Lessons learned from the Salamanders Charity Army

Well, with the launch of a new charity army being mooted by @vidpui and @nerodine , I thought this might be a really good time to go through everything I learned by doing the Salamanders Charity Raffle back in 2015.  I’ve mentioned some of this on Twitter recently, but going through it step by step might help others looking at doing a big hobby charity event.

First, be aware it is a pretty major commitment in terms of space, time and money, and once you get other hobbyists involved, backing out isn’t really an option.  You have to be damn sure and have the enthusiasm, time, and financial ability to see the project through to completion.

Space, time and money?  Isn’t it for charity?  Won’t people be doing things for free?  Well, if you are putting together a charity army, you’ll need to store the finished minis somewhere as you gather the completed minis from the community.  You’ll need acres of time chasing hobbyists, co-ordinating who is doing what mini, reaching out to stores for support, setting up and ensuring the legality of the raffle or auction, reaching out to hobby media to ensure the project is spread as widely as possible.  And in terms of money, you’ll need to travel to meet hobbyists, post minis around the world, and probably donate a fair few models for painters to kickstart the process.  Its not a trivial task.

Second, you need a cohesive theme for the project.  We were lucky in many ways, as the  concept tied really neatly together from a random twitter discussion.  Salamanders are the most humane and kind of the various marine armies, and the green themed with the WAAC colours (our chosen charity – Wargamers All Against Cancer) raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support in the UK.  It also allowed standard marines to be donated, and lots of people had extras they weren’t using, or could impulse buy donations in stores easily.  In addition, Salamanders are pretty well liked by people in general, but aren’t a common army to see on the tabletop – that made them really desirable as an army for people to want to buy raffle tickets.  If you pick a more niche army, or one that some people more actively dislike, you’ll sell less raffle tickets.  Eldar, for example.  I love them, but some hate them.  Fewer people will have extras lying around to donate, and people who don’t like pointy ears won’t buy raffle tickets for them.  

Its surprisingly hard to get a good theme, because the enthusiasm in the early days will be painters who want to donate and paint what they think will be fun.  People with different skill levels will want harder or easier colours.  People have preferences for different paint ranges.  They certainly won’t be thinking of what people, especially gamers not painters, will want to buy raffle tickets for.  You need to get a theme that captures that enthusiasm and has sales appeal, with ideally a tinge of nostalgia.

Next, be aware that there will be problems!  It seems obvious, but you’ll be dealing with volunteers, who will forget things like posting minis.  Some people will get very excited and promise more than it turns out they can afford – and if you’ve promised a big ticket item as part of the army, you’ll either have to hope the winner is understanding or make up that shortfall.  In the case of the Salamanders army, we had two big vehicles promised that never materialised in the end, the charity raffle side of things got kicked off early by a mistake in co-ordination with the WAAC side, and at least one unit of troops got lost in the post.  Its going to happen.  Make sure your timescales have plenty of overruns, and that you are communicating clearly with everyone in the projects and on the charity end.  If discussing the contents of the army publicly, make damn clear that its subject to the donations and can change at any point.  You’ll also probably experience a few interpersonal issues.  Some hobbyists simply don’t get on with some others – there are certainly some on twitter I find difficult.  Who will be most valuable to the project?  Who do you prioritise?  I’d always recommend prioritising reliability, enthusiasm and interpersonal skills over big donation promises or pushy people trying to dictate the project.

In terms of a charity raffle, its pretty safe in the UK to run one as long as, oddly enough, every ticket is the same value.  If you sell them at £2 each or 3 for £5, you can fall afoul of the law pretty quickly.  We made that mistake on the Salamanders raffle initially, and I ending up donating extra personally to cover each of the early mistaken amounts to keep it consistent.  You have to try and ensure you don’t fall foul of international participants violating their local laws, so you need the blurb to at least say this is down to the individual.

How will the prize get to people?  If international chaps are involved, a full army can cost a lot to ship?  Will you absorb that personally?  Suggest shipping costs for international winners?  Suggest handing the models over at a meet up (which is how we delivered the Salamanders in the end).  If you haven’t worked that out early on, once people are buying tickets you can’t easily spring costs onto them.

