My first Ork kit, Lootas/Burnas, arrived, along with my Deathskulls and Orky paints!
My main paint rack is full, so I’ve filled up my sidecar rack with Ork-specific paints.
My Codex came in the mail, and I’ve had a chance to read all the parts of it that interested me most. I know I’ll need to replace it sometime in the next few months when the 9th Edition version comes out, but that’s fine; I need the lore and imagination fuel now.
I’ve also hit the point in my BattleScribe musings where I need to start firming up my initial army list. For example, I didn’t realize that Lootas, Killa Kans, Deff Dreads, and Mek Gunz were all Heavy Support units, only three of which can be fielded at Strike Force strength. I like all four of those kits, so I’d been planning to stick all four into my initial army.
So I’m noodling, trying to balance my favorite units visually against a fuzzy sense of what Deathskulls might be like to play — and deliberately trying not to learn too much about their rules, so I’ll still paint my first 2,000 points largely based on the Rule of Cool (which is my preferred approach). I’m also jotting down army notes, conversion ideas, and other details on my dedicated page for this army.
This is a fun stage of the process, and at the moment I’m only lacking the core concept for my Warboss. Once that shakes loose, things should start to click into place.
While wrapping up a highlight session on Squad Barakiel yesterday evening, I wanted to check a points value. I fired up BattleScribe, which updated…and showed me a bunch of errors for my army roster.
No biggie, I thought. Probably just wargear checkboxes. Which was the case for every change but one: Scouts, the bedrock of cheap troop choices, are now elites. Which meant my army, previously just a few hours of painting from being done, now needed a third squad of troops.
After playing around a bit with options, though, I’m not upset about it at all. Yeah, it spoils the lovely plan I had to wrap up with my favorite 40k unit, close-combat Terminators (I’m not putting them off just to preserve that plan!), but on the other hand it gives me a clear next unit to paint.
I don’t want to buy more minis right now (there are plenty in my queue already), so I filtered down to troops I have on hand and settled on adding a 5-man tactical squad. (I also considered just repainting the pauldrons and knees of half of Squad Karios, “creating” a new 5-man squad, but it didn’t feel right.)
As always, I went with the Rule of Cool — in this case, a Storm Bolter and Power Axe for the sergeant, and a Missile Launcher for the squad. I also made sure the heavy weapon guy didn’t have kneepads, enabling me to swap him into any other tactical squad in the same company as needed (since he won’t have a squad insignia).
I also learned a lesson from my box of Primaris Infiltrators: Don’t assemble the entire kit if I don’t need every figure right away. If I’d built Squad Dolos, my five Infiltrators, and left the rest of that kit on sprues, I’d have been able to turn the remaining five into Incursors and drop them right into this army — but I built all 10 as Infiltrators. So half of this kit is staying in the box.
One enjoyable evening later, I had Squad Caedes (“massacre” in Latin):
I’ve been looking forward to painting a vanilla tactical squad anyway, so this should work out nicely. They’re so much less bling-y than the dedicated Blood Angels models (and I didn’t swap in any BA bling) that they should be relatively quick to paint.
With my Scouts now filling an elite slot, I’m also considering dropping them in favor of a bike squad — or maybe just moving the bikes up in my painting queue. The points match up, and both units seem appropriate for this army. We shall see.
Between the transition from 8th to 9th and this reshuffling, I’ve had to rework my army twice while I was still in the middle of painting it. Maybe that’s always how it is with 40k? I don’t know — but it certainly keeps me on my toes.
I also put together a painting area on my desk, including paint racks and a lamp and lightbox, and added a host of Citadel pots and tools to my arsenal.
I’ve got a 2,000-point Blood Angels army to paint during quarantine, all mapped out in BattleScribe. My baseline was my favorite units in 40k and units that looked fun to paint until around 1,500 points, and then 500 points of units that looked fun to paint but also supported what I already had. “Paint the army you love and don’t worry too much about the ebb and flow of the rules” is my mantra.
