GW Grognard: Just Buy the Actual Model, Please

Hey everyone! Adam, from TFG Radio, here to once again expound upon the hobby that is Warhammer 40,000.

I’m sure it’s easy to build

SoCal Open, and Renegade Open, are the last of the really big tournaments as we come to the close of this ITC season. As people prepare for theses tournaments, and as we get closer to the Las Vegas Open, we start seeing a rush of activity to get armies ready. Many people get their creative juices flowing and try to build their own version of some of Games Workshop’s models. It’s an aspect of the hobby that many people enjoy, and excel at. It can really make an army pop from the crowd and can often be the difference between Best Army and second. Sometimes, however, it is probably best just to buy the actual, instead of trying to make your own*.

I’m speechless (not in a good way)

I am not saying that proxies, or heavy conversions, are bad or should not be made. The problem arises when someone, who most likely can’t afford the model they want to use, tries to find a cheaper alternative. Often times these people find some cheap toy in a discount store, put some 40K bits on it and try to pass it off as the model they were made to represent.  The model actually can take someone out of the immersion in the game due the way the model looks compared to the rest of the army. Other times it just looks cheap and poorly built. This can also have a negative play experience for your opponent and could result in people unwilling to play with you. if they know you are using that model. Another side effect is that the model being used is a different size than the actual model. This then becomes an issue of “modelling for advantage”, whether intended or not. We have had to turn many proxies away due to this issue. If you ever see me, ask me about the Eldar “Void Shield Generator” someone tried to use, and it’s unique shape.

I triggered so hard, I bought him the actual model

I understand that not everyone can afford Games Workshop or Forgeworld models. I also understand that some people may not like the current models for some units (obliterators). I also get how there are some people that just like to build their own stuff from scratch, although sometimes I wonder with the time and effort that they spent doing that they could have just bought the actual model. It may also sound elitist of me to make such a bold suggestion as to buy the actual model. The truth is that there are many ways to get those models for less than retail. Examples would include:

  • Trading or buying from friends or club mates (lets be honest, not all our club mates are our friends)
  • Ebay (if you really have to)
  • Second hand shops (If I only knew of one)
  • Retailers that offer discounts
  • Trading in models to get store credit

These are just a few ways to get the models that you want. I certainly have used a few of those ideas. If you still want to custom build your stuff, that’s fine, be sure to talk to people, both in person and online, to get advice on getting better. If you are in a group of scratch builders, be honest in your critique of someone else’s work, and give pointers on making it better. As a final note, just because I may take issue with your custom model, doesn’t mean I won’t play a game with you. So keep on building** and aim to make them better.

That’s all for this week, I hope you enjoyed the read. Let me know your thoughts, and if you have seen any cool looking custom models, in the comments section. Don’t forget to visit our Facebook, Twitch, and Patreon pages to stay up to date on what we’re up to and when episodes drop!

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!


*Except for Ork players

**Except for you, Danny


About Adam

Adam, aka Latin Gandalf, has been gaming since the early eighties and has played 40K since Rogue Trader (among a number of other games). He listens to more podcasts than any healthy person should and is currently the host for TFG Radio. He also is judges for LVO and head judges other major 40K Grand Tournaments.

27 Responses to “GW Grognard: Just Buy the Actual Model, Please”

  1. Reecius October 20, 2018 7:06 am #

    There is indeed a fine line between a cool and creative conversion and someone just being cheap.

  2. WestRider October 20, 2018 7:30 am #

    What? That Ghost Ark is perfect. It’s all ghostly! And the Hulk could be fine for a Knight if it was a Gallant. Should probably get an Iron Man or War Machine toy for a Crusader like that seems to want to be, tho. 😉

    Joking aside, this is a pretty important point. While it’s fine to do whatever when playing at home, or with your local group, when you’re going to an event, you need to be sure that you’re not breaking either the balance of the game (MfA) or someone’s immersion in it. Do your thing, but don’t screw up someone else’s day to do it.

  3. Burdcr October 20, 2018 8:33 am #

    I like bad posting system that randomly logs me in under others names….

    Oh and Reece hates (insert my army)

  4. Jacob October 20, 2018 9:43 am #

    I’m getting tired of this attitude from wargamers. It’s the reason I live in a city with half a million people but the local 40K tournaments can barely draw a dozen players. You’re all doing your best to drive all the new players and poor players out of the scene.

