Thursday, March 26, 2009

ARMY BUILDING: The Masterplan revisited

Lots to talk about in this blog entry. Before I get on to the main event, revisiting my gaming masterplan, I want to talk about two things.

The first is Twitter. I've just signed up to this today so expect the odd gaming related twitter message appearing on the side of my blog from time to time. I hope to be able to use it to talk about games I'm playing and events I attend in real time via my iPhone. Fingers crossed I can get the technology working. While I'm on the subject - does anyone know of any Games Workshop related Twitterers out there that I can follow?

Second thing is yet another battle report. Again this is an Imperial Guard offering and sees me take on Steve's Death Guard down at the local GW store. Scope it out here.

Righto, on to the main event.

Almost two years ago I blogged about my gaming masterplan. One of the core ideas was that I would paint a 1500 point 40k army every year until I had each of the main factions represented. I thought it would be fun to revisit the masterplan and update it.

Since 2007 the Chaos Daemon codex has been released, adding another faction. I've added them to the list of main protagonists, as I imagine they would be heavily involved in the major Chaos invasions of the Skolarii sector.

The primary protagonists are:
  • Imperial Guard (Cadian 271st and many other regiments)
  • Orks (common right across the sector)
  • Chaos Space Marines (Black Legion, Exigators and The Hooded renegades)
  • Chaos Daemons
  • Space Marines (Blood Angels)
  • Daemonhunters (fighting the Chaos invasions)

Secondary armies are:
  • Tau (Third Sphere expansionists)
  • Tyranids (splinter fleet has devoured Dyram)
  • Witch Hunters (small commandery)
  • Eldar (small craftworld, Harlequins fighting Chaos)

And tertiary armies are:
  • Dark Eldar (scattered pirate raids)
  • Necrons (single tomb world)
I split the factions up into primary, secondary and tertiary armies to help me prioritise my painting and modelling.

Looking at my model collection now I have the Imperial Guard covered (although I'd love to add new models from the new codex), the Chaos Space Marines are completed and I'm happy with the Daemonhunters for the moment. I'm painting my Blood Angels now and I just need to add about 500 points to my Chaos Daemons to be able to field them. That just leaves the Orks from my primary armies and I plan to start on them once I've finished the Blood Angels.

Hopefully I'll have the Orks finished by the middle of next year and that means I can start work on the secondary armies. I have some models for all four already, especially the Tau - in fact I could probably rustle up about 2000 points without buying a single extra model. I'll probably choose the order based on when they get updated 5th edition codexes.

The tertiary armies both need big 5th edition overhauls so I'll definitely wait until they have new rules and models before I even think about them.

Since 2007 Games Workshop have also released Apocalypse, and although I haven't actually played a game of it yet I am a big fan of the books, models and rules. I've put together two super heavies, one for the Imperial Guard and one for the Chaos Space Marines, and I plan to add a super heavy to every faction to 'finish the army off.' I did this with the Brass Scorpion for my Chaos Space Marines and it felt great to be able to symbolically say that the entire army was done and dusted.

Since then GW have released the Stompa so I am sure to add one to my Ork army. As time passes I'm sure that GW will release super heavies for other armies too and I'll be sure to pick them up.

One more hazy idea I have is to paint my armies in matching pairs. I plan to do this with my Blood Angels and Orks first and see how it goes. The bases on my Blood Angels are a dusty brown and are littered with broken rubble, razorwire and other detritus of war. I'll do the Orks the same and can then say they are fighting on the ash wastes of the hive world of Armageddon.

Possibilities for other armies are urban rubble, jungle/deathworlds and ice worlds. Ideally, and this is pushing the idea right out there, I'd build a matching gaming table with terrain too.

So if my masterplan works, and I keep painting at the rate of one army per year, I'll be done in 2016!

Of course, you can never really say that any army is completely finished and as new editions of codexes roll by there will always be new things to add. In fact, one of the things I'm already considering now is to mechanise all of my existing armies.

I always used to prefer infantry models to vehicles because I thought they had more character but the GW kits have improved over the years and my interest in modelling and painting vehicles has increased. Vehicles also eat up lots of points in army lists for relatively little painting time and effort so there is a practical value in adding them to my armies.

Take my Chaos Space Marines as an example. I could easily improve it with six rhinos, a predator, vindicator, defiler and land raider thus making the army more visually interesting, more diverse, more effective and bigger in points values for Apocalypse games. I could even try to buy some Apocalypse vehicle formations such as the linebreaker squadron. I could batch paint all the vehicles at once and get a hell of a lot done in a short space of time.

Anyway, I've rambled on for quite long enough now so I'll draw to a close. I hope this post has given you a little insight into my tortured plans for the future.

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