Painted Models Only?

As of the start of 6th edition, I’ve only played with painted models.  I’m not sure that I ever made a formal proclamation on this, but I did state it in passing in a blog post and reinforced it in other posts (such as this Apoc game) where I state that I don’t use some models/armies specifically because they aren’t painted.

wh39kTervigon (7) (Large)Whether or not, I made a formal statement on the subject, it’s pretty clear that I’m holding myself to that standard (and, if nothing else, this post seems to serve as that definitive statement).

It’s really a double-edge sword, as it helps me to paint my figures (which was my original intent), but also forces me to skip playing games/models that I want to because I just don’t have the stuff ready (and am apparently too lazy to paint).  However, it’s been 20 months since the release (has it really been that long?), and I’m still holding strong, so that’s something to be proud of.

My latest painting efforts have been focused on some big bugs.  They’re essentially painted at this time, but I’m also waiting for some pyrovores and a couple more biovores that I ordered to come in before I dip anything (because dipping is incredibly messy).  Because of this, I found myself wondering: Can I play with these models?

Granted, they’re “painted,” but they’re not “finished.”  Would it be within the spirit of things to play with these, or should I wait until they’re dipped?

TervigonsPreDip (7) (Large)I asked Cole the other night, and his thoughts were to take it on a RAW vs RAI basis.  The theory there is that the statement is “only painted models,” and by RAW, they qualify.  By RAI, he feels that they don’t.  I’m not sure that I agree with that premise though, because the intent was to paint things–which is clearly what’s happening, and there’s a seemingly good excuse why I can’t finish them at this time…

Am I just lying to myself though?

I know some part of me also wants the painted model rule because it does wonders for making the battlefield look better.  Does that not count for something?

So, what do you think?  Should I be able to play with models that are completely painted, but not yet dipped?


19 comments on “Painted Models Only?

  1. How messed in the head do we end up? I know exactly what you mean. A simple answer is yes they’re painted but you know full well you will look at that anemic Tervigon on the board and immediately believe you are indeed lying to yourself. I would therefore look at it like this, if you want to overcome the problems you had with the new Codex and reacquaint yourself with 40k then that must take precedence over any lingering uncertainties. Yes they are still painted, so use them and get the experience you need to feel happier fielding them in an army lst when they are finally dipped.

    • Well, I figure that it shouldn’t take all that long to get them dipped (no more than a month or two), so it’s possible that I can limit myself to not using two units from the new codex for a month (well, I guess it’s four units). There still should be enough depth there that I can figure out what the other units do, no?

      I mean, for others, that might not be possible, but since I play an average of one game per month over the past few years, that’s perfectly doable…

      On Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 6:06 AM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


  2. I think in the long run you would feel better having them fully painted. It’s just to easy to go form the the are almost done, to half way done, to well it’s primed. Hold to your guns.

    Side question what do you use for your dip. My soon to be step son is starting bugs and I want to be able to tell him how to do a proper dip.


  3. Ha ha ha! I think this is what is called a ‘first world problem’…

    Still, I think you should refrain from using them. You know what was meant by ‘painted’. ‘Painted’ means ‘finished’ – with the possible exception of the bases, which are the kind of thing you do all at once. I’ll leave that one to your conscience…

    When you look at these figures, they are clearly not finished. They’re very neat, but they’re not done. The purpose of setting yourself the rule in the first place was to force yourself to get stuff finished. And they’re not. There may be a good excuse, but there always is. They’re not done!

    If you really want to play 40K, you have enough fully painted stuff to do so. Trying out new units from a codex is not a good enough reason. If that’s valid, then why wouldn’t that apply to using unpainted units too? More to the point, a new codex makes most units ‘new’, whether that be by giving them new rules or new roles in the army or new relationships with other parts of the army.

    In the months between now and when you’re finally able to dip them, there’s no reason at all why you shouldn’t be able to entertain yourself trying out different combinations of fully painted units from your army.

    When you do get to use the new units finally, you’ll be better able to evaluate their performance because you’ll understand what the other units in the army do without them.

    There endeth the stern moral lesson from someone who hardly ever plays and has hardly anything painted…

    • LOL

      (By the way, I can’t believe I actually use the term “lol,” as I’ve always hated that).

      I’m not sure it’s as cut and dry as you’ve said. I don’t recall ever equating “painted” with “finished.” (Case in point, I’ve played with a vindicator that wasn’t finished: Sadly, this “rule” or “goal” (or whatever you want to call it) was never formally written down. I never planned to play only painted models in 6th (at least not that I can find documented)–it was something that just happened.

