If you’re into following exciting and inspiring Warhammer hobby on instagram then @morsla_minis has 2,500 reasons why it’s a bespoke hobby instagram account.
More importantly it belongs to stalwart Veteran of the hobby and Arc40k. I’m talking about Ben Leong.
Ben’s been involved in the Warhammer Hobby for long enough to be a ten year Arc40k veteran. Suffice to say that this very nice guy has been involved, advocating and living the four pillar of Codex Fez and Arc40k since before they were even written.
There are many accolades that Ben has earned over the years since his first Arc40k.
He holds the title of the first ever Player’s Choice recipient, (that army is still an awesome representation of Warhammer Hobby skill at the highest level) and he’s been involved in organising and participating throughout the 20 years of his commitment to the best Warhammer 40,000 event in Australia.
So I guess it’s not surprising that Ben was inducted into our Hall of Fame in 2022. To findout a bit more about Ben, his hobby journey, and to show off what a great Hall of Fame member thinks about their hobby we asked him some questions and thankfully he was able to take the time to answer them.
So Ben, what was your first experience of Arc40k?
I first heard of Arc40k from Mark M, who approached me between rounds at a different event. I’d been having a pretty miserable time of it, and was about to give up on playing in tournaments altogether when Mark convinced me to try out another event he was running… The rest, it seems, is history.
My first Arc40k tournament was during the scorching hot summer of January 2000. Fantastic games and opponents in every round, starting with Randall McDonald’s* Black Templars in the first game. It kicked off a side of the hobby that’s lasted over 20 years now.
What is, and when was, your most satisfying achievement at Arc40k?
I’ve always been more of a painter than a gamer, so the achievements I value the most have been things like the Player’s (or TO’s) Choice awards, and sportsmanship ones. My very first Arc40k set a high-water mark result that I’ve never beaten, and led to many new friendships and decades of gaming with the WATT crew.
Having achieved this accolade, what was the next challenge you set yourself?
I decided that if I ever received models as part of a prize, I should incorporate them into the next army project for luck. That led to quite a few kitbashes (Deathskull Orks were great at recycling odd model bits), but it also led to me starting my favourite faction - the Inaryss Eldar originally began with a single Falcon grav tank from my first event.
What do you like most about attending an Arc40k event weekend?
Everything! Seeing new armies unveiled for the first time on Saturday morning, and checking out what everyone’s been up to. Raiding the second-hand stall on Sunday, looking for parts to help build the next project. Catching up with friends who’ve travelled interstate or overseas to attend.
Building and Converting, Painting, Displaying, Playing - what’s your favourite aspect/s that attending Arc40k challenges you to do?
I like building and converting models first, with painting as a close second. I love making an army fit a theme, right from the basing material all the way up to custom characters, wargear and insignia. Arc40k has traditionally involved relatively small armies, which helps to keep new projects constrained - while also providing more of a challenge, as the armies are small enough that you can’t always fit in everything you’d like.
Which area of your personal Hobby have you pushed yourself to develop because of Arc40K?
Painting, definitely! The Arc40k spirit of co-operation and friendly competition runs throughout the year, with lots of hobby encouragement provided through army-building diaries on forums and other online channels. I love seeing how people develop their skills over time, and checking out the latest batch of armies each year.
I used my 2020 Deathwatch army as a way of learning to paint non-metallic metals - figuring that if I committed to doing a whole army in that style, I’d have to keep going when I started to regret it, so that I’d stick with it long enough to make some learning breakthroughs. I’ve done similar things with conversions, basing, sculpting and freehand designs, committing to an army-sized project to improve an area of weakness.
What’s the future look like for your ongoing interaction with Arc40k?
I’m now playing less 40k than ever, to the point where my only games in the current edition have been at the tournament. That’s not ideal, but reflects a combination of less time to play, and my main group moving on to other games systems. I still love the challenge of creating a new army though, finding
some combination of models that ensures you have interesting things to paint and a cohesive theme that makes them work as an army.
Describe what Arc40k means to you?
Arc40k is all about community and spectacle. It’s become such a huge event over the years, with months of work going into every aspect from the players and the organisers. No one group could replicate that, or consistently sustain it across the decades. So for me, walking in the doors at the start of a new Arc40k event is when all those months of planning suddenly turn into something real. And regardless of how many years you might have been away, returning to that community feels like coming back home again.
Thanks Ben for taking the time to share some of your thoughts about your hobby and our event. As a Hall of Fame inductee it’s important to us that we let other people know more about you and your contribution to our event.
We’re excited to see what you bring next - knowing that you’ve a ticket secured to particulate in the 25 year Anniversary event - and some images you’ve shared here with us and on your instagram account @morsla_minis - Hopefully you can organise a few practice games with what’s already shaping up to be another amazing hobby project.
*Randall McDonald is another of our worthy Hall of Fame inductees and a true gentleman on the battle field.