Musings of one man whose hobby happens to be miniature wargames

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A new class of Wargamer

I’ve noticed that when the topic of prepainted miniatures comes up, some wargamers make disparaging remarks about prepainted miniatures and how they aren’t “real miniatures” and using them in a game wouldn’t be “real wargaming.”

I do not understand where this attitude is coming from and the hobby appears to be dividing into board gamers, perpainted gamers and (according to some) real wargamers. I find this position odd since my recent trip to Fall-In had a lot of real wargamers playing 54mm WWII skirmish games using toy soldiers which are *gasp* prepainted!

The criticism of prepainted miniatures begins with the idea that the paint jobs are terrible. The miniatures that I’ve seen so far: Star Wars and Dreamblade are no contest winners; but, I’ve seen paint jobs some of the “real wargamers” put on the table and I have to wonder if the painter was subject to epileptic fits. I think much of this criticism is sour grapes from marginal painters.

Prepainted miniatures are also viewed as taking the easy way out. For me, part of the fun of the hobby is painting the miniatures; but, I’ve got more miniatures than I will ever paint in my lifetime. If I ever want to play certain periods and have armies of my own it will have to be using prepainted figures. The way I look at it, if I offload some of my painting duties using prepainted, I am likely to game more periods.

The final argument is that prepainted miniatures are promoting sweatshop labor in third world countries. I find this argument amusing considering that most gamers are not upset when the unpainted products are made in foreign lands nor do many get upset if an army is set overseas to a cheaper painting service. Perhaps the latter isn’t an issue because the figures come back hand painted.

In the end, I think it will take a while for pre-painted miniatures to catch on and those using them will have to hear the grumblings of older wargamers who had earlier starts and weren’t so lucky.


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