I've recently been stripping old friends of mine from the ignominious layers of numerous silly paintjobs. Amongst all this lead wonder, I realised some of them had been mistreated by no other than me.
I realised with horror that when I first started collecting and painting minis, didn't consider them with the respect I have now. The only reason was that at the time, all these minis could be bought in stores and the oldschool concept was only barely appliable to the first two editions of warhammer.
What you are about to see, I'm not proud of it but I have to be honest and let you know what I've done.
A tzeentch champion with unremovable enamels leftovers
Headless Nurgle traitor marine
Tzeentch legionnaire with no sword
handless tzeentch marine
And even recently, I've commmited crimes beyond absolution : I've altered minis of the golden age for the sole reason there were parts I didn't like (be careful, this one is a tough one) :
For the latter, I still think the original head was not my cup of tea (it still is not) and the arm change could have been a good idea if only I hadn't used this poor looking versions (the paintjob is a bit awkward too).
If I were to make these minis again (and I probably will) I would do the same but with better arms and a better paintjob. I would still choose to alter these minis though they are some of my all time favourites.
Another exemple :
After stripping Nurgle marines I ended up with a heavy weapon bearer and an impossible choice : WHAT DO I GIVE HIM?
1st choice : a genuine oldschool heavy weapon?
No, I can't. I love Perry's Chaos Marines but their heavy weapons suck... big time. The heavy bolter above is the least ugly but look at the missile launcher and you'll get the idea...
2nd choice : a better looking genuine oldschool weapon?
Yeah of course, that's the solution I've chosen for most my minis in my 40k chaos army. BUt now I'm fed up with autocannons, I can't use conversion beamers and I have no missile launcher left...
3rd choice : give them a new good looking heavy weapon?
Now here we are close to heresy with a big H. I can hear old timers screaming "NOOOOOOOO, DOOOOON'T !!"
What to do?
I didn't know.
I put Iron Maiden's "7th son of a 7th son" (just to feel the 80's vibe) and asked the gods.
I turned to the ancient gods, Ansell, Priestley, Blanche in the old texts...
And I found my answer...
We oldhammerers worship the freedom guys like Fraser Gray, Pete Taylor and others had, you could see incredible conversions of minis exploded and twisted, mixed with parts of other irrelevant minis and even assembled with parts from completely alien models. You could see tanks made with deo sticks.
If at the time, they could have had access to nicely sculpted bolters they would have used it. They wouldn't have cared about where it comes from or wether it's oldschool or not.
Now with all of that said, what do I do? Do I leave my little lead friends crippled and broken? Naaah...
I'm gonna do my best to get them on their feet. And I will use whatever I feel suitable, without questionning myself about wetheter I have the right to do something or not. I won't ask a pair of legs "what edition are you from?", I will use it if I need it. I will show you during this year though we love these oldschool stuff, loving it is not only about doing it exactly the way it was done then. I will never be able to achieve sublime blendings like Fraser Gray or Mike McVey, I'll never have the imagination of John Blanche. But I will do my stuff with a free mind like at the time which is for me the very essence of why it was so good at the time.
I believe many people will disagree and find heretic to touch minis that have come to be unique and quite rare now. I don't intend to alter anymore of them but I will not try to fix them the way they used to be because I can't and don't want to.
I would very much appreciate to know your opinion on wether one should preserve old lead at all cost or should feel free to use it like if he just had bought it from the 80's. I respect all point of views on the subject but I remain very curious about your arguments.
Thanks to all of you my fellow leadfriends.