Picking Up the Pieces

by Charles Foster III

Hello, Hobbyists!

Warfaire Weekend has come and gone. At this writing, I’m so pumped up about getting more brush time in and rolling more dice. It was fantastic for me; it was one of the best cons of the year, seeing old friends and meeting new ones! Literally everything I was hoping for…with one exception…

While Blighterghast didn’t cause any heartbreak, after a short flight, I discovered  this in my bag:

I was at a loss for words. But said loss brings me to my article for today: picking up the pieces. This, I think, is the absolute nightmare of any hobbyist. A lot of you out there are already asking: Um…Why would you check your baggage? Well, to be honest, I always check my armies. And yes, I can totally feel the eye rolls but wait. Let’s talk about how it all went wrong, how to handle the emotions of cataclysmic events such as this, and how to go about putting the pieces back together, so you can get back on the tabletop or hobbying as soon as possible.

Let’s start with how it all went wrong. As I said, I’ve always checked my armies. For over a decade now, I’ve put my armies in protective measures inside my checked bags. A well-packed, well-protected army can easily make it to its destination unharmed. For my benefit, I don’t have to carry an unwieldy bag through the airport and can instead work on my favorite video game score worry-free while running from gate to gate. In this instance, the models were magnetized on their bases to the container they were traveling in. As no magnets alone can ensure their safe travel, I cut foam inserts to completely surround the models. Imagine Battlefoam but cut specifically to completely surround the models. Finally, a layer of bubble wrap placed on top of all of the foam, securing the models and foam in place so that there is the ability for neither lateral nor vertical movement. Why, then, was there so much damage? Well, the bag was inspected and the foam, bubble wrap, and for some off reason, my staff shirts were removed from my bag. Really: one of those shirts was from 2013 so at least 10 years of conventions smell woven into it, which—let’s be honest—no amount of Febreze and bleach can remove. So, my models were left alone, unprotected and insanely vulnerable. Without a protective barrier for the models to help them travel safely, one model came loose, shifting back and forth, magnetizing to other models, shifting those… It basically became a Katamari, a ball of its own destruction. A magnetized lump of broken dreams.

Upon arrival at the hotel, I opened my bag to find there is, in fact, at least one speedy way to beat a Brineblood Marauders army:  gravity at 30,000 feet. I cannot begin to describe the emotions of seeing a well-painted army rendered to confetti. Instead, here is me hiding under a desk using a tablecloth as a blanket.

So, post-disaster. Let’s talk about collecting yourself from a cataclysmic hobby level event. The first thing I suggest is to just give yourself a moment to process. After the exchange of looks between myself and my fellow traveler in utter silence, I simply closed the bag and said we should go get dinner. As there wasn’t any more damage that could be done, I figured a plate full of nachos and a glass of a soothing beverage could hold back the tears. After filling up on cheese and tortillas, I returned to the scene of the crime. I pulled out all of the models and laid them out as best as I could, lined their corpses with police tape, and started assessing the damage. After putting all the fragments together like Howard Carter on an archeological dig site, I still couldn’t handle the task in front of me. I was half-tempted to put a free sign on them and leave them in the lobby, as it hurt my soul to look upon the ruins of what was ultimately assembled and painted just a few hours ago.

This brings me to my next coping mechanism: surround yourself with hobbyists and friends who enjoy the game. I went downstairs and was surprised (but not really surprised) to see hobbyists had already set up shop in the painting area and were enjoying their craft. I sat down and had great conversations with old friends and met some new folks. I got super-pumped up from all of the good vibes and energy. Happiness in hobbies is incredibly contagious. Whether it’s learning a new technique, seeing people painting with new tools, or even just a cool paint scheme/color you want to try out, it’s all addicting, and that was what I needed. Finally, fully recharged, I headed off to my room to wade in again.

I went upstairs and began the painstaking process of reassembling my models. It took around nine hours to get everything back together—it was professional surgery without anesthesia. There were chips in the paint, parts missing, and after everything looked to be together, I had a pile of pieces. I knew they went somewhere, but, like I was working on an assembled IKEA desk, I couldn’t figure out where or what they went to. So, I snuck in a few minutes of a nap and got up on day one of Warfaire Weekend. Since I was done reassembling models for myself, it was now time to assemble and bring Blighterghast to the table!

Special shoutouts to Ron Kruzie and Stu Spengler for a ton of hours and hard work that went into making this model a reality. Further, Doug Hamilton gave us this amazing sculpt. So, with the dragon and my models assembled as best as I could, it was time to hit the tables and get some games in. I had originally set a goal of 20 games—that is, a lot of games, to say the least. Although I was unsuccessful at getting all twenty games, I did manage to get in fifteen with both old friends and quite a few new ones.

All in all, the weekend went from ruin to recovery. Now the special trick: building on the energy of a great convention. With all the buzz and hype from the weekend, including new friends, great games, cool new painting techniques, and new methods, I was on Cloud Nine. I sat down and started resculpting, repainting, touching up, and fixing anything I couldn’t do on-site at the hall. It was thanks to the next-level weekend where I was able to surround myself with the best people, the best games, and best the best hobbying techniques that I knew moving past my Brineblood army wasn’t the answer. I’m happy to say that the trolls were never found with a free sign adjacent to them nor were they in range to find a charge lane to a trash can. These trolls were gonna regenerate stronger than ever before for the next convention! I also may have picked up a preview battlegroup box for the Khymaera Shadowflame Shard. Now, I’m not sure if it was seeing the giant dragon of the narrative or Doug showing off the Wyvern, but I learned I needed more dragons in my life. Next time, I promise I’ll be doing at least one more Brineblood Marauders Insider with painting the Great Old One before the hobby article clock expires in 2023.

Until next time, paint on, brushlickers!

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