Fangirl Feature – Pandora’s Bits Box

This weeks Fangirl Feature is from Pandora’s Bits Box

Hobby showcase! Share with us: Your favourite images

What games/systems are you most interested in/do you collect?

I started collecting Warhammer Fantasy (two armies) when I was about 11, maybe until I was like 17ish, but I don’t know what happened to my armies, lost to the sands of time. I was always interested in fantasy more than sci fi, back then Warhammer 40,000 wasn’t much of an interest to me. When I was in college though a friend and myself were walking past a Games Workshop in Cardiff and he said “oh cool, I used to collect 40k when I was a kid”… to cut a long story short we came out with a starter army box each, and since then I am up to… 11 factions of varying size I think. I really like the universe and as with many games I play, that helps me enjoy the game. 

I did buy some Wood Elf archers and some Ogres when a friend showed an interest in collecting Beastmen… but when it became clear he wasn’t going to pursue it further than the rulebook (same with a couple of friends who bought a Fantasy starter box), so I ended up selling the Ogres I painted along with the rulebook, and I think I still have the elf archers. Recently with the prospect of meeting up with new hobbyists, I have started to entertain the idea of getting some cool Age of Sigmar models. I hated that they blew up the world (mostly that they removed Tomb Kings from the game), and even though I didn’t know the rules in detail I didn’t like the sound of them and how basic they were… but it sounds like since its inception it has been refined really well. Its tempting, let’s leave it at that!

Any specific armies?

In order of size, I think I have Tyranids, Thousand Sons/Chaos Space marines, Grey Knights, Adeptus Mechanicus, Genestealer Cult, Deathwatch Imperial Knights, Eldar, Daemons (Tzeentch) and Imperial Agents.

What aspect of the hobby are you most interested in?

I love to play games, all games. So games first, I love the social aspect, after all, you need at least two people to play a game. Expanding on the social aspect, I started contributing to a blog less than a year ago in an effort to network with like-minded people and share our enthusiasm for the hobby. In an effort to promote the blog I started to put my work on the Bolter and Chainsword forum and also started to post my work on Twitter. Through those, I’ve managed to find new inspirational artists who give valuable feedback, podcasts I enjoy and even seem to be making new friends. I have even started to organise some meet-ups. 

In Terms of the actually hobbying, I really love conversions. Even though I’m really proud of the minis I paint I don’t actually find the painting process that enjoyable. I much prefer working with the 3D shapes and building interesting things that you can’t just buy in the shop.

What compelled you first start or restart the hobby?

I sort of covered this in the second question… but I guess my first introduction to minis was actually board games. We have a lot of them and always did have them in the house. I think Heroquest was my first experience of this kind of thing, but I didn’t paint them back then.

Do you have any future plans for your hobby?

As many of us do, the list is probably growing faster than I can work on it. 4 of my armies are in desperate need of work, they are either on the sprue, mostly on the sprue, or very small. I’m loathed to get rid of things, I’m a bit of a hoarder, the Ogres were the only thing I ever sold and I just wanted rid of them because it was depressing to see them and know they would never get played. So Armies I would like to work on this year are My Genestealer Cult, Deathwatch, Adeptus Mechanicus and Eldar. I think I might try to sell some of the Eldar and refine the theme. I also want to save up for an airbrush and paint up my Tyranid Hierophant and Harridan. Plus a million conversion ideas.

What sort of materials do you use to create your hobby? How long does it take you to complete a project?

Hmm… With painting, so far just GW paints and recently branching into Vallejo. With conversions… well the materials of the minis, so plastic, resin and even metal if I have some older parts. Then my other go-to materials are various gauges of wire, on a budget I use paper clips and staples. Then Greenstuff. Greenstuff is my go-to material for modifying stuff. I don’t have the bottomless bitz reserves that so many people seem to have. So when I have an idea, that’s normally where I go.

How long could it take… well… the best examples I have are two of the pictures for question 1.

I entered a competition (which I won, yey!) to make a diorama… but I entered late and bashed out the Dual between the Genestealer and the Imperial Fist in 5 days, which was intense. I only had an average of about 2 – 3 hours an evening to work on it… so it was max 15 hours work.

