Friday, 23 May 2014

Maximising your 40k purchases, 1 and a half years in.

I'm a massive scrimper and I thought that I’d try and share as many possible tips and tricks that I've found to maximise your 40k investment, for the moment focussing on modelling bits and the miniatures themselves.

This is only based on a year and a half of 40k, rather than a lifetime so hopefully I can add some more of these as I go.

Know where to get your spares from before you start a new force, which packs have the most options and available pieces for whatever you’re looking for. Imperial Guard Heavy Weapons teams have all the heavy weapons that you might need for many Imperial Forces, I'm looking at using spare Lascannons on Landraiders and Vendettas, their heavy bolters on Razorbacks and anything else on anything else.
Vanguard Vets and Sternguard have every special and hand to hand weapon possible whereas the Forgeworld Power weapon kits are also a pretty damn good deal for getting character bits.

Magnetising is easy to do, maximises the playability of your force, and gives you many more options than gluing will, magnets are cheap and you don’t need fancy tools to get using them properly. Makes sticking to WYSIWYG less necessary, and you can be more flexible on the battlefield.

Think carefully before gluing anything on your vehicle other than the chassis, as once added you’re stuck with that variant and for multipurpose vehicles like transports such as Chimeras, Rhinos, Devilfishes/Hammerheads think harder still.

Bulk Purchases
Army boxes and cheap snap packs just are a better deal for bulking out your force, the quality of miniatures has also improved massively past old 2nd edition statues, a lot of my prone heavy weapon team legs are the snap pack Guardsmen. With some of those stored bits, or even a simple head turn, the miniatures can become very dynamic.

Ebay for your items when it suits you, it takes time to browse and find deals, but be savvy and don’t be dissuaded when you lose something. The only time I’ve ever felt let down by buying on Ebay was when I didn’t read the details of the sale itself, or when I didn’t pay attention to what the seller declared they were sending.

Friends and Family
Build your connections with friends and family, let them know that you collect this stuff. I’ve been given plenty of odd bits and pieces by people whose kids used to collect the stuff and just don’t any more. The bottom half of this guy is an old Bretonnian bowman that was found in someone’s Lego box.

And the three resin Forgeworld bits in this Techmarine/Champion came from my good friend Bave.

Get into a club, just do it. Meet more people who are minded the same as you. They may have access to tools that you might not.
The buildings that my club use were made with a programmable jigsaw cutter from one of the guys work.
They frequently offer to give me sheets of cheap and thin plastic to scratch build with. It’s an Orky paradise! Spares like this basilisk barrel and shield were just offered up by one of the fellow club guys, because they’ve been doing this longer, and know about it more. (I turned him down in the end).

Know the cheapest sites where you can buy your supplies. Miniatures or tools. I use Warlord Workshop, Wayland Games, and only when the item is not resold; GW. Loyalty points are more and more prevalent these days.
In the same vein for tools never buy ‘craft’ orientated products as very likely they have been adapted from alternative and better original products. A skimpy Purple bladed ‘craft’ knife (purchased for me I might add) can’t hold a candle to a heavy duty Stanley knife, and you can bet that the Stanley knife below isn’t going to break as easily when sawing that Dreadnought in half. Also, these are the clippers that I use instead of the GW ones.

Consider also going outside your comfort zone when buying glue. Most of the pieces that I’ve glued with GW plastic glue have now fallen apart unless held by pins or by snap fittings, Loctite, Gorilla Glue, even PVA glue can hold better than it.
For cheap pinning metals, use actual pins! I use safety pins as the spiked ends really help secure the pinned piece.

Try casting
This can be a daunting prospect but in the main, it’s easy. Here’s a little one I made. Have a look at this guide here to find a great explanation for what to follow. All you’ll need is a little green stuff and some small pieces to work with.

 And most importantly with this stuff be smart. Look around for things that will help as you’d be surprised what you can find.

I’m working on some heavy duty but almost flat packed scenery at the moment and so will hopefully have some nice items to show when the process continues.


  1. When all else fails, choose orks as your army. You can pretty much make anything into an ork vehicle or model.

    But seriously...plasticard, random bits around the house. It's amazing what you learn can be made into something with some primer and dry brush. Coke cans make excellent refinery towers, old bottle caps and straws make interesting features. Really no end to what you can do in this hobby.

    1. Well said! I give any scrabbly bits of junk to any Ork players that are asking for it, though because they're getting marine stuff by the bucket load their kits are looking less and less scratch built!
      I want someone to do a kickstarter for Coke can toppers, so that you can literally buy 10 of the things, stick a topper on it, boom, instant silo.

  2. I think choosing your colour scheme carefully is a good idea too. I wish, that when I started collecting, I'd painted my Chaos Space Marines in Black Legion colours. Then I could have Plague Marines, Berzerkers etc and use the same vehicles whatever was in them. As it is my Plague Marines and Berzerkers and normal CSM (Alpha Legion) all have their own rhinos in different colours which is unnecessary duplication, and when I bought a Heldrake I had to decide which army to make it match.

    Likewise taking all iconography off Imperial Guard forces would allow you to use them as traitor guard, loyalists or Ad Mech. Just blu-tack relevant icons on before the game!

    1. I was thinking the same with the banners, might paint them lurid pink and purple etc and have them for the marines, make them a little duplicitous (I'm thinking of those triptych sign things that were in the second Ravenor book, where people didn't even know they were reading em)