Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Accidental Collector

I never intended to collect miniatures. Indeed, the idea of a “collection” to me always seemed to revolve around the idea of something that you acquired, either for some aesthetic or varietal reasons, and that you retained because you held out the hope (however vain or naïve that might tend to be, as I was always one to be able to convince myself that somehow the “West Coast Avengers” might aspire to approach the value of, say, a really nifty collection of egg spoons) that, at some time in the future, the objects of your affection might be more valuable than what you had paid to acquire them (or perhaps more than the aforementioned nifty collection of egg spoons). I had not believed (nor am I yet convinced) that old miniatures might attain that status. Nevertheless, it does seem that over the past twenty-some odd years that I have acquired box after box of now “classic” figures.

It is really far more than I will ever be able to assemble and paint. I think perhaps the fact that I am actually a terrible painter may have contributed to this state. Even when I was younger and through some patience (hard to believe, I know) and perseverance I could produce a figure that was somewhat passable, I could never produce such in any appreciable quantity, nor with any sort of alacrity. Painting four or five figures at a time would usually begin to bore me, and when painting became too much like work I would tend to lose my motivation to paint rather easily. Thus I would pretty much always acquire figures at a greater rate than I would be able to assemble and paint them.

Nor were my acquisitions always that logical. Indeed, now when I come across that box of figures I sometime wonder “what was I thinking?” (this, in and of itself, tends to be a common thought of mine, such as when I find myself watching yet another terrible monster movie on the SciFi channel or the like). Sometimes it is pretty obvious – I’ve always had some affection for Eldar Aspect Warriors since they first were introduced, so the fact that I seem to have a fair amount of them isn’t terribly surprising. However, the reason why I acquired a blister box (for those of you who don’t remember that packaging, first start with an amount of clear plastic that could construct a Baneblade, then fill with a full squad of 10 or so figures, and then require a large chisel and an 8 pound sledge to open) full of Eldar Guardians who, through some mistake of packaging, all appear to be standard bearers, remains somewhat of a mystery. I never particularly liked Guardians and, if you’ll recall 2nd edition, I wasn’t really required to take them, as force organization slots had yet to be invented. I also seem to have acquired about one each of the old Chaos Space Marines – I’m not quite sure why. Nor do I know why I seem to have a bunch of the old metal Marauder Reiksguard Knights. I never did have an Empire army, and I can’t remember even aspiring to own an Empire army, so I’m not sure why I bought them.
I never thought of using some of these old miniatures as bits for conversions, either. Largely that is likely due to the fact that, being a terrible painter with a short attention span (q.v.), I was not terribly adventurous when it came to conversions either. Nor did it seem a good idea to break out a pneumatic drill (to open one of the blister boxes, of course!) just to get one backpack from those standard bearers, for example.

Through various moves, I’ve winnowed the herd, so to speak, with Zorcon bearing the brunt of my various efforts to divest myself of say, early Imperial Guard Rough Riders (I’ve no idea why I had them – they were the early kind with basically regular looking Imperial Guardsmen riding horses wearing cowboy hats with the brim pinned up on one side). But for each of those examples where I managed to dilute the collection somewhat, I still keep acquiring more miniatures, and I still have designs on making some progress at some point. I’m certain that my Necron, Tyranid, Grey Knight, Dark Elf, and Chaos Space Marine armies may yet see the light of day at some point. Oh, and I’ve got the makings of some Vampire Counts troops, too. As you can tell, a lot of thought went in to those armies – just don’t call it a collection. Hey, and would anyone like to buy some fine copies of the West Coast Avengers?

- Laertes