To Theme or Not to theme?

choosing a theme for a warhammer army

It’s a question asked by many miniature war gamers in the war gaming community.

Adding a theme to an army can bring in some great things to make it stand out from the rest and provide a great challenge in your hobby skills.

Over the years I’ve come up with some really crazy armies: be it Orks thinking they were Eldar, a Mechanicus army using chaos add-ons to make a ‘digitally’ evil army, all the way to some real nutty things, like using a titan for a display board!

choosing a theme for a warhammer army

My ‘Pooncy Boyz’ Warhammer 40000 ork army from way back, Orks that think they were Eldar! Got lots of laughs and was a great project.

Here’s the things I use for theme and ideas for armies (as you’d imagine most hobbyists do)

  • ‘What if’ scenarios. This is literally ‘what if this happened’ in a storyline or theme? Does it fit what your army wants to look like or act? Can it relate?
  • Media. Movies, Television shows, internet movies, etc are always a great inspiration for making a unique army. For example, quite a few times in my hobby war gaming time I’ve seen a few Star Wars themed armies or Superhero type forces (marvel/DC universes). These make for some great looking armies that tend to win players choice many times over. Using the media for inspiration for the army’s theme is definitely a favourite.
    choosing a theme for a warhammer army

    Iron Warriors army made for a tournament some time ago. This ‘titan’ was basically the display board for my force consisting of all the tanks and units around the actual display.

  • Novels and Stories. I’m a nut for the Horus Heresy Novels. When I mention the Horus Heresy to people that aren’t aware what it is I get puzzled looks and the ‘ohhhh riiiighht’ response (hehe). Stories can make up for some really great themes too. Again you have to use your imagination to bring it to life. If well executed it can make an awesome looking force.
  • Your imagination. We all have creative minds. Use it! Scribble! Draw! Crayola! whatever on a piece of paper for your ideas and this can lead to a foundation for a unique force too.
choosing a theme for a warhammer army

‘Mechanicus Maledictum’ This was one of my last crazy projects. Chaos theme Mechanicus army. Made a display board incorporating a laptop and using the screen as a ‘warp gate’ to add to the theme, got voted 2nd best players choice at a tournament.

Themes are great fun! With a specific theme in mind it sets a mental goal to make you build a force which in the end looks awesome and gives you pride and joy when you use it against your mates in battle!


Rick (aka Skullworks Painting)