One tip that made a massive difference to the Salamanders charity raffle was down entirely to @paintysim‘s knowledge and picking up the slack when I was struggling to keep the project going – she, without any exaggeration, saved that project and probably doubled the final charity total.  She reached out to stores, and arranged for them to sell tickets and display some the fantastic army in store, as well as significantly increasing the scope of the project with their donations.  Of course, it helps them in terms of publicity, and you’ll have to absorb costs travelling to stores and sorting stuff out – and if you reach out to multiple stores, how will that be handled?  Where will you draw the result?  Will it promote all the stores fairly?

Ensuring an overall look and feel by basing the models consistently really helps …. but you’ll need to base up a heck of a load of models coming in from all over.  Again, time, costs arranging meet-ups to do it, that wasn’t insignificant (and for the Salamanders army, again down to @PaintySim organising it all).

You need to keep the wider community involved and enthused at every stage, or they’ll just forget about it.  So you’ll need to maintain something like a form of blog, co-ordinating project reports and pictures from everyone involved in the process to build excitement for the amazing army being put together.  You’ll need to target bigger names among the painters if you really want to get a few top end pieces to really excite hobbyists to buy tickets as well as gamers after a painted army to play with, and a lot of painters don’t have spare resources.  You’ll need to provide the minis in many of those cases, and you’ll have to track offers of donations of minis to match against offers of minis to paint.

Timing wise, you want to allow plenty of time for donations and minis, and also allow time for raffle sales.  Ideally you want to time the draw away from major national or hobby events, otherwise interest will be significantly lower.  Overlapping sales with the army production period can be risky if parts of the army fall through, but may be necessary if timescales slip.

It is a major effort and a lot of work.  But seeing the community all pull together for you as you do something like this is tremendously rewarding too.

 

 

 

 

Sorting the boxes! What do I have?

5 boxes complete!

3 in progress!

4 sets of metal bionic arms and bolters

Warhammer 40K

Space Marines

  • 3 x Tactical Squad (on Sprue)
  • Tactical Squad (Missing Arms) (on Sprue)
  • Terminator Squad (on Sprue)
  • Assault Terminator Squad (on sprue)
  • Assault Squad (on Sprue)
  • 2 x Bikes (on Sprue)
  • 3 x Storm Ravens (on Sprue)
  • Razorback (on Sprue)
  • 5 x Vanguard Veterans? (on Sprue)
  • 1 x Venerable Dreadnaught? (on sprue)
  • Roboute Guilleman (on sprue)
  • Metal terminator chaplain primed white
  • Metal chaplain primed white
  • Plastic Black reach captain primed blue
  • 2 power spear and shield veterans Primed black
  • 1 x Storm Talon primed yellow 
  • 4 sets of metal bionic arms and bolters
  • 2 attack bikes (need stripping)
  • 1 plastic terminator (needs stripping)
  • 1 metal librarian with jumppack (needs stripping)
  • 1 classic Mk 6 ( 2 powerfists) (needs stripping)
  • 1 metal terminator captain (needs stripping)
  • 1 metal terminator chaplain (needs stripping)
  • 1 metal terminator librarian (need stripping)
  • 2 metal apothecaries missing backpacks ( need stripping)
  • 5 man assault squad in blue (needs stripping)
  • 3 assault marines in red (needs stripping)
  • 1 plastic space marine in blue with chain sword (needs stripping)
  • 1 x 5 man devastator squad (on sprue)
  • 2 x Storm Talons on sprue
  • 1 x land speeder on sprue
  • 1 x vindicator on sprue
  • 1 x rhino on sprue
  • 1 x 4 masters of the chapter (metal, unassembled)
  • 22 metal scouts (9 x bolt pistol and combat knife ,3 x bolt pistol and chainsword,2 x  heavy bolters, 1 x  shotgun, 7 x  sniper rifles)
  • 1 metal terminator captain (unassembled, part painted)
  • 1 terminator librarian (space hulk)
  • 1 Assault on Black reach dreadnaught (primed blue)
  • 1 siege dreadnaught with 4 siege arm options. (primed blue)
  • 1 metal chaplain (primed black)
  • 3 apothecaries (2 plastic, 1 metal, part painted)
  • 1 classic RT metal prototype terminator (primed white, needs rebasing))

(massive bag of odd and broken space marines to be sorted)

Primaris (8th ed boxes)

  • Primaris Chaplain
  • Primaris Reivers (10)
  • Primaris Captain
  • 2 x Primaris Lieutenant
  • 2 x Lieutenant
  • 1 x Ancient
  • 2 x 5 man Intercessors
  • 1 x 3 man Inceptors
  • 1 x 5 man hellblasters
  • 1 x 3 Intercessors
  • 1 x 3 Reivers

