What They Grow Beyond (An Announcement)

A year and a half ago, I started this blog to fill two perceived gaps: the first, a lack of general information aimed at total beginners (like myself) on a still very new, but very fun, game. The second, a lack of understanding of Legion and tabletop wargames broadly on my own part. This blog was was always as much a selfish endeavor as anything else.

I strive to be both helpful and competent at whatever thing I’m doing. Nearly a quarter of a million views and 50+ posts later, I feel I’ve achieved that here. I am so fortunate that a number of you have reached out with kind and thankful words to let me know what you learned from Imperial Discipline, and that has meant the world to me. I have always felt welcome in this community.

Unfortunately, I find that I’m running out of things to say that haven’t been said better by a dozen talented folks.

And so, with that in mind, I’d like to announce that I’m putting Imperial Discipline on indefinite hiatus. Thank you all so, so much for your support and advice and enthusiasm. This project ended up being so much bigger than I dreamed it would be, and I’d rather go out with a totality of work that I’m happy with than stumbling through half-hearted content drops, and I think you’d prefer that, too.

(And, of course, winning the Yavin Base Team League with The Admin Menace marks a competitive high point that I am unlikely return to, so I might as well go out on top.)

The website won’t go away; far from it. It’ll be up at least another year or two, maybe longer if people still find it useful.

Not only will the 500-point format will remain right where it is, we’re in the planning stages for it potentially being on Tabletop Simulator in the future (no promises yet, but we’re hoping). I’ll begin to softly look for someone to take it over in the meantime. The Impact X Archives will stay right here, too.

But at the end of the day I think I’ve done the job I set out to do a year and a half ago. There’s less of a need for this blog’s essential purpose these days – a lot of extremely creative and well-informed commanders are out there in the Discord, on the Facebook page, and in the forums giving beginners the advice that I sought to give when I first started out. And they’re doing it even better than I have. It makes me happy, genuinely, to see the community be so supportive and growing and thriving.

Legion is truly in a great place and I can’t wait to see where it continues to go. I’ll be right there beside you all excitedly seeing which new units come down the pipe each month.

Return Of The Jedi Episode 6 GIF by Star Wars

In addition, I’m going to be stepping down from my role as an admin/moderator of the Discord. It’s time to get some new blood in. I’m not going anywhere, don’t worry – you’ll still find me in chat just like before, predicting the impending release of a Darth Jar Jar operative and meme-ing it up with PCGamerPirate.

(Fair warning: it’s just sappy thank you’s from here on out, so I’ll understand if you hit the ‘X’ button at this point.)

Working with that admin team has been a real highlight, and I’m going to miss my regular chats with them just to keep ourselves sane. LJ especially has been an instrumental part of my entire Legion experience and is an invaluable member of the community. I have no doubt I will continue to bug him for his advice on totally unrelated matters.

Thank you as well to the Legion creative team that I’ve gotten to meet and interact with – you have all created something really fantastic and I’m glad I got to be a small part of helping people latch onto it.

A number of you in the community of content creators as well have been incredibly kind to me, and I’m so thankful for your support and collaboration. It would take forever to name you all, but if we’ve ever exchanged messages assume that I’m talking about you. I look forward to seeing what you do next.

And lastly a huge thank you to everyone over at the Fifth Trooper Network – the Scoundrels, of course – Kyle, Mike, and Dave – whose opinions I’ve sought a number of times, and Evan from 5T, but especially Jay. You gave me my first and my second and my third and my (nth) podcast opportunities, and for that and everything else you did for me I’ll be eternally grateful. The Northeast Open was one of the best weekends I’ve ever had. I have to assume with me out of the picture you’ll have sights on assuming complete control of the Legion-sphere and I wish you the best in that pursuit.

After this, you can still find me at my personal website, my Etsy store, and streaming retro games on Twitch.

Thank you again, and may the Force be with you. Always.

On Differentiating Units

When it comes to the hobby side of things, one of the questions I often see beginners pose in the Facebook group and on the Discord is: what’s the best way to make my units look distinct on the battlefield?

It’s a good question, and one I struggled with at the start. At first, I intended to paint each Stormtrooper unit with a different color pauldrons, but ended up settling on something different (which you can see at the end).

But my story is just one, and so I went to the Discord users for some help. I received a ton of photo submissions after asking very nicely, so thank you to everyone who submitted their unique take on differentiating Legion units.

