The call of Fantasy

It's always there, the pull to try out Fantasy.
I've always stuck to 40k and never thought about playing it until now. What with the new edition and everything. NockerGeek has got a post similar to this one I just stumbled across, where he highlights the reasons he won't be getting into the game as well.

But you know what's stopping me?
Aside from the cost?
To be honest, that's a big one, but even bigger than that is the thought of never playing against a fully painted army.

Image from Games Workshop

If I stop and think about all the Fantasy armies I've ever seen outside of Games Day or the ones seen on the internet as some hobbyist's modeling/converting project... not one has been fully painted.
Why would I do that to myself?
Why would I kill myself to get my army all painted up so I can spend the rest of my gaming life trying to find the magic in looking across the table at barely assembled and primered models?

I get it, it's "Fantasy," but they shouldn't be talking about seeing a completely done army across the table should they? That's got to get old... playing against primered (incomplete) armies all the time. I know it does for me and that's just with 40k.

I have enough trouble finding 40k armies that are fully painted to play against and those armies don't have anywhere near as many models on the table. If it's hard to find someone who'll paint ten tactical Marines, it's got to be impossible to find someone who'll paint 50 or 60 little rats. I don't care how much you streamline the painting process either, it's a ton of work.

Kinda sad really.
Who knew a fully painted army would be so tough to find?

Note: I'd like to thank everyone for the adult-like discussion that has ensued because of this post. I don't post things like this to drum up comments or start any kind of blog war. We all can get enough of that as it is. Thanks for keeping things civil folks and voicing your opinions.

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!


  1. It's sad that there aren't a lot of fully painted armies in your area, or that you haven't run across them in your travels. We have quite a few out this way (North Carolina). Heck, I've got two myself! Maybe you could start a Fantasy army and begin a new local trend!


  2. Fantasy players are just as likely to paint as 40K players. Here - enjoy some fully painted armies from last years Adepticon.

  3. It's been my experience that 40K armies aren't any more likely to be fully painted than Fantasy armies.

  4. A friend of mine who doesn't like to paint, but likes to play (40k) plays Nids... not the greatest of choices. But he at leasts primed them all with a glossy autobody paint then painted all their claws and carapace.
    I don't think there's anything wrong with playing non-painted armies if you enjoy playing the game. My suggestion would be finding someone or a store w/ an extra army and trying it out. If you like the game, whether your opponent's painted or not shouldn't matter. (And my LGS actually puts a minimum on # of colours for anyone entering their tournaments - not that I agree with that because 3 colours slapped on is going to look worse than a primed army)

    That said, if playing other people to see what they've created is a big draw for you (which, really, is a great reason to go out and play strangers) then the investment in a whole new system might not be worth it.

  5. Haha, I agree entirely. I have to beg and plead my friends to paint their 40k armies. It also doesn't help that they would rather have two different armies than one painted army and once you have two armies it's twice as unlikely that you'll start painting them.

  6. yeah I dont get this Ron, proportionally it seems to me that that are more painted fantasy armies than unpainted when applied to total pool of player in each game. I'm sure that just my own skewed vision of my local scene as you have with yours.
    Hell around here there isnt a 40K RTT with a paint requirement all year, other than Adepticon. While there are at least 6 I can think of for WFB outside Adepticon with Full Paint reqs that draw 30-60 people. Great events lead to painted armies period, obviously the WFB scene in your area is lacking. FTW has had such a motivational impact on many in terms of hobby, that branching out to other systems would only in time, do the same for them. Don't let your own success with 40k hold you back..go with your gut!. Keep up the great work!.

  7. I am actually MORE motivated to paint my Fantasy army than my 40k army. More Fantasy tournaments require painting than 40k, at least in my area. Plus, the army looks that much more better, especially with a horde army, when it is fully painted.

  8. I'm awful for not getting around to painting, but I'd never subject others to my laziness. While I've not got much of a problem with playing unpainted armies in casual games at home with friends I'd not show up and a shop/club with an unpainted force.

    However as my main 40k force is now almost painted I don't feel to worried about starting a Fantasy force. This time I've promised myself that I'll be good, diligent, and paint as I go along. Honest I will...

