Tuesday, January 6, 2015

And now, for something completely different...

I just came to realize that 20 years of plastic, metal, resin, paint and putty have passed. Damn! I don't know why, but it seems the right moment to write about my early days. Not that it really matters, that it means something special or whatever... just for the simple pleasure of telling a story, the kind that we can all relate to somehow, as we have all started somewhere.
Actually, I started by building scale models of airplanes (#cliché!). I happened to get my hands on a WW2 German cannon (don't ask me to write one of these stupid abbreviation with seven consonants in a row) which included a couple of soldiers also. I decided to add some plastic toy soldiers from my childhood and managed to build my first diorama, without even knowing it. It was during the Autumn of 1994, but I don't really consider it my real start with minis. Let's face it: I was more interested in building the models, my approach of painting was more of finding a way to apply colours without any shading, and the minis were a part of the scene around the model.

The actual start came at the very end of 1994, when I got my hands on a supplement to the game "Battle Masters", that consisted in loads of Empire minis, designed and sculpted by GW for MB. I didn't own the game, and didn't care about it. I was just stunned by the quality of the minis both in terms of design, production and by the background that started boiling into my head. The beginnings were a bit harsh: I knew nothing about the preparation of the minis (how the hell am I supposed to assemble this knight on this horse, when there is a big plastic bar between his feet?) and my painting technique consisted in applying layers of Revel enamel model paint with a toothpick. Yup, this is the kind of bullshit you do when you start from scratch, you're 12, you don't know anybody who's into that kind of things, and the word "internet" is hardly known by a few physicists. I let you imagine what my attempts of painting eyes looked like.

Found on Lexicanum.

I simply got stuck into it. I even bought the full box of "Battle Masters" from a friend of mine, to have access to more minis, and in particular to the bad guys: orcs, goblins, chaos warriors and knights, etc... and a big ogre... My science teacher of that time saw one of our transactions (my school could provide you with hardly any drug you wanted; mine was plastic minis), and it appeared that the guy was a total geek, who was playing wargames and computer games (Doom II was still hot at that time). He told me about acrylic paints, and introduced me to GW. In particular, he lent me a copy of issue 12 of the french edition of White Dwarf. Brand new Jes Goodwin's Space Marines and Brian Nelson's orcs were occupying half of it, with the other half displaying funny blood bowl-themed stuff as well as some Warhammer minis. It was a revelation (#cliché!), I was totally amazed and stuck into it even deeper.

The best was that one of the very rare distributor of GW stuff in Belgium at that time was 10 minutes away by foot from my school (minis, comics and mangas under the same roof... no need to tell you how many hours I have spent there). So it wasn't long before I bought a couple of acrylic paints from a local art shop (red, blue, green, black, silver and maybe some yellow?), and my very first metal space marine. I was going for an assault Ultramarine with a jump pack (#cliché! #cliché! #cliché! #cliché! #cliché!). This was around April or May 1995.

The funny thing is, I have a shady memory of one time, when I was like 10 years old. We went to Brussels with my parents and while making a break at a café terrace, I saw an older kid pulling out strange little metal parts out of a colored box, and I was very curious about it, but too shy to go closer and ask. It was probably some sort of dungeon kit by Ral Partha or something like that. Maybe I have been contaminated on that very moment, without knowing it.

And 20 years later, I'm sculpting and painting pink moonshining G-funk-flavored gangsta bean-like monsters. So you've got point A and point B; now figure out how the hell they may be connected. For now, enough with this long ego-tripping text.

1994 beeotch!

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