A Galaxy of Choices

Shown below are three user submissions, ranging from simple and obvious to advanced and nuanced. Following those three is a photo of my own design. I hope you find these useful for inspiring your own creativity!

Without further ado:

1) Simple and Clean

Sploosh, aka Doug K, from the Legion Discord uses a simple but wonderfully effective colored dot system to differentiate his units. Great for beginner painters or those who want to do things quickly!

2) Stylish and Clear

Dustin Foran took the above idea a step further with his Shoretroopers. There are colored marks on the edge of each base to differentiate the unit, but still allowing him to have stylish premium bases.


3) A Nuanced Take

Orkimedes, aka Kyle, does two things: first, he paints the headbands of his Rebel Troopers different colors to identify unit, and second, he puts a small Sabaac card on their backpack. Very cool idea, and well executed!


4) Groggy’s War Dogs

I snapped this photo of my own units at the Northeast Open this summer. You can see two distinct squads here (of five total that I’ve painted). On the left, “Scar” squadron; on the right, “Stripe” squadron. I like that they look both unique and cohesive as part of a larger army!


Hopefully this has helped you figure out what to do for differentiating your units. If you’ve got other ideas or suggestions, leave them in the comments below.

Happy differentiating, Commanders!

The NEW Total Beginner’s Guide to Legion

Over the last year and a half, it has been my distinct pleasure to write about Star Wars: Legion for beginners. I have now upwards of fifty posts and well over a hundred thousand views, demonstrating how important this content is to newbies across the world.

And so it is with great pleasure that I can announce a more consolidated welcome to the dual hobby of Star Wars: Legion, and a more cohesive Total Beginner’s Guide (also linked in the top menu).

The Total Beginner’s Guide to Legion

I am indebted to my friends LJ Peña of the Legion Tournament Circuit and Jay Shelanksey of the Fifth Trooper for their help with this project. Jay created the embedded video at my request and did an absolutely amazing job of it. Please go visit their respective sites and say nice things to them in the Discord.

On that note, if you’re a beginner don’t forget to join the Legion Discord (linked to the right) to talk shop and rub elbows with thousands of fantastic Legion players. You’re welcome there, and we’ll be excited to have you!

So happy learning, Commanders. And may the Force be with you.

FFG Live – POINTS CHANGES & ERRATA Recap (9/3/19)

UPDATE 9/5/19:

FFG Released the promised points update a day early. You can find the full listing in the new RRG, starting on Page 75.


On today’s (September 3rd, 2019) FFG Live stream, Legion developers Alex Davy and Luke Eddy were joined by Matt Holland (FFG OP) to showcase the new Luke and Vader operatives as well as talk points changes and errata updates in the near future. A VOD of the stream can be found at the above link.

The FFG team is “not overhauling things rapidly,” but making more of a “surgical strike” according to Alex and Luke. These were based on data from tournaments and “extensive playtesting.”

Look at these handsome guys. Just look at ’em!

Alex and Luke said that future points updates will be minor, perhaps once a year at most. This is “not the full list,” which will be coming September 6th to take effect at a later date (specified in the upcoming living document), but merely a preview. These will be listed in a “living document” on the website.

They will not be reprinting cards for a number of reasons, including that they are only for “competitive play” and because these points may change again in the future. (Although Matt Holland at one point did mention talking to OP about providing alt arts with the new points/errata.)

Here all confirmed points changes from the stream:

Rebel Points Changes/Errata

  • T-47 Airspeeder going from 175 points to 140 points
    • Mo/DK Power Harpoon going from 8 points to 3 points
    • AX-108 “Groundbuzzer” going from 20 points to 10 points
  • AT-RT 
    • All weapons going to 20 points, major decrease
  • 1.4 FD Laser Cannon Team’s Laser Cannon upgraded to Range 1-5
    • First-ever instance of Range 5!
  • Upgrades
    • CM-O/93 (Rebel Veterans) going from 31 points to 26 points
    • MPL-57 Ion Trooper (Rebel Troopers) going from 32 points to 24 points

Imperial Points Changes/Errata

  • AT-ST going from 195 points to 170 points
  •  74-Z Speeder Bikes going from 90 points to 75 points
  • E-Web Heavy Blaster Team
    • Plodding keyword has been removed (single move per turn)
  • Stormtroopers
    • HH-12 Stormtroopers going from 34 points to 26 points

General Points Changes/Errata

  • Upgrades
    • Saber Throw going from 10 points to 5 points
    • Force Reflexes going from 15 points to 10 points
    • Targeting Scopes going from 8 points to 6 points
    • Barrage Generator going from 10 points to 7 points
  • Sniper Strike Teams (not full unit)
    • Up to 20 points from 16 points
    • Rifles changed to Range 5 max, down from infinite

There are no Droid/Clone errata or point changes expected in the near future, although obviously they will be on the table down the line.

