I must have been in fifth grade. I think that’s about right. I was over at a friend’s house, a friend I visited frequently, older by me than a year. He had younger brother and sister, although he and his brother fought like tomcats. Good lord. Anyways, both the parents were out. Father worked a lot for a living and the mother had some sort of superactive social life that implied she was seeing people on the side–frequently–and as such there was a sitter over, whom I’d met before frequently. She was a friend of a family friend, which is how I met my own friend incidentally. Anyways, she said they were occupied and that I’d find my comrades downstairs. So I ambled down into the dungeons to join them. It was normally a sort of ramshackle affair with an abused pool table that mutated into a ping-pong table–children’s toys lying and lingering ubiquitously about and several closets from which they’d been robbed. There was a proper cellar for the boiler room and the like immediately beside the stairwell, but I never spent much time in there. Anyways, they had the ping pong table put away and were instead presenting a host of hand-painted styrofoam rocks and several miniature fake trees, present a rather rustic setting and upon it were these 28mm miniatures of little space men and silly looking space goblins playing about as a sort of table-top turn-based strategy. I couldn’t remember who was winning. Probably the older brother. He wouldn’t give the younger the opportunity, even if he had to cheat his little mind out.
Anyways, turns out this was my induction to “Warhammer 40,000,” a fascination I maintained for years afterwards, cultivating and painstakingly painting many armies of miniature men and only infrequently actually warring with them owing to the dearth of friends I had that would actually bother with what was even at that time a fairly expensive hobby. From where I’m currently sitting, if I look to my seven o clock, I can see several Space Wolf Scouts and an Imperial Knight, which I’ve yet to actually finish. Maybe one day I’ll get the time.
I admit my enthusiasm for the hobby has seriously waned ever since I first entered university. I didn’t really have the time, and I certainly didn’t have the space, but I nevertheless tried here and there to complete the occasional detachment of fantasy dwarves and the like. Ever since I came out of the educational system, ever since I presumably have had the time, the inclination remained waned. They’re just so fucking expensive. I mean, back when I was a kid they were expensive, but these things have frequently doubled or tripled in price. I have to pay the bills; I have to eat; I have to pay for this website. It’s like not I’m going to shave off the precious time needed to paint and play with these things if the company selling them has done everything in its power for the last decade to price me out of their audience.
And that’s really what I don’t understand. Most of the people I know who ever enjoyed the hobby would tell you the same thing or something similar. They can’t afford to. And if you take those that can’t who also are familiar with the costs of competing lines of miniatures–well–you’d find they’d be offended. Games Workshop has seriously artificially inflated the costs of their miniatures, and with the rise of competing lines that are both cheaper and frankly more beautiful in cut and posture, well it’s obvious that GW is only running on the quality of their name and their IP and in nowise upon their quality.