Armies on Parade 2017: Warhammer 40k
Last week, Warhammer Redhouse hosted the Age of Sigmar Armies on Parade, and not to be outdone, the contestants showed up for this week’s 40k AOP. And boy, was it some great competition.
First up, we have Harrison Horkin’s entry. A very cute riff off the latest Guardian’s of the Galaxy movie, he also won the Youngblood’s award this week.
He shows a lot of creativity, and I like how his character selections run the gamut of AOS and 40k kits. While a dryad might have been an easy choice for Groot, the witch elf for Gamorra was a great call, and MARY POPPIN’S Y’ALL!
Next, we move to his dad’s entry (I hope I got that right). Jason Horkin’s army was another good snapshot moment, with the forces of the Tau split between the loyalists and Farsight’s followers in a Civil War.
His stuff was really neatly painted, and deserved the best first army. And I have to say, I love the fact that a family got to take part in Armies on Parade together. I’m always big on growing the community and getting mutual interests, so it’s great that they probably bonded over minis. Emotionally, not from superglue or something.
You’ve seen Leopold’s stuff last week, where he won the Youngblood and best first army. He hasn’t finished his second, Skitarii Army yet, but he has a very creative story and workaround to his challenge.
His story is simple and gripping, and the use of the empty space is great too. It’s also cool that he continued working on his board until the very end, adding minis as he completed them in the store.
The last of the Youngbloods/First armies is Darril’s Thousand Sons. Unfortunately he came late, so his board was out to the side, which might have prevented more voters from viewing his army. His Magnus is GREAT, and I also wish I painted like him when I was 15. His Magnus is pretty damn solid (would’ve given Leopold a run for his money last week), and his minis have a good blood-on-snow theme going on. That being said, I am absolutely torn between loving and hating his board. One could pitch a fit and go ‘WHAT HIS BOARD IS LITERALLY A STYROFOAM COVER’, but on the other hand, I give him total props for a great creative idea during what must have been a huge time crunch.
Next, we have Daniel’s Last Chancers. Taken off the book of the same name, we have the team that starred in the story. There’s quite a bit of detail in the terrain, like the injured guy in the terrain, and (would you believe it) Gollum hanging out in the pond in the middle.
Shaun’s first parade of the Knight’s Cerulean is a great, crisp demonstration on how an airbrush can achieve some such smooth transitions. I also like his choice of blue. It’s one that’s rarely seen on Space Marines, and with the bazillion successor chapters I don’t think there’s such a thing as a ‘correct’ or ‘wrong’ colour scheme to an army, especially if you pull it off well.
One thing I will say is that the composition did work slightly against him. With Guilliman’s back to the viewer, it was tough to see the detail on his face. Rotating the display 90 degrees to allow a side view of both the marines and Guilliman would have probably helped. Also, there was a bit of a disconnect between the crisp blue and the mud of the parade ground. Even a little bit of mud dusted around their boots would have helped.
Mike Clark’s Wardens of the Vault of Rython was a great, thematic entry. With the Custodes assaulting Prospero, it’s only fitting that his minis go traipsing down an Egyptian themed board (complete with obelisks and huge pyramid in the background). It’s also only fitting that he won Best Theme.
Mike’s army is replete with subtle conversions, reposes and detail. For one thing, as someone who tried it before, I KNOW how hard it is to hack a board such that your model fits into it as nicely as his. He also didn’t need to spend extra time to damage the pillars on his board, but he went to the trouble to hack it up and insert ‘rebar’ into them. He even had lilypads in his ponds! I don’t think he’ll ever forget all the questions of where the frog was though.
Nic’s army (as usual) is a great showing. Considering how Starcraft 2 multiplayer going is free to play, maybe it was a good time for him to showcase his Sarah Kerrigan facing down the Tyranid hordes.
It’s amazing how much he did in such a short time, and the height of his board, together with the pulsating glow of his nid creep sacs (?) definitely drew the viewer in to appreciate his board as a whole, which won him both best board and the coveted best painted.
