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How Important Is Painting To You?
5/5 Most Important Thing
4/5 Pretty Important
3/5 Important
2/5 Kinda Matters
1/5 Barely Matters
0/5 I don't Care

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Made in us
Rotting Sorcerer of Nurgle

In My Lab

See title, answer poll.

Also, related to the poll (but can't really compress down to a multiple choice poll) is how quickly do you feel the need to see stuff painted? I mean, I would HOPE that if a newbie comes to the store for their first game of 40k, you'd not expect them to buy and paint models before they play, but how fast do you expect them to work? Or do you just want to see progress?

For me personally, I don't really care about painting at all. While I do like the look of 40k, I'm more invested in having a fun game (even with the rules as bunk as they are) than seeing cool pictures. I do love to see well-painted models, but I barely care if your models are unpainted or badly painted, so long as you're a good sport and we have fun.

Clocks for the clockmaker! Cogs for the cog throne! 
Made in us
Steadfast Ultramarine Sergeant

Sioux Falls, SD

I like to see a table where everyone has their models painted it looks a lot better even if the paint job is not that great. As long as people try to get them painted at whatever rate they can that is fine with me.

I definitely understand if someone want to start playing before getting models painted especially this time of year in the Midwest as it can be hard to prime models because of the cold weather.

I would absolutely not refuse to play someone just because their models are unpainted.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/12/27 21:45:53

Violence is never the answer, violence is always the question. And the answer is always yes.

Made in us
Been Around the Block

I started collecting in August. I haven't played a game yet because I want to finish painting all my stuff before I go try. I also keep buying stuff...
Made in fi
Courageous Space Marine Captain

Playing with unpainted models is heresy. Simple as that.

Personally I would never use an unpainted model.
And if people hadn't had time to paint many models then I'd much rather play smaller games with painted models than larger games with unpainted ones.

Only the insane have strength enough to prosper. Only those who prosper may truly judge what is sane. 
Made in us
Dakka Veteran

Having painted armies is essential to immersion into the game for me. I could see if the rules are outstanding one could ignore the immersive aspect well enough, but is that the case?

Playing games to help new players without painted models isn't a problem, but the goal should always be for something higher, something better. That's why we play with painted armies and homebrew rules.
Made in us
Stalwart Dark Angels Space Marine

Charlotte, NC

I won’t play a model until it’s painted and my paint standards are pretty high as well, so a new unit may not see the table for awhile, but that’s fine, I’m not chasing the meta, I really enjoy fielding a well painted army and chatting with people about painting

As for playing, I’ll play against gray plastic (especially a new player) but I would hope the next time I play someone there has been some forward progress on getting stuff painted

2500 Points
2000 Points 
Made in gb
Wight Lord with the Sword of Kings


I prefer to see nicely painted models but I don;t care that much.

I buy painted and/or commision most of mine because:

I am awful at it.
I dont wish to spend the time on it
Badly painting increasingly expensive models seems a bad idea/waste
I like the idea of people getting money they might need.

The only time I am less impressed is when the same player just buys powerful stuff, half builds it and never paints it before selling it off for the next thing.


"Unimaginably ancient xenos artefact somewhere on the planet, hive fleet poised above our heads, hidden 'stealer broods making an early start....and now a bloody Chaos cult crawling out of the woodwork just in case we were bored. Welcome to my world, Ciaphas."
Inquisitor Amberley Vail, Ordo Xenos

"I will admit that some Primachs like Russ or Horus could have a chance against an unarmed 12 year old novice but, a full Battle Sister??!! One to one? In close combat? Perhaps three Primarchs fighting together... but just one Primarch?" da001


A Bloody Road - my Warhammer Fantasy Fiction 
Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut

I'm impressed by paint jobs and such, but personally I don't find it necessary at all. but then, I focus a lot less on visuals than other people I know. id rather just play the game, painted models or no.

Army: none currently. 
Made in ca
Dakka Veteran

I used to not care, but as I get older the harder it is to find the time to play. So if im going to take hours out of my day to play a game, I want that game to be as great as it can be. I really need fully painted models, good terrain, a story and well rounded armies to be fully immersed into my game. I take the time to put in as much effort as possible otherwise I can't get into it.

