Thinking of painting goals for 40k solely in terms of 2,000-point armies can be daunting. I’m not sure why I’ve never committed to this simple early goal instead: finish a Combat Patrol.
500 points is a much less daunting prospect, and it still leaves room to paint a variety of models. I have 2,000 points of Blood Angels, which can be sliced up multiple ways to create Combat Patrols — but my Deathskulls Orks, Custodes, and Leagues of Votann armies are nowhere near complete. A concrete, play-focused sub-goal would likely have helped me there.
Hell, I could field a few different painted Ork Combat patrols…except I don’t have any painted HQ options. If I paint Moonkrumpa or my Weirdboy, bam: instant Combat Patrol. Realizing that was what got me thinking about setting a short-term Combat Patrol goal for all three of my unfinished armies.
None of these Combat Patrols involve buying new models. They’re listed in order of how quickly I can complete them, quickest to slowest.
The smallest goal, paint my simplest HQ option:
- Weirdboy, “Warpmek” Nakk (a converted Age of Sigmar Weirdnob Shaman)
With my painted Boyz, Grots, Kans, Trukk, and Deff Dread, there are at a handful of viable Combat Patrols I can make with the addition of just my Weirdboy.
Finish painting 3x of these Custodian Guards, who are mostly painted:
- Custodian Guard Squad, Inkaef, Halfden, Konstantyn, Baptiste, and Adomako (5x Sentinel Blade and Storm Shield)
And then paint these 4x models (all their gold is painted and washed, and their bases are done):
- Captain-General Trajann Valoris (Warlord)
- Custodian Guard Squad, Telvaer, Anselm, and Sadiki (3x Guardian Spear)
I think with the changes in 9th I need to glue Misericordia to some of my custard lad models; they weren’t free when I built this army.
Leagues of Votann
I have precisely zero of these guys fully painted, and only a few partially base-coated. I also don’t own any of my favorite models for this faction, because Hearthguard were impossible to find when I started acquiring this army. This is the fuzziest goal — I don’t even have names for my models yet! — and the furthest from completion.
Finish painting 5x Hearthkyn (based and primed), and then paint another 5x of them:
- Hearthkyn Warriors (7x Warrior, 1x Warrior with Magna-Rail Rifle, 1x Warrior with EtaCarn Plasma Beamer, lead by 1x Theyn with Concussion Gauntlet and Autoch-Pattern Bolt Pistol).
Finish painting this squad of Beserks (based and partially painted):
- Cthonian Beserks (4x Concussion Mauls, 1x Mole Grenade Launcher; plus the 2x Mole Grenade models)
And paint an HQ option (unassembled):
- High Kâhl (Rampart Crest, Mass Gauntlet, Autoch-Pattern Combi-Bolter)
Hither and thence
That’s 26 models, ignoring the fuzz factor (the Mole Grenade team is two minis on one base, etc.).
If I’m in a good groove, I can take one squad of five troops from sprue to sealed and ready to play in a week, although two weeks is more realistic. Some of these models are considerably more complex than Joe Space Marine, notably Moonkrumpa and Trajann, so 26 models would take me something like 5-10 weeks to paint.
Under three months — good groove permitting! — to go from one finished Combat Patrol to a whopping four would be awesome.
But the obvious step one is to go from one CP (Blood Angels) to two by painting a single model: a Deathskulls HQ.
6/19/23 update: Well, maybe not thence. Now that I’ve read up on the details of Combat Patrols in 10th Edition, my approach in this post isn’t viable anymore. Combat Patrols are These Specific Minis With Special Datasheets, played against one another.
I can’t see GW sneaking rules for custom Combat Patrols into the core book; the updated CP mode is in lockstep with the dedicated CP boxes. There’s nothing wrong with just making 500-point armies and playing 40k, of course, but from what I’ve read the current edition isn’t balanced around that option.
That said, “Have an achievable shorter-term goal” is still a good approach. Maybe that goal is to paint 1,000 points (the new floor for vanilla 40k) while ensuring that a viable Kill Team is created in the process. A thousand points is like six months of painting for me, assuming I stay focused; the Kill Team portion would only take maybe a month, making it the initial goal.
So having just started working on Grey Knights, maybe I paint a squad of 5x Brotherhood Terminators first because I love them, paint a 10-strong Strike Squad next and make sure their wargear lines up with Kill Team, and then finish off the remaining 500 points for a viable 1,000-point 40k army.