Inspiration on starting a new army, how do you do it?

General Discussion about Warhammer 40k that doesn't fit into any other category.
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:13 am
Location: Gabon/ Scotland

Inspiration on starting a new army, how do you do it?

Postby Mills » Sat Nov 22, 2014 1:10 am

I just wondered where people get inspiration for their armies/ projects. I hear it discussed a lot on the podcast, particularly with some weaknesses (if it can be called that) to being inspired by fiction and buying new armies.

That had never been me, when I was a kid it was always about visuals (as it is a visual hobby) and background from Codicies. I had never really been one for GW fiction until recently. The visual/ background determined what I purchased and how I painted it. Coming to late teens and early twenties (when I also worked at GW) a slight competitive side came into play in that I wanted a coherent playing force as well, though my armies always had to look like armies on the tabletop, multiple troops, minimal spam unless thematically appropriate.

Over the past few years the three have crystallised for me like this for a new project in general:
- I think of a few key words to describe the army I want. Either in playstyle "mobile" "tricksy", pick key painting techniques I want to learn (airbrushing in the last instance), or sometimes as with my Imperial Fists on specific models (I wanted an army with dreadnoughts and terminators). This is my go to advice on someone stuck on their next project, find 3-5 words which encapsulate what you might want, then go find it. For me I find these keywords as useful touchstone for the rest of the process
- I pick a codex based on that (which has to have models I like)
- I pick a faction within that codex in which I either empathise with the background or has a striking colour pallette
- I write a semi competitive army list based on what seems to work in tournaments (as I don't want to get kerbsmashed and do want to go to tournaments when I can)
- I want a visually interesting army, both in terms of colour and content. I am willing to make concessions on the army list to make it "feel" right for the faction I have chosen. Small example for my Eldar, War Walkers are probably more efficient than Vypers, but the army is Saim Hann so in the Vypers come, though they fulfil the same basic role, same for the Imperial Fists. I wanted dreadnoughts and terminators, that is why I did the army, when the temptation came in to take them out when I played a few games and did not do great I resisted as it seemed stupid to pick an army for a reason then run away from that
- I normally buy the entire army outright then paint the full thing before playing. Partly as I am working somewhere with no gaming scene and can only play when I return to the UK, but also the fact that I don't want to tweak the army too much from what I wanted in the start. If it is suboptimal gaming wise that can be fixed or worked through. I always end up with 2.5-3k anyway, so I will have options to change

Now it should be said my primary aim is painting these days. I have won a few best painted awards and want every subsequent army to be able to at least get people to be impressed with it, so for me, painting will trump other things, meaning I am unlikely to paint a brown army any time soon.

I had never really understood the being driven my fiction, particularly Carl's shiny shiny syndrome (sorry Carl) other than it may have reinforced my existing prejudices. Up until now at least, I am reading "The First Heretic" by ADB and dammit I now want a Word Bearers army. A force I had no emotional attachment with the background as it stood and while their colours are striking it had not been on my list of hobby projects I want to do (which is extensive).

What is everyone else like on this? Or am I overanalysing and thinking this full thing? Would love to know.
2012: Imperial Fists painting project
2013: Traitor Guard painting project (ongoing)
2014: Saim Hann painting project (ongoing) viewtopic.php?f=81&t=6450

User avatar
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2014 9:23 am
Location: Finland

Re: Inspiration on starting a new army, how do you do it?

Postby Himulus » Sat Nov 22, 2014 2:08 am

Well I mainly do loads of research before committing to a project. Read a BL book, read all the stuff from the relevant codex and lastly develop some kind of a theme that I will base my army with. Also for some reason it really inspires me to create different kinds of bases for my armies.

For Example my semi recent Astral Claws project is solely built for my love of dreadnoughts so I'm using them as Clan Raukaan army. First I thought of doing an actual clan raukaan army, but their theme just didn't click for me so I went with the AC instead.
My blog (Most of the stuff there is in finnish though)

Dark Eldar: 4/0/0
Tyranids: 0/0/0
Astral Claws: 0/0/0

Posts: 385
Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2013 7:40 pm

Re: Inspiration on starting a new army, how do you do it?

