A quiet store is usually a bad sign. At the Warhammer Store & Cafe in Akihabara, though, a low murmur is often par for the course, and it might just be what you’re looking for.
It’s the morning of Oct. 28, and five customers are poring over small plastic models with finely honed paintbrushes in hand as they consider their next strokes. Others are at gaming tables, moving their figures through exotic terrain made from plastic and foam, and rolling dice. Cheerful discussions pierce the silence until a particularly loud cheer causes most of the store to look over. Despite the relative lack of bustle, there is a community here, and it’s one of the biggest draws for the world of Warhammer.
The Warhammer universe was originally created by two brothers in Nottingham, United Kingdom, in 1983. The focus of the hobby is miniature figurines, which are sold unassembled. Hobbyists purchase the figurines, assemble them and paint them in their preset or unique color schemes. Once complete, they use the figurines to create armies that wage battle against other players’ collections in a dice-based game with heavily detailed rules.