Interesting topic this week… one that really hits me close to home because I really enjoy painting a participating in Grand Tournaments. Here’s this weeks: “Tales from the Jungle – Volume 10: Should a Player be allowed to win a tournament even if he didn’t paint his Army?”
From the very first time that I got involved in Warhammer and table top gaming I always thought that the biggest (and most important) part of the hobby has been in the actual painting of models. I’ve been around for a long time and have seen sculpts of models go from decent to absolutely stunning. The detail work nowadays is immaculate and I think having a good paint job on it makes it even more beautiful, and therefore more easy on the eyes. It makes somebody look at it closer. Makes them think about how they can achieve that paint job, or how they might want to go about painting that same model… Hell, it may even prompt somebody into starting that same army because of how 1 model is painted! It’s this reason alone why I believe that painting is such a huge part of this hobby. And yet, for a lot of people, painting is viewed as a chore, or task, or even punishment… and some people hate the thought of having to paint just one model, let alone entire armies…
Since I’ve been participating in Grand Tournaments over the last few years I’ve been privileged enough to see some of the best paint jobs in the world… right in front of me. It’s no secret that some people even offer their services of painting models for somebody… Because painting is such a big deal in this hobby, most tournaments and TO’s include prizes and awards just for that: to recognize somebody for such an excellent paint job they’ve given to their models. But what happens when the person that wins that award didn’t actually paint his army…? What if he took advantage of said services and had somebody paint his army for him? Does that make him ineligible to win overall champion at these tournaments?
For me, this is a very interesting topic because I can see both sides of the argument. I personally enjoy painting my own models and showing them off. Yet I know others who absolutely despise painting and do the bare minimum when it comes to painting, just so they can get the basic points for appearance on the score card. But let’s say that I win a 3 games and draw 2… but my painting score gives me extra points because most people thought it was the coolest one there… and those points put me ahead of a guy who was sitting at 2nd place, who had a decent paint job and won 4 out of 5 games… is that fair? What this means is that my painting score pushed me ahead of him – and most people – even though I had fewer wins than some guys. To me, that’s fair because painting accounts for a big part of the hobby, and it should be rewarded as such. But now let’s take the same situation except this time… I didn’t paint my army. In fact, I borrowed it from a good buddy of mine that doesn’t like to play but instead spends his time painting. I borrowed it for the day and am using it to participate in this tournament… So now, at the end of the tournament, I move up to 2nd place with an army that I didn’t even paint… and win the Best Painted Award – even though I didn’t paint a single model in the army… Is that fair?
One side of the argument is that you put your time and effort into making your army look as good as possible… and you have something that you can say that YOU did… and YOU can be proud of. The flip side of it is that some guys will charge huge amounts of money (upwards of $2500 for a standard 2,000 point force…) and others will pay this money to have it done. As the painter, I can say that I took my time and effort… long hours of getting the models assembled and painted just right… made the movement trays… drybrushed for hours… touched up details… etc, etc, etc… and that is my contribution to making it look as good as I can. The guy that doesn’t paint his army can say that he has to work extra hours on the weekends to cover the big bill he has accumulated by having somebody paint his army. Both come down to one thing: time. Should it really matter where or how the time is being spent? One guy sits in front of a desk for hours making his army look good… another guy sits in front of a computer (or something else) for hours on the weekends so that he can pay to have his army look good. Should one take precedence over the other when it comes time to judge painting for both of these guys?
My thoughts are that painting should be separated from the overall score. If you want to judge painting, then judge painting. Make it so that whoever wants to win the painted portion knows that they have to have a fully painted army and whatever else you’d like to throw in there. You could even make it so that if you had your army painted you get a certain percentage of points like, say 60% to 80% instead of the full 100%. But then you’d run into honesty issues… “Did you paint your army? You get 80% of the score if you had somebody else paint it…” “Umm… yes…?” So it’s a very fine line as to how it needs to be scored. I don’t claim to have the answer here and I’m not sure that anybody ever will. I don’t like the idea that a person can win “Best Painted Anything” if they didn’t paint it themselves. But I am ok with somebody winning “Overall” if they paid to have their army painted. A painting competition should be held only for people that actually painted their armies – in my opinion. So again, this is a very interesting topic that I’ve had a few run-ins with… and I’m sure I’ll see more in the future. So what do you think? Should a person that had their army painted be allowed to win a tournament? Or even a Best Painted award? As always, thanks for reading.