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Dream’n up a Theme: 3

Here we are in part three of this series of articles where I've tried to share some insights into how I developed themes for Armies that I’ve built to compete at Arc40k.

Hopefully, you’ve found some ideas that can help you in creating a theme for your next army - or at least it might be just a little easier.


In the first two articles I’ve demonstrated that Space Marine Successor Chapters can easily offer anyone a chance to add their own take on the rich background of the Adeptus Astartes. And come away with a fully developed Space Marine theme of your own. Well at least the part about the name and colour.


Or by taking a limited or narrow idea that already exists in the Warhammer 40,000 universe that allows you to mold it to your own purposes - evolving a depth of theme by standing on the shoulders of what is already a rich 40K background. Like the story created for my Knights of Damnation which is clearly just a rip off of the Legion of the Damned background.


But there are literally infinite possibilities and a universe of potential source material to help create a theme for any Warhammer 40,000 Army.


So, to continue sharing and hopefully demonstrating that theme is actually something easy to grasp, and creating the inspiration for any army isn’t that hard… Here’s another one of mine I’ve used not once but twice.

Golden Demon Open Category 1998 - Gold

Some years ago now I won a Golden Demon in Open Category at the very first Australian Games Day. It’s something I’m truly humbled by and sets a standard and expectation that’s often hard to feel like it’s lived up to.

Summoning the Lord of Change was a diorama that presented the scene of a Lord of Change being summoned by a group of Chaos Cultists.


In the Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness (1988) it described the summoning of demons.


‘A Daemon has no existence in real space until it is given a body to occupy during a ritual. It is a creature of malign energy from the warp, insubstantial until given a mortal frame.’

This and other small stories of Space Wolves being mortal enemies with the traitor Thousand Sons, sorcerers and followers of Tzeentch, appeared in publications like White Dwarf and Codex throughout the early nineties.

So it was several sources inspired me to create the scene with a coven of Chaos Cultists being attacked by a unit of Space Wolves. In desperation the Cults Magus would retaliate by commencing a summoning, breaching real space with the warp and using that power to sacrifice Space Wolves and summon Pink Horrors.


‘Once it has a host body, a Daemon rapidly adapts it to a new shape.’


The display looks a little dated today but Tzeetch beating up on Space Wolves is a battle that remains timeless - even before Black Library Novels and the narration of the Burning of Prospero… Lord of Change, cultists, chaos vs Space Wolves - it was already a classic rivalry.


With 2018 marking the 20 year anniversary of that Golden Demon project I wanted to take the opportunity pay some homage to that event.


So the starting point for the project was to write an army list that included a Lord of Change of course, plus Pink Horrors. All of which were in the original diorama. The new Kairic Acolytes were Tzeentch thralls that with some conversion would make great cultists.


Thousand Sons had been updated less than 6 months when I started planning the project and there was a new Ahriman and Rubric Marines, it wasn’t hard to imaging them cruising around in a Rhino or two.

With their upgrade sprue arming them with pistols and chainswords Tzaangores represent the classic Imperial Beastmen. Finally I deciding to add a Mutalith Vortex Beast to finish fleshing out the force and help focus that connection to the Warp.


For the display I wanted to get outside the Cultists temple. The summoning was over and the demons burst out to meet up with the Thousand Sons. But not before more Space Wolves would die at the hands of the demons. Consumed in flames across the bases



That’s the motivation that drove the creation of my Arc40k 2018 Army.


A story created out of a diorama, and a diorama inspired by some background found in a very early GW publication.


So do you have something you’ve created - a previous army, a single model, a duel or diorama - that could be made over to create the next step in the background and deliver an army you’d be inspired to build, paint, and play?



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