Blood Angels

  • 5 Death Company (on Sprue)
  • 5 Death Company (on Sprue)
  • Furioso Dreadnaught (on Sprue)
  • Terminator Captain (on Sprue)
  • Terminator Captain (on Sprue)
  • Baal Predator (on Sprue)
  • 2xTactical Squad (on Sprue)
  • 1 xSanguinary Guard (on sprue)
  • Sanguinary Priest (on Sprue)
  • Sanguinor (Metal) (in blister)
  • Astorath the Grim (Metal) (in blister)

Space Wolves

  • Krom Dragongaze (on Sprue)
  • Wolf Guard (on Sprue)
  • Space Wolf Pack (on Sprue)

Dark Angels

  • Upgrade Sprue
  • 5 x veterans (on sprue)
  • 2 x metal cypher (in Blister)
  • 1 x plastic cypher (on Sprue)
  • 1 x metal Dark Angels Captain ( needs backpack fixing, part painted)
  • 1 x Dark Angel Interrogator Chaplain (on sprue)

Death Watch

  • Deathwatch Captain Artemis (on Sprue)?
  • 5 Deathwatch Veterans (on Sprue)?
  • 2 Deathwatch upgrade sprues?
  • Deathwatch Terminator Captain (on Sprue)
  • 10 man Deathwatch squad unassembled (plastic and metal)

Grey Knights

  • Nemesis Dreadknight (in box)
  • 6 classic metal Rogue Trader Grey Knights (unassembled, part painted)
  • 2 classic metal RT Grey Knights with Lightning Claw arms (refit?)
  • Castellan Crowe (part painted, unassembled, resin)
  • Grand Master Voldus?

Legion of the Damned

  • 1 x squad box (sergeant, flamer, 3 legionnaires)
  • 2 x 2 legionnaire blisters (in blister)
  • 1 multi-melta legionnaire (in blister)

Imperial Guard

  • 3 Ratlings (painting in progress)
  • 1 x Command Squad (painting in progress)
  • 5 x Voxcasters (painting in progress)

Imperial Agents

  • Inquisitor grey fax (on sprue)
  • 2 x metal female inquisitors (in blister)
  • Celestine and Geminae (on sprue)
  • 3 x Canonness Veridyan
  • 1 x Canoness (almost finished)
  • 2 x bolter sisters (1 missing backpack)
  • Death Cult Assassins (Warmachine Daughters of the Flame) metal unassembled
  • Metal eversor assassin primed white
  • Rituals market imperial navigator on sprue

Adeptus Mechanicus

  • Belisarius Cawl (on sprue)

Thousand Sons

  • 2 armless Rubric Marines (Missing arms)
  • Metal Rubric Marine (unprimed)

Death Guard (8th Ed boxes)

  • 1 Lord of Contagion
  • 1 Blight bringer
  • 1 Malignant Plaguecaster
  • 7 x Plague Marines
  • 1 Bloat drone
  • 20 Pox walkers
  • 3 Plague Marines
  • 6 Poxwalkers

Eldar

  • 2 x 5 Wraithblades (primed)
  • 1 x Wraithguard (primed)
  • 5 Rangers (primed – some missing bases)
  • 5 old metal Rangers primed
  • 1 x Farseer (painting in progress)
  • 1 x Autarch (painting in progress)
  • 5 x Warlocks (primed)
  • 2 x Weapons teams (primed)
  • Yncarne (on sprue)
  • Visarch (on sprue)
  • Yvraine (on sprue)
  • 1 wraithlord primed
  • 1 wraithlord part built
  • 1 wraith-knight part built
  • 1 Revenant Titan (unassembled)
  • Eldrad (resin in blister)
  • Hornet primed
  • Wave Serpent Primed (scatter lasers)
  • Wave Serpent part painted (bright lances)
  • Falcon part painted (missile launchers)
  • 2 x Eldar Aegis Defence Lines (unbuilt)
  • 10 Eldar Jetbikes (on sprue)
  • metal jetbike autarch conversion kit
  • 2 x 3 man units of jet bikes (1 with shuriken catapult – built unprimed)
  • 1 x 5 man units of warp spiders (exarch) primed blue
  • 1 x 6 man unit of warp spiders (exarch) primed grey
  • 1 x 5 Swooping Hawks (no exarchs) – primed grey
  • 2 x 5 Dire Avengers exarch (primed blue)
  • 1 x 5 dire avengers (4 metal, 1 plastic exarch) part painted
  • Fuegan, Jain Zair, Baharroth, Asurmen, Maugen Ra
  • 1 Farseer metal primed
  • 1 autarch, metal unbuilt
  • 12 howling banshees (part painted)
  • 1 howling banshee unbuilt
  • 1 metal wraithguard
  • 3 x 6 dire avengers exarch  (primed blue)
  • 2 x 6 Firedragons inc exarch (metal) primed grey)
  • 2 x 5 fire dragons inc exarch (metal (primed grey)
  • 2 x 6 man Dark Reapers inc exarch (metal) unpainted
  • 1 x Fire Prism (unbuilt, metal parts)
  • 1 x Shadow Spectre Exarch (unbuilt)
  • 1 x Shadow Spectre unit (unbuilt)
  • 2 xVypers (unbuilt)
  • 2 x Wraithguard/blades (on sprue)

