40K: The Great Painting & Matched Play Debate

Are we going here again Stormy?  Yes we are.  TOs need to be consistent in the standards they set, and the standards need to be set higher.

Before we go any further, full disclosure; all of the pictures in this article are models I have painted over the years.  So I am not speaking out of turn or from lack of experience.  My paint jobs may not be the highest of quality, but I have improved over the years, and use a minimum of five colors on anything I bring to a competitive table.  With that, let’s talk about painting around the competitive scene and elsewhere.

Out the gate, let’s discuss the false narrative of “if we require painted models or have a higher standard at matched play events, we will be keeping people from entering the hobby.”  Simply put: no, you won’t.  First, 8th edition itself has brought folks back to the hobby who have been absent for years.  The vast majority of them are hobbyists as well as gamers.  They understand that if they want a seat at the table, they need to bring well painted models.  The folks who will be put off are those that haven’t been coached what bringing a painted army to the table means.  So, Stormy, what does it mean?  It means you are invested enough in the game to take the time to prepare for participation in an organized event.  It means you have enough respect for the game and your opponent to show up with a base coat, a couple of highlight colors and a wash.  Not grey plastic, or models with a coat of primer, or over the top proxies, or bases that have not a single effort put into them.  Paint snob alert?  If you wish, but read the entire article before you judge.

There are PLENTY of folks who are not paint studio level painters…I am certainly not.  There are also PLENTY of players who make the effort to bring a nicely painted army because they understand that organized game play is a venue for showing off the hobby.  Those folks who are curious about our game will be more interested in other systems where the models are well painted and detailed, not where the proxies look like Dollar Store purchases and the “painted” models look like a child took a rattlecan to them and put them, half dried, on the table.  Where have I seen such things?  Sadly, last year at “one of the two biggest 40K events in the USA” for one.  I actually saw a guy who had a plastic Toucan Sam on the table; who knows, or wants to know, what that represented.  Another player who had two “Basalisks” that were green plastic SP artillery with what he thought passed for camo.  I also saw armies with base minimum paint jobs.  Not washed or detailed, nothing but a coat of paint on the bases.  This venue is a premier event in our hobby here in the US.  Are we that desperate for players that we allow a lower level of hobby on matched play tables?  Strangely enough, I saw few if any painted army issues on the Age of Sigmar side of the house at the venue.

I know TOs have a bazillion things to deal with, especially at mega venues.  But the players can help police a lack of basic hobby as well.  They can call a judge over and ask for a ruling regarding a players paint job/proxies.  TOs can give incentives to those who have to play against poorly painted armies/toy store proxies.  Extra Command Points, for example.  If egregious enough, give one player first turn irrespective of the number of drops.  Harsh you say?  At major events, like LVO, Renegade Open, Adepticon, e.g., the bar should be set higher by default. Whether they want to admit it or not, players know what the expectation is before they walk in the door.  Do we have to tolerate a lack of hobby because we don’t want to be “that guy” who calls someone out?  Why?  Most folks who attend competitive events, especially the major events, have taken the time to prepare for the event.  Like preparing for any competitive activity.  In sports, you have to practice the actual play part.  But you are also required to have the proper gear, and it has to be worn a very specific way.  I have participated in, and seen, sporting events where players are taken off the field/court until they meet the standard set by the sport.  Why should we be different?

So I came out the door swinging on this one.  However, I understand there are places where grey plastic or goofy proxies are OK.  The FLGS, basements, pickup games wherever they occur.  I get that my friend just glued together his ten Primaris Marines and wants to play them.  All good.  In a friendly, informal setting, that is great.  It is also the place that folks brand new to the hobby should be able to throw some glue and a crappy paint job on brand new models and get a chance to roll dice with everyone else.  I don’t think there should be ANY expectation (other than the fact that it should be a whole model…not missing limbs or a head!!) when throwing down with you mates.  I have played plenty of games against folks who had not glued the tracks on their tanks, or maybe had not chosen weapons yet for their close in fighters (holding air is at least holding something).  Another exception is my Shadespire figs.  I will only be playing this at school with my Board Game Club, so the colored plastic is more than sufficient.  When it comes to my Necromunda gang, however, they will have a nice, shiny paint job!

My local gaming group, D-Company Milwaukee, plays plenty of pick up games, and many times fresh out-of-the-box models appear on the table.  Many of our members were around for the original VDR (vehicle design rules) and still bring some pretty crazy stuff.  However, when it comes to our annual “Big Game” which brings in 25-30 players from across the country for two days of 40K, we have a certain expectation…models need to be painted.  I am proud to say that even though you will see 80-100,000 points of models in the room at any time during the weekend, all of those models are painted.  Not just painted, I mean painted.  We have some amazing hobbyists in our group.

To close this out, IMO, we as veteran hobbyists, have a responsibility to let those entering our amazing world know what is expected.  If folks want to be ninkers, well, they are always around.  But almost everyone just starting out is more than willing to listen and learn.  Moreoever, they will meet and exceed the expectations almost every time…if they know what the expectations are, and are held to a standard.

Where do you stand on the Great Paint Debate?

  • defensive

    I disagree.
    Tournaments are meant to be for testing your skill as a player, not as a painter. You wouldn’t reject a golden daemon winner on the grounds of “Well it doesn’t have legal wargear, so, better luck next year.” So why turn away potential champs because of an issue that doesn’t effect the tournament space?

    I get that you would want to incentivise painted armies, and that’s why you have prizes for best painted, but they do not, and should not, have a bearing on the standings.

    • Azhrarn

      Except it isn’t a test of his skill as a painter, it is just a minimum visual standard that the armies are held to.
      Nobody is expecting pro paintjobs, if those are present, great, but they’re not expected. What should be expected is however that there is paint on the models and that some effort was put in.
      Similar levels of decorum are expected in every other sport, so why not here?

      • defensive

        Because it’s not a sporting event, and throwing on a jersey is miles easier than spending hours and hours getting what could easily be 100+ models up to tabletop standard. For someone with a full time job, that could be two months of work if you’re painting every weekend.
        On top of actually building the models and playing the games, not everyone has the time.

        It might not be such a big deal for friendly games, where you can just paint up whatever and stick with it, but in comp, where the meta can shift wildly due to one FAQ, suddenly what you have isnt competitive, and you have to buy up more models to keep up.

        And what effect does all that effort actually have on the tournament?

        • Vayle

          tabletop standard painting doesn’t have to take extremely long.
          take your standard (primaris) space marine, and let’s take a simple chapter like the Salamanders.
          you buy a can of green paint, spray them green.
          basecoat: check.
          next you wash them with nuln oil
          wash: check
          then you take a lighter green and drybrush the model.
          highlights: check.
          then you go to more detailed parts, like the eagle on the chest, or the boltgun. you paint them in the right colour, put the right wash over them, because you want to be done as quick as possible put a quick drybrush over them, or else you do some quick highlighting that doesn’t necesarily look bad, for example the eagle on the chest.
          if you base the eagle with retributor armour, then put some reikland fleshshade over it and then take a medium layer brush and gently go over the eagle on the chest with some auric armour gold, you’ll have pretty decently highlighted gold.
          after you’ve done your metals you take a transfersheet and put the decals on the shoulderpads and you’ve got yourself a space marine. you can probably paint 10 tactical marines this way in one evening, easily, and they won’t turn out completely awful.

          • David

            I like convert and paint all my models to an acceptable standard but thathe is way to excessive for peoplease who.want to play not paint

            Spray marine colour
            Paint Base different colour
            Paint gun so its clear
            Add detail to taste
            If you’ve gone over the lines to much touchup

          • marxlives

            I do the same, spray, base color, and use Army dipper.

