Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Getting Started 03 : low – income hammer

Alright, so you purchased your codex and you think you have a pretty good well-rounded list, check, you have developed some strategies which play into the strengths and avoid the weaknesses of that list, check. Now for the fun part, PLAYING.
But.. wait… there’s a problem. You haven’t purchased any models yet, and you don’t have the $400+ to drop on our entire list plus paint. Guess you’ll have to get that extra part time job, save every penny, or forgo that vacation this year; just to play the game? That’s ludicrous. I know many gaming clubs only allow you to participate if you have a fully modeled force. Sometimes they even need to be painted. At Lancashire Wargaming we understand the importance of experience and that money should never be a hindrance to your ability to play. That is why we allow new players to use all sorts of alternative means to play the game. This also has the added benefit of trial and error with list building. Players will learn what combinations work and which ones do not. All the while, not spending money and time on models they will not use. We recommend building slowly, setting a monthly budget for expenditures and allow your experience to shape how you construct your force. Below I will go through a few alternate solutions I have used before obtaining my models, you will need to check with your local club to see which of these they will accept, or… just find a friend who won’t mind playing with less than a fully painted force. Without further adieu…

1. cardboard or construction paper cutouts.
These work great for very new players. Simply draw out on colored construction paper or cardboard the base sizes for your units you have chosen in your list. Write on these cutouts what the unit is, what weapons they are carrying, and any other important information to help remind yourself of what it is. It will look a bit silly on the board, all these paper discs, but trust me, this is a fantastic way to start and learn the game.

2. Proxies
A proxy is basically any model representing another on the board. This may take many forms. You could borrow models from a friend. Who cares if they are even the right army? So you use your friends elder guardians as tacts in your army, it will begin to give you a feel for the scale of the game, sight lines, etc. If you did happen to order some models that you aren’t currently using in your list, substitute. For instance, you bought a command squad, and then later you decide, you really needed a scout squad to supplement your army. Use the models you have until you can afford to buy, model, and paint the scouts. Use household objects with similar sizes. My example is soap boxes as tanks, you will be amazed just how similar the size of a normal soap box is to the size of a rhino or pred. Go ahead, measure it, its certainly close enough to allow a new player to use.

3. Paper Hammer
I stumbled upon this fantastic website recently. Paper Hammer. Its just amazing. Full paper models of many of the models from warhammer 40k. I don’t need to discuss this too much because I think the website certainly speaks for itself. I’ve attached an image of a paper drop pod I constructed in very little time. They have the templates and instructions all on the site. Simply download, print, cut, and glue. You’re done. You can even color the models if you like. This is my favorite place holder until you are able to purchase the models.

Paperhammer 40k

4. Other helpful tips:
Split sets or battleforces with a friend. Here is an example. The prophet and I recently split an assault on black reach set. 35 dollars each, this was a great way for both of us to get some of the pieces we needed for our armies, at minimal cost. A single box of terms costs 50 bucks. For 35 I received a term squad, dread, and 10 tacts, and a captain model which would be great to use as a proxy for an HQ or sarge.
EBAY – for used models, painted models, sets and sprues that people have simply bought and never used, got bored with, or just wanting to make a profit. Since it is an auction site, it can be very hit or miss, so be vigilante and careful. For example, I just recently I saw 2 ravenwing battleforce boxes for $100. they normally sell for $90 on GW. Can’t beat that with a stick.

In conclusion, having a built army on the board completely changes the look and feel of the game. It is well worth putting in the time and effort it takes to assemble your forces. However, and more importantly, is to expand the community and provide players with gameplay experience. (at least that is the viewpoint of Lancashire Wargaming) which is why we allow our members to play regardless of the built status of their army. We realize this will make us less appealing to the more hardcore gamers out there but we feel the investment in the new players is worth it.

questions? flames? comments? what model alternatives did you use when you first started playing warhammer 40k?


  1. Excellent stuff here for the newcomers!

    Don't forget to tag this in the tutorials section!

  2. I recommend using the paper proxies like on paper hammer. My army is nearly entirely paper proxies and I love them. The paper proxies look better than regular cutout circles and are nearly as portable and are very cheap to make. Paper models add back line of sight which is very important to 5th edition.If your going to be playing for any amount of time without real models, take the time to make some simple paper models.

  3. This is great! Do you have any links to paper model?