Dark Elder

  • 1 x Succubi (resin, unpainted)
  • 1 x Archon (resin unpainted)
  • 1 x Raging Heroes Archoness (metal, unassembled)
  • 1 x Lilith Hesperax (metal, unpainted)
  • 1 x Medusae (resin, on sprue)
  • 1 x Scourges (metal, wings need fixing)
  • 1 x Scourges (plastic, primes and started green)
  • 1 x Scourges (plastic, unpainted)
  • 1 x Mandrakes (metal, unpainted)
  • 1 x Mandrakes (metal, unbuilt)
  • 1 x Incubi (metal, unpainted)
  • 1 x Incubi (metal, unbuilt)
  • 1 x Raider (plastic, unbuilt)
  • 4 x Raider (plastic, unpainted)
  • 2 x Ravager (plastic, unpainted)
  • 1 x Voidraven (plastic, unpainted)
  • 1 x Venom (plastic, unbuilt)
  • 12 unpainted jetbikes
  • 1 x wyches (plastic, unbuilt)
  • 5 x hekatrix/Syrens (unpainted)
  • 6 x Sybarites/Drakons (unpainted)
  • 40 kabalites with Splinter Rifles (unpainted)
  • 2 kabalites with shredders
  • 9 kabalites with blasters
  • 4 kabalites with dark lances
  • 4 kabalites with splinter cannon
  • 37 wyches with splinter pistols and hand weapons (unpainted)
  • 3 wyches with Shard Nets and Impalers
  • 4 wyches with hydra gauntlets
  • 4 wyches with razor flails

 

Harlequins

  • 6 Harlequins (metal unbuilt) (v2)
  • 6 Harlequins (metal built) (v2)

Fantasy Stuff

Misc

  • Slambo (in box)

High Elves

  • 2 x Island of blood sets (on Sprue)

Dark Elves

  • 10 current plastic Witch Elves (on Sprue)
  • 9 metal Witch Elves

Skaven

  • 2 x Island of blood sets (on Sprue – same as High Elves)

Undead

  • 10 x GW Skeletons (in assembly)

Bloodbowl

  • Dark Elves (2nd Edition team) – (painting in progress)
  • Dark Elves (Shadowforge team) – (painting in progress)
  • Humans (Nuns) (Shadowforge team) – (painting in progress)
  • Elves (Shadowforge team)
  • humans (shadowforge team)
  • Humans (current plastic)
  • orcs (current plastic)
  • Skaven (primed grey)
  • dwarves (current plastic unassembled)
  • gobbos (current plastic unassembled)
  • humans (2nd ed identical pose plastics)
  • orcs (2nd ed identical pose plastics)

An introduction to the #warmongers twitter people!

Hi!  This is a little presumptuous, as there are many, many hobbyists who have been involved much longer than I have, contribute more, and certainly paint and play more frequently.  Of late, though, I have been asked about the #warmongers on Twitter more than once, and thought it’d be nice to be able to point people at an introduction.