The Khornate Knight I worked on every almost every evening for months… I estimated it took well over 100 hours.

What inspires you to keep going? Do you admire any other hobbyists?

I admire so many hobbyists for so many reasons. There are people who paint professionally and their technical skill is amazing, there are those that have the same level of skill in sculpting. So these are people whose work I never really expect to match because of the number of hours they must put in, and I just can’t afford the time and I probably wouldn’t have the patience. I do appreciate their work though and it still inspires me to try to advance myself. 

There are other people whose work I admire not for their technical skill but for their imagination, a paint scheme idea or more often a conversion idea, clever use of parts or a cool concept. When I see things like that it makes me want to try and push the boundaries of my own work… that way hobbyists can keep pushing each other back and forth, always encouraging each other to try to best their last effort somehow.

Then there are people who I admire because of their position in the community. The community I’ve discovered and become a part of is amazing and through it, I’ve been discovering people who are willing to teach and help others develop at no cost. In other cases its to do with their efforts to help others feel welcome. I have some ideas for projects I want to work on involving inclusivity and also mental health. Both things are very important to me because of the people I have known or met that have had trouble with one, the other or both. A lot of people raise awareness of these sorts of things and I’ve been trying to pick their brains to figure out the best way to help a cause.

What do you find most frustrating about the hobby? 

At the moment… time. The lack of it. I have two young children and yet I have never been THIS active, excited or eager to do things in the hobby. Things just take so long though… too long between games means a difficulty remembering the rules. Too little time to paint means getting through my projects can take an age and I don’t see any real improvement in my skill (although that’s not really a huge concern… just a bonus if it happens)

Do you have any tips for any aspiring hobbyists – beyond the usual ‘practise daily’? 

Get involved in the community. It’s the best thing I ever did. Get your projects out there for people to see. I find that once I have shown someone (or in the case of Twitter, lots of people) a project I’m halfway through working on … I find I want to show them that I have actually made some sort of progress because they have shown some sort of interest. The community is amazing and full of really great people. I’ve heard stories of trolls and idiots badmouthing peoples work… but they are easy to ignore because it’s so few and far between. Find people whose work you like and get involved, tell them what you think, ask advice, its such a friendly atmosphere.

Also… don’t take yourself too seriously… unless you’re like trying to win a Golden Daemon or something, but then why are you reading this for hobby advice, your probably a lot better than me already. I didn’t paint my first big expensive Forgeworld model for ages because I didn’t want to screw it up (and I didn’t think I would bother stripping the paint if I messed up)… then I realised, that the model would always look worse with no paint on… so I just got on with it. Don’t worry about it, just try. It’s all you can hope to do, and it’s the only way you will learn.

What is your fondest hobby memory?

Hmm… my memory is pretty bad, so I have probably lost a lot of good experiences. Really… I can honestly say the most positive I have ever felt has been the last 9 months since I became active in the community through the blog, the forum and Twitter. The Model I am most proud of is is probably one of the most recent, which was a Christmas present for my friend. The heavily converted Khornate Knight.

Anything else you would like to tell our readers?

Enjoy your hobby. That’s the most important thing. Do whatever makes you happiest, playing games, converting, painting, writing stories about the lore you love… whatever it is, make sure you enjoy it. Some people feel they need to have a moan about the manufacturers or the even the way you play or do something. This isn’t your problem, it’s theirs. Just ignore them, and you do whatever it is you need to do to enjoy your hobby. Hey and if you ever have the opportunity to help someone to enjoy theirs, try it. It feels awesome.
Oh, and If anyone wants to get in touch, ask for advice, GIVE me advice on my own projects, talk about the games we play or anything, You are more than welcome. I love interacting with the community and the great people who make it what it is!

Many thanks to Pandoras Bits Box for taking the time to answer these questions for the Fangirl Feature this week.

You can find Pandoras Bits Box on his Blog and on Twitter

And if you’d like to be featured on the blog then please, don’t hesitate to get in contact.

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