I won't play with unpainted models anymore, not unless it's a pinch and somebody forgot to bring something and need a proxy.

Square Bases for Life!
AoS is pure garbage
Kill Primaris, Kill the Primarchs. They don't belong in 40K
40K is fantasy in space, not sci-fi 
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut

Not just models, but terrain matters a lot to me. Hate when a table has stuff just randomly thrown on, much prefer themed cohesive tables. I love watching Striking Scorpion's BRs on YT simply because he makes such an effort with the terrain.
Made in ca
Legendary Master of the Chapter

I prefer if my minis are painted but I won't judge someone else whose minis are unpainted. although I certainly appreciate a good paint job and make sure to praise well painted minis when I see them

Opinions are not facts please don't confuse the two 
Made in de
Ladies Love the Vibro-Cannon Operator


Pretty important.
I don't play unpainted (and coated) miniatures.

Former moderator 40kOnline

Lanchester's square law - please obey in list building!

Illumini: "And thank you for not finishing your post with a "" I'm sorry, but after 7200 's that has to be the most annoying sign-off ever."

Armies: Eldar, Necrons, Blood Angels, Grey Knights; World Eaters (30k); Bloodbound; Cryx, Circle, Cyriss 
Made in gb
Regular Dakkanaut

Come from a Historical Minis background, so no unpainted minis for me, thanks. Don’t mind if -you- use unpainted, but will be less inclined to repeat the experience the more often they appear. Under coated with base painted green? Thumbs up from me. I suppose it could be considered judgemental, but if you can find the time to assemble, you can find the time to paint - happy to help if you need it. Ever expanding grey horde? Nah, Mate.

Made in gb
Deadly Dark Eldar Warrior

The smoke

I won't play with, or against, unpainted models.

Made in fr
Storm Trooper with Maglight


I don't mind unpainted models.

I very much like painting, but I'm kinda bad at it, so I couldn't really emphasize well painted models, plus I don't always find time to even actually get a few done each week (looking at you, afternoons spent at the range!!!)

My favorite aspect of wargaming are games and stories to create through your tin-soldiers' adventures, and I don't need painted models to immerse.

40k: Necrons/Imperial Guard
Bolt Action: Germany/ USA
Project Z.
Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut

On a personal level, yes, painting is important. Its one of my favourite aspects of the hobby.

But when it comes to gaming then the paint job is merely for function. Obviously its nice to have good looking models, but if an opponent is playing Ultramarines then a single blue undercoat, and a clear black base is good enough. The pre-coloured models in Blackstone Fortress, First Strike and Space Hulk come to mind, if one really doesn't want to paint.

If someone objected to my painting standard or not using the correct models then I would remind them that its a game, not an art gallery, nor a sales presentation for Games Workshop.

Casual gamer, casual fun! 
Made in sg
Been Around the Block

I have no problems with people fielding unpainted model but i personally only field painted models. That way it keeps me wanting to get stuff painted up
Made in gb
Fighter Ace


It varies MASSIVELY on the game.

For the context of 40k painting is a lower priority.
Why bother making any effort when most people you play against can't be arsed and you're not enjoying the game anyway.

Ask the same about WWII or Napoleonics etc and it's much MUCH higher
Made in gb
Dakka Veteran

I've absolutely no interest in playing with, or against, unpainted models. Part of the enjoyment of 40K for me is the immersive experience and a load of half-built figures or grey plastic kinda ruin that. I'd rather wait til stuff's painted and skip the odd game.

Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Crimson wrote:

And if people hadn't had time to paint many models then I'd much rather play smaller games with painted models than larger games with unpainted ones.

Yep, 100% this. I don't see why people get so hung up on 40K having to only be played at one size of game. Even if it's just a case of dropping like 150 points or something to ensure fully-painted armies on both sides, I'd choose this every time.

Automatically Appended Next Post:
Here's an addendum though – one which *should* go without saying, but we all know what this forum's like – if you're happy playing with half-built figures, with unpainted figures, with Lego men (or bricks!) standing in for your figures, and you have other people to play with who are also happy with that, then go nuts; enjoy yourselves. Who cares what anyone on the internet thinks as long as everyone involved is having fun?

