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Preparing for the Inner Circle

Hey, guys and gals! Ben here again from Moosehead Studios. In this series of articles, I won’t be offering advice on how to paint, but instead, I will be documenting my journey of preparation for an event, specifically a hobby-centered event.

Preparing for the Inner Circle Hobby Challenge with Ben Dake

When I got back into the hobby four years ago, I openly said that I only painted for myself, and would never paint for competitive purposes. File that, along with airbrushing and commission painting, under “Times I’ve Had to Eat My Words.”

The Holdups

The problem for me, up until this year, has been the fact that most of your big painting contests were held at competitive tournaments. Which, as much as I would love to compete in them, I have never been able to because I have an extremely limited hobby budget. I could never afford what I thought I needed for a competitive list. I played mostly with models that I have had on hand for nearly a decade and re-painted, or the few models I could acquire throughout the year as gifts.

Hardly the pace needed to keep up, much less field, a competitive army.

Life Changes

And then this year happened. My commission painting business took off. All of a sudden, I had disposable income for the hobby. I could keep up.

After a mandatory upgrade of my painting set-up and an accumulation of some money, I began to plan out what I would bring for a tournament. This was also during the release of the miniatures for The Gathering Storm series of books, which as an Imperial player, presented me with some powerful units right out of the gate: Celestine, Cawl, and Greyfax.

It didn’t hurt that the models looked fantastic, either. I also bought some Horus Heresy Space Marines because, again, they just look so darn good.

So after some playing around, I settled on a list that I thought was competitive and that I owned most of the models for, which was uncharted territory for me. And once I finished painting Celestine like this, I knew she had to be a focal point for my army:

Saint Celestine by Ben Dake

I don’t live near a gaming store. The two closest ones are an hour-long drive for me. I drove to the Warhammer store in Huntsville, AL for the express purpose of buying a pack of Wulfen to complete my Murderpack after meeting a friend for lunch.

The staff there knows I love to paint as well as game and asked if I had any pictures of what I was working on. I showed them Celestine. They gave me a packet for the Inner Circle Event and explained how it would work, and what would happen if I finished in the Top 5.

A trip to Dallas was too tempting.

Read the Rubric

I got home and began to pore over the attached rubric. I could do this! Doing some quick math in my head (which is harder than it sounds because I’m an English teacher by trade and training), and I thought I could achieve a pretty high score.

If you want advice from this, this is the first bit I can give you: whatever event you are planning to enter, they will more than likely have a scoring rubric. Read it. Go over it, repeatedly. Game Plan for it. If they are giving points for X, Y, and Z, make sure you do X, Y, and Z so you can maximize your score.

Whatever event you are planning to enter, they will more than likely have a scoring rubric. Read it. Go over it, repeatedly.

This, I might add, is also the cause of a ton of hobby stress for me. To maximize, I have to have 18 different units. I have the 18 units, don’t get me wrong, but most of them are unassembled and/or unpainted. Did I mention this event is on May 13? And to maximize, I have to have units of 10 (or more in some cases).

Oh boy.

My Inner Circle List

Anyway, here is what I decided on for the Inner Circle event. I’m centering my narrative around the Triumvirate of the Imperium, and dividing my units up between the three models:

Bellisarius Cawl’s Units

  • Tech Priest Dominus (painted)
  • 10 Skitarii Rangers (which I have written about for this website)
  • 10 Skitarii Vanguard (unassembled)
  • Two units of 3 Kataphron Destroyers (assembled)
  • Onager Dunecrawler (painted)
  • 5 Sicarian Ruststalkers (nearly painted)
  • 5 Sicarian Infiltrators

Inquisitor Greyfax’s Units

(In the narrative, these all came from Trazyn’s collection like she did)

  • Two units of 5 Wulfen (half are painted)
  • Two Units of 15 Blood Claws (unassembled)
  • 4 Thunderwolf Cavalry (unpainted)
  • Wyrdstorm Brotherhood on bikes (getting a quick re-paint to match everything else)

Celestine’s Unit

  • Imperial Knight of House Terryn (unpainted)

On top of all this, I have to build a themed display board (more on this in my next installment). Wish me luck folks!