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Tabletop Deep Thought: About Your First Army

3 Minute Read
Sep 25 2020

Today I want us to talk about our tabletop stories and what choices we made with our first wobbly steps.

So everyone one of us one day picked up wargaming.  No one forced us, it was a conscious decision.

Some of us started in on our hobby as an extension of other more simplistic toy systems from youth (it was LEGOs for me, then Star Fleet Battle minis *ugg, winces in shame*).  Some of us came into the hobby very young with wide eyes, while others approached it later in life with an excitement tempered by years of gaming, scale modeling, board gaming, CCGs, or some other background.

My gateway drug back in 1979

In any case we walked into a store, looked around and picked out our first set of miniatures.  But of course the big question is WHY? I want to hear your stories of what you choose and why?  What spoke to you as a fledgling gamer, and did you make a good choice looking back on it years later?  There is no wrong answer to this question, and different people are attracted to very different things.

My first 40K minis, 1989

I’ll Go First

My first miniatures army I collected from start to finish formally (as opposed to just painting a handful of random models), was a Blood Angels army based on a box of venerable RTB-1s back in 1989.  At the time, they were the first plastic boxed set of minis Games Workshop came out with, so there wasn’t a lot of competiton in the plastic department.  I loved the look of the beakie helmets and the studded exagerated shoulderpads.  It always reminded me of the brutal looking knights from the 1981 film Excalibur, one of my favorite movies at the time.

As for why 40K, well honestly I was sold by it’s skirmish basis from day one. I had tried to paint up an full Warhammer Fantasy army (3rd Edition) unsuccessfully and wanted something with a lower model count. Why Blood Angels?  I just loved the visual pop of the red back in the day, and well – there weren’t a lot of Space Marine chapter choices in the original Rogue Trader book.


Still getting up each morning and kicking butt for the Emperor after 31 years.

Thirty-one years later, those same “red warriors” of the Imperium turned out to be artisan space vampires, I got to find out all about Sanguinius along the way and they are still duking it out on the tabletop (while looking anxiously at their new Primaris brothers).  With many shiny codexes under their belts and hundreds of new minis added to their ranks over years, I think I made a good choice and hobby investment. They are certainly some of the oldest gaming items I physically possess, and that fact that I can actually play a viable game with them after 3 decades is simply amazing.

These tall fellers make my RTB01’s nervous…

How about you? How did you start, and WHY did you pick what you did?

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