Warhammer 40,000 (40K) is a tabletop miniatures wargame produced by British company Games Workshop. It depicts a futuristic world in which humanity is ruled by a quasi-religious state dedicated to an unseen Emperor who exists in a perpetual state of near-death and whose champions include the mechanized armies of the Imperial Guard and the gung-ho Space Marines. Meanwhile, a variety of alien factions vie for galactic control: the high-tech Tau, the hive-mind Tyranids, the cybernetic Necrons, the brutal Orks, the servants of Chaos, the noble Eldar and their twisted Dark cousins. If it all sounds a bit stark and depressing, it can be, but honestly, a lot of it is so over-the-top that it really can't be taken very seriously.
Games Workshop's various wargames encourage the use of finely-detailed, elaborate miniature figures that are A) expensive, and B) a pain in the ass to assemble and paint, especially for a not-terribly-artistic fortysomething with shaky hands. That said, a well-painted Warhammer army is a beautiful thing.
For my main 40K army, I chose the Sisters of Battle, which serve as companions to the main Imperial forces such as the Space Marines. I did so because A) they didn't have a bunch of expensive vehicles to buy, and B) because the notion of an army of armor-plated, flying nuns has a certain sick appeal.
My second army is of the alien Tyranids, though I've still got a lot of work to go to make them a force to be reckoned with.
I primarily play 40K with my friends Tonya, Donn and Dan, who are much better painters than I will ever be, and who have incredible armies that put my pallid Sisters to shame. Donn has built a lot of special terrain to liven up the tabletop, and all of us have contributed our own unique units to the battlefield. While official 40K tournaments discourage the use of non-Games Workshop miniatures, we're quite liberal about what we'll allow in play. After all, it's a game, and you could play it with cardboard chits if you wanted. (But that wouldn't look as cool.)
Donn's impressive wargaming table.
|My entire Sisters army on parade, as of March 2007.||A better look at my Immolator and Command Rhino transports.||An Exorcist tank flanked by heavy weapons Retributors.|
|The Sisters take over a ruined Sanctum Imperialis.||I had a lot of fun further modifying the modular ruins.||Rear view of the dilapidated structure.|
|The Rhino transport designated for my Canoness and her retinue.||Side view of the Command Rhino. The side door panels are removable to simulate disembarking.||The rear ramp folds down to reveal the seating compartment.|
|An alternate gun turret turns the Rhino into an Immolator variant.||The mighty Throne of Judgment.||Rear view of the Throne.|
|The bizarre Exorcist missile tank. When I first saw this cross between an engine of destruction and a pipe organ, I knew that one day it would be mine.||Another view of the Exorcist.||Close-up of the organist's bay, with the missile-loading zombie Servitor just behind.|
|My Sisters of Battle HQ squad, including a custom-modded Canoness with flaming backpack.||Command squad in action, backed up by their own color-coordinated Rhino transport.||Priests and Missionaries. The one on the left is a modified Lady Galadriel from Lord of the Rings.|
|Custom transport vehicles that I dubbed Excommunicators. Based on toys of modern APCs, they have working wheels and missile launchers.||I don't care for GW's Penitent Engine, so I designed my own built out of Lego and topped off with a Sculpey skull. This is the revised version, circa March 2007.||These "alternate" Seraphim hail from a non-Games Workshop miniatures line calledVoid.|
|Old-school Sisters of Battle Immolator. This one sports optional extras such as the banner and laud hailer which are attached via magnets.||A Tyranid family portrait.
|A big-brained, psychic Zoanthrope.|
|A Tyranid Broodlord.||The monstrous Carnifex.||A stealthy Lictor with a mostly grayscale paint scheme.|
|Tyranid Genestealers. The combination of grey and flesh tones was a happy (icky) accident.||Old school Hormagaunts.||The beetle-like Termagants.|
|Spore mines. Again, I feel that the fleshy appearance makes 'em extra creepy.||My own take on a Biovore, built entirely from Sculpey. I like the notion of a living artillery battery, but I hate the Games Workshop sculptures.||A Tyranid warrior.|
Click the button below for a gallery of Warhammer 40K battle photos!