View Full Version : cost effective 40k

killa kan kaus
07-08-2007, 04:53
40k and budget are practicaly antimatter but perhaps we could assemble some cost cutting strategies for 40k. these are blindingly obvious but we have to start somewhere

buy online for cheaper websites (some sites can get you new! unopenned models for 22% off)
dont buy terrain, gw die, or battle for maccrege
save all extra bits for cost cutting conversions (ie building your own big shoota)
sometimes starting a specific craftworld/klan/regiment/.... can be cheaper than starting vanilla
share a rulebook between friends

07-08-2007, 04:55
Ebay and Bartertown.

Katkiller 5
07-08-2007, 04:56
Run an elitist army, make do with lots of simple conversions using free or cheap bits. Make do with more for less basically..

07-08-2007, 05:01
Haha :D Someguy in my local store ran a titan by using an epic one, and putting it on a huge circular base (I mean huge, like that must of been like 400mm :)). That was quite a hoot.

07-08-2007, 05:11
If the retail price is keeping you out, there are many ways of getting below that.

Bartertown is good if you have minis to trade, or want to buy minis on average of 25-35% off. Although you can get better. I have bought as low as 75% off for whole armies.

Ebay is okay, but you either need to buy big lots of random stuff in different states of paint, or pay retail. Dont expect much NIB or NOS stuff to go for less than 25% off retail. Ive seen many things go over retail with shipping.

And then there are just people you meet who can get you 40% off on everything NOS.

07-08-2007, 05:24
When an armies codex is redone or they are getting lots of new models check out the previously mention websites. People dump there old armies real cheap to get the new latest and greatest. Got my DA real cheap. Used the new models to represent commanders and veteran sergeants. Not every DA needs a robe. :D

07-08-2007, 05:52
For appropriate armies that dont give a crap about tournament legal stuff- toys, specifically military, such as GI JOE, etc can be a godsend.

Also, other ranges can work, though they may be a bit less quality.

All in all, if you can get away with converting your own ANYTHING, do it. it's a bit more time consuming, but its cheaper and it customizes your army.

07-08-2007, 07:30
Make your terrain, don't buy it. I have buildings made from poly packing foam (like the stuff your dvd player/vcr gets packed with) and foam sheet. I also have several 8" diameter woods made from a discarded xmas tree (yielding upwards of 100 3" pine trees.
Buy your dice from somewhere else. Dice are dice. The rules don't specify you have to use GWs (they only decided to use the d6 because everyone has them), and any other d6 works just as well.

07-08-2007, 07:44
Get another job.

Paint models to the highest standard you can. Take your time, dont rush them. That way, you will be able to afford your next models by the time you have finished them.

Take pride in your models. If they are that important to you, it wont matter how much they cost.

07-08-2007, 08:30
Take your time when buying on ebay. If you want exactly THAT miniature RIGHT NOW, chances are, you'll pay almost full retail price. Take a long term approach and buy interesting things when they are cheap. If you find nothing of interest, lokk again next week.

killa kan kaus
07-08-2007, 18:12
1/35 scale world war 2 tanks could be used pretty easily

Lord Cook
07-08-2007, 19:25
When using eBay, buy big collections of models and sell off the ones you don't want. Individual vehicles and squads will sell for 10-20% off of RRP, but a whole army will be more like 40-50%.

07-08-2007, 21:09
dont buy terrain, gw die, or battle for maccrege

Depending on your situation, the BfM set can actually be a great deal. It gives you everything you need to start playing (including rulebook, dice, and templates) plus models.

Of course it's not such a great deal if you don't plan on playing Marines or 'Nids (I happen to play both), but you could still sell/trade the models for something you would rather have.

And then my suggestion: pay attention to the contents of the Battle Forces. Some of them (the Tyranid BF for example) is a great deal and gives you a good selection of units that you can use multiples of (actually the Carnifex is the only unit in the box that you can't "mob up" with additional models). Some of them can be a good starting point, although while they're a bargain over buying the individual components at retail, they don't always contain units that are necessary or desirable in multiples (how many Command Squads does one need anyway?) Plus they're even better when you can get them at a discount.

