I recently started painting Warhammer models, and I decided it would make a good article to analyze its value. If you do not know what Warhammer is, it is fairly simple. Though it has been expanded into video games, books, movies, and all kinds of merch, the essential game is buying sets of parts, cutting/clipping them out, gluing them together to form 3-D models, and painting those models to fit your tastes. Then, if you want, you can also play the board game that uses the miniatures in battles. I am going to do Pro’s first, and then Cons. Let’s start off with a Pro. Model painting, is in general, an extremely entertaining and satisfying hobby. Whether you did it as a kid and want to try it out again, or even just something fun to do because your bored, Warhammer is a super fun hobby.
Warhammer is ideal for entertaining your kids. Unlike a lot of other toys which become uninteresting and be discarded within hours, painting one model alone can take hours. After that, they can be used to play a board game that uses the miniatures, and will be kept as a source of admiration. Not only is fun, but I find it somewhat educational. It teaches them painting techniques such as layering, shading, and drybrushing, and is great for expanding their creativity. They can choose the faction which best suits them, and paint them in their favorite colors. Here are some examples, painted by me and my stepdad.
We only painted showed two of the factions, but there are a ton more, each with their own unique models and lore. Again, this can help teach children. If they get an allowance, or money from working, it can also teach them how to spend their money. First they have to build the essentials to an army, then they expand.
Now for some Cons. Let’s start out with the biggest and most important: Warhammer is not cheap. It is a quite expensive hobby. Models can range from 5 dollars to 60 dollars individually. If you want to buy a pack of, say, 10 of those Intercessors, that would cost 60 dollars. Not to mention clippers, glue, a variety of paintbrushes, some being very fine, paints, stands, primer, and more. You can cut some of this, but not all. Another con is, simply, skill. I am not saying little kids are not skilled, but often they don’t have the patience to paint well. I would say that something like 8 up is a good age limit. Painting miniatures can take months or even years to get good at, and even then no one is perfect. (It sounds like I speak from experience, but I’ve only been painting for like 2 months.) Painting requires intricacy and patience, but mainly creativity.
Now we get to the main con. Theme. If you are letting your kids do this, there is some issues with approprianteness. Warhammer’s motto is: “In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.” That will give you a sense of what it is about. If all you are doing is painting the models, it is not that bad. There are certainly things like guns and swords, but not much else. But if you let your kids explore the lore online, there is blood, gore, extreme violence, quite dark and depressing themes, and people being flayed by nuclear lasers. It isn’t all bad, but it certanly isn’t completely appropriate. My advice is: If you have kids, especially young kids, and don’t want them to be exposed to any of that stuff, don’t let them browse the internet about it. But unless you don’t want them seeing any weapons of any kind, almost none of the models are inappropriate.
In the end, I find Warhammer to be a pretty good hobby. It certainty isn’t for everyone, and it does have some grisly content, but it is so fun and interesting, and I think it is an awesome pastime. You can paint models but not play the game with them, or vice versa, but I like doing both. If you don’t want to do it because of cost reasons, they have games like Kill Team which use the same miniatures but require less in an army, so it is much cheaper. Kill team is in no way worse, since because you only are working with a few miniatures you can really customize them and create characters or personalities for them. Anyways, to conclude, this, I suggest the hobby. Below I included what I think you should buy first if you want to try out the hobby to see whether you like it.
If you are not sure and just want to buy something which will give you a good sense of what painting is like, I suggest getting the following items:
One thought on “The Pros and Cons of Model Painting: Is It Worth It?”
I also painted/played Warhammer when I was 11-13 years old and I still look back at that time fondly. No, it wasn’t the cheapest preoccupation that my parents could find for me, but I was preternaturally good at the painting part of it (less so at the military strategy) and I loved coming home from school to plug into my painting desk. It definitely kept me out of trouble and kept me engaged with a very creative pursuit. I only wish I’d kept more of the figurines as souvenirs.
I would certainly encourage my own children to take it up if they show interest at a similar age (five or so years from now). Even now, I still admire the Games Workshop displays through the glass. Although it’s now 20+ years since I picked up my miniature brushes, I’m glad to hear that the hobby is still going strong with the next generation of philosophically-inclined b’nei mitzvah kids 🙂
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