feel free to Tweet at me or send me a message @LazencaNTM.  Have a good weekend, everyone!