I am not sure how many people checking this blog would be interested in knowing how I started the hobby and how it evolved for me through the years. I'll do this anyways just in case anyone is wondering.
1993 was a year that would change my life. Czechoslovakia was split into Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic, Prince changed his name to that weird symbol, Jurassic Park hit the theatres but most importantly (at least for me) I purchased my first White Dwarf. I still got the bloody thing, torn and battered sitting on my comfy couch in the following pic:
I really didn't know much about Warhammer back then. I bought Hero's Quest when I was ten years old but it was too complicated for me at that age so I didn't really get much involved with it. But boy, did all the colourful picture of miniatures looked nice! I had no idea what an Elf Spearman was but I knew I had to buy a bunch. Oh and by the way I hated 40k back then for some reason I can't remember (probably because I thought elves and dwarfs in space was kinda cheesy).
I didn't have much money at the time so I had to wait until Christmas when I managed to buy 4th edition Warhammer Fantasy boxed set (and I also had to split the money with a friend). My mate wanted to keep the elves (must resist to make joke here) so I was stuck with the goblins. I didn't really like them at the beginning but the little buggers grew on me as timed passed.
I tried to organise a few games with my mates but it wasn't that easy. My knowledge of the English language was not up to the task and the rules seemed overwhelmingly complicated. Most attempts were completely botched but the odd session that managed to work filled me with joy. I had the Warhammer Hobby virus fully spread in me by that time.
You see it was pretty hard, as a kid in Greece, to learn how to play Warhammer. There were no GW stores with friendly staff eager to give intro games. Only a couple of stores dedicated to gaming but they were mainly focused on Magic the Gathering and D&D. And the people that knew how to play wouldn't really be bothered showing us youngsters how to do it. For the same reasons no one was around to show you how to paint. I remember my laughable attempts and I recently found a model I half painted:
So after my futile attempts to play and paint I decided to quit after a couple of years. I was also hitting puberty hard at the time, so going out and drinking beer seemed all the more interesting to me. Who would want to waste time staying home painting stupid miniatures, eh? Still I wouldn't say that I grew out of the hobby since nobody really does.
Enter 2002. I had moved to England at the time and I had noticed the GW in town centre shopping mall. I realised with horror that new races for both systems have emerged and my attention was drawn to the newcomers known as Necrons. I was intrigued by their imagery and just plain logical evilness (plus the fact that I really like the Terminator movies).
Fortunately for me the Manchester GW store is a great hobby center. I found many friendly people in there, willing to help me with painting and playing. I attended Sunday mornings tutorial games where I got used to the rules and ways of playing 40k since I was a total noob up until then. I mostly played against kids but I also met Neil (AKA skcuzzlebumm of the FlameOn, pink tyranids and BOTCH tournament fame) who was starting all over again like me. He is a great guy and we instantly got along being good friends to the present day.
My warhammer life increased in quality a lot since then. I collected a full Necron army in the following months which I managed to paint completely (drybrushing Chainmail woo-hoo) and I was so damn proud of that. I also entered my first tournament later in the year which was the North West conflict organised by GW (i think there are obsolete these days). I fared quite badly but it was a great experience for me. I also made friends and acquaintances through playing on Tuesday veteran nights in the GW store.
Next yeah me and Neil along with two friends (Richard and Dwayne) attended my first Grand Tournament in Nottingham. We unofficially formed a loose team which we named "FlameOn". FlameOn has grown to be almost a force of nature this days with dozens of proclaimed "FlameOners", it's own forum, appearances in White Dwarf magazine and all over the interned and it's own multi platform tournament in the form of BOTCH.
My first GT was also a pretty good experience for me. There I realised that I have a love/hate relationship with tournaments. On one side they drain my physically but on the other they energise me mentally. For every repulsive cheese monger you are going to play against, a genuinely nice guy will be around the corner. So yeah, many times I've contemplated that I won't be bothered attending a tournament but managing to play there in the end.
From then on things become a bit too frantic to catalogue and my memory is a bit hazy. I collected hundreds of miniatures ( I have pretty big Imperial Guard, Ork and Orc armies in various stages of assembly and painting) ,attended quite a few tournaments and participated in the largest miniature tank battle ever. I still try to remain active in the hobby by playing games and painting my models even though I phase out of it sometimes.
After all is said and done, the warhammer hobby is probably my favourite pastime. It a creative way to fill my evenings with painting, meeting interesting people and making new friends through playing and having a sense of achievement by finishing a collection