Is every Sergeant in your army named, even if it couldn’t fight its way out of a paper bag? Did you manage to hammer the results of your last store tournament into a coherent narrative? Do you have strong opinions about quartered color schemes for Ultramarines Successor Chapters? Have some new models from the holidays, and want to theme up a new army?

Variance Hammer has the contest for you.

Bring us your best custom factions. Your named Chapter Masters. Your successor chapters. Your Craftworlds and Kabals, your Priories and Regiments. Show us the things that make the 40K universe come alive for you.

We’ll bring the prizes.

Official Rules:

The Dates: The contest will run until February 15th, 2016.

The Entries: All entries should include an original entry of at least 2,000 words describing an aspect of a custom force in the Warhammer 40K universe. This can be an in-universe interview with an Inquisitor, a Codex-style timeline, an Index Astartes-style profile, or something else entirely. Additionally, each entry should have a picture of a single miniature painted in the style of this force, with an additional picture of the miniature prior to painting next to a note reading “Variance Hammer Fluff Contest”, or something to similar effect (no submitting past Golden Daemon winners, sorry). Text entries should be in .doc, .rtf, .txt or .pdf format (and in English), and pictures should be in .jpeg or .png format. If we can’t read the files you send, we’ll do our best to get in contact with you, but no promises. Mail all entries to

The Judging: All entries will be anonymized, and judged by a three-person panel. Fluff entries will be graded on a 1 – 5 (Low – High) scale in three categories:

  • Originality: How original is your idea?
  • Artistic Merit: How engaging is the story? How well does the narrative flow? Is it good?
  • Technical Merit: Is it well written in the technical, 8th Grade English Teacher sense of the word. You’re not going to be marked down for some flawed sentence structure here, but proofread your stuff.

The miniatures will be judged on the same scale in two categories:

  • Originality: How unique is the color scheme? Is this a nicely done conversion? Does the character have…well…character?
  • Technical Merit: How well painted is it?

At the end, these scores will be averaged over all three reviewers, added up, and that is the entry’s total score (a perfect entry, worth of both a studio job painting, and the authorship of the next Horus Heresy book, would have a score of 25). Any tied scores will be decided by the administrator of Variance Hammer.

The Prizes: The part everyone cares about, right? Thanks to the generosity of several sponsors, we’re able to offer a number of prizes for contestants:

  • Chapter Master: The highest overall score in both categories is our grand prize winner, and will receive a Kaiser2 case with their choice of trays inside, courtesy of KR Multicase.
  • Chief Librarian: The highest overall score for the fluff category (who did not take the Chapter Master prize) wins a 6’x4’ F.A.T. Mat of their choice, courtesy of Frontline Gaming.
  • Master of the Forge: The highest overall score for the painted miniature category (who did not take the Chapter Master prize) wins a $25 voucher from Secret Weapon Miniatures, and a set of custom templates of their choice from Greenman Designs.

But even if you don’t win one of those prizes, there are prizes to be had. Secret Weapon has provided us with a coupon code (HAMMER15) good for 15% off a single purchase to all of our readers, Greenman Designs has provided a gift certificate for $5 for every entrant, and there will be drawings for all entries from Greenman Designs and Mechanical Warhorse!


  • “What about people playing Codex Chapters, other established factions, or Horus Heresy?” Both the Horus Heresy and the more “established” factions within 40K still leave a lot of room to maneuver. For example, even if all of the Wolf Lords are currently named for the Space Wolves, whose to say what was going on in M36? Or perhaps your Farseer is a member of a renegade faction of Ulthwe hedging their bets incase Eldrad is blinded by the weight of time. Similarly, in the Horus Heresy, Legions are vast organizations, and even with over two dozen books, Black Library can’t even begin to explore them in their totality. Tell us about your company of Imperial Fists that got cast adrift in the warp storm and never even made it to Phall. Or your band of Night Lords, once Konrad Curze lets them slip the leash. Or a group of Alpha Legion troops being Alpha Legion.
  • “Does my model have to be a character?” No. There’s no reason your faction’s signature look can’t be embodied by a standard infantry model, a vehicle, etc.
  • “What if my ‘Before’ shot is primed, already assembled, etc. Is that okay?” Yes. The point is to show that some work was done for this contest specifically, and you didn’t just dust off a preexisting model and take a picture of it. So if you’ve got a model half assembled and want use that – do it.


Variance Hammer would like to thank our sponsors for the generousity of their contributions for prize support:f.a.t. mat logo large

KR logo transparent