Basically, the #warmongers are an eclectic group of gamers and painters covering many tabletop war-games and skirmish systems who chat on twitter.  The use of the #warmongers hash tag in a tweet marks it for the attention of those interested – and it will then be automatically retweeted by the Warmongerin Bot (@tabletopbot)

The group doesn’t have any set guidelines and isn’t always PG-13 in all its discussions, so you may want to pick and choose who to actively follow!  Think about your online stance – if you swear a lot, you will limit your audience.  If you talk a lot about non-hobby interests, you may lose followers who aren’t interested in things like politics.  I’m not saying don’t do those things – just if you want to participate enthusiastically with the widest range of gamers you’ll need to be pretty tolerant and keep pretty hobby focussed.

There are two regular points of interaction through the week.  On Mondays, people post pictures of their recently completed minis with the tag #miniaturemonday – less prolific hobbyists like myself will often post up an older completed model instead, but it’s really aimed at showcasing your recent work.  If you can be inspired to show new models every week, its great!

Every Wednesday, people post pictures of their current work in progress with the tag #wipwednesday – this is a great way to look at everyones big projects, and get inspired to push forward.  Its also great for highlighting techniques people are using, and I’ve learnt a lot from some of the great painters out there.

While not specific to the #warmongers, you do also see a lot of suggestions as to who to follow for great hobby tweets on a Friday, with the hash tag #followfriday – its a great way to build a great twitter feed that’s brilliantly tailored for hobby.

There are some other twitter tags sometimes used by those with more specific interests in the hobby field.  I’ve seen some people who love ForgeWorld models posting on fridays as #fwofriday (Forge World Only Friday), or #forgeworldfriday.  I’ve also seen pictures of hobby scenery posted on a tuesday as #terraintuesday, or thursday as #terrainthursday,  Don’t look at #tanktuesday though – it overlaps with beer and sports so heavily there’s nothing directly hobby there!

There is also an charity drive for gamers that the warmongers get involved in – Warmongers All Against Cancer, which uses the #waac or #waac2015 hashtags, with some variants for specific events.  The charity drive is for MacMillan Nurses.

Finally, its not uncommon to tag a tweet with the relevant game system – so if its a malifaux question, people would tag it #malifaux.  For an Infinity tweet, #infinitythegame.  40K and WFB tend to vary – #40K is often used for space, but I’ve seen #W40K, #WH40K and  #warhammer40K used as well, for example.

Most people posting under the #warmongers tag are great anyway, but there are a few key people who are particularly helpful or knowledgable:

@docbungle is the driving force behind #waac, takes part in a regular gaming podcast called flock and awe, and blogs on Mini Musing of a Bear.  He’s a nice chap, and knows a heck of a lot about a lot of systems, from #infinitythegame through 40K and WFB to #malifaux.

@2Screens and @wartrader are massively enthusiastic about #infinitythegame, and are always helpful and encouraging to people wanting to get into the game or find online resources.

@oldmanmyke and @joel__henry are great starting points if you love #malifaux.  They know the game and the scene inside out.

@FrankAFord is a fabulously friendly chap who finds some of the best painted models on the internet, and posts them up.  If you love painting, you really should start by following him.

Beyond that, just try following a few people or searching for the hash tags mentioned, and try following people where you see interesting tweets.  Following and unfollowing is just the click of a button, so experiment – and if your posts are full of hobby fun, people will start to follow you back too.

I hope that’s useful!  I’m @evilkipper over on Twitter, by the way 🙂

Hobby Enthusiasm

One question that often comes up on twitter discussions with the #warmongers is how do you build and maintain hobby momentum?  After a hard day at work, looking after kids, cooking meals, making time for the missus, how do you focus energy on hobby in the small amount of time you have left?

It’s a very difficult question to answer, largely because the answer varies so very much from person to person.  Its especially true between gamers and hobbyists!

As I can’t answer for everyone, I thought I’d answer for me!  How do I maintain my hobby enthusiasm?

I think the main way, for me, is immersing myself in the fluff.  Read The Gildar Rift?  Come away wanting to paint Silver Skulls!  Flick through a new marine codex?  Get inspired to finish off the old Imperial Fists!

I also find looking at the pictures of other people’s minis on twitter hugely inspiring.  I’m never going to be a Golden Demon winner, so some of the top end stuff can just seem mindblowing, but its seeing successful techniques on #WIPWednesday, and the continual progress of others knocking out minis really makes me want to paint more, and try new methods.

A good sneaky way is to try to have a longer term goal.  I’ll probably go up to Sheffield around my brothers birthday, and we’ll try to get a game in – having a new painted army for the event is a great goal that keeps me motivated!  I loved painting up my Sisters of Battle command squad for #WAACPainting – thankfully I started early enough so I didn’t feel pressured.  Those sort of deadlines work for me if they are far enough away.  Trying to paint up a unit for a game next week?  Too much stress, and I won’t enjoy it.  I might get it done, but hobby enthusiasm for next time will be down.

