by Iain McDonald
images and text by Angus McDonald
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Us old grizzled modellers (please accept my
apologies if you are neither old nor grizzled) often wonder about
the future of our hobby. Is it to be lost forever to the computer
game, the text mobile, and other more intoxicating and distracting
pastimes? Well, if my son and his friends are anything to go by, the
answer is no. Are these young children building planes, ships, cars
and trains? Well, no, not really. So what are they building? Well,
they are building Warhammer models from the Games Workshop.
My son is now 12 years and 2 months old. He started the models
photographed in this feature when he turned 11. He is largely
self-taught picking up techniques from the internet, books andÖ
wait for itÖ
hang on to your britchesÖ
donít fall off your chair nowÖ
by interacting with his peers!
They talk to each other, they chew the fat, they go round to each
otherís houses and have group builds, they swap and discuss
techniques. Good God! What is the world coming to!
Right, pick up your jaw from where it has made a dent in the floor.
I know mine did when I learnt this.
Now, before you dismiss this fantasy stuff out of hand, I think you
really should take a close look at the photographs I have taken of
my sonís latest models. Apologies for their poor quality, I
hurriedly shot them late Sunday evening, with only one light.
Remember also, these models were painted by a self-taught eleven
year old. He does them in between: swimming, watching videos and
DVDs, playing computer games, homework, eating like a horse,
sleeping late, growing up like a bamboo shoot, etc, i.e. all the
normal things children get up to.
These kids (remember his friends build them as well) apply every
construction and painting technique to these models. Itís awesome
what they get up to. Many of the figures in this article have been
converted. If Iain doesnít like a particular pose or model, he whips
out his modelling knife, hacks bits off various figures, and
re-combines them until he is happy.
I have incredibly sophisticated conversations with him over
modelling techniques. From the start he has applied washes to his
models. We talk about the properties of glues, the difficulties of
some paints, applying PVA as a base, the flatness of varnish sprays,
etc. He was unhappy about the drying time of pre-mixed filler he
bought from a DIY store. He even told me about various methods of
modelling water using PVA!
He employs all sorts of ingredients, and comments on their uses,
limitations and strengths. He uses base coats. He uses various
highlights and shading. He has employed dry brushing from the word
go. And then he goes on to build dioramas, raiding the house for
whatever he needs. The grass on the dragon (snake) diorama was
obtained from his Guinea Pig bedding!
The winged dragon itself has been kit bashed. The neck, body and
tail come from a Wood Elf dragon. The head is a Kroxiburg while the
wings are from a Great Eagle. The whole lot is held and blended
together with a combination of super glue and green stuff.
Personally, my gob is duly smacked.
The great thing is, there are loads of kids doing this. Warhammer
really is a phenomenon which appears to have caught the imagination
of young boys (not being sexist here, but for the most part girls
donít seem interested in this stuff). The Games Workshop outlets are
always packed on the weekends and during the school holidays. If the
kids donít like the modelling they do the war gaming or vice versa
or both. I visited a new (yes, new, recently opened!) model shop in
Camberley. Wisely the owners sold Warhammer models (in addition to
an excellent range of planes, ships, cars, and trains), and had
installed two war gaming tables. The shop was heaving with kids!
Some were gaming with Warhammer models. Others were gaming with some
sort of Warhammer card game. It was quite interactive, a far cry
from your Ďnormalí model shop.
Other aspects I have just realised of the Games Workshop phenomena.
First when you go into a shop there is usually someone making and
painting the models. They make them to a high standard, and are very
friendly, very willing to show kids (and adults) how to achieve
various affects. Secondly is they have built and painted models on
display, again built to a high standard. The kids seem undaunted by
such professionalism. Quite the reverse, if my son is anything to go
by, they just go off and try and emulate the standard.
if you take a close look at my sonís models you will notice one or
two modelling slip ups, which will normally draw a sharp intake of
breath from us seasoned cronies. Mould and seam lines have not bee
cleaned up! Some of the gaps from his kit bashing have not been
fully filled. Some of the paintwork, especially is early efforts
(e.g. the horse mounted figures) is not as good as it might. Do the
kids care? No. Should we care, pointing these defects out to them?
For the most part, kids donít notice these things. That comes later.
Though I must admit I did point out the mould lines to him, only as
an observation, in a non-critical and light manner, but under
no-circumstances did I tell him to clean them up.
With Games Workshop, I think the future of our hobby is safe. These
kids will, at some stage, turn their hands to Ďtraditioní planes,
boats, cars and trains. Especially as other ranges in the Games
Workshop repertoire contain such vehicles.
I have included a British £1 (one pound) coin for size reference. A
£1 coin is a little smaller than an American quarter, and roughly
the same size as a Euro.
What you canít tell from the photo of Iain is his size. He is 5 feet
9 inches (1.76 metres) tall. Judging by the size of his hands and
feet he has a lot of growing to go. In a couple of years heís going
to be my minder!
Click on the thumbnails
below to view larger images:
Model Copyright by Iain McDonald
Images and Text Copyright 2003 by
Page Created17 November, 2003
Last Updated 17 March, 2004
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