07-08-2007, 21:49
Paint models to the highest standard you can. Take your time, dont rush them. That way, you will be able to afford your next models by the time you have finished them.

I found this to be an excellent way on a budget, and you get better at painting.

Choose an unpopular army. When I started my Dark Eldar army, I placed bid on stuff on ebay and ended up with too much, as no-one else bid on them. The same happened with my Beastmen...

Or try converting everything from plastic.

08-08-2007, 00:04
Get another job.

Paint models to the highest standard you can. Take your time, dont rush them. That way, you will be able to afford your next models by the time you have finished them.

Take pride in your models. If they are that important to you, it wont matter how much they cost.

that's how I've been doing it since '98. $25 a month doesn't go far but if you take your time painting you'll never have much of a backlog. All my armies are fully painted and have won a painting comp. (I'm no golden demon winner, but my armies fully painted to at least an 8 standard on every single model.)

Also orks are a great army for conversion stuff. i built up a 2000 point plus army for about $180 using conversions and bits and pieces I spent the money on loads of boyz and a fire sale on grots. hobby stores are your friend.

Chaplain Ark
08-08-2007, 00:27
And in the end you could always do the five fingered discount :D But really, i have used so many different thing to help represent stuff in my army. me and a friend are working on using a toy triceratops to convert it into a Lizardmen stegadon. When you look around your house, there are so many different toys and plastic items you can use to create you models, if you take the time.

08-08-2007, 00:28
I just dont buy miniatures that much... I buy them at GW, paint them, and if I need any more buy them. I am at a stage where both 40k and fantasy armies are pretty much bought (3k or Dwarfs, 3k of Bretonnians, and er.. 7k of Guard) so its onto painting, been falling behind recently so lots of that to do) and once I have done all the painting, I buy whatever else I need, for scenery build your own or go to a local club, they have plenty there most likely

Chaplain Ark
08-08-2007, 00:38
if any of you have a gamers paradise near by, then order your stuff through them. I have 2 plus one more a farther distance away, and they have had a constant sale at buy 1 get one half off. order through them, buy the stuff at discount, then keep the receipt so you can get another $5 off the next $25 or up purchase.

08-08-2007, 01:10
Converting cadian models with greenstuff, bolter mags, and plastic tubing to make them stormies. 80 more points for $60 less.
Combine that with online stores, saving 20%...youre on your way to a cheap and effective army

08-08-2007, 01:53
1) I've got to disagree about the BfM box. I bought it from Chaosorc and after shipping to Canada, it was still only slightly more than a regiment/squad box costs here. For a rule book, templates, dice and a squad of tacticals for marines and some nids, it's pretty good. And a smattering of terrain as well. I'm planning on building both marines and bugs, so it's good for that. If I wasn't, I'd avoid it and just snag the rule book, templates, dice off of eBay.

2) For Canadians, a major cost cutting approach is to order from the US (used to be other way around). Especially for bits-- many bits from GW Canada are twice the price as the US ones. You'll need to find a reshipper on those or you'll get dinged big time by the courier GW US uses to ship to Canada (you may as well pay the GW Canadian prices).

3) Bits providers abound. Both on eBay as well as bwbits becoming part of the thewarstore.com, getting exactly the parts you need for your army has never been easier-- especially for space marines.

4) Battleforces. Generally they have a decent selection of stuff in them. Order from a discounter and it gets even better -- most battleforces are pretty good and become a better deal when you get a 20% discount as well.

5) Convert everything from plastic Battleforces combined with bits sellers give you a great opportunity to this.

6) Never buy direct from GW mail order unless it's bitz and you have no other choice-- full price and shipping isn't competitive. There is no reason not to give Neal at the warstore a call. 20% off and low flat shipping.

7) Other maker's miniatures. If you're not going to play at a GW store or in tournaments that insist on GW's stuff, depending on what you are interested in, you can probably save some cash. It takes a bit of doing, but it won't hurt to ask on theminiaturespage.com forums questions like "what would be a good alternative miniature for X?".

8) Make your own terrain. Simple skills that you can learn, guides online and a smattering of inexpensive materials and you're good to go.