          • memitchell

            Yes, but not quite.
            1) Base paint sprue with enamel rattlecan. Primer and basecoat done.
            2) Paint weapons and chest eagle, while on the sprue. Painting is almost done, but for touch ups where the sprue is attached.
            3) Cut off sprue and assemble.
            4) Touch up. No highlights, no dry brushing, not multiple inks, unless you want to.
            5) Dip in water-based wood stain. Let dry. Painting is done. The wood stain is also a flat protective coat that can be painted over. Can always go back and paint over the model, give it highlights, etc. I sometimes do to highlight flames, and such.
            6) Glue some hobby “gravel” to the base, and not the whole base. Enough to give it texture and interest.
            7) Paint the base.

            Done. Excluding drying time, this is fast, and fun. A person with a job, a family, a life, and a keen interest in observing others that leads to multiple restraining orders can get an army painted fast and efficiently. With not much skill. Dipping in wood stain covers mistakes.

          • Apocryphus

            Just dip it straight in the wood stain? That gives me the jibblies. It doesn’t pool up and make nasty splotches on the model?

        • orionburn III

          But for a lot of tourney players this is a “sport.” Lot of people look at it like a sports team – you want your players to look proper on the field. No different than your models on the table.

          I have a busy life and can still manage to find a way to get an hour’s worth of painting every night (ok, maybe 6 out of 7 nights on average) if I really wanted to. Somebody did an article awhile back on managing hobby time and this was one of the topics. Many say they don’t have time to paint yet can find 2 hours to sit in front of the TV/computer playing games.

          I attended Warzone this year and having 100% painted armies added to the experience. While you say it doesn’t add anything most people feel that it does, myself included. This is an all encompassing hobby and seeing two fully painted armies squaring off really adds to the game for a lot of us.

          • defensive

            It adds to the experience, sure. Which is why painted armies should be incentivised when things like best painted awards, or even go so far as to give bonus points for having a painted army. But to lock out unpainted, or basecoated armies completely is just not needed, as it doesn’t actually have an effect on the gameplay, which is what everyone is there for in the first place.

          • orionburn III

            That I have to disagree with in regards to it having an effect on gameplay. In a tourney setting especially you’re getting the typical crazy combos. When you have to try and constantly remember this unit of bikes belongs to a White Scars chapter, and this unit of Devastators belongs to Raven Guard, etc. that starts to get annoying for the other player. And sadly yes, there will be people that try to exploit that. “Oh, no, those aren’t White Scars they’re Raven Guard so now it’s -1 to hit them.” Even if not intentional those things can happen in a game.

          • defensive

            You should be giving your opponent a copy of your list with these details marked down on it already. At any point, your opponent should be able to ask any question about the rules of your army, and you should be able to answer. As long as you know what’s what, and your opponent has any sort of memory, it should be no problem.

            I play against a lot of people with unpainted armies locally, and it’s never been a problem.

          • Stephen Henry IV

            But you can do that with painted models to, I play Salamanders as my space marine chapter and have for years but it’s fun to try out other chapters to get some different flavor. Nothings stopping me or another person doing the same with a fully painted army plus with a non painted army it’s easier to visualize it one day being the colors the playear says it’ll be as opposed to “my green salamanders over here are ultramarines, but the similar green guys over here are raven guard.”

          • marxlives

            I have had that happen locally. Painting does have an effect on the table. If I am staring at a glob of grey or metal, the opponent may remember what they are but I have no clue. This even happen in Warmachine, where units are more fixed on wargear and abilities. Having to constantly ask your opponent “What is that?” or try to memorize it because you can’t just tell, does not make for a competitive scene. Not even an amatuer one. It is pretty Mickey Mouse.

          • jhopkins

            Clearly you’ve never played with gray plastic marines chapter.

            This unit of tacticals is actually a unit of Grey Knights

            This unit is raven guard and melta is grav

            This unit are smurfs las cannons are heavy bolters

            3 turns later and during a multi-unit charge, which is which again?

            Also sadly tournaments have a driving effect on the community. The major benefit that this nonsense brings is organizations like the ITC, NoVA, etc can raise the bar.

            Like the LVO has sticker painting requirements and proxy rules the 500 (or whatever) people that play will have armies that are up to that standard.

            Why argue against making the community as a whole better and adhering to the spirit of the game?

          • defensive

            I play against unpainted armies regularly. It’s never been an issue, since keeping track of enemy units is part of the game, painted or not. And at any point, I can just ask my opponent what is what. If they don’t know, how are they playing at a tournament level in the first place?

          • jhopkins

            Because they are lying for advantage

          • LankTank

            IMO it’s not the paint that is needed the most but having accurate representations of the models. BUT to commit players to their army I think their should be painting restrictions.

          • marxlives

            He has man, but he is going to feign ignorance. He won’t look at it from a competitive player who has to play against that sort of rubbish PoV or he won’t try to see how normies perceive it, or that it is a game AND a hobby. He will basically do the fire ant line of argumentation.

            -Fire ants are in issue in Texas
            – I have never seen fire ants
            – Fire ants infested so many homes
            – I have seen fire ants but it wasn’t a problem for me.
            – So many people are being hospitalized do to fire ant bites.
            – I have been bitten by fire ants but it has never been a problem for me.

          • piglette

            You’d be amazed how much hobby time young guys would have if they gave up porn.

          • orionburn III

            Actually you can still get painting done and manage to watch a lot of…wait…am I talking out loud?

          • LankTank

            Here is my Raven Guard. Splatted with ummm… Ceramite white?
            Wait… that looks more like Nurgles Rot…. OH GOD!

          • marxlives

            I would say having painted armies on the table allows for the event to be televised and even have regular people watch and enjoy. My wife is NOT a tabletop gamer by any stretch of the imagination. But she watched the Iron Gauntlet finals with me and enjoyed it.

        • Karru

          I have always found this to be such an absolutely flawed argument.

          “I don’t have time to paint due to my job and the like.”

          Yet somehow they have the time to play 2+ hour games by the dozens to learn their army and study the game and then attend a 8+ hour event like nobodies business. Where does this magical time come from I ask, as clearly it isn’t there when you need to paint anything.

          • defensive

            Why would you assume that someone would have time to paint if they are spending all these hours playing the game?
            As you say, they are spending a lot of time actually playing, rather than painting.
            So where does this mythical time come from, that lets you work, play a ton of practice games AND paint up your army?

          • Karru

            You switch it up my man. It is all about time management, you can easily paint while watching things like battle reports and the like, a simple tabletop standard doesn’t take that much work, even painting 4 hours a week can get and army painted in a month if the scheme is simple. You don’t have to be constantly be playing in order to “be the best”. Considering that I know a lot of great tournament players that have absolutely gorgeous models that they have painted by themselves while having a kid or two and a full-time job. Their secret in order to achieve this? Time management.

            To help you understand, think of various activities you do during the day. Do you watch TV or surf the net when you get home? Why not put up a painting station and paint while you do so? Two birds with one stone right there.

            I remember way back in the day before I started focusing purely on painting, I could paint 30 Chaos Space Marines in a week in roughly 8 hours. If the scheme matters very little, just go with a metal one, buy a silver/metal spray, add golden trims and/or details on the model, paint some areas black, such as the gun or maybe a shoulderplate and wash black. Add basing material and boom, you now have a fully painted tabletop standard model that fits the bill of “3 colour minimum”. Painting time, excluding the drying of the spray, max 15 minutes per model, maybe even less once you get to the routine of it.

          • defensive

            And why should someone be forced into such a commitment in the first place?

