Sometimes, popularity is never enough – even in the Warhammer 40K community. Traditional miniatures lose their steam over time, and enthusiasts are always looking for the best Warhammer 40K alternative miniatures.
Do you want to add unique 40K alternate minis to your shelf or collection? Are you up for this collecting challenge? We’re ready to help you with our concise alternate 40K miniature roundups!
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1. Warhammer 40K Demon Miniatures of Tzeentch
Many fans of Warhammer 40K love to collect Space Marine miniatures, vehicles, and futuristic bits. And why not? There are dozens of sci fi inspired factions to choose from like the glorious Ultramarines and the enigmatic yet fast White Scars. But if you’re looking for an alternative, just take the side of chaos demons and feast your eyes on the Pink Horrors of Tzeentch!
The Pink Horrors have multiple limbs and irregularities, reflecting the uncertainty of the Chaos. You won’t have a difficult time painting these unique miniatures because less than seven paint colors are needed. But if you want to try out numerous bits color combinations, you can always do so. While the Pink Horrors look difficult to paint, they’re actually excellent for beginners.
The most challenging Pink Horror to paint is the banner bearer. Due to the banner’s intricate details and fiery banner head, you need to make some accurate strokes.
If you’re planning to order this miniature set online, always double-check the store and the shipping conditions. Some customers received the set with mild damage.
2. Great Unclean One of Chaos Demons
The Great Unclean One is the champion of the disgusting Chaos Lord, Nurgle. It’s covered with poxes, infected wounds, and decay – represented by the miniature. While this mini isn’t a total Warhammer 40K alternative, it’s still a major leap away from the usual space marines and Imperium walkers.
To make the Great Unclean One more distinctive than ever, you can put it alongside some plaguebearers of Nurgle. These minis will pass off a visceral level of authority to your Unclean One, increasing its value even more.
Painting the Great Unclean One requires a decent degree of experience and patience. Some areas of the mini are challenging to paint, like the dangling intestines and the small nurglings. Make sure that you have a fine paintbrush to deal with such areas.
You’ll make your friends envious of the Great Unclean One mini. However, this mini will create a small dent in your wallet – especially if you want to buy two or more units. Therefore, you must plan ahead and set your priorities. Also, if you’re going to use the Great Unclean One for wargaming, always check your Army Point allocation. Chaos demons are infamous not only for their nature but also for their price and respective Army Points.
3. Mantic Games Forgotten Foundry Terrain Set Miniatures
While building your miniature party, you might feel a strong need for terrain embellishments. Of course, you can just order a set of trees, broken building parts, and grass tiles. But if you need something unique, check out this foundry terrain set from Mantic Games.
The foundry set looks like an extended part of a crude salvaging or reprocessing operation. It has a conveyor belt, some weathered out panels, bits, a badass engine, and some guards for protection. In a local 40k game, you can add this terrain set as part of the ‘resistance movement’ against an opposing army.
Assembly is the big problem of Mantic Games’ terrain foundry set. The parts don’t connect easily, so you probably have to use glue. Be careful in gluing the parts or they might have extra artifacts that can hinder any painting session.
4. Mantic Games Undead Army Play Set
One army set is never enough for a seasoned wargamer or miniature painter. There must be at least two sets – the first one is a major army while the second one is an experimental set. If you’re planning to add a small minifig army or use different bits to your collection, you should check out Mantic Games’ Undead Army Play Set.
Each miniature in this undead army set has highly detailed bits like muscles, limbs, claws, fangs, and crude weaponry. The minis are visually appealing, at least in terms of fantasy wargaming. Don’t worry – the boney undead set still fits the grimdark milieu of Warhammer 40K. You just need to inject a storytelling narrative and consider the undead guys as part of a relatively untamed world. Maybe they’re corrupted by the C’tan or something more ancient.
The major downside of a big army set is the time and expertise needed to paint all bits and units. Since this undead army contains 67 miniatures, you’ll get busy for two weeks or more. The higher the detail you want, the longer the project will be.
5. Warhammer 40K Harlequin Death Jester
Eldar minis are always part of the most popular 40K choices. But some of Eldar minis, Harlequins particularly, look strange enough like classic alternatives. The Harlequin Death Jester mini is a true example.
The Death Jester mini looks and feels proud with its stance and big shrieker cannon. If you put it in a small display case, other enthusiasts might consider the mini as a titled hero. You can even make the Jester more imposing by combining strong colors while leaving the mask with a neutral tone.