9) Cheap paints. If you're not a wonderful painter, you might notice no difference in using a lower quality craft paint like delta ceramcoat or something like that. Definitely don't use expensive mini paints for terrain.

10) The 2nd hand market is also much larger than I thought it would be. Bartertown is great. eBay is not quite as good, but there are a lot of things that go for 20-30% off even after the shipping charges. Expect the number of eBay products to go up after the big apocalypse boxes come out-- with a retailers discount they'll make indie stores who also eBay even more viable.

11) Make your vehicles modular. You may use a whirlwind in some games, but not all. Now imagine instead, you can just plunk the parts apart and it's a rhino again. You can do this with predators as well. Infact, there's almost no reason not to buy the kit that comes with more.

12) Scratchbuild your vehicles. There are yahoogroups like the science fiction card model group and the bwc-archive group that have amazing templates you could use to build your vehicles out of card stock or plasticard. I made a Chimera once that people mistook for the real thing. I'll provide links upon request.

13) Sell on eBay/bartertown yourself. Say you want a unit of bloodclaws and a unit of grey hunters? Grab the space wolves battleforce from thewarstore.com for $72 and see if you can't sell the bikes and the rhino-- i bet you can get $40 for them (Rhino's seem to always go for $20+ and bikes on "buy it now" are snapped up at $7-8 a piece). Heck, even if you wanted just the blood claws, you can probably get another $20 for the grey hunters. End result: squad of 10 guys for $12. If you get a good round of bidding, it could cost you nothing. Thinking about picking up a carnifex? eBay/bartertown the rest of the box and you might pay $20 for it after your other stuff sells.

Lord Cook
08-08-2007, 01:54
Use old toys you haven't touched for years, like Lego. Lego is so perfect for 40k conversions, and I have tons of it in crates just gathering dust.

08-08-2007, 02:39
Ork vehicles are the best candidates for scratchbuilding. You can find great toy vehicles at the dollar store which you can cover with cardstock and shooty bits to make all sorts of stuff.

08-08-2007, 02:51
One trick I used when I started all my armies is to accept using older editions of the miniatures.

It was especially true when I purchased many out-of-production "cookie cutter" Plague Marines. They had all the same pose and I managed to make them all different with green stuff and weapon swaps. But they were soooo cheap. Brand new in their -old- boxes. ;)

Same thing with Eldar, Marines and Tyranids. Many players just want to get rid of their oldies when GW refreshes the line.


08-08-2007, 03:01
Run an elitist army, make do with lots of simple conversions using free or cheap bits. Make do with more for less basically..

Yep, that's what I'm doing. I bought my stuff from the War Store for 20% off, then converted a Flamer and Meltagun rather than buy the bits.

08-08-2007, 03:03
Use old toys you haven't touched for years, like Lego. Lego is so perfect for 40k conversions, and I have tons of it in crates just gathering dust.

This is another good one. I'm going to be building my 2 fire support vehicles out of old GI Joe gear (once I decide on /which/ 2 vehicles I'm going to be taking); thankfully, I have a metric ton of GI Joe stuff. A little plasticard, glue, and liberal application of Green Stuff aught to make them quite nice!

08-08-2007, 03:29
Lego is a wonder for 40k. Pre-made radar dishes. Wheels roughly the right size. Many of the vehicles can be used as is for the right scale, but will need some 40k-ing up (I've seen an entire SM army done with lego - including vehicles. Star Wars Clones). When the boys in the design studio say...
"Never underestimate the usefulness of lego" you know it's good.

The BfM set was actually a pretty sweet deal (the crashed ship is cool, and the marines and stealers/gaunts will come in useful for some people (use them to bulk out a SM squad/use them to create 'casualty' markers. The bugs are just like the others, so they fit in with their own. Plus, the ruklebook is just as useful as the BGB (all the rules you need and none of the flash you don't).

I marvel at the mentality of "zomg, there's a new version of my army coming out. newer stuff roxxorz, must get new stuff and dump old stuff..." sometimes, but if it means I can score stuff for 30% of what it cost, then yay for me.

