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Warhammer 40K: Beginner’s Buying Guide

7 Minute Read
Dec 19 2020
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New to 40k or just looking to do some late shopping? Here’s a few items you can score that will kick off your new hobby in a hurry.

Let’s just first say that if you’re buy presents for the Warhammer Fan in your life, the first thing to do is ask them. If you still don’t know or can’t pick-up the item (due to shipping or other issues), just get them a digital voucher – aka a gift card.

Now, let’s pretend you’re on the receiving end. What do you want use those vouchers for? GW has a TON of options so we’re going to help you get started on the right foot. So let’s dive right in!

Games Workshop has a pretty good “Gifts” section on their website. Within that section they have the “Getting Started” option which pulls up a ton of Start Collecting! options – these are handy battle force boxes that will, as the name implies, get you started. They typically contain enough models that you’ll be able to muster a small force for either game system. You really can’t go wrong with the majority of these options. However, one word of caution – you may only want to buy ONE of them. Why? Well, some of the battle boxes do come with special heroes that you can only take one of in your army. Depends on the box, but just be aware of that.


The Thousand Sons Box comes to mind…


From there, you’re going to need some books. Depending on your faction, you’re going to want to score a Codex or Battletome – depending on the game. For this example, since we’re looking at the Thousand Sons, you’ll need their codex:


You’ll need your respective codex – Thousand Sons in this case.

Alright, you’ve got a new box of stuff you’ll actually be able to use, and a codex for your respective faction, congrats you’re on a roll! You’re still not done. You’re probably going to want to get your hands on the core book and rules.

Now, I’ve got some good news! The core rules are available online for free now. So you’re all set in that department. However, if you want to really get into the game and dive into all the crazy lore and history, you’re going to want to get the actual core book.

You’ll probably want one just as a gateway for your other friends.

Before you go off and purchase the book, you have to ask if you’re playing Space Marines or Necrons. Because if you are, you might want to consider picking up the Command Edition boxed set.


Why this one and not the Elite or Recruit editions? Those are fine, too – if you don’t need/want the Rule book. This box just also happens to come with some terrain and a good selection of the new Primaris Models for Space Marines or the new Necron models for…Necrons.

Again, if you don’t want to play either of these factions, don’t want a hard copy of the rules, and don’t need/want terrain/dice/rangefinders then save your money and buy more kits for your faction!

What kits? That’s a great question. If you’re just starting out you really can’t go wrong with some more Troops, regardless of faction.

In our example, the Rubric Marines box is the basic troop option for Thousand Sons. It’s them or Tzaangors.

Having some basic troops – aka the meat and potatoes – you’ll be able to build your army in any direction you want from there. Maybe you’ll go with some vehicles later. Maybe you’ll go with some characters. Heck, you might even go with crazy army specific super monster/character.

Magnus the Red is the Daemon Primarch of Thousand Sons. He’s kind of a big deal.

We here at BoLS like to think of these as your centerpiece models. These are the ones you’re probably only going to need one of and are eye catching and really impressive kits. You might not want to start with one, but you’ll probably end up with one (or three) “centerpiece” models in your army eventually.


So yeah. That’s more than enough to get you started on the road to tabletop hobby gaming. A Start Collecting! Box, a codex, possible core book, an extra troop or two, and maybe a super cool centerpiece model.

Hobby Tools

Now, you’ll just need some good hobby supplies to put it all together.

My recommendation for Hobby tools is don’t skimp on a good pair of snips. The GW ones are fine. I personally use a pair of Xuron Professional Sprue Cutters. I splurged on them and they haven’t let me down. You’ll also want a good grip hobby knife with replaceable blades. This is one of those personal preference things, but I like ones with a rubber grip. There are about a million options out there – just find one you like the feel of and don’t cheap out on the blades!

One other recommendation that I’ve been talking up is the mouldline remover. Sure, you can just use the hobby knife, but this is one of those things that I tried and have never stopped using. Use it once and you’ll be a convert. Or slice your thumb for the 50th time, you do you.

And finally – glue. You’re probably thinking “Oh I’ll just use that old super glue I have in a cabinet at home somewhere. First off – how old is that bottle? And secondly, are you SURE it’s still there? While you can assemble your models with super glue, if they are all plastic, why not step up to the big-boy table and use some actual hobby/plastic glue?

This is my absolute best recommendation. I prefer this to the brush on applicators and other options. Why? Because it has a metal applicator that doesn’t clog up the way other glues can – if you wipe it off when you’re done and don’t just put the cap back on. I loathe the other applicators:

These versions dump out WAY too much glue and it gets everywhere plus the tips are also not metal so they are way less precise. I’ll go with a brush on applicator over those plastic ones any day of the week.


Why plastic glue and not regular super glue? Because this stuff actually melts the contact points and when it dried, it fuse the two pieces together. Superglue is fine and all – but this stuff hasn’t let me down and I will keep recommending it over super glue for plastic-on-plastic contact. Now, if you’re using Metal and plastic, go with super glue.

Alright, now you’ve got your models, and hobby tools. You’re all set…to paint your stuff!


This section could be an entire article on it’s own. But I’m just going to go over the basics. A primer, if you will.

You can go with cheaper cans of spray paint. I have. I’ve regretted it. And I’ve also gotten lucky and found some great discount cans that worked just as well. That said, it’s really going to come down to your climate and area. The point is – Prime your models with the right color and you’ve saved yourself 50% of the time. My best advice is to ask your fellow locals what they use because they will probably have stories about “that one can” that ruined their miniatures. At least you’ll know what to avoid.

From there – just cheat:

Contrast paints are great. This is another “ask around” thing, too. Once you’ve got a color scheme picked out, ask around and see what colors will work for you. Hobbyists won’t mind telling you straight which paints are perfect and which ones to avoid.

Oh Brushes! Right! You’ll find lots of recommendations for these, too. Personally, I use Army Painter brushes. They keep a good point and I prefer their larger/wider handles.

Okay, seriously – that should be the last of it. You’ve got the models, hobby tools, and paints. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just remember it’s a hobby and it’s supposed to be fun. Plus, all the hobby and paint stuff should last you for a long time – those are long term investments! You’ll be using those for all those armies to come.

Now you just gotta find a friend to play!

Yeah – it’s just like that!


If you’ve got any tips for new purchases for new players, let them know in the comments and share this with new players looking to get started!

Author: Adam Harrison
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