Just a reminder: the Harlequin Death Jester is smaller than common 40K minis or alternatives. You need to be careful in painting delicate sections and bits like arms, fingers, cannon body, and even the mask.
6. Wargames Atlantic Einherjar Infantry
Do you want to add space Vikings to your growing collection? You won’t find space Vikings in any of the 40K factions, but Wargames Atlantic will fill that gap with its Einherjar Infantry set.
Every mini in this Einherjar set has distinct bits of weapon. You’ll find one with a plasma cannon and another with a classic sword-and-axe bits combo. All of the minis also have detailed facial hairs and commendable action poses.
The Einherjar set looks beautiful up close but it doesn’t have a strong aesthetic appeal from afar. To make the set stand out, you need to put it in an enclosed diorama, capturing an iconic action scene (i.e. last stand against xenos). The set also costs high for its quality and amount of minis available.
7. Games Workshop Undead Flesh Eater Courts
The Flesh Eater Courts kit from Games Workshop is a great option for took narrative combat as a hobby. It’s not actually from the Warhammer 40K universe but rather from Warhammer Fantasy. Nevertheless, you can still add this cool kit to your battle scenes and displays.
This special Flesh Eater kit requires a high degree of painting skills. The flesh monster minis have deep details and action poses. Even the round bases have accurate patches of dead grass and skulls. The flesh dragon model is the kit’s hardest challenge. You need to combine proper drybrushing and shading techniques to make the dragon’s wings look better.
The kit also contains a detailed ruleset for two players. You don’t have to paint the minis right away. Just assemble the minis, study the ruleset, and invite your friend for a battle of tactical might and wits!
Shipping is a known issue with the Flesh Eater Courts kit. Some players received damaged boxes, but the models are still intact. Make sure that you order from the best store with positive reviews.
What Makes A Great Warhammer 40K Miniature? A Quick Buying Guide
Knowing the qualities of a great Warhammer 40K model is a wise move for any hobbyist. At least, you won’t have to rely on rumors and the opinions of other wargamers. It’s like making a custom checklist of your desired miniatures.
Kit Details – Coz Paint Can Only Go So Far
The kit’s detail is the most relevant factor in buying minis. Let’s face it – you wouldn’t buy a kit if it doesn’t look nice, right? If you’re planning to invest money in plastic collectibles and bits, you should at least get the best ones.
A highly detailed kit is more important than your set of paints. First, your kit dictates the types of paints that you might need. Customization is a thing, but the kit will raise the bar. Second, miniature kits depict action scenes that you can capture in a diorama or a wargaming table. Just compare a simple army squad compared to a big robot striking a deadly pose.
Simply put: a minifig filled with noticeable details and offers multiple ways for posing is a great miniature. Now, just don’t mind the price too much.
Form vs. Function – A Classical Debate Even in 40K Alternatives
We’ve tackled the importance of detail, appearance, and action poses. The next factor that will affect your buying decision is function. Every mini must serve a purpose – whether aesthetic, tactical, or reserve. You can even use some old minis as paperweights.
Therefore, if you’re a professional wargamer, you must buy minis that fit your original army. You should also consider affordable minis as backup units for a secondary force.
The form is more important for the hobbyist painter. He or she must know what model fits a specific terrain or diorama. This method is an excellent way to enjoy the hobby. You don’t have to worry about wargaming rules the first time around.
But what is pricier – form or function? The answer goes to form because there are no restrictions on picking the biggest and most beautiful models. So, try to adjust your budget accordingly.
Complexity in Your Minis– You Will Need Time
Painting minis will take a considerable amount of time. You can’t just paint one or two units and be done with the whole process. Complicated miniature kits, especially those ones meant for full-scale wargaming, need at least three weeks to finish.
Always consider your schedule before buying a complicated miniature set. If you’re just starting out, try to pick small squads with no vehicles. Over time, you can add more squads and even detail-rich heroes or commanders. Note that using the right type of miniature holder for each minis is essential as it helps in getting things done faster.
Another way you can save time is to pre-check the paints required in any kit. Most kits have guidelines regarding the needed colors, though you don’t need to follow them strictly. If time and budget are low, just pick a kit with a maximum requirement of six paints.
Lore & Flavor – Do Fantasy or Futuristic Stories Matter To You?
Lore and flavor are mutual factors for hobbyists who care about aesthetics. These hobbyists might pick the Imperium over Necrons because humanity is more relatable. If you’re designing an army for narrative battles or storytelling, you should think about the cost even more.
