Thursday, February 19, 2009

I'm so BORED with olive drab!

I'm so frackin' bored with painting olive drab! Actually, I'm kinda bored with painting miniatures in general. And pretty damned burned out on WWII as a whole, at least the version of the war fought without benefit of daemons and jet packs.

So, its time for something different.

Actually, there's a lot swirling around on this one, and the timing is all sort of coming together for me. I've been getting a bit worn out on painting various shades of brownish green and greenish gray for a while now, but I've been plugging ahead, partly just to have something to do. Idle hands, and all that. I made it a personal goal to FINISH THE FUCKING PARATROOPERS before starting anything else. That just made things worse. I mean, they are so damn close! All I've got left is to finish a scout platoon, paint the objectives, paint the command and hero elements, do up a few markers, and that's it. Well, then I'd have to go back and retail all the previously finished stuff to bring it up to the same standard as the later finished stuff, and add flock and other foliage, and fake snow. But man, they are close! I really don't want them to join the ranks of half-finished armies filling my shelves.

On the other hand, I was thrown out of the main BattleFront forums a while back. I'm not going to rehash the entire sordid affair now, but basically I was getting very critical of BF's newer products, and the guy who is behind the stuff I was being most critical of runs the forum. I made a comment that gave someone grounds for complaint, and I was shown the door, along with CrazyIvan, another infamous loud-mouth. This started an exodus of other loud-mouths to STCC, our local gaming forum -- you should drop by, you'll like it. Much talk was made of our banning being the beginning of the end for BF as they slid inexorably into GW land. Their most recent army book bears this out, with all manner of stupid shit.

Then today they announced the rules and location of the 2009 National Tournament. Hum, how to put this..... fuck 'em. I wasn't that big on it anyway, but they've done a few things that just pissed off pretty well everyone. Its in the middle of no where, so there shall be no extra-curricular fun. No popping out to Historicon between rounds this year. It's in a rented athletic center, so we'd probably have to put up with jocks in the lobby. But the real shark-jumping deal killer are some of the rules in the painting competition. From their announcement:

1. All entries must contain nothing but Battlefront Miniatures.
7. National Tournament participants may not enter categories with components of their army considering those components will be unavailable during the day.

Most of the other rules suck, but those two pissed off pretty much everyone on both sides of the fence. The power gamers basically have to bring two armies, one to fight and one to show off. And anyone who, like me, mixes brands has just been auto-disqualified. My masterpiece is no longer a tournament-legal force. In a historical game. Without copyright restrictions.

And I was struggling to get that shit painted?

So, OK, BF is doing its level best to blow the Flames of War community to shreds. That's fine, I was getting bored, anyway. I need something new, and I need something wierd, damn it! I need gyrocopters and genetic super soldiers! I need airships, with pirates, and maybe aliens. Or deamons, those would work, too. I need to MAKE some shit, and get some real creativity flowing. I need wild parties with fancy people who don't take anything seriously, except for cool things that shouldn't be taken that way at all. I need some new music, too.

I need SteamPunk.

I've been resisting the siren call of hammered brass for a few years now. The whole SteamPunk thing just pulls in the best parts of damn near everything I've ever liked, and wraps it up in DIY coating of live action not role playing party time costume fun with live bands and Tesla coils. But I knew once I jumped I'd be in it up to my eyeballs. Well, the hell with it, I jumped. The basement is now full of brass and cogs and telescopes and toy guns and freaky monsters and all the horror, fantasy, leather, cyber, archaic mixed up nonsense that Mrs. Utini and I have been collecting for years. The whole thing fits like a well-worn glove, probably because we've had our fingers in all the holes all along. We're finally just giving in, and putting all the pieces together. I mean, what umbrella but SteamPunk could cover Lovecraft, Pirates, and WWII all at the same time? (No, at least at this point I don't feel like sub-dividing out DieselPunk. Its just a continuum between Steam and Cyber, anyway.)

So the game table is covered in brass bits, monster specimens, gun parts, sticked up weirdness and all manner of shit from the thrift store. And it is beautiful. The creativity has flown like blood in the gutters of boredom. I have my new. And it's something old, that I've had all along. Its really very liberating -- damn near EVERYTHING I like fits, at least partially or with overlap, into SteamPunk, just as long as you define that term broadly enough.

Obviously, I'll be posting pics.

This does not mean the end of wargaming and miniature painting. But it does mean its going to take a back seat for a bit. I'll finish the paratroopers, and I'll finish my retroactive updates about them at some point. And I'll still be playing games, probably as much as I do now. Hell, we've got a Descent campaign starting in a week and a half! But there will also be pics up here for all the new crazyness.

Because new is good.
And Old New must be very good.