            If I was a top level tournament player, I’d spend my time actually playing games and getting better, rather than wasting time on the aesthetics for other people’s amusement.
            It adds nothing to the gameplay, and serves only as a time sink for a serious player, unless they also enjoy painting. And if someone doesn’t enjoy it, why make them do it?

          • 40KstillRulesTheTT

            Man, if you are so lazy, just play a low model count army with simplistic color shemes. Necrons and grey knights are your friends. Do the minimum dude

          • defensive

            My own army is painted up fully to what I would consider tabletop standard.

            But I’m not a snob about it, and I know people that don’t enjoy painting, can’t find the time, or simply focus more on playing than they do on painting.
            And I’m yet to see a reason for how this effects the gameplay, which is what tournaments are about.

          • Spade McTrowel

            The same way you maintain your equipment in sports. Do it yourself – or get someone else to do it for you.

          • Caleb Whitney

            Equipment in sports serves more then it’s aesthetic value

          • marxlives

            Tell a hunter or a fisherman that.

          • Caleb Whitney

            So the boat is purely aesthetic? No conventional use at all? Or the fishhook? Just for show? Probably dont need it right? You’re right, that hunter can probably just choke that bear out instead of shoot it, guns dont really serve a functional purpose in the sport of hunting, either.

          • Spade McTrowel

            So does a painted army.

          • Caleb Whitney

            Give me a quantifiable, empirical effect that the figurines have on the game whilst painted vs not painted.

          • Spade McTrowel

            On the Individual level:
            1) It is possible that an unpainted army will cause confusion of which unit is which – especially in the world of spam. This could be considered an unfair advantage for the unpainted army.
            2) Play-time may be lost to constant questions about which model a unit belongs.
            3) Grand melees involving multiples of the same unpainted units could become very confusing and increase the chances of mechanical (as opposed to judgmental) mistakes being made.

            On the event level:
            1) Viewing painted armies increases the chances of non-players to become players more than viewing unpainted armies.
            2) Viewing a game involving unpainted miniatures decreases the likelihood of a potential player to become involved and committed to said game than if the potential player viewed the same game demonstrated with painted miniatures.

            Each of these effects can be both observed and counted. I’ll leave you to find the funding for the research.

            BOLS, y’all do research grants?? 🙂

          • Caleb Whitney

            All of this seems like it could easily be solved with a unit roster. So I fail to be convinced.
            Also, the last one. Enforcing rules that might exclude some of your fanbase to….build your fanbase?

          • Spade McTrowel

            Unit rosters won’t be able to tell two unpainted guardsmen apart if stuck in a multi unit melee. Painting can.

            As for the last, ever see an official demonstration using unpainted minis? There’s a reason.

            Most events that I am aware of are sponsored by (if not held at) a business that sells the games being played. Other are by clubs of existing players. While the tournaments are sometimes a celebration of the game (tactical for some, hobby for other, both for even more), the end goal is to increase the player base, either to sell more stuff, or have a bigger pool of players. Painted minis help the pitch.

          • marxlives

            Because it is a game AND a hobby. If it was just a game, the models would come prepainted…wait wait but what do I see in the distance? A feign ignorance line of argumentation that believes it is intelligent discourse! Never saw it coming.

          • Apocryphus

            “My hobby, your hobby” was the mantra of my local GW brick and mortar store. I prefer having and playing against painted armies, but if someone gets more enjoyment out of the gaming aspect than the painting, it doesn’t make it wrong, it’s just a different way of enjoying the hobby.

          • Karru

            It shouldn’t be forced, and as such punished. On the other hand, it should be rewarded if one does take the time as it shows professionalism from the player in my opinion.

            Honestly, I believe that a painted army, even if just the bare minimum, should be rewarded. A few points just for that would go a long way to encourage it. If the players that don’t want to do it are spending all their time playing, they shouldn’t mind it considering that they can easily make up those points with wins using their skill.

            Again, painting your army should be rewarded, not by much in terms of your standing in the tournament but it should still affect that, while still have the usual “Best Painted” award and so on. A player shouldn’t be punished for not having a painted army though.

          • LankTank

            Well should a Top level player who just spammed that latest cool unit and had to proxy a bunch of $2 shop models with citadel sprues glued to them be given credit and known as a Top level 40k player?

          • Stephen Henry IV

            I can’t play video games and paint, nor can I do college homework and paint.

          • Spade McTrowel

            Time management.
            It’s a skill most learn in college. 🙂
            You’ll get there.

          • Karru

            Neither can you play video games or do your homework while you play the game, so when do you have time to do anything related to the hobby then?

          • David

            Let’s see one activity is boring and the aspect of the hobby I dislike the most

            One activity is socialiseing with a friend and fun and why I engage in the hobby

            Why can I make more time for fun than literally watching paint dry I can’t work it out.

          • Karru

            At least you admit that you don’t want to paint anything and being honest about it, you don’t come up with excuses that make absolutely no sense.

          • marxlives

            True and the article is pretty explicit in that it is addressing national tournaments not local affairs. I don’t understand the issue either Karru.

          • That’s funny. I paint quite a bit and have never seen a reason to sit there and watch paint dry.

          • 40KstillRulesTheTT

            Hah hah that looks like the kind of gaming I came across once, my eyes never recovered since. Ugliest armies ever, and they were all like “Yeah, we simply don’t care, it’s the tactics we love”… Suffice to say, I walked away after the game. And like many others I believe, never came back…

          • marxlives

            Ya, it is unfortunate. A lot of people who defend unpainted armies at the national circuit, don’t understand that even at the local level it does a lot to dissuade people from playing.

          • Spade McTrowel

            We socialize over painting while preparing for a tourney… Usually talking about the nuts and bolts of play and army design.

          • marxlives

            My friends and I used to do painting parties. Get some drink on and paint. Good times.

          • Jooster

            Why not socialise while you’re painting? Skype and discord are things, if you don’t want to move your paint station from home.

          • Fenix Dargon

            The trick to that is to paint at the hobby shop, with friends. Do it every week, and things get done.

          • zeno666

            Well said.
            Its about priorities for sure.
            Also the same people are very fast to buy the latest broken combo.
            But they can’t spend time, nor money to get their current stuff painted.

        • AventineX

          I’d say people actually having to paint up all their FAQ/ meta swing/ tweaky bullhockey before putting it on the table would have a great effect on the tournament.

        • Spade McTrowel

          Tournament gaming IS a sporting event in the same way that golf is. A player must meet the minimum requirements. One of those requirements on the green is to ‘look the part’ in order to not bring shame on the whole gig, and another is that the equipment is within regulation. Miniature model tournaments should have that same type of expectations for the models for roughly the same reasons. Set
          Set a minimum standard to be met, but since painting/modeling is also part of the hobby, also include some sort of recognition for the notable armies on the field.
          I’m not sure I like the incentive idea, but definitely have a parallel competition for modeling/painting. This parallel competition should NOT remove the minimum standards, however.

          • defensive

            And why should there be a minumum standard for aesthetics at all?
            If you want nice looking models, go to a painting comp.
            Would you go to a painting comp and complain that the models on display don’t have the legal wargear?
            I doubt it. But list building and following the game rules is part of the hobby, right? So it should always be shoehorned in for whatever reason?

          • Spade McTrowel

            Reputation.

            Both of the tournament and the hobby in general. Warhammer games are a multifaceted hobby, and tournaments should show this. There are plenty of games to play that lack the painting/hobby aspect of Warhammer games and probably offer BETTER tactical games.

