With the release of the new Vampire Counts book on Saturday, John and I drove to the local store and picked up some stuff. I spend 100 dollars on:
1. Army book
2. Magic Cards
3. Black Knights/Hex Wraiths
4. Krell, lord of the Undead
5. Necrarch (free)
John was lamenting about how army books were 22 dollars and even hardback codexes were cheaper when they came out; indeed we found the Orcs and Goblins Army hardback in the same store 5 dollars cheaper....that was 37 and we were shocked then.
But now I will tell you what I really think.
First of all I will start by saying that Santa Cruz Warhammer started out as a blog that gave modelers cheap alternatives (like kitbashes or other model companies) to the expensive models of GW. But over time we have changed into a more balanced approach. Where we could model something better using different stuff, we would but we also would give praise to GW for bringing out a splendid model. Now, after 5 years of blogging, we have reached a point where GW is bringing out some of the best models since I started this hobby. And so onto my thoughts about Pricing, Modeling, Drinking and Smoking.
Modeling and playing Warhammer is incredibly cheap, compared to everything else that is out there.
I will put the stuff above into context.
1. The army book...
...looks extraordinary. The binding is supreme, the finish great, the artwork and pages very, very nice and the color rendition is just amazing. Remember when your 22 dollar codex fell apart? Remember how artwork was all in BW? The two products are just not comparable. The new color codexes are books you keep rereading, looking at and use for inspiration. I also feel spending 40 dollars on supporting a company that tries to be so creative and pays their workers to create the stunning artwork...remember those paintings are not done on the computer, it starts out with a white piece of paper.
And...the book will get you through the next 3-5 years of play.
Other 40 dollar expenses:
-video game: 20-40 hours of playtime
-going out to dinner with the family to a cheap place: 1 hour of joy
-seeing a 3D movie with your two kids: 2 hours
-getting coffee every morning at Starbucks for 2 weeks
and so on
2. Magic Cards are useless, but they were there and I figure I support my local store. I cannot make an argument for those; they are handy during the game but really not needed.
3. Black Knights/Hex Wraiths...
...are wonderful models. I was excited to see that the Perry brothers did some sculpting again for Fantasy and no one does horses plus riders better. Also, by adding two options, you end up with some excellent conversion bitz. This set is really meant for the advanced modelers. It requires a subtle paintjob and will give me hours and hours of painting joy. Also, having all the conversion bitz sparks my inspiration to add them to other Skellie units. After all is said and done, I get to play with them for years to come. And all that for less then 30 dollars.
4. Krell. ..
...Finally Juan Diaz, the master Space Marine sculptor, got to do a Fantasy Space marine. Krell looks like he stepped out of 40K and is one bad-ass character. The fluff is great and he will make an excellent Counts leader. 20 dollars for a resin model is OK with me. My fine cast had absolutely no flaws and this model will become one of my centerpieces. Weeks of painting, years of playing and a model that will give me lots of memories in years to come.
...The oldschool Necrarch that I found in the sale bin I got for free. It was missing tons of stuff, like both hands, the staff and horse but did have some interesting modeling options...I love the OOP stuff...and it was free which was nice.
Quality of models OK, now I haven't even talked about the Conven Throne...
No one can complain about a model costing 60 dollars when it looks like that. This thing is just amazing looking and will be a joy paint for countless, relaxing hours. I didn't get it, don't have room frankly, but GW is really giving us great quality for a firm price. If you look around the internet at all the different model companies, very, very few put out such a consistently high quality product. I am not talking about the actual sprues, I am talking about the intellectual quality of output. The creative process to get to certain models and the technical ability to get the stuff into a mold are higher at GW then anywhere else. Of course there are other model companies that produce amazing things, but none has it all so well together in a creative way. I also truly admire GW for sticking with the artists that render this amazing artwork-they could easily just show the models like most companies do.
All in all: everyone should make up their own mind about how to spend their money. But one thing I ask of you: be honest with yourselves. Don't jump on the bandwagon of complaints before you have done some self reflecting. Lots of people spend lots on beer, smokes, videogames (at 60 dollars a pop), getting a haircut, having their car washed etc etc. If you feel ordering 3 dollar coffees every day is more important, don't blame model makers for their prices. It's just a different set of priorities...i make my own coffee every morning. And then I do a little painting to start the day. And for all that, I get to keep the models I have painted and enjoy looking at them for many, many years. They kind of become friends of a certain time period. My buddy Christian always says selling an army is like selling one of your kids.
I am certainly not an apologist for GW. I just try to see things for how they are in comparison to other things....in my life. You should do the same.