All of us in the Historical Miniature Wargaming hobby do things collectively that fits in the norm of our hobby. Opposite of this we do some things that are outside the norm. I can easily spot these in me. I figure I would share some of these.
What is a norm? I look at social norms. An example of a social norm that I belong to is I shake a persons hand when I first meet them. Alternatively, another social norm is everyone owns a cell phone in North America. Well, I do not belong to that norm; I do not own a cell phone. Our hobby has some key norms, like we paint our miniatures before running a game at a convention. I can't imagine unpainted miniatures at a convention (i.e. Salute). Maybe there are gamers out there that never paint their miniatures.
How did I determine what some of the hobby norms are? I have been seriously in the hobby for 20 years now and I have read a lot of the polls on the TMP web site.
Here are some of my outside the hobby norm traits (more maybe added later):
Paint miniatures with enamels
Norm: paint miniatures with acrylics
Virtually the whole hobby from books, magazines, online discussions, video tutorials, and hobby stores focus on acrylics. I started with enamel (Humbrol) paints when I was a kid painting model kits. I know how to work with them and have stuck with them. Maybe someday I'll go to acrylics, but I'm happy with the paint.
Bases not all the same.
Norm: All bases for a unit or army look the same
In the case of stands in base to base contact for certain periods/rules (i.e. regiment in ACW) then I can see the stands all being the same. But, for the whole army to have the same grit/ground and grass tufts...not my thing. For example my WWII bases I try to make them all different because the stands are all over the battlefield going through different terrain (corn field, swamp, forest, road, etc). At least make different groups/units of bases different.
Not painting basing material
Norm: paint the basing material with multiple colours.
The standard method of basing miniatures is to glue down your material on the base, then layer various paint colours to make the ground look like ground. I glue down my basing material and that's it. My grey rock glued down is happy not to be painted over with various shades of grey. Who knows, maybe I'll change my technique in the future and I'm not hearing any complaints about my bases. Even if I did, I don't know if I'd change.
Most games are presented as fictitious battles set in a historic war or part of a historic battle. I am the opposite, I focus more on actual historic battles. I enjoy the research and laying out the actual battlefield. Nothing against the fictitious approach, just my preference.
Obscure battles and wars
Norm: game common battles and wars
Why would I want to paint up and put on a battle that someone has already done and/or I've played in? I get more interested in a battle I have not seen someone done or is rare. I guess one example is Korean War.
I'm not saying being in the hobby norm is a bad thing, I just thought it would be interesting to see how some things we do are actually outside the norm. Maybe I should write a post about my hobby norms, but maybe that would be too boring.