While collecting my list of recommended hobby blogs, I noticed a number did year in review and anniversary posts. I did a year in the blogosphere retrospective but I don’t think I’ve ever done a blog anniversary post for Musk’s Miniatures.
Musk’s Miniatures started as a spinoff from the original Muskblog, so I could join the From the Warp blog network if memory serves me correct. But even before Muskblog there was Muschamp.ca and before even that I had a homepage, in fact it was because UVic were going to take down my old content that I finally registered and paid for my own domain. And despite everything I’ve kept too much content online, which has to give me one of the oldest continually maintained Warhammer 40,000 fan pages.
So inspired by Rob Hawkins and others I decided since my hobby blogging exploits have hit the big two oh, even if every post isn’t in one single blog, most are in WordPress or on a webpage I’ve carefully maintained and coded, I’m declaring victory over the Internet and the haters and took the time to type up a retrospective of my time spent in the hobby.
Back in the Day
In the beginning, there was no blogosphere, no Twitterverse and certainly no Facebook. There was however email, eventually the world wide web and in between that the usenet. I remember rec.miniatures but what really took up a lot of my time online in the 90s was the 40K mailing list, the Primarchs themselves were even subscribed. It was there that the Diseased Sons started to take off. Originally I was known more as an ork player, because I was forced to be by Owen, Paul, Thor etc.
One piece of content that was typed up while a UVic student was an origin story for the Diseased Sons. I should probably give it a fresh edit as it has changed little since the 1990s even if the rest of the Warhammer 40,000 lore and fluff has. Search engines however reward new content, but every now and then something old will become popular again.
Also played during the 90s was Necromunda in Yellowknife no less. I actually played in Duncan, Victoria and maybe even Ottawa. I used to be reasonably good at Necromunda and Bloodbowl. I like the skirmish scale games.
While running a campaign in Yellowknife I started a “Necromunda Times”. I also wrote some house rules which were ultimately published in the Citadel Journal. They never even fixed the typos. I never did get my promised free copy, so Owen gave me one, after he spotted my name in print. It must be at my mom’s place somewhere.
I looked through an archive of Citadel Journals I found online, but couldn’t find my name, saw some other familiar names from the mailing list like Dave “Squid Brain” Handy and Tim Huckleberry, but Owen spotted my name so it had to be an issue in 1998 or 1999.
Update: I may have been published in Gang War
Sometime after publishing this post I decided to spend money on a new laptop, partially so it would play my favourite computer game series better, Sid Meier’s Civilization. I took some ribbing from the gaming group, right up until I pointed out they spend $1000s of dollars to play Warhammer 40,000, but of course that is different. Anyway this morning when I fired up Mail, it imported messages I thought were long lost, including one from Warwick Kinrade:
Hello I'm the current compiler/ editor of Games Workshops irregular Necromunda magazine Gang War. I was surfing for interesting Necromunda articles when I came across your scenario on Gary James Necromunda website. Would it be Ok for us to us the scenario in a future issue of Gang War? For this you'd get a freebie copy of the magazine. I realise this is old stuff, but we still like it, and Necromunda seems to be still going strong with players, so Fanatic Press are looking to continue supporting the game. Thanks a lot
So I may have not been published in the Citadel Journal, instead I was published in a different magazine put out by Fanatic Press. And I never did get a free copy from them, but Owen did find it and give it to me, and they did leave in the typos and the physical copy should be in my mom’s storage room, I’ll try to dig it out next time I visit.
Here is an excerpt from my version of the Necromunda Times which used to be online, I still haven’t finished painting my Escher gang, but I have painted at least one test model.
Gargantuan Gwenivere Captured
The leader of the D-Cup Debutantes along with two of the gangs best fighters, turned up missing after the fight for the Archeotech horde. A juve named Mammoth Mary swore she saw the unconscious forms of the three Eschers being dragged from the battlefield by an Orrus Spryer! The girls have vowed revenge and are now hiring underhive scum to mount a rescue attempt.The Necromunda Times
Nostalgia is a powerful force in the miniature wargaming hobby, why else keep re-fighting the Battle of Agincourt or Gettysburg? Older hobbiest are perhaps trying to recover their lost youth or they finally have time and money to afford a large army of painted miniatures. I was actually in and out of the hobby several times due to school and work but also other stuff. However I always kept my content online, so after double checking that it had actually been twenty years I started planning this post.
A few posts back I used an old photo as a header image. That was the true impetus for this post. The digital photograph was taken over twenty years ago, the models and paint jobs in the picture were even older. Before 2002 I didn’t have a digital camera so what you had to do was take a photo on film and scan it or even just scan your miniatures directly on the flatbed scanner. The other option was to get someone who did have a digital camera to take pictures of your miniatures. I think Dean took some for me while I was living in Ottawa in 1997.
