Make!

WGTC-WIPThings have been slow around here, we’ve all had various reasons for that. Personally TheWife and I have been in the process of relocating, starting new jobs and I even came down with mono. Fun times.

But today’s post is a celebration! Tomorrow, Saturday September 19th, I’ll be set up at city hall in Kitchener, Ontario at this years Maker Expo. If you’re in southern Ontario, consider coming out to this free event and explore all the innovation, technology and art from a whole cast of cool people. I’ll have my paints, brushes and a bunch of minis for people to try their hand at painting in addition to some displays on the process of painting miniatures and some of the unique supplies I use.

When I originally considered joining this event, I thought, “Nahhh, this isn’t a fit.” But one of the organizers pointed out that the miniatures I create are “engaging.” It’s true. How many of us started this hobby because we stopped and looked at these crazy little people and were captivated by how cool they look? How many of us have shown friends, who may not be interested in the game, but still marvel at what we’re creating? Anything that sparks imagination can brighten someone’s day.

I’ve said plenty of times that everyone is a part of this hobby for various reasons: Some are just gamers and that’s fine. But there are others who love the creativity this hobby instills in us. I’m a painter first (You may have noticed.) and I try to experiment with different styles – which do exist in our hobby. NMM vs TMM is just one example. Another would be the “American” vs “European” aka bolder vs softer styles of painting. Get out of that grimdark and brighten up your army! Others love to build – be it scratch-builds, looted gear, terrain or entire table-top battlefields. Some people dive in to a certain genre such as fantasy, sci-fi, steampunk, cyberpunk, etc.

Taken from the Maker Expo website: “Maker Expo is a diverse, family-friendly showcase of makers, artists & organizations who create amazing things in celebration of the do-it-yourself spirit.

So yes, we’re all Makers. Every time we pick up a brush, pour some glue, kneed some green stuff, sprinkle some flock, whatever – we’re creating. The lines between technology and art are blurring and who’s to say one deserves more celebration than another?

What I want to know is how are you a Maker?

What are some examples of projects that you’ve undertaken and felt passionate about, maybe broke out of your comfort zone?

Is there something you’ve been putting off because of its scale? Think maybe you’ll finally start it?

Or, what does being a “Maker” mean to you? Does this put the hobby in a new light?

  • Bush Craft

    This is a great idea. I’m happy too see you out there engaging the community and drawing a crowd.

    • And it was a great time. I’ll be posting about it later, but wow, what a day. So many people – old folks, parents, kids.. just so interested in hearing about the hobby, what goes into painting these things, soooo many kids went home super happy after painting their own figure. What a day.

      • Drathmere

        Dave,

        This article inspired me to go beyond casting and try something involving soldering. I give you the static grass applicator! http://40khobbyblog.blogspot.com

        • I responded over there.. because that’s really awesome. Glad to have pushed!

  • Drathmere

    The hobby aspect of miniature wargaming is the part that draws me in the most. A friend and I have been really interested in Bolt Action wargaming, and have been mass producing tables for our gaming club. We’ve built a huge North African town, Sollum, casting details for the buildings, and pouring water effects (http://cheatinsteve.blogspot.com/2015/06/bolt-action-battle-report-sollum.html) In parallel we’ve been making bocage and casting buildings for our Normandy games (http://40khobbyblog.blogspot.com/2015/09/bocage-battle-report.html) We also have bene making really nice trees for our tables. (http://40khobbyblog.blogspot.com/2014/12/autumn-trees-and-bolt-action-germans.html)

    The best part of all of this has been making molds and casting details for the tables!

    • Those are some great pieces – really bring the battlefield to life when you have stuff like that to game around. I’d LOVE to do more terrain projects, but honestly can’t justify having the space to store everything in.

      A buddy of mine did some metal casting to replicate the Mad Max belt buckle from the new movie.

    • I can’t get to the trees – the link says the page doesn’t exist.
      One strange thing with trees, is I go outside and they are f**kin huge, but when people model them they’re always little saplings only twice or so the height of a man. One day I’d like to see foot-tall trees, actually to scale, rising out of the table.

  • Captain Kellen

    What is a maker?

    One of the things that I have to have for the corner is a bit of freedom when it comes to creativity. Many times I feel that certain games box us into which models MUST be used and creativity is discouraged. In a sense a maker is creative.

    I do understand the ‘downside’ to creativity when it comes to win at all cost type of folks. There can be an advantage to creating a tank with a barrel eight inches long, calling it a ‘variation’ of the original, yet the original had a four inch barrel. I could elaborate more but I think my point is made. Creativity for the sake of winning isn’t what I mean when I think of a maker.

