Greetings, I’m Dave Weston and I’ve been hobby blogging for the last 8 years over at Confessions of a 40k Addict. The Warhammer Community Team has indulged my request to champion my favourite hobby event of the year – Armies on Parade.
I’m sure most are well aware of Armies on Parade, perhaps even dabbled but for those that don’t it is the biggest hobby event in the world! Each year thousands of hobbyists across the Mortal Realms/Galaxy/Middle Earth (delete as appropriate) showcase their armies in their local Games Workshop. What follows across social media and in the community is a veritable feast of hobby delights. You will see parade after parade of amazing miniatures, conversions, and dioramas, all wrapped up in a tidy 2’ by 2’ square (or smaller).
I first entered Armies on Parade in 2013 with my Tyranids. Sadly I was the only entry in my local store that year and I walked away with the Gold medal. More importantly was the reward that after years of painting my army, I’d finally showcased it for folk to see. When I originally started the hobby back in the Rogue Trader era I never completed more than a dozen or so miniatures, I stopped the hobby in 1993 and returned in 2009. Armies on Parade 2013 was a huge achievement for me - finally having an army to parade. I promised myself I would continue to support the event, building my army and using every opportunity to encourage my friends and other hobbyists to take part.
No doubt if you’ve ever seen the results of Parade Day or visited armiesonparade.com you’ll have seen some pretty amazing boards. The Community Team’s Eddie Eccles’ boards are a thing of beauty; yes even the horrifying beauty of his Tyranid parade! But these dioramas might not be possible for someone just starting out in the hobby and for some inspiration might manifest as intimidation. What I hope to share with you all is that anyone can take part in Armies on Parade, at any level of the hobby. Perhaps you’ve just bought Soul Wars and painted your first few Night Haunt models or even just the First Strike 40k starter set; if so you’ve the makings of your army. You could even be a hardcore gamer with a 3 colours minimum netlist, Armies on Parade welcomes one and all (just like the Four Armed Emperor). The most important thing to remember is it’s your hobby, it’s your army, you parade what you want.
Of course Armies on Parade does have a competitive element too, you might aspire to win one of the awards on offer these are:
- Young Bloods (up to 15 years old)
- First army (for those new to the hobby whatever age)
- Monsters and machines (for those that like to go large)
- Best theme (for those that like to tell a story)
- Best scenic board (for those that want to make amazing dioramas)
- Best painted (for the aspiring Golden Demons amongst us)
It’s worth noting though that everyone gets an Armies on Parade badge for entering (you might even be able to pick up a Citadel Crusader Card while you’re at it!), reinforcing the view that taking part is an achievement and reward in itself. In previous years there were only first, second and third place medals, with these categories it’s clear Armies on Parade is opening up to all levels of the hobby. “But Dave, how do I go about joining in?” I hear the voices in the warp ask, well here are my top tips:
Dave’s top tips for taking part in the biggest, bestest, hobby event in the world ever – Armies on Parade!
- Sign up! Simple really. As soon as your local store announces their Parade Day, get on down and enter.
- Planning. Have a plan of what you want to display and how you want to display it. A display board is not compulsory but it certainly helps to make your army look better. Stores usually have single Realm of Battle board tiles to buy specifically for the event but you could make your own or even use the card tiles from Shadespire or Deathwatch Overkill if your army is small in number.
- Use your time wisely. Parade Day is usually October/November, which means you have quite a few months left of hobby time. For some that’s enough to plan, build and paint a whole army and diorama (these people are obviously possessed by foul chaos energies but I’ll leave it to the Inquisition to investigate); for others like me it might just be sufficient time to add another unit or two. Whichever you are a deadline is a great hobby motivator and it really feels like an achievement adding to your army in time for the parade.
- Make the best of what you’ve got. As I don’t have the room to make dioramas I like to showcase my armies simply. I’ve a number of backdrops that provide context to the red planet world of Ferron Proxima that all my armies fight over, but the board is a simple Realm of Battle tile. However, I decorate it with various bits of my gaming terrain, just to enhance the display. Even if you’ve not gone down the diorama route, some trees, Munitorum Containers, objectives, whatever you have that fits your army might add to your display. And if your army is only just beginning, try using a smaller display board so your force doesn’t look lost.
- Don’t panic! Last year I saw one hobbyist’s display board ruined at the last minute. Desperate to take part and as a back-up he entered Magnus and Roboute Guilliman in combat together. Some would argue this isn’t an ‘army’ but we’ve all read Primarchs are practically ‘armies in their own rights’. Remember it’s your hobby, your parade!
- Enjoy your parade. Everyone who enters is a winner; we’ve all shown our love of the hobby and presented our achievements for our fellow hobbyists to enjoy. I promise that once you’ve entered one parade you’ll be desperate to enter next year. The opportunity to expand on your existing army and showcase new units, possibly new skills in your painting, or even start a new army/diorama from scratch is highly addictive (I should know!).
Here are a couple more examples proving you don't have to have custom or any board indeed [the Knights were on a store board] to join in. Everyone gets that pin badge for taking part and some even take away certificates in their category. Hopefully that’s enough to convince you that Armies on Parade is for every hobbyist, including you. If you need any more advice your local Games Workshop will help you or check out armiesonparade.com for inspiration. Don’t forget to use #armiesonparade and see you on Parade Day!