Monday, March 26, 2012

Ode to lead

You open the package and a small, heavy ball falls into your palm, tightly bound in bubble wrap and tape. You look at it, trying to determine its contents by pure shape alone. A chaos knight? Maybe a rare sorceress? Your mind flits back to your ebay buyers history, but time has passed and you have looked at an endless precession of miniature mugshots.
Shaking the packet a plastic base tumbles to the table. Gritty, caked in garish green paint applied by a kid with a brush he bought from a dusty rack at his local newsagents. A thick smell of humbrol enamel paint wafts up. You toss the base at the bin, knowing it would only join the hundreds you have stored up somewhere just in case.
You fumble for the scissors, knowing from experience a letter opener could rip the weapon arm off the figure. You picture yourself a surgeon, masterfully cutting the tissue without harming the patient. Your nose wrinkles as The smell of pipe smoke wafts up from the bubble wrap. Tolkien had a lot to answer for.
Half way through now, and you see a leg and instantly you know what treasure lurks within. Your mind reels back to a time, an image, maybe upon the battlefield in your friends garage, maybe in your game stores window display, or maybe from that magazine article you read again, and again and again 'til its silhouette burned deep into your mind.
Your grinning now. The figure is revealed in full. Here it is. That one. That very one. An almost audible click, and a jigsaw piece somewhere in your being falls into place. That hole you never really was aware of filled. You rush to your shelf that holds its fellows, and hold the figure up, almost like you are showing it the collection it will reside. See? Your new home! You will be painted like this! You will be saved from your casing of revell gunk. Join your fellows, here they await you!
There, placed next to its brethren you step back to admire the set as it becomes ever more complete. Your eyes drink in the togetherness, the unity, the rightness of it all. Then, only then you realize the truth.

"You muppet. You already have that one."


  1. haha...thanks for bringing a smile to my face on Monday morning!


  2. Thanks for this slice-of-life. Reminds me of the time when I obsessively hunted Jes Goodwin skavens couple of years back. Lead poisoning: you can get better, but you're never really cured.

  3. Hah! Splendid stuff, you describe me eerily well.

  4. Yup - been there many times - get out of my head!

  5. The link between the smell of pipe smoke/tobacco and old-school miniatures is actually quite profound for me, as growing-up the only local shop that sold minis was a minute back-street Tobacconists called 'Tuckets' (it even carried ICE MERP stuff and god-knows what else). Long-gone now, of course.

  6. Thats awesome- I think the first time I saw a citadel miniature was in a castle gift shop. It was a chaos knight and I wondered what that black plastic thing was that was also in the pack.

    I have fond memories of hovering around at warlock games in southend. I can remember the smell. Not a bad one, just memorable.

  7. I have to get my partner to read this, if only so she can understand the staggering highs and crushing lows of lead addiction... and maybe release my ban from ordering things on ebay :)

  8. I smoke Captain Black White label while I paint, and I cannot stand plastic minis, at all. I have an insane collection of lead, mostly pre slotta, everything Ive ever owned since I was 12, (Im now 37) I still have and coo over them when I can. :)