    I suppose one of the reasons people follow my eratic blog is because I know I am creative. Writing, conversions, and theme are a must for the corner and allow a high level of creativity.

    Building things from scratch is another thought about ‘makers’. I don’t think it is an absolute that ‘makers’ build things from thin air. Those rare individuals that can come up with things from common, ordinary, everyday things are of a different set of makers. They re- envision things into something new which can be a makers calling card.

    A maker can also inspire others to ‘make’ stuff. In the past I belonged to a forum and we had a little ‘thing’ called ‘Rumble or Stumble’. We modeled stuff in accordance with a set criteria, posted funny pictures of ourselves while the process was going on, and after a set period of time post pictures of the finished model. The forum members voted in a poll to decide the winner. It inspired many people to do ‘hobby stuff’ without having to spend a bunch of time doing it. Makers can inspire others in unknown ways on many occasions.

    So what is a maker?

    They are a hobbyist who is creative, inspirational, and shares their vision with others.

    As it is well known… I’ll be in the corner…

    CK

    • Very well put. It’s true that makers can come from any walks of life. We have some great artists in the area who are a part of the maker community. We’ve started using Facebook group chats to arrange painting jams for the group of us. Great way to get everyone committed to their work and on track.

    • Drathmere

      I think anyone who picks up a brush or glues together a model is a maker!

      • Captain Kellen

        You are correct.

        I often think of myself as some sort of philosopher in the corner and get long winded and forget where we have come from.

        I was also thinking about contributing to the discussion and help our writers in a small way. It isn’t easy cranking out an article regardless of who we are and thus the desire to support them.

        I believe we must be a good follower before we can be a good leader. If that makes sense.

        CK

        • It does make sense. From one angle, it allows a certain amount of empathy. From another, it promotes communication.. which I suppose returns to empathy. Being able to understand the people you lead is important, otherwise you’re just giving orders.

  • How am I a maker? Well, I really like coming up with a vision, then rummaging around in my bits box to make it a reality. I only buy parts if I absolutely need to, and use household objects if there’s a suitable one. The finished product is rarely exactly how I imagined it, but that’s part of the fun to me. This hobby really gives opportunities for scavenge-sculpture like no other I reckon.

    • It’s great to allow a project to evolve. Also, to have the eye to see other things for their possibilities. It’s dangerous too! Wandering down aisles in dollar, surplus or wherever stores and thinking “terrain!” or some other application.

  • Von

    I make characters and scenarios out of bits of myself. It’s a very strange business, this inviting other people to experience aspects of my mind indirectly, allegorically, vicariously or by proxy. It works only because they don’t always know. I encourage them to cling to the illusion that there is In Character and Out Of Character and that these states are fully discrete.

    Recently I was invited to a V:tM game set in occupied France, during the Second World War. It’s interesting; high spectacle compared to what I usually run, but it’s entertaining. The Storyteller there encouraged me to play a Malkavian, to the hilt, in the hope of jolting one or two of her players out of their rut and setting an example for them. She was courteous enough to give me the ‘Catwoman scene’ – if you’ve seen Batman Returns, you know the one, where a character wakes up newly maddened and proceeds to trash everything they held dear. In this case my fanatical WWI-veteran Communist swiftly took to making out with his rifle, which for reasons which have yet to become fully clear he has named Madelaine, and shot all the windows out of his decrepit tenement while lustily quoting The Threepenny Opera. If I say that much of this was mimed with my walking stick you will think that I have gone too far, and truth be told I was physically shaking afterwards. Why is this relevant? Why am I telling you about my character? Because it’s all context for this exchange, after the fact.

    Dave: “The thing is, I couldn’t go full psycho like that. It’s bloody impressive, but I can’t do it.”
    Ben: “You have to remember though, that’s Etienne going full psycho, not Jon. It’s in-character.”
    Me: *ambivalent sounds*

    On no account must they be allowed to know how much of this comes from life. I put a lot of myself into my characters – ‘too much’, by the detached standards of the medium – but where else will they come from? What else is this but a Making, a putting together of those scraps of ourselves which don’t get to shine in polite society that they might live vicariously through fantasy, a Termite Art of the soul?

    The other possibility, of course, is that I’m insane. We’re not ruling this out.

    • My favorite LARP character was a Malk. It allowed me to get out of my shell, let loose and put on a show. It wasn’t some random loopy vampire, but it was someone who required me to commit to who I was playing.