Postby jholtmusic » Sat Nov 22, 2014 12:35 pm

I have only been involved with 40K for about a year and a half and started with the Dark Angels force from the DV box set. I really like the DA's fluff and the models but after playing a few games, noticed that they couldn't field LOTD or ironclad dreadnoughts or sternguard or a generic chapter master. This annoyed me quite a bit since I had already built/kitbashed a unit of DA/sternguard and had bought and assembled an ironclad.

I picked up the SM codex when it was released and decided to switch over to vanilla space marines and either use my DA army as allies or strip/repaint the models and use them as "counts as". I started researching chapters on the 40k wiki and looked specifically at librarians because I wanted a chapter that had a lot of psykers. This led me to the Blood Ravens chapter. I noticed that forgeworld had decals and I painted a test mini of their colors, realized that I liked painting red and bone, and decided that was the color scheme and chapter for me. For the 2014 HPC, I finished a Blood Ravens army that was infantry heavy. At my previous FLGS, very few people ran armor and an infantry heavy list was a playable and competitive list. I then moved and the people at my new FLGS run armor, a lot of armor, and I started getting wiped off the board so I have changed lists and have spent the last four months painting armor, anti-armor, etc. just so that I can stay on the board past the 3rd turn. I'm continuing to augment and expand my collection because I really like the colors and while I haven't read the CS Goto books, or played Dawn of War, I like the background fluff on the wiki.

Like I mentioned before, I really enjoy working with this paint scheme. Yeah, the usbanti bone paint from GW can have some interesting issues with clumping and jams airbrushes with ease, but I have worked with that paint enough that I can skirt around these problems pretty quickly. I've also repainted most of my DA stuff as BRavens and claimed that my chapter has "found" or "are repairing" these items and will return them to their parent chapters eventually. This allows me to run the Dark Talon/Nephilim fighter, a beautiful model IMO, as a storm talon. It also gives me an excuse to run the robed DA vet squad as sternguard, vet sergeants or whatever and say that they have some sort of attachment to the librarians.

Just to clarify, I've never played the Dawn of War series and I haven't been able to force myself to read the novelizations of the games. I just really like the color scheme, their use of librarians, and their reputation as the "Bloody Magpies." For next year's HPC, I'm painting the Ordo Psykana/first company battle librarians and am creating a Grey Knights lists that will be painted as librarians.
2015 HPC Blood Ravens-Ordo Psykana(GK)/LoTD/Imperial Knight

2014 HPC Blood Ravens

User avatar
IC Staff
Posts: 4917
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:43 pm
Location: Mechanicville, NY

Re: Inspiration on starting a new army, how do you do it?

Postby Loopy » Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:12 pm

For me, it is imagining what the army will do on the table and in the narrative.

My upcoming Necron army was born simply from the desire of seeing a carpet of silver on the table shooting allllllll the gauss.

My sisters are born of a desire for having a proper imperial army to use for traditional imperial stories and missions. Also bolters.

Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2014 9:23 am

Re: Inspiration on starting a new army, how do you do it?

Postby joeschmidt » Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:52 am

I've always gotten inspiration from a specific model or ary. Then, I build around that. Also, the more opportunity to convert, be creative is really important.

This picture has always made me want to start a Necron army, I just don't know how to model this guy.

Posts: 385
Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2013 7:40 pm

Re: Inspiration on starting a new army, how do you do it?

Postby jholtmusic » Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:03 pm

joeschmidt wrote:
This picture has always made me want to start a Necron army, I just don't know how to model this guy.

That picture makes me want to start a necron army!
2015 HPC Blood Ravens-Ordo Psykana(GK)/LoTD/Imperial Knight

2014 HPC Blood Ravens

User avatar
Posts: 2028
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:10 pm

Re: Inspiration on starting a new army, how do you do it?

Postby cicero » Mon Nov 24, 2014 4:06 pm

It tends to be a world that does it for me. I got super into forgeworlds IA3 and the conflict on Taros, hence why my last three projects are Tau, Raptors and Astra Militarum.

My Astra Militarum come from a world I made up for a campaign, Arkos. There is a lot going on onArkos I haven't shared with anyone yet, but the Lord High Militant in charge of the imperial defenses during the campaign that has come to be known as the Judgment of Minerva was General Karin Nord of the Arkosan 74th Shock Infantry. She started out as a purely "off screen" character but the more I thought about her world and it's story the more I realized I had to create at least an allied force from that world.