I still have most of my old models, such at the Rat Ogre pictured to the right. I think my snotlings disappeared in the 90s under mysterious circumstances and I may have lost models during various moves, perhaps some orks or other old unpainted models, plus my INWO cards seem to be missing. I can’t rule out someone walking off with something, I know I’ve lent people things only to never have them returned. Maybe some things will turn up when I finally get all my stuff out of my mom’s house, I know my collection of old White Dwarfs and other old gaming books and magazines is in her attic.
Having convinced someone at UVic to let me login one last time, I have my entire old webpage including the old miniature photos I posted online, such as the one to the right. Since 2002 I probably have every photo of a miniature I’ve ever taken and every now and then I dig back through Apple Photos for an image, such as the Escher ganger above. I also have a better photography setup now for taking photos of miniatures, though critics still criticize, despite that I’ve posted lots of old miniatures to Instagram for #ThrowbackThursday.
So with a final hat tip to Rob Hawkins I’ll try to find a single post and picture from 2002 until 2022 to highlight for all the new readers and old. Unlike George Santos I actually dug up proof that 2002 was when I started to take hobby blogging more seriously, so look on my works ye mighty and despair!
2002: Calgary Grand Tournament
The big focus of 2002 and likely the reason I finally started posting more hobby content online was I registered and attended my first Grand Tournament in Calgary of all places. Previously I’d attended local 40K tournaments in Victoria and even one in Ottawa, but I’d never done a diary or a journal for a Warhammer 40,000 campaign until 2002.
You can read how I did and I should have pictures from that event and of the army I took. First time I ever flew with a miniature case, previously I shipped my army across Canada on a Greyhound bus in a gun case as seen in the header image.
2003: Vancouver Grand Tournament
The next year Games Workshop expanded their tournament circuit even further and they came to where I was actually living at the time, Vancity. There was a new Chaos Codex with entirely new options so I painted a lot trying to improve my painting and overall score from the previous year.
Once again I journaled or blogged as the kids would say now-a-days, so you can read both how I did and all about the models I converted and built. I believe I finished third in painting losing to Bryce and Kelly Kim if memory serves me. A picture of my army commander appeared on the Games Workshop webpage. I saved the exact photo, but I don’t remember Dirty Steve taking it but it should have vintage 2003 metadata.
2004: Japanese Plague Marines
In 2004 I actually lived in Japan. I was invited to play Warhammer 40,000 on a US Military Base but I never did. There was a Yahoo group that I joined and when I came home for Christmas I took back some unpainted miniatures and a limited palette of paint back to Japan. I did a really good job painting some blue plaguebearers and the most infamous of purple plague marines.
I remember going to web cafes to update my website. I didn’t have a computer with me in Japan. The Wayback machine remembers what my webpage looked like back then, it has not changed much. When I got back to my mom’s house I put up a gallery of Plague Marines.
Also when I got back from Japan is when I started playing games against Rob as apparently the 40K mailing list was still going in 2004. He apparently has a blog too now, maybe more than one. It was also while in Japan that I joined Flickr and I’ve been posting pictures including of my miniatures to that website since.
2005: Maceo the Maligned
In 2005 I went back to school to do my ill-fated MBA. I did not end up playing in Conflict Vancouver but I did attend, Bill played in the Warhammer Fantasy Battle tournament I believe. I was living in a dorm at UBC and I think I may have painted two models alone in my room, including the now infamous Maceo the Maligned.
It was also in 2005 that I first installed WordPress and officially started Muskblog. It was encouraged by my MBA program to do so. But I was still mainly posting about my hobby stuff on my hand coded webpage. It appears I painted a couple notable models while at my mom’s house over the Christmas break or I started painting them. Metadata don’t lie.
From 2006 until 2010 I would post erratically before starting this blog dedicated miniature painting blog.
2006: The Phantom of the Rock Opera
In 2006 I apparently resumed painting goblins, it’s a lifetime commitment. It was also apparently Paul Taylor’s fault. I also painted a number of models that would eventually be fielded in a major tournament but that was still a year away. So although it rarely sees the tabletop, it is still in my possession, so I’ll go with a famous Noisemarine conversion I did in 2006.
2007: West Coast Mayhem
This was the event that replaced Conflict Vancouver after GW decided to stop running the Conflict events. I knew some of the organizers so of course I attended. This was where my third grand tournament army ended up. Bryce was there, I think he took home some prizes. Of course I typed up an event summary and I have plenty of photos to choose from, so here is a shot of my army in a portable display I make from an Ikea breakfast tray.
