My obsession with tiny metal things has so far proven to be not to be a genetic disorder. Older Son and Middle Daughter haven’t shown much interest in the collection and painting of miniatures and Baby Son, although extremely interested in eating every choking soldier he can find, has not yet found time to master the finer arts of painting and assembling. All members of my family have at one time or another commented unkindly, even to the extent of banishing me and my hordes to my tiny alcove where my computer resides, they now only make an appearance for the nightly painting sessions in front of the TV. This situation changed dramatically on the weekend.
A trip to my Local Retailer of Addictive Hobbies (LRAH) with Older Son found us standing in front of the well stock 40K shelves. To my surprise he expressed a burning desire to build and paint some Space Marines. Now to put this in perspective; I am not a fan of the GW product. I don’t mind the back story and fluff, in fact their fluff is probably the best fluff around but you have to remember I come from a Traveller background, not exactly “hard” science fiction but not D&D in space either. At this point the credit card was feeling generous and we begun to investigate the best way to start. The first surprise came when we picked up the rule book, thinking this a good place to start I was a little taken aback with the ninety-five dollar price tag (that buys a lot of 15mm miniatures or possibly around two or three good rule sets) although our mates at Battlefront seem to have adopted this policy as well. Second surprise came with the miniatures, five miniatures for forty dollars- madness! There was even one walker style thing from the Tau that was fifty dollars for one and they are plastic- more madness! At this point I was busy back pedaling from my “pick anything” statement to “pick nothing and we can order a nice NAC company from GZG and get some change” when Older Son pulled a large box labeled “Warhammer 40,000: Assault on Black Reach”, my heart dropped fearing an imminent house sale to cover the massive expenditure. To my surprise the contents actually represented good value in the context of the rest of the range representing bad value and they even included a rule book!
Older Son has the power to distill what at face value appears to be an expensive an unnecessary purchase into an essential and feature laded purchase that will deliver endless days of joy and thus when amortized over its expected lifespan deliver a return on investment that will exceed expectations, a salesman in the making. The box went to the counter and home to the kitchen table where the four sprues of Airfix like plastic awaited assembly. To give them credit GW have taken what I like to call the “drug dealer” approach: the first hit is free but once you are addicted you pay through the nose. This is pretty much a standard marketing tactic but at the end of the day did I fell ripped off? I had a good think about this and I have to say that it’s a resounding “no”. Let’s face it, it’s an exciting and well put together product which both myself and Older Son will have a blast painting and playing with. We can use some of the existing terrain already in use for my 15mm stuff and it gives him an accessible entry point into the hobby. It may not be to my liking but to be completely honest, I am excited about finally learning what all the fuss is about, after all, he could have been interested in fantasy and that would have been a complete disaster!