On November 20, 2020, I finished my first-ever 2,000-point Warhammer 40k army. I waited until this morning to take pictures of it, and even now I still can’t quite believe I finished it.
I’ve dabbled in miniature-painting since I was a kid, and generally didn’t enjoy it (I saw it as a means to an end, which was the wrong philosophical approach), but until this year I wouldn’t have considered myself a miniature painter. When I finished painting my Space Hulk set, something I’ve wanted to since I was about 10 years old, that was a watershed moment.
I rolled right into painting this army — something else I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid, and always thought was out of reach for a variety of reasons — and have kept that streak up ever since. From the day I assembled my first Blood Angel, Sergeant Karios, to the day I varnished Squad Caedes, this 2,000-point army took me 255 days to complete (March 10-November 20).
Along the way, I became a miniature painter. Not, I want to emphasize, an amazing miniature painter. But I’m proud of my work on these little dudes, and more importantly I’m enjoying this hobby as a hobby in its own right. From a mindfulness perspective, this is the right approach to painting.
What else happened along the way? I assembled, primed, and partially painted another ~700 points of Blood Angels. I started a Deathskulls Ork army, Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas. And I listened to a 10 awesome 40k audiobooks (which I love to do while I paint).
I started with two by Guy Haley, both narrated by Gareth Armstrong, that seemed thematically appropriate: Dante and The Devastation of Baal. Then I listened to eight more by Dan Abnett, all narrated by Toby Longworth: First and Only, Xenos, Hereticus, The Magos, Ghostmaker, Necropolis, Honour Guard, and Brothers of the Snake, plus most of Ravenor (which is still underway).
Because I built my initial army list under 8th Edition rules, things changed when 9th Edition came out. I dropped 10 fully painted minis from my force, and added a squad of five — so I’ve actually finished 2,210 points of Blood Angels, not just the 2,000 in my list.
As a rough, conservative ballpark, it takes me five hours to finish a single Marine-sized model — that’s from gray plastic on the sprue to varnished and ready for play. Some take an hour or two longer; the small ones take less time; the tanks and Dreads take a lot longer. But that translates to a minimum of 290 hours of hobby work. Six hours a mini is probably a more accurate estimate, and that’s 348 hours of work.
It has been an absolute blast.
The Unlucky Isles [affiliate link], the first system-neutral guidebook for my Godsbarrow fantasy campaign setting, is now on DriveThruRPG.
4 replies on “I finished my first Warhammer 40k army!”
Congrats. Something fun and interesting to.behold in 2020. I’ve been lurking with your blog in my feed, watching your progress this year. Kudos.
Personally, I’ve been slowly piecing together some warbands and terrain for Frostgrave.
I, also, have submerged myself into the black library. Eisenhorn trilogy nearly complete. Started the Nightlords trilogy. Finished the initial Horus Heresy trilogy. Great stuff. I didn’t grow up on warhammer but I am really enjoying the lore, hobby, and community.
Keep up the good work.
Thanks, Jonathan! There are plenty more Blood Angels in my future, but for the time being I’m going to take a breather and learn some new painting techniques while working on terrain and Orks.
You’re in for a treat with the balance of the Eisenhorn trilogy. I’m only partway through Ravenor, but that series feels like a logical follow-up for more Inquisitor action from a different perspective.
I’ve really been enjoying these regular posts, very cheering to see how you dived right into the hobby and have been getting so much pleasure and satisfaction from your sessions. Looking forward to seeing the Orc army coalesce!
Thank you, Richard! It means a lot to me to know that folks are quietly reading and enjoying Yore, especially since it’s no longer primarily about tabletop RPGs. I appreciate you taking the time to drop me a line. :-)