Bayonet here cutting close to the bone with a question that merits some discussion: Does having a fully painted army to a decent Table Top standard make you a better player?
I'm stood on my side of the table having just gently removed my army from it's foam home within it's army case and set them down on the table. I gaze across the four feet expanse at my opponent as he does the same, his Army is painted unbelievably well - I mean it's just stunning to look at. My first thought is "this guy knows what he's doing - I'm going to have to work hard for a win here".
Now this isn't a new thought for me nor is it limited to Warhammer - in my current occupation looking the part is important. I'm often thrust into courses or training with others I have not met, my initial sizing of their talent in their role is how they present themselves. If they take pride in their equipment and the way they carry themselves having obviously invested time into this aspect of themselves then I think "Yeah, this guy is switched on and gives a crap", I feel the opposite when presented with the person I see who instead looks like he's in absolute shit-state having dragged himself out of bed, thrown his uniform on with no attention to how it looks and hasn't taken the time to make those subtle changes or alterations to his equipment that tells me he's been around abit.
Now obviously this isn't always the case, but my thoughts when presented with an unpainted Army is either A) this person has only just bought this army so will probably still be learning the ropes with it or is probably just one of those players that buys an army then sells it shortly after to buy the new sexy codex just released or B) can't be arsed with the hard work involved with painting an entire army so probably isn't going to kick my ass too hard on the Table Top (or just doesn't have the time, he might just have 6 kids and a 50+ hour a week job - which probably means he doesn't get to play much either so should be a breeze to defeat!).
Whatever your thoughts on this subject, no one can argue that there's little better than two well painted Armies doing battle over similarly well painted terrain, as someone that puts alot of time and effort into painting my little plastic men my heart does sink a little when your creations are doing battle with hordes of grey Tyranids - I think even those with the most vivid imaginations would struggle to picture epic battles in their minds in this instance.
So tell me what you think: Do you look down your nose at the Grey Horde collector across the table, laughing inside knowing that your passion and drive in the hobby that gave you your wonderfully crafted army will easily crush this fool? Or is it time to get your game face on because this guys in it for the battle only and doesn't give a crap about whose got the biggest Primarch or how many laurels you lovingly painted on your Captains helmet.