There are a “small handful” of points increases for units they felt were “too dominant” but no specifics mentioned just yet (outside of Strike Teams).

After briefly discussing the points updates, Luke and Alex played a game with the erratas/point changes and the new Vader and Luke Operatives. My apologies for not getting the spoiled details on the new operatives, I’m sure other outlets will have them. Their lists are below.

Luke’s Rebel list:


Alex’s Imperial list:


How to Create a Dusty Geonosis Base

I’ve reached a point in my blogging where if I’m not careful, all of my new content is simply reductive of things I’ve done in the past.

Related imageAnd, indeed, the easiest possible version of a Geonosis basing tutorial for your lovely Droid armies would see me essentially recreate my How to Create a Tatooine Desert Base, but this time using Martian Ironcrust instead of Agrellan Earth (plus a bit of drybrushing, of course).

Now, don’t get me wrong: you absolutely can (and, perhaps, if you’re pressed for time should) use that product to make a super simple, super appealing Geonosis base.

But I’ve come to expect more from myself, and I hope you’ve come to expect more of me as well.

So instead of taking the easy way out, I’m going to try and make something a bit more thematic but still entirely beginner-friendly. Here’s what you’ll need.

  • Citadel’s Stirland Battlemire Texture
  • Orange, brown, and beige paint
  • An FFG Premium Trooper base
  • A drybrush
  • Some loose sprues and super glue

Let’s get started.


Geonosis was the first capital of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, and played host to a number of battle droid foundries. After the Clone Wars, the Death Star would be built in its orbit. Its surface is irradiated, crag-marked, and hostile.

So instead of just going for the red, cracked soil, we’re going to add in a bit of easy industrial flair based on what we already have in front of us.

Image result for stirland battlemire1) Apply the Texture

To begin, prime your base (I’m going to do one example of each: a premium FFG base, and a regular base) black. If you’re using a premium trooper base, paint a neutral gray over the whole thing, let it dry, and then apply your Stirland Battlemire texture. It’ll come out looking significantly more brown than the image on the right.

It’s going to take a few hours to dry. Don’t worry about putting it on super thickly, just lay it on haphazardly and you’ll get a good natural look like the GW image on the right. If you’re using a premium trooper base, leave some grating or indentations exposed; we’re going for an abandoned industrial look.

2) Drybrush Up

Using brown, orange, and beige, do three drybrush passes. You can see the approximate colors I used below: a burnt orange heavy on the brown, a burnt orange heavy on the orange, and a straight beige color.

  • Heavy drybrush, dark brown
  • Medium drybrush, orange
  • Very light drybrush, beige

If you’re using the premium trooper base, don’t be afraid to give some light passes on the exposed surface as well. Don’t go overboard, but naturally some silt would have settled down anyways so a bit of color will only enhance the theme.

3) Add Some Scrap (Optional)

Take some of the sprue frames you had lying around from your droids and cut them into small, pipe-looking bits. Stack them haphazardly, glue them together, then prime and paint them.

Then, simply glue them off to one side of your base for your droid to stand next to.

Voila, some easy and free metal waste for your Geonosis-themed base.


Once you’re all done, they should come out looking something like this:


I ended up going more for dusty brown than orange-red. But go with whatever aesthetic best fits your taste! Geonosis is a big planet, after all.


I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! As always, if you use this to inspire your own bases, please leave some notes or photos in the comments, on Facebook, in the Discord, or on the FFG forums. I’d love to see your handiwork!

Happy basing, Commanders.

What Sprue Means for You

Like it or not, Legion is moving to sprues.

For some of you, this will immediately revive memories (good or bad) of Warhammer and other hard plastic-based miniatures games and bits of glue all over your fingers. Funnily enough, I never played Warhammer – all of my experience with sprues comes from the occasional LotR mini and a recent passion for gunpla models.

For others, you’re coming into this territory as a blank slate and you’ve got no idea what’s next. As is tradition on Imperial Discipline, this article is for you.

