|Just the tip of a very large Iceberg!!!|
Did your mom ever tell you your 'eyes were bigger than your belly'? Mine did, and I always hated the clearly biologically incorrect statement, it was truly bloody annoying. So I always wanted more than I could handle. But, you see, there's another saying, variety is the spice of life... so what if I'd often order way too much food, and nibble at each thing I'd ordered? Yeah, I was always one of those guys who struggled to decide what ice cream flavour to go for. I can't help it. If I have a choice of A or B, invariably I'll go for A, B and C. My hobby purchases aren't much different if I'm honest. Genuinely I can't stop myself from buying anything and everything that I think looks bloody cool. I then spend the rest of my life wandering how the bloody hell I'm supposed to paint it all. In many respects I've always bitten off more than I can chew hobby wise. In some respects being skint, and struggling financially has actually been a bit of a good thing for me.
|More stuff in the 'to review pile'.|
It has forced me to take stock of my hobby, and ask the question as to what I really want to get out of the hobby. I've had to slow down in purchasing stuff considerably for starters. What with bills and a mortgage to pay my hobby has taken a serious back seat to all the important real life crap we all have to deal with... like food and stuff. Coincidentally though this Blog has taken off and I've received a fair amount of free stuff too, which has sort of compensated for my reduced spend. This week though I started tidying up my hobby room, no correction, I sat and looked at the immense pile of hobby crap that I have amassed over the years and thought what the fudge was I thinking? It was all a bit depressing and overwhelming actually. I have absolutely no idea where the hell to start with it all. I reckon I'm not the only one out there in this bloody predicament. Come on, a show of hands, who has a huge pile of hobby stuff they're NEVER going to use? Yeah, thought so, it's most of us isn't it? Come on why do we all do it? Because we do, don't we?
|It's even taking over the playing surface... look at it all!!!|
I reckon if we all got together and parceled up our unwanted and unused crap, and then sold it we could probably clear the debts of the entire Eurozone, and have enough left over to make a sizable dent in the USA's deficit. An awful lot of us really do buy way too much stuff don't we? We all start out well meaning, we genuinely believe we're going to do the things we say we will. Honestly I'm going to paint the entire Blood Angels Chapter or a few companies of Ultramarines, or 'but I need every fleet in Dystopian Wars with multiples of every option' and I'm definitely going to play Grind (I still haven't). But we don't, or more precisely, I don't. When it comes to my mother telling me my eyes are too big she'd be absolutely right about my hobby purchases. I simply put own way too much stuff, I really, really do. We do it because we have genuine aspirations, we do it because we are inspired by something, a spark trigger a thought process and we intend to see it through.
But after the initial rush you get from buying the stuff dies down, and you get home, you realise for some bloody reason you've just brought a High Elf army with no Teclis or an entire Tau Cadre! We do it because we are hopeless romantics, we do it because we love the hobby, we do it because we're... greedy!!! I'll admit it, I love toy soldiers, and quite often with games there will be multiple factions I like. Going along the games at the top of my banner lets have a look at what it is I own:
- Infinity = Yu Jing, Haqqislam, Aleph and Nomads... all huge factions with all options.
- HoMachine = Retribution of Scyrah and Trollbloods... huge amounts in my toolbox for both forces... and I want a Rhulic mercenary force.
- Freebooter's Fate = Pirates, Amazons and Brotherhood... again I pretty much own everything for each faction.
- Malifaux = Oh God I don't want to list what it equals!!! Suffice to say I can field decent competitive forces for every faction... with options to come in and out. Yeah I know!
- Anima Tactics = Abel Empire and the Azur Alliance... again with pretty much every option in both factions, which I guess means I have pretty decent light and dark factions too.
- Hell Dorado = Huzzah, I only own the Saracens... except I also have a couple of Lost miniatures too... but we'll ignore them for now as I brought them to paint. Honest.
- Heavy Gear Blitz = I only own a NuCoal force for this game, and it is already quite an extensive force. This has led me to horning after a decent sized PRDF army! Seriously I've be so close to hitting the 'buy' button it's ridiculous.
- Dystopian Wars = Oh God. Next!!!
- Firestorm Armada = Sorylians and Relthoza.
- Uncharted Seas = Orc Raiders and Thaniras Elves.
- Flames of War = Isn't it obvious?
- Sedition Wars = The game isn't even out yet, but my collection of Strain and Vanguard is really bloody extensive!!!
- Kings of War = I only have a Mantic Orc army, but in terms of fantasy armies I do own more than just this one.
