There are a lot of great articles and blogs about Robin Williams all over the internet. I wondered whether I should write something, after all, I never met the man and a number of people have eloquently described his impact as an actor and a comedian. He made me laugh, he made me cry and he made me think.
I’m a miniature wargamer. I have shelves in my house filled with what my wife refers to as “little guys.” They range from Greek hoplites to Space Marines from the grim darkness of the far future. I own robots and dragons, plus a few castles and landing pads in 25-30mm scale. I even have 15mm tanks and smaller scale sailing ships, plus a few starships. As a kid playing Dungeons & Dragons, and later as a young man doing wargames, I’ve always fallen into the categories of “nerd” and “geek” and such, although I was almost “tragically hip” when I was writing about vampires.
The point is that I and most of my friends with the same interests were weird. When I felt discouraged or overly teased, I wanted someone famous or important who played these games, someone successful.
That person was Robin Williams. He collected toy soldiers and miniatures as an adult. He was the guy.
When I worked at Games Workshop, we all knew that Robin Williams had a collection of toy soldiers to rival the greatest among us. He was at the top of the list of people that you’d love a chance to play a game with. We all could imagine his eyes sparkling with that inner child and how he’d lovingly describe his collection – the same way that we described ours. We might be weird, but someone wonderful was weird too.
We felt that he was one of us. I felt that he was a little like me. I always wanted to talk with him about toys. I like to think that he taught me that it’s okay to be strange and even silly. My daughter loves the different voices I do for bedtime stories and the absolute bizarre combinations of stuff that we come up with. Robin helped me find all of that.
Depression is a terrible horrible disease. Some dear friends of mine have suffered through it, and it isn’t something that is easily overcome. The good that may come out of this is more attention to depression. I hope lives will be saved, but I’m so sorry for Robin and his family.
Thank you, Robin Williams.
I enjoy collecting, painting and playing with miniatures, usually 28-32mm (approx 1 inch high for six feet in real life) scale. Several years ago, I wrote some miniature rules/guidelines for Werewolf: The Apocalypse and in more recent history, I worked at Games Workshop, makers of Warhammer and Warhammer 40K. There’s something magical about using acrylic paint to infuse a piece of plastic or pewter with personality. It’s especially cool when you can paint over said miniature if you make a mistake.
So, having said that, Reaper Miniatures in Denton, TX has been around for a while. They make high-quality fantasy and sci-fi miniatures and I even know someone who has painted for them, Anne Foerster. Here’s a link to her gallery at Reaper.
Now, the pewter miniature industry isn’t all that large. I used to work for a pharmaceutical copy that made generics. I can tell you now that there is more money in a generic aspirin than in the entire worldwide miniature market combined. So, when I found out that Reaper was trying to make miniatures out of a new cheap material for something that they called their “Bones” line, I thought that was cool. When I heard that they started a Kickstarter project, I thought that was interesting as well. I’ve thought of trying to raise money for myself while writing a book on Kickstarter or even launching a roleplaying game or supplement there. I made a pledge on Reaper’s Bones project, as I like supporting miniatures companies and they offered a few nice gifts in return.
Well, here’s the amazing thing. They raised over THREE MILLION DOLLARS.
They started with a target of $30,000 and became the third highest kickstarter ever! Now, I have friends throughout the miniature industry, notably at Battlefront, Games Workshop, Warlord Games and Wargames Factory, but today I have to applaud Reaper for doing something amazing. What a fantastic achievement! I’m sure there is a ton of celebrating still going on in Texas, and I say congrats as well. This sort of thing is great for building the awareness of the entire hobby.
Thank you, Reaper, and if you guys ever want to sculpt a few of the Crimson Hawks or Krueger, please send me an email.