Building An Army

This web page is devoted to ideas on how to start acquiring your WH40K army, and how to build it up over time.

If you would like to add your opinion, please send email to the editor.


Adam Conus (a-adamc@microsoft.com) suggests:

When you are starting with a marine army, the plastic figs are great for everyday troopers, but for everything else pewter is going to be your only choice. You want to get a few heavy weapons for your marines. The devastator squads boxes are not a bad way to do this...take a look at the weapons you like and buy accordingly.


At least one Dreadnaught -- if you can get an old cheap one, great! If not, the new boxey dreads do look pretty cool, but tend to be rather pricey.

You'll want psyker figures, though at first just painting a regular marine different will do. Same with medics and techmarines. (I still don't own either, actually, but have some plastic guys painted up for use as medics and techies -- I have for years.)

You'll want to buy terminators...a squad of 5 will be a little pricey, but worth it on the tabletop. Most of your opponents will be afraid of them, and that's pretty cool.

I don't use vehicles much, but I would if mine looked better (they are really beat up). Vehicles are really up to you, certainly not a priority.

One last note...

If you can find used figures, that is a really great way to go. Ask your local hobby store proprietor (if you have one), he/she may be able to help. Pine-sol cleaner (or whatever equivalent you may have) is a half-way non-toxic way to remove nasty paint jobs from metal effectively. Just don't put plastic in it.

I have built a fairly good-sized army with the majority of the troops being bought used. I probably cut my costs in half.

Jason P. Rote (libjpr@acad2.ac.edu) suggests:

Probably your best bet is to try to find one of the original mk 6 marines boxes. It comes with enough pieces to make 2-3 squads of marines, and you can use the marines with missile launchers to group up in one squad to make a devastator squad.

You can also use the models in the box to create the characters you need (i.e. a commander, medic, chaplain, etc.). This should get you really close to 200 pts. including what you already have.

Note that you may want to get more which is what happens to all of us, so be careful. You may want to get some other heavy weapons besides missile launchers. While very good all-around weapons, there are other, more specialized weapons which suit certain purposes better. These are sold in blisters and cost around six dollars.

You may want to use some of the combat accesories to simulate power swords and chain swords, to get you an assault squad. Oh, the box I am talking about costs about $25. GW also makes a box of ten models for $10 (the 30-man box is out of production, and may be hard to get).

-- Commander Montoya of the Ultramarines

Luc Maillet (maillet@madres.cert.fr) says:

I would say you won't be able to field a half-effective army without buying about 20 metallic models as well as a set of plastic figures. [For a global price of about 30-40 english pounds, so this is not so steep a price to pay].

Suggested additions beyond the basic two tactical squads:

Once you've got those, you should have a 2000 pt force if you include wargear. Other additions might include:

Don't get an assassin (I.A. allies). You would not hear the end of the whining both at the gaming table and on the net :-)

As you see, you can build your army incrementally. I would suggest the dev. squad and the commander first, then the assault squad, then the psyker and terminators. Then, you will probably be addicted to miniature wargaming, and will buy the rest yourself :-)

[I know: I have a girlfriend. She doesn't play. I'm addicted to RPGs, miniatures, and Magic:tG, so this IS possible :-]

Cadet Paul Vencill (x52250d2@usma7.USMA.EDU) writes:

As an avid 40k player, I have to add some thoughts. I have been a marine player for years, and I have only used tactical marines once or twice (basically, just to see how they did). Generally, I have noticed that against a decent player they get totally housed. Instead, my usual mix is two assault squads w/ jump packs for each devestator squad. I also have at least one dreadnought to support the army, with perhaps two and some vehicles for larger battles.

My question for the other players is: why go halfway? It seems to me that tactical marines are the jacks-of-all-trades and masters of none. They lack the mobility of assault marines (and hand to hand ability) and they lack the firepower of devestator marines. While there is something to be said for striking a balance, I have always found that a balance of this sort is better achieved through weapons mixes in your dev squad, and through a mixture of squad types.

A similar argument can be made against the missile launcher as a choice of heavy weapon. It isn't nearly as good as a heavy bolter for killing troops, and it's nowhere near the firepower of a lascannon. Again, you have the potential to do both, but poorly. I figure in the case of heavy weapons, it's better to do one job impeccably than to try and do two ineffectively. The only weapon I've seen to do both well is the Assault Cannon, and then it's penetratioin against vehicles generally results more from the sheer number of hits than any inherent value of the penetration.

Just some thoughts for discussion, if I'm wrong I'd love to hear why.

-- Cadet Paul Vencill, West Point, NY

Last Updates
22 July 1996reformatted
16 April 1996reorganized
Comments or corrections?