  9. I enjoy painting more than playing. Thus I have a lot of fully painted armies that I don't play. (Except for FoW which is fully painted and fully played - and 9/10 FoW armies across from me are fully painted.)

  10. A friend of mine hosted a tournament for his local group and friends, with a small prize ($30 gift card at the FLGS). The only requirement was that -everything- had to be painted. If it wasn't painted it wasn't going onto the table. The points were from 500 to 1500. You fielded what you had painted. So if your opponent had 900pts painted you both played a 900pts game.

    2 months later the tournament started, and everyone had stuff painted to at least a table top standard. And I guess most of the guys, that before this played with mostly unpainted armies, got over the treshold of painting the rest – properly.

    Something to consider if you're experiencing that your local gaming group is slow or hesitant to put a brush to their armies.

    My orks got beaten by space puppies in the first round >_< But the good part of that was that the guy playing the space puppies had 1250 points painted in those two months!

  11. Dude you gotta move to Vancouver or some place where they frickin' care. In Vancouver almost all tournaments are fully painted armies only. GW may have changed their policy but the local store I go to has a fully painted and based minis only in the store on their tables policy.

    I busted my ass getting 1500 points on to the table the first week, then almost went crazy painting 55 goblin mercenaries the next week for the campaign.

    It's true sometimes things are more done than others, but in general though no one puts as much effort into their army as me, the opposition army was definitely painted. Conversions are rarer in fantasy though.

    In Vancouver we're also having a builder challenge. You have to paint approximately 250 points a month. I think I'm the only one already done my August portion, but then again I was unemployed and just painted goblins for an entire week. Well a lot of the week.

    That said 40K is more popular in Vancouver and I hadn't played Fantasy for over 11 years until I got talked into taking part in a Mighty Empires Campaign. I think 40K is mo' betta, but Fantasy guys paint their stuff, at least in Vancouver at the stores and tournaments I go to.

    Here is a battle report from games 2 & 3 of my Nurgle Daemon Army, which admittedly was painted mainly to use in 40K...

  12. I have got to agree with earlier post. I do not think it has to do with the size of army. It more has to do with the player.

    They are either gonna paint or not. I do not think the number of models is anything other than an excuse not to paint. I understand the desire to play against painted armies. For me I would rather have a good game against an unpainted army, than a bad game against a tool who took the time to paint.

  13. In this particular instance, I'm on the other side of the issue - one of my points for why I don't play Fantasy is that I don't think I could get an army painted in time. I'm used to playing against unpainted armies, since most of my friends are just getting into the hobby, but I like having my own armies painted. I'm just now nearing completion on getting my Tau painted, though, and I have 2000 or more points of CSM to paint next. If I added a Fantasy army (especially something with many figs, like Skaven), I wouldn't have them painted for another couple of years! :D

    Also, thanks for the link! I've been enjoying the conversations I've been having with people about my Fantasy aversion. :)

  14. Thank you for setting-up the Fantasy section of FTW. You said you were going to do a post about the new Fantasy group, and I was looking forward to it; and then this is what you post. Wow.

    I'm not just disappointed you chose not to start a new army project, (that's your choice, it IS expensive), but the smug & condescending way you just dismissed everybody who plays the game made me a little nauseous.

  15. I agree with Mr.Esty! I understand that your area obviously isn't great when it comes to painting armies up, but please don't use that as an excuse to bring down a game that many of us love just as much as 40K.

    Fantasy is an awesome game, very different to 40K, but its historical depth is just as immense.

    I go to a regular gaming club in the UK and all of the Fantasy armies there are fully painted, yet there are a great deal of unpainted 40K armies. Does that say anything about the games in general? Of course not, it's down to the individual. Some people like to test-drive their miniatures, trying out different units before deciding on their final core force - thus being able to paint up the essential troops first.

    Maybe if you got an army painted up, other WFB players in your area might be inspired to paint theirs too!

    I for one can't wait to get my nasty little Skaven from the IOB boxed game and - I admit it! - spend an eternity painting them before I ever get them onto the battlefield. That feeling of fielding a wonderfully painted army after so long working on it is priceless, as is the smug satisfaction you get when they outshine their Chaos-Black-sprayed opponents!