Let’s begin at the beginning: a sprue is a channel or mold through which plastic is poured to create your minis. You might also call it a runner or a plate, depending on which other hobbies you’re joining us from. Instead of the usual Legion models being out on their own, models on sprues will be separated out into parts and locked into a larger frame through lengths of plastic.

Remember that not all Legion minis will be moving to sprues – at least, not right away. To begin with, only the CIS Droid Army will be hard plastic. Clones will still be the soft snap-fit you’ve gotten used to for the last year and a half.

Before we move on, check out Crabbok’s excellent unboxing video of the Clone Wars Core Set to check out how those droids look in person, especially if you’ve never seen or worked with a sprue before:

The Why: Moving from Soft to Hard

Droids are skinny but still need to be rigid.

In that sentence, you have more or less the entirety of the argument for FFG moving to hard plastic.

If you’ve unboxed and painted up a set of the Imperial Royal Guard, you probably know how big of a pain skinny and rigid is to get right for soft plastic. Their staff weapons were a bit sloppy and droopy, even after trying to re-mold them with hot water. It’s passable for a single unit, but when a whole army is at stake, it’s obviously important to get the structure right.

But this also represents an investment from FFG in Legion: higher quality minis that are more expensive to produce but allow for more detail. I have no doubt that the sculptors are thrilled to be moving to hard plastic. There’s a feeling that they’ve pushed the soft stuff to its breaking (bending?) point, and it’s time to move on.

Having said all of that, the switch to hard plastic will require a bit of adaptation from players who aren’t already prepared. Next, let’s talk about what you need to succeed.

What You Need

  • Nippers
  • Plastic glue
  • Files
  • Hobby knife

I’m going to loosely group this into “glue” and “everything else” for one particular reason: remember when I mentioned my gunpla (a portmanteau of Gundam and plastic) at the top of the page?

As it turns out, for $8 USD you can go to Amazon and get a fantastic gunpla toolkit with nippers to cut the minis from the plastic runners, files and knives to remove nubs, and pliers to more accurately handle your miniatures. It’s a steal, and I can speak to the better-than-you-expect quality level of those items: I use them myself frequently.

(If you have no idea what half of those words mean, check out the below Warhammer video about building Space Marines – it’ll help a ton.)

In summary:

  1. Use the nippers to clip the mini parts from the frame
  2. Use the hobby knife or nippers to remove any large remaining nubs
  3. Use files to provide a clean finish as needed

Once you’ve cut your minis from the runners, however, you’ll still need to assemble them.

Whereas before we could get away with regular super glue, we’ll now want to switch to plastic glue. The former is a standard bonding adhesive for a wide variety of materials, but the latter – plastic glue – actually melts the plastic together, making an even stronger bond than regular super glue.

Your local hobby or hardware store should have some in stock, but if you’re ever in doubt it’s totally fine to go with Citadel Plastic Glue – if nothing else, it’s just a safe bet.

That about wraps things up. Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments here on the blog, on Facebook, and on the FFG forums, or ping me in the Discord (kevnobi – Imperial Discipline).

Happy sprue-ing, Commanders!

The Legion Buying Guide (Summer 2019)

It’s that time again! Every six months or so I’ve created a buying guide for prospective and beginner players, and with the prequels nearly out it’s time to review what we know about the Imperial and Rebel armies.

Much of this is copy-pasted from the last article, but with important updates.

A Welcome, and Some Context

Detailed below is my best attempt at a buying guide based on the current state of the game, as well as what we might expect moving forward based on the info we have now.

A word of caution: unless you are 100% sure you’ll want to invest a lot of money in this game, I would stick with one faction to start with, either Rebels or Imperials (or, of course, you could wait for the Clone and Droid armies). They’re reasonably balanced at this point (generally speaking Imperials favor their big, expensive toys like Vader or the Occupier Tank, while Rebels favor a larger number of expendable units) so just go for whatever you like best.


You might also consider trying the game on Tabletop Simulator first to see which army fits your play-style better. That way, you can get a feel for the game and see which units you’d like to buy before you go out and spend a bunch of money. Similarly, check out videos-on-demand from any of the YouTube/Twitch channels or read up on any of the blogs on my Resources page to see what people are saying about your preferred faction.

Further, check out the single elimination lists from Season 3 of the Invader League to see what lists are doing reasonably well right now. If you see one that really strikes your fancy on either side, you can use the below list to build towards it.

