How to Save Money on Wargames Supplies
Wargaming can be a very expensive pastime. With a full army of figures often costing over $150 and paints and terrain adding up to a similar amount for a full-sized board, it can be difficult to find the money for the hobby. Thankfully, however, there are a number of things you can do to save cash when you shop.
When buying your army, don’t always purchase the most popular figures from the biggest manufacturers. These are likely to cost more simply due to the name on the box, so you may not be getting a very good deal. Instead, look around for smaller, little-known companies that still produce high quality miniatures – you’ll often be surprised by the cost savings of buying from less well-known manufacturers. Be careful if you’re a tournament player though – tournaments often require you to have the official figures for certain wargames, meaning some figures won’t be eligible for play.
Another way to save money on your miniatures is by buying in bulk. Lots of figure manufacturers offer discounts on large, army-sized orders, while many others sell pre-packaged “army boxes” that work out cheaper per figure than buying all of your units separately. You can even try searching eBay for second hand figures, as these offer huge cost savings compared to buying new and the figures are often still in great condition, due to the fact that most wargamers are very careful with their miniatures.
"You’ll often be surprised by the cost savings of buying from less well-known manufacturers"
You can also save money on your modelling paints. Many hobby manufacturers such as Games Workshop sell their paints very thick, making them difficult to apply and awkward to work with. By thinning your paints with water and a drop of washing-up liquid you not only make the paints more effective but also save lots of money. Many paints can be thinned by ratios as large as 2:1 water:paint, meaning you could easily halve your paint costs simply by using this little trick. There’s no need to buy dedicated highlights, either - try mixing your paints with white to create lighter colours that make your models look great. There’s even more money to be saved with terrain paints – you can use cheap tubs of emulsion (available from DIY and decorating stores) instead of dedicated terrain paints to get great results without breaking the bank.
When it comes to terrain the best way to save money is to build it yourself; it is very easy to create some basic terrain features out of common, easy-to-obtain household items. Hills, rivers, buildings and more can all be made using a combination of expanded polystyrene, corrugated cardboard, PVA glue and cheap all-purpose filler. The polystyrene and cardboard can be used to make the basic shape, while the PVA and filler add texture and realism - especially when painted. This allows you to create a great battlefield for only a small investment in materials – it might take longer than buying pre-made pieces but it will save you huge amounts of money in the long run, meaning you can spend your cash on new, bigger armies! By making your battlefield yourself, you can literally save up to 90% on your terrain costs.
Hopefully you’ve now got a basic idea of how to save money when wargaming. Remember, you don’t have to spend lots of cash to have fun and have a great looking army – it’s all down to how much time and effort you’re prepared to spend on your figures and your game board.