I try not to force hobby too, but have a rule with myself that in my available hobby time, I must do something hobby related.  Can’t face painting marines?  Get Space Marine running on the Xbox 360.  Can’t face painting Tyranids?  Pop Aliens on the telly!  It means that next time I’ll have recharged enthusiasm, and don’t feel that my limited hobby time has been “wasted” by doing something completely different either!

Finally, I find a real key is to have 1 to 3 models on the paint table that really aren’t for gaming – just purely for hobby and painting fun.  I try to paint these to my very best standard, not churning out a unit or gang for the tabletop.  And I try new techniques – different shades or paints, different ways of blending, different ways of doing eyes.  It feels like my abilities progress more with these, and I don’t feel the pressure of getting them done like I do with game minis.  And often I find I can use them for something unusual like an inquisition warband, or something fairly accessible like Open Combat.

I hope that helps someone – its certainly helped me think about maintaining my enthusiasm through 2015, which is never a bad thing!

Oldies but Goodies

I’m currently working towards repainting some of my older larger scale (54mm+) figures, to that end I pulled this set out of the back of a cupboard to start the paint stripping process but thought I’d post a couple of pics before this paint job comes off.

I painted these figures sooo.. long ago I cant begin to put an age on them, I can remember I got them at a show (?) and that they are painted with Humbrol Enamels, because that’s what I used a long, long time ago in a galaxy far away…

anyway here’s the pics:-

WAAC has a new meaning Wargamers All Against Cancer – Thanks to @docbungle

@docbungle, aka the Bear (or Dave), is arranging a fantastic charity event for war gamers.  While this blog doesn’t see a huge number of visitors, I still though it’d be worth reblogging!  Here’s his post:
WAAC has a new meaning Wargamers All Against Cancer
Background: Recently I have received the news that my mum has cancer. We are still waiting for the true extent of the cancer, but one thing that has been a great help to my mum and dad is the MacMillan Nurses. They have come in like a whirlwind of help, information and pain killers and already I am grateful that they have been there.With this in mind I would love to do something for them, supporting Macmillan while they support others.

Now I could have stayed in a bath of baked beans or gone running, but I am a wargamer and this is a wargaming blog and the wargaming community has shown they are a fantastic bunch (yes I am massaging your egos).

The rough plan: 24 hours of wargaming (this can/will include other stuff like board games and MtG to painting) on the bank holiday weekend in August (23rd to 24th)

Systems: Any gaming system is good to go, infact the more systems the better as far as I am concerned.

Around the World?: This is for a UK charity but cancer effects everyone, so if other want to get involved please do

The Help: I cannot do this on my own the idea is too big. So I am asking the community to help. Go to your local gaming store, club, basement. Ask them can they take part, it doesnt even need to be the full 24 hours if that is not possible (due to health and safety etc.)

I have already contacted a few stores in UK and got a couple signed up, but I need more :) so I am asking to let me know if they are interested and if their group would be as well.

Raising the Cash: At the moment there are some ideas I am thinking about including an online raffle and cake selling as well as some ingame money spending but I need your help as well (new to this event thingy).

If you cant get something orgainsed but would like to help please use the just giving page I have set up –https://www.justgiving.com/WAAC.

P.S. IF you want to take something official to your store/club here is a link to letter explaining the above a little and a contact email for me – http://minimusingofabear.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/charity-event-request.pdf.

Cheers

Dave

Warhammer 40K model options … Without going to Games Workshop

Let me start by saying I love Warhammer 40K.  I love the universe, the Black Library books and authors are fantastic, and the game is generally fun, interesting, and has evolved in interesting ways (even if there are enough quibbles with the rule set to start a fresh Horus Heresy!)

However, I’m not as keen on GW as a company these days.  I’ve personally found some of the employees of GW to be pushy, unpleasant, and of an aggressive opinion that GW can do no wrong.  Everyone makes mistakes, so that tends to wind me up!  Suing authors for using  the term “space marine”, a term that predates GW by a significant margin is not exactly great work, for example.

With that in mind, I thought I’d take a look at alternatives to GW models for various forces in the 40K universe.  These are just my opinions as to what you could use the models for, rather than what they are being sold as – you may disagree, or feel they’d be better as something else.

