My very first WIP Wednesday! I have been spending what free time I have over the last several weeks on my first Warhammer 40,000 army, the Grey Knights

So why the Grey Knights? The first is economical. My job can be a bit demanding of my time and energy so I wanted to sink my teeth in on a force that had a relatively small model count, minimizing how long it was going to take to get a table ready force for the 1500-2000 point range that is standard for the group that plays at my FLGS. The second was that I have never really worked with metallics before and one of my friends is a bit of a nut for them so he has been a tremendous help in ironing out some of the issues that I have had getting started. Third is that the models are simply awesome. All of the small details and insignia are a great way for me to start transitioning from my quite novice efforts with my Bolt Action army to something more involved.

So that’s why I found myself impulse buying a box of Strike Squad Grey Knights and a Terminator set. I am fortunate enough to have an FLGS that runs a program where we buy an annual membership for $100 and then get 10 percent off anything in the store, or 20 percent off GW stuff. I took them home and started cutting.

As I had played a tabletop game of 40k once back in high school I had pretty much no idea how I was going to spec these guys out, so I relied on the tried and true method of bugging friends about it and having them fill me in. I think the GW codexes are terrific as far as the fluff and illustrations go but they kind of fail in having a generic balanced roster that a novice like myself could get started from. Instead I bothered people and read articles online, and settled on making four GK with flamers/psycannons/psilencers, two with falchions, two with hammers, two with warding staves and the rest with halberds and power swords.

As soon as I started assembling I realized that I could greatly economize and make my small force more flexible by magnetizing their arms, so I sent a few home with a friend who got me started on a couple. It was too late for a few of them though, so most of my regular Grey Knights and my original five Terminators have a fixed weapons loadout.

For the second terminator squad I made all of them magnetic and this took a lot longer than I had anticipated. My first step was to glue a reference magnet on to my cutting mat, ensuring that there wouldn’t be any awkward moments where I realize that half of my marines cant use any of the weapons I have already magnetized.

You can see in the picture that there are two magnets on the mat, and that the top one is marked with a small black dot on the top. I have tried marking a couple different ways but found that markers wiped off virtually as soon as they were touched and pens were no good. I eventually settled on using small amounts of Vallejo black surface primer and letting it sit for a good 10 minutes, spending that time watching Netflix and drilling out more holes for the magnets to slot in to. I also wrote down in three separate places on my workbench “BLACK OUT ON WEAPONS/HANDS” so that way there would be no confusion two months from now if I ended up adding on to the force.

After the primer is (reasonably) dry gently remove the magnet from the reference magnet. I used the blade of an Exacto knife as this way I would not twitch and drop the very, very small magnets I was using and spend time hunting for it in the carpet.

Now comes the tricky part. The hole should be bored just deep enough that the entire magnet can fit inside, so that the magnet is not sticking out of the surface and leaving gaps in your hand joints. At the same time the larger the gap between the two magnets the weaker it will be and the higher the chance that you knock them off on the table. My method was to take a stack of the magnets to check myself as I drilled, I would stick the stack into the hole and as soon as the second magnet started to go below the surface of the joint I would know that it was the right depth.

Magic!

You then position the magnet over the hole and put pressure down on the magnet so that as the blade is pulled away, the magnet falls in to the hole and maintains the correct BLACK OUT orientation for the hands. Only after I did that would I place a very small drop of glue, letting the glue sink in and fill in the hand. If the magnet becomes flipped as this happens you have a couple different options. You can move the Exacto blade around the outside of the hand and the magnetic field will allow you to rotate the magnet without having to actually touch it. Sometimes this just wont work quite right and you will have to flip the magnet out of the hole but this is preferable to having to cut the thing out later.

All of this was done prior to attaching the actual arms to the body of the marines. Once the full set of arms and weapons were prepared I would attach a weapon and use plastic cement to attach the arms and then position them in a pose that I liked.

I also magnetized the bolter hands so that I also had the option of having as many falchion armed Terminators as I wanted to. Once all of the arms were attached and set I reattached some weapons and began adding the helmets. I know that the fluff and lots of other people like to have their leadership characters with unhelmeted heads but this just seems silly to me, if I had some incredible helmet with infrared vision built in you bet your ass I will be wearing it. Also I might hate painting faces and so this solves the issue for me.

Sorry for the washed out colors, but you can see the full squad here. I didn’t bother to attach hands to the bolter arms at this point because there really wasn’t any point.

But what Grey Knight force is complete without the hero of doom, Khaldor Draigo? He is of course magnetized to allow me to switch him from Draigo with storm shield to one of the more generic Grey Knight brother captains if I want.

Once again I opted for the awesome Terminator head instead of the provided unhelmeted. Even if I wasn’t biased against the bare heads I think his default one looks kind of silly.

Now that the force was entirely based and equipped I headed out to try out my first game.

I went up against my friends Thousand Sons army and my boys fared pretty well. They were aided by Perils of the Warp claiming two Chaos Sorcerers the very first turn, but that’s what they get for forsaking the Imperial Truth.

We played without objectives as this was just a demo game to get me used to the rules, especially the Psyker part. So I did what all good beginner players do – I just ran straight up the middle at him.

His CSM enchanted bolters managed to take out a few of my regular Grey Knights on the way in, but as soon as I closed with him he just got shredded.

Draigo uses his teleport warp power to make the Chaos sorcerer grow a power sword out of his forehead.

The last tactical squad mounts a last stand before being charged. Really well painted figures, but their paint job will not save them from the fury of the righteous.

And for a sneak peek at what I’m working on next, here is the first basecoat with Vallejo Gunmetal Grey