View Full Version : Emotional moment while unpacking my guardsmen...

Awilla the Hun
10-01-2012, 23:14
A strange thing, to feel an emotional connection to one's Imperial Guardsmen. Very strange. And yet, as I unpacked them, I did.

I had left them in my case for over three months, as I went off to attend university. For the first time ever, this was without my warhammer. I decided that, as I had a SATT game to run, there would be too much nerd kit for one term if I had my soldiers too. They could wait. They would still be there when I came back. So I went, and had a great deal of fun, and back I came, and at the end of the holiday I found myself-no, find myself in the middle of-removing my guardsmen from their case, and replacing them with the Red Guards, my Bretonnians. For there's a tournament coming, and someone's got to shoulder a polearm and march for Nottingham. March, most likely, to their inevitable death, to be chuckled at by gamers on the internet, before clicking on to News and Rumours.

So, as I unpacked these hapless, neglected men with their little lasguns and bayonets, I found myself thinking. I had first heard the call to arms when I was around 14 years old, perhaps earlier, having had a cataclysmic career with a gold painted Chaos army. Ugly in appearance, stueish in fluff (a bunch of ancient, misunderstood Necron hunters), and unsuited to my playstyle. Originally, the guardsmen would have followed: a feudal world army, focussed on warrior weapons and carapace armour. But Bernard Cornwell intervened just in time, so they ended up with lasguns and normal models instead. I was not displeased with the result. Massed, static heavy weapons suited me just fine. As, more to the point, did their image. Hapless, downtrodden humanity, battered about for ten thousand years, standing defiant and unleashing a last spit in the face of Chaos, C'tan, and whatever vile menace there may be in the cosmos. A spit of artillery bombardment, cavalry charges, and a million lasgun volleys.

So I persevered, and I collected. In a very real sense, I grew up with the guardsmen, lonely geek as I was. The paintscheme remained uniformly dire, although I had happily mastered the use of undercoat by the time I started on them. Gradually, as battles were fought, a background assembled itself. The Emperor's Saggitarrian Rifles were formed as a regiment (named after some fragment of an old Biggles book about the King's African Rifles), with officers' names dragged from Sharpe, War and Peace, and wherever they could be found. A homeworld, heavily aristocratic, emerged. As did, after a hard fought tournament, a nemesis to explain all the imperial enemies they had to face: the nefarious Inquisitor Agelian. And, of course, a suitably gentlemanly, unflappable leader, in the form of His Grace the Duke of Lawford. In due time, battle reports were written, and (to my pride) appreciated by the internet.

It wasn't only the army as a whole whic gained a history, though, but each individual model. That guardsman, from green platoon crouching with his bayonet fixed-he helped take a demon prince once! That sergeant, of the Dragoons-why, that Chaos Lord fell to his chainsword in hand to hand. The mighty Demolisher decimated a whole squad of Tyranid Warriors in a single shot as they crashed against its hull, and helped drag a tortuous battle into my team's favour. And the glorious cavalry! The role of honour goes on, and shall be remembered in the Emperors' halls...

Or, perhaps, not. As I unpacked the guardsmen, I found myself thinking. I cannot carry them about everywhere I choose to live. My Bretonnians have been played overwhelmingly more in recent years. They have had much more written about them. I have also, it must be added, enjoyed them more, in recent games, than my guardsmen; every enemy I faced seemed to be Space Marines, or Grey Knights. There was little variation. And, in honesty, I never was really that good with them. Too focussed on the image of the crash of guns, the rumble of tank tracks, and the waves of marching boots and bayonets following behind to concentrate enough on the battle, and rules minutae. So, if it came to the push of life after university, would my beloved guardsmen accompany me onwards? Most likely, I concluded, not. Which makes me sad, because those ill painted, dogged little bits of plastic have seen so very, very much, and it seems such a dreadful shame to leave them behind.

I'm not sure of the point of this thread, and it makes me feel slightly embarrassed just to type it. But I do so, all the same. Good night.

10-01-2012, 23:29
Good story. I think it is easy to become emotionally attached to your models as you develop a story for them. It gives them flesh, instead of staying plastic.

Brother Alexos
10-01-2012, 23:58
Yeah, I remember my first game, back when I was Eight. (Jeez! I'm Seventeen. Its almost been Ten years of gaming.) I played a small Brettonian army painted blue and white against Orcs. That game still ranks #1 in my heart.

11-01-2012, 00:00
Ah, the twangs of nostalgia. If you put effort and time into anything it will be endeared to you a lot more than something you just bought and have sitting on the shelf.

Brother Alexos
11-01-2012, 00:22
If you do feel the need to get rid of your army, I suggest you at least post a thread in the Imperial Logs section detailing the army by platoons, squads, what have you. I would like to hear more about these guys.

11-01-2012, 00:32
While on one level it might be a bit 'sad' or 'embarrasing' to say you feel attached to your models, on a psychological level it really isn't that surprising.

Clearly it's not the actual bits of plastic that are making you emotional. It is the part of yourself that has manifested itself in your creations and also the pleasant memories of the time spent enjoying them with others.

The best analogy I can think of is leaving a home you have lived in for years. On a reductionist level it's just bricks and mortar but the mind cannot fully reconcile the reality and the emotional attachment with the physical space - the memories of the times spent and the events that occured there.

I think that all of my armies are a projection of my personality in some way and therefore I will always have some attachment for them.