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/12/28 12:50:23

Made in us
Ultramarine Master with Gauntlets of Macragge

Upstate, New York

I only put painted minis on the table.

I’d prefer the same from my opponents. But I’ll take what I can get. I do like to see progress though. I understand that painting armies is a time intensive WIP, but it should be in progress.

Ultramarines, 3rd Co. and friends, 13K+ Slowly growing 3Kish
Nevelon's Workbench: Ultramarines, Saim-Hann and other assorted oddities
Made in us
Mutilatin' Mad Dok

Crescent City Fl..

Painted armies are extremely important to me. Clearly a new player will not have that completely paint are if they are just starting out with kits ect. But I would encourage them to paint and even show some easy steps and other materials to help them if they were inclined at all to get their army painted..Or offer to paint their models for money. Both are fine choices.
I got really tired of taking any unfinished models out for games. It looks bad, I have the time to get things built and painted so I stopped being lazy I guess. That and my friends will refer people to me for painting services some times and it's bad to not have several good examples to show.
Over all it just makes the games more fun for me. On several occasions I had forgotten models were actually in play because they were freshly assembled grey plastic. I knew they were there but my brain thought, oh, that's just terrain or nothing of importance..and then it would kill some of my models and I would find myself confused.

"Pathetic earthlings. Hurling your bodies out into the void, without the slightest inkling of who or what is out here. If you had known anything about the true nature of the universe, anything at all, you would've hidden from it in terror."
My blog http://warhead01.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-art-of-ork.html 
Made in us
Powerful Phoenix Lord

If you have no interest in painting miniatures, let's play a board game. 40K's rules aren't good enough to justify playing the game simply for the game...

Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut

5/5 for me, if you're not going to bother making the effort to have a force look decent then why not play a game thats actually better as a game?

the draw of 40k is hardly the rules, its the depth of background and way the models can look for me.

note not saying it has to be golden daemon standard (mine certainly isn't) but its not hard to make stuff look decent.

not its only 40k and Fantasy/AoS (and occasionally Bolt Action) where this crops up, in all other systems painting seems normal enough people don't even comment on it, but then most other systems don't try to force the churn rate of models.

even just marines sprayed blue, a deep wash and drybrush with the blue, some metallic and shoulder trim & transfers makes a huge difference to how it looks

then you have the visual appeal that can also pull in new players, plus can provide the "its creative" hook that can make the game more acceptable to parents etc.

note I will and often do play against the grey/silver horde, with the right person its fine (avoid unpainted when the player is tiresome as well though), it just looks a hell of a lot better with some effort made
Made in gb
Wicked Warp Spider

Important enough it was a factor in putting 40k on hold

I'm a bit slow at painting so having to paint Long Rifle Lara or Bolter Bob #6 to #30 (or whatever) fills me with a mild terror

Currently playing skirmish games and barring a few units that came as a part of an e-bay army that I wanted to test to establish those worth painting I havent put down unpainted in years

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/12/28 17:40:02

Made in ie
Been Around the Block

I'm incredibly slow at painting, and those I play regularly wouldn't be much faster.

As a result I'm happy to play with and against primed models, or models in various states of completion.

I'd rather play against a horde of primer with a few beautifully painted minis than a horde of badly painted minis.

I wouldn't be a tournament player, very much a casual where the hobby is as important, if not more so than playing.

If anything the actual game is just to give us a target to build towards.

Made in de
Battlefield Tourist


I game so infrequently now that I pretty much insist on doing it with only fully painted models when I do. The visual spectacle is a huge part of the fun of this hobby.

I also want good terrain to play on. Sad to put all this time into the minis and then play with them on an ugly battlefield.

Made in us
Thunderhawk Pilot Dropping From Orbit

Across the Rubicon

I would rate myself at a 4.5/5 on your scale. I go out of my way to make sure my stuff has at least basic blocked in colors. I usually leave less painted models out of my forces in favor of more painted ones. And I try pretty hard have nicely painted models done to the best of my ability. My favorite part of the hobby is deployment with two nicely painted forces on a nicely constructed table. Part of the reason I like Kill Team is how easy that is to accomplish.

