How do you make your army stand out?



So how do you do it?
I suppose there are a couple different ways really. Painting, conversions, basing, theme or any combination of methods.

But it all boils down to having an army you can call your own. Something that you can be proud of and is "yours." Maybe we gravitate to the method we know best... for some of us it's painting, some of us do unbelievable conversion work and some of us stick to a theme that's in line with background religiously. I don't think there is a right or wrong way. Case in point, Ultramarine Blues is going with resin bases for one of his upcoming force to make them stand out.

As I was cruising the blogrolls recently, I kept coming across posts that dealt with Vostroyans. That got me thinking, I wonder what army has the hardest time standing out from all the others.

Maybe a better question would be "How do I make my Vostroyans stand out from all the other Vostroyan armies out there?" And actually, you could insert just about any faction in place of "Vostroyans" in the previous sentence.
Now I'm not talking about making your own chapter, regiment or hive fleet, I'm talking about Codex defined armies with known color schemes and background info.
How do you make your army stand out from the others?

Take the three Vostroyan army examples below, all will be great looking armies when done. But what makes them stand out?


Vostroyans from The Path of the Outcast


Vostroyans from misterjustin


Vostroyans from Santa Cruz Warhammer

I know with my Deathwing, it's the painting technique. I don't have any real conversion work in the force or any great theme (it's Deathwing, there's only so much you can field).
I do have some unique looking models in the form of the pair of MK1 Land Raiders, but I'm really left with painting to make my guys stand out from all the other Deathwing forces out there.

Is it enough, can it be considered a success? I don't know. They're mine, they're playable and they look different from other forces in my area (honestly just because they're fully painted), but do they stand out?


Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!

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Thursday night's Old Timer League, Jan. 28


This week I manged to get out early and I was able to spend the evening chatting it up, playing a small game and doing a little bit of painting.

One of the guys was excited to show me the tanks he got in the mail earlier in the day. There were actually a bunch of them, but I thought it was really cool to see one of the new Baneblades next to one of the older Armorcast models. You can click on the pic above to see the tanks up close.
I also manged to sneek a peek at a new Salamander army in the works by one of the other guys (the same guy with the Orks from last week). Once he gets some units painted up, I'll have pictures of them. I've challenged him to a 1500 point game next week, he's running a pair of Land Raiders in his force too.


Hopefully I'll have more of this army next week as well. One of our guys has a great looking Daemon army that he's putting the finishing touches on right now. He's finishing up some pink Horrors.

While we waited for the pizza to arrive, we sat around and talked about different hobby stores and the personalities that certain ones seem to develop. It's fun to look back and remember your first store and remember all the games you played there.
Of course, the issue of pay to play came up. We are incredibly fortunate that our store (Game Vault) supports us to no end with just about everything we could ask for in a hobby store.


Last week, we decided we would do some basic tank weathering this week. Nothing fancy that requires expensive materials or techiniques, just a few simple things you can do to turn your models from pristine tanks into battle worn machines.
And it really doesn't take much, some drybrushing, a wash or two and you're all set. Taking an extra minute to add details like this can help make your army stand out on the tabletop. Some people are fantastic with this stuff and can produce amazing results like The Painting Corps or misterjustin. Me, I just go for the simple, quick techniques with my stuff.


The game I did get in was at 400 points and even thought I barely won, Eldar just aren't my army. I realize this now. Don't get me wrong, I still think they're super cool with all the jetbikes and such, but Eldar just aren't my style. There's something about Deathwing.
On a completely unrelated note, anyone interested in buying a partially complete Saim-Hann force?
My opponent was one of the new guys and has just started playing, so it was the perfect game for both of us. Between the two of us, we knew about 5 rules for our individual armies. I think we spent as much time flipping pages in our books as we did actually moving models around. Good thing for me it ended on turn 5, if it went any further, it probably would have been a different outcome.
Nonetheless, the game was a blast.

That's it for this week, next week I go head to head with an army similar to mine... we'll see how I do.

Check out the other Old Timer league posts


Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!

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10 ways to improve your blog


Here they are, ten things that I've found you can do to improve your blog, help get more traffic and build your following. This is just my experience, if you've got something else you know works well, please let me know and I'll add it.

These are in no particular order, they're all important.

1. Good pictures.
If they're blurry, out of focus, too dark or the wrong color, why post them? If you're willing to take the time to snap the pic and then upload it, make sure it's worth looking at.
Nothing kills an article quicker than a bad picture. Pictures also show up in blogrolls where the Blogger has chosen that option (and most everyone does because we are visual people).

2. Write appropriate headlines.
When you sit down to write your headline, you don't get any bonus points for being obscure or funny if nobody gets the joke. Think about your audience... how am I supposed to know you're posting about your new Nurgle Daemon Prince when your headline reads, "This rulz!"
If you make your headlines short and descriptive, you stand a better chance of getting more readers swinging by to check out what you've posted. Sure, it wont be as cool, but by giving a potential reader the information they need when they're making that split second decision on whether or not they should visit, they may just stop in for a second.