08-08-2007, 04:02

My two Ork battlewagons made of LEGOs. I plan on using the Exo-force Mobile Defense Tank in its alternate build as an Ork Gargant if Apocalypse has a data sheet on them :evilgrin:

08-08-2007, 04:05
Buy used models and strip/convert/leave them be as needed. My locla indie retailer sells used models at whatever the previous owner sets the price for (the store takes a % of the profits), I got IG stormtroopers for 50 cents each, a basalisk that only needs to be painted for $20, a demolisher that just needs a new paint job for $20, and $55 worth of termies for only $15!

It takes work to fix some of these up, but it saves a bundle!

08-08-2007, 10:13

Awesome report on painting up some cheap dollar store dinosaurs. Perfect for the creature feature.

08-08-2007, 11:01
My wip Dark Eldar army is entirely comprised of Ebay purchases and a warseer trade. I've spent 33.79 on an army that woud have retailed for 50+. Some things are unavailable though so I'll have to get them from my local store.

08-08-2007, 11:19
Here's some things I have found:

1. To base a whole army for 1.18: First, buy Pva glue from somewhere like hobbycraft = 99p. Then, go to a beach, get a tray/bucket/whatever full of sand. Go to Morrisons (or somewhere as cheap) and buy their cheapest bleach (for me it was 19p for a 1l bottle). Soak the sand in slightly watered down bleach, leave to dry in the sun for about 2 days (or more if the weather is bad). Paint the base with w/down Pva, dip the model in the sand, shake/tap/jiggle/whatever the sand off, wait for it to dry, paint it with extremely watered down Pva so the stuff sticks. Paint chaos black, then drybrush with codex grey. Then paint on road markings with yellow / white.

2. To get a cheap army: search eBay for people selling huge badly painted armies. I got a 2k SM force for 20 this way. Go to your local store, buy Cillit Bang spray for 3 and an electric toothbrush (the cheapest, I got this for 3). Fill a *washed* baked bean can with CB, wait a day, get the TB out and brush away. Stick back in the can, do the same the next day and so on. (Why? Well, it gets rid of all the layers rather than just the top layer.) That's 26 for more than you get in a battleforce.

3. Battleforces. Buy these from independant stockists on the Internet. They already save you like 20 off the individual price, and then they give you 10%-25% off depending on where you go!

4. For IG players, just buy shock troops for your command squad, and a blister pack of lieutenants. Turn an LT into your HSO with bits and shiz, then use four of your shock troops with other bits to make the command squad. You'll have enough for another command squad, for your infantry. You'll also have one of your Infantry squads. Buy another box and a Chimera, or just two more boxes, and you have your basic army.

5. Conversions. This is easy-ish with a template, but as I found it requires skill which I don't have. But I still managed to make a Baneblade out of 5 sheets of plasticard (4.95), overflow piping (1.25 - B&Q), and spare bits from around the house / my bits box. Buy a 1/35 scale tank for the tracks (but make sure it's an "Abrams" one, I bought the wrong one - too small). With polyfiller and paints and stuff, the whole tank cost me 23.

6. IG heavy weapons teams. Buy the box of 3 for 20 (or around 16 with an Indepetdant online stockist!). Also buy shock troops, and spare 60mm bases. Make all of the heavy weapons teams in the box, and then some. Use up all of the weapons in the box on the new bases, with shock troops as the shooters/whatever. You'll end up with three of each weapon. (That's 15 teams, or 5 support squads! [I think]).

7. Or, even cheaper than (6.), search your old toys for anything that looks like a heavy weapon, mod it up, stick to a base (use plasticard if you don't have bases), and add shock troops accordingly. I made an autocannon and a mortar, from "Corps!" toys.

08-08-2007, 13:19
I use aquarium sand mixed with bird grit, looks great and far cheaper than GW sand.

DONT use beach sand without bleaching it, a friend tried this and then found lots of little mites and creature eggs hatched and fed on the glue!!

08-08-2007, 13:54
If you live in the UK grab the train to Sheffield and Ill show you the Wargames Emporium which sells LOADS of good quality 2nd hand models.

You could always just play Combat Patrol games. An army for that will cost less than 50.