GW campaign books selling you armies is one thing... But when you write a campaign setting and sell yourself armies that's when you know you have a problem lol... :P
Cicero wrote:My only regret is that I have but one itunes review to give.


2015 HPC Wrack & RuinIron Warriors

User avatar
Posts: 837
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:45 am
Location: Boston, MA

Re: Inspiration on starting a new army, how do you do it?

Postby SRM » Mon Dec 15, 2014 12:23 am

My last two big armies were my Ultramarines and Valhallans. These armies were both started because when I was a kid first getting into this stuff, I saw those armies in the 3rd ed rulebook and wanted so badly to make them. Finally having the funds to make them as a working adult let me build both armies to my heart's content, making a WW2 Russian-style Valhallan horde and a 2nd ed retro Ultramarines army, which was my HPC this time around.

With some armies, it's because I want an army that plays differently. While the playstyle of Marines (especially ultra elite Marines as seen with my Crimson Fists) always appealed to me, I wanted to do both do a "bad guy" army while maintaining that elite feel. I started a mechanized Iron Warriors army because of this, and I centered around them because I just love caution stripes so much.

Right now I'm working on a Militarum Tempestus force to ally with my Valhallans and sometimes run on its own. It seems like it will play way differently than my other armies, being built around speed and alpha strikes as opposed to weathering a torrent of fire. The models are incredible, and I'm looking forward to having them on the tabletop.

At its core though, I just want to paint something new. My Dark Angels only exist because I had the models from Dark Vengeance and wanted to paint a different color palette and because the models were so cool. If an army doesn't scratch that itch visually, I won't be able to commit to it.

User avatar
IC Staff
Posts: 5782
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:12 pm
Location: Morgan Hill, CA

Re: Inspiration on starting a new army, how do you do it?

Postby cvtuttle » Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:59 am

There are multiple things that can get me interested in a new army. I talk about fiction on the show (such as Ahriman: X or The Talon of Horus) and those two pieces of fiction in particular have resonated with me. But that wasn't before I already had some level of interest in that army to begin with. That just threw gasoline on the fire.

For my 30k Word Bearers it was a couple of things:

  • A guy who had painted (many years ago) some really cool Word Bearers on a forum I used to belong to.
  • The First Heretic and the depiction of The Word Bearers in Know No Fear.
  • A picture of some Word Bearers Terminators in a White Dwarf
  • A color plate of a Word Bearers rhino in Horus Heresy book 2
  • and the final nail in the coffin was the fact that they could ally in demons

I had also always wanted an over-arching Chaos force and when I read The Talon of Horus in combination with IA13 being released, it cemented the idea of The Black Legion in my head. I had an idea a long time ago of taking the disparate parts of my Chaos Forces and making them one Black Legion Army (I had talked about this on the show before), but they were all based differently. So I started this project I have thought of for some time... and away we go...

This just pushed me
Carl Tuttle
Host of The Independent Characters

User avatar
IC Staff
Posts: 6207
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 10:00 pm
Location: Moraga, CA (work)

Re: Inspiration on starting a new army, how do you do it?

Postby Adan » Sun Dec 21, 2014 12:19 pm

Initially, I started with what army grabbed me visually. That was Grey Knights. Once I started reading the rule-books and the internets, I added Sisters and Storm Troopers/Arbites. Then I added Black Templars based on looks, thinking "based on religious crusaders... should work well with "the Church" armies of 40K"..... But it appears they may not be so fond of Sisters, and Grey Knights are loners.

The IG that I have are the result of a crazy idea my friend Greg and I had to have a huge Nid/IG battle. I picked Mordians because they looked the East Coast cops in dress uniforms.

After that, inspiration from the lore was primary. Alpha Legion and the Wraith army are a result of that. The "Flight of the Eisenstein" project was result of reading the original lore on that escape. The novel kind of knocked that idea down, and it probably won't happen now. :cry:

The Tzeentch CSM army (which isn't built yet) was a desire to use all of the Oblits, Mutilators and Spawn that I could in one army, because I thought it would look cool.
All of my armies and current projects.


Red is my "moderator voice".

Return to “40k General”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest