Friday, January 16, 2015

40K Friday - Irons in the Fire: Building Armies and Goals for 2015

I look at the miniature army-building process as really having 5 stages:
  • Designing it - figuring out what are the units you need to make a playable force (of say 1000-2000 points for 40K) and how you want the army to work.
  • Collecting it - acquiring the models you need to field it
  • Assembling it - putting the troopers together, building the tanks, and getting it into physically usable shape. This may overlap with the collecting part.
  • Painting it - putting the colors on to make them look like a unified force, other than the Primer Legion. This may overlap with the assembling part.
  • Playing it - that first game with the new army is always a big moment. Even if it's a 500 point skirmish with a leader and a couple of squads it's still a cool thing. I always feel like that's the moment I can say "yeah I play (army x)".
My first marine and eldar forces were built back in Rogue Trader and expanded throughout 2nd Edition. I also added ork and chaos armies during 2nd. For 3rd I reshuffled things. I traded off  my eldar for more orks, traded the chaos for more marines, tried imperial guard and traded them off for more orks and more marines, and built a second marine army optimized for 3rd edition. That was pretty much it for ten years. I stuck with my old marine army, my new marine army, and my ork army and was mainly an orks and marines player through 4th and 5th, though at the end of 5th I did pick up a painted deathwing army. I had picked up a few eldar parts and some chaos parts along the way but not enough to make them real armies - just good deals as I came across them with the idea I
would get around to them one of these days. Then the boys got old enough, got interested in the Dawn of War computer games, and 6th edition came out.

Looking back, I have been working on four different armies over the past two years with varying approaches and to varying degrees of success. I thought I'd recap them today.

I started out this new wave of 40K interest with a desire to build a brand new army from scratch instead of rehashing the same parts I've been using for the last 20-odd years. Having purchased the 6th edition starter set I decided to go ahead and build a Dark Angels army. You can never have too many marine armies, right? The trick for me is to gear them for different styles of play - foot, mounted, drop pod assaults, etc. I spent most of 2013 and the early months of 2014 acquiring the parts and changing my mind about how I wanted the army to work. I finally settled on it around the end of 2013 (see here and here) and acquired the rest of the parts in early 2014. I'd call it "Designed" and "Collected" at this point, but I'm still working on the "Assembling" and the "Painting" phases. It's been back-burner-ed the last few months while I worked on Chaos and Eldar but I do intend to come back to it soon.

Not super-impressive in boxes and bags but it should be fun to play
This was the first army where I followed this new approach and it's worked pretty well. It's nice to have the whole army in-house prior to starting up the painting process and it's also nice to be able to say "it's done" - well, as much as any 40K army can ever truly be "done".  It does mean I have all the elements of the army I want to play and I can start picking up pieces of the next army while I am painting and playing this one. Now I just need to finish them ...

Behind all the spaceships the painted stuff is looking pretty good
Around the same time I figured I ought to build up a chaos marine army too since the starter set came with a pretty good set of mini's too. This turned into a more extended process than I had planned but I eventually settled on a force structure and a look for them and I've been slowly making progress ever since. Since Daemons work so well as allies with CSM's I converted my fantasy daemon army over to 40K bases and it works pretty well. I have done some work on these recently so maybe I can finish them this year. They're Designed, Collected, and Assembled, I just need to finish the Painting part of the process.

Chaos stuff in progress

At the end of 2013 I also started thinking about an Eldar army, specifically an Iyanden-style wraith army. Thinking I could get the parts together while I was painting up the Chaos and Dark Angel forces. That's not exactly how it went. By the end of 2014 I had settled on a Design (since expanded, naturally) and I have Collected almost all of it, but it's not Assembled or Paintable or Playable yet. Writing up this post I'm thinking maybe I should go back and finish one of these others up before pushing ahead on the space elves but you have to go with the fire you feel at the moment or it turns into work. We'll see. I'm up to around 3000 points of Eldar "Collected" and I have yet to pick up any wave serpents so it's going to get pretty ridiculous this year. With DA's and Chaos pretty much built out, this one and the BA's will be 2015's armies of acquisition.

More boxes and bags but progress is being made
Finally, a latecomer to the scene has been the Blood Angels. It started with a  moment of "hey, I have a lot of unused marines here" and turned into a minor acquisition streak of picking up a unit here or there on the cheap. After reading through the codex the wheels start to turn and the realization that it wouldn't take much to make this a real army sets in. So in 2014 I added some assault squads and some death company troops and Dante. Now with the new codex there are a lot of interesting options with this army and I'd say they are in second place for 2015 for the Collecting phase of things. I really just need vehicles, so it won't be cheap but I don't need all that many. I have an initial force in mind which I will discuss in a later post and that will guide my acquisitions for now. Once I play them a few times I'm sure I'l have some modifications in mind but they are not quite there yet.

Blood Angels forming up - some of these are even painted.
So that's the big four at the moment. One of these days I'll go back into active mode with the Orks and bring them into 7th edition but I really need to finish one or two of these others first.

Eldar recent arrivals
For 2014 my goal was to have the Dark Angels completely finished by the end of the year. I failed there. I did add to the Eldar, and I did get the Daemons playable so I did accomplish some things. For 2015 my goals are:

  1. Completely finish the Dark Angels! I mean it this time!
  2. Completely finish the Chaos Marines! Also finish the Daemon allies! This is all very close right now so it should be achievable.
  3. Finish collecting and building the Eldar and play some games with them. Get some of them painted.
  4. Collect and build the Blood Angels force that's in my head and get in a few games with them.
  5. Finish a small expansion to my old Crimson Fist army
  6. Play at least one game of 7th with my old RT Howling Griffons army
  7. Finish some detailing on the Deathwing army, even if I don't play it
  8. Build Lady Blacksteel's Dark Eldar figures so she can paint them, even if we don't use them in a single game
  9. Design the Ork army restructure by the end of the year. Think of them as the army to build for 2016
  10. Play at least one game of 40K a month - with whichever army. No dead zones this year.
That's not a short list, but I'm happy with it. If I accomplish everything that's a helluva productive year. Next January I'll look back and see how I did.

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