08-08-2007, 15:26
think ahead and use your brain. if you buy a predator, you have 3 vehicles immediately (rhino, predator, razorback)

with a little magnetization, you're good to go.

make bits count. throw nothing away, ever. someone somewhere will need that one bit and will trade an arm and a leg for it.

have annual bits trading days. once every 3 months works best around here (Austin). entire armies come and go. i picked up a land raider at one of em for 10 bucks. and it was well painted too!

killa kan kaus
08-08-2007, 16:56
a place called ccg armoury can give you a consistant price (22% off) and does not have the risks of ebay buying (small but still risks). and i guess bfm is not that bad and still gives pieces to convert with even if your not marines or nids.

08-08-2007, 17:11
The absolute best ways to make 40k more affordable are as follows:

A) Get a job. 40k can be hard to start especially if your only source of money is allowance/gifts. But with at least a part-time job you get regular flow of income.

B)Get a job at a GW store. Not only are you getting paid, but the GW employees get huge discounts on instore stuff.

08-08-2007, 22:24
Kaldaris, the "get a job" advice isn't quite germane to the discussion. It can be a pat answer for making anything more affordable. Can't afford X? Make more. While it's certainly a useful thing to do, it doesn't add anything to the specific topic of reducing the cost of 40k.

Your second point does though. The employee discount is pretty solid. Combined with their minimum wage earnings though, I bet you could convince a staffer or two to make a under the table bargain with you. I'm sure it's been done.

09-08-2007, 02:32
Best thing i have to say about making it more affordable is to be aware of what you re buying.

I am converting a full 3k imp guard into a full out female force. (The Amazonian fighting LXIX).

My full 10 model squad of ogryn were once Ogre bulls.
(Two are in mini-skirts, one has fishnet stockings, and another has a tutu.)

Work on your conversion skills. Green stuff from GW is expensive, but plumber's putty is cheaper and works just as well. Or you can buy the green stuff from knead-a-tite directly at a fraction of the GW price.

For terrain you can use the home insulation sheets (Poly-styrene - Pink stuff) Be sure to coat it with PVA glue to strengthen it after it is done.

Other hobby stores have great prices on flocking for basing.

Paints do not have to be GW. Other acrylics such as Delta Cream-coat are a fraction ($.99 a bottle for about 3x the amount of paint)

I choose to use all GW models in my army for the pure simle fact that I plan to play it in tournaments. So, since there are not that many female guard models out there I had to get creative. (Necromunda, Blood bowl, Witch Elves, etc...) Just because the model is no exactly a imp guard does not mean with a little conversion work that it can't be.

Many of my figs are the old classics which are still sold at a cheaper rate than the new lines.

For vehicles. Use some earth magnets. You can add them to side sponsons so that you can swap the weapons out.

FW has inexpensive pieces Such as the demolisher turret for $27 versus $40 for the box. A Leman Russ just became a second tank.

Some hobby stores will resell old pieces. Usually at a fraction of the price of new. Some go out of business and you can pick things up for pennys on the dollar.

Keep your eyes open and find out when a bit trade is going on.

Swap meets, flea markets, estate sales, and garage sales all will have some mother throwing their kids stuff out for cheap!!! Seen an 4K SM army for $10.00 Just because her son was away at college and mom was cleaning house.

Never underestimate the power of paper clay. especially for terrain. It dries quick, and dries as hard as a rock. Not to mention that it is sandable, easy clean up, and affordable.

killa kan kaus
09-08-2007, 16:24
ssgtdude great advice

Lord Cook
09-08-2007, 17:50
I am converting a full 3k imp guard into a full out female force. (The Amazonian fighting LXIX).

You know LXIX means 69 right? Random number or do I have an over active imagination?

Seen an 4K SM army for $10.00 Just because her son was away at college and mom was cleaning house.

I trust you explained to her what she was doing? Or at least bought it and then came back later to sell it back to the guy?

09-08-2007, 20:27
Have armies full of high point units. Ever wonder why a lot of the chaos space marine units have had their points reduced?

Buy plastic bits on their own instead of sprues.......