3. Clean up your text.
Nobody likes to look at a wall of text. Try and add line breaks and space between paragraphs to give the reader a visual break and add some white space.
In this day and age, a wall of text is almost an instant turn off. Pictures spread throughout your post help and if you've got something like a story, think about making it into a multiple post thing where each one is smaller.

If I look at your post and it's all text that I have to scroll through for 40 minutes to get to the end, I'll say to myself "I'll come back later."
And I never do.

4. Proper spllling and grmmer.
Proofread you're stuff. it's understandeble to miss something her or there, but when every sentence has got an issu, most reeders wont make it past the opening paragraf if i have to work to figure out what it is you're trying to say in your post i'll just go someplace else and look at something i can read without needing a decoder ring.
Same thing goes for chat speek, texting, smilieys and all that kind of junk. Keep in mind, people come to 40k blogs looking for something more that what they can find everywhere else on the internet.

5. Links.
Clean them up. It's simple formatting to add that little bit of text that better describes the link instead of just posting the link itself. Nothing says you're lazy more than that.
Like pictures, if you're going to take the time to copy it and include it, let me know what it's to. Just don't throw it at me and hope I figure it out.
The moment I need to start working to figure out what it is you're writing about is the moment I go someplace else.

6. Give credit where credit is due.
If you use something that's not yours, give the Author credit. If you get an idea from someone else, give them credit. Nobody works in a bubble. In this day and age, we are all connected.

7. Respond to comments.
When I post a comment on someone's blog, I make it a point to subscribe to all comments on that post by email. This way I can see if the Author responds to my comment if I asked a question. If you want comments on your blog, you have to be willing to interact with the readers who comment on your blog.

8. Contact Me.
If you have no way for your readers to get ahold of you, then don't be suprised when nobody contacts you. You may not want the communication, who knows.
But that guy who found your blog for the first time, who loves your army and has a couple of questions and wants to email you about it... and can't... probably wont come back. It amazes me how hard it is to get ahold of people who want you to talk to them.

9. Navigate.
If you've got something on your blog that you want to share with readers, make it easy to find. Things like your tutorials, downloads, etc.
If you hide them, don't expect readers to go digging through your site in search of them when they can go someplace else where all that stuff is easy to find.

10. Work at it, regularly.
If your blog looks dead because you don't keep things updated or fixed, there's a good chance I won't be back. If you want me to invest time in your site, I want to know that you are too.
You don't need to have the latest template or features, just make sure things are working and kept up to date.
It doesn't take long once you look at blog to see just how much the Author is invested in it, and that's usually the amount the readers will be too.

Hope some of these help, I've learned most of these hard way and I figured I'd save some of you guys the headaches.


Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!

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Forge World Bloodthirster, starting the basing


So I've started the basing for the Bloodthirster Bloodbath project. As far as theme, it's going to be an urban look with dirt piles and debris on top of broken up marble floors.

To build the dirt piles, I use something called Creative Paperclay. It's an air drying clay that is lightweight and dries hard as a rock. It's fairly cheap, coming it around $5 for an 8oz block of the stuff if I remember correctly. On this project I used about 1/4 of the bag.
Once you open it, you'll need another bag to seal it back up in or it'll dry out in no time at all. Even sealed up, it only has a shelf life of a couple months once you open it.


The first step is pulling off a chunk of the clay and shaping it with your fingers on your base. Once you have the general shape, you can go back in with some rocks to add the real texture and get rid of your fingerprints.


And here they are finished. As the clay dries, it will "pop off" the base. This is perfect because you flip the clay over and let the underside dry completely. After it's dry, you can superglue it to your base in the exact position you want.

In my case, I'll be adding some plasticard to simulate marble stones and then some debirs to give it the look I want. With the dried clay pulled off the base, I can go back in and add the plasticard without any problems.


The greenstuff is used to fill in any gaps left over when I glue the clay back down. Sometimes, if you use a large chunk of the stuff, it might warp slightly when curing.


Once I decide on the exact location of the model and drill the hole to pin him with, I'll go back and add my smaller debris in key locations. I use a mix of sand and other stuff I collect to give me a variety of texture. The debris is nothing more than Hirst Arts blocks that have been broken into smaler pieces with a hammer.

Glue everything down and it's ready for paint.

My Project Link: Bloodthirster Bloodbath


Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!

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AstoMag Issue 6 released


I just got an email this evening from Morgan over at The Astro Mag.
Looks like the word is out and spreading like wildfire...

