GW Grognard: They All Look the Same to Me

Hey everybody! Adam, from TFG Radio, here to help you make me hate you* less!

Through all the editions there have been a few constants. One of them is that you will usually have multiples of certain units. This can be 3 of a certain unit, due to force org limitations, or they may be that you need a certain number of the same unit in order to fulfill your required unit slot. I’m not sure about you but I am not a fan of batch painting, as there are usually a lot of models that need to be painted when you have a lot of the same unit being used in your army. It can be very tiring and, more importantly, very boring. One issue I have noticed is that it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between the different squads, when on the battlefield, in the middle of a game.

This is all one squad, right?

I shouldn’t really have to explain why it’s important to differentiate between similar squads. Knowing which unit is which helps to better understand the greater picture on the battlefield and helps to determine what to do next. When you mark your units in a minor way, because maybe you really like your paint scheme and don’t want to ruin it, it really doesn’t help. Your opponent still won’t be able to see that small mark you put on the models. Another issue may be that you chose a color that is either similar to the color scheme of the army, or too similar to the marks you put on the other squads. In any case, seeing a mass of bodies, all the same colors, without any way to tell who is who, almost makes it seem like you are trying to cheat, or you just like me asking you the same questions every 5 seconds, “What models are in this squad?”

Look, I’m not as young as I used to be, I admit that. Don’t try to sell me, though, the fact that there are marks clearly on the models to tell them apart. Of course they are obvious to you, you’re the one that put them on there. I shouldn’t have to use a magnifying glass to inspect each of your models in order to tell your units apart. There should be a very obvious, to me, mark or color that helps me identify each unit. There are plenty of tricks and useful tools out today that help with organizing, and identifying your army. Just paint the rim of the bases a different color, or buy Squad Marks, that clip on the bottom of your model’s bases and just paint the lip. Its not that difficult, so I don’t know why you have to make it difficult on my eyes.

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About Adam

Adam, aka Latin Gandalf, has been gaming since the early eighties and has played 40K since Rogue Trader (among a number of other games). He listens to more podcasts than any healthy person should and is currently the host for TFG Radio. He also is one of the head judges for LVO and other major 40K Grand Tournaments.

6 Responses to “GW Grognard: They All Look the Same to Me”

  1. Argentus January 19, 2019 12:46 am #

    I would rather have to ask someone which units are which as a personal inconvenience than see someone have to make compromises on a beautiful paint scheme.

    The implication that someone is trying to cheat by having a uniform color pattern across their units is…bold, to say the least. Units of the same type are painted the same. It’s what looks good. It’s what makes sense.

    If the units do have a small mark to show which squad they belong to then there shouldn’t be a problem. The identity can be checked and verified. It only takes a moment.

    If it’s really such an issue for you maybe you should buy some of the color coded base rings and offer them to your opponents to use for the game.

  2. WestRider January 19, 2019 10:35 am #

    I learned my lesson on this with my Fleshtearers back in 3rd Ed. They had distinctive Squad markings, but they were all on the kneepads, so they were next to useless. Since then, I’ve used a variety of methods.

    My Nids have a couple of different colours on the rims of the bases for different Broods, since both brown and black look fine with my basing scheme. My Plague Marines are actually a different type of Model in each Squad, old metals in one, newer hybrids in another, newest plastics in a third, converted from regular SM in a fourth, and so on. My Space Wolf Packs do use shoulder pad markings, but the SW ones are distinctive enough that they’re easy to tell apart.

    I’m trying to figure out what I want to do for my Sigma Chapter Marines, since part of their fluff is that they don’t use insignia, specifically for the purpose of misleading their enemies. But that shouldn’t be true for my Opponent.

  3. Dakkath January 19, 2019 12:36 pm #

    I organize my fire warriors into squads based on pose. For my crisis suits, I plan on adding (maybe magnetizing) a colored piece to the base itself. Drones I usually color the antenna based on which squad they go with.

  4. Ecstasy_in_service January 20, 2019 5:56 am #

    There are other ways that don’t require painting, mostly keeping units in a square almost in base to base contact or at least always keeping a a certain distance from other squads so that there are no mix ups.

    Painting the rims different colors and really ruin a cohesive look, if my tactical squads got different numbers or colors on their shoulder pads that should feel like enough for me.

    This is just a complaint i don’t hear often in the 40k community and has never come up in any casual games that i have played

  5. Anggul January 25, 2019 5:40 am #

    I put strips of coloured plastic between my gaunt broods to make it apparent where one brood ends and another begins. It has been really hard in the past to keep track of which models are in which brood when you have so many of them.

  6. Guthbrand February 18, 2019 11:43 am #

    This problem is huge with Marines. How can you tell those veterans apart from the tacticals? An opponent that cares about modeling will at least add some “bling” in the form of purity seals and the like. As for me, I group my tacticals into squads by color. Squad blue has a shoulder pauldron colored a solid blue, squad green for another squad, etc. I do the same for the doors of their rhinos. The Sternguard, even with the bling, I use white. I might start painting the rim by their color too thanks to this article to make it more obvious. My terminators I mix and match because I like to think they are honoring the squads they came from as tacticals and I have never ran more than one squad. I’ll have to paint their rims or something if I ever do.

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