Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What Inspires You?

Or more to the point, and the question that was posed to me earlier this week, where do you get your inspiration from?

Good Lord, where DON'T I get inspiration for projects from these days?

Many times I think that I have such a hard time finding inspiration for an army I want to do, not because I don't have sources of inspiration, but because I have so many to choose from! I've started and stopped projects in the past because I've hopped from inspiration to inspiration, and now I tend to over-think an inspiration for an army theme because I want to make sure I can be happy with it after spending hundreds of dollars on it.

Let's take a gander at some of my favorite sources of inspiration.

Historical References

BIG source of inspiration for me here, especially in classical, medieval and ancient histories. Let's take two specific examples; my old Black Templars and my current Centurions.

When a knight of old was either on a personal quest to regain honor, or was dishonored at all, he would frequently cover his shield and coat of arms with a wrap of some sort until said honor was regained. I used this small bit of history as the crux for my Templar army, which I named the Penitent Crusade. Every member of this Templar Crusade had been shamed in a loss that they ran from, except the Emperor's Champion. So every model would have their chapter symbol covered until their honor was restored. The conversions consisted of green stuff cloaks, with fur trim that was sculpted to hide the shoulderpads of each marine, except the Champion. Take a look below of some examples.

The Centurions were born out of a love of ancient art and culture of the Greeks and Romans. It also doesn't hurt that there's enough iconography in the 40K universe for marines to help support that. I really wanted to centralize a Greco-Roman theme, yet keep the war gear distinctly "Marine" in nature. This time there was no huge backstory for the army, just a pure enjoyment of that period and cultures in history.

Black Library Novels

Come on now, who hasn't read some of Abnett's writings and not wanted to build at least one of the 'Ghosts, if not an entire army? Take a gander here at an army Dave Taylor is putting together on commission using that exact source of inspiration. The Black Library novels and books like the Heresy collection are some amazing and iconic sources of inspiration for many of us. Personally, I'm gathering material and notes for a highly detailed Salamanders army inspired from Nick Kyme's novels, and can't wait to get started on them!


While I had originally thought to limit this category to purely GW artists, I can't. There are some amazing artists out there that have done some truly spectacular work. Aerion the Faithful is one I know many of you recognize. There are many other artists out thee who have done some stellar GW inspired artwork, just do a Google image search and you're bound to run across them. Forums like the Bolter and Chainsword also house some amazing artists. Of course, then you can dive right back into iconic GW artistry like that of John Blanche, or any of the Black Library artists as well.


By this I mean taking inspiration from other hobbyist's work. Again, this is mainly done through Google searches and the perusal of various forums and their painting and modeling sections. I can't tell you how many times I've seen something and gone "Why didn't I think of that?!". The Ogre Maneater army that was most recently up on GW's site blog is one I can keenly feel that way about.


You might think this source of inspiration is a bit redundant for a fantastical setting, especially for fantasy wargames, but there are so many more sources of mythology out there than what have been used so far in published tabletop games. Two distinct examples I can think of off the top of my head would be a Wood Elf army I saw in a past GW Grand Tournament that was themed after the Celtic myth of Herne the Hunter and the Great Hunt, and now my friend Skarvald from over at Wolves for the Wolf God wants to theme his Ogres after Arabian Mythology like Ali Baba and his 40 Gnoblar Thieves.

Okay, there's five different, and massive, sources of inspiration for me when I'm looking to start any project, be it one figure, or an entire army.

What are some sources of inspiration for you?

- Tim

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