Before you read this list, I’d encourage you to read over my very first buying guide, which goes over army requirements.

My original buying guide for paint and other supplies is still valid, but the pieces below have been updated to factor in all the new units we’ve gotten since the game’s release. You can purchase all of these units through your local game store, Amazon, or the Fantasy Flight Games website.

And finally, don’t be afraid to pop into the Legion Discord (link to the right) and ask questions before you buy. Everyone there would be happy to help!

NOTE: This is not a ranking of unit strength. This is what I believe to be an accurately ranked list of the purchases that make most sense for a new player given their overall strength, utility, and cost.

UPDATE AS OF 9/3/19: FFG has announced a points change and unit errata. See my blog post for more information about this update, which will raise the stock of a number of lower-performing units.

S Tier:

Legion Core Set ($90 USD)

Perhaps it’s obvious, but if you do not already have the Legion Core Set, you absolutely need to get it to play the game. Inside you’ll get the following miniatures:

  • 917zx3bcz5l-_sy450_Darth Vader
  • Stormtroopers x 2
  • 74-Z Speeder Bikes
  • Luke Skywalker
  • Rebel Troopers x 2
  • AT-RT

In addition, you’ll get 8 barricades, 4 range ruler segments, 3 movement templates, and all the command, upgrade, and objective cards you’ll need to get started.

All of that is enough to do a simple two-player demo game, but won’t give you enough for a full 800-pt army from either faction (the specifics of which are detailed a bit more in my original buying guide).

To fully expand your army, take a look at the options below.

A Tier:

…Another Core Set ($90 USD)

“But I just bought a core set,” you might say. “Why should I get another one?”

At the end of the day, the Core Set is the best bang for your buck. The base cost is $90 USD, but as of writing it’s on sale on Amazon for $70 USD. And if you were to buy the units individually…

  • star-wars-legion-core-set-boxStormtroopers ($20 USD x 2 = $40 USD)
  • 74-Z Speeder Bikes ($15 USD)
  • Rebel Troopers ($20 USD x 2 = $40 USD)
  • AT-RT ($15 USD)
  • Dice Pack ($15 USD)
  • Range Rulers and Movement Templates ($15 USD)
  • TOTAL = $140 USD

Assuming you were to buy the Core Set at a slight discount of $70, you’d get all the units for your side at the same price plus a free dice pack and all the units for the other side as well. It’s a no-brainer for most Legion players and gets you very close to a viable full army on either side.

And here’s the thing: most of the units in the original core set are still the ones you want.

No army is complete without Rebel Troopers and Stormtroopers. Luke is still perhaps the best unit in the game. Vader, AT-RTs, and Bikes have fallen off a bit but are certainly still worthwhile units.

If you’re worried about price, check eBay or one of the Legion buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook (or even players at your local game store!) to see about splitting one or both of your cores for a reduced price. It’s a fairly common practice in the community.

B Tier:

General Veers, Stormtroopers, Scout Troopers (Imperial)

Leia Organa, Rebel Troopers, Rebel Commandos (Rebel)

swl12_box_leftTo flesh out your armies, you’ll want a second commander in either Veers or Leia, and you’ll want to fill in your remaining trooper units. It’s extremely common to see players running the maximum of six trooper units in powerful lists; two core sets puts you at four of each, and you can easily bring yourself to five or six now.

Further, the current meta has two to three Strike Teams as nearly indispensable (certainly in the form of snipers, or perhaps the gutsy triple-bomber lists popularized by Daniel Lupo-Albritton. Many people may dislike the sniper-heavy meta, but I would be remiss to not make this point clear for you.

The B Tier is where you’re fielding a mostly realized army, but the C Tier is where you’ll start to make distinct competitive choices.

C Tier:

Imperial Specialists, Boba Fett, Bossk, Director Krennic, Death Troopers (Imperial)

Rebel Specialists, Han Solo, Sabine Wren (Rebel)

Image result for legion sabine wren

Previously, the C Tier was home to things like the AT-ST. It was about faction identity and big toys.

Instead, we now find that once you’ve picked up two main commanders, enough corps units, and a handful of snipers, you’ve got a couple of choices left for you to decide what kind of list you’d like to run.

On the Imperial side, would you prefer to run Director Krennic and his Death Troopers, or one or two bounty hunters? (Or, perhaps, run them together as I did at the Northeast Open with a Krennic/Boba/DT list.)

