Making Your Army
A good 40K
army is distinct: there isn’t any other army like it in the world. It doesn’t
have to be a themed army, it doesn’t have to be one you made up, it doesn’t
have to have lots of conversions and a paint job that would win a Golden
Demon award. All it has to have to be distinct is one thing, one tiny element
that makes it uniquely yours.
my buddy Pat has a Space Wolf army. What’s distinctive about his army is
that it’s led by a character (Keric Quicbrand) he created and converted,
and that he paints his figures Shadow Grey instead of Space Wolf Grey.
Simple, easy, yet distinctive.
to be about a million and six ways you can make your army distinct, but
I’ll limit myself to these 10 suggestions:
1. Give your army
a name and a history
just Necrons, they’re the dreaded Ravagers of Fortunus Prime, who
appeared out of nowhere, massacred an entire Imperial colony, then vanished
as quick as they came. Or they’re the Ultramarines IV Company, nicknamed
Backbreakers,” who single-handedly turned the tide against the Seventh
Black Crusade at the infamous Battle of Whed. They’re the Eldar Warhost
of the Ten Million Ancestor-Spirits and they are forbidden by tradition
to take prisoners or to allow themselves to be captured.
2. Give your army
a unique playing style
One guy I
know moved his Black Templars across the field in parade formation: two
abreast, each Marine right behind the other, all facing the same way. No
cowardly running and ducking for them, and to hell with enemy ordnance:
there’s GOOD FORM to be upheld!
commander deliberately misses the first time he shoots: he gives the enemy
a “warning shot” and a chance to surrender. Maybe your troops always attack
figures wearing black first. Maybe your army guns for the enemy leader.
The possibilities are endless.
3. Make some unique
have to be “special characters” with special rules (which very few people
will let you use), they just have to be unique. Even if you take a Marneus
Calgar figure, put different arms on him, and give him a different name,
you’ve made a unique character.
Interesting characters like
Madu (left) and Dr. Jheste
(right) make all the difference
4. Limit your
choice of units
This is one
of the easiest ways to create a themed army. My friend John plays Dark
Angels; if I recall correctly, he doesn’t use Devastator Squads. Maybe
your Eldar craftworld has no Aspect Warriors, or only uses one kind. Maybe
your Imperial Guard army doesn’t have access to Leman Russ-type tanks and
only uses Chimeras, Hellhounds, Basilisks, and Griffons. Maybe your Ork
Warboss hates those “psyko Bikeboyz” and won’t include them in his Waaaaagh!
5. Collect special
models for certain units
In my buddy
Pat’s Space Wolf army, the Wolf Scouts are all the old-style Wolf Scout
Sergeants, with the punk-rock hair sticking straight up. Maybe your Space
Marine Veterans, being older and more experienced, are all “Rogue Trader”
figures with beaked helmets and studs on the left shoulder plates. In your
Ork army, maybe each Nob in mega-armor is the 2nd Edition Nazdreg figure.
miniatures might be difficult but would be worth the effort. Another idea
would be to use figures from other gaming companies for characters, squad
leaders, and elite units. You wouldn’t be able to use them in a GW tournament
or enter them in the Golden Demon competition, but if you don’t do those
things very often you have little to lose.
In a similar
vein, you could make a 40K army using all non-40K figures. I've often thought
that Warhammer Lizardmen figures would look really cool packing guns and
played using Codex: Orks.
Gray Tiger Marines (left)
and Fighting Tiger "tactical" Scouts (right), using non-GW
6. Give your figures
a new paint scheme
Who says all
Space Wolves have to wear Space Wolf Grey? What if one Wolf Lord wants
his men wearing Chaos Black? Or Skull White? Who (except maybe Logan Grimnar)
is going to tell him no? Maybe your Guardsmen don’t wear camouflage because
(like the Imperial forces in Star Wars) they want the enemy to see
them coming and be afraid. Maybe your Craftworld believes that unity is
the only thing that will save the Eldar race, and to represent that the
Aspect Warriors wear the same uniforms as the Guardians.
7. Alter an existing
Angels wear red from head to toe—except YOUR company of Blood Angels, whose
boots are painted a sandy yellow to recall the torturous 3,000 miles of
scorching desert they had to cross, on foot, during the disastrous Retreat
From Helm’s Canyon. Your Striking Scorpions are painted green—except for
their gauntlets, which are painted Blood Red to commemorate their recent
victory over the World Eaters in vicious hand-to-hand fighting.
8. Use different
As the cover
of Codex: Catachans shows us, the humans of the 41st Millennium
are not all Caucasians: the Fighting Tigers’ closest allies, the
Ebon Leopards, are African-type warriors. Humans are just the beginning:
I’ve always thought Dark Eldar would look cool painted like the Drow from
Dungeons & Dragons (Chaos Black for skin, Skull White with Mithril
Silver highlights for hair). Paint Orks Dark Angel Green (or even something
besides green—why not Blood Red?). Try Necrons in Burnished Gold or Dwarf
Bronze or Tyranids in patterns like you’d find on real animals (Tyranids
in tiger stripes?).
Eldar painted like the Drow from Dungeons & Dragons
9. Give your figures
come from a barren homeworld where nothing grows, so glue sand on their
bases and paint over them in Codex Grey. The Daemon World your Chaos Marines
fled to 10,000 years ago resembles the fiery Hell of Christian belief,
so model each base with flames and lava. Your Orks dwell in a rocky desert
of coppery gravel and blue sand. There are millions of worlds in the galaxy:
they don’t all have to have grass, sand, or ice the same color as Earth’s.
10. Convert your
have three legs. Or four. Or they’re two-man walkers with an extended cab
and eight legs, like a huge metal spider. Your Wave Serpents are old Tempest
tank models from Armorcast. Your Wartrukks are modeled with 10 Orks on
each: four in the back, five hanging on the outside, one lucky Ork riding
a skateboard that’s being towed along the back by a length of rope!
A Rhino built "backwards"
(left) and conversions using Eldar jetbikes (right).
They're odd, but distinctive.
Like what you've
the Jungle in the "Top 100 40K Sites"
copyright Kenton Kilgore, May 2000.