It all started in 1994 on a cold and rainy Saturday in November. Like many 13 year olds, I had already graduated from POG's to this new game called Magic: The Gathering. For me, it was like discovering crack and when I was handed a pack of cards in the boys locker room of Thompson Middle School, I knew I was hooked. When it comes to locker rooms, some guys find steroids, some find weed, I found a card game.
But I digress.
Fast forward a year to that day in November, 1994. I found myself in my fathers car being driven to a Magic tournament just outside of Philadelphia. I was going as a boy who played a boy's game, but little did I know I would leave that hotel ballroom a man.
I really blame this on my father. While I was off kicking ass (I won the tourney) he was over in the corner watching four overweight, balding men push little figurines around a 6x4 table covered with hills, forests, rivers and blown-out buildings. They looked like army men and the dice were the same ones he'd used so many times before while beating me up in Risk, but this wasn't just any board game. This, he'd find out, was Warhammer 40,000.
My life was about to change.
After the tournament was over, I found him and he introduced me to the middle-aged men huddled around the table. We watched for at least an hour as the battle played out and they explained to us what was going on. Each model had its own stats and dice were rolled to determine hits, misses, casualties, etc. It all made perfect sense! To top it off, the armies themselves were right out of the movies. Superhuman Space Marines blasting away at hordes of green-skinned Orks. The evil minions of Chaos who are hell-bent on conquering the galaxy while legions of vicious Tyranids devour entire worlds. This was it, I had found my place in the nerd-world. This wasn't just a game, it was a lifestyle.
As soon as we had gotten in the car I told my dad what I wanted for Christmas.
In my euphoria, I had overlooked one tiny detail. The models were supplied unpainted.
Thus, I give you...my very first Space Marine! Handsome, no?
If you look at the base, you'll notice I hadn't quite grasped the concept of shaking the paint before applying it.
Luckily with painting, like most things in life, the more you work at it the better you'll get and work I did. I spent the next six years buying, building and painting whenever I could. I was drawn to the forces of the Imperium and before long had amassed armies of Ultramarines, Imperial Guard and the Sisters of Battle.
Here's a picture of the new (circa 2001) Commissar Yarrick model I painted just before putting the hobby down and leaving for college. I like to think it's a little better than what's above.
So, here we are. I'm 28, out of school, gainfully employed, about to marry the woman of my dreams (who even supports this wild idea) and I've decided to get back into the hobby. While I'm at it, I figure there's gotta be someone else out there in my place so I might as well write about it! Ten years is a long time and I'm sure just about everything has changed except for the dice...unless...do you still roll a 12-sided die for wounds on a Krak Missile? No? Shit.