On the Rebel side, who are you pairing with Luke or Leia? Han is a wily scoundrel who can be tough to play but devastating with his Gunslinger and Sharpshooter abilities, while Sabine’s Explosions! card is one of the biggest booms in the game.

And finally, consider picking up one or two Specialists packs. The medics alone are worth it, but the added flexibility of a comms unit and a generic officer bring a ton of options to your gameplay.

D Tier:

Occupier Tank, Snowtroopers, Palpatine, Royal Guard (Imperial)

Chewbacca, Wookiee Warriors, Pathfinders, Jyn Erso,

X-34 Landspeeder (Rebel)

Image result for legion emperor palpatineNow we’re back to the big fun toys that are less than necessary but still a real joy to play.

For Imperials, the Occupier Tank is easily the best available vehicle. Snowtroopers have fallen out of favor in the recent meta, but are still heinously fun at range one. And the Emperor and his Royal Guard can be difficult to play, but are still absolutely viable (see Eric Riha at Worlds).

Rebels bring in a couple of popular names and their cohorts in Chewie and Jyn – they’re certainly not challenging Luke or Leia’s longstanding supremacy, but they have their own unique playstyles and look great on the board. Plus, the Landspeeder is a sneakily good unit for flanking and surprise attacks.

E Tier:

E-Web Heavy Blaster, 74-Z Speeder Bikes, AT-ST (Imperial)

1.4 FD Laser Cannon, AT-RT, Fleet Troopers (Rebel)

atst__38118-1509058186This far down the list, we approach units that can be slotted into many a competitive list by smart players, but are far from necessary. Only purchase these units if you really like their look or feel, not because you think they’ll be hyper competitive.

I stanned AT-STs for quite some time, but unfortunately the Occupier Tank is just a better unit right now. And Speeder Bikes have come a long way from the dominant Veers/3x Bikes lists of the earliest meta.

Similarly, triple AT-RTs went out of style a while ago, and it’s rare to see one on the board anymore. So with the one or two from your original core set, it is pretty well unnecessary to buy another.

I expect Fleet Troopers to be potentially my most controversial pick this low, but I genuinely believe they take a skilled hand to command well, and are not an optimal choice for beginners.

F Tier:

T-47 Airspeeder (Rebel)

airspeed__93749-1509059439And finally, still perhaps the lone truly “bad” unit, the T-47 Airspeeder (which you might also know as the Hoth Snowspeeder from Empire Strikes Back) is sadly also one of the prettiest models in the game right now.

Its weak guns and low health pool don’t quite make up for its high cost. It’s a beautiful mini and a blast to paint, but if you’re looking to be competitive off the bat skip this one for now. And maybe forever, or at least until we get a good fix for it.

Unreleased At Time of Writing:

Shoretroopers, Dewbacks (Imperial)

Rebel Veterans, Tauntauns (Rebel)

Of course it’s impossible to predict the exact impact of upcoming units, but all four of the above expansions look to shake things up. Especially on the Rebel side, Tauntauns have the possibility of radically overhauling the Luke/Leia-heavy Rebel meta.

And new mechanics for the two corps units promise to provide some fun new options, especially looking at suppression-heavy Imperial lists.


As always, leave your comments below for agreements and disagreements. There’s plenty of discussion to be had on this subject, and I’m sure you all have many thoughts of your own.

I hope that you enjoy your welcome into the Legion community – it’s a great game that’s only going to get better over time, and the current meta is a fantastic place to dive in.

Best of luck, Commanders! The Prequel Core Set is just around the corner, but the Empire and Rebellion are still alive and well.

Terrain Tutorials: Craters (Guest Post by PCGamerPirate)

I’m happy to be joined on the blog this week for the second time by my Legion (and X-Wing TMG Slack) compatriot and friend PCGamerPirate, who has consistently impressed me with his versatile and cost-effective terrain work.

He wrote this article at my request, and I’m extremely pleased to present it as part of my ongoing Terrain Tutorials series, where we focus on cheap and easy solutions to terrain for the budding hobbyist. If you have questions or just want to say hello, be sure to ping him in the Legion Discord!

Craters are a great piece of scatter area terrain that can add some variety to any battlefield. They don’t block line of sight but they typically provide light cover for units inside them while being difficult terrain to traverse, leading to more interesting strategic choices.

Craters are also incredibly inexpensive to make.

