Sunday, 29 September 2013

Sprue Cutters Union #10: My Spending Habits

This weeks Spruecutters union post is all about our spending habits. 

I came back to the hobby after a long break and like many of us have mortgage, cars and a wife so I do not spend any where I would like to on the hobby. But then looking at it rationally I don't have time to build and paint everything so its probably better that I don't. To be honest I try not to spend too much on the hobby. Not because I am a tightfist but simply its a hobby and life is often expensive usually when you do not expect it. Wargaming and Scale Modelling can get expensive. I also enjoy the challenges of frugal Wargaming and Model Making.

Now unlike other Wargames hobbyists & #warmongers members I am a bit of a Anarchist. I do not play any one system or game.  I hate games that lock you into one background and will not allow figures from another system. Games are meant to be about fun not generating lots of cash for your share holders! 

I have created my own backgrounds for Victorian Sci -Fi, Post Apocalyptic and Science Fiction from random ideas and what movie, novel or computer game inspires me that week.  This enables me to collect what ever figures I feel fits my creations or that simply inspire me. There is also way too much nice stuff out there to become focused on one setting or ruleset. 

My gaming is Skirmish and RPG based so I collect small amounts of figures for each faction. 12 is usually enough (I can hear the GW Shareholder choking as I type this). I love to look for figures for the special characters that add colour to my worlds/settings.

My mini collection comes mainly from Birthday and Christmas gifts. These are largely GW as my relatives know how to order them. There is also a shop here in Liverpool they can go to. My attempts to educate them that there is other manufacturers out there have so far failed. Although my Good Lady does get me the odd box of Warlord figures & terrain from Amazon. She is a star. 

My actual monthly spends on figures and terrain is limited to materials only. I am lucky that in the early days of Ebay I landed lots of cheap GW figures - mainly Imperial Guard types. 

When I get gifts of cash for Xmas and Birthdays or when life throws me a bit of luck I use some of it for models and minis. Where I can I sell on older unwanted items in my collection and use the cash for the hobby. Another way of generating cash for my hobby is to make terrain as a commission for folks out there. 

A lot of of my collection was generated by writing articles for the Combat Zone Chronicles. You get store credit with EM4. Worth a try if you like near future figures or the Combat zone game. 

So lets get to the nitty gritty. What am I willing to spend? 

Figures wise I baulk at anything over £3.50 a figure for metal or £2.00 for plastic or resin. I may push it a bit further if a feel I really need a figure. But if it is too much I will try to find a cheaper online trader or I will grab a cheap figure and convert it. In some ways these conversions become some of my favourite figures in my collection. 

For Vehicles I am willing to go a little higher but my limit is £20. It shocks me that a Judge Dredd figure on a bike from Mongoose is £25! My other approach for vehicles is to take a cheap kit, build model or toy and to convert it into what I need. Often it works out a lot cheaper. Again I limit it to £10 to £20 for a donor kit. 

Converted Cars sweet box into a Post Apoc run around - Fallout style!

A converted 1/35 M113 into a Post Apoc scavenger vehicle. This kit cost £10 in a sale. 

A Post Apoc technical converted from a toy. 

Another option I follow is to scratch build the vehicle from found junk. Here is a few examples of my work. 

A scratch built 15mm buggy. 

Scratch built Triffids. 

A VSF/Steampunk British Steam Walker on Mars. Made from a pill bottle and a bits box delve. 

A Grav Tank built from a dead computer mouse. 

A deodorant stick bottle and bits bot dive Sci Fi Speeder in my pirate colours. 

Terrain/Scenery follows pretty much a similar vein spend wise with me usually building from junk rather than spending on fancy resin or plastic. I will pick up resin bits if it grabs me or I need it to finish a model off. 

Rules expenditure is also applicable to the Wargamer. I usually go for cheap or free rulesets that allow me to do what I like/need with my games. My limit on a rule set or addition is usually £15. I have quite a bit of experience writing rules so I tend to write my own. 

Rules I play include: Babylon's Burning (now gone), Combat Zone, 40K Rogue Trader, 40K Necromundia, Nuclear Renaissance 2 (Free or book), Skank/Warlord 2085 (Free), Wastelands Meltdown (Free) and Neutron York 3000


Part of being in the Union means you must include links to fellow contributors' posts within your own response. If you liked this post, then perhaps you'll enjoy what some other modelers have to say about this topic!

The Combat Workshop
Yet Another Scale Modeller
Motorsport Modeller
Jay's Scale Model Adventures
Migrant's Wanderings
David Knight's Weblog
Scale Model Workbench
Scale Modeling My Way
The Eternal Wargamer

Want to join the Sprue Cutters Union? Its simple. If you model and have a blog that is all you need to start. Just write a post in response to the weekly topic, copy the link in the comments section for that week's assignment and you're in! Check out more detail about joining the Sprue Cutters Union.


  1. Nice read. I always go for second hand over new most the time. When I do buy new it usually from selling on my older stuff from my collection. Some really nice builds there.

    1. Thank you. I forgot to mention the second hand aspect. I have picked up quite a bit of cheap stuff that way. I was trying to show that you dont need a bucket of cash for the hobby. Its nice to have the option but it is not necessary. ;-)