  16. Thanks for the comments guys.

    Mr.Esty: I appreciate your honest comment. Thank you.
    This is not the post about the new Fantasy section for FTW. That will go up in the coming weeks. Please don't mistake this as that post.

    As for not starting a new project. It is mainly a matter of money and in a small part, my local gaming scene. I simply do not have the money or the oppoents to justify starting a Fantasy army.

    I think some of the other commentors hit the nail on the head... it's not the army as much as it is the player (40k or Fantasy).

    In my area, I don't know a single person with a fully painted Fantasy army and of the ones I do know that play 40k, I can count on one hand the number of them that have fully painted and complete armies.

    This post does not dismiss all Fantasy players. If it dismisses anyone, it's those players who "can't find the time" to finish their army regardless of what system they play.
    I would love to see a fully painted Fantasy army outside of pictures on the internet or at Games Day. Knowing what it takes get an army "complete," I appreciate their effort more than a complete 40k army for the sheer volume of work involved.

    It's a matter of what's important to you as a gamer. For me, playing against another fully painted army is important. I'd be lying if I said otherwise.

    As a generalisation, with my gaming experiences, I've found that people with fully painted armies reflect a certain kind of gamer that is not out for the win all the time and is generally looking to enjoy the afternoon more than they are looking to win at all costs.

    If anything, I can see where my opinions of what is important and what I look for in an opponent might make you nauseous. I understand that I am limiting myself, but like I said, in my experience, those games against players with complete armies have been much better than the ones against people who can never get around to simply painting their force.

  17. The best way to get started in Fantasy and have a nice painted army is to have a group using the Warband expansion rules.

    Starting out at 250 or so points and adding 100 points per week, is a great way to use your minis, and gives incentive to get painting done.

    Great for game stores with weekly sales and is not as tough on the wallet as buying a huge army all at once, also great for getting used to new rules and for younger players that might get burned out on painting, with no game time.

    There were expansion or warband rules on GW website.

    Santa Cruz Warhammer

  18. I have to say, I have a small (c.1500pts) Empire army that I work on occasionally:

    1) It's easier to base simply (static grass!)
    2) It's given me some good breaks from the dirge of painting literally hundreds of green, painfully uniform guardsmen;
    3) Some of the models are really fun to paint (war priest; cannon)...


    1) The cost of expanding the army (and buying the new rulebook) is abhorent (even though I now spend next-to-nothing on 40K);
    2) I'm not as yet convinced that I like the rules, and
    3) The Empire state troop models are horrid to paint: a real time sink with loads of pointless, fiddly details that are - quite frankly - poorly designed for the casting.

    And so, the Empire army of Drax makes occasional and very very slow progress!

    - D.

  19. In fantasy you can get away with lowering your painting standard as long as you do a good job on the front rank, banners and such, and base it with a custom movement tray. I have to admit when I painted my first horde last month I was really proud of myself.

    It doesn't rank up perfectly, but I'm working on a fix for that. My second horde ranks up fine. These big blocks of troops look really good on the table.

    See, plus rank and file fantasy models generally never go out of the army list, if anything they are dreaming up crazy big plastic kits to make nowadays for fantasy as most of the core troops are already in plastic.

  20. Nothing is wrong with an unpainted army, to a point of course. I love the fact that my friends have all painted their armies, I never used unpainted models when I started and we played 500 point games many times. Personally painting is a very important part of the hobby and anyone can primer, foundation and wash. On a marine that looks good, on a dwarf warrior it looks good on a genestealer it looks good. How hard is that? And its fun to do that creative part. If you dont like to paint DnD minis as a game is what is for you.

    That being said I agree with Ron fantasy armies are large and if you play a horde army prepare to spend at least a year painting.

  21. There's a lot of renewed interest in Fantasy right now, you even felt some of that yourself. I didn't post a comment to be a troll, but I feel painting/modeling should be encouraged when there is a buzz, not discouraged. I felt like your remarks were disparaging (to say the least).

    It's one thing to have a preference to play somebody with a fully painted army (I'm in Vancouver, so that's the only kind I see), that's my preference too. It is quite another thing make broad generalizations and say nobody paints their armies so you're not going to have anything to do with the game.

