Goatboy’s New Year: How the Hobby Helps Heal


Goatboy here, instead of going about new CSMs I want to step back and talk about how much this hobby has helped me.


Goatboy here again and instead of going about the new Chaos Space Marines, building some terrible combo, or just spouting on how I might know how to fix the game – I want to step back a bit and talk about how much this hobby has helped me.  To give you a bit of insight – my brother died a few days after Christmas.  He lived a hard life and it caught up to him.  I’ve been waiting for this call from my family for awhile and as you read this most likely we got everything finished and will continue onto the new year a bit sadder but relieved.  But this isn’t a piece on the issues with addiction – this is instead looking at how the hobby has helped me cope, deal, and move on through a lot of hard times in my life.


I remember the first time I picked up some models, put them together, and imagined how I would terribly paint them.  It was my junior year in college.  I just quit the Magic habit and started working at a comic book store.  I was somewhat lonely and felt like I needed something that was both constructive and artistic.  I had changed majors from the good career choice as a Mechanical Engineer and decided to jump head first into Art.  I never regretted my decision as it gave me some good friends, a decent time in school, and helped feel happy about finishing school.  Building models, meeting new friends, and competing the grim dark fantasy world really helped me not feel nearly as lonely as I was before.  That was the first taste of this and I am still really good friends with a lot of the people I met during that time.  Heck one of my best friends works at the company I am at now.  I remember selling him models when he was twelve years old.  Heck I remember getting my butt kicked by his terribly built models and wondering how this 12 year old was so tall for his age.

When I finished school I left the hobby for awhile.  I was out of school, got myself into shape, and started dating.  I ended up marrying this girl and that didn’t end up so well.  The divorce hit me pretty hard.  I initially came back to playing Magic but I knew the lure of the plastic crack wouldn’t keep me away.  I ended up coming back to Nidzilla and falling completely in love with the universe again.  I found those old friends again, now owning a store, and started back with building and painting models.  It helped fill the void left after the divorce as well as dealing with some of the depression issues.  How could life be so bad when you could put together a Chaos Space Marine or kick butt with a giant Tyranid monster.  I had so much fun just building, converting, and painting those models.  It was back in the day of units without models so trying to kit bash a figure was one of the greatest joys of my life.  Lucky for me my new girlfriend/wife was fine with me throwing money at some plastic figures.


The worst thing in all of this was I barely had a chance to play in any of the old GTs.  I got in one Baltimore and the Las Vegas GT.  This was also the time I initially met the BoLS guys and started getting involved with writing and producing content for the website.  I built out a huge web of friends that I still talk to a ton of today.  Heck someone I know through 40k also new my brother as well.  This small world of dice throwing maniacs connects and helps me.  I get to see tons of cool models, hear the nerd rage with new rules, and even get to talk about everyone’s kids as people grow up, get married, and produce their own little Chaos spawn.   All of these connections are because of this hobby.


If you are an artist you will understand the next part a bit more.  Doing artwork is very hard.  Yes being born with the talent means it is easier for you – but trying to come up and work through a piece of artwork is hard.  I won’t tell you the amount of times I have had to struggle to get some crazy cartoon drawn.  How many times you see wasted paper as the sketches and thoughts just won’t make it on the page correctly.  Or how you missed an update because the art just isn’t there.  Those times make you feel so low because you can’t produce. These thoughts and ideas are so close and when you can’t get them out it hurts.  I use this hobby to help through those times.  It might not be nearly satisfying as creating a piece of artwork – but it is the closet thing.  It is why I do a lot of conversions as there is a ton of creation involved when throwing bits, green stuff, and a little bit of inspiration.  It helps me cope with the low artwork times and lets me work through the mental blockage of crap.


I sit here up in my nerd room writing this out, trying to think what I will tell my son as he realizes the crazy uncle he had just met isn’t going to be around.  I try to think of how I had just started talking to him more and had high hopes he might turn it around.  I think to myself that I need to work on something that doesn’t need all my brain power to get working so maybe I can forgot a bit.  I look over at the Magnus I just built this morning after dealing with this lose.  I think to myself – yeah it is time to just shut off the brain, work on some giant evil daemon Primarch, and hopefully find some way to get a game in this weekend to just let myself wander into the waterfall of dice, evil armies, and beautifully painted models.


Please give your loved ones a hug if you can, call your family, and make sure that at the very least you can remember the last thing you said to them was something nice.  Hopefully next week will have some cool rumors, rules, and other bits of nonsense to talk about.

~Again sorry for bringing a bit of reality but this weekly article is another way to help me through the week.

