This month we've been pushing out the interviews with some big names around the community, and this interview is no exception. Today we have John and Mike from Santa Cruz Warhammer; home of the weekly Honor Roll and contributor of the Heroes of Armageddon project. So let's get to it!
How long have you been into the gaming scene and what got you started?
J: I started buying and painting minis in the late 70s to represent D&D characters and in the mid 80s started in on GW minis and played a few games of Adeptus Titanicus, a few years ago I met Mike through an old buddy and thats when I went totally overboard.
M: Our mutual friend Christian, who got both of us kind of in the hobby, got me hooked. At first I sniggered, then I went: hmmmm, then it turned into an obsession, now it's a regular part of life.
Do you play tabletop games? And if so, how often and what are your favorite games and armies?
J: Yes I play Warhammer Fantasy and 40k, but not often enough, but much more now that we have started a local gaming club. I have most armies, but I have been playing Lizardmen and Deathwing. I also like Wings of War.
M: i don't really play much, but lately I have played a few 400 point fantasy games with my budding Hordes of Vormond VC army
If you could meet anyone at all in the gaming industry, who would it be and why?
J: I was really glad to meet Dave Taylor and Ron from FTW and Jawaballs at Games Day last year, and got to meet a few sculptors, would very much like a Forge world tour from Tony Cottrell, also very much like Victoria Lamb at the moment.
M: I like to meet my buddies and hang out with family. I am pretty shy and going to Gamesday would make me really unhappy and repressed. So I stay home and live it through John who is much better at this stuff.
Do you have any favorite board games?
J: I still like chess, Trivial Pursuit, Othello, Abalone
M: I love to play Settlers of Catan with the family and another favorite after dinner is Ligretto. i can recommend that game to anyone, it's excellent
When you do any type of gaming, how competitive are you?
J: Not enough, I am really a slow player and find myself constantly looking up rules and stats, but I do really want/like to win, and if I don't I go back over the gave and try to think of what I did wrong and how to do it better next time.
M: I used to be competitive, but after some bad experiences I really make an effort to laugh about it all.
Do you read any hobby related fiction such as Black Library books?
J: I love fluff but just don't read enough of it, made it most of the way through Deathwing.
M: I have read pretty much everything 40K, love it and it really helps me to envision the hobby and the world of 40K. Gaunt, Eisenhorn and Ravenor are key, but the new Nightlords series is excellent. Cain is the best.
What do you consider yourself primarily? Painter, modeler, gamer, general purpose dork?
J: Modeler/painter for sure.
M: same here. I love to think outside the box and try to be inspired by stuff I read.
Was there a special inspiration that got you into modeling/painting in the first place?
J: Early White Dwarf Evy Metal and conversions, Dave Taylor's out of the box conversions.
M: I painted models as a kid, mostly German WWII stuff, growing up in Holland, we all hated the Germans but loved their armour. Now we love the Germans actually and by the way I just got my citizenship and as an American, I love all the world.
What is your favorite project you've done?
J: I guess it would be being a part of the Storm Wardens Project last year, as for personal modeling, I love finishing an army, first my Death Guard, then the Deathwing, a single model might be my winning model from the Stegadon Conversion Contest ( as I got to meet and compete against some great guys) but none of it would have been possible without the SCW blog which Mike started and I was lucky enough to be invited to join.
M: the blog is our baby
Is there a specific type of modeling work you like above others? For example, do you prefer vehicle conversions over infantry based ones?
J: I love converting models for codex choices that there are no models of, and simple conversions that just have not been done yet, and make you wonder how no one thought of that yet.
M: I have been heavily into vehicles and love the weather them. I look up old tanks and look at their damage want after the Heroes, I want to take that part a step further.
Do you like to say, watch TV or listen to music while you model?
J: I almost always listen to a Police scanner or have the TV on in the background.
M: don't have TV in the house, listen to baseball on the radio. go giants
Where do you get your inspiration from?
J: Military history, fantasy movies, popular blogs like Dave Taylors, Ron at FTW and lots that are less popular but just as great like Mik's Minis and John's Toy Soldiers and countless others, Google searches, Golden Demon Winners Like Victoria Lamb and Matt Fontaine, and my blog buddy Mike.
M: since we are on the subject, John is a great painter and would win many Golden Demons, if he would just decide to do that, but anyhow, Dave Taylor has been a modeling hero for me, painting wise I like the europeans who are painting hyperrealistic, cool stuff.
What do you find most compelling about starting work on a new miniature or piece?
J: Sometimes its the great model that I just have to buy, or even just a model that I need to build to keep moving on an army list.
M: don't know. Sometimes I have a model in my box for years, before it talks to me. Happens all the time. I have a lot of models in boxes and i never force the issue.
What are your greatest challenges when working with something new?
J: I really want the model to look the part, the conversion to be believable and "realistic"and to fit in with the rest of the force.
M: staying interested long enough to finish it.
Do you have a favorite piece, or piece that you consider your "seminal work"?
J: They are like kids, I love them all, but there are some that stand out a bit, Belail Redux, Ardwick and Vostroyan Rough Riders, Alexie and Arkady, and the Nurgle Demon Princes.
Who is someone in the modeling field whose work you admire?
J: As far as conversion modeling, Dave Taylor and Ron Saikowski, Victoria Lamb.
M: I am into Cool Mini or Not right now
What is your favorite tip, trick or lesson to share with others?
J: For new painters, nothing improves a model more than washes and basic basing, for the more advanced, Dremel tools and bondo spot filler thinned with liquid plastic cement.
M: only model if you want to
You've won several awards for your painting expertise, but are there any pieces that you look back on and wish you would have done differently?
J: Not really, some of my older stuff has made its way into paint stripper and been upgraded.
M: I have one award mostly because all the other entries were from 6-7 year olds and I don't think I will ever compete again...I like my old models and see them as a product of their time.
What advice would you give to beginners starting out, or those who don't enjoy painting, to get them more involved or motivated in the activity?
J: Get a group of guys together that you jive with and start a club and an expansion game, painting small amounts of your army as it grows with a realistic deadline, also enter a painting contest, nothing will push you more than that, check out the models that win, talk to the builders and see what they are doing that you have not mastered yet.
M: don't do it.
What in your opinion is the most difficult painting technique to learn? (And can you teach it to us, preferably in 30 words or less.)
J: I would say glowing power weapons, source lighting, and wet blending.
M: direction lighting and no I don't know how to do it. But I will try
How long has your blog been around and how much have you seen it grow?
J: Mike started SCW November 2007and it has surprised us with the global community and great folks we have met.
M: November 23 actually and one secret is that John has been badgering me ever since to change the name to rid it of the name Santa Cruz
What is one of the projects you were most excited to release?
J: We dabbled with some fun smaller multi blog projects, the Storm Wardens evolved and snowballed, so we didnt see it coming, but this years Heroes of Armageddon Project has been hard to keep the lid on.
M: Stormwardens were great
What do you think makes your blog special or unique?
J: Mike and I have a strong sense of community and family, we love to share what we are doing and invite readers into our little world.
M: you would have to ask our readers
Is there anything new you have coming that you could give us some hints about?
J: After the HOA project, I want to do pre-heresy Death Guard another multi blog all comers giveaway project like Knights of Baltimorea.
M: quit the hobby
When you achieve world domination, what will your headquarters look like?
J: Would love to have a gamers clubhouse/hobby center where kids can hang out and fall in love with the hobby.
M: dance to The Police with my daughters and play backgammon and love the hell out of everyone. and keep Obama in the WH