I'm making this thread so people won't have to go through the abject horror and realization of their hopes and dreams and money turning to ash in their hearts for if and when they decide they want to start collecting a Warhammer army.
Choosing your army
There's a whole variety of flavour of armies to choose from. There are a couple of things you should keep in mind when you're wanting to decide what army you want to collect.
First and foremost is choosing an army to collect. This is harder than it sounds, or you can make it harder than it needs to be. My best advice is to either A: Snoop around the GW website and look at all the pretty models and ask yourself if you like the way they look, and if you'd really like to assemble and or paint them. Option B: is to grab yourself the offical rulebook by legitimate or less-savoury means and read up on the lore of the army, and see which one you find the most appealing to your tastes.
Then there's cost. Warhammer 40k isn't a cheap hobby, but no hobby is really cheap. It's dosh-to-delight ratio you're looking for. Some armies are inherently more expensive than others, due to their playstyles. Imperial Guard, Nids and Orks are fairly expensive, due to their high infantry count, as well as them utilizing a large variety and number of models such as tanks, or monstrous creatures.
Overall, if you're really concerned about dosh, Grey Knights are usually your best bet for an army. They're a low-points and low-model count force, even by the standards of most marine armies.
Another good way to save money is to buy bundles. Dark Vengeance is an excellent use of your money, and it comes with a pocket-sized rulebook and a bunch of models. I believe you're paying only half or so of what the total force would cost if you bought them all separately.
Then comes the issue of paints. There are several "qualities" of minature and painting standard used in the hobby, "tabletop standard" is just your dudes painted up. There isn't anything wrong with this, it saves money, time and effort. The Games Workshop offical painting guides would be good, if they didn't cost a lot and excessively used a lot of paints in their schemes. Granted, they do look gorgeous. If you're stuck on a scheme, go onto Warhammer TV and see if they cover how to paint the army you're interested in, and work from there.
Assembly can be as fun or as stressful as you want it to be. Some models are inherently more of a pain in the ass to assemble, especially finicky, dainty things that would snap if you so much as sneezed on them.
The tools of the trade for assembling are:
A hobbyknife, preferably one with a smaller blade
Sprue-cutters. Don't cut out your dudes with a hobby-knife, that's horrible
Some super or plastic glue, pick your poison.
That's it, really. You don't need a whole bunch more unless you're intent on drilling or pinning your models, which you really shouldn't be. It's a nice thing to do, but I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner.
So you've got your box. It has that nice new GW smell, you're all excited, you take out the sprues and you see your dudes butchered and processed, dangling on plastic meat-hooks, waiting to be freed.
It's fairly simple to get them out. Just take the flat end of your sprue-cutter and snip them off at the joining parts of the main sprue. Be careful when you cut the last sprue, as model bits tend to fly outwards and get lost on the floor.
Now you've got your bits, and you might see bits of excess plastic on them. This is called flash. This is fairly normal. Just take your hobbyknife and gently shear away the excessive flash, and hopefully not the tips of your thumb.
Onto mouldlines. These are formed in the casting process where two parts of the modelling outline join. Just tilt your hobby-knife at a roughly fourty-five degree angle and start gently "scraping" at the lines until they fade away into obscurity.
If you're working with forgeworld bits, be careful of resin dust. That stuff's bad for your lungs.
You've got your bits. I can't stress this enough: READ THE FETHING INSTRUCTIONS
I can't state this any more, the instructions will do a better job explaining how to assemble your model than I can. Just pay attention carefully.
A little tip about modelling 101: If your character has a weapon that goes over their chest, leave it off until you're finished painting them, it makes reaching the chest area with your brush significantly easier.
Don't glue your fingers.
THHIIIIIINNNNNN YOOOOOURRRRR PAINTTSSSSSSSSSS
There are five steps in painting a miniature usually.
Step one, priming.
Primers come in two tastes. Can and paint. I infinitely prefer the canned variety, both for coverage and time. You can use a pot-based primer, but you can have mixed results with them.
With the spray-can, get some sticky-tack or (preferably) double-sided sticky tape, get a plank or wood or a big box, stick your minis to said tape and spray away. You'll want to shake the can vigorously before use, and give it a few test sprays to free up any residual builup of dried paint in the nozzle. Then you move the can 30 or so centimeters from your mini and spray in short, controlled bursts -- gliding over your dudes as you do so.
Give it fifteen minutes to dry.
Step two, basecoating.
Basecoating is basically priming all over again. You primed your mini so the paint sticks to the model, as paint isn't very adhesive to plastic or resin. Basecoating also serves to form a nice foundation for your paints colour for when you start layering your miniature.
Remember to shake your paint pots before use.
Simply thin the paint down, a nice trick it give a droplet of paint on your brush, put it onto your pallet and do a few strokes so you get any excess off your brush. Then gently dip your paint brush (only the tip) into some water, and repeat the process of working the water into the paint until it has a milky consistency. If your paint flows nicely, and you can draw a nice squigly line with your paint without it leaking or breaking apart, then you're fine.
Remember to "curl" your brush into the paint to get a nice tip on the end.
Then just apply it to the parts of the miniature you want to be the respective colour. Two thin coats of the colour are better than one thick coat.
Step three, layering.
Layer paints are thinner than base-paints, and absorb the residual colour of the basecoat more effectively than say, another basecoat. Again, just repeat the process like basecoating, but keep it more controlled to certain areas. Multiple thin coats.
Step four, washing.
Washing is a tricky one. It can come before or after layering. It can be applied to a basecoat to enhance the colour or give a more desire effect before layering it added. Whatever the case, don't take the wash directly out of the pot and onto the mini, you'll have difficulty controlling the amount that goes from your brush onto your dude. Put it on a pallet, and then apply it. Make sure it doesn't pool in any areas besides recesses in detail, otherwise you'll get dirty blotches on your mini, unless that is your desired effect, then go nuts.
Step five, highlights.
Highlights are wherein you take a detail brush and apply a thin line of paint across a miniatures edges in order to make detail pop or make a certain colour seem more vibrant. It is by far the most time consuming of the processes, but definitely the most satisfying in it's end result. Remember to get a point so fine on your brush you could pierce terminator armour with it.
A tip to note: you can occasionally use the side of your brush to highlight sharp edges on a miniature, rather than manually paint them on free-hand.
Congratulations, you just did a thing. Don't get frustrated if your dude looks like he just headbutted a Rhino's dozerblade, improvement comes with practice.
And remember, above all, to have fun.
A forum for models, paintings, sculpts, drawings, and anything else that you or your friends have made! Feel free to offer services so long as they're directly relevant to the forum and not the hobby as a whole.
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