Gaming on a Budget Paper or Plastic-Card? from Auberon

Greetings everyone.  Last week Auberon of the Digital Waaaaggghhh! e-mailed me a great list of ideas for “Gaming on a Budget articles.”  Many of them were so good that I asked him if he’d want to write a guest spot on them (thus buying me some time to organize the HoP Idol contest).  So sit back, relax, and keep an eye out for the science that’s about to be dropped.  And as a bonus, this is probably the first article in this series ever to feature zero senseless fucking profanity…oh wait….

Hey guys (and gals) –

Auberoun from Digital Waaagh here, if you’re anything like me, you absolutely love the Gaming on a Budget series that deth has been working so hard on. Last week, I wrote him and suggested some ideas. Imagine my surprise when he threatened to melt down my scratchbuilt Stompa politely asked me to do a guest article!

Plastic card – I could get into all the uses of plastic card, and how great of a tool it is in conversions, and scenery building, but I was told to write an article on saving money, not the joys of plastic card. So, if you like to convert, this is almost mandatory for Ork players. (Xenos love!) then you inevitably need some plastic card.

A quick definition for those noobs who need to learn what we are talking about. (We were all noobs at one time, so if you are an old, beardy git, just hang with me.) Plastic card (Styrene or P-card as it is sometimes referred to) is sheets of plastic that come in very useful when making your own models, or converting existing models. (That wasn’t bad was it?)

Now, there are some great suppliers out there that sell textured card, and varying tubes and “I” beams and such. I would say, that the retail price on those items is worth it for terrain building, and converting. But, what if you just need plain, un-textured card? Let’s face it, the plain card has a lot more uses. Besides, though not the same you can texture it yourself if you needed to…because this is about saving money.

There are numerous places to score plastic card for FREE! That’s right, I said FREE! Not just free…but FREE! Ok, now that I beat that point into your heads, time to move on. (Did I take my medicine today?)

Here are some sources of free plastic card…

Old gift cards and old key cards are a great supply for thick plastic card.

“But how or where do I get them?” You may ask.

Hotels – Go to the local hotels yourself, and ask for old keys that no longer work and (as weird as it may sound) explain why you want them. You could say that you are collecting them to harvest the plastic in order to make your Real Doll trans-dimensional stabilizer for your time-machine. On second thought, honesty usually goes a long way, and is your best route to scoring free plastic card.

Mall stores (or any store that uses prepaid gift cards). – Just ask a few shops in your local mall to give you some of their old gift cards that have 0.00 remaining balance, or if they can keep them for you, you can come by once a week to pick them up. ( be sure to remain open in negotiating pick up times if you get to this point with the manager, after all, you are getting free hobby material!) Or, if you are lucky enough to know someone in a retail setting, they can probably save all the old ones for you. This also goes for anyone working in a hotel that uses key cards.

I had heard one hobbyist who was lucky enough to get the off cuts and scraps of errors from a sign company in his area…on a regular basis! The best part aside from being regular source of free material was they were big pieces of varying thickness. (If memory serves, he said his biggest find that way was 1/16 inch thick 6’x8′ sheet. If you know of a sign maker in your area, it would be worth checking into, to see if they will let you “loot their scrap”.

The last option, while not free, the alternative is still cheaper than buying plain card. Go to the hardware section of a standard retailer, or somewhere that sells “For Rent” or “Beware of Dog” or any other similar signs, and price them. I know there is a place by where I live where they average about $1.00 per sign. Used sparingly, you can probably get a quite a few projects from it.

If you need some thinner plastic card, use food boxes. Or cereal boxes to be more precise. While not plastic, they certainly have their uses. They are thin and flimsy, but may be just the ticket for making “wooden” shingles, or bending around a pipe or gun barrel, arm etc… to add some sort of extra armor or detail. There is loads of free scenery in pdf format. (As Lauby had mentioned previously) Cereal boxes can be used for those too! Cut out the pieces, and glue them to a cereal box panel that has been cut out. The best method for this is using white glue, then putting a heavy book on them so they don’t warp and coming back in a few hours after they are dry. This will add some stability to your pdf structures.

So, get out there, and score some FREE p-card!

I will be returning in week after next to talk about how to score some free or cheap hobby/terrain building supplies that are not commonly found around the house.

Your move…


Totally awesome Auberon, thanks for sharing.  If you’ve got a source for free plasticard or liked what you saw here hit us up in the comments.  If you’re a moron and have missed all the other links, make sure to visit The Digital Waaaggghhh! to check out the excellence going on there.  And as always, by all means, if you’ve got a money sharing tip you need to share, hit us up at [email protected]  Who knows, you may be threatened with a guest article of your very own.

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