A new year, time to start a new army?


Hey everyone, Reecius here from Frontline Gaming to talk about every 40k enthusiast’s favorite mental exercise: starting a new army! And of course, Happy Holidays to everyone!

Most of us who’ve been in this hobby for any length of time have collected more than one army. There are those of us that only collect one, massive army of a single faction. That is always very impressive to me and very cool to see, but, in general terms I think most of us crave variety and the temptation of collecting a new army is always there. It can be daunting to start an entire new force. Figuring out what models you want, buying, building and painting them, etc. It’s a lot to consider! So, these simple guidelines can help make your decisions and the process of getting the army on the table easier.

I am definitely in the variety camp and have amassed something like a dozen armies at this point, some that are really big! Yeah, I have a problem, lol. The fun of it though, is variety. I love list writing and it’s fun to play lots of different lists. It keeps the game fresh and fun for me.

When looking to start a new army I look for a few key factors:

  1. The army has cool fluff and an aesthetic that appeals to me.
  2. It plays differently than my other armies. A lot of the time this can be accomplished in the style list you play with the army instead of the characteristics of the army itself.
  3. I try avoid investing the time, energy and money into units that I won’t end up using.
  4. I have an idea in mind for a theme for the army, whether in a color and basing scheme, some cool conversions, something based in the game’s background, etc.

With those elements in mind, I set out to deciding how I will go about making a new force.

COmikaze 2011 043

When I started making my Eldar, for example, I wanted to use my favorite units: Dire Avengers! I also wanted to build a list with a unique aesthetic so I chose a winter theme. This was a lot of fun as it allowed me to make cool choices like an Avatar that is frozen and Icy instead of molten, etc. I decided to compliment the winter theme and to stick with typical Space Elf colors, they’d use a lot of pastels like baby blue, violet, white, etc.


Then for playstyle, I wanted something unique: all foot Eldar, or Footdar! That would give me a challenging, fun, different way to play the army. However, I wanted to avoid taking units that weren’t going to perform well so I read the Codex several times, I asked a lot of other Eldar players on forums what they had used effectively and I read tactics articles like you can find in Frontline Gaming’s Tactics Corner. That helped a great deal to educate myself and avoid making purchases I might later regret because the unit was not very good, or, simply wouldn’t work well in my list.

So, all that in mind, I wrote down the list I thought I’d like to play and picked out all those units out for purchase. I then added in a few alternates in case I wanted to make some adjustments to my list, later. I picked up some cool custom bases to mix in and really take the army up a notch. For variety and customization, I picked out some fantasy Elf bits to mix in, and make the army unique!



Once I got all my shiny new toys (and remember at Frontline Gaming we sell Games Workshop product at up to 25% off, every day!), I set about getting the models built. I find it’s easiest to take entire units, clip and clean all the bits and put them into a pile for each model. Be careful with the new kits, they often have specific bits for each model, such as a certain torso going with certain arms, etc. Don’t get them mixed up! Once I have the entire unit organized this way, I begin assembling them.

Another trick of the trade to make your life easier, is to prime different bits that are different colors before you assemble them. For example, if I have Space Marines that all have black bolters but are beige colored, I don’t glue the bolters on. I assemble the model and dry fit the Bolter to make sure it fits right, then spray those black and then glue them to the beige primed marine to save a ton of time by avoiding base coating all the individual parts.

At this stage, I play a few games with friends to make sure I am happy with the list before I commit to painting everything. This way, I won’t waste any time on units I may not use.

And now I paint your silver pants, blue!

And now I paint your silver pants, blue!

Once you’ve got the list settled, primed and assembled, start batch painting those bad boys! Taking multiple models at a time and then painting one color on each really speeds things up. A great trick is to start with the bottom layer of color first, then working your way up so that you can cover up mistakes as you go. Example: an armor plate with a pouch on it. Paint the armor plates first, then the pouch, etc. working your way up in layers.

Lastly, base them all up in your theme (snow, ice and such for mine!) and you are ready to rock and roll! You’ve now got a brand new army, built effectively and efficiently and ready to rock. You can of course add things to it as you go, but it you’re like me and you’ve already started thinking about your next army, I find it is best to build a new force this way: played as a single list, so you can move on to the next project and keeps things manageable. This of course is all turned on its head when an edition rolls over and you have to update your armies, but hey, normally that doesn’t happen all that often and you get quite a few years of enjoyment out of your new army.

Hopefully that helps! What all do you do when building a new army? Do you go in with a plan like me or do you just let the army grow organically?


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

26 Responses to “A new year, time to start a new army?”

  1. Avatar
    FM December 25, 2015 12:27 am #

    Not an army, but a FLEET.
    Dropfleet commander baby.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 25, 2015 10:44 am #

      Yeah, I will be joining you in this endeavor!

  2. Avatar
    Bryan December 25, 2015 2:04 am #

    Merry Xmas lads and ladies at Frontline Gaming!

    It all sounds so simple and easy when you lay it out like that..

    …To paraphrase Eisenhower, in preparing for a new army I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 25, 2015 10:45 am #

      Merry Christmas to you, too!

  3. Avatar
    X078 December 25, 2015 3:53 am #

    I go about it the same way as Reecius, but i usually pick out the most competitive list possible with the units that i like the aesthetics of. For me there is nothing more boring than fielding the most competitive army possible with the looks of yesterdays socks beaten with an ugly stick. You have be both competitive and stylish. 😉

    • Avatar
      Gunfex December 25, 2015 9:02 am #


      Exactly the same here! Within my own self-imposed restrictions and handicaps (single Faction and only models that I like out of the box or can convert to look better, and only plastic), I will strive to make the most powerful list possible. Usually built around the local tournament comps, which means having some alternatives as Reece mentioned, i.e something to replace a superheavy LOW when they aren’t allowed.