            Warhammer games are part tactics, part hobby, part lore, and part trash-talking… er… socializing 🙂 If a particular player doesn’t embrace all the aspects of the hobby, then fine, but for a tournament, some level of minimum effort should be met the basics.

            The idea is to get new potential players to enter the fold. Most will be brought in by a good introduction, lore, or the visuals. AND, any lack of one of these three can also drive someone away. bare metal/plastic armies fall into the latter category.

            Fully painted armies increase the brand.

          • marxlives

            Because… and you must listen and understand. I know sometimes, the whatever is real, but you really need to understand this. For a national tournament, that is being broadcasted or has other people who are not part of the tournament watching, you don’t want some Mickey Mouse bs to represent your game. I know getting into the normie mind set is hard but you got to get there.

        • Jooster

          Depending on the army, 100+ models at 4-5 colours each can be done over a month’s worth of weekends at most. Half of that time for very uniform armies like Necrons or Tau.

          Painting on a squad level has a certain critical mass where you can paint nonstop, because by the time you’ve finished with one colour, the ones you started with are dry enough for the next. 30 or so is usually where you’d find it.

        • marxlives

          You must have never played a sport in your life. You know playing sports…even on the amateur level requires a lot more than just throwing on a jersey.

        • marxlives

          How do you expect the hobby to get any sort of outside the echo chamber recognition when people are pushing around poor proxies and unpainted minis? Also, like I said, it is a hobby AND a game. So there should be requirements for both. There are already games that are prepainted, have national tournaments, and are games only. And before you say “I don’t like the sculpts” to the average normie, do you REALLY believe that your blog of grey sculpts looks any better than anything Heroclicks or FFG produces? Even locally I have played with fully painted armies and have seen non-tabletop players walk past 40k tables and stop at mine to ask about the game and show interest. And yes it takes time to paint models. That is part and parcel of the hobby. Take up competitive shooting or hunting and you will spend a lot of time shooting AND reloading.

        • LankTank

          I think he is talking about the atrocious abuse that players are presenting straight up garbage. We are not talking about an ork boy painted poorly with skin tone on his trousers, but more against the player using a LOTR model as an ork boy here, and then having sprayed it black, slapped silver on the gun and blue on it;s head leaving the rest black. additionally the competitive scene would actually be BETTER if players had to work at their models. There would be less faction abuse, their never would have been a million substitute malefic lords that look EXACTLY like a avg cultist on a rock and players would try and refine their skills with that army, not just take the next unit to spam.

    • James Regan

      maybe a better option is just enforcing WYSIWYG- no rubbish proxies, and you only get faction rules on models that are physically part of the faction- for marines, this means you’ve looked up the correct colours (want ultramarines, you need blue + yellow/gold paint, or a successor chapters paintjob). That way you improve rules clarity, which helps the competitive lot, as they don’t have to spend ages trying to work out what their opponents army is, but it gets those who want to really play competitively to get their armies painted up for the correct faction. Those who really can’t put the time in are stuck playing without faction rules, but they are on the level with other armies without a codex, so shouldn’t be too much of a hit if they only showed up for a bit of a laugh

      • orionburn III

        This is one reason why painting matters. I have a friend that’s been doing some proxies of his bikes as White Scars and other models as Ravenguard (all his models are painted as Ultramarines). That’s fine for friendly games as we play test things, but he also knows in a tournament that doesn’t fly. It isn’t fair to your opponent to have to try and keep guessing which model belongs to what faction. I know if it’s black and RG that I’m going to have a harder time shooting at it. Does it break the game? No. But it slows things down and gets annoying over the course of the game. No different than having to try and remember that some model with a flamer is a “counts as melta” for the duration of the game.

      • Koonitz

        What constitutes a “successor chapter”, though? Is it only what GW has released in their official publications? I mean, I have the Space Marine collector’s edition codex that includes the book of every single known successor chapter and their colors in the year 40k. I certainly have choice on my side and could easily do it.

        Is that it, though? Do I have to use one of those? Is my 10,000 points of custom successor chapter not good enough? Am I unable to use these models because they aren’t painted as an official founding or successor chapter?

        ’cause if that’s your ruling, I’m not attending your events.

        You see, now, how difficult it can be to make a ruling on this matter.

        Perhaps a better way would be “All models painted in a particular fashion must come from the same Chapter (or insert army subfaction here)”. For instance, even if I have 3 different detachments in my army, since every Marine is painted the same way, they must all be from the same Chapter, using the same Chapter rules.

        If I want a different detachment of White Scars bikes, I better have a detachment of bikes painted differently from my detachment of Iron Hands mechanized infantry. That way you don’t have shenanigans of “these Ultramarines are Raven Guard, and these Ultramarines are Iron Hands.”

        • Fenix Dargon

          I’m pretty sure thats what he means.

        • James Regan

          what counts as a successor chapter- it is painted, and is paited as a chapter that either is a published successor chapter, or is a custom paint job. As hard as it is to define it in practical terms, in reality it is really, really, really really easy to tell the difference between someone with a custom chapter and someone who hasn’t painted their models. hell, you could probably tell just by asking them about their models, without even seeing them.
          Edit: And as we know what white scars look like, if it’s painted with white scars colours, it is white scars- your custom chapter is only a custom chapter if it is actually, you know, customized.

    • vlad78

      Tournaments are meant to be what the TOs want them to be. This is why they describe how their tournaments will work beforehand.
      Some are meant to exclusively test player skills other use broader requirements.
      Imho the game experience is much better with heavy comp neutering most broken lists AND requiring fully painted armies but that’s just me.

      We choose to what kind of tournament we want to go.

    • Volcifar

      Tournaments are meant to be for testing your skill as a list builder and loop hole finder.

      There, fixed it for you.

    • Stephen Henry IV

      I agree, I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my models. I play the new death guard and have spent 8ish hours on a squad of 5 plague marines, and like 4 on Typhus just to name a few. I also go to school full time and still try and spend time with family and friends. I simply don’t have the time to put the level of detail I want on my models, not to mention I’ve gone to several tournamentsmall with them and I’ve gotten a 1st and 2nd place without having even half my models painted. It has no bearing on gameplay.

    • marxlives

      Because it is a game AND a hobby. If you are looking to just be into a competitive GAME that is not a hobby there are options available (Heroclicks, X-Wing, Armada, etc.)

  • Fergie0044

    So here’s a somewhat related question; all my models I play with are fully painted to the best of my ability, but I leave the bases plain and black. This is a deliberate stylist choice as i think it looks better than a scenic base that doesn’t match the tabletop. Would they be acceptable for an ‘all models must be painted’ event?

    • 40KstillRulesTheTT

      Nah, your models just aren’t finished my friend. You need to understand that. You have so far deliberately not finished your models, but it’s not too late !
      On behalf of all the people who play with you, please find a way of basing them that satisfies you (even if the basing is very basic -yknowwhatimean-).
      Look around Ze Internet and you will find. A player in one of my groups thinks like you, and his Mars admech just doesn’t look as good as it should (if they were based, he paints pretty well too), it really is a shame.

      • Fergie0044

        Oh I’m not arguing whether they are finished or not. I just think that for sake of example, martian red bases just look silly on a nice green table. And vice versa.

        • Mr.Gold

          Paint the base black – then No one can argue that the base is not painted…

          • marxlives

            I have painted bases black, intentionally before.

        • Daniel Sanchez

          I’ve noticed that with a rim around the base in Steel Legion Drab (or it’s equivalent) really goes a long way in bringing all scenic bases together with the board. It’s quite wild what it can do. We had a guy who agreed that the black bases looked aesthetically better, but there are ways to make a black base still look finished. What about grey? For 40k this immediately looks like cement in a city, browns for AoS looks like flat dirt. Because the bases themselves are textured, you can do a lot. Or just paint them black and give a background “story” as to why and I wouldn’t have a problem with it.

