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Gifts for a miniature hobbyist

December 11, 2015

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It’s December 11th and Christmas is less than two weeks away. I assume that in many homes two things are happening:

  1. A miniature hobbyist is wishing for a present related their hobby, knowing that they’ll almost certainly not get one.
  2. A miniature hobbyist’s significant other, parent or sibling is desperately wanting to give said hobbyist a hobby related present, but doesn’t have a clue where to start.

So I figured I’d write up a little something to help potential gift givers, so all you hobbyists can just nonchalantly leave this blog post visible. Of course, this isn’t in any way a hint to anyone I know…

Do note, that this isn’t too serious a post. You don’t need to get anything for Christmas. But hey, for those interested here goes.

First of all, if you don’t know what the whole miniature hobby is about, buying presents related to it can be a chore. It’s obviously a dear activity to someone close to you, so you want to get it right. Then again, if you’re not familiar with the various aspects of the hobby, the amount of stuff on offer can be overwhelming. Here are some general guidelines:

Miniatures

I think this is the most risky choice. Most miniature enthusiasts, especially if they’ve been doing their thing for years, have more than enough miniatures filling their cupboards, closets, garages and so on. Adding random miniatures to the “lead pile” (as it’s affectionately known as) might actually cause extra stress. If they’re playing fantasy and scifi games, getting them a few Napoleonic soldiers may give them Present Face:

Even if you do know what they’re gaming, there’s still the question of factions. If they’re collecting the Dark Brethren of the Axe then the Shadowy Brethren of the Sword miniatures you bought them…oh well. If they collect historicals, it’s worse, believe me.

One way to get around this is to just buy something that you like and ask them to paint it. There are plenty of hobbyists who buy miniatures simply because they look nice. Enter “wargaming miniatures” or “roleplaying miniatures” into Google and off you go!

There are also a lot of miniatures out there that draw inspiration from books, films and so on, so if you know their favourites, go for it. It’s easy too, just type “[favourite fiction] miniatures” into Google and go crazy. You’ll likely end up with forum discussions in the search results, so just check the first few links to see what people have thought to be best fits. If you’re in luck, there are official, licensed miniatures available.

While miniatures are indeed a risky choice, they do send a loving message: you not only approve of the lead pile, but are willing to contribute to it. This really isn’t something to underestimate.

Terrain

Much easier than miniatures, and hobbyists always need more so this is a safe choice. Just check the general style and size of whatever they’re currently working on, and buy something that more or less fits. You’re even safer with generic things like walls, rivers, rocky outcrops, ruins and the like. Size/scale is the most important thing, but even that’s not a huge issue with rivers and such.

Tools and supplies

Another very safe choice, and easily acquired. Hobbyists need a lot of things, and hoard a lot that they obviously might need in the next ten years or so. Paints, brushes, fake grass and the like are nearly always welcome. These keep for years, so even if there’s not an acute need, they’re still useful. There are also plenty of tools that get worn with use, so drills and craft knife blades and the like are quite handy as well. You can also just buy something like sculpting clay or putty such as Fimo, ProCreate or Kneadatite, wooden craft sticks or the like from the local craft or hardware store, as the recipient will surely find a use for them eventually.

Books

Another fairly safe choice, and one that overlaps with non-hobby gifts as well. Art books and films’ “making of” books especially are often very useful for hobbyists as visual guides. If there’s a favourite subject that you know of, you can just pop over to a book store either physically or online, and look for “The art of [movie title]” or something similar. You’ll find things like this or this, for example. Historical books are also often useful, and as there’s a huge variety, there’s probably plenty that haven’t been read yet by the recipient. Just make sure to check the bookcase first! If you’re looking online, Osprey Publishing has a huge selection.

Vouchers

The safest and the most boring choice. Stores often offer different gift cards, and hobby stores are no exception. If you want to play it safe but get something hobby related, this is the way to go. As many miniature stores are mainly online affairs, this is especially useful for last minute gifts.

Now, these suggestions might seem like strict instructions, buth they’re not. Gifts should be a thing expressing love and appreciation for the other person, not just a way to get stuff we want for free – something especially important to remember around Christmas time. While wargamers and miniature hobbyists love stuff, from my own experience I can tell that we love our hobby and our craft even more. Showing respect and genuine interest in the things we build and paint and even offering help every now and then is often more important than any physical thing you can get. It’s often said that with presents it’s the idea that counts, and while we hobbyists may be a nitpicky lot, it holds especially true in this case.

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4 comments

  1. Good post. It takes a lot of effort on the gift buyers part (and yours) to buy something for our hobby. Even gift card for your FLGS aren’t easy.


    • Cheers Greg and thanks for the comment. It does indeed seem to be a difficult task, so hope this blog helps some. I think online shopping these days tends to help things, as many gaming stores are also offering gift cards and such.


  2. A good guide. I think tools and special effect paints are a good idea. My SO bought me some AK Interactive Grime effect paint. Came as a surprise and amde me try something new.



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