Then there are games not listed. I have a huge collection of Space Marine stuff. Enough to do multiple bloody chapters. I also have a massive collection of Orks for 40K too, and Eldar. I also have stupid amounts of stuff for Bushido, I mean I own everything for the Prefecture of Ryu and Cult of Yurei, plus I funded the Ito faction on Indiegogo, so I'll have a complte third faction for that game as well. Then there's a new game on the block round these parts, Dark Age, which by the way is bloody brilliant. Right now in my possession I have the Skaard starter set and the Outcast starter set, and yeah I may already have brought some extras. With Dust Warfare I have sizable Axis and Allies forces, and the SSU tanks have started to look really cool to me. So much miniature goodness out there and so little time, money and other resources!
|It's not just gaming pieces though, but limited display pieces too.|
Is there a bit of jealousy thrown in with the greed I've mentioned earlier? For me there is. I mean I've sat and looked at my opponents miniatures and had faction envy. Be honest, we've all done it. We line up our army, proud of our factions options and display force, and then your opponent gets out their factions new toy and you ask "what's that?", or comment "that thing looks cool", and if your that sort of gamer you might utter the phrase "They're broken!"... it's faction envy is what it is. It's believing the grass is always greener in the other factions backyards, or in my case an insane fear that I'm missing out on a cool gaming experience by not having that faction, or this one, or that one. It's silly really, but it is there, that nagging doubt all gamers have. Did I choose the right faction? You can solve that doubt pretty quickly if you choose every sodding faction has been my philosophy in life thus far.
|There's boxes of scenery and carry cases full of miniatures too.|
But, as I say out of necessity that just simply has to change. Times are tight as they say, and with certain hobby companies having to increase their prices, not just Games Workshop by the way, all of our hobby resources will be further stretched and pressed. For those of us who can show restraint and aren't faction whores it won't be too difficult to stick to I'm sure, but for the rest of us It's going to be pretty damn difficult. I like new shinnies, and right now Kickstarter is arguably the worst thing to happen to my bank balance since I was old enough to have my own bank account! It is a foul temptress of Sodom and Gomorrah proportions. New stuff is added to it and Indiegogo at a truly alarming rate, and it's exciting to be part of something new, but it swells the ranks of my hobby pile without me actually having to physically see the amount of crap that I have in my hobby room. It'll arrive at some indeterminate point in the future and then I'll have to face up to what I've done.
|This is a truly huge box of miniatures, in my to 'complete' pile. There's another one... OK two.|
I have asked myself a question about what all this activity means for the industry as a whole. In some respects it is great for the manufacturers, because we all make 'redundant' purchases on a scale that is bordering on the hedonistic. We buy stuff we don't really need, don't really use and don't really want. We buy redundant products that will sit gathering dust for the vast majority of us, and only a handful will be re-sold because we become attached to our junk, because our hunter gather attitude honed by natural selection kicks in. We're worse than a squirrel with a tree full of hazelnuts many of us. We are in economist terms supporting inefficient companies in an inefficient marketplace... ultimately our behaviour isn't really helping either ourselves or our hobby is it? So I have accepted that my hobby stash has to reduce and become more manageable, because right now it is literally the very definition of unmanageable. I literally don't have enough space to put it all. Hell I don't even have display cabinets to put all this stuff in!
So I'm going to start enforcing a couple of simple rules on my hobby resources, if I want to buy a new miniature I must either:
- Paint 3 miniatures for every new miniature I wish to buy.
- Or sell 5 miniatures for every new miniature I wish to buy.
In this way I hope to start clearing my backlog, or indeed reduce the amount of stuff I own. Now in the past I've made these sorts of pledges and not really been able to stick to them, which is pretty embarrassing and shows just how weak my willpower actually is. But this time I've actually been practicing what I'm preaching today for the past few months... and you know what? I've actually been able to stick to it. Yeah this does mean that I might actually end up selling some stuff on eBay, and I'm considering selling my entire Warhammer Fantasy Dwarf army, an army that I love just a little bit, but I'm not using them, I need the space and somebody else will be able to get more use out of them.
|I don't even know where to begin with this stuff.|
However, a number of friends and other commentators have suggested that me selling or getting rid of my second hand stuff is potentially damaging to the hobby, and the companies who produce the stuff in the first place. I actually read an interesting article over at Miniature Tim's Blog. The central argument is that by selling my second hand stuff I am denying a company a chance at selling more miniatures to customers. In effect my second hand product is competing with new product. On the face of it that seems to be a fair argument, after all if a cheaper supply of second hand models wasn't there, then the only way to procure those miniatures would be to buy the new. Here's the problem though, that assumes that the same person would buy them new, which given the price disparity sometimes is a bit of a stretch. It's not certain that somebody who buys a secondhand miniature would buy it new if they couldn't buy it secondhand, in fact it's far from certain.
|More boxes full of stuff and a tool box full of 'bits'.|
What these sort of transactions do though is to falsely give companies positive feedback if you will for their product line and how they are operating. In short hobbyists who buy more crap than they can deal with are subsidizing inefficient companies, we're in effect giving them cash donations. We then sell this stuff on at a discounted rate that is also then subsidizing other hobbyists involvement, by supplying a cheaper entry point. Now I don't necessarily think as a system, or a market interaction it is necessarily a bad thing for the hobby as a whole for this state of affairs to continue. However, for those hobby intermidiaries, like me, it is expensive and blisteringly stupid. Who is the schmuck here? It's me for buying too much stuff and then having to sell it off at a considerable loss. Well no more. I'm done. I'm going to stick to my personal pledge to lower my collection of unused miniatures, either by using them or selling them. If you're in the same predicament as I am I urge you to seriously consider doing the same. Peace out!