To play or to paint, that is the question.

Lost Hemisphere is pleased to welcome to the writing team Grant “Gramut” McMasters.

gramutavatarAs I am sitting here working on mounting Capt. Kraye to his Dragon Forge base, trying to get him glued together for his Tier 4 list that I am building, I got to thinking on the hobby aspect of our beloved game and what motivates me to spend tons of extra money on bases or extra bits and pieces for conversions.  I am not the world’s greatest painter or hobbyist.  I am not the world’s greatest player, I am fairly certain most, if not all of you, have ever even heard of me but I do know what I have found that keeps me coming back to this game called Warmachine (and Hordes).

I was inspired to build a Tier List because of Mr. Gdaybloke’s love of playing the Tiers of the less than popular Warcasters.  The Warcasters that are not claimed to be the meta breakers, the top tier, the crème de’la crème, the bee’s knees and I thought to myself about how much I have enjoyed playing Capt. Jeremiah Kraye.  While a solid Warcaster who was used to win a major tournament a few years ago, he is still considered a second tier caster.

Who cares about him being second tier Warcaster, I play Capt. Kraye because his sculpt is my absolute favorite out of all of the Privateer Press release models.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my Borka2, but so far no model that has been released has ever been able to topple the pedestal of epic awesomeness that I have placed this Kraye’s model on.

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But I digress, time to take it back to the hobby aspect.

I kept thinking about how the modeling aspect of the hobby has become as important to me as playing the game itself.  When I decide to play a Warcaster or Warlock the first thing that I do is to try and figure out the spirit of the model, the character so to speak.  Privateer Press does a great job with their backgrounds and the fluff and so I dig into the books and read up what I can on the model itself.  I remember one particular scene in which Darius and Kraye are trudging through a forest as they rush to towards the northern battle lines against Khador and Darius marvels at how easily Kraye’s warjacks maneuver through the tangled underbrush.  That little image just kind of stuck out in my mind as what I wanted the Mobile Strike Force list to look like.  That image would go through a few iterations before I settled on my final idea, but everyone gets the gist of where I am going.

Next I started to think about what I want to do with the model(s) itself, the base, the scheme, the whole theme I want to convey across the army.  For Capt. Kraye’s Mobile Strike Force theme, I kept coming around to the idea that I really wanted to see him and his cohort of Rangers and Arcane Tempest Blazers exploring a lost civilization.  it just so happened that Jeff over at Dragon Forge released a new series of Forgotten Empire Water’s Edge bases and I knew I had the look that I wanted.  So without any hesitation I ordered up the bases and started ordering in the models I would need to crate and field Kraye’s Mobile Strike Force.

In the meantime while I was patiently waiting for everything to arrive in the mail,  I started to think of what paint scheme I wanted for the models. The typical Cygnar blue is…well blue and I couldn’t see Kraye’s expeditionary force wearing that typical Cygnar color.  I see the good Captain as kind of cross between a soldier in Forest Recon and a CIA agent.  I pictured Kraye adapting his warjacks paint scheme to the environment he is going to go into.

Here is the part where I ask for your indulgence, giant smoke belching machines and stealth aside,  now add in a healthy dose of suspension of disbelief leads me to believe that a good commander in King Leto’s service doesn’t just walk into a situation screaming out, ‘Hiya look at my giant blue machines of doom!’  Capt. Kraye is a strategic thinker after all.  He would be preparing ahead for this little excursion

It also happened that in the last Warmachine book, the authors at PP describe how Kara Sloan’s hunters have had their paint schemes adapted to mission at hand.  EUREKA!  Now to find the scheme itself.  Scouring the books, both Mk. I and Mk. II, I came across the book Superiority, which is when the Grenadier and its Khaki alternate paint scheme are first introduced.  Another EUREKA moment! What luck! Perfect fit, a nice desert scheme for this lost civilization I picture Kraye’s exploring.

Well the Grenadier model struck another creative hobby nerve.  EUREKA!!

Both the Hunter and the Grenadier are on the same base chassis…conversion time!  With a simple chassis swap and a small hack job to an axe/maul with my jewelers saw I had my first Hunter, shortly after that the other Hunter came into existence with just a simple Hunter Arm swap onto Grenadier body. Two slightly converted Hunters ready to be painted up. I sat down and tested out the alternate paint scheme that I found in Superiority.  All in all I am fairly pleased with the results on my hunters and I have since adapted the paint scheme to a Centurion and soon it will be on a Cyclone as well.

I honestly think that I have spent more time on the research, planning, and the hobbying portion of the army, than I have on actually playing the list.  I have placed the list on the tabletop a few times and have had a tremendous blast slinging a few heavy warjacks and a Colossal up-field 20-inches or so.

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When I first starting tabletop wargaming, many eons ago, the game itself was more important to me than the painting, but now that I have almost 20 some odd years of wargaming under my belt I have come to enjoy the hobby aspect just as much, and dare I say it…maybe a little bit more than the actual game itself.

So find out what motivates you and hold onto it.  When you have hit a slump in playing or painting remember why you got into the game or the hobby.  If you love to play, get in tens of thousands of games and enjoy each and every one of them.  If instead you would rather paint a model and make a diorama then sit down, grab a brush and paint your little wargaming heart away.  If you are like me, then you get the best of both worlds and are always happy doing what you enjoy you most, painting or playing.

One Response to To play or to paint, that is the question.

  1. Avatar Not_that_one
    Not_that_one says:

    Good man, couldn’t agree more. This is YOUR hobby (/MY hobby) so you can decide how you get the most out of it. Do what you love 🙂

    Incidentally as a fellow Cygnar/Trolls player I’ll be following your articles with great interest 🙂