I have recently started on a new hobby (actually revitalised a hobby from many years ago) and that is miniature painting. But why?
Attaining ZenWhat is Zen? It’s both something we are—our true nature expressing itself moment by moment—and something we do—a disciplined practice through which we can realise the joy of being. It is not a belief system to which one converts. zenstudies.org
Daily pressures at work, and home, left me with a need to find relief – or more so a method to release some stresses. Music is good – but sometimes you need to get back to the old days of your youth when you could loose time in doing something intricate and reach a moment of Zen.
To me the original ‘Zen’ was when I was drawing/doodling for doodling’s sake, but after many years of neglecting the arts and loosing the knack of relating what the eye sees into 1:1 hand control, I had to start up from scratch and get into the hang of things.
28mm Miniatures to the rescue!
Steeped in lore and a long history in the field Gamesworkshop has been publishing Novels, Books, Terrain, Paints, and miniatures for both Sci-Fi and Fantasy genres. They have some intricate sculpts that are gorgeous! The fun is in both building and painting – and eventually to field your painted army on a battleground rife with strategy and luck. Think of the battles as a complicated chess game, a bit of skill with the dice and allot…allot of rules and interactions.
Once you start it quickly becomes a daily high – finding the model, converting to fit with the lore of your ‘own’ army and taking painstaking steps of painting, and retouching, only to realise that your skills will need updating!
Crafting your own back story for the army is a fantastic way to personalise and make your approach to wargaming something unique. Which lead me to designing a few of my own units. Something personal, something that I would like to field on the table.
For the army I selected, based on the simplicity of the models, are the Necrons. Sci-fi immortal robots. I chose the army mainly because i had to get back into the hobby, and get my skills up in painting. The Necrons are very simple, with relatively low detail – perfect for the beginner.
Soon I got swept up in their lore and they become personal – so much so that I started thinking what I could CAD for them. …
Enter the C’tan(a shard of the Necron Gods – the Necrons slain their gods after being betrayed by their very same gods, by having had the Necrons give up their bodies for immortal, soulless metal ones – told you they had some interesting lore!)
The standard models for the C’tan are limited to only two models by Games Workshop, however you are open to create your own slain god… I fell in love with the Preator from Magic The Gathering:
The design was mechanical and organic, with large porcelain bone surfaces over bloody flesh. It fit perfectly with a unseen C’tan from the Warhammer universe – Yggra’nya, the Shaper. Nothing is currently known about this C’tan, other than that it exists….
So started the concept development for my Shaper C’tan – she would be the embodiment of the future of my army. She would solidify the theme for my troupe. Searching for a way to attain their mortal bodies they would search out Yggra’nya, and have her create a new organic construct that they can return to. … Damn, my neckbeard just flared up there for a moment!
My 1st 3D model for the army was a large mechanical Sentinel – a multy legged platform with a nice large gun.
But the C’tan soon became a creative priority – she ended up as a two part model so that it would be easier to print, and paint.
So… what does this mean I attained Zen?
To a certain degree – yes. It has become something I can immerse my self in – living a fantasy again. But the geekness, the nerdness, the full neckbeard’ness of the hobby is glorious! Let me revel in the pure fun of it! Yes, it is a far cry from jewellery design, or speaker design, or for that matter any functional design … but is that not the point?
So why not join in finding your Zen, develop a hobby in 2020 – anything to get your Zen back, to return to the happy, untroubled, days of our youth.
My first time fielding the team will be in February at the Sword and Board’s annual slow grow – where you slowly learn how to paint, play and field your army over 9 months – Fun times ahead!