10-08-2007, 04:59
You know LXIX means 69 right? Random number or do I have an over active imagination?

yep knew that already. Have to make people think about the army. Many different jokes are built into the army down to the caution sign that is being painted on the basilisk that is upside down and reads "Caution Blondes working" Across the barrel it reads "Clueless"... Goes with the stormsword that says "Bad Hair Day" on it's barrel. The entire army is meant to be visually offensive in many ways. some you just have to think about.

I trust you explained to her what she was doing? Or at least bought it and then came back later to sell it back to the guy?

You're kidding right? Buy it and then sell it back? No, I would not be a party to her cruel intentions. She knew what it was worth she paid for it to begin with. Her son she explained stopped playing and was away at college. Asked when he quit playing and she said when he went to college.

Mean mother there. So, I told a buddy about it and he went and bought it.

10-08-2007, 05:35
The female dark eldar lord costs $11 if you buy it after you click the bitz button on gw store.

Chaplain Ark
10-08-2007, 05:45
There's a female necron lord? i assumed all the necrons had no sex, at least, not anymore, now that they are necrons.

killa kan kaus
10-08-2007, 05:58
speaking of necron lords is the one w/ a resurrection orb overwieght or female?

10-08-2007, 06:01
Go for older models. When I started getting into GW, I bought the "one pose marine box" of 3 bolter, 1 flamer, 1 ML & 1 sergant for $2.50 per box. I bought enough of those (new) and now have at least 140 bolter marines (and about 35 missile launchers)

Used models is a way to go. Some stores have a used model case, some even have consignment. Even try your local paper. People who got into the hobby years ago but never got into it usually sell it for dirt cheap. If an ex-player knows little about the game, they'll be likely to sell it for cheap. I picked up a box labeled "box o' eldar, $30" at my local game store that had about 70 metal eldar models in it, plus a couple vypers.

Ebay is good too. Look for vague descriptions from sellers who don't really know what they have (who are no longer in the game or offloading old/unwanted toys). Less people will bid against you and the starting bid will be low. An auction titled "warhammer toy lot" will be an cheaper buy than "40K Eldar Ulthwe 3000 Point Army". Auctions which list every model by name indicate a tough sell, but auctions with nothing but a photo of a stack of models is an easy buy.

As stated earlier, use magnets or pins so you can convert your models on the fly. All my whirlwinds have detachable turrets to make them into rhinos when I need them.

If you find yourself with a surplus of models that you don't need (like when I ended up with 35 flamers) try to convert them to somethign else, usually with the help of a bits box from a store or friend. Example: A quick snip of the flamer ammo, plus the muzzle of a bolt pistol makes an easy flamer-to-bolter conversion. Paint in the same colors as the rest of you bolters and you're fine.

Go for a nonstandard color scheme so you can play with any rules set. At a tournament an marine army painted red with a blood drop icon can only play as Blood Angels, but black and orange marines with a previously unknown heraldry icon can play as any army you want, even Chaos!

Meat Shield
10-08-2007, 06:17
If you live in Canada like me especially in or near BC try gc-minis.com EVERYTHING is 30% off everything. Shipping isn't bad ether. its something like 10$ + 3% of everything you buy. Example buy 200$ worth shipping is only 16 $ its a great site.

10-08-2007, 11:59
Alessander is correct. I recently won an auction that I just got in the mail yesterday. A razorback, predator destructor, metal dread, 20 marines, 18 Orks, a full 30 member Grot Mob and the paper contents of a 2nd edition starter box for $40 shipped. All second edition models. A little Super Clean, and some repairs and I will be golden :)

10-08-2007, 14:39
Great advice here.

I've just started playing and eBay has definitely been a huge help.

10-08-2007, 18:37
Over the last week, I've gotten about $250 retail for a little over a hundred off of eBay. Nice.

Now I just need to plan a bitz order to round that out and I'll have close to a 1500 point BA army.

11-08-2007, 05:56
Hey what do you guys mean female necron lord lol

killa kan kaus
12-08-2007, 00:00
;)you know exactly what i mean.

12-08-2007, 01:03
With some converting skills these (http://www.hobbytron.com/ModelTanks.html) could be great cheap tanks
40k tanks are 1/35 scale remember that