So you want to start FOW?

Today Mark G looks at the costs and ways to get a viable army as new players start their FOW journey.

Taking the plunge

Starting off in a new game system can be a daunting task.  What should I collect? What’s good? What do I need? How much will it cost?  All these questions need answering.  While the info is out there, it can be a bit separated and hopefully this article will serve as a bit of a road map using the MW Italians as an example.

Costs for the purchases are based on UK prices from Battlefield Hobbies which provide the normal 10% discount to the RRP price (and have free shipping on large orders and good stock levels, hence my go to shop).

It should be pointed out that MW V4 does have a sudo starter set with Al Alamein, however with only a handful of tanks this is more a very basic intro rather than a full two player starter set, which lots of players will be familiar with from Games Workshop, Dropzone, X Wing, Armada and Legion to name but a few (hopefully one is on the way as the V3 Open Fire Market Garden set was superb!).


In this scenario I am a new player and I want to produce a 100pt army.  As a new player I want to do this quickly, and have the full rules required to play.  Additionally I want to do this as cost effectively as possible.  So lets look at the buy list;

2 x Lorenzo rams £98.10

Lets start with this and see what it gives you.

HQ 1 x M14/41
4 x Semovente
5 x Semovente
5 x M14/41
4 x 100mm Guns
4 x 100mm Guns

Thats 66 points right off the bat with a respectable number of medium(ish) light tanks backed up by two solid arty choices which can also hold their own against tanks in DF.

Next up we need something to deal with heavy armour such as Churchills or Tigers as well as nasty FA6 Shermans and Valentines.  The answer to that is Lancia

2 x Lancia Boxs £31.50

That gives you 24 pts of heavy AT bringing your total to 90pts with some excellent mobile heavy AT.

We now have 10pts left which is just enough to get a platoon of infantry

2 x Rifle Platoon Blisters IT763 £14.40

With 1 point now spare that’s just enough to use on a command card of your choice (or make the infantry Blackshirts/Legion of Rome and have three points of your choice).

If you follow our Facebook page then you will have been seeing Mark’s Italian’s take shape.

Total Spend £143.70

While this may not be the optimum army its does tick all the boxes you need.  Lots of core choice tanks, a massive amount of artillery (four Fp4+ templates!).  Artillery guns that can also be used for direct fire when holding your back line objective, heavy anti-tank to deal with those pesky heavy enemies and finally your own large infantry platoon to support your armour as you attack.  At £143.70 for a full size army that’s a pretty fair price in my humble opinion and cheaper than a lot of other miniature games.

The Extras

Of course models are not the only thing you need to play, you also need the rules, army lists and accessories.  Luckily you get the army book with your starter set (in fact you will have two so can give one to a friend!).  The army book you need is:

Avanti £10.80

In actual fact you could argue that with the unit cards you have received with the unit purchases you don’t actual need it…

As you are new to Flames of War you will be needing some tokens and the nice thing about the game is that you can get ones themed to your army.

Avanti Tokens £7.20

Next up you need the command cards to allow you to fill that final point (or three points if you use the Legions of Rome or Blackshirts card to reduce the points of your infantry).

Command Cards £3.60

Now I assume most people have dice, but if you are new to wargaming you may need a set

Avanti Dice £7.20

Total £28.80


Now you may not just be new to FOW, you may be new to wargaming or modelling as a hobby.  In case you will need paint and modelling tools.  Of course there is a massive range and a huge variety of manufacturers.  However for simplicity I am going to reference the paints used in Avanti so that you can follow the painting guide in the book.

You will need

Avanti Paint Set £9.90

Specific Italian Paints.

Quarter Master Paint Set £19.80

General Paint Range.

Silcily yellow Spray Paint £7.20

Trust me this makes vehicles 100% less time consuming.

Paint Brush Set CWP101 £7.20

A selection of brushes matching the ones referenced in the Avanti painting guide.

Army Painter Metal Starter Set £10.79

A set of clippers, super glue and a file.  Remember you infantry and Lancias are metal.

Revell Plastic Glue £3.25 

You could use super glue but this is far better and produces a stronger hold.

Warlord Games Dead Grass £3.99

This is what I use in my own painting scheme to break up the straight sand look on the bases.

Warlord Desert Sand £3.99

Some Sand is vital to base your desert army!

Total £66.03

So worst case, ie starting from nothing and wanting everything listed you are looking at


Again that sounds a lot but that is starting from nothing, including all books, tools and paints you need.  A lot of these things are initial investments.  Your next army can use the same dice and tokens (unless you are a purist!) and obviously the same paints (You may need a specific paint set or 1-2 extra for other armies).

Value for money

Value for money is a very subjective thing.  Some people will think almost £150 on some models is ridiculous and some will think its a bargain.  One way to consider it is ‘cost per hour’ and then compare it versus other activities [having friends who race high performance, single seat, hovercraft makes one a lot more sanguine about Wargaming costs – Lee].  Your actual army is about £150 for ease of maths.  Lets assume you get 48 hrs of modeling/painting out of that.  You then have 15 games with that army (I suspect you will have a lot more) at 2hrs 30 each.  That’s 85.5 hrs of fun at a mere £1.75 an hour.  That’s really not much, considering I normally pay about £8 for a cinema ticket for a two film, or £3 for a beer that will last less than an hour.  Note – this argument can help convince spouses/partners that wargaming is a cost effective hobby 🙂

Of course it gets better.  If you are an okay painter, once you are bored with that army you can sell it and recoup your investment, maybe with some profit.  Over the last month I have sold four armies netting me approx £1200 with about £300 profit.  Now that really does keep my wife sweet, especially as I can use the profit to buy some shutters she wants for the house and still have loads of cash to buy my next set of new toys.


It isn’t cheap a hobby from scratch and spending circa £250 on an initial start up can be daunting.  However remember that a lot of this is initial costs.  An actual army at around £150 really isn’t bad when you compare it to a lot of other games and you must consider that there is a good market for second hand armies should you want to sell one and buy a new project (especially if you have limited space).

As always if you have any questions about FOW, especially starting out send us a message on FB or comment below, we will try out best to answer it.

6 thoughts on “So you want to start FOW?

  1. D’ya think many folk actually dive straight in and cough up £250 or so to start up? Which by no way is a criticism, just a thought. As in, I struggle with the notion.

    A random comment.

    As you were.

  2. I find wargaming more enjoyable if I avoid totalling all the costs, and considering all the time it takes to prepare a force for the table.

    Two suggestions: (1) seek out local players and borrow forces from them to play with, then decide what to buy, and (2) scour eBay for second-hand armies, usually sold at a substantial discount. Some even come pre-painted.

  3. I just started with FoW and bought the Desert rats boxand some more , i have easily spent £250 on my start up army and tokens/books bits and pieces I am loving every moment of it

  4. I’ve used the cost per hour many times when discussing my wargaming addiction with my wife… Bash On does make a great suggestion about seeking out local players and having a couple of games first. It reduces the chances of ‘List Envy’ when you find out that a different nation (from the one you bought) has something awesome that you ‘must’ field.

    1. It’s definitely a good idea as each army plays quite differently.

      I’m hoping a 2 player stater set like open fire will be released. It would be a great way for panthers to start. I know lots of people who got into GW, drop zone, Star Wars etc by getting a mate and buying 2. Each take some one side and they have their first force.

  5. as an alternative the Italian paints for Italeri are very good and are specifically designed to paint them

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