So what about me? I did win Monsters and Machines for Arachne, my Heretek Knight. Unfortunately my board, Assuming Direct Control, lost out to Nic’s Starcraft Board by one vote right at the end, which really was a good learning experience.
The biggest learning experience came to me right at the end. Forgive me if I butcher the remark, but essentially someone said ‘if you submitted all our stuff for individual competitions, you’d win hands down. Altogether though? It’s too much.’ It’s really hit home to me. And it’s entirely possible. I’ve been painting my army for two whole years, and the temptation to showcase EVERYTHING probably proved too strong for me to resist, even though removing some models (maybe some of the small troops and kataphron ball sacs for example) could have helped with the composition.
The second thing is that me and Mike fell into the same trap; we put so much work into things that may not ever be noticed. I mean, most of the passers by did enjoy my board, but only the people who knew a decent amount of GW models would stop and try to figure out where my models came from, and then appreciate the conversions. I think I had to lean over and mention that my models were totally converted a few times, and Mike was in a similar position, with his needing to point out some conversions to even me (I’m not good with my Imperium fluff). It’s ironic that the what makes well-made conversion is that no one notices; everyone thinks it’s supposed to come like that.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to go almost full kitbash all the time, it’s like 80% of why I’m into the hobby nowadays. But I guess it’s only fair that I do it without the expectation that passers-by notice them.
Next? While Assuming Direct Control had a lot of meaning to me personally, I think my story was a little bit hard to get, considering all viewers had to understand my army was the quote on my plaque. All three other armies who were main contenders for best painted had much more direct themes. Mike’s Custodes board was clearly set on Prospero. Nic’s, even if people didn’t get the Starcraft spin, had the universal trope of outgunned human facing down and alien horde. Even Shaun’s successor chapter had a write up to explain ‘no these aren’t Ultra Marines that’s why the blue is different’.
These guys are heretical Ad Mech. You know the rumor that the Omnissiah residing in Mars may actually be a Necron C’tan? So my army went to another Necron tomb world to try to find clues if this was true or not. The other trapped C’tan in that other tomb world is too weak to escape its prison (since the whole world is built to keep it in check) so it gives the Ad Mech technology and secrets to break through/destroy the tomb world in order to free itself, and to corrupt the Ad Mech, which is why my Ad Mech is so Dark Mech and Heretek.
As a passion project, my army was something that meant a lot to me. But considering how I had to explain to every voter I could who wanted to know what was going on tells me, on hindsight, that most didn’t get my theme or army. My mix of parts (Ad Mech, Necron, Nid, Dark Eldar, Orks and others) and the fact that nothing was recognizably GW probably didn’t help at all either.
Last learning point? It’s AMAZING how close all our armies were in terms of best painted. It literally came down to the last guy coming in and voting for Nic. And apparently if he’d voted for Shaun we’d have a three-way tie. Which goes to show how competitive our 40k painting scene is, and how important an understandable story is. While I think Best Painted could maybe have gone to me, Shaun or even Mike, in the end it went to Nic’s better composed board, with a good story.
Oh, and don’t EVER believe that your vote doesn’t matter.
Well, that wraps up this year’s Armies on Parade! I’ll be returning to my first love, Orks, and I fully expect to see even more competition next year! Heck, if the community continues to improve like this, I may not even be able to win anything next time! So join, paint, and vote next year!
PS: I apologize for the bad iPhone pictures. I’ll be sending up better photos of my armies on parade board soon, promise! Until then, here’s some pictures of my Knight, and the C’tan breaking free.
Thank you for this great write up, especially highlighting the learning experiences, which I totally agree with.
Thanks too for showing my Last Chancers display. But I do also feel that no one understood the story behind it – the Last Chancers were on search and rescue mission for the missing soldiers but were in turn hunted by the Predator.
It was great fun and I am looking forward to next year. And I truly love the Ctan breaking free model!
Yeah… I guess we both have the same learning points to draw from… just because the story is obvious to us doesn’t mean that the story is obvious to everyone else! :p