Apparently, some people just 'have' armies. I don't mean in the sense that they own the army, but rather, that deep down, the army owns them. Now, I know that's dangerous territory to say, it's walking perilously close to the old "In Soviet Russia..." meme/joke, but what I mean is, sometimes, there's just an army or a collection that stands out to you more than others... so much so that it becomes a part of you.
For me, that appears to be the Skaven.
A part of my Clan Skryre Breakaway Faction Army
I'm not entirely sure I'm explaining myself very well here. What I mean is, for some people, their models and collections are just that. They collect what's cool to them, and they enjoy it. They flit between various armies or painting projects for various lengths of time.
Consider the gamer who sees a new Codex or Army Book, reads the rules and finds a list she thinks she can win with. She collects and paints those models and plays games with that list, tweaking it and winning with it until it either starts to lose, or becomes boring to play. Thus, she moves on to the next list.
Consider the painter who sees an awesome new model, and deep down knows he just has to paint it. He spends weeks adding little details, going to town on the basing, adding those little touches until the model is complete and resplendent in his cabinet. Thus, he moves on to his next project.
A Clan Skurvy Clanrat crewrat from The Skabrus
Don't get me wrong, I am these people above, definitely, in both cases. I'm a collector and a story teller, and anything that allows me to tell the models story, from its construction and painting, to the events that unfold upon the tabletop, is a winning situation for me.
However, then there are those to whom an army/race/theme is so ingrained, that everything to do with it must be collected, absorbed, explored, enjoyed and used. For me, this is Skaven.
Everything about them, I love. The eclectic over-the-top death-machinery of Clan Skryre; the shambling and esoteric mutations of Clan Moulder; the putrid plagues and fervent religious zealotry of Clan Pestilens; the mysterious eastern themed assassins and ninja-rats of Clan Eshin; the warrior hordes of Clan Mors; the villainous and comical pirates of Clan Skurvy... the list could go on endlessly.
My Regiment of Renown Fangleader - Captain Saltskab
Naturally, there are parts that appeal to me more than others - Clan Skryre and their stupidly dangerous electro-weaponry sit right at the top of that list, with Clan Skurvy's piratical exploits, seafaring skullduggery and general haphazard homicidal humour weighing anchor in a close second - but the thing is, there's not a single ounce of it I don't lap up with frothing-at-the-mouth glee.
I have my main Clan Skryre breakaway Skaven army.
I have my Clan Skurvy Regiment of Renown.
My favourite ship in Dreadfleet, without a doubt, is the undead electro-whale, The Skabrus.
I have a Clan Eshin Mordheim gang.
I'm about to start work on another Skaven army for a "Tale of Many Gamers" with several other London Managers.
I may be doing a Skaven army for Battle Brothers this year in September. Yes, this might be my Skryre list, but I'm tempted to go pure Moulder, or invent my own Warlord Clan.
I've just started work on my Skaven Blood Bowl Team, the Spineport Stormers.
My bookshelf is rammed to the rafters with Skaven books from Black Library, from Thanquol to Dead Winter, Headtaker to the entries in the Warhammer RPG books...
It goes on... even to the point that I'm watching this like a hawk!
The Skabrus itself - from 'Dreadfleet'
This got me thinking. What is it about individual armies that gets us each going? Why do some people seem to dive into this more than others? I know one individual who collects Dwarfs, and everything about him and his lifestyle seems to reflect that. Which way around was it? Did the behaviour come before the army, or is it a result of it?
I know, for starters, that I am a very excitable person. I flit around like a squirrel. I've been known to talk quite fast, and am definitely not the most outgoing courageous person I know. I love anything sugary for drinking.
The Spineport Stormers - Blood Bowl Team
Was I like this before my Skaven obsession, or have I slowly become like this? It's like they say with dogs being like their owners, but in this case, the loveable family fuzzball has been replaced with painted plastic/resin/metal miniatures.
Don't get me wrong. In no way am I saying this is a bad thing. It's part of our self-identity, these collections become a tool, something that we can outwardly express ourselves with, or perhaps by default they are outward expressions of our mentality. Certainly, I find that it's a certain type of person who collects Brettonians, and a very different type that is religious about his Dwarfs or Elves. As always, variety is the spice of life, and I personally embrace this weird anomaly of our hobby. Anything that helps people express themselves gets at least a second glance, in my book, and usually a hearty 'thumbs up'.
Grey Seer Kriknitt