Thursday, 1 June 2017

Using '40k' bits in 30k armies

I hate getting all serious about what should be a fun hobby, but I wanted to have a discussion about what 'can' and what 'can't' be used in games of 30k. I put those words in brackets because the key thing to remember here is that this is your hobby, every single one of you, and no one, not even Games Workshop or Forge World can tell you what miniatures to use in your games. If you want to pay Battle Fleet Gothic with X-Wing miniatures, you got for it!

Personally I have only two rules which I try to stick to when building my units:
  • Does it look cool? - use it
  • Is it absolutely not 30k? i.e. a complete set of Mk8 armour? - don't use it.
But my rules are my own and what I think looks cool doesn't always look cool to others, and visa versa.

Let me tell you where my 30k vision comes from... it mostly comes from Horus Heresy Collected Visions, published in 2007, and later re-issued as Visions of Heresy in 2013. It was so good I brought it twice! Much of the art is the same but with lots of the Black Library book covers included in the latter.

The rest of my vision comes from my early gaming experience as a teenager. Back in 1994 there were lots of Space Wolves metal miniatures in production, mostly sporting Mk6 armour, which at the time was seen as 'Heresy' armour. Which is why you'll see a hell of a lot of Mk6 in my army.

In terms of kits I generally mix 40k Space Wolves boxes with Forge World resin and am pretty happy with the results. But I use '40k' bikes, missile launchers, plasma guns and melta guns because I generally don't like the '30k' version. And I know others do the same with other pieces. Although I don't feel justification is necessary for using what I like, I wanted to share some pictures from Visions of Heresy which show some of these '40k' bits 'existed' in 30k:
Here's some Mk4 armour in one of John Blanche's concept sketches.

And here's some completely unknown mark of armour... Mk6 legs? Mk4 arms? Mk8 torso? What I'm saying is, there were numerous styles of armour, Forge World have only produced the most common one. Pretty much anything goes.

Here's a more recent piece of art by Neil Roberts clearly showing Mk7 legs with a Mk2 helmet. Talking of things we do and don't see in these books, you know something we don't see at all? Mk2/3 back packs. Take a look, they are all Mk4/7 style. This style of backpack only came about when Forge World started producing miniatures, back in 1994 they didn't exist! So don't talk to me about what is canon; canon is only canon until the designers and writers change it, and this is a fluid hobby people!

Here's some '40k' melta guns used by a guy riding a '40k' bike.

Here's some drop pods, long before they existed as a miniature.

Here's a Space Wolf carrying a lasgun! 

 '40k' attack bike.

'40k' terminator armour (naughty Imperial Fists!)

'40k' plasma gun.

I'm putting this out there because ever since Forge World started issuing rules and miniatures for 30k there have been a number of *insert expletive* people out there calling people out for using 40k bits in their forces and I'm a bit tired of it. Yes the purists have paid a fortune for their resin, me included, but if someone wants to use a cool bit, or save some money by using plastic Rhinos (which are loads easier to put together, lets be honest) so they can buy a Spartan, so be it. Thankfully my hobby circle thinks along similar lines to me, if it looks cool and you can invent a fluffy justification for it, use it.

Remember, these are your space toys, it is your hobby, so do what ever makes you happy!

Dave - a blog dedicated to The Horus Heresy and Warhammer 40k - Get in touch on Twitter: @davetgent


  1. I used 40k chaos space marine kits to make 30k squads (I just removed the chaos symbols) and as I play alpha legion they fit with the armour worn by armillus dynat.

    Some units (storm raven, storm hawk, storm talon, predator annihilator etc) that don't exist in the current lists for HH should not be used period but others (The 40k rhino kit for instance) did exist during the time period. I'd say if it existed use it.

    1. That's cool, I've seen a lot of people use chaos marine bits, even my wolves have some!
      And obviously, if it doesn't have rules you can't really use it, and to be honest we have enough 30k vehicles to add variety

  2. Thing is, many of the plastic kits (like Rhinos) were present in the Heresy. Much of the tech in 40K is the easier to produce stuff that the war machine needs to keep going.

    1. Exactly my point... maybe... haha. I wish I hadn't got rid of my '40k' rhinos when I committed to '30k'

  3. I think it depends on your effort. Like you wrote above, if it's thoughtfully executed and done with some care and love for the legion or attention to detail i have no qualms about it. We have this one guy in my club who made his own EC terminators and they are awesome.

    IF you do it to try the game and see if its your cup of tea sure. And i mean you can have armies that Estethically work for both. AS long as the person is not lazy and not giving a crap i'm fine with it.

    Tournaments. That woudl be different

    1. Ah man, if you've spent £75 to enter the tournament I'd assume you've spent all your dollars on resin to make sure your army looks the part! Haha
      I have a real passion for making my army look like those in visions of heresy so sometimes I need to source those particular 40k bits to do that, and that can sometimes be more expensive than just buying the resin sets. I brought the veteran squad just for the power fist, for example. Sure I used other bits but that was the whole reason for buying that kit. And I'm glad I did!

  4. As long as the hobbyist is putting some care and effort into giving everything a 30K vibe, I'm down. Mostly, I don't want to see someone bringing their 40K Marine army to a 30K event because they think they can be more "competitive." I'd stick them across the table from a Solar Auxilla Malcador/Quad Mortar monstrosity.

    1. Haha they would deserve that. I've played 30k vs 40k and at big points the 30k force is he really better. Small points and you just can't field enough of the good stufff...