View Full Version : Cheap(er) Ways to Build an Army

12-09-2008, 23:25
With the recent announcement of more price increases, what ways have you found to make your armies by a cheaper method?

One that I have seen done is to use bits of Skeletons stuck to bases to make it resemble them coming up from the ground (and thus not having to use a whole Skeleton model).

Another that I have done is to use the Bretonnian Archers from the 5th edition boxed game as archers for my Empire army.

Marshal Torrick
12-09-2008, 23:31
Use other company's products. My Reaper vamps are the less expensive and better looking than their GW counterparts. I don't play in GW sanctioned tourneys(or any two-day events for that matter, as they always involve Sunday), so it doesn't hamper my gaming any. Another fun product line for conversion is the old MageKnight line from Wizkids. All the griffons in my Wood Elf army are from there, along with my converted centaur wildriders. My treekin cost me 50 cents a piece and a few dryad bits.

13-09-2008, 02:11
EBay is another good way to get troops on the cheap. Folks are always upgrading to the newer models or buying new armies. If you are patient, you can get decent deals.

13-09-2008, 02:39
Substitute plastics from a different range for metals i.e.
use the new chaos knights with spare wight heads as blood knights....
banshees/spirit hosts can be any model painted a ghostly color

Buy large monsters from McFarlane...
Use Unit Fillers

13-09-2008, 02:49
For me.. its ebay, bartertown, my local hobby store (all GW's boxed sets are 20% off), and a lot of kitbashing. Example, currently I'm converting shades with Glade Guard hoods and Corsair bodies. Probably do something similar with Glade Riders into Dark Riders. I'm also utilizing plastics to make all my characters (thankfully the combination of Cold One Knights and Corsairs yields for some very nice looking models).

The skeletons idea is definitely nice, you can do it with zombies too.. and now that Ghouls are counted as undead... they work as well (yea, might look silly).

Other than that.. start Ogre Kingdoms, Dwarves, or Gobbos. OK has the best bang for your buck Battalion box (especially since I can get 20% off) and you can easily convert regular ogres into characters. Dwarves and Gobbos are obvious with BFSP. My cousin actually acquired 2 boxes of Skull Pass for 35 dollars each... seriously.. can't get ANY cheaper than that for 2 armies.

13-09-2008, 03:22
I second the idea of using other companies. There's a lot of good stuff out there.

13-09-2008, 03:34
Reaper models are one of a kind and they are a notch above what GW makes.

13-09-2008, 03:57
For my greenskins, with the advent of squig hoppers again, I suddenly needed more.

I had just 5 or 6 from 4th edition. So I bought 2 more blisters. ouch, $20 bucks for 4 models? too much. So I started scooping up the big boss model from bfsp to make more, I could get them from battlewagon bitz for $1.25 or from friends for 50 cents. I got 6 more of those to up my total to 16.

Now I had the bright idea to use the spiders that I have(got 30 of them) to make even more hoppers, spider-hoppers that is. So I bought some small flying bases and plan to make about 8-10 spider-hoppers. So instead of spending $50 for 5 more blisters of sguiq hoppers I spent $5 for the spiders from a non-greenskin playing friend and and about $6 for the flying bases.

I also made 5 dark elf driders(half dark elf, half spider) from 5 of my spider riders. To use as either a 4th unit of spider riders if I ever go crazy and field that many spiders. Or centigors in a beast army, or a 3rd unit of dark riders in a dark elf army.

I also scratch built a pump wagon using a boar from the 6th starter set and the left over bitz from the orc chariot(to make the howdah), plus bitz from the ogre command bitz, with a few spare snots glued on. Saved about another $20 bucks if you assume the bitz I used took up $10, which is probably overestimating.

What I tell anyone who will listen is to look at your models and see what you can use them as to save money. Don't play greenskins or dwarfs but play vamps? use those bfsp models as zombies. Take the troll and a few of those models and put them on bases to be spirit hosts.

Play skaven? those goblins and dwarfs should become slaves. The dwarf cannon with a bit of converting can be another warp lightning cannon.

Play ogres? the goblins should now be gnoblars. See if you can do some converting on the troll to make him a yhetee.

Do whatever you can to save money.

13-09-2008, 04:11
I play ogre's as one of my armies so one of the ways I cut cost in my empire was use Ogres as place holders in my swordsmen units. It worked really well since my army is from ostermark and they often hire ogres/dwarfs.

Alot of times you can look through the fluff of armies and find ways to justify using models as counts as. Another example would be high elf/empire. You could easily justify counting Swordmasters as greatswords if you themed your empire army right. There are plenty of options for this in the game

I have never been a big fan of most other companies models, alot of people mention reaper and I have never been overly impressed with them, guess I just like GW style.

