Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The "Collectors" Syndrome

Having dove into the deep waters of the "Bandwagon" and "Ooooh, Shiny!" Syndromes, I thought we should give proper respect and homage to another, much-loved sickness of our hobby.  This particular malady is plagued by symptoms not unlike the other two, and yet is motivated by the desire for a completely different outcome.  

If ever there would be a need for a "Hoarders, Hobby Edition" show, this would be it...

Enter, The "Collectors" Syndrome.

Let's revisit my notions of "investing" in our hobby futures once again.  Typically when I mention this notion, I mean spending way too much money on hobby purchases that tend to sit idle until I need either the entire kit, or a single part of it for a conversion that I had never planned when I made the purchase in the first place, though without said frivolous purchase, said conversion wouldn't have been possible.  

Right.  After following that bit of twisted verbiage, I'll beg you to keep following me down the rabbit hole.

Those who are afflicted with the "Collectors" Syndrome invests in their hobby future in a completely different way, with a completely different motivation in mind.  Case in point; Big Red and Mkerr from Bell of Lost Souls.  Take a gander at just a few pictures of their collections below and tell me these two don't have a bit of the Hobby Bug in their own special way.

Hobbyists like these two gentlemen are the epitome of the "Collectors" Syndrome.  These are men that choose a single army/faction, and collect it, build it and paint it until they move on to the next project. What makes them different is that they keep collecting for many of these armies years later!  These photos were taken back in 2008, I believe, and I know Big Red has added onto his Death Guard collection since then.  Another symptom of this particular syndrome is that collectors typically don't sell their collections either.   I mean, just look at these collections...would you sell these if you put the time, blood, sweat and tears into it these?

I wouldn't.  

In fact, I can honestly say that I wish I had half their dedication and willpower to devote to each of these time-intensive collections.  I keep thinking that maybe my next army project will be the one that captures my inspiration to always want to add to it out of love for the project, not just whether it plays well or not, and continue adding even after I've started another project.

All those who suffer from this "Collectors" Syndrome, sound off here!  What motivates you to devote so much time and heart into one project?  Open up, and let the healing begin...or if you'd prefer to look at it another way, spread the contagion!

- Tim

(The images of Big Red's and Mkerr's collections I found through Google Images when researching for this article, traced back to BoLS, and snagged because they were perfect illustrations for this...and were used without permission.  If there are any problems, please let me know and I'll take them down.)


  1. I am a collector.

    In my case my hoarding is focused on Warhammer Fantasy, but the symptoms are the same. I buy and buy, but I never sell. I paint and paint, but the mountain of bare metal and plastic is unassailable. I have over 30,000pts worth painted, but whilst that spans over 6 armies, it's really mostly coming from 3 or 4 unnecessarily large ones - and I am still adding. I also have twice as many unpainted models as I do painted...

    If I ever got it all painted, the largest armies would be Empire, High Elves and Orcs and Goblins, each weighing in between 15-20K.

    Why do I do it? Well, I do enjoy being able to play very large games. A large part of the attraction of the hobby to me is the spectacle, and the biggest games offer the greatest spectacle of all. Having a couple of friends who have similarly over-collected on certain armies helps this, as it gives you someone to be silly with.

    I also like having the ability to field unusual smaller lists due to having vast reserves at my disposal - having everything I *might* need in smaller games was probably a driving factor in over-collecting early on.

    Also, having a large army of something makes it very easy to justify adding a bit more second-hand stuff because it's a "bargain" - dirt cheap masses of stuff you really didn't need. I am trying to break this habit. I really am...

  2. I'll put my hand up for the collectors as well. I haven't had the chande to really play for years as I've worked almost every weekend for the last 10 years, but this hasn't stopped me from collecting for mainly my Blood Angels which has been going for about 25 years now. I still have every mini I ever bought.

  3. Hoodling, Michael, Good to see a couple folks own up to this segment of the series :)

    Hoodling, that is the single largest collection of Fantasy points I've personally heard of. Wow. I'm just now diving into Fantasy myself with Ogres, and already I'm getting ideas of hoping they release a new Bretonnian Army book because knights on horseback just seem awesome to me. I commend and envy you, sir.

    Michael... a 25 year collection, without any sales or loss of interest, and you haven't played in 10 of those years??? That is most definitely the hallmark of a collector. How do you do it? how do you stay so loyal to one army like that? What drives you to that end?