Welcome to the Arena! Not just any ol’ arena, no, this is The Army Painter Arena of Escalation! (tion- tion- tion- tion)
The Arena of Escalation is a first at The Army Painter, a gathering together of a collection of intrepid hobbyists from around The Army Painter offices (and remote offices) to do what we celebrate most here. That thing that's embodied in the company's ethos and literally in our very name – paint an army!
That’s right, over the next 9 months all the participants of the Arena of Escalation have pledged to completing a brand-new army for Warhammer 40,000, starting from bare plastic and finishing with a fully painted army to take part in a special tournament next December when we’re all hygge* together in the company offices in Denmark for the holiday party.
To help our contestants manage this monumental task, the Arena will be broken up into several checkpoints, by our very own commissioner of the event, Dipit. This will start off with everyone having to complete their first character and unit by the start of April. Don’t worry though, because we’ll have several check-ins with everyone’s progress along the way beyond just those main checkpoints, and plenty of surprises and curve-balls thrown in by Dipit himself.
Who is entering the arena though? Who has picked up their Wargamer: Regiment Brush, armed themselves with a selection of Speedpaint, Warpaints Fanatic, and Warpaints Air and made sure their Wargamers Edition Wet Palette is ready to go? A mighty 12 people have decided to take up the challenge and brave the Arena of Escalation, a truly staggering number which we can’t hope to cover in just this one update alone. Let's meet the brave contestants and find out which faction from the grim, dark future they taking to the painting desk!
Bo: I will be playing the Orks! But not as Orks… Being ancient beyond human comprehension, I was part of the GorkaMorka release at Games Workshop. So my Ork army will be Mad Max inspired DigaNobz – ie. Humans who survived an Ork invasion and now, as a consequence, worship the Orks for their ferocity and “ingenuity.” And I want to learn how to do proper weathering as well -– dust and grime everywhere, what’s not to like?
Thomas: Since 5th edition 40K, I have dreamt about painting an Inquisitor army. I think that Inquisitors with their retinue of weird acolytes, brawlers and other characters are the essence of 40K for me. Several things appealed to me - The slow growth rules gives me plenty of time to paint each model individually, and I don't have to batch paint every unit. Both would work really well for the new Fanatic range, but using a range where every colour covers really well, gives you a different kind of freedom in painting your army, and I am looking forward to utilize that to the fullest.
On top of that, I really look forward to mixing our different ranges to use them to their full potential.
I have painted a lot of power armour in my time, so even though I was thinking of a Grey Knight army, where Imperial Agents actually makes sense with their cheap characters and units, I actually decided to start an Astra Militarum army. This gives me a ton of fun characters to build and paint, and every unit can be painted like it belongs to an Inquisitorial fighting unit.
My idea for the army was to build it over Adeptus Arbites, and stick to those colours (Dark Blue/black, White, Cold gold and tiny bit of red) I also want a lot of banners, servo skulls and flying babies, as well as a ton of purity seals! - It might not end up being good for gaming, but I'm sure I'll have fun - At least I will building and painting the army!
You can follow Thomas' progress on his Instagram @coltaupainting.
Adam: As long as I’ve been competitively playing Warhammer 40,000 I’ve almost played or painted armies from every faction, with the exception of Adeptus Custodes and World Eaters. I initially chose these armies as they are a lower model count and having to manage my maniacs in Tactical Marketing and my little maniac daughters at home – I needed to keep this project smaller and more manageable. After a quick consult with Bo (which might have been a mistake in hindsight), he said it had to be the boys in red. I should have known better than to ask a literal Chaos Lord which side of Imperium I should stand on in this conquest.
That said, I’m not painting them their traditional red. I’ve given myself the challenge to paint them in the traditional Heresy-era white and blue as I’ve not really painted an army in this scheme before.
Painting white is an exercise in volume. Our Warpaints Air will be an important base for this project. A lot of Speedpaint will be employed for base coats as well as glazes to add visual interest to the models and with all of the trim that needs to be painted the Speedpaint Metallics will be invaluable. You can also expect to see Fanatic used heavily for highlights and more advanced techniques on larger centerpiece units.
I’m very excited to play World Eaters. Angron’s story arc is traumatic, and I love the multifaceted nature of his character and history. Yes, he is a murderous berserker, but severe trauma led him on his chaotic path, and oddly I feel for the guy. The army also leans into my preferred playstyle: fast and aggressive. I love to make the action happen in the movement and assault phases so expect some epic charge rolls come December.
You can follow Adam's progress on his Instagram @tacticalpainter.
Sofie: I have been married to a Warhammer player and painter for 10 years now but haven't collected any of my own, till now. To enter the Arena, I chose some miniatures I thought would be fun and something I could put my own spin on.
This led me to choose the Sisters of Battle and I'll be painting a Sister Dogmata and Battle Sisters Squad to start off with. I think I'll be painting them with our SpeedPaint 2.0 and the main color will be Purple Swarm, in my paint scheme
Danni: Having never played Warhammer 40,000 or painted many figures in general, it was a bit daunting and nerve wracking for me to join the Arena, but I got a lot of support from the rest of the team and that calmed me down a bit. I choose to go with the Leagues of Votann, since I always liked dwarves that appeared in other media and boardgames. So for me this was a no brainer. It might not be the most popular choice, but I think they can stand their ground in the upcoming battles. I hope I can do them justice by painting them in a nice black and yellow'ish colour scheme using both Speedpaint and Fanatic.
You can follow Danni's progress on his Instagram @beertasticbear.
Jonas: I wanted to paint a big stompy Knight as my centerpiece, originally of the Chaos variety, but then I saw the teleportation rules for Grey Knights and immediately fell in love with their concept and their shining, unpainted armour, which I think our new Warpaints Fanatic Mithril will be perfect for. I want to paint them like arcane-infused, "ghost knights", to lean even more heavily on the fact that they can show up anywhere on the battlefield.
This Arena is just heating up to, so be sure to check out Part 2 to find out who else is participating, and which armies will be fighting it out on both the painting desk and the gaming table!
You can follow Jonas' progress on his Instagram @paphoved_design.
You can also follow everyone's progress with the hashtag #ArenaofEscalation.
*Hygge is a unique Danish word that most closely means a sense of coziness.