    • Peter Utecht

      My firend can´t get to tournaments because of this exact reason too. He always asks the TO´s beforehand but has yet to get a yes out of them. (though these are german tournaments)

    • erion

      If you actually painted the base black, maybe with a nice coat of satin or gloss varnish, it would be better, for the tournament scene, than an unpainted plastic base. I’m not judging your aesthetics. I’m saying an unpainted plastic base looks like zero effort to a T.O.

      • Fergie0044

        That’s a fair point. I would hope that having the model fully painted would show that not to be the case though.

      • David

        Hoe is it zero effort if the models done. Don’t get me wrong it probably won’t win a painting prize but it’s good enough

        • erion

          Zero effort ON THE BASE, where based models are specifically one of the tournament requirements.

    • euansmith

      Have you tried using clear plastic bases? I recently based up some Stormcast on them, and think they look pretty cool.

      • Fergie0044

        Interesting idea – might trial it. Although the thought of having to re-base everything makes my head hurt…

        • euansmith

          That’s a good point 😉

      • Jooster

        Are they going to be tournament legal? I haven’t played for years, so I wouldn’t know, but it seems like something a beardy opponent could exploit to disqualify you based on non-GW parts or potentially different measurements.

        • euansmith

          I really don’t know. I’ve just done them so I can play with friends. I do wish that GW would swap to something a bit more low profile and sensible than the huge lumps of plastic they use for bases. There used to be a reason, bakc when they sold metal minis with tabs and slotta bases; but these days, they could go with something a lot slimmer.

          • Fergie0044

            Official GW guidance for warhammer world says you can use 3rd party bases – so they should be ok then?

        • Azhrarn

          There are bound to be companies that make clear plastic bases in the correct sizes for GW armies.

    • David

      I would be happy with it and it would be fine at mostrich of the non GW tournaments I’ve been to but can’t paint that well so mono colour my bases to cover up that Ive dribbled paint on them.

      Gw want textured bases now but a quick glance at my local venue shows only a minority of players do that

      • 40KstillRulesTheTT

        Don’t let lazy buggers provide you with an excuse to be lazy too. Lift the bar up, don’t let yourself be part of problem, all that crap 😉
        Frankly the way I base my minis (grass, a few pebbles, there, done) only takes me like 1 minute per model when done in a Taylorism spirit. Painting requires time, even only TT+ level. Basing to a TT+ level, not so much. So a hobbyst’s really has no excuse really… I would have told the buggers at your local venue so 😀

    • LordKrungharr

      Why not just get or make some clear plastic bases if the table mismatch bothers you? Pretty easy project.

    • Jooster

      I used to do something similar, but with some basing grit that was drybrushed a dark grey. It kept the same neutral/universal look, but helped give it a finished look.

      An alternative if you don’t want to use basing materials would be to paint the side dark grey or brown. Again, keeps the same flexibility, but adds a finished look.

    • ILikeToColourRed

      if you wish to attend an event that requires basing (see: official warhammer events now do) then your models will require basing

      quickest / easiest / cheapest way of doing this is to mix pva, sand/gravel, and craft paint into a goop (kinda like the GW basing paints)

    • Heinz Fiction

      I really sympathise with you on this matter. While scenic bases look great on models on the shelf they can easily feel out of place if they don’t blend with the table and terrain.

  • DarkMillennium

    I agree that models should be painted as all parts covered in a scheme. But I feel judging on skill is subjective. I remember when I was a youngster painting big blobby eyes on men that looked horrible – but that was me learning to paint eyes and I was proud of myself for achieving that ‘detail’. I shouldn’t be penalised for stilllearning to paint and if I’ve painted models to the best of my ability but it doesn’t fit in with someones definition of ‘painted’.

    I’m also on the fence with bases. Again I agree they should be painted if you’ve got modelled bases for special characters and what not, but I’m also seeing more people use transparent bases these days which I quite like. It means your troops blend in with whatever table/environment they’re on, rather than me having my martian red bases on what happens to be a grey zone mortalis board and it just looks out of place. Transparent bases actually add to the feeling of immersion in that respect

  • orionburn III

    “The FLGS, basements, pickup games wherever they occur. I get that my friend just glued together his ten Primaris Marines and wants to play them. All good. In a friendly, informal setting, that is great.”

    Exactly. We’ve all been super excited to get that new model on the table even if it isn’t completely finished, but when it comes to big events I don’t think it’s an issue to require everything to be fully painted. It adds to the overall feel of the game and experience. I get that not a lot of people care about that, but at least with my group it’s a big deal for us.

    I really liked the aspect of Warzone where you got judged on your painting. It didn’t have to be top tier stuff, just a minimum of 3 colors. With that event painting is a big part of the weekend. You get judged on not the quality of your painting but doing things to stand out, such as more than bare minimum bases, things that help distiguish units, etc. For me and my friends that attended seeing nothing but fully painted armies on the tables made it all that more enjoyable.

  • ILikeToColourRed

    Imo – as long as all the colours are blocked in its good enough to play against

    i paint more than i play, so my models arent like that, but a basic paintjob beats no paintjob for seeing what youre against clearly

  • Lee Beeson

    It’s a two part hobby, playing AND painting, it really doesn’t take that long to get an army to tabletop standards. I wouldn’t even consider allowing unpainted armies into any tournament I was organising because it is THAT simple to do a basic job and still have a reasonably good looking army. Spray, ink and drybrush how hard is it really?

    • Spade McTrowel

      Pssst….(whispers)

      It’s a 4 part hobby.

      Playing
      Socializing
      Painting
      Modeling

      Maybe army design, but part of that is modeling (making it look right) and part playing (making it play right) and part socializing (getting/spreading ideas).

      • Lee Beeson

        Lol yeah maybe you are right, my point is still valid though in that it is not difficult to have a painted army 😛

  • The_Illusionist

    I agree with article with the exception of the last paragraph, as where I am from the word “ninker” means “paedophile” and it’s probably not appropriate to the discussion at hand.

  • I_am_Alpharius

    Quality painting, like any art, is an entirely subjective thing. Different hobbyist will have different idea’s of what the “satisfactory standard” looks like. It that; x-amount of colours?; base coat, shade, highlight?; all super neat and within the lines?; basic basing?; basing with all the bells and whistle?; full decals? etc… you could go on and on looking at every minutia of miniature painting. At the end of the day it is up to individual gaming-groups and tournaments to decide for themselves what their “standard” is going to be; and importantly, once decided, to make sure it is followed by the event/groups participants.

    For myself personally for a tournament. Any kind of proxying is a 100% no-no, purchase the model or don’t use it in you list (notwithstanding conversions i.e. converted Abbadon that is obviously Abaddon and has the distinct weapon design the models has). 99% of the army should WYSIWIG, as the opponent I need to be able to look at the model and know what it has, and therefore know what it can do. As for painting, I feel GW have that pretty much nailed (https://warhammerworld.games-workshop.com/wp-content/uploads/Model-Requirements.pdf)

    With a Gaming Group environment then, personally, things can be more relaxed. Want to try a new unit/weapon before you buy it? Great, then use a reasonable proxy model. Just finished building a new unit and want to play a game? Great, dive in; however, prepared to be mocked if 6 months later it is still not painted.

  • Sebastian Magnusson

    Wait, there are tourneys that allowed unpainted models? Every tournament I’ve attended has had the rule that any unpainted (or unacceptably painted) models automatically die at the start of the first turn. Guess things are different in the US (I’m from Sweden).