What you’ll need:

  • Foam board
  • Chip board
  • Glue stick
  • Mod Podge
  • Paint
    • 4 shades of brown
    • Black


  • Sand
  • Ballast
  • White glue

1) Cut Your Shapes

First, decide how big you want your crater to be; a good way to do this is to use actual minis. Trace the rough outline on your foam board, like below.

Take your crater and roughly cut the shape out. This will be your inner crater. Then measure and cut a slightly larger circle than the original crater.

Cut a rough star pattern in your inner crater and trace the outer portion onto some chipboard.

Peel all the paper off of the foam board.


2) Glue it All Together

Using a glue stick, glue all your pieces together. Using a glue stick will help prevent warping.


3) Texture the Crater

Cut the center of the crater out using a craft knife, go all the way to the chip board. Widen the hole using your fingers, picking out pieces of foam to make a rough texture. Do this same picking technique on the star pattern of the outside of the crater.

Using your craft knife, bevel the edge of the outer foam.

Next, make a foil ball and roll it around the foam to texture it.

Finally, take scrap pieces you picked out of the foam and scatter it on the foam (using the glue stick to secure it).

Allow this to dry.

Alternatively, you can make the crater shape with ballast and sand.

Using white glue, draw the star burst pattern on your foam and cover in ballast. (Note: I only used one layer of foam this time)

In the center, run your glue back and forth in a circle and cover with sand.


4) Seal in Mod Podge

After letting everything dry, seal the entire crater in mod podge. I mix black paint with my mod podge to add a nice base coat and help mark coverage.


5) Paint

Both pieces will be painted in the same general manner.

You’ll want to use at least 4 shades of brown: khaki, terrestrial beige, brown, chocolate bar. First, base the entire thing in brown using a sponge.

While still wet, do a light sponge of terrestrial beige, then a lighter sponge of khaki. Finally, starting from the center of the crater, do a heavy sponge of the chocolate onto the crater starburst. This simulates darker earth being ejected onto lighter dirt.

Conclude with sponging black and greys in the very center of the crater to make the crater scorched.

If you used sand to texture your crater, you can dry brush the lighter browns instead of sponging.

By painting them in generic browns, these craters work on nearly every kind of terrain. For example, they look like they belong on a grassy field next to Yavin ruins. However, you can further integrate your craters with flocking on the edges.

What Paint Brand Should I Use?

It can be intimidating to hop into the world of tabletop war games when you’ve never painted a miniature in your life. Thankfully, there are a lot of great, inexpensive products for you to choose from that will serve you well.

But before we get there – let’s take a look at the types of paint you’ll need to get started, the big brands that exist in the tabletop world, and what I personally recommend for beginning hobbyists.

Let’s go!

lando calrissian good luck GIF by Star Wars


1) Types of Paint

First things first: you’re looking for Acrylic paint. Why? The other type of miniature paint, enamels, is generally too thick, too hard to mix, worse for your brushes, and harder to remove if necessary. Also, it’s toxic. Acrylics are cheaper, easier to use, and non-toxic!

And, specifically, you’re looking for acrylics made for miniature painting, because the smaller pigments allow you to get more definition and details on your models than standard student-quality acrylics.

But within even that subset of acrylics, there are four primary types of paint you’re looking for:


Unlike some beginner-focused miniatures, Legion models are not pre-primed.

Image result for primer citadelWhat does that mean? Well, paint won’t stick to the mini’s surface unless you prime it with a special type of paint that allows other paints to stick. There are a number of different primer brands to use, but the main thing to know is that you’ll generally want to buy primers that are specifically for miniatures.

Some generalist brands, like Krylon, can actually work just fine. But others will come out too splotchy on miniatures and should be avoided.

In an ideal world, you’d start with black, grey, and white primers – the color of your primer can affect the end result of the paint you put on top, making it darker or lighter. But if that sounds like too much for an initial buy-in, just go for a neutral grey tone. It won’t affect your colors much at all, and will instill better long-term habits than the usual advice I see of purchasing only black primer.


The obvious: you’re here to paint things different colors.

The vast majority of paints in your arsenal are going to be for doing exactly that, and the longer you’re in this hobby the more random colors you’re likely to have. To begin with, though, a dozen or so colors will almost certainly be enough to get you through whatever you need.

Legion is especially good for this: you can paint the entire Imperial core set convincingly with brown, black, white, and red (plus green and blue for embellishments).



