TJ here to talk about how we build and paint our armies to either fit the established background of our games or how we break with those traditions and why. For myself, I have always ridden the fence on the subject because I am an avid fan of the Black Library and to date have read all of the Horus Heresy novels and several omnibuses from the current millennia. When I start a project the background is always right there in my face and I am always tempted to satisfy that itch of making a conversion and paintjob that satisfies that background, however, sometimes I feel like I am painting myself into a corner in more ways than one.
First is the simple fact that I like so many different factions from the fluff that I would hate to lock myself I to just one. When I was a new player, I loved black legion and built a black legion army, but the more I built, the more I yearned for more unique legions and thus the Iron Warriors became an army that I have built and painted. Then when the new daemons and the allies rules came about I wanted to make Word Bearers. Add to that all the plague marines and other cult troops I have made to accord with their own paint schemes over the years and you have a skittles army waiting to happen.
I look at it now and I just really never wanted to be locked down. Iron warriors wouldn't likely ride horses like these. Word Bearers would look as brutally efficient as my iron warriors, ect. Add to this the fact that GW is now associating hard and fast rules to your fluff based paint schemes (Marine book), which can be glazed over but it feels cheap to do so to some gamers.
When it came to my armies, I let the allies chart set me free a little and it created something that has grown into its own thing for me, something that will likely effect my hobby for years to come and that was the breaking of established norms, cutting ties with the background to a degree I. Order to make something unique. It all started with my necrons and the desire to ally my chaos with them.
Which led to me making some epic Chaos conversions and paint schemes that tied back ...
This led to some interesting daemons ...
And once you get into it, you start to get a feel for art over background. For me I would never sacrifice the new look I have achieved for the fluff, though I know some players I face would rather see the old fluffy identifiable stuff they have have become accostomed to if for no other reason than to have that visualization of the fluff come to life, which is what the tabletop game was meant to represent. I totally understand it and I love all the same stuff. I remember seeing the Gates of Terra display at Adepticon one year and I practically rode my nerd boner like a racing snail back to my room to make Heresy models (before FW did so).
With that said, the change to prefer looks over background is a change that has only occured to me recently. Maybe it is the paintjob, maybe it isn't I don't know. I still love to see armies that represent the background, but I also love to see amazing paint schemes.
With that said, I would love to hear what you guys think. Are you a hard line background guy, a paint scheme lover, something in between ... or are you one of the heathens who doesn't mind Hello Kitty or Star Wars? No matter what, I want to hear what you think!