Chaos Space Marines

I’ve never found much in the way of alternative Chaos Space Marines.  It’s a very iconic look, which doesn’t lend itself to alternatives terribly well!

However, Evilcraft do a fantastic set of Chaos looking troops in power armour with bolt pistols and bolter style weaponry.  Very cool, and ornate enough to be used as chosen if you just wanted some specialist models.

Puppets War do quite a good range of conversion bits, much of which is suitably spiky for the forces of Chaos.  In terms of straight models, they have a great squad that work work as a Raptor Squad.

They also have a reasonable number of troops that are probably better guard proxies, but would make OK cultists.  They also have some cracking zombies, for Nurgle plague zombies.

On the zombie front, Hasslefree Minis do a great, and cheap, set of zombie plastics.

 

And finally on the zombie/cultist front, Mantic Games do a great range of plague zombie marines:

Raging Heroes have a cracking model that could be could as a Nurgle general.

Zealot Miniatures do a model I think would work well as a chaos spawn.

Scibor do a small range of Chaos terminator types, which could be could for chaos lords.

Chaos Demons

Raging Heroes do some amazing Preying Mantis models, which would make fantastic Daemonettes.

They also do a great demon option for a Daemon Prince or Greater Daemon of Khorne.  You could probably get away with the smaller version as a Chaos Lord in a CSM force.

Puppets War do some good demons too. I love the thought of fielding Plague Bears instead of Plague bearers!

Avatars of War do fantasy models, but that isn’t a problem for Daemons!  They do a couple of cracking models that would make amazing Heralds of Khorne and Nurgle.

Maxmini do a fantastic line of Nurgle style demons, from Greater Demons:

Through smaller plague bringers, which would make a good herald:

Zealot Miniatures do an interesting Greater Demon of Khorne style model:

Imperial Guard

Imperial Guard are the closest thing in the 40K universe to standard human soldiers, and so are probably the easiest army to find decent alternative models for – for the infantry, anyway!

Mantic Games have their Corporation Army range, which are perfect guard replacements on the whole.

Interestingly, I’ve seen their Veer-myn line os space rats used for very effective chaos guard!

Dreamforge Games have a great range of stormtroopers that work well for Tempestus Scions, or maybe as veterans.

Statuesque Miniatures do some really cool female resistance fighters that would work really well as cultists or irregular guard.  As well as squaddies, they do a few special weapons, heavy weapons, snipers and commissars

Raging Heroes don’t currently produce many models. but are launching three full female guard army lines, loosely matching Steel Legion, Valhallan and Penal Legion Imperial guard lines.  At the moment, they do a small number of female officers which are great as commissars or custom commanders.

Victoria miniatures do a tremendous range of guard alternatives, as well as bits for customising any GW troops you may get.  If you want a custom regiment, or decent female troops, this is the place to go.  Their Arcadian rifles look absolutely cracking models.

Puppets War do a few squad options, but I’m not amazing taken by them, to be honest.  What I love, though, are their rough rider options, on motorbikes with lances.  Its something that has come up in the novels a few times, so it’d be good to see on the table.

Scotia Grendel do some interesting lines from the old VASA and Urban Mammoth games, which could easily be adopted for Imperial Guard.  Here’s one of their VASA squads, for example.

Maxmini do some great catachan alternatives, female alternatives, and a few space ogres for some Ogryn fun.

Mad Robot Miniatures have some brilliant conversion parts, but you can get complete guard squads in various looks.  Decent Valhallans are always a bonus these days, especially if you have most of an army already!

Space Marines

Mantic Games have a line of Enforcers.  While quite a different look from the traditional space marines found in GW, the equipment ties up quite nicely.

Puppets War have an interesting range of heavy armoured troops that would also do quite nicely, including strike (power) armours, and terminator armour in a range of configurations – even bikes and vehicles.

Scibor do some amazing marine style models.  Most of them match to more extreme versions of the various Space Marine Legions inspirations – Spartan for the Imperial Fists, Roman for the Ultramarines, Celtic for the Space Wolves, and so on, though there are some more unique ones, like egyptian options too.

Hitech Miniatures do some really interesting models, and again, break into groups that match the SM legion inspirations – more extreme than the very similar GW ones.

