A comedy of errors

I had actual work to do today, so the Jezzail conversion will have to wait. So that means today you get a news and stuff day.

Here is an interesting article I came across dealing with Games Workshops new line of plastics. Being a professional print designer I was actually hoping the piece was about new GW packages, where as it is actually about the contents of new plastic kits. Sounds ludicrous, being interested in someones cardboard box, but it’s like any job. You do it for a while, and soon it’s all you can see. Architects look at how buildings are built and what they are made of, police officers always check people out, cooks always thinks about ingredients.

Anyway. Basically the article tells us in the hobby nothing really new. It will be interesting to see how intensely focused this box integration is. For instance, will new plastic Skaven build Clanrats, Stormvermin and Plague Monks? Or is it more along the lines of Plague Monks and Censer Bearers from the same box? I’m just curious how this will work for Warhammer, as it is 40k that offers a vast array of options for each troop type.

I have also been trapsing around the internet gawking at other people armies again. Today I thought I would highlight another type of themed army, the ‘comedy army’. My two examples are thus. Aaron Chapman’s Holy Grail army and this odd Orc warband for Mordheim on a site I cannot read the language of.

These are both what I call ‘comedy armies’, armies themed around a subject that could be considered comical. These are odd beasts. On the one hand they often show a lot of passion and dedication from the creator in achieving their vision. On the other, the bulk of the time they aren’t really that funny and they detract overall from the Warhammer game.

Don’t get me wrong. If I went to a tournament and the Holy Grail army was plonked down in front of me, I would fight against it no problems. It’s just that, and to regular readers it will sounds like I’m flogging a dead horse, they aren’t that original or creative. The creator of a comedy army is essentially transplanting an existing unrelated idea into a tabletop army. I will even take the extra leap and say that they never even attempt to make it fit into the Warhammer background somehow. I agree, why would you want Hello Kitty written into your Warhammer time line, but that is part of my problem.

I like seeing armies that people have created from the background. They have read through the army book and thought about what characteristics they like in the army and built something to reflect that. Even those who build armies purely for power normally at least have an underlying thread that is pulled from their armies history or character that they apply to the models. Thus the army still retains a strong cohesive character.

It it noble to spend your time building an army that you think will amuse people, but most comedy armies just exist as parody. I have seen armies that have made me laugh, but by subtle distortion of Warhammer background through conversions, painting and general hard work.

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About matt

Freelance Graphic Designer, thinker, and Warhammer tragic.

2 responses to “A comedy of errors”

  1. Brave Sir Robin says :

    The warhammer World is far too restrictive to allow for any real creativity. Why just build within the framework of someone else’s fluff? Why not use their rules and model range to create something unique and interesting. I find that the vast majority of players who think they have interesting fluff actually have a terribly boring army. So what if you read a 6 word paragraph in the Warriors of chaos bookand created an army based upon the minimal cultural tid-bits found there?… it’s dull!

    Make an army that will draw a crowd, because of a solid theme and conversion and that’s a big deal. To copy a movie or create a silly pink orc warband means youare trying to be different and make the hobby your own. Simply purchasing thestandard models and making your theme be “Forest Spirits” or “Nuln” is the height of unorigionality.

  2. matt says :

    Obviously you have never worked in a professional creative environment, as restrictions and boundaries a the cornerstone of most great creative works.

    Why build in the framework of someone else’s fluff? Because being able to create an original, intelligent idea from the parameters someone else has provided is far more impressive. In the case of Warhammer, you can use the rules and model range to create something unique and interesting, but this doesn’t nessessarily have to sit in a whole other realm from the source material.

    I agree that there are too many badly conceived armies out there based on short pieces of background. But this is just proving most peoples creative ineptitude at working with a set of boundaries. You may indeed find it dull, but there are those that find armies build around concepts unrelated to Warhammer unoriginal. Unfortunately, the bias goes both ways.

    Making an army that draws a crowd is not exclusive to in-world themed forces. A good idea is a good idea. Good conversions are good conversions. Yes, you can make the hobby your own building Space Marines with cat heads or Empire troops based on characters from Fable 2. This is all fine, but don’t pretend that it is the height of originality and creativity.

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