I enjoy putting together large, multi-part metal models; mostly because it's satisfying when you actually get done, partly because I hate myself, and just slightly because they hurt more when thrown (and won't break if properly pinned!). Cost is why God gave us ebay.
I might be interested in fantasy once the new Tomb Kings drop in May.
St. Valentines day? Is that like the fancy name for singles awareness day I've been celebrating these last few years?
Follow Newton's laws for your painting. Once you start painting you're likely to continue painting, but at rest you're likely to remain at rest.
I don't think the post deserves the amount of vitriol in this reply. The complaints about the tables and the expulsion of the kid were acknowledged as fairly petty in his post; and in any case these two, especially the second, are heavily dependent on the context of the situation. Something that we don't know about and can change things dramatically; however it's probably a case where people are griping about changes in the way the store is run, so your points still stand.
You ignore his point about the Manager's lack of hobby experience, something that I feel is a valid complaint given the nature of the store.
His last point is a little more complex than I think you make it out. I've worked retail and service jobs through secondary education and university so I've experienced firsthand that if you're the face of an establishment, complaints about policy and procedure are directed at you; it comes with the job. I feel his complaint is misdirected, but still valid. He called customer service, and without making assumptions or accusations on what he did or did not tell them, the response he got should have cleared up the problem he had, or settled the matter. In this case it looks like the customer service he called failed to follow through with what they said they would do; which is bad customer service no matter how you cut it.
More important is that the managers response in the store was very unprofessional; getting pissy at a customer, justified or not, reflects poorly on both him and the establishment. Outside of anything else, the fact that the manager did this speaks volumes to me about his ability to successfully maintain a business with the kind of environment GW wants to promote.
I was extremely disappointed by the lack of yiffing I found in Best Overall last week; you should really screen these things to make sure that they deliver the content they promise.
I hate to nitpick, but I think your axes are a little wonky; the NC/NH and NC/H quadrants should be switched.
But I do see you points you're making. I got into the game initially because the models were really cool and I enjoyed building and painting them. My boss got me into the gaming aspect, and I've always been a competitive person, so it was a natural progression. This is one of the reasons that I don't like seeing painting scores go out of tournaments, I consider it part of the 40k system and should have equal weight to playing for determining the overall winner of an event.
I feel a lot of inertia in the game is due to the expense of the models and the time it takes to prepare them for game play. In MtG you can look at the latest tournament winning deck, spend the 3-400 dollars on the cards and have the deck ready by the time it ships to you. You can also get the cards you need to adjust for the metagame just as quickly and you can sell cards to keep the costs down. 40k requires you to assemble and (usually) paint your models before you get to use them in tournaments, and you will only get a fraction of what you paid for those models if you want to sell them later (unless you paint to a very high standard, which adds to the time needed to field them). This means that the metagame is very slow to change for 40k, and the variance between local metagames is spread wider due to this and other factors (terrain, atmosphere, product stocked, etc.). The internet allows everyone to have a voice on the matter, and can lead to muddled information about what is good or not.
As far as unexpected armies/units; I believe that they have a significant impact on the game. The concept isn't as strong in 40k or other wargames at it is in MtG or other card games for the factors you mentioned above (open lists, can see all of the opposing army), but it can have an impact. It comes more from using units in an unexpected, but effective way. This can work for units that are already seen as good, or units that are undervalued within the army.
Schlafly's out of St. Louis has some pretty good craft brews. They have a nice oatmeal stout if that's the kind of thing you like. Sadly they're only available in about a 300 mile area near STL.
rifledreads are 125 points; your list is 10 over. Not sure what I'd cut to make points on it either.