Shades or washes serve to add depth to your miniatures, and are applied after you’ve gotten a base coat of color down. Washes are made up of a medium (like water), the pigment (the paint), and a surfactant, which reduces surface tension. All of these add up to allow the wash to flow into the nooks and crannies of your miniature, where you would expect shadows.

Mostly these will come in black and brown (Army Painter is especially known for their brown quickshade “dip and flick” method), but you can find plenty of color-based washes in most major paint lines.

You might see these occasionally referred to as “liquid magic” – and indeed, the first few times you take a well-based model and throw a clean wash on it can be breathtaking.


Image result for typhus corrosionSome (but not all) brands also have something called technical paints: these create specific effects instead of just adding color. Vallejo has a rust & corrosion set, for instance, but certainly the most well-known line of these comes from Citadel. I use their Leadbelcher color for gunmetal constantly, and rely heavily on Typhus Corrosion for rust effects.

Metallic effects can also fall under this branch, depending on how intricately they’ve been designed (a regular dropper of gold from Vallejo, for instance, is not – but Citadel’s Runelord Brass, which I used to great effect when creating a Sheev statue, certainly is).

2) The Big Three

For beginners, it is absolutely best to begin with one of the big three paint lines – they’ll give you some combination of the best prices, the best quality, the best selection, and the best availability.

  • Army Painter
  • Vallejo
  • Citadel (Games Workshop)

At the end of the day, if you buy any of these three you’re going to be just fine.

If I were to include a fourth there it might be Reaper – I own a couple of their paints but just have a personal preference for Vallejo.

The primary difference for beginners is that Army Painter and Vallejo (and Reaper) come in dropper bottles, and Citadel comes in pots (you can see the difference visually above). I have personally preferred dropper bottles from the beginning since it’s easier to control the amount of paint you’re putting in your palette without overusing a brush, and they’re less likely to accidentally dry out.

Image result for contrast paintsContrast Paints from Games Workshop recently became available, and I’ve had plenty of people ask about these as well. I stand by Miniac’s review of these paints: they’re great for speedpainting, but they’re not so groundbreaking that beginners should feel the need to get them.

Indeed, I think you’re much better off learning how to actually shade and highlight your minis first and then switching over (if so desired) once you’re comfortable and want to knock things out quickly. And, of course, models like Bossk with lots of colors and ridges and details will looks better with contrast paints than flatter models like Vader or Krennic.

3) Imperial Discipline Recommends…

Taking all the above into account, here is what I personally recommend for beginners. Prepare your hot takes lasers.

Please note that I never use referral links and do not make money from the products listed below.


I like Tamiya Fine Surface Primer ($12 USD), but Krylon and Citadel (nearly double the cost but a fairly large can) are just fine.

Like I said above, ideally you’d get white, grey, and black primer. But if you must start somewhere, get a neutral grey color.

Base Colors

I purchased the 16-color Vallejo Basic USA Colors Set ($40 USD) when I started painting in 2018, and most of the colors still haven’t run out. I can’t recommend this set enough.

Similarly, the 10-color Army Painter Hobby Starter Set ($29 USD) comes with a great array of bold colors for mixing, plus a free strong tone wash and a detail brush.

You might also choose to wait until the Star Wars Legion-specific paint set comes out in Q3 of 2019.

I would recommend against Citadel pots for basic colors to begin with: they’re more expensive, and are better for people with more hobby experience.


Here I will recommend going for Citadel over anything else. To start, get yourself Nuln Oil ($8 USD) for a black wash, and Agrax Earthshade ($8 USD) for a brown shade.

Army Painter is a strong second place, but the wide range of colors from Citadel’s shade line and their mini-painting-magic nature puts Citadel on top.

Technical Paints

Here, again, I’ll recommend a couple of Citadel products because they just do it best.

At minimum, I think you should pick up Leadbelcher ($8 USD) for metal parts like guns and vehicle bits. I go through this stuff like candy. If you’re planning on really gunking up your vehicles, you might also pick up Typhus Corrosion ($8 USD) for a solid rust effect. Stormhost Silver ($8 USD) is my other favorite metallic.


And there you have it.

Now, as a reminder: this is just my opinion. There are very few ways to go wrong with your paint choice if you stay in the accepted miniature family, and especially in that “Big Three” area. But given my own experience and the experiences of those I’ve talked to, I genuinely believe that this is the best way for a new hobbyist to start their journey.

Don’t forget to check out the Five Steps to Table-Ready Minis once you’ve purchased your paints!

Happy painting, Commanders!