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Miniature hunting in the big city

Posted November 19th, 2015 at 01:55 PM by Sylvano the Wasabus
Me and the missus managed to sneak away for a couple days last week, up to Canadaís biggest city- Toronto. We smuggled a couple kids up with us too. Yeah, they kids belong to me.

I used to live in Toronto and I donít miss it at all. I was born in a small town. Iíll live and die in a small town. Hey, that would make a great song!

Thereís just too much concrete in the big city. I guess I feel some kind of a connection to grass and trees and growing things- and in the cement city everything feels wrong. Whereís the natural energy?

Also where did all those people come from? And where are they going? Can there actually be homes for them all, and beds and sinks and kitchen tables? It boggles my mind.

We did some touristy things- visited the zoo, the aquarium and saw a demented puppet show. The aquarium was rather stunning but it all seemed mysteriously familiar- I experienced a pretty strong deja vu. And then I realized it was reminding me of the park atmosphere and layout in the Jurassic World movie. I expected the glass containing all that water and the big sharks to break at any moment.

My family are very nice and whenever we go anywhere they know I will be out on the streets trying to hook up to support my addiction. Iíll research the hobby and game stores that sell miniatures and my sweet family will usually come with me, though Iím not sure why. I donít think they enjoy it. Maybe theyíre just worried Iíll buy too much or maybe disappear?

Thereís not a lot of stores with a good supply of miniatures anymore, even in a big city like Toronto. Thereís lots of MTG and comics but not very many minis and how am I supposed to finish building my gnoll army? Or the Prima Don defence force Iíve been working on?

When we go visiting other cities I usually stay up late so I can cruise the internet when no one else needs it and look at miniature stores and how to get there. Itís a guilty late night addiction. This time I found a store that was just blocks away. Iíd even heard of it before, and the website promised it had bins of miniatures.

Can you imagine bins of miniatures? When I was a kid I used to go into the townís drug store and they would give you a little paper bag to fill with penny candy. There were all these different kinds- different flavours, shapes and prices. Some were four for a penny, some two for a penny and there were even some really expensive 5 cent pieces. For a quarter you could get enough to make you happily sick. Thereís no such thing as penny candy anymore, and really my dream of finding bins with a variety of minis is probably just a delusion. But the hunt is part of the fun too.

The next day, when we had a little spare time, I announced I was going to the game store. Everyone wanted to come. I donít know why. I reminded my sweetie how uncomfortable she usually feels- they staff often stare at her and the stores are often dim and grimy and in the worst areas. Sheís not the least bit interested in minis. So why does she always want to come?

We did not find the store on the first pass. The street was heavily crowded and you couldnít really take your time. Beggars and aggressive pain handlers were everywhere. Maybe I had the wrong address? I wanted to give up but my family wanted to keep trying.

On the second pass my sweetie pointed. It was an open doorway, filled with graffiti and a stairway that led up to the second floor. The store name was artfully done but it looked like more graffiti to me. At the top of the stairs there were two doors. One was locked. The other wasnít. No signs. I opened the door.

Inside it was dusty and dirty and packed floor to ceiling with games. There was barely room to move and the place was filled with cats. The staff was super friendly though and that was really nice. Theyíd packed their miniatures away though, but a nice employee offered to get them all out for me.

I guess itís telling when a person has more minis than a store does. Really it means I have to stop going to stores looking for minis because Iím not going to find any I want. I looked through the couple of boxes and picked out a handful. That I liked. No gnolls or gorillas though. We bought a couple games too. And then the story was closing for the day so we had to leave. I think there was a whole other room that I didnít get to see.

Vacations are like dreams really. Good dreams. Too soon they are over and the memories start to get hazy and fade. But I still have the miniatures.....
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chas's Avatar
The bins of minis I found were all at the flea markets of gaming conventions. The trick was to go through them in crowded conditions where you usually didn't have a chair to sit on, and only a container to put your picks in if you were lucky! It wasn't easy on an older man's back, but I got some great stuff over the years when I was attending them regularly.
Posted November 22nd, 2015 at 06:36 PM by chas chas is offline
Updated November 23rd, 2015 at 07:56 AM by chas
 
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