Warhammer - New Year, New Army: Your First 1000 Points
Beginning Warhammer 40k isn’t the easiest choice for a New Year’s Resolution, but it’s among the most fun options! As we touched on last time, here, it’s been half a decade since I touched the sci-fi side of Games Workshop’s offerings, and I’m taking a deep dive back in by way of Ash Waste-inspired Adeptus Mechanicus. This time, we’re putting theory into practice, as I go through my thoughts on planning, purchasing, and assembling a chunk of my first 1000 points. That said, these tips can be put towards any modeling hobby, from Age of Sigmar to other systems, and I hope my experiences will be able to help inspire you to take your own hobby journey in 2024! Without further ado, let’s get into Step 1: Planning.
I recommend starting your planning stage by setting up an ‘Army Concept’, what you’re looking to get out of the project, hobby-wise, and what the endgoal is. I knew I wanted to challenge myself with a difficult faction, wanted to push my modeling abilities (by integrating plastic & resin, and using wood for basing), while retaining that full-conversion feel. I settled on Admech in part because of my nostalgia; I started right at the same time Tyranids got their 5th edition plastic range, and doing insectoids by way of Necromunda kits was both familiar & exhilarating territory. I also knew that Admech specifically had a reputation for being difficult, and bad in the current edition, and I make a point to start armies at their lowest point, to force myself to learn a game from the worst possible position.
For me, another part of pursuing a full conversion was to save costs, as Admech are among the most expensive armies across any miniature game to collect. I knew I wanted to use the entire model range, being the War Parties (Easy Skitarii Battleline conversions), Helamites (Serberys), and a ton of their resin characters. The true ‘eureka’ moment came, however, upon realizing what potential a non-Tyranid insectoid army presented: Using the Sylvaneth’s Spite range. I could use the Spiteriders as bases for my Ironstriders/Dragoons, their leftover wings for Pteraxii, and even Belthanos’ bug as an Onager. The opportunities for conversion seemed limitless, and the new Codex for 10th edition provided the perfect detachment for this force — the Skitarii Hunter Cohort.
So with my brainstorming done, I knew I needed to plan around Raiders, Troops, Ironstriders, and some Pteraxii. That all seemed feasible, until I got to Step 2: Purchasing.
For the vast majority of Warhammer armies, it is highly advisable that you seek out “value boxes” (sometimes referred to as bundles) — these have historically been Start Collecting(s), Holiday Boxes, Boarding Patrols, and currently Combat Patrols & Vanguard Boxes. In general, you’re saving ~30% of the total individual models’ cost by buying them in these combined boxes, although value varies based on year of production, and faction. In the case of some, this means you’ll be eagerly purchasing 3 bundles and calling it a day, while with other armies, you might find yourself reluctant to purchase even 1.
Flipside Gaming has an excellent Ebay store that I made use of to purchase a lot of my kits, and at first it appeared I was saving myself a decent chunk of change! For my 1000pt list, MSRP placed it at $830, high even for a 40k army, and through conversions this dropped to a mere $344.02 (...still high). One thing you’ll learn very quickly about total conversions and competitive mindsets, however, is that they don’t mix well — my gut feeling pushed me towards forcing the whole army to be as close to the original models as possible, guns especially. This is generally known as “What You See is What You Get”, or WYSIWYG for short…and there’s no worse feeling than spending over $100 on bits, just to reach that point. It also meant it was unavoidable to purchase 1-3 Skorpius Duneriders, as my faction’s transport had a unique ‘footprint’, or space occupied on the table, and without a base it would be nearly impossible to replicate.
This is often where your path as a hobbyist will diverge from mine, as my hubris forced me to make this a lot more challenging than it needed to be — for most people, building as intended is just fine, and even encouraged in 10th! Wargear is always free, meaning you can fully kit out your squads unlike in the past.
That said, nearly all my worries went away as soon as I got to Step 3: Assembling. I had a long weekend due to New Year’s, and I knew I wanted to spend a chunk of it on hobbying. I started by assembling most of a Dunerider, as bigger models tend to come together much quicker, and provide a great entry into a night of slouching over little plastic figures. Next, I started batching — I put together 40 total torso+head assemblies for my War Parties, knowing it would be arduous but necessary. I don’t actually have all the guns for my troops that I need, which meant compartmentalizing what I could do, and moving forward.
Next, I decided to tackle two birds with one stone, being the Pteraxii and Ironstriders. I got every dragonfly body assembled and cleaned-up, removing the necessary Sylvaneth iconography and wood, as well as forming their wings into single pieces, for mounting on the Pteraxii. Next, I worked on the birdmen themselves, getting their entire assembly together, and performing a simple headswap to Nomads. For my Infiltrators later, I’ll be using the spare bodies from Helamites, and their dish heads, meaning I knew through planning that I’d have enough AWN heads for my Pteraxii. The last thing I needed to do was simply mount the wing assemblies onto their backs, and put some masking tape on the flying stands (to preserve the clear effect while priming, later).
This was also my first foray into Resin in years, which I needed for my Skitarii Marshals, and part of my Callidus conversion. I assembled the Marshals very simply, by swapping in Archaeotech pistols for their empty hands, but the Callidus was a more nuanced affair. Like with a lot of popular kits, the Callidus hasn’t been in stock at GW’s website for 8 months, meaning conversion was a necessity, not a choice. I began by taking an Escher Death Maiden as my base, using their specialized pistol to represent the Callidus’ Neural Shredder, and took a spare claw from my Nomad Alpha to form its Phase Sword. Adding in some braids and a veiled mask, and posing with a similar dynamic posture meant that anyone I asked at my local store could know at a glance: This was an assassin.
As a treat, I also got the three single characters I’d be using in my 1k primed, so I can slowly start to test my paint scheme on them throughout the week. Below is a group photo of all my work this past weekend, and I’d say it isn’t shabby! Once my weapon bits come in, I’ve got to finish up ~25 more Skitarii, and get everything else fully converted, and I’ll have my 1k!
Ideally, I want to start jamming games as soon as I have my 1k in any semi-reasonable state, but the great news is that 2k isn’t that unattainable. Not only will I have plenty of extra Ironstrider bodies, I also have Ambulls aplenty for if Kastelans get good, and Arthromites for an eventual 6-man of Breachers. This army is certainly shaping up, and I’m beyond excited to start getting reps in.
I hope you were able to glean some inspiration from my dive into New Year, New Army! I’m excited to provide insight into future development, and start getting into painting these buggy boys! What else might you want to know about NYNA? Let me know any thoughts you have in the comments below!