Remember, you are not limited at all when making an army. I wont include historic models here because they are easy to find and the list would be huge! But I will include bits stores as well just encase you want to add to your current army or just need bits.
I highly advise looking through all the sites and bits etc you can in the links. Or you may miss something that really speaks out to you.
So lets start with the obvious:
Victoria Miniatures has to be my favorite of them all. The average squad will cost you $49.90 USD with FREE shipping. Available are old school Cadian style soldiers with both male and female sculpts. Tanith soldiers, ANZAC style soldiers, Praetorian Guard, Scottish, Penal Legion, Beast people, Mordians and to top it off you can order all the bits and pieces to create your own mix and flavor of regiment.
Also if you ever find yourself short on bases be sure to check her site out! 10 25mm Slot bases for 1.25 USD! Talk about being set for life base wise haha.
The Victoria Miniatures are highly detailed modular models. The are in the process of being converted to resin which is lighter, holds more detail and as a result the squads themselves contain more bits due to the cost of materials etc. I highly recommend these miniatures and as many of you readers have seen my army is made of them. Have a good look on their site and see if anything is fit for you!
Anvil Industries does Space Marine bits primarily but they have some amazing Guard bits available. Squads vary in price BUT these are definitely affordable depending on what you get. So if you like Death Korps of Krieg or want cultists, or Modern Sci Fi soldiers then this site is for you!
Personally I havent used this site yet. But I will definitely be getting some of the WW1 style soldiers as they stand out a lot to me. I find them a lot cooler than the Death Korps of Krieg due to the helmet these guys wear. Anyways some pictures right here:
With so many Space Marine and Guard bits there is no reason not to check these guys out. Heck they even have war dogs that are made for a Sci Fi setting. Mech suits included. Just so much awesome stuff available. I seriously recommend checking these guys out.
Dream Forge Games
Dream Forge Games is a developing company that is working to expand its already amazing range of models. Want an affordable titan or Imperial Knight? What about some ww2 German Storm Trooper Elite soldiers? These guys would do great as a Guard force and I know I have seen many cool ones on the net. 20 of these Storm Troopers will cost $35.00 USD and they come stock with a huge range of weapons and bits. Even the main gun of these men have multiple choices. So lets see some samples of whats available.
So if having armored Veterans Trudging forward backed by a huge arsenal of badass weaponry well be sure to check these guys out. I personally am a huge fan of the troopers weapons. I think they are exceptionally well done and really finish off the look these guys have going for them. That APC is being made currently and can really finish an army of these guys off. Being on the cheap side helps a lot too!
Now, if you want a cheap but good looking army then Wargames Factory has what you need. And by cheap I mean real cheap! Then check out the Storm Troopers available there. They have heavy weapons to compliment them as well. Each box contains 18 soldiers and 288 parts per box! Thats a lot of customization right there! So lets see what they look like:
Max Mini has a huge range of demons, humans and guns to compliment your army or convert some of those Cadians you have lying around! From Space Ogryns, to Female Gorillas or Tallarn head swaps there are plenty of options here! Added to this, motorcycles (for those who want a different flavour of rough riders!) and so many guns, Chaos bits for the filthy kind! A small sample of models and bits below!
Mad Robot Miniatures
Mad Robot Miniatures is the ideal site for Guard players in how its set up. They actually have a section where you build your own squad! They have some of the coolest bits to create a bit more of a modern feeling force complete with Vietnam Style forces which make Catachans look like some funky cartoon (sorry Catachan players), various cold war era Russian soldiers and more! So lets see whats available there!
Puppets War has a HUGE range, I mean huge! From mech suits, to aliens and tanks and humans the list goes on! Here you will find Sci Fi soldiers, Asian soldiers and A huge range of bits to make this force unique to you! I think with Puppets war, images speak louder than words. So here we go:
There is so much more available it would really pay for you check out their range. Personally im a huge fan of their Oriental soldier range. So much potential here!
Mantic is known for its affordability and their corporation range is great for starting a Guard army on the cheap. The great thing about Mantic is they have packaged deals which are always money saving deals. They also have you covered for many of your terrain and fantasy needs! But lets focus on the Guard:
Now some honourable mentions before I conclude:
Brother vini's Commissar is very cool for a unique Commissar in your force
Khurasan Miniatures: has some very cool models. I am really keen to buy his ratmen range and soon he will be releasing his Armadillo Bandits which look amazing too. Some great stuff and its definitely a different type of model range haha.
I want to make it very clear that I have only scratched the surface of whats out there. Honestly your only limit is your imagination. There are hundreds if not more possibilities in just the options posted above when you factor in head swaps, weapon swaps and so on. This also doesnt count the historical miniatures available that you can use as the bases for your Imperial Forces.
Personally I struggle not to buy a lot of the models above. There are so many amazing models out there and time in wargaming history to buy models. never before have we had so many choices, so many sellers and so much all round quality! So why limit yourself?
This goes on to the part where I talk about finding inspiration. Most Guard players, I find, fall into the trap of choosing from a selection of models to make their army rather than making your army from a selection of models. Its much easier to choose a set someone made for you than pick and choose bits to make a set for yourself. For example I spoke with a friend of mine who was making Trench Samurai at one point. It took months of planning and searching to find that balance between cost, look and availability, but the end results are amazing.
So if you are planning a Guard army, before you go and buy GW Cadians, sit back and take a look at whats on offer. Think to yourself about what style suits you. For me watching the Zulu movie was my inspiration. But for you it may be Ancient Rome, or Steam Punk, or Star Wars, whatever your mind can think of. Once thats done, chances are there is a way of making it!
The people we have to thank for providing us with all these options are the very people selling them as we speak! If we want this to continue we got to support them. So if you see Victoria Miniatures Scottish and think that the army is perfect for you, then buying that army keeps them available for the next guy who thinks like you. It does take effort, sometimes it may cost a bit more (usually the models quality is a lot better though) but it helps keep these new ideas and options available to the community.
Something I like to tell people who see cool models but already have Cadians or Catachans sitting around, is all it takes is a simple headswap. A head swap can make that standard army pop! And at such minor cost too!
So I urge any potential/existing Imperial Guard (or Astra Militarum) players to pause before buying from GW. Those who read my blog will know that I consider GW a company that would rather stamp on creativity than keep it flourishing. Instead of supporting a company that would rather push you to playing their own models only with minimum change, support a companies who design their bits to be interchangeable with other companies freely. Who listen to ideas and work with customers to make models we want and enjoy.
Now just to be clear, I am not bashing people who play GW armies etc (if it suits you thats great!) but after talking to people at the club thinking about starting an Imperial Guard force they all feel that they are limited by the GW and FW range. This is far from the case! So ask around on forums, google search and plan your army. You will be pleasantly surprised at the options out there.
If I have missed any of the models out there, or you have a cool army yourself. Let me know in the comments below. Who knows who you may help find their perfect army by doing so!