Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Confessions of a Hoarder

I am a hoarder. I like having the option to play large games with my armies, and having a good choice of what to use in smaller games. As a result my armies tend to be quite large. Unfortunately I am not an especially prolific painter, so my collection of unpainted models is sadly more impressive than those that are painted. At last count my armies stood roughly thus (I'll try to get some photos up later):
  • 12,000pts High Elves (maybe 6K painted)
  • 15,000pts Orcs and Goblins (8K painted)
  • 8,000pts Wood Elves (5K painted)
  • 8,000pts Empire (3K painted)
  • 8,000pts Dwarfs (2.5K painted)
  • 5,000pts Ogre Kingdoms (3K painted)
  • 8,000pts Bretonnians (pretty much unpainted)
  • 4,000pts Dark Elves (pretty much unpainted)
Add to that rather silly tally an unpainted Eldar army and a whole lot of unpainted Battlemechs, and my lack of responsibility should be apparent. Maybe having a blog will help this...

I think my hoarding tendencies stem from when I first got involved in the hobby. I was a school kid with no real income, so my collection of models was small and largely driven by birthday and Christmas gifts. My friend and I would gaze in wonder at the large painted armies inside White Dwarf magazines, and dream of the day when we could field such fabulous forces. Such wild dreams as "imagine having one of every unit in your army", and being able to field "huge" regiments of 20 models. These things were beyond our reach and there was something magical about even imagining having such vast resources.

Eventually I got a job and it didn't take me long to splurge on a lot of the things I could never afford before. I bought that Silver Helm unit I had always wanted. And a decent number of Swordmasters. And a chariot. It was quite exciting at the time, and it probably changed the way I played the game. My armies were no longer dictated by the strict limitations of my available models - I had choice.

But something else changed too. It was about this time that my collection of unpainted models started to take on a life of its own. Up until that point, my trickle of incoming models could be matched by my enthusiasm to get them painted, and the bare metal was kept to a minimum. However, with the sudden influx of models that having an income brought, I could no longer keep up. I also wonder if this had the double effect of denting my enthusiasm for painting - having a large pile of unpainted stuff in front of me made the task far more daunting. It is hard to lavish attention on a single model when you know there are so many others waiting (this is still a problem for me today). I had a girlfriend by this point, too - so my time was not as unlimited as it might have previously seemed.

Shortly after these events, I also inherited a large, unpainted army of orcs and goblins from a friend who realised he was not going to use them, and the problem started to spread. Not only could I not keep up with my growing number of High Elves and Wood Elves, but there was another whole army on the scene. The task of painting all these models seemed impossible, and maybe I just sort of gave up at this point.

Like most gamers, I have made various resolutions to paint what I have before buying more, but I have never been able to take such things seriously. My collection having grown to 8 armies, and the availability of cheap second-hand models in some stores and on the internet, has rendered any such thoughts comical.

Perhaps you have heard the old saying that a gamer dies if he paints every last model he owns. From this perspective at least, my immortality seems assured...


  1. Know this is a old article but thanks for sharing as it will keep myself from doing the same. I have the same nostalgia for buying huge armies fast as I finally have the income for it that I didn't as a kid.

    I would advice you to check out wash painting techniques, they are great for "beast" race armies but not so much for cloth heavy armies.

    From the battlereports it seems you have come a long way in your painting these last three years, love your blog btw. Thanks for posting.

    1. Cheers. Yeah, I've been keeping myself busy for the last few years. We won't talk about the never-ending pile of unpainted metal and plastic I have to back it up, though...

  2. I hope that old saying is wrong, I have already painted 3 of my 4 armies..
    But I´m about to order a fifth army to prolong my life span...