Warhammer 40k: Lessons Learned

– The Quality

Let’s talk about the quality of Warhammer 40K products. Keep in mind, the majority of what I have seen has been either from the Dark Vengeance starter box or someone’s personal army set up for a game. The figures are amazingly detailed. Even for the two plastic, snap-fit armies that came with Dark Vengeance, I love the minute details of the figures. Even more so, I love the style. Every figure from the Dark Angels and Chaos Space Marines armies has a great level of detail that hints at the gritty and dark world of 40k. The books and codices are equally well-designed and filled with great artwork as well as photos of pre-painted armies. Games Workshop – great job folks.

– The Cost

I’ve mentioned this in a previous post – Warhammer is not cheap. You need an army of figures, paint supplies, a rule book, a Codex for your army, a playing area (terrain and structures preferred), dice and templates. I’m sure I forgot something there… but it’s a lot of stuff. It seems easy to run into players who’ve spent hundreds of dollars or more to get the stuff they were interested in before ever having an army fully painted and “battle-ready”. Several times I’ve heard the phrase “you’re never really done” and initially that kept me at arms distance from buying the game.

Case in point – I bought a starter set with two armies and a set of paints just over a week ago. I have completely painted one miniature in my free time (about 2-3 hours over 5 days) and that one had a learning curve. Quite a few of you stepped up to give me sound advice and constructive criticism. Thank you, once again. I love the gaming community for that. It doesn’t matter what game you play, tabletop gamers always welcome more to the table. It’s important to note – games last hours. Painting takes hours. You must have free time.

– Rules and rule complexity

Warhammer 40,000 is a game of precision in many ways. There are artfully painted figures, but there are also the rules. The rules are hefty to say the least. The up side to that, is that a lot of thought has been put into the tactical combat and overall strategy that plays out over the table. The down side? There’s a lot to read. Not a huge problem for me, I love reading.

I’ve read through the start up scenarios and rules and while there’s a lot to keep up with, something tells me – just play a few times and you’ll figure it all out. Thankfully, the game shop down the road has plenty of knowledgeable folks willing to answer questions. They also host game nights every weekend! I’m looking forward to rolling in with my happily painted army of Chaos Space Marines and checking out the setup and paint on the other armies.

I digress… The rules. There are a lot of them to read and not all of the info is in the rule book, but also in the Codex applicable to your army. The How-To-Play that came with Dark Vengeance made the setup and start easy to understand, but we still need to just put all 49 figures together and go to war.

– Game lore/universe

I won’t hide from it. I don’t know enough about the game universe, but I love science-fiction. Science-fiction that takes place in a harsh and unforgiving world is even more interesting to me. Apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, dystopian. It gets the gears in my head turning and I love every minute of it. I’ve got a lot to read but the sheer variety of the races, factions, wars, and characters in the Warhammer 40k universe has me excited to find out more. I think even more so than painting the figures and learning the game, I’m interested in learning the backstory of groups and races. For instance… The Sisters of Battle? What the hell are the Tau? What caused the Chaos Space Marines to turn against their own people?

– So what did I learn?

It’s expensive, but an easy hobby to enjoy, from reading to assembling and painting the figures. I’ve heard word that Warhammer Age of Sigmar is less expensive and demanding on funds, but I have yet to verify that. I would love more info on if the two are much different aside from the setting.

In regards to my painting skills I’ve figured out a few things:

– Sometimes it’s better to at least base coat the pieces of a figure before assembling it.

– Thin the paints! This was something I didn’t do with my first test subject and I lost detail. The majority opinion seems to be a couple thin coats watered down does much better than one unfiltered layer potentially filling in and erasing details.

– Brush control! Brush quality is great. I bought nice brushes for layering, painting, and detailing. None of that matters if you have poor brush control. I’m not saying I’m great at it, but I am saying it could have been much worse.

– Talk to people and look for learning resources. There’s always going to be someone with knowledge you don’t have.

As a note: Samantha finally started painting hers. We’ve agreed only five days working on the figure is allowed. The competition looks fierce.

Thanks for input and insight (in no specific order):



Jason Scheiber

David Ewh

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