I have a severe tremor – let’s get that out of the way first. For as long as I can remember, my shaky hands have prohibited my passion for painting and, in turn, miniature wargames – but, with Warhammer 40k 10th Edition finally rolling out, I decided the time was nigh to shake it off and try painting some Necrons for the first time. And, you know what? They’re not even that bad, according to my Warhammer 40k obsessed partner.
I’m not quite sure when my shakes began; they’ve been about as long as I can remember, and possibly as long as the Necrons themselves. Fuelled by years of anxiety and pressure in high school and at university, they escalate when I’m nervous, excited, or have had one too many cups of coffee (that latter one happens most often).
The tremor, coupled with my inane quest for absolute perfection, has meant that painting miniatures was something I believed would be left in the past, stored in my mind in a rose-tinted thought bubble, never to emerge again.
Nevertheless, watching one too many videos of ‘If the Emperor Had a Text-To-Speech device’ had me intrigued by Games Workshop’s interstellar universe – and, ahead of the release of Warhammer 40k 10th Edition, my partner finally urged me to try painting some Warhammer.
So off we went on a not-so intergalactic voyage to Games Workshop’s Warhammer store in Glasgow. After perusing shelf after shelf of miniatures, the staff offered me a free painting trial and, much to my dismay, my shakes instantly went wild.
Deflated, we bailed out and went for some trashy Chinese food, where Ross (my long-suffering partner in crime) eventually convinced me to buy the current beginner set so that we could paint at home, on friendly turf.
After a trip back to the store, and a quick demo from one of the staff on how best to minimize my shakes, we picked up our new armies and headed home, my anxiety through the roof, but my excitement palpable.
With our paints at the ready, sprues scattered across the table, we were ready to go, and my tremor was at an all time peak. Thanks a bunch, anxiety.
But, after all, what’s life without a challenge? Perusing my snazzy new codex I chose the Sautekh dynasty: gunmetal gray Terminator 2-esque menaces with glowing green eyes and their faction’s hieroglyphic insignia carved into their chest.
Their spindly limbs made assembling them hard (push to fit doesn’t work very well for me), and the small lime green details on their weapons, eyes, and crest would prove a challenge that, in many ways, I didn’t think I was ready for.
The staff had recommended I use a painting handle, which I quickly eroded the logo on because my palms were sweating so much. Grasping it for dear life, I put brush to Necron and… it looked fine?
Another brushstroke, another clean line of paint. Huh, maybe I could get used to this? After about an hour or so, I’d decked out my warrior in metallic silver – but the hardest parts were still left.
Coating my brush with white paint (a tip that Ross told me would help the green details pop), I readied myself, honing in on my new friend’s lifeless eyes. Holding the brush like you’d hold a cigarette (I think) I gave the eye the briefest of dabs and… again, it looked fine.
I did the same with the other eye – again, it went without a hitch. The same happened with the inlays on the weapon. To my surprise, the finished product actually looked good, great even. Somehow, I had made the impossible possible, and boy did it feel amazing.
As Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his first inauguration as U.S. president in 1933: “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” That phrase has stuck with me for a very long time (not least because I did a history degree), and time and time again I prove to myself that he was right.
There was nothing holding me back from painting except my own inner saboteur; her voice has whispered for years that I couldn’t do it but, in reality, I could.
Looking at my Necron duo, who now sit proudly on the top shelf of my figure display case, I’m constantly reminded that I can do anything if I put my mind to it – anxiety has nothing on this new-found confidence, and that’s how it’s going to stay.
Maybe it’s silly that just two little miniatures have ignited a spark that’s been dormant for so long, smothered by insecurities and drowning in self-loathing. I have a severe tremor, sure, but it’s not in the way, it’s just a part of me, just like Warhammer 40k is.
If you, like me, have felt the urge to dive into the 40k hobby with all the hullaballoo around the new edition, you’re so in the right place. Wargamer has expert yet accessible guides to every single Warhammer 40k faction and all the key info on Warhammer 40k 10th edition, plus rules explainers for the new Warhammer 40k abilities and 40k stratagems in the game, as well as the brand new quick-start game mode: Warhammer 40k Combat Patrol.