2008: Astronomi-con Vancouver
That is right in 2008, several old 40K mailing list members brought their event to Vancouver. It started in Winnipeg then expanded to Toronto and I think it was even run in Austin Texas at one point, so of course I attended the first one in Vancouver. There is of course another campaign journal and an event summary.
Rob was there, so was Malcolm, so was some of my terrain. I think Rob might still have some of my terrain. The trend continued of me finishing in the top three in painting but not winning. I didn’t have time to paint that many new models, but I did find a shot of my army. I never managed to finish a squad I dubbed the Longed Four, this would be the first of several Astonomi-con Vancouvers I attended.
2009: The Diseased Sons are Finished?
In 2009 I went to both Astronomi-con and West Coast Mayhem. I don’t remember winning much, but I did win a door price at Astronomi-con one year. This years I seem to have painted quite a few plague marines but also some Chaos Space Marine Havocs and Chaos Chosen as I must have thought I was finally done painting Nurgle models.
I was wrong. But here is my non-Nurgle Chaos paint scheme, which I have dubbed the Nefarious Fire. It is the same scheme I use on my Night Goblins because purple flames are cool.
2010: A new beginning
As mentioned many paragraphs ago, I must have been pretty serious in 2010 as I spun off my miniature painting exploits from my own domain to this dedicated blog. So now I can do things more in the style of Rob Hawkins, but I kept maintaining my other webpage and I of course posted to social media occasionally.
2010 also marked the last major tournament I attended. I remember staying up very late the night before painting. Maybe that resulted in my best painting score maybe it didn’t, but some people may remember that I posted a 2AM painting update.
Now I should be able to look through the old photos on this blog instead of my computer, but I think things are organized better on my computer than on WordPress dot com. In 2010 if you won first overall at Astronomi-con you got to go to Las Vegas for the championship, I think a lot of people on the West Coast tried extra hard to win tournaments that year. I chose to field a Khorne Terminator Lord I converted from a Forgeworld model to lead my army.
2011: Lead Painters League
In 2011, I entered the Lead Painters League or LPL. I didn’t win. I’m just not a fast or efficient painter. But I did try, and I admire more efficient painters than me. I also attended Trumpeter Salute in Burnaby, running a game of Silent Death as well as playing in a one day Warhammer 40,000 tournament.
So I was still trying to do hobby stuff even if it wasn’t the most successful year for me. I was also using a wet palette some during this period and possibly still working on my modular trench table. But the best thing I may have painted and timely in February 2022 was some OOP Khorne Bezerkers.
2012: Miniature Painting News
I was unemployed and Ron from FTW seemed to want one so I built a miniature painting news aggregator. It has since stopped working, but I can probably fix it if I ever have more time and energy. I didn’t paint or blog much in fact a lengthy hiatus from painting and gaming was soon to commence. It wasn’t until I moved to Calgary in 2019 that I got my paints out of storage.
I did however take and post the picture below.
2013: Nothing was painted
I built a lot of stuff with PHP while unemployed but it never made me any money, now all I seem to code in is SQL.
2014: A brief return to painting and gaming
I have some friends who have worked for GW on and off over the years. I also know some people who have opened their own gaming shops. It was while visiting some old friends that I was talked into painting a model or two in-store to prove I could still paint. I even played a game of Warhammer 40,000 this year, taking part in a megabattle at GW Highgate, I believe that is the only time my Khorne Bezerkers have ever been fielded, I let some kids run a lot of my army, very few things were broken. Fun was had by all, I think Warhammer stores have become more like daycares as I’ve gotten older.
2015: Moved back to China
That is correct, I moved to China for a second time! I didn’t take my models or my paints, but it turns out there are Games Workshop or Warhammer stores now in Shanghai. There was even less hobby content produced by me than in 2013. However it was the ten year anniversary of Muskblog, so I wrote a blogiversary post. I can’t say I particularly recommend reading it, but over the years I have given some thought to what is important when self publishing and creating content online, in a word, passion.
2016: A little Hobby Blogging
I was still living in China so I blogged mostly about that. I also blogged about studying, I spent a lot of time studying while in China and I can’t even speak much Chinese, but I did write one post highlighting all the Nurgle content I’d posted over the years.
2017: Shanghai Comic Con
In 2017, I still had little time for hobbies, but I managed to fit in a visit to the third ever Comic Con in Shanghai. There was actually quite a few painted miniatures at this convention. So I did take some pictures of miniatures, just not ones I personally painted.
