Ever since I started playing competitively, I have felt the need to mix up my armies. When I would play in the first Baltimore GT’s it was easy. Tournaments did not really run in New Orleans so I would only get to one tourney a year. The GT. As such, it was no problem to take six months off hobbying before knuckling down to paint a new army. In every one of my 9 GT experiences I always took a new army. This would give me the opportunity to improve my painting scores and to try out different tactics (and satisfy my ADHD… Yup, I literally have it). For GT #3 I started to paint a marine army well before I turned in my list (I was not very competitive back then) and I discovered that I could run my painted models from a variety of army lists (as GW loves to put out Marine dexes)… That got me thinking. And that changed the way I build armies. Since then, I have started to look for ways to make armies work in more than one way. My daemons are on round bases for example but since I have laser cut movement trays I can run them as a fantasy army… My orks work the same way. I had a Blood Angel/ Khorne marine army for years… Etc… etc…
In recent years with work commitments, relationships, and other activities I have found myself increasingly time poor. Sure I can work on projects during school holidays but even those vacations seem to be shrinking in the face of my busy life… As such I have looking to make the most of my hobby in the shortest period of time possible. I am also looking to learn how to really play 40K again, this has really narrowed down the field a bit. What army has basic universal rules, is relatively forgiving and allows for a large amount of variation because of a large number of released books… Space Marines.
Now I am not saying that one should use their clearly painted, converted, etc Blood Angels army as “The Red Wolves” for example… That just smacks of laziness (OK… maybe not in friendly trial games but tournament play is something else). To be properly versatile between books, an army should be modeled to work in any of the contexts that it could be used as… The army should have a neutral colour scheme (a camouflage or an environment matching paint scheme might work for example) with a neutral chapter badge.
In the era of “Blood Brother” allies this concept of versatility really comes into its own. Loyalist marine armies can borrow army specific models (Grey Hunters, Storm Ravens, Land Speeder Storms etc…) from each other with very little restriction. If you have a neutrally painted army you can really add whatever you want as long as you obviously follow the allies rules (which I guess means you can only ever combine two marine books). It used to be that armies had strengths and weaknesses built into their books. It is easier now to overcome inherent army weaknesses by borrowing units to offset issues (like a lack of a flyer or a lack of decent anti-tank weaponry) from allied army lists.
I plan to look at this in more detail the more I play 6th ed but for now… I am on the hunt for a basic list to learn the game that I can mix up depending on the event (especially in a tournament environment as varied as Melbourne’s with tick box comp, panel comp, peer comp and no comp events spread throughout the year).