      I’ve started and sold a good four or five armies over the last 365 days, and more before that. Still waiting to find the perfect fit…

      • Reecius
        Reecius December 25, 2015 10:47 am #

        Same here, I usually put some limitations on myself in order to make it more challenging and engaging for myself. But like Xo78 said, you still want to win, but in style!

  4. Jason
    Jason December 25, 2015 8:25 am #

    I usually just do the same thing better players are doing, then lose because I’m awful at the game and assume the list isn’t working out.

  5. Avatar
    Mike December 25, 2015 9:03 am #

    I would love to branch out into imperial guard to back up my several companies worth of BA in fluffy style. (Or more accurately, have the guard backed up by the BA.) But I know that every model I get that isn’t BA will sadden me, as it would’ve put me closer to that glorious full chapter mark.

    The closest I’ve come to starting a new army is grabbing some allies like 3 knights, coteaz, and the assassins, and grabbing some other chapter characters so I can play “red scars” and “red ultramarines” and junk.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 25, 2015 10:49 am #

      Yeah, my main Marine army is the same way, with a TON of stuff, including models for other Marine chapters to allow me to play them with other books. That gives you a ton of variety without having to make an entire new army.

      • Avatar
        westrider December 27, 2015 12:28 am #

        I’m cursed by my sense of Aesthetics. I can at least tactic-hop within the SM Dex and run BA with my Crimson Thunder, but I like the look of the SW and DA too much to just fold them in as well. Which has resulted in a lot of time, effort, money, and storage space invested in duplicate Units.

  6. Avatar
    Panzer1944 December 25, 2015 11:06 am #

    A few people for my 40k group decided we would dip our toes in another game. We picked up Warmachines / Hordes and each of us grabbed a different faction to start off with. Will be throwing down with Skrone between my 40k games.

    • Avatar
      Gunfex December 25, 2015 11:32 am #

      Had some friends who wanted to try that too. Funny enough, picked up Skorne as well. Kind of like Khorne, brutal and aggressive (yeah I know, tactically different). Seems like a fun, complex and reasonably balanced game. But in the end, a lack of time and IMO vastly inferior models with respect to quality, had me dump my initial 100 point investment. Truthfully, it’s hard to completely learn two very different game systems (or maybe I’m just not smart enough lol). 40k is the first and only thing that keeps me coming back.

      • Avatar
        westrider December 27, 2015 12:30 am #

        Yeah, I had a Khador force for a while, but I found I only had the time and attention to be really good at one system, and without being able to devote that time and effort to it, Warmahordes just got frustrating.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 25, 2015 1:00 pm #

      Warmahordes is a great game, we really enjoy it too. We just haven’t had time to play it much, lately.

  7. Requizen
    Requizen December 25, 2015 11:40 am #

    Definately thinking of starting War Convocation, especially with the new army starter pack coming out soon. That or CSM, though that would be more of a for fun type thing.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 25, 2015 1:01 pm #

      War Convocation is a blast! Great army, the biggest challenge is simply remembering what all your wargear does, lol. You need to play about 6-7 games with it to get it down but once you do, you will be rocking socks with it.

  8. Avatar
    Lord Krungharr December 25, 2015 2:40 pm #

    I am halfway through my new all Dreadnought army now, getting my toes wet into Blood Angels for the first time. It’s fun to try new tactics with new units, and plopping Dreadnoughts wherever I want turn 1 should be a blast!

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 25, 2015 3:18 pm #

      I too, have a Dread army, although mine is not BA. They are fun! Not the best, but fun. BA and Wolves need to get the upgunned Dreads though, big time, to get the extra attacks.

      • Avatar
        Mike December 26, 2015 10:41 pm #

        Could always FAQ the ITC to update the behind the times dreadnoughts COUGH COUGH. 🙂

  9. Avatar
    Alex r December 25, 2015 4:49 pm #

    I’ve just bought a whole army of admech for the war convocation looking forward to putting it together

  10. Avatar
    Chris C. December 25, 2015 8:47 pm #

    I love the ork walkers. I’ve got something like 2 stompas, 5 orkanauts, 5 deff dreads (need more), and 16? kills kanz. I am just starting militarum tempestus because they seem fun and very different. Looking to be able to fill out both formations eventually but starting with command squads and troops with a few vehicles.

  11. Avatar
    punchymango December 26, 2015 7:40 pm #

    I’ve been sort of planning a necron decurion, so the reviews on this site have been really useful for planning (although really, one of the things about necrons is that they have very few truly bad units, which will be a nice change of pace).

    Necrons are, of the armies generally considered top-tier, the army I like best, I like their fluff and overall look, and more importantly, they’ve been consistently viable/good ever since 5e. If GW seems disinclined to shake things up in future codex releases, hopefully the army will be a good investment.

    I love my CSM, but I think the next tourney I take them to will be their last hurrah for a bit. On to the horde of maddeningly durable metal dudes!

  12. Avatar
    AzuNyanKnight December 31, 2015 1:06 pm #

    Starting up a CSM army in hopes of the new dex. if not its still nice to have a bad guy army. Gonna put my juggarlord on a strict diet of Doritos and mountain dew!

  13. Amir Hayek
    Arabviking January 1, 2016 5:47 am #

    Nice write up Reece!

    My biggest problem is the choice of weapon for the new units I buy. Having to have to make lists before buying stuff, and then find out with out playing which weapons are best :/

    I guess the solution to that problem is magnetize stuff, but I am too lazy, I already spend too much time on the hobby!:P

    Happy new year to FLG!:)

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