    • Yes in the US a lot of tournaments don’t require painting.

      The big ones do, but tournament painting requirements are left up to the organizer. In my area they were never required.

    • David

      In Scotland there are tournaments that don’t require painting but they usually incentivise painting by prizes or granting preferred e enemy when shooting unpainted models

  • I got into wargaming (though now that AOS and 40k are deep within their new rulesets and have moved far away from “wargaming”, I’ll have to reconsider that word, and just move to miniature tabletop gaming) for the visuals and the spectacles.

    While I have never refused games against someone that has unpainted models, my preference is that you take the time to paint your stuff (or pay someone to do it).

    Grey plastic, bare metal, and half assembled models kill it for me.

    • orionburn III

      Half-a$$ed painting can be equally as bad. I played a kid once that had Necrons painted with rattle can gold. It was so awful looking. The paint was thicker than crap and just looked terrible. I told him to at least put a wash on it to bring out some detail.

  • LordKrungharr

    I enjoy the more fully immersive experience of a fully painted game. I encourage competitions to require a fully painted army to win best overall and of course best appearance. Best General maybe shouldn’t but I still think everyone who plays likes to play better against a fully painted army, if not with their own fully painted army. Also of importance , all upgraded warhead NEEDS paint so the opponent can see what the hell the enemy models have. Nothing more annoying and time consuming than having to ask “what does that model have” every thirty seconds. Stupid proxies should be tossed out in any tournament. Quit being lazy folks! Three cans of Krylon and some wood stain is about all you need!

  • I don’t have a good answer to this. If I pay to play at a tournament I’d expect everyone to have painted models. I know they wont. I’d hope I don’t draw an opponent with an unpainted army. I do not enjoy games as much against unpainted miniatures. If I keep getting opponents who don’t have painted armies, I wont be back. It’s still a little strange to go to a tournament and have one of only a hand full of painted and finished armies.
    I discovered a few years ago that I can’t register unpainted grey plastic on the table as being models in play. I think it also shows how little the other player really cares about the game they are playing.
    I’m still convinced that Ard’ boys killed tournaments.with it’s lack of standards.

  • petrow84

    Gonna organize a LGS tourney next January. No minimum paint requirements outside being assembled and base-coated, plus soft proxies allowed.
    However, for fully painted armies a player gets 5 mission points he can opt to use in one of the 3 matches by his choice.
    That can swing the balance toward him, as each mission will award 15-16 MP max. Not a game breaker, but surely an incentive to sit down and get painting.

    • I_am_Alpharius

      Just checking, but you do realise the ridiculousness of the statement made in your first paragraph?

      • petrow84

        I literally can’t. Could to elaborate?

        • I_am_Alpharius

          I kind of want to leave you hanging until you spot it…………..but I can’t bring myself to do that…..You’ve first said no minimum paint standard and then immediately set the minimum paint standard of ‘base-coated’……

          No minimum paint requirements outside being assembled and base-coated, plus soft proxies allowed.

          As I say ridiculous contradiction. 😀

          • petrow84

            Oh, that… Really, it might have been a poor choice of words, but it roots in the habit in our gaming community that undercoat (or basecoat, its all the same for me, but I’m not sure I use the word in the same meaning as you) is not considered painting, it is just part of the assembly.

  • Nathan king

    Agree entirely. If your not going to paint them, why buy warhammer at all? You may as Well field an army of chess pieces or tiddlywinks.

    • Spade McTrowel

      Or just play one of GW’s many, many video games…

      • And even those have army painter features….

  • jhopkins

    I don’t play with unpainted models. I think it is disrespectful to your opponent. I think it goes against the spirit of the game.

    Somebody once told me that painting and modeling is the “single player” version of the game and play a game is the “multi-player” version of the game to murder a video game analogy.

    That said, I’ve never refused a game against unpainted or primed models. Although in my experience the people with unpainted models or minimally painted models are usually the people that tap the model with the tape measure or throw dice into models.

    To the people saying tournaments are just about skill at playing the game. That is total nonsense. I think more rules should be placed on them, for example, did you brush your teeth and take a shower today and do you become an insane person when competition happens?

  • Drpx

    Can I pay someone to play my army for me too?

  • piglette

    100% of models should be painted 100% of the time when they hit the table. Too easy.

    • I_am_Alpharius

      And here in lines part of the issue the article is attempt to raise (albeit poorly)….define 100% painted….

      • Base coated, some highlights where appropriate, eye-lenses on Space Marines painted (not left black, not in the same wash as the surrounding armor), obvious metal parts should be recognizable as such.

        By which I basically mean they shouldn’t be spray-coated and left like that, but actually have come into contact with a brush to a base level where you can see that the owner put *some* thought into his presentation.

        • I_am_Alpharius

          Which is great. Yet other gaming groups or tournament organisers may have a completely different idea of what “100% painted” means – it could just minimum 3 base colours. The important thing is that is nothing wrong with that idea of painted or your notion of painted.

          However, the article is misguidedly (and poorly) making the assertion that all tournaments should have consistent standard across all of them, all based on some very flimsy idyllic justification. Whereas the truth, and reality even though author may not like it, is that every tournament will make it own choice of what they expect the standard is when hobbyist take part in their tournament. As long as that criteria is made clear before players attend and enforced during, it really is a non issue. If someone does not like the criteria for the event, then they should simply not go.

  • Michael Gandolfo

    Gatekeeping much?

    You realize some people may just want to play the game and aren’t interested in the hobby or the lore, or anything else other than the pure form of the game, right?

    • Spade McTrowel

      Define pure.

    • memitchell

      That excuse is as old as miniature games. Anyone who is physically capable can paint a miniature to acceptable standards. It’s not a crime if they don’t. But, it is BS to say “I’m just a gamer.”

      • Michael Gandolfo

        “It’s not a crime if they don’t.” But that is exactly what this editorial is saying: that it should be.

  • Daniel Sanchez

    I couldn’t agree more. My LGS has a painted table and an other table. The painted table has 2 fully painted realm of battle boards and 2 fully painted Shattered Dominion boards. We don’t turn our noses up at nonpainted models, especially if the person playing them is showing progress and getting stuff painted unit by unit, model by model. But for tournaments I think you should enforce this stuff and enforce it hard. There’s nothing that would kill my excitement for a tournament faster then showing up and my first opponent having unpainted plastic or zero effort paint job and explaining to me what all his proxies are and lord knows I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
    My local group, especially the core guys, have an understanding that if you want to draw people into the hobby, show them exactly what the hobby SHOULD be. Fully painted models, with actual effort and attention to detail, fully painted scenery (not cans and books) and even some battle boards that are gorgeously painted. That all goes an enormous way in getting new people into the hobby. All of that should be multiplied by 20 when doing an extravagant tournament taking players from all over the country/globe.

    • Spade McTrowel

      “My local group, especially the core guys, have an understanding that if you want to draw people into the hobby, show them exactly what the hobby SHOULD be. ”

      THIS!

      This right here.

  • Caleb Whitney

    I don’t play the tabletop, but it would be my guess people take it up for the game, not the painting. You come off as childish in this. “his figures don’t look as cool as mine, let’s punish him for it!”

    • Stephen Henry IV

      Agreed, it seems silly to punish someone for not doing something that the game doesn’t require. As long as I know what’s what (wargear and chapter tactics and such) I’m good to go.

      • Spade McTrowel

        Meeting a standard that applies to everyone playing in the event is not punishing anyone.

        If there is a painting standard – meet it. If there is an entrance fee – meet it.

