I was going to come up with a more concise title, but that didn’t feel on brand for me or for a post talking about Warhammer 40,000, so I went with one that feels pretty on brand for a game that gives us titles like “Necromunda: The Aranthian Succession – The Vaults of Temenos” or “Liber Mechanicum: Forces of the Omnissiah Army Book.” Okay, one of those is a Horus Heresy book, but they were the longest books when I turned around to look at my book shelf. There are longer, but I’m lazy.
This post is not about books.
It’s about what we wargamers / miniature collectors / hobbyists colloqually call “the pile of shame.” Some try to call it a pile of opportunity, or pile of opportunity, but they’re kidding themselves, we all know. All of us buy more models and miniatures than we will ever be able to play with or field or paint even if we managed to gain immortality or the kind of money that means you never have to worry about working again. Of course, seemingly, the problem with that money, if the current world is any indication and we haven’t managed to get the guillotines out yet, is that getting that much money only seems to make you want to get more money, burn the world, and screw over as many other people as possible. See… well, all of the billionaires.
Anyway, tangent aside, I’ve got a stupid amount of unfinished models and a stupid amount of games that I won’t ever play. I’ve already got a habit of jumping into a game, never playing it, and getting rid of the game when I finally give up. I’ve written here about Fallout Wasteland Warfare, which I’ve since sold off completely. I’ve also picked up, and sold off, multiple Warhammer 40k armies, Warhammer Age of Sigmar armies, and whole tabletop games (Conquest, Star Wars Armada, Blood Bowl).
Decision making in this realm may not be my strong suit.
There has been a pretty consistent line throughout all of it, though, and that’s my Blood Angels army that kicked off me getting back into Warhammer when the pandemic started and I was stuck inside, and has been around as the Pandemic continued but we have pretended it ended and I just stayed inside. My vampire boys weren’t my first 40k army… that was actually Eldar back in the early editions, but they were the Space Marine faction I’d started way back when and never got around to painting well.
There are a lot of reasons I went for them… I like the look, the lore, the backstory. And for some really strange reason, if you know what my background and beliefs are, I really like the motif of Angels and stuff like that. So the Angels of Death – the name given to two chapters of Space Marines, the Blood Angels and Dark Angels, have always been my jam. The Vampire Boys (which it talked about in our Advent Calendar run through last year) in particular lean into this extra hard, given that their Primarch was a literal Angel, their elite guard wears winged jetpacks, and they strap jetpacks on to everything to descend from the sky.
Warhammer 40,000 is not a game of subtlety.
My Blood Angels army was started as a Crusade force for a league at my local store, and has just grown along the way. I’m by no means a great painter… my shirt “world’s okayest miniature painter” is quite truthful. I paint to get miniatures on the tabletop and looking pretty good, and that’s about it. I’m always looking to improve and get better, but won’t be winning awards, or trying to win awards, anytime soon.
Back to that pile of shame, though… one of the things about playing the game, and a weird thing about Warhammer and Games Workshop games in particular, is how much of their customer base only buys models for the hobby aspect, and not the game aspect. Or how many only want the game aspect and don’t care about the hobby. To be across both like I am is fairly rare, and as I get older I need to acknowledge that I’m probably more hobby than gaming just because I don’t have time, even if I buy like I play 40 hours a day, every day.
This means I have a collection of models that I could field to play a bunch of different armies if I wanted, including three different space marine chapters: Blood Angels, Dark Angels, and Ultramarines. The Dark Angels are a relatively new addition, because I wanted to build a full Angels of Death force that fit with the “Arks of Omen” lore established at the end of 9th edition… basically the stories currently going on in game. The Ultramarines are there because they’re the default guys and you just get some, but also because I wanted to paint something blue, have a subscription to a monthly service called Imperium Magazine that’s sending me stuff, and it’s just something to have. The three armies play differently, and I like painting space marines, and this also lets me have loaner armies… in theory, if I finished painting them all.
Right now, about 2/3rds of my 40k Blood Angels* are fully painted, based (the stands are decorated and painted), and battle ready. Recently, Games Workshop announced the next edition of the game coming out, 10th edition, and with it, a whole slew of new models and releases. Yeah, I’m a sucker, and I’m going to buy those models. Currently, the rumor is that they’ll go up for preorder in a month, on June 10th, and get released on June 24th. Which leaves about a month and a half before the next edition, and all of the new fancy Space Marines, come out.
*This qualifier is important, because I have some Horus Heresy (30k) Blood Angels that aren’t fully painted, and I don’t feel as rushed to finish them since I can’t field them in games of 40k.
I have a bunch of Blood Angels and I’m going to buy more. I don’t care. In theory, a Codex Compliant – a chapter that’s built according to the rules laid down after the heresy, has no more than 1,000 ish marines, divided up into 10 companies of 100 marines each. I’m well, well short of a full thousand. But if I paint everything, I’m likely getting pretty close to at least two and a half chapters. Blood Angels are a mostly compliant chapter. Most chapters are somewhat loose in how they organize their first company of veterans, because the life of a Space Marine is violent and unlikely to last to veteran status. That means they don’t count them in the full number a lot if there happen to be a lot around.
My marines are painted up as part of the 1st (Veterans), 3rd, and 4th companies – or they will be expanding in those directions. Someday, I’m going to get a full chapter assembled and painted, it will be glorious and stupid and pointless, but that’s not what this is all about. This is about trying to get through that other 1/3rd that’s unpainted, partially painted, or just not done yet.
So this is about trying to get through the miniatures that I put in the pictures throughout this post that are unfinished, and probably posting some status updates over the next few weeks to see if I can actually do it. You know, before I dump another pile on top of my already substantial pile of shame.
Because I’m not counting my Dark Angels, Ultramarines, Necrons, Eldar, Orks, Stormcast Eternals, Gloomspite Gitz, Kharadon Overlords (which aren’t even assembled), Lumineth Realmlords, the Van Saar and Escher gangs for Necromunda, the Grand Army of the Republic, my Imperial army lead by Darth Vader, those plucky Rebels, the upcoming Shatterpoint release, all of the Marvel Crisis Protocol stuff, several kill teams, tons of terrain, a Tau Empire force, or the aforementioned Horus Heresy Blood Angels.
Maybe “pile” isn’t an accurate term for my shame.
Here’s the full accounting of what’s left to paint in my Blood Angels army, and what’s all left to go with it. 137 models total, with an average of 40% finished. A lot of them are really close. I’m not going to count getting transfers on them as done, as I tend to do that well after the fact, but I am going to count getting them based. As unfinished bases are gross looking. For some shorthand here… 10% means it’s primed (everything is primed at least), 20% means I’ve put down a quick single basecoat color (probably red), 50% to 60% means I’ve probably done most basecoat and need to clean up and layer it, while 80% is in the tidy up and basing phase.
|Captain (Necron Base)||1||80%|
|Lieutenant (Ork Base)||1||70%|
|Lieutenant (Storm Shield)||1||70%|
|Lieutenant (Power Fist)||1||50%|
|Chaplain (Jump Pack)||1||40%|
|Sicaran Battle Tank||1||90%|
|Death Company Dreadnought||1||10%|