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Goatboy’s Warhammer 40K: Getting Your Army Tabletop Ready

6 Minute Read
Jun 15 2021

Goatboy here with my tips to get your army Tabletop Ready and prepared for the competition!

Today we are talking about a rather simple task, but one that is daunting to many a player.  That task is to get your army fully tabletop ready.  I know what you are thinking as this is a game about plastic models it is obviously about getting those models ready to fight in the futuristic hellscape we drag forth from our imaginations.  But painting an army can be a daunting task especially if you are not particularly good at throwing paint, washes, and basing materials at your miniatures.

This article is more of a thought exercise in how you can approach this and get your army ready to go.  A lot of the time a player can have high hopes for your figures but due to a few incorrect choices they end up having a very hard task to get them finished.  These can range from having to high expectations or just running out of steam as you start to slap that model with paint.

Do a Test Figure

First – if you are doing it yourself I advise everyone to do a test figure first.  This is extremely important as you can basically plan out your steps, figure out if there are steps you could cheat on, and see if you even like this paint scheme.  I won’t go into how many times I have tried a scheme to see if I just enjoy painting it and when getting done quickly decide it wasn’t the right choice for me.  It is probably one of the main reasons why my schemes are somewhat the same most of the time as I figured out how I like to paint certain colors and stick to those.  Getting that test scheme done is important because it helps you build the memory blocks to ensure you can knock out all the other ones if you stick with that scheme.

Write Down Your Secret Recipe

Once you pick the one you like I would advise writing it down somewhere.  If you are using things other than easily obtainable paints I would strive to look for alternatives to those colors too.  I love this one dark blue from PP paints but I think those guys are not going to be making that color anymore so I found something pretty close and available all the time from GW.  I like to experiment with some Army Painter options too as well as I can find them in many places.  I also have a dark red paint I love too from PP but I got lucky in getting a few more of that so I have got a bit of time to figure out that replacement.

Probably not any of these…

Pick a Realistic Goal

When painting an army I also give the advice of making sure to not do something extremely difficult.  I know we all want to be high-end painters but getting models to that standard is extremely hard and time-consuming.  If you are a player you want to be able to play with those models so you need to find something that you can quickly replicate.  I work a lot and have kids so I try to ensure I have a scheme I can easily finish a small unit in a single sitting of paint time at night.  This way I know I can easily calculate how long it takes me to get an army ready if I have a wild hair up my butt on switching an army before an event.  It also helps me when I quote army painting for some of my clients as I can quickly get a time frame and cost to them based on that time frame.


Pick Your Details

So let’s say you got a scheme you like, it isn’t hard, and you can easily paint it.  In order to punch it up a bit I like to take one thing and do more to it with other color options.  This would be like taking the Ork skin on your boy and upping the blending a bit.  I normally will do a skin tone or some kind of weird part of the model and go to town going a few layers more (usually just 2-3) and finally a wash.  This will allow you to create a focal point on the model that judges, players, etc can lock on and ensure your army looks cool on the tabletop.  This could be a skin ton, a lightning source, and heck even a weapon scheme to break up the model colors a bit and make the army look unique.

Basing and Displays

Finally for basing I like to think of things that don’t distract from the model but give you the option to create a sweet display board if you want.  These are simple things that you can build to display your army in-between games.  I like to do this as it looks neat and shows you spent a bit more time on your army than just getting it barely painted to give you the 10 points per game round.  I think as events start to get going this other hobby aspect can help out and in some ways sell the event being fun for those looking from the outside.  I will try to do a little quick how to on display boards later on as they are pretty simple to build – especially ones that you could fly with if you are like me and don’t nearly have as many big games locally as you would like.

Or Turn To a Professional

Of course all of this can be a moot point if you are paying someone to paint up your army.  I do this for others and while I don’t think they should win any true “best of” army awards at an event they should be available as maxed paint scores for a player.  It is a weird line to dance on as the player winning the award for someone else’s work doesn’t invalidate that other person’s work.  I always think of it that you paid me and told me what to paint so it is as much yours on saying this is cool then it is me all the time.

But I would advise anyone who gets an army painted to ensure the painter can easily give the recipe for the army paint just in case anything else needs to be added, the painter stops painting, or you want to try and knock something out yourself.  I have no qualms about giving any of my schemes, tricks, etc to anyone asking as the only way we learn is by engaging with questions.

Do you have any tips to turn that sprue grey into tabletop ready?


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