        Same. Thing.

  • Caleb Whitney

    Also, people who can barely afford the figures but can’t afford paint. Once everyone got in board with your new rule if it happened, you would this be shutting out those without the money to do as requested.

    • Spade McTrowel

      Then how do they afford the entrance fee??

      Priorities, man.

      • Caleb Whitney

        Yea, their priority is playing, not painting. You made my argument for me.

        • Spade McTrowel

          Dawn. Of. War.

          Problem solved.

  • Apocryphus

    I recently went to an event that was raffling off terrain sets and other goodies. Each player got 1 ticket for attending, 1 ticket for having their models based, and 4 tickets for having a fully painted army. I think incentives like this would encourage more painted models at events than just straight punishment.

  • Legitimancer

    Don’t tell people what isn’t and isn’t acceptable customization for their expensive toys. That’s not a cool thing to do. I’d rather play against a enjoyable player with a grey blob, then one who can’t and doesn’t want to paint angry about his blob army.

    • marxlives

      He is talking about standards on a national tournament level, not playing naked with a guitar in your basement.

      • Legitimancer

        Good one.

  • marxlives

    As someone who follows the Iron Gaunlet for Warmachine games, the idea that major 40k tournaments with a painting requirement would hurt the game is…well really silly. In a way I feel this article is really just screaming at the sky even though the article is well written.

    Our hobby attracts…unique people and you can tell them all day that normies seeing grown men pushing around, what they see, as overpriced toys on a table is already an uphill battle to get people into the hobby. You can explain that when major tournaments feature unpainted models or poor proxy’s then the uphill battle becomes impossible to get normies to not just get into the hobby but to even respect it. But their…uniqueness will blind them.

    If it wasn’t for me having a friend who pressured me to try 40k when I was in my early 20’s, I would have never gotten into tabletop gaming. I played some board games that could be bought at Walmart (Hero Quest, Dark World, Dungeon!) and did some ADnD 2nd ed. with some of my stoner-hippie-rocker friends. And despite all this I was not the right profile for tabletop games. The only tabletop games I knew were BattleTech and O.G.R.E.

    I played football in middle and H.S. and wrestling as well. Went out hunting and shooting (I literally grew up on the gun range and there of pictures of me as a kid in diapers at the gun range wearing hearing protection) and the first car I owned was a 1973 RS Camaro that I rebuilt while in H.S. and working summer jobs.

    So when I read an article like this saying that having a painting requirement at major tournaments can normalize the hobby (like RPGs and board games), attract normies who normally would never have tried to hobby, and with the reach GW has even getting the hobby to be broadcasted on EPSN Ocho and some players may even being able to live the sponsorship dream and get paid to play, then I think…of course. Only someone who has not interacted with the outside world outside, lives in an echo chamber, and is a walking talking character would believe otherwise.

    But prepare for the wave of faux-logical arguments that take zero account of how people from outside of the hobby view it.

    • Wildcard1980

      I agree with everything you have said. Painting is as much of a personal choice as it can be a practical one. I have been playing for over 22 years and I have played with only one fully painted army in that time. Mainly because I just don’t have the time to paint every model. When I started playing when I was 15 I had all the time in the world to paint and that’s when I had tho badly painted none the less painted army. Then after HS I joined the military and for a long time I was only able to get a few games played over the course of a year so while I did keep up with the game picking up models and things I had no time to sit down and paint.

      Now it’s been about 5 years since I got out of the Marines and while I get to play more I am still working up wards of 60 hrs per week and have two young kids so I still have no where near enough time to paint everything.

      So while I understand things making sure models are what they are and not having proxy’s all over the table. Don’t act like because your is army painted you are somehow more dedicated to this hobby then I am.

      Now if you want to exclude people from your tournaments because there army’s are not paint go right a head.

      I would rather have fun playing this GAME because it is when you boil it down it is a GAME and the point it for to or more people to have fun.

      • Spade McTrowel

        I’m slightly confused.
        The point of the article is about large events, not regular play. Do as you will when you’re with your buddies.

        I started this hobby back in 89/90, and I also played while serving in the Corps. We even had an all services league in Okinawa. I got into tournaments while stationed on Quantico.

        For regular play, or small local events, it was do as you please – we sure as hell did, because we all understood that training came first. But when it came time to compete with people from across the country on a larger stage, we made sure to at least meet the minimum standards.

        I can say this, and I’ll admit it’s only an opinion, but the events we attended where a painting minimum was established were more enjoyable than playing grey army after grey army. Mind you, this only applies to events where I don’t know most of the entrants.

        As for marxlives, GW is a much bigger brand now than when I first started. Hell, GAMING is a much bigger thing now than when I first started. Gaming is now mainstream. I know plenty of people who were first brought into the hobby from Dawn of War and the Horus Heresy book series. I remember when Lord of the Rings was still in theaters and GW started selling the game – lots of converts to table-top gaming then.

        Very little of this would have been possible if all the potential players saw were just bits of grey and metal. Painted armies enhances the brand that is table-top gaming.

        Semper Fi.

  • leadfoot352

    The problem I have with this is the trickle down effect. Like it or not, because the online community exists, anything that is mainstream at a tournament is also going to be mainstream in your FLGS, and eventually your own basement/hobby room/dungeon. The hobby is really in three parts. Hobbying, Playing, and Lore.

    You don’t expect a tournament player to bring a typed up story for his army, explaining why Bobby G is deploying with this group of his forces, and why he’s so okay with so many imperial conscripts being forced to stand as a human shield for him. You don’t then have a judge read those enteries and say, “You know, you didn’t tell a good enough story, so your opponent gets an extra command point,” or even worse, “Well his story is better, so since you both brought Morty, only he gets to field him, sorry.” Those sort of things have their place, it’s called narrative play.

    So why should you expect someone to embrace the hobbying side of the hobby so heavily, if what they want is gaming? I get that there’s got to be some minor aspect of all three involved in your tournaments. You have to have assembled models to play the game, so a little hobbying is require. You have to know enough about the lore to know what units fight alongside which, even if that bit is sorta spelled out with the keywords system. But in the end, why do we expect people who are there to focus on one aspect of the hobby, and one only, to branch out into others.

    This leads to a system where players who are active in the online community see these requirements, and then try to enforce them, even if only in a passive way. I’ve posted several photos of cool conversions online, often to the calls of, “Cool, but why isn’t it painted?” Or I will take shots of an epic battle against my opponent, and if we’re not fully painted we’re going to get blasted by people who demand it.

    Basically requiring this of people at the highest level will force it onto lower levels, and eventually leads to “Grey Shaming” and that is exclusive and bad for the hobby.

  • SilentPony

    If you choose to enrage the Gods of Dice with unpainted models, then so be it. We all know unpainted armies roll poorly, its just nature.

    But I will draw the line at proxies. I hate HATE proxies. Oh yeah, these 8 tac marines are actually 10 assault terminators.
    WYSIWYG or bust!

    • Apocryphus

      My painted models actually perform worse. >.>

      • SilentPony

        The Gods are fickle…

      • Spade McTrowel

        Agreed
        Painted models die first.
        If they’re all painted however…
        🙂

        • Apocryphus

          All painted models die first. If your opponent has any models with a similar rule, starting with the player who’s turn it is, alternate between which models die. After all models that can die first have done so, other models may die as normal. 🙂

  • Commissar Molotov

    I think the fluid nature of 8th is part of the painting problem in tourneys – with the rules constantly changing, competitive players are juggling their armies (“aw, crap – now I gotta paint 45 bases of Razorwings before Friday!”) Gone are the days when you could glue up the options you wanted after the codex came out and feel confident that you could paint ’em and not have to change anything until the NEXT iteration of your codex came out.

