Monday, 10 December 2012

Tournament Gamers Painting Masterclass 4: James Karch – Fire Hawks

Tournament Gamers Painting Masterclass 4: James Karch – Fire Hawks

James has been a tournament player for a while now and if you a warhammer forum or warseer forum goer you will see him by the name Spikeyjames. I came across this current army when we crossed swords at the second GT heat in Brighton. Now even though dice luck totally failed him. (One Ravager destroying 3 land speeders in one shooting phase comes to mind!) Our game was very pleasant and half way through it was announced that he had been voted for best painted army and thus was through to the final! Good Luck to you James in the final and here is James’ story.

1. Tell me about yourself and how you got into warhammer?

My name’s James Karch, I’ve been a collector of 40k minis for well over 20 years now, born and raised just outside Edinburgh I was in the Edinburgh GW store the day it opened sometime around about 1989/90. I got into the hobby pretty much the same way most folks have done, through friends, the first minis I bought were some old fantasy skeletons, bought and shared the contents of the box with the same friends, my first WD was 109, unbeknown to me this was actually not that long after 40k arrived on the scene, not really being a fantasy lover I noticed the Space Marines in the magazine and I was hooked.

2. Why Fire Hawks?

The Fire Hawks were the first marine army I’d done in a while, I got stuck in a bit of a Space Wolf rut in 5th edition and wanted to do something slightly different for 6th, after reading the Badab War books from FW I decided that the Fire Hawks would give me a decent challenge when painting.

3. What drives you to continue painting?

I really just enjoy painting and producing nicely painted armies, I’m not one for big extravagant conversions, preferring to do smaller more subtle stuff, the unfortunate side of that is that people quite often just don’t notice it. I generally paint about 2 or 3 armies a year, I am slacking this year having only really done one full army, and 9 times out of ten sell them on to fund the next project.

4. Do you find that taking armies to tournaments restricts what you can do with your army painting wise?

I pretty much always build my armies with tournaments in mind, it’s only once I’ve got the army to a set 1500/1750 points limit that I then start expanding and trying out new units, I’ll always try and take a different army to a major tournament, more so if it’s won best painted at the previous event.

5. What was your toughest challenge in this army?

The toughest thing with this army, well there were a couple really, a lot of freehand flames and the chapter symbol isn’t the easiest. One of the hardest things to get over was adding the weathering to the whole army as it was fully painted and clean with no battle damage about 2 weeks prior to the event, I didn’t want to bugger up the whole army by adding weathering that just didn’t look right. Fortunately I’ve got a lot of friends that have done a fair bit of weathering in the past, so got some good advice.

6. What painting project is next for you?

As for what’s next, at the minute I’ve got a little bit of a Horus Heresy bug and have started on some World Eaters that will be based on the SW codex more than likely, there may also be some Dark Eldar somewhere down the line too. To see my current projects ready my own blog at


  1. James is a tremendously prolific and fast painter. Seems like everytime I see him he's got a new beautifully painted army!

  2. James is also a gent to play against, having met him on game 4 of the Brighton 40kUK heat. Great to play against such a well painted army!