The success of your narrative also depends on the number of minis you have. A large-scale battle scene that occupies one big table can accommodate dozens of minis, pushing your expenses. You even have to include tools, accessories, paints, thinners, storage boxes, and guide books in the equation.
Building your army’s lore is a worthwhile activity. It might even pay off later if your displays are recognized in a convention.
Mobility – Playing Outside Your Home
Eventually, you’ll find the means to play wargames outside your home. As your painting skills grow, you might even get commission projects in different places.
To transport your minis safely, you need shock-absorbent boxes and steel carry cases. Don’t forget separate boxes for your tools and paints. If collecting huge models is your main goal, then you should invest in security and mobility right from the start.
Bonus: Fleshing Out The Warhammer 40K Faction Bits
Are you interested to collect some miniatures related to the official Warhammer 40K factions? At first, it’s confusing to make a choice because each faction has its share of unique strengths, weaknesses, and core ideas.
We’re always ready to help you build the ultimate Warhammer 40K army. Here are our brief reviews of 40K’s mysterious and interesting factions:
Imperium of Man
The Imperium of Man is the classical representation of humanity. Most of the minis that you’d encounter under this faction are hardy yet expendable soldiers known as the Imperial Guard. These minis are excellent choices for beginners because of the small number of colors required in every kit. Even the Imperium vehicles are a breeze to work with – unless you’re trying to finish the Basilisk Magnus or an Imperator Titan.
While the Imperium represents humanity, the Space Marines are the multi-branched Special Forces. Under the Space Marines category, you can choose from different awesome chapters like the Ultramarines, Imperial Fists, Emperor’s Children (when they were still loyal), Blood Angels, White Scars, and Space Wolves.
A Space Marine faction is an intermediate kit because of complicated armor and helmet details, big color regions, and the legendary shoulder guards with custom insignia. The challenge is even greater if you’re planning to add Space Marine vehicles like Land Raider (expensive choice) or the Land Speeder.
Chaos Space Marines
Opposing the Space Marines are the Chaos Space Marines or CSM. These are disloyal chapters that pledged allegiance to the powerful Lords of Chaos. Some of these traitor factions are Emperor’s Children, Word Bearers, and the Thousand Sons.
Don’t pick CSM chapters if you’re a beginner. CSM shows the real grimdark side of the 40K universe, combined with technological prowess. Right out of the kit, you’d see that every chaos space marine has gothic details and intimidating insignia. You need fine brush paints and some of Citadel’s best paints to make CSM minis stand out.
Chaos Demons are the bane of everything in the 40K universe. They’re a natural corrupting force – a major enemy of the glorious Imperium. Despite their in-lore reputation, Chaos Demons look good on your display shelf or army table. The Chaos Demons are divided into philosophical and aesthetic groupings influenced by the four Chaos Lords – Khorne, Tzeentch, Slaanesh, and Nurgle.
Chaos Demon minis are difficult to paint and taxing to your wallet. Make sure that you’ve painted two or more kits before taking a chaos demon project.
The Eldar is now a shell of its former galactic empire. You can consider the Eldar as ‘space elves’ bearing all the wonders of magic and technology. While the Eldar is not as popular as Space Marines, it still has a decent collection of minis that look good and perform well in the battlefield.
All Eldar minis are intricately designed, reflecting the complexity of their arcane culture. The Eldar soldiers, rangers as examples, have weaving cloaks that require accurate brush strokes. Their weapons are also more exotic than the Imperial Guard, showing multiple elevated areas and defined sections.
The Dark Eldar is the evil and sadistic counterpart of the glorious Eldar. Whenever they’re engaged in battles, Dark Eldar warriors employ hit-and-run tactics, and they love to keep prisoners for torture.
It’s not too difficult to paint Dark Eldar minis because they only rely on darker color tones. If you want to make a rainbow-themed Dark Eldar army, then you have to work from scratch and disregard the kit’s limitations. Dark Eldar jetbikes, on the other hand, require broader strokes and an efficient shading technique.
Undead Egyptian cyborgs in space – these are the best words that describe the nearly immortal Necrons. Disturbed by chaotic magic and magical trickeries, the dormant Necrons awoke and started their bid for intergalactic domination. Necrons are slower than most factions but their weapons are advanced enough to extinguish life.
Necrons are rare minis with heavy robotic builds. You should expect hard corners and areas that require well-defined colors. One of the best things about Necron minis is their adaptability to weathering. Simply use the best weathering effects and watch your Necron minis reflect the gruesomeness of war!
