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I've always loved the "fluff" of 40K (particularly the forces of Chaos), but I'm only just now finally getting into putting together an army. A couple buddies of mine are putting together a small, casual group, starting off with 500-point armies and then building off of that if we enjoy it as much as we think we will.
Anyways, I've been reading a ton of posts of the board here to get a good idea of how to start off, and I wanted to share my list with you guys to see what you thought.
HQ - Daemon Prince, Wings, Warptime [155 points]
Troops - 8x CSMs, AC w/PF, Plasma 
Troops - 8x CSMs, AC w/PF, Melta 
All I've got right now in terms of models are 2 boxes of CSMs and a DP model, and I'd like to get my list finalized before dropping any serious money into models. A couple questions:
1. Does it make sense to shift the troops so that it's 10/5 so that I can squeeze an extra special weapon into the first squad? I'm not sure if a 5-man squad is going to be useful in a 500-point game or not.
2. Should I invest in a Rhino or two? It seems like it would be helpful, but I'm not sure where to cut.
3. When I'm sculpting the models, is it OK to mix bolter marines with chainsword/pistol marines? The manual lists all vanilla CSMs as carrying both, so I wouldn't imagine it would be too much of a faux pas to mix them together in the models.
Thanks in advance.
Welcome mate, I hope you and your friend enjoy the hobby and decide to expand.
The 500 point level is interesting because it tends to put considerable strain on army composition, as as far as I understand the codices (codexes/army books) aren't optimised for building armies at this level. Most require the synergistic support of different units to create a fighting force more effective than the sum of its parts, something not possible at 500 points. Some people even go so far to say it's pointless to play because of this. I personally think it's still worthwhile and a good way of trying the game, even though certain armies (such as Orks and Imperial Guard) have a large advantage at lower points levels because of the low cost (and thus relatively higher number) of their units.
In any case, there are a few ways you could go with this list. I can see the one you have above doing alright. It never hurts to have more men on the ground though, perhaps trimming the power fists and other expensive upgrades in favour of bulking out your marine squads.
Transports such as Rhinos are very popular these days, many people seem to consider them almost obligatory. I, however, like having more infantry, so I'm a bit biased. My 500 points with your models would look something like this:
Daemon Prince- 20 points worth of upgrades (your choice) 
10x CSMs- 2 Plasma, AC 
10x CSMs- 2 Flamers, AC 
This list has numbers and versatility of the reliable basic CSMs but is a bit slow, unless you give the Prince wings. The Aspiring Champs are there mainly for the bonus to leadership, sometimes you don't need an expensive close combat weapon for the unit to do damage in an assault, with each normal marine having 3 attacks on the charge.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the different special weapons will all be useful against different types of enemies- if you know what armies your friends are starting you could pick the best ones, ie if they have mostly heavily armoured infantry (Space Marine Variants, Necrons etc.) you'll want plasma. If there's Orks and Tyranids, you might want more Flamers. I'd generally leave meltaguns at home in 500 points, because they're mainly for dealing with heavily armoured vehicles, which there shouldn't be many of. Remember your Daemon Prince can take down vehicles in close combat pretty well.
If you were willing to buy more stuff, you could have some variety perhaps by reducing the number of CSMs enough to get an Obliterator, which could bring special guns to the table and leave your CSMs and simple anti-infantry units.
It's also worth thinking about how you want to play your army- if you like the idea of chopping up d00dz in close combat you might ditch some special weapons and buy/keep power weapons/fists on your Aspiring Champions. If you'd like to waste your enemies with long range firepower, though, you might even use the Heavy Bolters in the CSM box.
In regards to your last question about the bolter/chainsword thing when building your marines, it seems more common for people to have mostly marines armed with bolters. This is probably because it seems more reasonable to see the bigger bolters on the model and assume they have the smaller bolt pistols and close combat weapon (could be a knife or whatever) on them somewhere in their gear, but it's up to you really. Many people like having all the models in one squad armed the same to make their army look unified and organised.
Thanks, man, there's a lot of great info here to keep in mind.
I definitely understand where you're coming from regarding the 500-point games being a little too restrictive... there are a ton of cool models out there that it looks like I could only fit in if I dropped my troop squads to the bare-bones minimums, and I'd hate to sacrifice infantry firepower just so I can get a Defiler or something on the table. I imagine that we'll only be keeping the game at this low of a points level for a short time, then expanding to something a little more sizeable.
I also appreciate the info on being able to drop the PFs from the squad -- three attacks on the charge definitely seems like it would tear up some less-CC oriented squads, and I suppose that a Daemon with wings should in most cases be able to handle anything more threatening than that. Obliterators also seem incredibly awesome, and I'm thinking those will be the next purchase for me.
Looking forward to putting these models together and getting started with this!