Most players packs (my own included) state that models must be painted to a three colour minimum to be used at an event. However this does not seem to be being enforced – again I include some of the events I organise as guilty in this regard.
I’m going to state here that I believe this should be enforced and - in the case of any events I organise e.g. Fields of Blood, Skitterleap, NZ Masters – will be enforced.
Why? Two key reasons.
The first is respect for your opponent. If I have painted and army (or had an army painted) then I expect to face armies of least a minimum standard across the table. The game is part of a visual hobby and those aspects are a key part of at least some people’s hobby experience. Painting an army to the minimum standard does not take long – I have painted 60 zombies in three evenings – to a better than tabletop standard. Wargamers are great procrastinators as a rule and unless there is a incentive/penalty then for some the painting would never get done.
The second reason is that it encourages people to utilise builds that they would never consider if they had to paint the models included (or pay for them to be painted). Want to bring 11 Venoms – buy them and paint them; a 100 rat slave unit sounds a good idea – then three colours please (a couple of nights work); etc.
Most events offer painting points that recognise the minimum acceptable standard yet we still see people not meeting it. On the basis that the carrot hasn’t worked then there needs to be a stick (or reverse-carrot for the PC amongst you). The best carrot is the ability to participate but that requires enforcement of minimum standards.
There can be grey areas – where do proxies, unit fillers and conversions fit in this? For mine unit fillers are fine if they are proportional to the size of a unit. As long as they remain under a third of the unit in terms of base size I suspect you’d have few problems with most TOs. Conversions are clearly different from proxies in that they should be a recognisable as part of the “new” army rather than just a swap from their original source. For instance, I class my Warp Lightning Cannon based on the Steam Tank as a conversion rather than a proxy. Proxies for me are models taken from other armies or sources purely for the purpose of representing in the short term the required models. Where it gets grey is when the models come from a non-GW source. Here it is hard to have exhaustive written rules. Generally it comes down to the “sniff test”. Bit like cheese – hard to define but you know it when you’ll see it.
If you’ve read this far, great. You’ll see up above I differentiated between painted and unpainted armies, not between armies you paint yourself and armies you didn’t paint. Why? Because it is not relevant IMO. The rationale for requiring painted armies is given above – respect for your opponents and a commitment to your build. To satisfy these you need to make a commitment either in time or in cash, either way there is a cost.
So if you are coming to Fields, Skitterleap or the Masters and your army is not painted to the standards given in the Players Pack, then you need to schedule in some painting time – either personally or from another source.