      I don’t see how playing these undipped nids is any different than playing a mostly painted vindicator. Perhaps I should be shamed for my earlier transgressions, rather than making excuses to possibly repeat?

      • I am shocked, nay flabergasted, that you would field a vindicator that was only ‘mostly’ painted!

        If you think undipped is equivalent to ‘mostly painted’ then why are you asking us the question at all? It seems like you’ve already decided to let yourself off.

        Personally, I think you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself, and should quietly let the vindicator incident recede into the mists of time without any further comment. Retake the moral high ground by using the new gribblies only when dipped! 🙂

      • That’s really the ultimate question. Should I be ashamed of the vindy, or justified in playing the ‘nidz?

        Your stance is clear–though I’m still not certain of my own….

        On Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 2:54 PM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


  4. This is like some psychological analysis of a deeply troubled mind. Just as we’re getting somewhere with one trauma, we discover further layers of burried trauma hidden away in your psyche.

    For many with problems, the roots go back to their childhood and their relationship with their parents. For you, apparently, it’s the vindicator… The guilt is obviously eating you up. You need to be able to let it go!

  5. On a different – and probably now more on topic – note, it really is amazing the difference between the base coloured monster and the dipped one. The former does look very need, but also very basic. The dipped one looks really fantastic though. Not ‘Golden Daemon’ fantastic, but like something that would be a real pleasure to play with or against. I know I’ve said it before, but it’s been a while, and the contrast between the two is really stunning.

    On another different note; I would say that if the scenery and table you’re playing on has unpainted buildings, books for hills, etc. (i.e. the table is not ‘finished’) then that strengthens your case for playing with unfinished models.

    Also, if you’re playing against someone else who doesn’t have everything finished, I think the same applies. You don’t even need to have a hard and fast rule. If you’re playing against someone with a fully-finished army, you could choose to field only completely finished models yourself, as your contribution to raising standards and rewarding the effort other people put in. But if you’re playing against someone who is also fielding unfinished units, you could consider that license to relax your own criteria.

    • Yeah, dipping is simply amazing. I find that it works better on light colors than dark ones, but I’d hazard that anyone can have a fairly fantastic looking army by throwing a little stain on top of it.

      The scenery definitely needs some love. I’ve been meaning to get to it, but it’s hard to prioritize it over painting actual models (especially since I paint so infrequently, and I have a stipulation requiring “painted” models but no such rule about scenery). It’s on the “to do” list though.

      As for requiring opponents to have painted armies, that doesn’t seem reasonable. First, I don’t know their situation. Second, I have to remember that I played this game about 15 years before I made a real push to paint my stuff (not to say I didn’t paint back then, but there wasn’t significant effort). I’ve tried to inspire others to paint–I think the best way is to include painting scores in tournies and implementing things like “only painted models can hold objectives” in Apoc games).

      On Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 5:10 PM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


      • “As for requiring opponents to have painted armies, that doesn’t seem reasonable.”

        I quite agree. I wasn’t meaning to suggest that you tried to enforce this on others at all. It was just a way of deciding what of your own stuff to use. IF your opponent happens to be fielding a fully painted army, then using only fully painted models of your own would be a mark of respect to them. You would be the karma rewarding them for their effort.

        If your opponent brings unpainted models, I’m not suggesting you even mention it. Just that you could perhaps allow yourself more leeway with what you field yourself. Whether your opponent is using fully grey plastic or is furiously painting their stuff as quickly as they can, they will recognise that you are in the process of doing the same: they are not going to take your using un-dipped figures as an insult.

  6. I doubt it. I just mean that while choosing to use only finished models in a game can be seen as a mark of respect to an opponent, the opposite isn’t true. Using unfinished models isn’t going to offend anyone (I would hope!), but making a small personal sacrifice – choosing only to use things you have finished – is something nice you can do for an opponent.

    I’m not saying you should do it – I’m just throwing out suggestions here – just that it’s another way you could approach this.

  7. I would be concerned about sliding back into old habits. I painted up an entire vampire counts army using the same rules you used for yourself. At 2000 points I started to add new units that were not finished to my games and I really lost the focus on painting. Since then I shelved the army. Basically, if I were you, I would try to not put anything down that wasn’t complete.

    • With 95% (or more) of my Tyranid army finished, I don’t think I’m at much of a risk of sliding back into old habits. Literally, these are the only Tyranid models I own that aren’t dipped. Still, I see your point, and it certainly applies to other armies, so the slippery slope theory is still valid.

      I’m going to hold off on playing with these for a while. We’ll see how long it lasts!

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