    I think you are in a highly visible position, and considering all the good you've done for the modeling aspect of the hobby, this post in sharp contrast was quite irresponsible.

  22. Mr.Esty: I agree there's a rebirth in Fantasy now and the draw to start the game for me is stronger than ever these days.

    I think you may benefit from an environment that is opposite of the one I am in.
    I am jealous.

    You seem to have painted armies as the norm where it is the exception around me. What you consider common and perhaps take for granted, I consider a luxury and see as the exception to the rule.

    I'd love to play Fantasy, but it's not going to happen. Do I think all Fantasy players play unpainted armies, no. Do I think the majority of Fantasy players play with unpainted/unfinished armies, yes (not including those trying new units or who are actually making progress towards a finished army).

    I think the same goes for 40k.

    In my area, it's even rare for me to see a fully painted Hordes/Warmachine army and those have even fewer models than 40k does.

    To me, it's an indicator of the player and what is important to them. I wish it (painted armies)was as big a part of my gaming area is it appears to be in yours.

    Side note: Thank you everyone for the comments.
    I didn't think this would get the response it would and I appreciate the civility here. I've received a number of emails from folks too.

  23. Ahh yes the call...
    The last Dark Elves Release made me feel this call and I bought a whole slew of models I wanted to paint... but they are going slowly.

    I worked out exactly why this is however, it isn't the lack of painted armies locally (my FLGS has a roughly 50/50 split of painted/unpainted armies for 40k and fantasy). Rather the lack of drive for me to finish is that most of my customers want 40k or other sci-fi stuff done, and I tend to lean more towards guns and power weapons than towards bows and swords.
    On top of that after painting so many power-armoured minis, a whole army of mostly flesh toned witch elves is just plain daunting. Still I chip away a little at a time. The trick is to put a few in you painting case so when you need a break from one colour set you can take some out and paint them instead.

    It is kind of a hard call to make, but rationally deciding to not spend money on something like this is a good starting point. For me the decision was made when I was given a stack of gift vouchers and decided I didn't need any more 40K armies. At the time it seemed like a good choice as it still is, I am liking that I can steadily watch it grow as I assemble and paint one unit at a time. This way I can't field an army for a game until they are all done.

    At the end of the day you have to decide what you enjoy more. If it isn't the urge to just collect and you enjoy one system over another I would say stick with it.

  24. I'd like to share my point of view on the matter, since it's almost opposite from Ron's. Someone may have already said the same- I had to be lame and skip over the comments so I can get to bed.

    The gaming scene where I'm from is this: In general, newer players play 40k. IN GENERAL, newer players have fewer painted models due to less time in the hobby, and have inferior painting skills due to less practice. (I fall into this category).

    Veteran players play 40k and Fantasy, but play more Fantasy as they prefer the game system. They have more armies, with more painted models, and those models are painted to a higher standard. In our local tournaments, the best looking armies are to be seen at the fantasy tables. On clubs' gaming days, if you see a completely painted, gorgeous army, it's most likely a fantasy army. If you see an army that has been primed for months or years without paint, it's likely a 40k army.

    There are, of course, exceptions to this. There are some veteran gamers who prefer 40k, and they're armies are fully painted and look stunning. Also, the 40k armies at the last tourney were all fully painted as well, and most looked pretty good! (fantasy armies in the tourney still looked better on average though).

    That's just how things are around here. The guys who have been in the hobby the longest tend to prefer the rules for Warhammer Fantasy, and so put most of their energy and painting skills into their fantasy armies.

  25. I'm just on the other side of the converting-to-fantasy border to you Ron, I've just been and bought the rules after many many years of only 40K/Fantasy ignorance.

    Regarding unpainted armies I see everyone's points that it can be just as common across any games system - only my Blood Angels have ever been a 100% painted force, I can't bring myself to play with my own unpainted minis (must be at LEAST base coat red), although have no real objections to having to face off against it apart from that it can occasionally spoil the illusion of the 'realness' (for want of a better word).