11-01-2012, 00:59
My first army were Catachan, they were terribly painted, the army composition was average and I barely ever won a game with them. Yet whenever I think of them, I think of the great memories I had exploring the world of warhammer at the age of 11. Years later I wasn't playing with them any more, I decided to get rid of them and I ended up just keeping a squad of snipers so I could always have that memory.

Chapters Unwritten
11-01-2012, 01:09
My Space Wolves were bought with the money I'd saved to buy an engagement ring for the girl I loved. I was down on my luck and when the time was near she abruptly and unceremoniously left me before I could spring the question. Warhammer was always a big part of our relationship because she was always upset that I always played in once a week without fail. I was prepared to give this up for her but she was impatient and decided she'd be better off without me. In an emotional torrent, I blew all the money on new pieces.

But because I did that, it meant I kept playing, and because of it I one day invited a friend over to play and he brought along his cousin, who is my current girlfriend and now attends the club every week with me and is a better painter than I am. I got out of a harsh relationship and got into a much better one, all because of this game.

So yeah. You could say I'm attached. Heh.

Born Again
11-01-2012, 08:34
No man, I get it. I don't think I could bear to willingly part with my models without good reason. Even if they're not played with anymore, I have boxes of them including the first model I ever painted, an old Orc Archer, who I'm still extremely proud of even though the painting is terrible. I like the build up of stories to as your army gains experience, it's part of what makes the game so much fun.

If it makes you feel any better though, Imperial Guardsmen fighting and dying and then being left for dead and forgotten... well, it is kind of fitting, isn't it? :p

11-01-2012, 11:42
I recognize this. I have keept circa 40 catachans, some snipers,a sentinel and the old Colonel straken (which i have repainted to good standard to use in my new guard).
All the old models were bought in 2000-2002 and were the first contact i had with warhammer. I just dont have the heart to get rid of them. Also the sentinel is my most valuable model and it would be the last model I would sell if I had to give up my entire collection. This is because my grandmother got me the model and sentinels have since then remained my favourite GW unit. (i am 23 now)

So in other words, it is the memories of a new and unexplored world, as well as the connection I feel with my grandparents that make these old models so precisous to me, not the plastic itself. I will probably painstrip my old models one day and make a display of them with a suitable displaytray, to honour all the joy the hobby has given me.

11-01-2012, 15:39
I started playing 14 years ago. First models I assembled being the tactical squad from the 3rd Edition Box set.
Those same marines were recently repainted (botched paint painted over, details added) and have seen the tabletop on and off for most of those 14 years.
Other armies come and go, and interest in 40k waxes and wanes, but I doubt I could ever part with my marines, I have sold an IG and Ork army, and would love to part with my nids if I could find takers!
They have been joined by a company and a half of other marines and have a new plastic container in a gaming attic. They even get to battle a few times a year.

11-01-2012, 15:43
I got a very nostalgic feeling when I saw the 2012 Games Day Space Marine veteran. This was the first picture of a Space Marine I saw when I was a kid, it was this figure that made me start with warhammer 40k. Now that it has been made in the flesh (or resin) I just know that I have to have it.

11-01-2012, 15:51
I want to thank Awilla the Hun for starting this thread. Earler today I saw it, and during the day I bought brake fluid and my old models are taking a swim :)

11-01-2012, 23:11
Enjoyed reading that so thanks. Don't get rid of them! Wish I still had the first models I bought back in 86...!

11-01-2012, 23:39
This was beautiful. I'm a fantasy native, though I play 40k, and I can totally relate.

I wouldn't give up my Empire spearmen, gunmen, archers (who are actually Brettonian models...), knights, my first cannon, or my gold-plated general for anything. My mom and dad helped me paint (indeed, did most of the work) for my early models (I was only ten or so when I first got the bug), and Warhammer was/is a shared family activity, my brother and I warring it out on the dining room table, so they mean a lot.

If I had to give up all my later Empire models, or my Imperial Guard, I'd be unhappy, but not like if I lost my old Talabheim (mispronounced "Talbaheim" in my house).

12-01-2012, 10:09
No Awilla don't get rid of them!

I'm in the same boat as Mythicalmonk above me in that I'm first and foremost a Fantasy player but I know exactly where your coming from when I sold my Brets. Now, three years later I wish that I hadn't done it as they indeed had stories of their own and my new Brets, while cool just aren't the same. I still want my dodgy painted ones back.

Let's face it, what is the reason we play this game? Or more to the point, why do you play? To me it seems that you are far more appreciative of the vision rather than winning and this is perfectly valid. So why get rid of an army that allows you to indulge?

My two cents mate,

13-01-2012, 01:11
Keep your armies, as others have stated, you might not regret getting rid of them now, but you will. I regret getting rid of my first few armies, way back in 2nd edition, marines, eldar, tyranids.

After that I decided never again will I sell, trade, or get rid of any models I have.

14-01-2012, 00:47
Its toy story 3 all over again =P

If you get rid of them just make sure your sure. Considering the time and effort put into the models.

14-01-2012, 14:41
See now this is what the game is all about for me. It's not about finding rules to abuse or making armies that are overpowered with no heart in them. It's about spending time with each and every little plastic dude, getting them all nicely dressed to go to war with your friends. It's about crying when your wizard's head explodes and kills his own unit, losing you the game and laughing about it later.

I would suggest doing what you can to avoid getting rid of what you have, you clearly have a strong connection with them and you will regret it if you do. I'm getting rid of one of my old armies that I don't really care for, but I would never get rid of my skaven (partly because hundreds of hours have gone into it and it's not finished). It's not so bad if you have other armies to carry the flag but if you feel as strongly as I think you do, it's not going to be a good idea.