Be WAAC At Painting – How To Min-Max Your Hobby Time!

By |2016-06-24T09:00:57+00:00June 24th, 2016|Categories: Hellfire Painting, How To Tutorial, painting miniatures, Warhammer 40k|


There was much talk about WAAC and tournaments in the last few weeks, and one thing that usually flies under the radar is painting for tournament.

Let’s not kid ourselves, most of us own some painted models if not an entire army, so painting specifically for a tournament is not something we do on the regular.  There are a few types you usually see around :

gw paints

The barely 3 colors. A tournament classic, either this fella is out for blood playing the new hotness that he bought assembled and built 3 days prior to the event, or he straight up hates painting, so he did the minimum to be allowed through the gates.

The tabletop standard. An all around classic, this is your everyday army. It’s the most common type for tournament goer, Dave from every game store, plays with that army since forever and his quite happy to stroll it to a tournament.

The fancy army. Either a serious contender for the painting awards or simply the work of art of a player more concerned with the hobby aspect than the gaming aspect of tournament play, this army is built to wow you.

This is great in general, but what about the ravenous tournament goer that wants to get the most points out of his painting experience?  What about those last few days prior to leaving for a tournament, how do you use your precious hobby time?

Getting the most out of painting points is something I’ve always been interested in, as I side more on the hobby side than on the playing. I never got around to actually naming this technique, until recently after attending a local event, my friend Chris Hanes coined a term truly defines this genre.

Checklist Painting


You might have met Chris at Adepticon where he was on fire, finishing top 16 in the 40K championship and winning best overall in both the Age of Sigmar championship and 40K team tournament.

Checklist painting and you, a WAAC guide to min-maxing even in the paint department!

The way most tournaments judge painting, at least the bulk of judging, is buy using a checklist or a grid with categories and points. The point of checklist painting is looking at categories and making sure you hit the boxes to get points.


Using this Adepticon painting checklist, let’s break it down :

Initial overall impression – Getting to the 15 is easy enough there. Don’t only have 3 colors on your models and using the checkbox method for the other categories will take care of you.

Display board- This is another easy one, they even tell you want to do on it to score points! Want 2? Gravel and some static grass, BAM! 2 points. Want 4? Gravel and static grass, but add in a terrain feature like a ruin or some trees. BAM!

Model Basing- Again, you get exactly what you pay for. Cleaning up the edges with one solid color and mathcing it to your display board here is the thing that adds the most impact.

Conversions- This one is harder but there are 2 main way to tackle this : One way is with one huge conversion like the wraightknight is Chris’ army. A big centerpiece of a model and intricate conversion work is a lot of points. The other way is smaller conversions but across the whole army. For example, replacing all heads with custom resin ones, or replacing your IG’s lasguns with modern firearms. This approach requires less skill and offer a nice way to make your army unique. Conversions are an important part in getting a good painting score, so don’t shy away from it.

Advanced Skills – If you are going the checklist painting approach, you should get the required points to get there, despite not necessarily having any skills. Again, they tell you exactly where to go if you want points. A basecoat, a shade and a highlight color. No matter how that was applied, this gets you more points.

As such, checklist painting doesn’t require you to have any skill whatsoever to score nicely in a tournament. You don’t even have to like painting, you just have to read and do what you’re told.

You want them points? Go get them, tiger!

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About the Author:

Max Dubois is a hobby enthusiast from Quebec that runs most things named Hellfire Painting. Max produces a lot of hobby ressources that you can find on his own blog as well as well as on Spikey Bits. He is always ready to talk shop with other enthusiasts, whether it's about, painting, playing or drinking, no matter your skill level in either those activities. You can also find some of his work on amazon kindle, where he sells hobby e-books for a dollar!