  • kremmet

    Wonderful article and I’m sorry for your loss. Working through difficult times constructively is what hobbies are all about. There’s something focusing and tranquil about taking clippers to sprues and brush to model. It’s weird that when we feel something missing in ourselves the thing that brings the most solace is the simple act of creation.

  • Twin Questionmark

    Thank you for this article, Goatboy. I feel with u and hope u carry on. Unfortunately we have to realize, that the “Grim Dark” is already here on Terra. It’s a sign of your strenght to talk about it.
    From my side, w40k helps me to go through with some experiences I made in my deployment in Afghanistan.
    Stay strong and carry on, and thank you for your article !

    • memitchell

      Thanks for your service! You stay strong, too.

  • Iconoc1ast

    Feel for you. I have lost one of my brothers too. :'(

  • sjap98

    Thanks for the awesome article Goatboy!

  • Simon Chatterley

    Hobby keeps me sane and has done for years and years.

    Really feel for your loss though. Hobby got me through a couple of bad ones as well, one out of the blue and one expected. Neither hurt any less.

  • SundaySilence

    Honestly; I normally don’t care much for the articles on here but this one is a bit close to home for me. It’s why it saddens me when I see so much venom on here and aimed at GW, PP et all; for all their perceived mistakes or what not: they gave us a community. They gave us help, in a roundabout way; through times where it wasn’t obvious we’d pull through. Each and every friend I have was through the hobby and for that I’m thankful.

  • Andrew

    That sucks. Escaping into other worlds really helps, I think thats why a lot of us do it. Sorry for your loss.

  • benn grimm

    Sorry for your loss. Can totally relate to the use of a hobby like ours as a kind of sanctuary. I think we are fortunate in that our escape is a positive and constructive one. Best wishes for the new year.

  • Grieux

    I’m very sorry for your loss. I do hope you get that game this weekend.

  • euansmith

    All the best, Goatboy, to you and your family.

    I’m still struggling to get back together after a horrible and totally unexpected experience around 5 years ago. In that time I have found that reading your terrible army lists, being wowed by your awesome paint jobs and really cool artwork has been a big help.

    Sometimes folk ask me why I comment so much on BoLS or Ammobunker or The Terrain Tutor’s facebook page, and yet don’t seem to produce anything.

    The truth is that commenting (and the occasional mini (thank you, Commissar Molotov)), is currently my main hobby. It helps fill a void. Reading other peoples comments, and having people appreciate or top my comments, is a big help. Reading rambling flame wars over interpretations of fluff and rules in games I don’t play is an interesting diversion. Also looking at other peoples’ minis, terrain, and battle reports tickles my hobby hole no end.

    Grim Darkness is a valid tool in the battle against the vicissitudes of life.

    • Mira Bella

      Oh Euan you are without a doubt the most valuable member of the BoLS community.
      Please promise to never leave us, for this would be a terribly boring and grim place without you.

      • euansmith

        Thank you, that’s a lovely thing to say.

  • Graham Roden

    An awesome article. It’s amazing how this community for the most part is so inclusive and supportive.

  • Nick Wright

    I’m so sorry for your loss, and will be keeping you and your family in my thoughts. Reading this article made me realize that 40k has helped me work through pain, too, even though I didn’t know it at the time. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • peter

    Thanks for sharing

  • petrow84

    My condolences. This hobby helped me through a lot of things too, from school time frustrations to family and personal tragedies.

  • memitchell

    I’m the engineer type who always envied the artist’s talent. Never considered that the need to create could be a burden instead of a blessing. Brilliant insight!

    Sorry for your loss.

  • Dan Prosser

    Sorry for your loss. But it’s nice to see a purely positive article on here. We should celebrate our hobbies and enjoy them to the fullest

  • Moomin_1291

    Sorry to hear of your loss. I couldn’t agree more that the hobby is a great way to take your mind off the grimdark of the real world, however it may rear its ugly head. Keep strong and stay creative.

  • Good article GB. Hope you all feel better soon. Stuff like this sucks … there’s nothing you can do about it but try to get through it.

  • NikosanPrime

    Good article Goatboy, I feel Rorn your loss. Been interesting reading your articles over the years and checking out you conversions and paint jobs, and even you horrible net lists. But this is the best piece you’ve ever written.

    I hope you and your family transition through this event healthily and guickly. I have had some things happen in my life and sometimes it was the plastic crack that got me through, sometimes it was alcohol and dancing, but in the end ignore mostly just coming to realize that everything is just a series of events in your life and how you perceive them and react to them is defines how you get through them.

    Anyways that’s my little piece of wisdom. It is not meant in any offensive way. I wish you the best with everything.

  • Davor Mackovic

    My condolences to you and your family.