2018: Another year devoid of hobbies
I was still in China, but I’d basically been convinced to leave as I just wasn’t getting anywhere no matter how many exams I took. I did keep everything online and still produced content as the kids say, for instance if you ever want to know where to go for beer in Shanghai.
2019: Back to Calgary, Back to the Hobby
I’d actually lived in Calgary twice before during the 90s. So I had painted models here while a co-op student. I was familiar with the Sentry Box, I had even flown to Calgary to participate in a Warhammer 40,000 tournament. But in 2019 I again moved for work and it turns out I knew someone who painted miniatures and played games.
So in order to give Bill fresh victims and to once again prove I retained some modicum of skill I returned to the hobby. Bill was also big on me producing content, I think he even wanted me to do a podcast and video tutorials, but I stuck with blogging though I also post pictures to Instagram and sometimes even Twitter.
During all the time I was away from participating fully in the hobby I still likely followed some other people who were active in the hobby. I bought books, I had the first Death Guard Codex when I moved to Calgary having bought it in Shanghai. I had hoped we’d play Kill Team but Bill wanted to play Warcry, so it was back to painting goblins for me.
A new edition of Kill Team has since come out which I bought but haven’t played, also purchased but not played the latest version of Necromunda.
2020: Warcry Campaign
My biggest hobby accomplishment of the year was finishing a Gloomspite Gitz Warcry gang. It was almost all vintage goblins and night goblins I had unpainted since Warhammer 4th Edition. I think I bought one box of new goblins and have since bought another but our Warcry campaign ended due to Covid.
2021: A return to Warhammer 40,000
In 2021, I finally got to play another game of Warhammer 40,000. This might have been between Covid lockdowns in Calgary. It was against Bill and his Ultramarines, Bill also once played orks, he’s never fully kicked the habit apparently.
2022: The Siege of Vanithros’s Bastion
This was a big year in the hobby with perhaps the most ever words typed by me about the hobby in a single year. 2022 was probably not the most models painted in a single year, I don’t have a perfect record of such things and I didn’t always photograph and post everything I painted like kids do now-a-days. I did paint a lot of models and rebased even more. Bill and I, plus eventually others started a narrative campaign of 9th edition Warhammer 40,000. Many games were played and over twenty battle reports were typed up by me. I also summarized the entire year long campaign of the Diseased Sons.
The start of this year has been very busy, but not necessarily with the hobby, but the narrative campaign continues, now with even more orks. I will try and get in a game this weekend or at least paint. I spent the last three months rebasing and touching up three models that I originally painted back in the 1990s. I even found an old picture of Sluggie before he was spruced up.
Games Workshop is running the Arks of Omen campaign right now so we’ll probably take part. The rumour is 10th edition will also be released this year so we’ll likely switch to that, probably restarting our campaign, rumour has it there will be simple rules and more complicated rules, given my memory and time available to the hobby, I may lobby for the simple rules. I’ve been too busy to keep up with all the rumours but hopefully there is time in 2023 for the hobby. I have more unpainted models than I’ll ever paint but I hope to paint a few more yet.
Hopefully you enjoyed this trip back in time, I have one last gallery of miniatures to recommend, both before and after I repainted them which seems an apt link to conclude with. If you have thoughts on the various miniatures I’ve painted and repainted over the years or hobby blogging in general you can leave a comment below.
5 thoughts on “20 Year Hobby Blogging Anniversary”
Wow, that’s very impressive to have such a document of your hobby. Did you find it nostalgic when you read what you’d written, or were you critical of your style? There can’t be many who have 20 years of blogging behind them, so I tip my hat to you.
I think nostalgia plays a large part in sticking with a hobby from your youth into older age. Originally it was some guys on my high school rugby team that got me into Warhammer 40,000 but I’d played other games before and I did have some old D&D miniatures but I haven’t seen them in a long, long time, they were bought at bookstore on Vancouver Island I think. One may have gotten partially painted with Testors enamels, I’ve looked for them in the past, they appear lost to time. Keeping a campaign going even for one year takes a lot of work.
So I think sticking with anything whether it is miniature painting or miniature wargaming or blogging for twenty years is a real challenge. It doesn’t make me any money, but it probably could have if I was willing to compromise my ethics or be more flavour of the month. Games Workshop is a lot bigger corporation than it was twenty years ago, let alone back in the 1990s or 1980s when my gaming began. Now they have an entire team that sends free product both miniatures and books to websites, bloggers, and influencers. I’ve tried to paint and post more, but I work full time, my eyesight has gotten worse, and it is just a hobby for me. But if I painted the models GW was trying to promote instead of re-painting models I bought in the 1990s I might be more popular on social media.
