[Another Year of Frugal Gaming] Crash and Burn

Picture the scene. It’s 1995. A baking hot summer’s day, in the small town of Dartington, which is in Devon, which is on the south-western coast of the United Kingdom. A small, slightly dusty newsagent’s shop. A small, slightly sweaty, slightly overweight and startlingly bespectacled child, whose sticky paws are wrapped around a certain document. This one, to be precise.

White Dwarf 201 cover (Squig Hopper)This was where it started. By the end of the summer the little boy was painting up his first twenty Orks and forty Gretchin, by the end of the year he’d bought his first Codex, and by the same time next year he was covering a Lord of Change in gold paint for reasons which history has long since forgotten.

The thing is, that ‘orrible little lad couldn’t afford metal miniatures, not masses of them anyway, so apart from a few token characters and the odd biggish thing like his prized metal Dreadnought, his army was mostly everyone else’s boxed set Orks and Gretchin. He looked longingly at things like Skarboyz and Mega-Armoured Nobz but they were very much out of his price range as far as whole units of them went.

Twenty years later, almost to the day (well, a couple of weeks out, but who’s counting), the former ‘orrible little lad had just finished a weekend’s very well paid freelance work and was poking around on the Oldhammer Trading Company group on Facebook, and… there was a bit of an incident, and then this lot turned up in the post yesterday.
Old-school GW figure caseI had a figure case just like this back in the day. I’m pretty sure the same clasp broke on mine too. I do remember that Dr. Shiny used to lash his shut with a couple of spare belts.
An unseemly pile of lead OrksLITTLE LEAD MEN. Actually made of lead, too.
ORKS ORKS ORKS ORKSProppa Orkanisation. Two candidates for Warboss, a couple of Minderz (no Weirdboy though), a torso and bionik legs to make an interesting Mekboy, and a couple of Runtherds. Oh, and a Shokk Attack Gun. I may not actually USE that for second edition (paying 15 points per shot for ammunition that can get shot at before you use it? mug’s game!), but I had one in the old army so I want one now.
Warboss on Super CyboarWarboss (or Bigboss, IDK) on Super Cyboar. I was all fired up to resell this until I dry-fit it and now I have strong feelings about this AWESOME BATTLE PIG. The rider’s getting a bionik punchin’ arm, too.
Dreadnought in bitsDreadnought! I didn’t actually think I’d get enough bits to build a ‘proper’ second edition four-arms style Dread but I have. Currently looking at trading this one away for the second edition one, to which I am far more attached.
Deathskulls and TinboyzDeathskull Lootas (never had any of these in the old days) and Tinboyz (never knew what these were in the old days – there was only ever a mysterious ‘See Datafax’ for them in the Black Codex and by the time the actual Codex Orks rolled around they were gone). I’m amused by the thought of them but I’ve read the Rogue Trader programming rules and NOPE. Nope nope nope.
Stormboyz and Traks

Two Wartraks and a Squig Katapult. The Katapult is one of those models I’ve always liked (it’s the horns) and the Wartraks were, according to the old White Dwarfs I’ve read, deceptively good. I wouldn’t know: the models were out of production by the time I came into the hobby and wouldn’t see replacement until Gorkamorka dropped in 1998. That plastic Wartrak is still the standard, alarmingly. I’m almost tempted to buy some “current” models for my second edition army, just for bonus windup points.

Spend Less…

Ork Army40KOldhammer Trading Co.£120.00
Blood Axe Nob40KOldhammer Trading Co.£5.00
Codex Orks40KEbay£4.99
1 Stormboy40KEbay£2.99
2 Squig Katapult Krew40KEbay£8.00
Bag O’ Bases40KEbay£7.96
20 ‘Oblivion’ d10sVTDAEbay£7.98
40K Templates etc.40KOldhammer Trading Co.£20.00

… it’s honestly not as bad as it sounds. I’m only about forty quid in the black (or the red) after this flurry of nonsense, a figure which I can totally get back through trades (the Tinboyz and Madboyz, absent respectively from second edition rules and my inclination to field them, are up for sale) and finally hocking off those Magic cards and spare Undead that are taking up space (I should be able to score a round tenner from Liliana alone).

What it has put the lie to is any pretence that this is a Frugal year. Granted, I sold out of Warmachine and bought into SAGA, but a startling amount of money has changed hands. I’m used to thinking of things in terms of ‘how many months’ rent have I spent this year?’ and I’ve gone from ‘just over one’ to ‘nearly three and it’s only July’.

The thing is, I regret nothing. It’s my twentieth anniversary and my thirtieth birthday and I am managing to build both the Ork army I had twenty years ago and the Ork army I mostly wanted (it’s still mostly Goffs, it’s just… mostly metal ones). Whether or not it actually gets any play is almost beside the point (although I’d put down actual cash money that I can talk Curis into getting his Squats out at some point). It’s a collector’s project. I give in. I’m not Frugal and I collect stuff. I am not the man I thought I was.
Pile o' Krud

At least I still hoard stuff to make terrain out of it. Obviously some part of my soul is still shrivelled and bitter at never having gotten that Blue Peter badge.

… Game More

I’ve been playing a bit of Dawn of War and Diablo in between times, and will eventually muster the gusto to polish off Vampire: Bloodlines (it’s getting to the stage where Christof and friends are so good at murdering things they never actually get a chance to feed off them, so I end up stalling on key fights due to lack of blood). There was also, as the GAME OVER transmission may have indicated, some Dark Ages Vampire, which is likely to occur again at some point this month as I make the return trip to Wolverhampton. And that’s about it for now!

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  • Porky_Poster

    A more or less suppressed Blue Peter badge drive really might be a key part of the mix. It’s good to see classic minis still circulating. They’re like relics, or fossils – constant, immediate features of a past world, chances to rediscover something about that world, and if we were there too also about ourselves.

  • congratulations on that beautiful happening. I would like to come play at your house, please.

    • Von

      Any time. Seriously.

  • That cyboar boss is a grand fellow indeed.

    Since you’re a collector now, and you appreciate the deader things in life, I might have a very old Zombie dragon with rider still in the original box (although not sealed in plastic). He’s been looking for a good home for years.

    One of these guys…

    • Von

      Might you now?
      That’s interesting. That’s very interesting indeed. Did you know I’ve wanted one of those since… hold on now… some time in 1997?

      • See now I find that interesting. I will be in contact… instantaneously *opens new tab*