Kabuki Models do a great line of possible Primarch alternatives.  Less appealing now Forgeworld are producing official models, they are still gorgeous pieces in their own right.  Here is the Castellan Knight.

Eldar

I’ve never really found any good third party Eldar like models in army like levels.   That may change when Mantic Games get around to releasing their Asterian line of Space Elves!

Chapter House Studios do some great commanders on jet bikes, and also do a unique aspect warrior squad – Warp Stalkers – that looks like it’d run as howling banshees.

Dark Eldar

Raging Heroes are the current queens of the non GW Dark Eldar!  Not only do they have a really lovely female archon, succubus, and squads of “blood vestals” which are perfect for Wyches, it looks like they’ll be expanding their line in the future too!

Orks

Orks are tricky.  There aren’t generally huge numbers of space ork alternative models out there, though there are fairly large numbers of passable alternative vehicles.

Mantic Games do offer a large line of Marauders which would work well for Orks, both infantry and light vehicles.

Raging Heroes do a fabulous sci-fi ork warmaster, which would be amazing as your army warlord!

Puppets War do a fantastic range of Orky vehicles and planes, like this:

Adepta Sororitas

Well, I’ve never found any great models here for ladies in power armour.  Heck, its almost impossible to even get them from GW!

Having said that, it looks like Raging Heroes are planning on producing some nuns with guns options in the future – look here!

There are a couple of options that can be adapted from Privateer Press – Protectorate of Menoth.  I really like the Daughters of the Flame as Death Cult assassins as part of an Ecclesiarchy Battle Conclave.  Picture from Firestorm Games.

In addition, I think the Harbinger would make a brilliant alternative to Saint Celestine:

Imperial Knights

There’s only one real alternative to Imperial Knights out there – and that’s DreamForge Games Leviathan!

Necrons

There aren’t huge amounts of Necron alternatives out there either, unfortunately.  The best selection I’ve seen is from Puppets War. which has a reasonable range of things, like an enormous cyber spider (scarab) swarm.

There’s a C’Tan alternative too

And a couple of vehicle and canoptek spider options.  No basic troops at the moment though.

Squats

Well, there are a few options for the die-hard squats fan still.

The first is Mantic Games, whose Forgefather range is pretty extensive, and just the sort of thing you want from your Space Dwarves!

The second option I’ve come across is Hasslefree Miniatures range of Grymm.  You can’t beat some of these models for character:

Tau & Tyranids

Unfortunately, I’ve never come across anything that really works well for these!  There are a lot of Mycetic spores for Tyranids out there – but GW axed them from the codex.  Tau is a very unique look – there are some female Tau kits from Zealot Miniatures, but no full squads I’ve come across.  Some people have used Robotech type models in place of the crisis and riptide suits, but thats a step further away from the Tau models than I’d go normally.

Another Six

Just completed another 6 DE, need to base coat more now, so I’ll see if I can fit in a spray session.

DSCF0107

Apocalypse – Phoenix Court of Khaine

Well, in addition to the other army lists, I can also field the Phoenix Court of Khaine in its entirety!  w00t!

6 Pheonix Lords and a boosted Avatar – It’d be fun to see how they did against an entire standard army by themselves – its about 1500pts (1455pts, to be precise, without any exarch traits on the Avatar!).

How cool is that?

 

Return of the Harlequins!

While sorting out my Eldar Mountain, I also took a look at my Harlequins which used to be an army in their own right – possibly a very cool Eldar supplement?

I appear to have the following:

1 jetbike with shuriken cannon

6  new harlequins – avatar with pistol and weapon, 1x shuriken pistol and weapon 2 x fusion pistols and weapon, 2 x harlequins kiss and shuriken pistol

6  new harlequins – avatar with pistol and weapon, 1x shuriken pistol and weapon 2 x fusion pistols and weapon, 2 x harlequins kiss and shuriken pistol

4 x Death Jesters with Shuriken Cannon

2 x Death Jesters with Bright Lances

2 high avatars with sword and shuriken pistol

1 solitaire with harlequins kiss and neurodisruptor

3 x shuriken pistol and power fists

1 x sword and power fist

2 x pistol and netguns

11 with weapon and shuriken pistols

2 x warlocks with power fists and flamers

1 x high warlock (shadow seer) with lightning claw and las pistol

2 x avatars with twin shuriken pistols

1 x harlequin with shuriken pistol and harlequin’s kiss

3 x venoms (converted from vypers and old style DE Raiders)