My social media usage is also not optimized. I tend to publish when I finish a post which is often late at night, but it took me a while to plan this post and then after collecting some of the pictures and links I planned to use it took a couple evenings to type up and edit everything. Quality matters to me. Lengthier posts is one of the few advantages a lone blogger has over say Reddit or the Wikipedia. Twenty years ago the number one website online when you Google’d “Nurgle” was mine. I ranked for all sorts of keywords. Then places like the Wikipedia came along and I was less involved even zero involved with the hobby, but I still paid ten, I think it is up to sixteen US dollars a month for web hosting. WordPress dot come is free, Reddit is free, Instagram is free so you can become popular, quicker, easier than you could twenty years ago and it doesn’t take any money upfront or any technical skills, but I sort of refuse to change. I still maintain the same twenty year old webpages and if you look in the wayback machine the website looks the same, still no ads on Muschamp.ca
But I liked what Ron was trying to do and it is probably better for search engine optimization or attracting and retaining a readership to have focus. On my other blog I’ve written too much, way over 1000 posts, so many that I deleted hundreds. They were not adding value, they were not bringing in desirable traffic so yeah miniature painting, old Nurgle models in particular is not a big seller either for GW or the gaming public. I should paint loyalists, I should paint the flavour of the month. I should have played boarding action with the new Khorne Bezerkers, but I’m just not playing the same game as others are.
I’m still here, Gates of Fenris is not. I remember that as being the most popular Warhammer 40,000 website for a while back in the 90s. I don’t know who ran it, but many people I did know from the 40K mailing list or real life started blogs, some are still in the hobby, but some are no longer in the hobby and they definitely didn’t spend money every month not to mention way too much time maintaining a less and less popular website for twenty years. I think I’m just stubborn, but not so stubborn that I can’t change or admit when I’m wrong, see taking down hundreds of posts, and still editing things I posted twenty years ago.
As for criticism that used to be a bigger problem. I had Google Alerts set up for my name and I think Nurgle, I may still have them set up but Google Alerts changed how they work, now it mostly sends me video game reviews with the phrase Nurgle in them. The problem with critics especially folks who fancy themselves anonymous online Internet experts is miniature painting and miniature wargaming is a real world hobby. Maybe you can be an asshole in online video gaming and get away with it for a while, but if you want to post on the Bolter and Chainsword and have the admins ask you to write up tutorials or lend them photos of your miniatures so they can use them for some evil purpose you probably don’t want to be an asshole. If you want to attend a Grand Tournament or a Gaming Convention or a Comic Con, people may remember you called Jervis Johnson a Nazi on Warseer. It is hard to stay anonymous online for twenty years. I don’t think GW sends free miniatures to anonymous forum posters.
It used to bother me more, back when my health was less good, but I’m not trying to be the most popular, I’m not trying to be the best, I’m not even trying to tell people they are doing it wrong. People have however told me I’m doing it wrong. They don’t like my painting, they don’t like my army lists, they don’t like my humor. But pestis and Morbo are probably long gone from the hobby, Deathguard dot org is gone, I was correct in never trying to run my own forum, and not allowing my comments section to become a free-for-all. So not all my decisions have been bad, not all my hobby experiences have been bad, I’ve had to wait a long time and maybe I’m still waiting for when I can devote more time to my hobbies, but work is necessary to buy miniatures and my eyesight really gets worse every year, the optometrist is always happy I need new glasses.
So yeah how you act online has consequences. If you want to get invited to play Warhammer 40,000 against real people you can’t be a total asshole online or in real life. They have banned people from some conventions and tournaments, banned them from the local gaming stores, people really have cheated not just failed to remember one obscure rule once, people have entered models they didn’t paint into contests etc. Me I was never a contest painter. I try to do a good job, I try to try out new paints and techniques but I only have so much time. I’d like to get more models finished and that means lower standards and no Golden Daemon Slayer Sword for me.
Those guys are very very very good. They plan their entries out in advance for a year or more, I usually just paint whatever and enter whatever my army needs at the time in a local competition because my friend runs the store and asked me to. If I win hooray, if I don’t oh well. Kelly Kim liked this post on Facebook, so yeah I’m still not hated in miniature painting circles and painters better than me, think I do good work some of the time.
Maybe I’m older and wiser, but Bill wanted me to try to regain some of my old popularity, so I’ve tried, but it hasn’t been that successful. I’d probably have been better served taking a picture of model and posting it to Instagram than writing this long reply. But one day maybe I will go viral, then all these long text screeds will come back to haunt me, but I’ve deleted and edited a lot of things and I really don’t care about pestis and Morbo or their ilk.