Having read a lot of material on Wargaming over the years, I was excited to see Dave Taylor Miniatures producing Armies & Legions & Hordes as it is right up my alley. Before I get into this review, not only have I followed his blog for a long time, I backed the Kickstarter Campaign for this book. You could say I’m a bit of a fan!
What’s in this book?
This book is broken up into two major sections, the first is about managing projects and the second is about miniatures projects that Dave Taylor has worked on over the years. This book is full of loads of images from the various projects that he’s taken on, such as The 33rd Genswick Rifles, a Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum army modeled after a regiment in a Black Library Title Straight Silver. He combined that with a World War 1 aesthetic to great success. But what did I find so great about this? He completed the project.
This certainly is his livelihood so that is part of his motivation, but honestly, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve played against a half painted or unpainted army in a game. I can tell you the few times I played in games with everything painted to at least a 3-color table top standard, because those stick out in my mind. I don’t mean to crucify my opponents in gaming, I fall prey to not finishing my gaming projects just like many others.
Fully Painted Armies
Finished armies. Painted. Bases all done up. A coherent looking force.
This is something I really try to achieve when I game, but then life tends to stand in the way as it usually does. One of the things I took away from this was, that if you’re serious about a project, make building, painting, basing and the like, into a Habit. Something, even if you only do it for 20 minutes and put 1 color onto 10 models in a unit, eventually you’ll finish with that amount of effort put in.
The book goes through his methods of staying on track with getting projects done, but also covers inspiration and how it plays into his motivation. If you’re looking for some advice on project management, this book is a great primer. It also has a few guest writers, like John Lyons from Beasts of War who contributed a brief summary about subjects related to completing hobby projects. I enjoyed that it had a couple of different perspectives all aiming towards painting armies.
The main reason that I was interested in Armies & Legions & Hordes was the projects being shown in a high quality printed fashion. Having seen a few of the projects on his site over the years, I was familiar, but seeing them talked about and organized into a printed form was very cool. One of the projects that really stands out to me is The Artillery Train of Nuln.
This project sticks out as I had personally played an Empire army across multiple versions of Warhammer Fantasy. The amount of detail present in this army and the attention to its visuals is great.
Another army that stood out is his Astra Militarum (Imperial Guard) army, The 33rd Genswick Rifles. This too is an army I’ve played in Warhammer 40k, but he took the time to drive a theme home that far surpasses any of the standard khaki and green color schemes that are generally used on this army.
The time he put into creating unique artillery pieces pays off as they’re still identifiable to Warhammer 40k, but are like nothing else created by Games Workshop and Forgeworld. It was a pleasure reading about some of his build processes and ideas behind his creations.
If you’d like to read a fairly in depth perspective of how someone creates large tabletop gaming projects that have great table appeal, this book is a great source. I was a little dismayed by the book just ending after discussing his Tanith One and Only project, it would have been nice to see a conclusion or a tease of some upcoming projects he hasn’t discussed or shown yet, but really, that’s my only minor complaint.
The book is well printed and bound and was enjoyable to read. Those that know me, know I don’t read much that isn’t Wargaming blogs and Rulebooks. This holds true here, while composed of many images, it still took me way to long to read this. If you’re into reading about miniature armies, Armies & Legions & Hordes is a must for your gaming book shelf.