Ask the Artist: Chapter Master Valrak!
Today's post will be taking a bit of a different turn. This is the first interview of its kind, and I have to say, I am truly excited it has happened. Until now, all of my interviewees have been, in one form or another, members of the traditional art sphere of the hobby. All of their works can be visually represented and seen as artistic representations of individual styles and techniques. Today however, I present someone who's contribution to the hobby is more of an ideal than a skillset displayed through visual renderings.
Chapter Master Valrak initially started releasing content on his YouTube channel focused around hyping upcoming releases for games. These generated quite a bit of views, with his most viewed video being a cinematic video introducing an Ork fleet (873,681 views at time of post). I became a subscriber when I noticed his content shifted from promotional to educational and conversational. When his channel began discussing changes to the Warhammer IP, whether confirmed or rumored, my interest was piqued. He presents information in such an interesting and engaging way. One thing I love in particular is the live stream Vox casts, where he sits down and communicates with his viewers. It's plain to see, via the relative ease and familiarity he has with those in the chat, that he genuinely cares and wants to relate to them on a level far surpassing the superficial "I love you all, now subscribe!" nonsense we see with a lot of garbage channels.
Recently, GW's new 9th edition starter box Indomitus was released. Valrak spent a lot of time before the release getting his community hyped and prepared for the box, but what happened on launch-day proved to set in stone the legend I knew him and his community to be.
With global markets being released, then selling out almost immediately, Valrak rallied the members of his community to help each other find available boxes. In a frantic and frenetic flurry of in-chat messages, Valrak had succeeded in creating a space for people all over the globe to come together. In a world so divided, it was refreshing to see a community of people coming to each other's aid.
Ladies and gents, Chapter Master Valrak!
1. How long have you been involved in the hobby in general?
"About 20 years now".
2. How long have you been actively promoting your content on social media?
"Past 3/4 years".
3. What initially drew you to the miniature model hobby realm?
"I started with Orks, got them bought for me as a B-Day present".
4. What tabletop game would you say is your favorite? What particular faction within that game is your favorite and why?
"I'm all for Warhammer 40,000, my favorite army and Chapters is the Imperial Fist Space Marines".
5. What is more enjoyable for you personally: painting or playing the game?
"Both really, I love throwing dice but also the hobby aspect as well".
6. If money or time weren’t a consideration, what single purchase/upgrade/expansion would you make to further your hobby enjoyment?
7. Where do you get the inspiration for your particular army theme or style?
"TemplarCrusade01 was the YouTube channel that really inspired me, I still think it's the best YouTube channel on the internet".
8. What tips or advice would you give someone just starting out in the hobby?
"Take your time and enjoy yourself!"
9. What was the moment you realized Creating Content on YouTube was something you wanted to pursue as more than a hobby?
"Well, I still see YouTube as a hobby within itself, a lot of people think it's my actual job, but I actually build glorious fortifications for a living which I absolutely love doing. YouTube has always been a passion project for me, I love waking up and engaging with other Warhammer 40,000 fans, just talking anything from Hobby topics to Lore topics".
10. What was the most difficult obstacle you had to overcome on your path to becoming a YouTuber/Content creator?
"I really don't think I've hit an obstacle as of yet, the content I make is nothing special, to be honest, I see as just making a video as if you were chatting to your friends about the IP or Hobby".
11. What was the most rewarding experience you’ve had in the hobby in general or in your YouTube endeavor?
"My Last Wall project is something I'm really passionate about, with my YouTube, reaching 100k Subs was a great milestone but really I think making so many new friends has been the best thing so far".
12. If you could do anything to expand your channel’s footprint/area of influence, what would it be?
"I would love to do Battle Reps, it's something I plan to do in the future!"
13. What product line do you endorse and what about their products do you feel sets them above their competitors?
"Well, I really only collect Games Workshop products, mainly Warhammer 40,000 but I have been peeking at the new Stars Wars and Game of Thrones games :D "
14. If you could earn a sponsorship or endorsement from your dream company, who would it be and why?
"Manchester City, if they ever want to endorse me in any way I'm here! haha"
15. What advice would you give to someone interested in taking the plunge to becoming a Content Creator?
"Focus on content that you enjoy to make, never focus on views, never change who you are because of feedback from others".
Valrak, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me about our hobby. I know your line of work is dramatically different from those I've spoken with before, but I believe our hobby universe is so vast and far-reaching I couldn't hope to provide an accurate representation of it unless I include all sources that inspire us to delve deeper. You, sir, are one of these sources. Your investment in the community has had tremendous impact. Your efforts to bring people together and enrich the experiences of everyone continues to be a shining light of hope in the otherwise grim darkness of our current world.
(a little heavy on the drama? meh....)
Readers, go follow this man, and if you're feeling ballsy....tell him Perturabo sent you.....