Even though many people consider Orks as comic relief, they are the real veterans of the 40K community. Space Marines couldn’t topple Orks down since they come back stronger, meaner, and brimming with Waaaaaagh. So, if you want to constantly challenge your wargaming buddies, try to build an Ork army.
An Ork miniature kit offers a moderate challenge to beginners and pros alike. The slugga boy squad, for example, has few weapons and armor details. You only need to adjust your strokes while painting Ork faces. Ork minis are also more affordable than Space Marines.
Tyranids are the epitome of pure visceral consumption. These alien beings invade numerous worlds to consume biomass and become stronger. After their eating spree, the Tyranids usually move to a new world – repeating the entire process. If you’re not careful, Tyranid miniatures might consume your wallet too!
Tyranid minis look nice, resembling a weird combination of the Alien franchise and Starcraft’s Zergs. The most notable minis are the Carnifex and genestealer cults. Tyranid minis are best for advanced painters because of the complicated parts and highly detailed carapace.
Fighting for the ‘Greater Good’ in the 41st millennium, the Tau has many things to worry about. The Tau is considered the youngest race and definitely the smallest. Even in the wargaming community, Tau army owners are part of the near-bottom minority. However, this doesn’t mean that the Tau is a pushover.
Tau minis are purely robotic in nature because of their battlesuits. The minis are like the classic alien armors of popular fiction series like the Forever War or Culture. If you love to assemble and paint spaceships, the Tau is a great choice. Plus, Tau minis are great for beginners!
Sisters of Battle
Wielding the unforgiving flames of the Emperor, the Sisters of Battle is as deadly as the Space Marines. The Sisters are aligned with concepts of repentance, purity, zeal, and sacrifice. The Sisters minis are also unique because they consist mostly of females and some repentant males strapped to crude punishment machines.
The Sisters of Battle minis rely on a lot of white and metallic gold paints. While the minis are affordable, you probably have to stretch your budget for aesthetic weathering effects and terrain accessories.
Where warfare and drop pod invasion fails, the Officio Assassinorum succeeds. As a small and secretive faction within the Imperium, the Assassinorum is meant to destroy corrupt politicians, heretics, and even powerful xenos. Assassinorum minis are special, and you’ll realize this as soon as you see their prices and detail.
Officio Assassinorum kits are great for display. You shouldn’t field them in direct table combat or the enemy’s numbers will eat your war plans. Also, Assassinorum minis require intermediate to advanced painting skills.
A psychic faction specialized to destroy xenos and demons, the Grey Knights are truly one of the last hopes of humanity. Grey Knights minis look like Space Marines, except that they have silver and metallic undertones. A Grey Knight army is also constrained in army points allocation, so you need to be careful in fielding the minis.
Grey Knights are a bit easier to paint than Space Marines. If you want to add more effects and environmental stances, the challenge will increase.
The Skitarii is the cybernetic army of the Adeptus Mechanicus – one of the most prominent departments of the Imperium. Skitarii minis are loaded with metallic parts and smooth cloaks, and their weapons have dozens of interesting variants.
You’ll find it more challenging to paint Skitarii minis’ frontal portions compared to the rear. The frontal areas have lots of metallic details and protruding wires, while the rear is just the cloak cover. Skitarii techpriest minis are even more challenging because of custom wires, battle poses, and strange weaponry.
Titans (Collegia Titanica)
Collegia Titanica represents the full might and devastating arm of the Imperium. This sub-faction is governed by the Adeptus Mechanicus, and it is responsible for the creation of world-shaking Titans. Translated in the table, Titans are hulking minis ranging from Warhounds, Warlords, Warmasters, and Emperor Classes (very rare!).
You shouldn’t paint a Titan if you’re just a beginner. This is a project that requires a high degree of precision because mistakes can cost thousands of dollars. If you also want bigger and customized Titans, you should get a 3D printer or commission a 3D printing service to secure the parts.
Recap: 40k Alternative Models
- Warhammer 40K Demons of Tzeentch
- Great Unclean One of Chaos Demons
- Mantic Games Forgotten Foundry Terrain Set
- Mantic Games Undead Army Play Set
- Warhammer 40K Harlequin Death Jester
- Wargames Atlantic Einherjar Infantry
- Games Workshop Undead Flesh Eater Courts
Now that you’re aware of some very cool Warhammer 40K miniature alternatives, it’s time to prepare your wallet and schedule. You probably won’t stop buying one miniature or two, and you even have to paint them whenever possible.
Get your new Warhammer 40K alternate minis today and make the hobby more interesting than ever!