    Plus, now even the paintjobs matter! My Tyranid paint scheme copied the old Space Hulk blue-and-purple scheme because I thought it looked cool. Now I’m faced with either playing them as Hive Fleet Hydra or stripping and re-painting them if I want to use them as a different Hive Fleet in a tourney.

    • Koonitz

      1) I don’t really have any sympathy for people chasing the meta. If you take the stance that “it’s gonna get nerfed”, and simply play what you want, buy what you think is cool, you’ll have a much less stressful time.

      Besides, being forced to paint 45 bases of Razorwings will surely curtail some of the rampant spamming that people complain so much about in tournaments. A lot people might actually give up on the chase and actually play what they want, instead.

      On your own head be it, if you need to build a whole new army 2 weeks before an event because GW released a new FAQ.

      2) Then don’t paint it the official colours? My Space Marines are an original successor chapter, painted how I want to paint them. They’re not Ultramarines in Ultramarine blue.

      Now, I always play mine as what they are, an Iron Hands successor chapter. But that doesn’t mean I can’t just say “this game, my army is using the Imperial Fists chapter tactics because I wanted to try it out.” Just as you can go “I’m using Hive Fleet today, ’cause they’re the bestest rulez in the meta.” Heck, even if they’re painted in Hive Fleet Hydra’s paint scheme. The Ultramarines may be easily identifiable and might confuse people if you use another chapter tactic, sure, but a Hive Fleet? Nah, I doubt you’d have any problems against any but your friends who are used to your army (and shouldn’t have any problems anyway).

  • As a former TO it’s really hard to enforce painting quality. Doing so is perceived as gate keeping and elitism and only serves to narrow who can play in an event to small group. Not everyone has the skill, patience, and time to paint up and army to studio quality.

    But that being said 3 color minimum and based is achievable by anyone and is a reasonable bare minimum. As a hobby event we would only disqualify players from using bare plastic / half assembled figs. They just had to show a reasonable effort to get their stuff done, and even then players that would do the minimum were a small minority.

    As an event you have to decide if you are just a straight game play event or a hobby event. Hobby events encourage all aspects of the hobby including painting and in order to win you have to have a reasonably well painted army to get enough points to at least get into the top 10 shoot out.

    Over a number of years of running the event we found the players self-policed pretty well. Generally speaking everyone that played in the event regularly showed some level of overall improvement in their painted quality over the years.

    Comparatively I’ve played in a number of gameplay first events and the painting quality of armies at those events was poorer as you’d expect. Only 2/10 of the top ten armies were painted better than 3 color minimum and even then quality wasn’t that great…

    • Spade McTrowel

      I don’t really buy the gate-keeping thing. If an event charges an entrance fee or requires the miniatures to be GW models, what’s the difference? As long as a minimum painting standard isn’t tacked onto a rule-set suddenly, I don’t see it keeping anyone out of the game who was committed to playing in the first place.

  • Wildcard1980

    Painting is as much of a personal choice as it can be a practical one. I have been playing for over 22 years and I have played with only one fully painted army in that time. Mainly because I just don’t have the time to paint every model. When I started playing when I was 15 I had all the time in the world to paint and that’s when I had tho badly painted none the less painted army. Then after HS I joined the military and for a long time I was only able to get a few games played over the course of a year so while I did keep up with the game picking up models and things I had no time to sit down and paint.

    Now it’s been about 5 years since I got out of the Marines and while I get to play more I am still working up wards of 60 hrs per week and have two young kids so I still have no where near enough time to paint everything.

    So while I understand things making sure models are what they are and not having proxy’s all over the table. Don’t act like because your is army painted you are somehow more dedicated to this hobby then I am.

    Now if you want to exclude people from your tournaments because there army’s are not paint go right a head.

    I would rather have fun playing this GAME because it is when you boil it down it is a GAME and the point it for to or more people to have fun.

  • DJ860

    I don’t really understand how this is ever a discussion.

    Surely a TO sets clear guidance and you either go to the tournament, expecting to meet the guidance, or you don’t go.

    If a TO wants to organise a competitive setting where models don’t need to be painted, great.

    If you have to ask the question “Are my models good enough for the guidelines”, then they probably aren’t.

    Here’s the rules, like it or lump it. Find a tournament that has guidelines that meet your painting standards, or allow unpainted if that’s your preference.

  • uatu13

    How about not forcing people to enjoy the hobby your way and just focus on your own business? You’ll probably be happier that way.

    • Wildcard1980

      Ahmen agree 100%

  • Ronin

    Then there’s the other issue where tournament players get their stuff commission painted and win painting points by passing it off as their work. I get people drop down a ton of money for it, but it definitely sends bad vibes to folks who do actually paint their own guys.

    • Wildcard1980

      I had a friend do that he ended up winning a tournament because he had a propainted army he did not do himself. He won because all the points where added together he ended have more total points because the guy behind him who had a better win loss record only had the min for that tournament of three colors on most of his models. Now I know this isn’t a normal thing but the fact in some tournaments it can happen is another reason for it not being a factor. It should be more about skill of armies and sportsmanship not how well you put paint on a model.

    • Koonitz

      Lost 1st place for best painted in a local event thanks to a guy that had his army commission painted. I’m a little sour on that.

    • yep – age old debate right there.

  • fenrisful2

    While painting is nice, I think the requirements are too steep, just assembeling the models with WYSIWYG gear could be a pain.

    Then even if you do paint the models someone will always say it’s not enough, usually paint-hobbyist. I’ve even run into peopla saying black & white are not colours so your black, white, green and blue models ony have 2 colours and does not meet the requirement.

    Also regarding weapons and proxies, are people normally that deep into weapons that they know by heart how every special weapon from every army from across the table looks like?

    I always have to ask what weapons a unit contains, because the special weapons are usually not the ones in the front line o the unit anyway, so no matter how sharp eyes I could have, could I possibly see what the model is carrying, because I don’t have X-ray vision like superman and anyone who expects anyone to have it is hillariously stupid.

    Let’s keep the painting contests as painting contests, and let the players have a sport or whos the best general. Surely you could have a combined price for both painting and generalship, just don’t take away the sport of the intellectual contest that this game has, which would be immediately lost if the painting community got their grubby little hands on too much of it.

    Personally I think sportsmanship is more important than painting, but the contest is still the major reason to go to tournaments, otherwise I could just play with dolls, actionigures, transformers or whatever.

    • Spade McTrowel

      I agree. Keep the painting and generalship contests separate. Though I don’t mind a best overall that combines the two – I consider that a separate category.

      However, meeting a minimum standard is also a separate matter. If the Event Coordinator or TO published the minimum requirements well ahead of time, and the requirements are spelled out correctly, then I see no problem for entrants to meet the qualifications. Just to be sure – the minimum requirements need to be objective and defined.

  • Wouter van Driel

    I don’t get why people need to paint bases. I leave mine black so they fit on any surface.

    When you paint your bases in one specific way and the table you are playing on is something completely different it just looks ugly to me.

    • Spade McTrowel

      I use black bases on one of my armies, but they have sand, black paint, and a light drybrush as well.

      I would consider clear bases the same as decorative bases. Perfectly usable, though your TO may disagree.

  • Rasheed Jones

    I have a disabity where my hands shake too much to consistiently paint straight. I was given a keyboard to type with 8n elementart school because my hand writing is illegible except to me, and i cant pay any9ne to paint my models ca7se with that extra expense i cant afford to play. Oh well, guess im a bad person who shouldnt be allowed to play 40k.