Insider 10-6-2016

One of the most exciting aspects of miniature wargaming is the source material. The rich stories and vibrant characters of WARMACHINE and HORDES are one of the main reasons that people start playing. But when you sit down to build and paint your models, there’s no reason to assume the story stops and the game begins. As hobbyists, we have the power to continue the narrative and give it our own take as we see fit. In fact, in doing so we create a much more visually compelling army. Some of the most interesting and dynamic armies I’ve seen on the tabletop weren’t about technical proficiency in painting—they were about making that army unified and alive with storytelling.

Telling a story with miniatures starts with having a concept and theme you are interested in for your army. At this stage, you’re deciding on the setting and the visual character of your army, so it’s important to keep these elements unified across your models. A lot of the time this just entails choosing what sort of basing you wish to use and what color scheme you want to go with. You can draw inspiration for either of these elements from anywhere, and once you have, I recommend locating imagery that shares those themes so you can use them as easy reference for later. If you’re having trouble finding images, you can always draw out some rough sketches if that’s more to your liking. Remember that, while these decisions are very important, it’s even more important that you’re making the choices that get you motivated, even if that leads to you having to try techniques you haven’t attempted before.

Next, you will want to come up with a way to interpret the model to fit it into your concept. For me, when I like the pose of a model (which I often do), I try figuring out what that pose represents and how the model would be interacting with the world around it. If it’s a pose of a model casting a spell, for example, I do my best to work my interpretation of the spell effect into the model or base. If I want an alternative pose, then it’s a bit more fun, although a lot more work, because I can combine all the elements together to be a bit more dynamic. Being creative and having fun form an integral part of the hobby, so don’t let a good idea go just because you aren’t confident about how to make it work at the outset. You’ll feel your efforts were worth it every time your model hits the table.

Finally, it comes down to painting. Remember that regardless of your experience level in painting, you are still making important decisions that help breathe life into your army. Utilizing effects such as blood-splatter, rust, armor weathering, battle damage, glows, fire, and so on can make just as much of an impact as choosing not to use those effects. Experimenting and trial-and-error can go a long way, so if you feel an occasion calls for a particular effect, give it a shot! You’ll just be expanding and improving upon your hobby skill set, which is never a bad thing.

In the end, all of your choices are serving to better immerse you and your opponent in the game. Regardless of your skill level, you should never let inexperience stop you from exercising your creativity in this great hobby. Your army will stand out when you put in the time and effort to tell the story of your army. WARMACHINE and HORDES has a wonderful community of hobbyists and gamers who are never at a loss for advice and encouragement, so don’t forget to share your beautiful creations and hard work—we love to see it!