Once upon a time... in France
Today is S. Valentine day, so what a better moment to dedicate some lines to the love of my (hobby) life?
Everything started in France some days ago when SuperCharles, one of the mightiest and dearest DPF community members, found in his house two ancient catalogues and decided to send them to his favourite Italian guy (=me. I like to think I'm the favourite Italian guy of somebody, but I don't know if it's true), knowing my desperate love for anything concerning Rackham Confrontation.
You know, France and Italy are longtime rivals, we are like siblings: we fight and argue with each other for almost anything, but deep down, we love and respect each other.
No, it's not true: Italian food is better, Italian wines are better, Rome is waaaaay better than Paris and we won the 2006 world cup.
As we say here: stàcce.
Joking apart, despite it is really hard for me to publicly praise France for something (I was born and grew up in Liguria, at the border between France and Italy, where this rivalry is even more accentuated!), I have to admit that we should always thank our French cousins for many things: for example, the pain au chocolat (or chocolatine?), the undiscussed king of my breakfasts, or Gérard Depardieu, the main reference behind my dwarves' noses, or Astérix le Gaulois, one of my childhood favourite bandes dessinées (despite their anti-Romans propaganda!). I even fell in love with a French girl, once upon a time (but unfortunately for the younger me, she lived in Metz, a whole France away from my city!).
However, despite there were many French things that I learned to love during my life, there is a single one that 'still make my heart struggle and beat faster: Rackham Confrontation.
I met Rackham's masterpieces almost by chance, in 2004 at a Lucca Comics&Games event. At that time I was already a proud hobbyist, but my knowledge about wargaming was limited to GW, or better, to GW Dwarfs. I wasn't a player, I only loved to paint (despite I would define the younger me as a "colours rapist", more than a painter!), but in my forgotten-by-God city there were not so many products to choose from: we were lucky to find some Warhammer stuff!
I don't want to be unfair, however, with GW products: I think that they produced many amazing stuff, and I'm still a GW fanboy, after all. But the first time I saw Rackham's miniatures, my head just blew up: I was (almost literally) shocked!
Their unique, crazy, style... all those bright colours...Paul Bonner's art: everything was just too much for my eyes!
I immediately fell in love, desperately fell in love: I just wanted everything.
Unfortunately, 2004 was not Ligurian-kid-without-internet friendly, and I really struggled to grab something: there were no retailers in my region, I wasn't able to order them on the web (I literally didn't own a pc!) and my friends were too attached to GW to support my quest.
I managed to buy just a few miniatures, but I couldn't properly catapult myself in Rackham world, as I wished.
When I was old enough to buy whatever I wanted (well, almost...) with my brand new pc, and above all I moved to Milan, I then discovered that the whole Rackham thing just disappeared: failure, end of the game, rien ne va plus.
Rackham's failure just broke my heart and even now I struggle to accept it: I'm still in the grieving process, floating between the first step (denial&rejection) and the second one (rage).
Since yesterday, when I started to flip through the pages of those catalogues, I'm here like a rejected lover, with a broken heart and a head full of regrets: I didn't enjoy and live what I consider the pinnacle of this hobby, and I'm starting to think that, despite all my prays and hopes, I won't see Rackham's glory come back (step 4: depression).
Of course, there are many things more important than miniatures, in life, but I can't help but think about what we lost and we are missing, and we will miss.
It's true, Guiton (the mind behind Rackham Confrontation) is still out there, but honestly I consider that the uniqueness of Confrontation (and related products, like Cadwallon) is incomparable with Wrath of Kings or Zombiecide: it's like comparing Appetite for Destruction with Chinese Democracy.
Still nowadays, I think that Confrontation miniatures are the best miniatures ever produced, and if you compare, for example, the Knights of the Lion with whatever knight sculpted with the modern technologies, you can figure out what I'm talking about.
Just saying: when those Alahan knights were put on the market, GW made these.
Again: I don't want to be unfair or rude against GW, I respect your tastes, but the difference is so clear, so tangible, that you can cut it with a knife.
I simply refuse to think that a kid born nowadays, won't ever be able to buy this miniature (one of my favourite miniatures ever, that I've never had the chance to paint):
Rackham Confrontation, in my opinion, put the bar so high that it is almost impossible to reach this level: I'm really proud of our miniatures, I think that Valerio and Davide are two great, talented, crazy artists, but I simply can't give them such an amazing art direction like Guiton's one.
Of course, you can clearly see our love for Rackham (Valerio, a bit older than me, was able to collect and play Confrontation, lucky man!) in our sculpts, but it's just a pale reflection of the original and uniqueness of those French titans: despite I really try to approach their greatness -not just copy them-, I feel like I'm just a dwarf on the shoulders of giants.
I confess that Rackham's failure still haunt my dreams because I can't help but think how can I succeed if these pieces of art for some reason failed?
I know, quality it's just one (crucial) factor of success, there are many technical sides that make the difference more than the beauty of the sculptures: it's business, not simply art.
But still, I really can't accept the fact that the world, the market, didn't find a place for these masterpieces, it's simply unacceptable: how is possible that we didn't find even just a single wealthy patron to buy the licenses and put them on the market again?
I know, there was the Resurrection project, but unfortunately things seemed not to go as expected.
Knowing that the whole legacy of Rackham Confrontation is now available only as bad recasts from East Europe/China, or by spending tons of money on eBay for the original casts (like I did, to finally buy the almost all the Tir-Na-Bor range) is terrible, I think that they deserve a better treatment.
For this reason, I take advantage of this passionate post to put out a call:
please, billionaires out there, toss a lot of coins to whoever own the rights on Confrontation and bring back to life this piece of human art.
I would do it by myself, but producing my miniatures has drained my bank account and the world can't wait for me to become rich (I will, but I need more time!), for having back Rackham's miniatures!
History taught us that men and women of goodwill can change the world, it's time to make the difference, it's time to brink back the love of my life!