Monday, 11 July 2016

Hobby! Huh! What is it good for....?

Well quite a lot of things as it turns out!

A recent conversation on Twitter set me thinking (apologies for anyone affected by the resulting smoke and burning smell). Have all these hours spent filing down tabs, greenstuffing gaps, removing flash and trying to paint teeny tiny metal figures REALLY been worth it? I mean, maybe I should have been doing something worthwhile - I could have learnt a new language, spent time with my friends or even tried my hand at learning some practical skills. So I decided to have a look at all the ways that hobby, in general, has improved my life (even if it has wrecked my bank balance at times!)

1. I've learnt new skills. Before I started hobbying, I had no idea there were so many things that went into making these miniature figures look great. I think it's a side of the hobby that a lot of non-hobby people don't seem to see. I was talking to a non-hobby friend recently and he was admiring a Deadpool mini I'd painted. When I told him that I'd had to get someone else to do the build on him (he was a nightmare, significant gaps to fill and lots of filing required) he was a bit gobsmacked, he had no idea that they needed building. He'd assumed that all minis came prebuilt - when I introduced him to the concept of clipping bits off sprues he was a bit gobsmacked.

I've learnt how to use clippers to detach minis from sprues and metal tabs. How to use a file to make sure any sprue or tab remnants are filed off. How to use a hobby knife to remove mould lines without wrecking the model.How to build models and to (sort of) conceal joins using green stuff. This is something I still struggle with, but with more practice I'm sure I'll get there. And I'm certain there are other skills I can learn - practice building bases, how to pin models to bases etc.

And the most important skill I've learnt? Painting! While I can't claim to be an amazing painter, I've definitely improved as well as realising that I really enjoy painting. My ultimate goal one day is to get a painting prize for something but I suspect this is something of a pipe dream given there are so many amazing painters in the community!

A recently painted gribbly thing

2. Learnt a new language- of sorts. This is sort of cheating, but there are certainly words in my vocabulary that I hadn't used before I started hobbying. Sprue for example. Or Initiative - generally that was only filed away in my brain as some sort of stupid corporate buzzword and now it's a regular part of my word use. I've also learnt some new and interesting swear words (thanks Panzer!) but I'm not sure those count....

3. Improved my confidence and become more outgoing, especially with new people. This was made most obvious at Salute just gone. For the first time ever I had offered to demo Malifaux with Dave and Tim Brown on the Simple Miniatures stand, showing people the basics of the game and then sending them off to buy ALL the crew boxes. Sincere apologies to the lovely chap who got caught up between Dom and myself waxing lyrical over the joys of Gremlins - we might have got a teensy bit carried away. I'm sure your bank manager will be most understanding....

Just a few years ago, spending an whole day chatting to strangers would have been totally out of the question for me. But spending time with people in the Malifaux community both at events and online has boosted my confidence to such a degree that I had an absolute blast demoing and chatting to people who wanted to know about Malifaux. I feel like I've come a long way from slinking into my very first event hiding between Ben Harris and Matt Ledgerwood (now there's an amusing memory) when I was too shy to say much of anything to anyone. And yes, for anyone who's met me I can be INCREDIBLY shy. Stop laughing. No really. Stop it.

4. Made lots of new friends. I think this one is fairly self explanatory. But I've been constantly amazed at how accepting and welcoming the community as a whole have been. Having come from playing MMOs where being a girl can be an issue for some gamers, it was incredibly refreshing for it not to be subjected to either poorly spelled solicitations for nudes (well....except for Matt Spooner but he's something of a special case) or sexist comments. The Malifaux community in general have been very generous with everything from sharing painting tips/comments to even offering a place for myself and my friend Bob to stay in at Nationals, despite never having met either of us.

There are way too many lovely people to mention individually but it's safe to say that there are many people in the community (as well as in the hobby scene in general) that I'm pleased to call my friends. It's also been terrible news for my wallet though as it does mean that lots of cool new games, models and rulesets tend yo get waved under my nose and giving me a bad case of the oooo shinies!

A current project for open rule sets like Frostgrave - selfie crew!

5. Had lots of fun. Again, this should go without saying. The weekend shenanigans at Nationals, the small 10 person event at Gatwick (my first spoon <sniff>), all the events at Wayland, demoing at Salute, the total insanity that is a Doubles event and the very very giggly roadtrips that tend to happen with our travelling circus of  Ben, Craig and Karl. Plus there's still so many more to come - Nationals again this year (and at a new venue, cool!), more local events at Wayland and then next year a jump into a new (to me) type of event, Daffcon. I was gutted to have to miss this year's event so I'm determined to get there next year!

So, would I call my time spent hobbying a waste? Not at all. It's brought far too many positives to ever consider that. But then surely time spent doing something you love is never a waste?

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