    Anyway, regarding fantasy I'm heading for Warriors of Chaos, but only (strictly only) on a 'buy one, paint one' basis. I'm hoping to get a couple of other 40k'ers in on it too and we can progress to fully painted forces Tale of Four Gamers style, at least that way we can face off vs each other and always avoid an enemy grey plastic horde!

  26. I recall, many years ago, playing at a store or in a tournament with a clever way of dealing with the painted/unpainted problem; if your unit was unpainted you can still use it, but you suffer a negative modifier. Can't remember what it was exactly (-1 on all rolls or something), but it meant that while people could get their force on the field quickly there was a distinct advantage to getting them painted up as well.

    Actually, given that I'm getting into Fantasy at the same time as a small group of fellow 40k players I might suggest that to them.

  27. I also feel it is more of a personal thing rather than directly related to WHFB. At the same time I do have to admit that those armies do tend to be a few steps bigger than the average 40K force.

    The simple fact that WHFB just feels to take place on an entirely different scale (40K is skirmish-level and WHFB more battelion battle) and with large regimental blocks also makes it quite a bigger investment of cash and time to make a sizable army. This is particularly true if you want to make something a bit more unusual.

    At the same time, based on my own experience with WHFB back in the day, simple seeing your force group with blocks at a time is even more rewarding than adding that extra squad or vehicle to a 40K force. Unfortunately all the lining up, numbering, movement trays and mini-diorama one can (and I certainly always did) add to an army it does take tons of time. And no offense intended to anybody who is just there to have a fun game with an unpainted army, it does sting a little bit to have your own shiny army (at least in your own opinion anyway) face off against a big block of grey time and time again.

    No of course not everybody has the time, desire and talent to turn an army into a masterpiece, but a bit of effort and progression over time would be ace. I used to play with a small group of friens who were really into 40K and only did WHFB on the side, which led to all of there armies staying grey, metal or just undercoated for years as why (poorly) painted Bretonnian army steadily grew over 2,5 years.

  28. I have to admit I can be guilty of the half painted army. I found the best way to get around it was to play escalating battles. Start with 500pts and slowly work your way up. That way i'm not too intimidated by the large amount of painting to be done

  29. I don't paint anywhere near as much as I should... But when I played Fantasy (many years ago) I found it easier to paint up stuff for that game than for 40K.

    More of the textures were easy to paint quickly and well (with washes and drybrushing) - like fur and skin - and the more regimented nature of the models made for easier speed painting - both because the poses and equipment were more similar and because they're more likely to be designed to fit together.

    I used to play Skaven, and I'm seeing good things in the massive rules overhaul of 8th... I'm tempted to give it another go.

  30. In my area, there are tons less Fantasy players than 40k, so most of those players are pretty dedicated to the game and they paint up pretty often.

    That said, I won't be getting into Fantasy either, mainly for the same reasons. The cost is too high, the armies are entirely too big for me. The size of the army means I won't be fielding a painted army and I won't feel like my army is actually relevant to whatever might actually be happening since everything is pretty much fodder. I prefer skirmish, intimate settings, etc. 40k is the largest I'll play, I think.

    Honestly, it's felt to me that Fantasy, and to a degree 40k, was built to get as many models on the table as possible and not necessarily to create a great game system. Anyways, no Fantasy for me, either.

  31. So in conclusion, Vancouver painters and gamers rule!

    Take that Austin!

    Oh although there are some nice Fantasy armies out there, the nicest armies are generally 40K ones at the tournaments and cons I've been too. The fantasy armies look great in their big blocks with the banners and all. Sometimes they have one or two standout models, but for conversions and lavishing effort onto every single bit of every single model, 40K is where it is at. I've been working on my Chaos Space Marine army for over 15 years and it still isn't done. My army for Astronomi-con Vancouver isn't even done, but I did paint another square base model, because, I need it to play in the campaign this weekend.

    Builder and or Mighty Empires Campaigns are good incentives to paint and develop your army. 1500 points of Nurgle Daemons is less than 50 models, of course they were all metal... Now 50 goblins that's like 150 points... I've painted both and I think my goblin army is a better potential army, more fun, more unique, but the daemons are easier to get on the table and even if they lose, they look good doing so.

    Here is my latest efforts. One thing I think you can do to get more painting done, is spend less time online, and blogging your progress seems to help too.


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