The guys over at The Astro Mag just released Issue 6 of their quarterly 40k fan magazine. You can head over there to download it or grab your copy right here:

Download the PDF here



This issue looks to be full of all kinds of good stuff and I must confess, I've got a small tutorial in this one. I've been waiting for this issue to arrive for a long time now and I'm glad it's finally made it. Thanks Morgan for all the hard work on this one!


My little contribution is the tutorial for how I built an all plastic Imperial jetbike. Eventually I'll post the tutorial here, but for the mean time, you'll just have to download the magazine to see it.


Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!

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Learn your army AND the rules, 3 must do's


I'm always spouting off about how you need to learn your army. If you've read it once, you've probably read it a hundred times here.

This time, we're going to cover the rules.

The rules are there for a reason, no doubt about that. But these days, they're more of a framework for me than they are hard and fast laws to live by. I do agree with Col. Corbane when he posted that you should at least make an effort to learn the rules. He suffers from what is apparently a widespread disorder known as MES. Poor guy, I hope he pulls through it.

You see, the problem is this... it's not that there are tons of rules, it's just that some of them (the rules) aren't written as clearly as they need to be for certain kinds of players to get them through their thick skulls.

When I saw Arcadia Prime's post on The Inverse Law of Arguments Mattering, I sat there and weeped. I've actually seen people arguing like this. In fact, there were times when I was caught up in this very thing myself. It's part rules-interpretation, part thick-headedness.

These days, I don't argue over the rules anymore. There's two reasons for this. First, because of who I choose to play against. Gone are the games against opponents like this. Now I play against like-minded players. And second, because I'm too lazy to fight for a fraction of an inch anymore. Maybe I'm just getting older.

I do my part to know the rules just like every good player should though. I keep the big rulebook by my bed and occasionally flip through it at night before nodding off. I look at the pictures for the most part, but I do thumb through the front of the book where the actual rules are every now and then looking for loopholes like this.

I'm not even going to get into the myths and urban legends about 5th edition like Sons of Taurus has done here. That's another whole can of worms.

But I do like to stay at the top of my game you know. I'm actually so bad at remebering the rules (especially deployment), I've got to use my own cheat sheets. You would think that I would have the stuff memorized by now since I wrote the things up.

So I have a 3 "rules" recommendations for you readers...

1. Learn the rules, but don't look for loopholes.
2. Don't fight over a fractions of an inch.
3. And give your opponent what you would want from and opponent.

Don't get me wrong, rules are important, but the game is more than just the rules. There's a reason the first thing you see in the "rules' section is three paragraphs about the bigger picture and keeping things in perspective. There's a great quote by Skcuzzlebumm that I stumbled upon once that sums all this up and it goes like this...

"It's game about war, not war about a game."

I'm off to read my rulebook now.


Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!

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It's not the color black that's hard to paint


I was talking to someone the other week about painting and thought I might share part of our email exchange. What always seems to come up is how hard it can be to paint black armour.

I disagree completely. There is no color easier to paint.
The most difficult thing about painting a black armoured model is painting everything else on the model.

Here's what I mean.
Since black is at the far end of the spectrum, there is no more shading you can do to it. Add some highlights and that's it. But that's not much to do to a model is it? The real difference is in the details. Those are what carry the model and make it look convincing.

With just about any other color (except for white), you have the highlights and the shadowing to help make the model look convincing. With black, you don't have that range. You end up being forced to rely on the other details to bring the model to life. Scrimp on those and your model will look lifeless, no matter how well you paint his black armour.

But this is all discussion. Painting black armour can be easy to do really... just make sure you go back and paint all your details on your model afterwards if you really want it to work.
As for actually painting black armour though, here's what I do:


Prime and basecoat him black. The reason I basecoat him black after priming him black is so that when I go back to touch up any mistakes, the blacks match (sometimes pot paint and spray primers don't match exactly).

Of course I just finished a big post about trying other colors than black when it comes to priming but this would be the exception.


Add the first highlight to the edges you want. I do the majority of the hard edges on the model.


Add the second highlight to only the uppermost edges. I'll only pick out the high spots on the model for this highlight. For this example, I'm using a high contrast approach so you can see where I've highlighted the model a little better.


After you've got the highlights you want, you can go back and clean up the edges and really sharpen up the look of your highlights by taking your basecoat and going back around the edges of your highlights. This will give the model a real "finished" look when you're done. The top half of the photo is before cleanup, the bottom half is after cleanup.

Some people like high contrast, some like subdued, some like two highlights, some like just one... pick your colors and number of highlights as you see fit but the process remains the same.
I highlight certain areas only because I like the end result, where you choose to add or leave out your highlights will ultimately be a choice you make based on what looks good to you.

If you want to see how this (painting just his armour) ties in with painting the whole model and what gets done in what order, that tutorial can be found here.

And keep in mind, this isn't the only way to paint "black."


