Hard to believe it's been 10 years already. My painting has improved slightly over the years, but I didn't get into the hobby to win the golden demon award or anything.
Nice to know I was on Coolmini before it was even cool, and at a time when people voted there a lot (unlike now). I suspect that the harsh voting on Coolmini has chased away a lot of hobby painters.. I myself post less and less as well, but I digress. Still, it's a good record of when I started.
I came to the miniature hobby late in life. In the 1980s, I played some Avalon Hill counter games but really, I was a *fanatical* role-player of FASA Star Trek, Gurps, West End Star Wars, among other rpgs but not too much miniature painting. One friend, A.C., did most of the painting, but even there, it was for FASA Starship combat. However, at the very end of my RPG hobby in the late 1980s, I dabbled in West End Games's Star Wars miniatures for their RPG. Here is a picture of me and my friends Jim and Craig circa 1989 with my painted West End figures..
But seriously, apart from some FASA Starship Combat, the West End SW figures was the only use of miniatures I did for about 10 years of RPGs. We didn't need them as we were hardcore experienced RPGers.
I got out of tabletop RPGs in the early 1990s (as discussed here) and did a little dabbling of PBEM RPGing between 1998-2006 (as discussed here), so I had very little to no miniature experience overall.
In 2006 or so, I used to walk in on my lunch break to see a local gaming store (closed now) and go in the back to look at the vintage 1980s RPGs for nostalgia purposes. One day, I browsed their Reaper line of minis and for some reason, I bought some sculpts and some paints and crudely painted them up even though I had no intention of using them. I thought it was a gaming itch, but looking back, I think it was scratching a modeler's itch. A manager at another store weeks later suggested Coolmini and voila, I posted one in April 2007, shortly after painting it.
I've come a ways since my crude paintjobs and I stuck with it. Over the years, I've discovered that I found I enjoy conversions more than painting..
I also discovered that I am better at terrain painting and terrain kitbashing than figures..
but I've also found that when I get a miniature's face just right, there is a great deal of more satisfaction than I would have gotten with terrain.
My ambitions with respect to painting and miniature play have increased these last 10 years as well.. I started off modestly 10 years ago with some ship battles..
and some Blood Bowl..
as well as lots of boardgames..
but I'm finding my interests lie in ever greater miniature painting with lots of variety..
I find I don't just want to paint one mini anymore, but a platoon, minimum a squad of them, at one batch..
I recently chastised myself for assembling 85 zombie sculpts, when I just needed about 20 to make a horde.. I don't know what I was thinking or why I did it, but the task of painting all of these is daunting now..
I am also pushing myself for variety.. everything from Space Hulk
to dinosaur hunts..
to space battles..
but even there, I discovered that I am gong back to my RPG roots and want to tell a story, rather than compete against my friends..
My friends just want to compete to win in boardgames and such, but I am slowly losing interest in doing so. I am truly an old GM RPGer at heart. I'd rather be painting and modelling only now and building up the RPG character in my mind as I paint them.
Still, I don't mind a miniature game with them once in a while if they are willing and have ambitions to try out mass battles like Kings of War on them one day.
I am curious what my younger RPG self from the 1980s would think of me now. I had very little interest in minis all those years ago, apart from painting 1/35 WW2 models in the late 1970s/early 1980s. Perhaps if I kept at the 1/35 WW2 modeling hobby back then, I would find no need to "catch up" now, as the 85 Zombie sculpts perhaps testify.
I don't know how long I can keep this up though... my eyes are not what they are used to be, and truly, the miniature hobby is expensive, in both time, storage space and money. It's been an enjoyable 10 years, and I hope to get another 10 years out of it more, but we'll see.