Along the way I’ve grown as a painter: used brush-on primer, wash, and sealant for the first time; experimented with edge highlighting; improved my detail painting and drybrushing; learning to make terrain bases; stepped up my assembly game with new tools; and played around with different workflows to find the one that’s right for me. I’m not going to knock anyone’s socks off with my paint jobs, but I’m having fun and loving the hobby.
Yore also turned 10 this year, and crossed the 300-post line last week in my flurry of miniatures-related posting (here’s #300). Traffic has doubled and I’m having a blast blogging again — and I’ve discovered the joy of the #warmongers community on Twitter, a tremendous source of inspiration, motivation, and camaraderie.
If you’re reading this I hope you enjoy Yore, and thank you.
The Adeptus Custodes came in a close second, with Orks a somewhat more distant third. I’m always drawn to the elite army in games like these, and the Custodes being able to field a 2,000 point army with a couple dozen models — half the number needed for Space Marines, many less than Astra Militarum or Orks — appealed to me, as did their absolutely badass minis, gold color scheme, and lore. On the Ork front I’ve always liked them, and being able to color-theme your Waaagh! and just sort of cobble together a band of space football hooligans sounded like fun.
But a couple of simple questions (which took me some time to arrive at!) made it no contest:
What 40k minis have I loved since I was a kid?
Old-school Eldar walkers
Apart from those, which minis look the coolest to me now?
Old-school “refrigerator box” Dreadnoughts
Sisters of Battle Mortifiers and Penitent Engines
Adeptus Custodes Vertus Praetors and Custodian Guard
Why build an army that doesn’t include my favorite units?
So: Space Marines, which check the most boxes on that list (and which can, if desired, ally with Sisters or Custodes and pilfer their coolest units!). Of those factions, the Blood Angels’ lore spoke to me the most: doomed space vampires who eventually succumb to the Black Rage, known for their bloodthirstiness in battle. They’re over the top in such fun ways — and they have the most Dreadnoughts, plus access to BA-specific as well as generic Terminators.
On top of that, when I imagine a Space Marine the first image that pops into my head is always a red one; red is fun to paint, too, and their accent colors — black and gold, mainly — make for a great combo. And the Blood Angels have rad elite units with quite different color schemes for variety: the Sanguinary Guard, golden veterans with angel wings, each wearing a death mask in the image of the previous wearer; and Death Company, black with white and red accents, who are all in the grip of the Black Rage.
When I unpacked all these glorious boxes to check out the plastic within, I was also thrilled and relieved to find a comprehensive Blood Angels transfer sheet in the Dreadnought box. I’d heard these weren’t included in sets anymore, and figured I’d have to raid Ebay so my squads could have accurate markings.
Of my starting units, I think only the vanilla Space Marines need these; the rest have their own transfers or are too blinged out to have room for them (cough cough Terminators).
Squint and imagine my next 12 months of painting
Before ordering my sets I downloaded BattleScribe and used it to play around with various Blood Angels options. The four sets I picked can be configured different ways, but generally shake out to around 500-600 points of models.
As a starting point, half of a 1,000-point army sounded perfect. It’s a manageable amount of painting — 15 human-size figures, 1 Dreadnought, 1 tank — and when I add my next planned purchases I come out right around a thousand points. The Dreadnought and the tank intimidate me as a painter, but that’s healthy too — that’s how I grow.
I’m going solely by Rule of Cool, buying models I love so I can paint them. On that basis my next additions will likely be Commander Dante, a Death Company squad, and a Sanguinary Guard squad. At that point I’ll need one more 5-person squad of troops to have a Battalion, or I could split them up into Vanguard + Patrol instead and have a complete army (again: probably not optimal for play in any way!).
Theme-wise, right now I’m going with “faceless,” which might turn into a name for one of the squads or something — but all it means is everyone wears a helmet. I don’t especially enjoy painting faces, although that will probably change; I love painting helmets; and it’s a fun filter to apply to what’s frankly a staggering range of options.
I’m over the moon with excitement — I can’t wait to paint these minis!