Gaming on a Budget: Spare Parts Month

Spring is in the air.  With that comes a desire in me to get some much needed cleaning done around the old game room.  And with that much needed cleaning came the realization that I have an ass load of spare parts laying around.

One of the dethtron secrets to being a cheapskate and hoarding absolutely everything is hoarding absolutely everything.  Seriously, I don’t throw much of anything out.  In the past I’ve even showed you folks how to use bits of sprue…. in at least two separate articles (article numero uno y dos).  Now, you can bet your ass if a kit comes with any extra parts I’m not getting rid of them.  Instead, I save them in clearly labeled boxes, right next to my jars of urine.

and these are only some of my spares…

Well, as you can see from the picture above, I’ve amassed myself a little collection of parts there.  But there’s a reason for all of this- it saves me money!

In the past, I’ve had limitless opportunities to dip into my bits boxes to add character to a unit or model.  I’ve even created units or models entirely out of spare parts- saving me the entire cost of buying a new kit… but that’ll be a topic for next week.

…still not all the spares, but showing more would be excessive at this point

For now, I wanted to talk briefly about what it is I look for in a kit before it gets the official “Gaming on a Budget Seal of Approval.”  Generally speaking, any kit with at least one spare part in it adds superior value to my purchase.  Not to play the Privateer Press versus GW card, but this is an area where GW clearly trumps PP in a big way.  Now I haven’t bought a Warmahordes kit in a long time, but can’t honestly remember a single instance where there was a single leftover part from any kits- though there is an instance where I remember giving away an unopened kit as part of a HoP contest that arrived without a Warjack Pelvis. 

Recently, while reviewing the new (about god damned time) Tyranid releases, I was struck by what a good value they offer to consumers.  Yes, the kits are expensive, but not really any more so than the competition.  The good news is, though, that recent GW models come packed to the gills with spare parts.

just look at all those parts

Take the new Hive Tyrant kit, for example.  Let’s assume for a moment that you’re going to just assemble a plain Jane Venom cannon, lash whip, and bonesword job.  Let’s look at a brief list of some of the many extra parts you’ll have left over at the end of the day:

  • 4 boneswords from the Swarmlord upgrade
  • WINGS!!!!
  • Flying legs
  • A barbed strangler
  • scything talons
  • a flying tail

At a glance there, several obvious conversions come to mind for these leftover bits.  Once could easily whip out a parasite or a harpy- much needed models and nonexistent kits that they are.  More importantly, there are 4 friggin’ boneswords in there.  Rather than shell out for the bonesword upgrade pack, you can just use these puppies to upgrade your warriors or to work on a Tyranid Prime conversion.  The possibilities are limitless and very cheap, since you’re just using leftovers.

But oh no, the spare parts aren’t just limited to GW products.  Look at just about any Battlefront infantry boxed set.  You’ll find a baffling array of little dudes inside.  A quick count shows that you’ve probably got more models than you’re going to need to assemble your unit.  Yes, rather than spend money on things like instructions, Battlefront has thrown their cash into making sure you get an extra set of little dudes.  Over the course of just a few boxes, I’ve been able to assemble enough extras that I can make alternate HQs for my platoons and divisions.  This is especially critical to have if you’re playing somebody like Germans, where your regular HQ can almost always be replaced by a Panzerknacker or a Panzerfaust (side note on the subject of Faust…. Haarstylisten and fisten rhyme as shown by die Aerzte).

seriously, how the shit do you go together?

Ah, this dear readers, is only the tip of the iceberg.  There are, as always a few things I’d like from you…

  1. If you know of a particularly good kit for parts, drop us a comment to share with the group
  2. MOST IMPORTANTLY– if you’ve got a good model built entirely out of spare parts, e-mail me a picture and a link to your blog to be featured in an article at the end of the month at [email protected] .  Make sure to include “spare parts month” in the subject line.

That’s all for today kids, I’ll be back next week to share a handful of my spare part projects from over the years.

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