Saturday, November 9, 2013

Guest Post: A Space Marine Hobby Journal

An Army WIP

I was sent this hobby journal request by one of our readers.  I met Jeff at the Michigan GT and really enjoyed  talking with him about painting and playing.  We're always happy to help encourage the hobby so when he asked to journal his new undertaking with space marines I was more than happy to put it up.  He has a long road ahead of him and I hope we can all follow and encourage him through his journey.  

-Chris Vinton

Hello, for those of you that I have not yet met, my name is Jeff. I have been playing 40k in the Grand Rapids area for 10 years now. In that time I have built and owned nearly every army including; Imperial Guard, Space Marines, Blood Angels, Grey Knights, Deamons, Tryanids, Black Templar, Dark Eldar, and recently added a Tau army with some Eldar allies.

That's me in the red shirt with my deamons on the ground
I have always considered myself more of gamer than a hobbyist. Yes I have painted many models but I rarely painted anything that wasn’t for a tournament, or more specifically for an Adepticon tournament. With the birth of my first child I have even commissioned an army as the time required to build and paint it was more than I could accommodate within my schedule.

Although I have a hard time finding the inspiration and time to paint I am finding that I actually miss it as well. Rather than focusing this army for Adepticon 2014 I figured I would use the Dark Future Gaming as a way to keep me motivated to build and paint a new army.

So what am I thinking?

With the new Space Marine book out I am looking to start a new army. Now being a gamer and understanding how expensive this hobby can be I want t make sure that I leave myself with enough flexibility to add units later and not be locked into some predefined fluff by GW as the way I want to play my army will change in the future. I also want to be able to leverage my new army across as many codices as possible to allow me to field the army I want to play, when I want to play it.

I am also looking for an army that is different from Tau/Eldar army which is more of a static gun line. I would like to, at least initially, have units that bring some durability and mobility to my games while also providing some opportunity to leverage them as allies with my Tau.

The final consideration is my painting ability. I am by no means a golden daemon level painter. I am really good with simple techniques, like drybrush & wash, combined with strong color choices.

The idea being that I will chronicle the process of army creation from initial list building through play(proxy) testing, purchasing, building, painting. Giving you an opportunity to see the army progress and help keep me motivated as I work on it.

Here is a brief outline of what I am planning so far.
Initial Army List Thoughts
Thoughts on chapter history, fluff, iconography.
Why Play test
Lessons Learned from Play testing
Thoughts on basing
Army (purchase) list.
Planned Conversions
Test Model.
Assembly Line or Craftsman Painting
Unit Construction & Painting (1…N)
Display board construction

Hopefully Jeff learns a lot through this series and can share his insights with us.  We look forward to hearing more from you!


  1. Excellent. I am looking forward to this very much Jeff, as your take on this is how I am looking at my marines and their "mechanicus allies"

  2. Sounds like a great idea, and I'd like to throw a few thoughts out there for you to consider as well:

    1) Maybe think about the Dark Angels? They are a solid codex that isn't especially broken or weak. They have a lot fo cool units and fluff, and can easily be run with the regular SM codex as well.

    2) The Dark Angels can also make a reasonable "Counts As" Chaos army too; the Nephilim jet-fighter stands in well for the Chaos Helldrake for example, and pretty much everything in the DA codex can find a home in the Chaos codex.

    3) The Dark Angels have two distinctive sub-factions (Deathwing and Ravenwing) which have their own unique play-styles. These can also be used "Counts As" Grey Kights (might need a bit of though regarding weapons, but still) and the Ravenwing can do well as White Scars bikers or Iron Hands bikers + tanks with the new SM codex.

    4) The Dark angels present three distinctive paint schemes to try, and since they often fight alongside their successor chapters, you can even incorporate their schemes into individual squads if you like. This could also be a great way of adding in units in a fluffy way if you are playing with the regular SM codex (for example, representing a Deathwatch or Legion of the Damned unit), or as neat way of denoting units with Chaos Marks if you run them under the CSM codex.

    5) They are cheap to buy, and have a lot of new kits to choose from. With Dark Vengeance, and the new 40k Paint Set, you get lots of Dark Angels that are cheap and easy to accrue and assemble. Plus, these new-generation snap-fit plastics look very good indeed when assembled, and even have lots of moulded iconography (which is easier than fussing with decals of freehand).

    6) They are forgiving to paint, especially the snap-fit models. The main thing to do is *not* drybrush Space Marines! A lighter-than-you-need basecoat, a simple edge highlight (again easier with the snap-fits) and then wash with a mid-tone wash. After it is dry, a second lighter edge highlight, and then a final dark-but-really-thin wash. Done! This works even on the Deathwing, and as a technique lends itself well to painting in stages over a few days. The trick with edge highlighting is the let the armour panels do the work for you, and to only do the main armour segments - don't do all the little recessed panel lines, as that's what the washes are for.

    So there you go - some (hopefully helpful) thoughts that I had recently on the matter, and that I confess are the reason I embarked on a very similar project myself earlier this summer. I think you can guess what I ended up choosing! ;0)

  3. Thanks guys. I appreciate the support.