No, no, put away the lynch ropes and pitchforks. I don't mean the sort of collaborator who turns James Donald into the Germans, I mean a wargaming collaborator. Over the last few weeks I've been getting involved in projects with other gamers and bloggers, and I thought I'd share with you some of my thoughts on it.
Collaboration, in this context, is basically working together on a joint wargaming project. It's a great way to add some variety to your army, tackle painting something new without starting a new army, as well as getting to know a few of your fellow bloggers a bit better.
Player A paints some of his models in Player B's colours, and uses them in his army (and vice versa)
This is the simplest, cheapest, easiest way to do a joint project - Lord Gordon and I did this a few months back. Basically, the idea is that in the fluff some of your men are on a kind of exchange programme. You get to each build/paint some models in the other player's colours.
This is obviously cheaper and, because you make the models yourself, cuts out the risks in sending precious minis through the post, but on the other hand it's not quite as 'collaborative' - you're just using someone else's colour scheme. I find this is best (for Imperial Guard) to make liaison officers and advisors. These are the sorts of people who do exchange and attaché jobs and can easily be incorporated into your gaming Command Squad as a 'bodyguard' or even one of the Regimental Advisors. The picture is of Lt Rhyn, an officer of the Delihan Army on a posting to the Palladian Guard. You can see Lord Gordon's work here, Lt Gen Agrippa of the Palladian Guard.
Player A sends Player B some models. B builds/paints them up in his own colours, and sends them back to A who uses them in his army (like a detachment).
This is the next level of collaborating. You can post models out to people to build and/or paint for you, and they send them back. I'm in the middle of doing just such a project for Zzzzz over at Devos IV, putting together a command squad. It generally involves a bit more planning, because it involves posting stuff out and getting it sent back - but the end result is an extra squad in your army that someone else has put their stamp on, and you can use them as a sort of allied detachment.
It's a good compromise between the Liaison Officers - which are easy but not very 'collaborative', and the Joint Projects, which are the opposite.
Players A & B get together, and work on a squad jointly - or A builds and posts them off to B to paint.
Although this is probably what most of you thought when you realised this was a post about collaborations, in my experience it's the least common. Mainly because it involves the most communicating back and forth, and at the end you have to decide who gets to use the squad. These sorts of projects are less common in the blogosphere but very commonplace amongst mates who game together at a club, as most of the communication problems are solved there and then.
Me and Headologist are just starting to think of doing a diorama on these lines - he builds it, then I get to paint it up. These projects are great if you can find someone close by to do it with, but probably not for many bloggers.
One slightly thorny issue that all this brings up is that of money and motivation. Less so for the Exchange Officer projects, but for the other two - when you're investing a lot of time and effort for something you may never use/see again - why would you do that?
Well, most 'normals' (ie non-wargamers) would expect some kind of fee I suppose. But I've found that most of the time, amongst bloggers, this isn't really the case. Most people I know are more than happy just to have the chance to be a part of someone else's army. You probably shouldn't just assume that people will be willing to paint up some models for you and post them back for free but I certainly wouldn't mind doing it, just for the satisfaction (and getting to follow their progress in future batreps!)
For me, collaboration sums up the best about blogging and wargaming. Like-minded people, sharing a common interest, doing something for the sheer fun of it and to help someone out. Precious little of that nowadays. So, let me know what you think about these sorts of projects in the comments. How many other people have tried them? What sort of projects were they?
(Sorry for the wordy post and lack of updates - I'm currently in a windswept house on the English coast on my 'holiday', which involves 6am swims in the North Sea and no modelling for a week :( when I get back there will be piccys galore, I promise).
Thanks for reading,