I am a bit bothered by my opponent's lack of painting, but I go out of my way not to say anything. It is my personal issue and not theirs. Just the same, this a photo list of all of the full table games (read: not Kill Team/Warcry) I have played recently:


This opponent had a fully painted army further along than mine at the time. To be fair to me, I had only had mine for less than a week with a job that had me putting in some overtime during that week. This was week 2 in an Escalation League that I joined and had to catch up with everything since I never really even looked at AoS before. Probably the worst looking army I have fielded in years.


My opponent had a couple of units painted. They seemed pretty new so it is understandable they have just started. I am not even sure if they had 2000 points yet as this was just a 1000 point game.


The photo is sort of a bad example as my opponent had a few units painted, but they suffered painted model syndrome and were removed almost instantly. This opponent also started this army only about a month ago as well for the Escalation League.


This opponent rarely gets the chance to play full 40k and is part of my Kill Team group where he mostly focuses his limited painting time. I don't think he gets much of an opportunity to break out is Forge World stuff which I also think he hasn't had all that long.


I think this opponent was more of a ITC tournament player with a newer army. He was also visiting from the other coast, so I wouldn't imagine he would bring well painted stuff. I think this game was most of a figuring out what he wants to do with it army before he paints it to ITC standards. Which worked out well enough as he toned it down for a casual game with me.


So as the photos show, I don't mind playing opponents with unpainted models, but sometimes can feel like that is all I get in which does affect my personal enjoyment a little. A lot of them are pretty new so it is also understandable they barely have the stuff built. I only bring my personal terrain (spoiler below) for Kill Team since free parking is much closer to the FLGS on Sundays so carrying extra stuff isn't as bad as other days. I also don't think I have enough for a full table to keep a consistent theme and much of it would just be decorative scatter terrain that I feel many opponents would be more annoyed by as it gets in the way of the game without providing anything useful.


This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/12/28 18:19:15

Made in us
Rotting Sorcerer of Nurgle

In general, 4/5 or 5/5- however it will vary by opponent and game system.

I try my best to have everything 100% painted and I won't really use something if it is not painted (with a few exceptions). As for opponents, If it is a longtime friend, or someone I know then the priority of it's importance will slide down.

I hold it to be important with opponent's as IME, generally someone with an mass of unpainted stuff is a borderline TFG and is not worth my time playing. I've played too many games of WMH and 40k where the person with the unpainted masses of models is more interested in roflstomping you or performing an exercise in rolling dice than actually having an enjoyable game between the pair of you.

Now, this clearly is not always the case. You can tell more by the person before they even plop their army down of how enjoyable (or not) a game will be, but on the Venn diagram of "Complete and utter bellends playing wargames" and "unpainted armies" it is almost a complete circle. My time is just too precious nowadays to have to endure an ego stroke from the local wannabe "pro 40k player".

A GW fan walks into a bar, buys the same drink as yesterday but pays more.

""Unite" is a human word, ... join me or die."

If you break apart my posts line by line I will not read them. 
Made in us
Infiltrating Broodlord

Oklahoma City

I feel like this question (from the way it was phrased in the OP) is not "How important is the act of painting to you" but instead "how important is it to you that your opponent has painted their entire army" and all the generally elitist baggage associated with that kind of question.

In which case I'd answer 1/5 probably. Because the only thing that really matters is that everyone is having fun and no one else is out to ruin fun by only playing unpainted power models because it's the way to win at all costs.

If the original question is actually how much do you value your own painting over say gaming then I would be a 4/5 and my partner a 5/5 because toy soldiers are just toy soldiers if you don't bring them to life in some way.

Proud supporter of

It is human nature to seek culpability in a time of tragedy. It is a sign of strength to cry out against fate, rather than to bow one's head and succumb.
-Gabriel Angelos 
Made in de
Longtime Dakkanaut

It's the most important aspect. Period.

I don't understand why people even bother shoving minis around the board with unpainted stuff. Hmm, it seems to me these are the same people who are okay with putting soda cans on the table as terrain or even, God forbid, models.

A better hobby would be for them MtG but as lazy as these guys are they wouldn't even take an effort to put their cards into sleeves.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/12/28 21:57:01

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