When we last left off I had just decided to rejoin the innumerable hordes within the sprawling forty-first millennium.
My starting point was a painting project, a single Space Marine. This gave me a few options. The first and simplest was to start a Space Marine army, I'd done this before (as have many many many others).
The second was to make a small unit and ally them in with another Imperial faction. This was the beauty of 8th edition, instead of having a lengthy, confusing and contradictory ally chart the new edition simply ran on the basis of keywords, units with the 'Imperium' keyword for example could ally with any other faction also rocking that keyword. This was my preferred choice -though as we'll learn later these things tend to spiral out of control- as it gave me an iconic unit or two that I could pepper into whatever my new faction would be.
My third was to play a non Imperial chapter altogether, but frankly the insanity of the Imperium of Man is the biggest draw I have to the game, the fusion of gothic renaissance lunacy with the crumbling sci-fi edifice is its most unique aspect in my opinion.
So my next choice was what Imperial faction to play ? My only real proviso was that I'd like it to be Oldhammer based if possible.
Oldhammer for those unaware is a 'catch-all' term for figures generally produced between the late 80's to early 2000's though there is some contention on the exact dates with terms such as 'Middlehammer' being thrown about etc. Generally though with Games Workshops current focus on plastic or resin only for their miniatures I consider metal minis themselves Oldhammer.
The focus is usually based on nostalgia, sometimes to 'stand out' and often due to artistic taste. I myself go for the last two –though with a bit of the first-- as a friend of mine once said 'Everyone wants their army to be a snowflake' and what stands out more than obscure mostly unavailable mini’s? As for their artistry I find a lot of the older figures had more 'character' to them then the newer ones. That isn't to say their flawless, amongst the brass there is certainly muck.
Not only that but my Oldhammer focus would only apply to infantry figures. The vehicles of the time were....pretty poor to be kind.
Now ignoring the various flavours of Space Marine this left me with roughly 5 factions to choose from.
There were Imperial Guard, Knight Households, Adeptus Custodes and the Sisters of Battle.
The Sisters Of Battle were the first to go, whilst Oldhammer to the core (half their range hasn't been updated since the mid 90s) they are ruinously expensive due to their niche status.
Adeptus Custodes and Sisters of Silence were next, I find the Custodes models not my style and the Sisters lacking in enough variety to make an actual force.
Adeptus Mechnaicus I was a big fan of, but they were still in an odd place from their arrival in 7th edition as two split mini factions. Knights were intriguing but also complex and VERY costly.
This left the Imperial Guard.
The Imperial Guard has had a lengthy history within Games Workshop, starting off as a generic sci-fi army before slowly morphing into many different historically inspired regiments thanks to the talented Perry brothers. It is fairly robust as a faction and also had good support with tons of models. Thus my choice was made, I would storm the stars with the hammer of the Emperor himself, the Imperial Guard !