Fellow painter Tim Davis (The Vanus Temple) has a completely different method for painting black that involves the use of a dark grey undercoat and a series of washes which can be found right here.

This technique gets into using colors other than black and white to prime.


Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!

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A closer look at my friend's Ork army


Since I started posting about my somewhat regular Thursday night gaming, I've had a couple of requests come from those posts. One of those requests was for more pictures of the Ork Battlewagon seen in the first week's post.

The force belongs to one of the Old Timers that comes out on Thursdays. He's got thousands of points of Orks and these pics barely scratch the surface of all the stuff he's got.

So without any further delay...



Two more of his Battlewagons, one of them still under construction.
The rest of the pics below can be clicked on to see a larger version.








This little guy has taken up residence in the right sponson.
And perhaps the most impressive model, the Gargant.


I'm hoping to eventually spotlight all of the armies we use on Thursday nights... we've all got finished armies so there's plenty to choose from.
I can't tell you how nice it is to play against a fully painted army these days.


Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!

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Thursday night's Old Timer league, Jan. 21


Like all things, we start with grand plans.
I didn't get a game in this week. It probably doesn't help that I got there late. I did come prepared with a legitimate 400 point list this time for what it's worth. And we didn't do any greenstuff work either. Like I said, big plans.

We did talk about army tactics for a little while, but we get sidetracked easily and move from topic to topic quickly. It did get me thinking though and I'm working on a post about it.


We managed to attract a new "Old Timer" this week. This shot is of his tank just before he attempted to plow through the Orks in front of it. It didn't turn out too well for the guys in the tank... the Ork promptly obliterated it with a successful "Death or Glory" attack.
The pic at the top of the post inludes more of his tanks as well.


I did however to get a bunch of pics of the Ork army from last week's post since a handful of you guys asked to see more of it. I'm putting all of those together in a post all on it's own.

Next week we're planning on doing some gaming, simple basing and tank weathering. Hopefully we'll get something done this time around.

Check out the other Old Timer's League posts


Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!

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Priming: It's more than just black and white

One of the regular questions in the weekly FTW Blogger Spotlight is "What is your number one hobby tip?"
When I posted the FTW Blogger Spotlight on The Back 40k, here's the reply I got to that question from SandWyrm:

For the love of god, don't prime your models with black!!! I don't know how this stupid tradition got started, or why it lingers, but it's awful advice. Use white, gray, or brown instead. I use a brown wash over a neutral gray undercoat myself. The brown enhances details without sucking the life out of the colors you paint over it. Many people wonder how I get such a bright look to my army. That's how.


Image from The Back 40k

He's very passionate about this and for good reason, just look at his army and you'll see what using a color other than black can do. He's even posted a step by step on how he paints his tanks.
So, I figured I'd look into this idea a little more.

Like everyone else, I've always used black. Maybe it's just the color we all start with, who knows? The Painting Corps asked the questions once, What primer color is best? I'll be honest, using black makes it easy for me. Black always looks like a "shadow"and it makes it easier when you don't have to paint all the way down into all those recessed areas on the model... just leave them black and call it a shadow.

But that easieness comes at a cost. When you prime with black, it can take some of the life from your colors or increase the amount of work you have to do to get those bright colors you want back. For some of us, this is acceptable.
Just getting our armies painted beyond priming can be a struggle. Berks Warhammer 40k has got a great article on doing just that, getting your guys tabletop ready and a follow up artcile on finishing them off.


I will say that there are times when black is the color to use. Some paint schemes just lend themselves to using black.


Over the past year, I've done a tremendous amount of painting. I've made a conscious effort to use colors other than black when it comes to priming.
I first experimented with different colors when I painted my Lustwing army. For these guys, I went with a rich, redish brown color. In the end, it paid off in spades, giving the army a unique color and look on the tabletop. As for those wondering what that redish brown color looks like, it's the color of the trim around the edge of the base. I also kept the primer color as the base color too but that's another post.


My next real chance involved 20 Adeptus Custodes. These guys are all gold and using black as a primer would have been a disaster. Fortunately, my Client let me use a dark brown as the primer and basecoat for these guys and they turned out better than I thought they would.


When it came time to paint my current Deathwing army, I opted for a light grey primer and basecoat. Of course I tried a completely different painting style as well, but I don't think the army would have looked as good had I started with black primer.

I'm working on a Space Hulk commission right now and I'll admit that I was a bit worried at the idea of using something other than black to prime. I know it will make the models look better in the end, but could I pull it off effectively was the question. While I've done it before, it's still out of my comfort zone to some extent.
To this, I can only say give it a go. You'll never know until you try it out. The Genestealers don't look half bad so far.


UPDATE: Since this post is fairly old, I thought I might add a few more links to help expand on the material covered in this post:
Priming: Things to consider
Priming: The actual process I use when I prime my models


Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!

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