Friday, April 30, 2010

Some words on Army Theme

Let me start out by saying this is my painting desk. It lives in my livingroom right next to the tv and directly across from the front door. My wife hates it. I put it up here so that everyone can get an idea of who I usually am. I'm a very disorganized person in almost all aspects of my life...except army theme. When it comes to army theme and the appearance of my army. My 40k vanity knows no limits.

So I got the start of my guard army from an old friend who doesn't play anymore. He just gave them too me, free. I tried them out and never looked back. The problem was when I wanted to expand the army because the figs he gave me are the 2nd edition metal ones and didn't fit with the new plastics. Because of my 40k vanity I had to basically shelf 60-70% of what he gave me to have a fully playable army.

The theme I wanted was that of a city fight theme. I stopped playing 40k when the city fight codex came out and for me, making a city fight themed army was fulfilling something I couldn't do when I was young and broke. So, they're mostly dark colors, black and gray mostly. Here are my vets:

When I thought of the Cadians I thought of them as the ultramarine equivalent of the Imperial Guard. They sit on the gateway to chaos relms, Cadia is kind of a big deal. The have new stuff, they're disciplined, they're top of the line. Now, as far as fluff, they're no praetorian guard, but I think of them as the USMC. I bet there is a Cadia somewhere cheering SEPMER FI! With that in mind, I thought of the detail of all their stuff is new, no rusty old tanks for my guard! Genestealer scratch the paint? Burn it, get a new one. Someone opened their rear hatch door and hit your Lemen? Give to to the Catachans, we're getting a new one. As far as discipline, I picture that with chin straps. Chin straps secure boys, no Saving Private Ryan head shots because you took your helmet off. You're cheap but that las gun and bayonet you have aren't. And with that, I also took the time to make sure that if there is a bayonet on the gun, there wasn't one in they're belt gear and vice versa.

I numbered my tanks for two reasons, one, it fits my theme of discipline, and two it makes it easy to remember what unit is in what chimera. I used the armored company fist on the tanks too and placed them in the same position on each tank and numbered in the same spots.

The core of my army strictly adhers to the doctrine of this theme. The excepts start coming in with specialty units which to me make sense they don't fit in. In the imperial guard, if it isn't a commander, veteran of infantry men, it's almost like a mercinary that doesn't fit into the regular rank and file guardsmen. Battle psykers, rattlings, marbo, ogryn. All of these are very different than a normal guardsmen and shouldn't look like them. However, you have to keep your color theme together. My colors are grey and black so I encorporated them into the army on these specialty units.

The next consideration I had was for my vendetta. I picture the vendetta as a cross over from a different branch of the Imperial forces, like the airforce providing airsupport to the marines. (I know the navy would do this, calm down CO and OST). I wanted to keep the colors similar but make it not look like it was a normal unit in this division of the IG.
Lastly is the Inquisitor. He's not even an imperial guardsmen so he needs to look completely different. Also, I wanted him as a center piece model so he needed to be a bright color that stands out from the rest but still fits into the army. I achieved this by using yellows, reds, and whites to make him stand out, and then using the lasgun with the guard helmet painted in the theme of my guard army to tie him in.

I feel like there are many ways besides army composition that you can theme an army. It can be a simple paint job, an over all idea for the army (such as "Discipline") or even something as simple as snow basing. Its up to you to bring your who army together and I don't think people should think of theme as a limiting thing but instead think of it as a creative challenge to let you play the army you want and still fit a theme you like. Make the theme fit your army, not your army fit the theme.


  1. I hope your 40K vanity appreciates the next sentence.

    Your Imperial Guard are, in my humble opinion, one of the nicest armies I've seen in years.


    Good job - Brent

  2. Seconded. This is truly awesome, homogeneous, theme-driven army are the best way to go. I really love what you've done with them.

  3. Humph! A little mud on a tank never did it no harm! Just as my DKK!

  4. Lovely army, and a better post than mine on the topic?! Curses! lol

  5. Its just criminal how good the army looks and the pictures don't do it justice

    so much prettier in person