Saturday, 1 April 2017

The Fall Of The Oldhammer Empire?

It seems to me, that the whole 'Oldhammer' craze or perhaps a better definition in the broader sense would be a 'movement' (I'll leave the interpretation of that term, to you, dear reader) is getting rather silly.

Of course, to many the hole concept of grown men playing with lead dollies is silly, but I don't mean it in that way.

Let me explain a few thoughts that I have been ruminating over...

The prices of the models being offered on eBay are frankly 'a fucking rip off'. These are models which are 3 decades old, not antique, nor are they 'rare' as many claim. I would use that term with a great deal of caution little ones, because to the generation who are championing  the 'cause' anything older than their current girlfriend is seen as vintage.

Nay, nay... These models were mass produced in the days before 'artisan' this and 'small batch' that and increasingly post 1982 or thereabouts sold for an average of 30p to CHILDREN. I was one of those children but already a veteran by then. WHFB was a new kid on the block, a snotty nosed upstart of a game, slotta bases were a nightmare waiting to visit us all, Games Workshop really was!

Now, if we apply some logic here, you don't set out to produce small numbers of miniatures for a potentially massive market, for a game which, is advertised as a game of massed battles... No, really, you don't. It's bad business sense to do so.

Now, I accept that many models will have gone under the knife, epoxy or (and I shudder to consider this) been melted down into Prince August moulds, but that is still a fraction of the models produced.

My own group probably all bought every 'Citadel Specialty Set' and most if not all of the 'Regiments Of Renown' as they were released... Not collectively you you understand, but EACH. We descended like locusts on every new release, and we were but a small speck in the customer base of GW Sheffield (albeit a force multiplier when it came to causing premature ageing in the staff) and by Harry those shelves were re-filled and re-filled. I could go in on Saturday, clean out every FT series Orc on the racks and behind the 'Figure Bar' - (look that up, the terminology is accurate) and by Monday when I went in again, they were replenished. When I sold my Orcs there were two CARIER BAGS filled to the brim.

I know a friend who filled the entire basement of the family manse with miniatures in piles on every flat surface... Like me, just a school kid.

So, my Oldhammer Hipsters, think on this before you try to chisel somebody for £20 for a 'rare' model. You're talking bollocks of the first order sirs!

As an aside, that noted eBay seller, often referred to in discussion groups by some (although I would not presume to use such a description) as a 'scalper' alexchattaway, made a real screw up recently when he listed a genuinely rare figure for a fraction of the collector's value (even a reasonable evaluation I might add) because for all his trade in pre-slotta stuff, he doesn't have the knowledge nor the discernment to see the peculiarity of certain models. I confess, that I did allow myself a loud guffaw.

This is illustrates my earlier point succinctly in showing that if you don't have the knowledge you'd be better off going back to the plastic, modern tat-filled gaming world folks... Really.

When you list a figure, don't describe it as rare just because you don't know what it is, or it does not have a slotta base. Admit that you don't know because you are not equipped with the information. If indeed you do have a desirable gem, the buyers will set the value with their bids.

Also, this here term, 'pre-slotta' is bandied around way too freely, even on figures that are current and which never had nor never will have those terrible plastic prosthetics rather than good, honest and decent metal bases. Take yourselves into the broader gaming world and look at how many manufacturers have not fallen prey to that disease... A metal base is no guarantee of vintage. Again, DO THE RESEARCH!

Similar comments might be made about rule sets and supplements... you don't really think that 2nd or 3rd ed are rare do you? Chumps! They were vehicles for selling lead... lots and lots of lead.

Elitist arrogance appears to be another problem with the new kids on the block. 'I have this model so I am more Oldhammer than you!' or 'if you are not using the very slotta bases that were used on those models, you are not worthy of consideration as a devotee.' are both things I have witnessed... Jesus, kids, I have disposed of more figures than you will ever own... But I am just a gamer. I have owned some really famous pieces from the golden age, from the celebrities (ie: gamers who made money from the hobby back in the day- nothing more) of the hobby, but at the end of the day they are just curios, lead dollies and ephemera not some kind of holy icon.

They were meant to be played with, not stuck in a cupboard and treated as an investment... If you want to show respect for a model or book you own which passed through the hands of one of the 'old sweats' - USE THE FUCKING THING!

Be certain, that those old metal models you have, probably will crumble in your lifetime, so enjoy them and then unless you have a market for lead dust, move them on, keep the story flowing, make the models do what they were sculpted to do.

I have noted of late that the Oldhammer 'movement' is starting to fragment, as internal squabbling breaks out. This is not unique - I have seen members of a defunct roleplaying group argue over who had more credibility by where they were on the original membership roster, as if this somehow bestowed upon them illuminated wisdom. Remember the decadence is the precursor to the fall of every empire in the history of mankind, and in this case the decadence seems to be pretty advanced.

These attitudes will simply kill the history of the hobby rather than preserve it. As you prevent or discourage others from taking part in your world, you merely enact your own extinction. If that is what you want to be remembered for, knock yourselves out boys.

Stop being so confident in the value of your collection, because for us all, the only certainty is a pine box and a few flowers, and your family wondering what to do with that room full of little models and cardboard boxes, once the ashes cool.

TTFN


PS: Here's a thought; go out and buy some of the models which were advertised in early White Dwarf magazines and which, are still made by the same people for £1 - £1.50 per model. Do them the honour of being rewarded for being one of the real torch bearers of this fine hobby.




4 comments:

  1. As a 20mm plastic botherer i find the prices these 80s minis sell for mind boggling. just this week i paid less than £20 inc delivery for 120 new minis!. At the end of the day the buyers set the price so if people are willing to pay it can only get worse!. Stop paying the prices and the market will soon ballance out.

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  2. I agree. The problem is, that the 'If I buy this I am more Oldhammer than them' attitude makes people often pay stupid prices. I have called time on that myself and I am using other traditional wargaming companies who were as I said above featured in WD back in the day. The upside is the modern day castings from Essex and Denizen, both contemporaneous with Citadel, are in modern metals and more durable. I actually looked at the Caesar Lizardmen for use as Lesser types in my old school army, but as I need bows mostly, I changed my mind, alas...

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  3. Im on the fringe as far as oldhammer goes in most oldhammerers eyes but the only things that attracted me to it in the first place was the idea of narrative over competitive gaming and that it was a shared experience rather than dick swinging. The idea that owning an item makes you more 'oldhammer' than others is surely just another form of dumb compition and when you think about it...kind of funny!.

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  4. I agree wholeheartedly. The pure enjoyment of half a dozen armies and players battling, with no snobbery, lots of fun and with a real passion, is the way to go.

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