A Damn Expensive Hobby…Or Is It? – Hidden Costs.

For the majority of us the phrase “requires some assembly” is a fundamental part of the hobby…

I’m not sure why this one guy has 20 legs…..

…but we rarely factor it and the other secondary ‘hidden’ expenses into the cost of our hobbying.

By hidden I of course mean those extra miscellaneous bits and pieces that we have in addition to the models themselves rather than when we assure our partners that we’ve just got ‘a bargain’ or mumble vaguely when they ask how much our latest Forge World purchase came to…

I’ll buy the other arm next month….


Those of us who have been in the hobby for a substantial period of time will already have a more than adequate collection of clippers, files and scalpels, paints and washes, a decent amount of spare model bits, etc. but for those new to the hobby these costs soon mount up. If these new hobbyists are also lacking a decent FLGS or club then they may also have to factor a playing area and scenery into this rapidly increasing set of costs and that’s before we even mention rulebooks. We also have the fundamental fact that starting any of the game systems that require anything that can be considered an ‘army’ is going to have a big initial investment in models themselves as well as the secondary purchases that occur when you realise that most of your first lot of models suck or just don’t work with one another…

…but are there any ways around these issues?

Possibly…

Models.

There are several on-line retailers who do models from a variety of game systems at a variety of discount levels and even with postage taken into account these can offer significant savings, Also the majority of independent stores have some products at cheaper prices than those you would pay when purchasing direct from the manufacturer. My FLGS Titan Games (for example) sells Games Workshop models cheaper than you’d get them from an actual Games Workshop store as well as doing models from other ranges cheaper and I’m sure that you all have somewhere locally that offers a similar service and if this store also has playing areas available then that will also save you the aforementioned costs associated with scenery and the like…I suppose this is a logical point to look at FLGS’s…

FLGS.


All hobby stores have a guy in the corner who doesn’t appear to be doing anything…

If you’re really lucky then the place that’s now selling you models at a slight discount may be able to give you a place to play games, some supportive players and access to some basic hobby tools as well…they’ll expect you to get your own eventually though…

I have been relatively lucky in the area of finding places to play games. When I first started in this hobby I was exclusively a user of Games Workshop products because (rather obviously) I was introduced to the hobby by a Games Workshop store but things were a little different back then and the level of support was much higher. Though your personal experiences may differ, personally I found a gradual drop off in a Games Workshop stores ability to offer the basic services that I’d become used to. Playing and painting areas became reduced significantly and a policy of ‘get their money and then get them out’ seemed to be in place. For the most part this had nothing to do with the staff (for the most part…) and was just an apparent policy change across the board though I know of several members of their staff who resisted this change for as long as they could and for all I know some still are.

In my opinion a decent local gaming store is one of your best cost saving resources. At it’s most basic level their products may well be cheaper but it’s far more than that. A gaming area saves you the aforementioned costs of scenery and the like and if they’re any good they should have contacts at the decent local game clubs as well. As long as you’ve managed to find one that’s avoided the ‘clique issue’ then you should also have access to a significant resource, namely people who have already made the ‘bought stuff that sucks together’ mistakes so you don’t have to. Any store manager worth his salt should be able to point you at the person best able to help you with your hobby needs whether this is painting advice, army selection or just the person with the best eye-sight to help you find that tiny model part that just went pinging across the room…

System Selection.

If it’s Games Workshop systems that interest you then I’m afraid that cost is always going to be an issue as they are amongst the most expensive of systems to start. The base cost of the models is fairly high and the model count required is also considerable even in ‘elite’ builds. There are alternatives however…

Mantic Games offer equivalent systems to Games Workshop and their models are a lot cheaper as well as several having rulebooks that are actually free. Their fantasy system ‘Kings of War’ is a simple but still tactically satisfying game with a rulebook available for free and some army deals which are frankly amazing. Their sci-fi system ‘Warpath’ is (imo) not quite as good as Kings of War but it’s going to be re-done this year so I’m expecting a Deadzone level of quality for that one and I’m already building an army for it using Deadzone models…

They’re a bit more blood splattered now, but you get the idea…

There’s also the option of selecting a skirmish game which reduces model count considerably and if you pick one such as Malifaux (my personal favourite) you get all the models your going to need in the starter box. Skirmish games also have the advantage of generally needing a lot less accessories though this isn’t always true as some like Infinity are quite terrain heavy though still significantly cheaper than a Space Marine army would be. Some companies such as Mantic Games and Hawk Wargames are now rather helpfully beginning to release boxes with more than just some models and an instruction leaflet in them…

Though you’ll still need some basics such as tools, glues and paints kits like the above give you a considerable head start. A fellow hobbyist has started a series on building up the basic equipment required at a reasonable cost and it’s well worth a read and can be found here. It’s definitely going to be one that’s worth a watch.

A Conclusion of Sorts.
Though certain costs are inevitable it is possible to engage in this hobby without needing a second mortgage, lottery win or rich relative (though they’re certainly helpful) as long as you do your research, find a decent local game store, club and are willing to do a bit of shopping around.

Thoughts and comments are (as usual) most welcome.

My Facebook page also has regular posts on various things (not just Malifaux though I write about it a lot) and for more of my barely coherent rantings feel free to check out my blog here.

Or drop me an e-mail at [email protected]

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