13-09-2008, 04:38
Either get 2nd hand stuff off friends / contacts, ebay patiently (avoid getting conned by "shadow bidders") and wait for online stores to give holiday discounts.

also, avoid playing armies that rely on having many models (IG Infantry based list, Skaven etc)

13-09-2008, 05:06
Visit the flea market at Historicon, Cold Wars or Fall In conventions.
Historical gamers get rid of tons of Fantasy stuff (and 40K too) there so they can take the money and buy shiny new historical armies.

Duke Georgal
13-09-2008, 11:19
Hang out with people who are getting tired of the hobby. They will eventually give you a ton of free stuff!

13-09-2008, 11:21
1: Use fillers.

2: Use ebay.

3: Don't play skaven :p

13-09-2008, 12:04
Use Ebay to get minis cheaper, especially plastic minis. Use converting skills to convert plastics into whatever you want.

Use spare arms from plastic sets with cheap, older models. 5th edition Bretonnian archers are good material for many human units -if you cut both arms off (right arm needs little work, but it can be done), and you're able to restore hood parts with green stuff, you can convert them into swordsmen, spearmen, crossbowmaen, whatever you want.

5th edition Dark Elf swordsmen are harder to get, but should not be expansive and their sword arms can be replaced with spear from new warriors box, after you turn warriors into crossbowmen.

Oh, and battle for the skull pass is good base for chaos dwarf army.

13-09-2008, 12:20
Why buy metal plaguebearers when plastic zombies will get you the same and look different. Stuff like that. Anything can be made to look something else with a different paint job and some bits.

-3rd party.
I'm a big advocate of this. I have tons of 3rd party models. Also a good way to have a very personal army, but not always for cheap. I've spend about 600€ on my 3000pts. all female Slaaneshi daemons over the years, but every penny has been worth it. But there are also good deals out there as well.

-Second hand.
I started my IG by getting a bunch of stuff from a guy who didn't want to play anymore. I just stripped them and put them into pieces, sold/traded the metal models and in the end had a good started.

Many stores sell below GW prices.

Spicing a unit into something other can be as easy as getting few select bits here and there. Anyone who has been at this hobby for few years has gathered a small mountain of bits. And are sure as hell interested in getting rid of some of it. Also, some stores sell at a good price. So if you get a box that comes with both HW/shield and GW options, buy some spare bodies and get all the options from one box without having to buy another box. Stuff like that.

Buy a big box and sell/trade all you don't need. I got the Skull Pass box for 50€, sold the rulebook for 15€ and traded the goblins for more dwarfs. Bang, 35€ for a huge pile of Dwarfs (20 thunderers, 24 warriors, 16 miners, 2 thanes, 2 slayers, 2 cannons). Add some bits and you can do alot with them.

13-09-2008, 21:40
I always use eBay and Craigslist, and look for garage sales with warhammer stuff, i never pay more than half price for my models. Also try to look for hobby stores that sell warhammer stuff, lots of times they get sick of selling them and try to get rid of them really cheap.

14-09-2008, 01:18
Use unit fillers. You can substitute a number of models for something, and if done well it makes the unit look even better.

A perfect example is a guy called curse of beers over at the Warhammer Forum. Check out this from one of his Vampire Counts armies:


Someone else over there is doing an Undead Orc army, with massive footprints (from Foot of Gork) taking up unit space, complete with squashed gobbos. It looks very effective.

Crazy Harborc
14-09-2008, 02:54
I have 12 very nice undead mtd. knights. Plus a VC army commander. I used two boxes of Empire knights and a fair amount of skelies parts. Cut off legs, one two on the mtd knights. Skulls glued on instead of helmets. Replace those missing leg bones (save some of the armoured feet) with skelie parts. Replace some of those fancy Empire shields with damaged ones, replace their lances with spears.

Anybody good at creating skulls, arm and or leg bones? Think making Orc or Goblin skulls and bones. Undead unit bullies...maybe.:D

Want DoW heavy cav? Easy one that is.;) Get ahold of some plastic parts for knights (Empire and Bretonnian). Plastic parts are easy to modify. Empire knight's bodies with Bret. armoured arms. HE knts(Silverhelms) can work too. Mix and match weapons and shields, helmeted heads, horses. Try to come up with unbarded plastic horses

14-09-2008, 08:39
There's also things like Perry Bros. American Civil War era plastics, which are like 36 models for £15 or something, and I've heard they're working on a Napoleonian ear plastics that'll be 42 for the same price. Then there's Warlord plastic roman legionaries, which I thing come in boxes of 30 for £20 or something. All multipart and all looking nice.

14-09-2008, 10:05
Here's a compilation of all my "cheap" conversions;

Great Unclean One:
Painted(still WIP)
Built this with a gluegun, greenstuff and some bits from the plastic chaos spawn and giant.
Actually, I'm pretty proud of this dude, he looks big and humourous just like a GUO should be.

Dark Riders:
I bought the plastic wood elf glade rider models. Give them some Dark elf bits, paint them and there you go, plastic dark riders!

Spare bit mutants:
Title says it all! I just took some of my spare bitz and glued them together and víola! I'm using them as marauders.

