Before you start reading, make sure to start your soundtrack to this blog post.
When i was a kid, there was this store called "Games of Berkeley", which still exists, but it isn't what it used to be anymore. Anyhow, it was long & funny shaped & you'd go in past all of the board games & chess games & kites & puzzles & boring stuff like that to the back part of the store which contained these giant glass cases of miniatures all open & out of their packages with little letter/number codes next to them. You'd write down the codes of the miniatures you wanted & give them to the skinny nerdy white guy with the afro & he'd go get the actual miniatures from the back. They had an INSANE selection. Half of the fun when i was that age was just looking at all the insane crap & trying to figure out how to get as many figures as possible with the least amount of money. There were weird things amidst all of the knights, barbarians, orcs & demons... there were dungeon torture rooms with naked ladies in chains! There were naked ladies being sacrificed on pentagrams! In the 80s, there were an insane number of miniature producers operating, half of them being some guy in his garage with a bunch of molds & melting lead in an old pan. I knew one of those types... i wanted to live in his garage with the awesome bootleg Lord of the Rings miniatures.
Anyhow, when you're a kid you don't entirely appreciate what you're experiencing & maybe get trapped into ideas of "best" & "progress"... because you're growing up. Nothing wrong with that. But looking back, the total chaos of the miniatures world back then was an insanely rich, rotting filth pool of gloriously distorted imagination... complete with sulfurous odors farting out of the murk (started painting figures with ye olde Testors)