Who Are Your Hobby Heroes?

There’s something that’s been bouncing around in my mind for a little bit, and I thought now, while I wait for some laundry to finish so I can pack for a trip, would be as good a time as any to explore it:

Who are the people who have most influenced you in the hobby? The people you admire? Who you owe some measure of your participation to?

For me, there’s really four people that define it for me, presented below in…no particular order.

1. Victoria Lamb. I talked a little bit about Victoria when I reviewed her female Arcadian miniatures, but it bears repeating here. Victoria’s work was really the first time I can ever remember looking at a painted model and going “That’s breathtaking.”

The Rescue of Sister Joan and Firey Angel


fireyangel9Beyond being my first real encounter with OSL techniques, they just stood out as having character, of being living, dynamic things. Miniatures as art. My painting is still nowhere near that level, but these two figures were the first time I ever wanted to paint that well.

2. Jes Goodwin. Jes Goodwin has made some of the most enduring 40K models in the line’s long history, many of them holding their own well after they should look dated. One of the greatest parts of the 40K setting, and one of the things that keeps me coming back after dalliances with other, oft mechanically sounder games is the visual distinctiveness of 40K. And Jes is responsible for a lot of that visual distinctiveness, and visual coherence. Check out the long feature in the October issue of the new White Dwarf – it’s excellent, and actually how I started thinking about this post.

3. Carl Tuttle. The host of The Independent Characters podcast, Carl is…a relentlessly positive guy. And the stranger I most want to play a game of 40K with, extra Vindicator or not. He’s got a lot to do with normalizing the use of Forge World, pushing different ways of playing the game, and generally improving the quality of 40K podcasting. More personally, it was his podcast that I listened to on a long drive from Chapel Hill, NC to Washington, DC, wanting to test out my car’s fancy new Bluetooth system.

In traffic somewhere near Fredericksburg, I knew I was getting back into a hobby I had let lapse for several years. So if you enjoy reading Variance Hammer, or have ever beaten my Eldar in a game, it’s Carl’s fault. If you don’t enjoy reading it, or think Crimson Hunters are b**lshit…also Carl’s fault.

4. Guy Whose Name I Don’t Know. Feel a little bad about that…but the Games Workshop Store Manager in Denver around…2002? Good guy. Literally welcomed my brother and I into the hobby. Gave us a painting tutorial – I’ve still got the miniature around here somewhere. Showed us the magical techniques of drybrushing and washes that are still, honestly, pretty much go-to techniques of the day. We’d make periodic expeditions out to the mall, have lunch, and then visit the store – and he’d always have time for a demo game, to chat about what was going on, etc.

Whatever your name was…hope you’re doing well, and thanks.

So…who are yours?

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  1. 1. My good friend Steve Bewley. I had always been a painter, but never a gamer. After 10-15 years away from the hobby, Steve basically taught me the game. Whether we were playing fluffy, narrative games, or facing off in the final round of a tournament (always the final round for some reason), we always make a fun game out of it.

    2. Ricky Addington. The guy is Best Sportsman personified. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the winning or losing end of a fight with Ricky, you’re having a good time and smiling. He is who every gamer should aspire to be. Plus, he’s a fantastic painter.

    3. Not an individual but a group, The General Staff based out of Atlanta, Georgia. The General Staff is responsible for Warzone: Atlanta, one of the greatest GT’s running. I met this crew at my first GT, these guys were the All-Stars. They brought tough, touuuuugh lists, they were smart gamers, and they nearly took home every category at the end of the day. They inspired me to up my game. I’m happy to call each of them friends now and when no one else wanted me, they offered me a spot on one of their ATC teams where I had the best weekend of gaming in my life.

    4. Reece Robbins. Yes, it’s true, I do not always agree with Reece but I have the utmost of respect for his intention with the game. The ITC is far from a perfect solution to the problems we face in our attempts to make an inherently narrative game by design into a competitive one, but it’s an attempt and one he and his crew at FLG should be commended for.


    1. Super-psyched that I’ll be able to meet some of the General Staff folks at Warzone: Atlanta this year.


  2. This is a fantastic idea, and I’m glad you put it together!

    I’d started to respond here, but then realized I should just make a blog post of my own in response, then encourage others to jump on the Variance Hammer train and do the same!

    Thanks for the fantastic idea, and I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s together.



    1. Everybody hop on the Variance Hammer train!


  3. Just stumbled across your article here and boy is that humbling! I am glad you have gotten so much out of The Independent Characters and I hope you continue to be inspired by it.

    If you are going to Adepticon this year – we CAN get a game in… just sayin…


    1. Sadly I’m going to LVO instead of Adepticon this year – but perhaps someday 🙂


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