Nurgle spawn:
I took a snail toy and attatched some bitz to it.

Black Knights:
I took the bretonnia knights and gave them skelly heads and I also used alot of spare bits from empire. Alternatively, you can use the empire knights or TK horsemen if you prefer them without barding.

Tzeentch Chaos Knights:
These are empire knights with chaos bits.
The first regiment has got arms and heads from the old Chaos warriors, and the second regiment has got parts from the new Chaos warriors.

Nurgle Chaos Knights:
Empire knights with bits from the new plastic chaos warriors, marauders, dryads and beastmen

Slaanesh Chaos Knights:
Empire knights with bits from the new plastic chaos warriors.

Mounted Tzeentch Exalted:
Made just like the Tzeentch Chaos knights.

Nurgle warriors:
I used the normal marauder models but gave them mutant and old plastic chaos warrior heads, orc and old plastic chaos warrior arms and orc and marauder shoulderplates. Abit cheaper too.

Nurgle Exalted:
Made just like the warriors.

Nurgle Marauders:
I used zombies and gave them some marauders parts as well as alot of other things. Dont forget that maruders use the larger bases.

DoW Heavy Cavalry
I made these from two spare bretonnian knights and 3 spare empire knights. Has anyone seen Kingdom of Heaven? I tried to paint them similarly to Balian's knights, right before the suicidal charge.

Raised Skeletons:
This is a classic. You can do the same thing with zombies. Simly glue som heads and arms to the base and your done.

I used snotlings as you get more of them and the snotling models are alot cooler. I also put some cool dryad bitz on their bases.

The comand is the original (metal) but the rest of the models are just plastic militia. Added some soldier and knight arms as wll as some greenstuff armour.

I took some of the old plastic chaos warrior greatweapons and gave them to my gors and then painted them appropriatly

Some cheap characters:

Warrior Priest:
Made from a spare knightly order torso, white wolf hammer, old chaos warrior hammer top, zombie legs covered in greenstuff and a marauder head.

Made from a spare zombie body(the hung guy) skeleton legs and arms, zombie scyte and greenstuff cloak.

Tomb Prince(WIP):
Made from a spare skeleton, zombie head, tomb king sheild and banner top as well as some greestuff.

Induvidual closeup:
Made out of ungors, with dryad claws and gargoyle wings. I've also added devils-tails made out of greenstuff, to make them look like little devils.

Spirit Hosts:
Made from zombie, militia, greenstuff, goblinparts and some other spare bitz.

Plastic Blood Knights(WIP):
They are made from plastic empire knights, with dark elf torsos and heads, bretonnia lances, with dark elf speartips and sheilds. The "wings" on the back of their helmet comes from a plastic bretonnia knight head.
The banner comes from chaos warriors, the skulls from a marauder banner and the dragon on top from the helmet of the old elector count on griffon.
The champion is weilding an empire militia greasword. The spikes on the horses legs are tips cut of dryad arms and stuff.

Some of my conversions are now obsolete, since GW has released plastic kits for them. Below are some of my outdated cheap conversions;

Black Orcs:
I bought a box of 40k 'Ard Boyz and simply assembled them without guns and gave them sheilds and choppas and command. Quite easy and cool.
Alternatively, if you are even cheaper, buy a box of normal orcs and assemble them and order some metal black orc heads for them.

I used zombies. The body without shirt(not the one spilling its guts) and the legs with loincloth work best. Arm them with something pointy or some random body part.

Plastic graveguard (wip):
Made from normal bretonnian men-at-arms with skeleton heads and a few other simple conversions.

Made from plastic dryads with some greenstuff additions.

14-09-2008, 11:21
I better post some stuff up as well (all WIP).

Herald of Slaanesh on a Chariot:
TK chariot box, from which I've sold and traded enough bits to pretty much pay me back the whole set. Racham models, which I think was around 5€ and a pair of Dark Age harpies (has mechanical wings, so the mount for those wings works well as a mounting harness for the chariot) that were around $10. All in all around 10€ for the entire model.

Herald of Slaanesh on Mount:
LotR Wild Warg Chieftain from a sale ridden by a Reaper Dark Paladin. All in all, less than 10€ for the entire model.

Fiends of Slaanesh:
Rackham Wolfens. Price ranges between 7.5-15€ a piece, so it'll depend on what type of a look you're after. By the bulk price comes down (such as a box of 5 wolfens for 30€.) There's also some that'd fit perfectly as Juggernauts for Bloodcrushers, just apply Bloodlettes on their backs.

Daemonettes of Slaanesh:
A little obsolite in the times of the plastic kit, but some like to keep to their metallic ways, or just actually have pretty models. Lots of models from various ranges. Some cost as little as $3 a piece.

Daemon Prince(ss):
Costed me around $20 with a custom base made from Rackham and GW bases.

Once I get the rest of my Dwarfs in, I'll start a project log on cheap and unique looking Dwarf army.