    It all starts with GW’s blatantly criminal (not an exaggeration, they keep winding up in court over it) pricing scheme. They want to charge hundreds of dollars for a three-cent piece of plastic because their prices are based off of their own points value to artificially inflate demand.

    Then, we have to deal with all the same people yelling “just buy all GW models and bases” messing with the secondary market by acting like an old lady collecting Beanie Babies. Go on to all the re-selling websites and Facebook groups and you’ll only see people saying “I need to sell this army to chase the new meta. I paid 150 for this model which I’ve badly assembled, primed with all the mold lines visible, and I won’t take any less than 145 for it.”

    You want to keep chasing people out of the hobby so you only ever have to play against your three best friends, that’s on you. But I can’t believe that -any- community site would actually give someone column inches to perpetuate this kind of behavior and continue reinforcing every negative stereotype people have about wargamers.

    • Blight1 October 20, 2018 10:00 am #

      I agree in general that you shouldn’t force someone out for not being able to or willing to pay the frankly absurd prices for GW minis (I buy them and admit I pay too much).
      Only objection is when the model Grant’s an obvious advantage that the other player isn’t willing to concede. I’ve played against an army of quarterguants before but was fine with it because my opponent had one model to use for line of sight.

    • Reecius October 20, 2018 10:06 am #

      Sorry, you’re getting tired of the attitude that to play a game you buy the game and its component models?

      That doesn’t make sense, friend. If no one bought the models the company would go out of business and all of our communities would dry up. No one wins.

      And when has GW been taken to court over their pricing model? Do you have a link to an example? I have never heard of this nor ever heard of a company getting taken to court ever for the price of a non-essential good or service. It is an inherently absurd idea to sue someone over pricing their luxury good at whatever price they think the market will bear. And considering GW’s stock has gone bananas in the last few years, there are more people than ever that think the product is worth the cost.

      And you’re not chasing someone out of the hobby by requiring they actually buy the components of the hobby if they never bought them in the first place. if someone with a pirated PDF of the rules and a bunch of toys as proxies decides to leave then oh well. No one has lost out on anything except that person.

      Yes, absolutely, 100%, yeah, we require people to play with the models for the game at our events (with some sensible exceptions for cool conversions or stand-in models, etc.). That is not a negative stereotype or mean, it’s just the way this hobby works.

      If you want to play with proxies or even pieces of paper to represent models in your own club or in your home with your friends, sure, go for it. Have fun. But if you expect to come to an organized event or go to a store that survives by selling the products in question, and play on their tables without actually investing any money into helping the business survive using whatever bits and bobs you have on hand to represent an army then that is unreasonable and actually quite selfish. You’re taking without giving anything back.

      We had a guy in one of our gaming groups that would actually put rocks on the table to represent vehicles. It made the game no fun and his defense was an inability to afford said kits. Hey, I empathize with being broke–been there many times myself–but you cannot expect everyone else’s enjoyment of the game to suffer simply because you can’t or won’t pay for the models everyone else did pay for. That again is unreasonable and a very self-centered perspective to take. Consider others in this situation as this is a social hobby wherein two players come to the table to immerse themselves in a tactile game that is fundamentally grounded in buying, building and painting models. When one player uses toys or crappy proxies it takes away from that experience.

      If you can’t afford the game that is a bummer but don’t be mad at the company for making something you want and then charging what they feel is an appropriate amount (and the total cost of getting a model from conception to your hands is far, far more than 3 cents). Simply choose not to play in favor of something you can afford, or save up some money and then make the purchase when it is economically feasible to do so. Again, no one is committing a crime by making cool toys and then charging an amount they think they can sell it for.

      No one forces you to participate in any hobby. I would love to get into Scuba Diving or amateur rocket building but at this time I have neither the time nor funds to do either. I am not railing against the companies that make these things for being unfair or what have you, I just accept that at this time it’s not viable for me but in time, it could be and will feel all the more rewarding when that time comes.

      So yeah. Get the actual models (again with some wiggle room for the rule of cool) and yes, paint them, and yes, base them on the right bases. Everyone will have more fun and be more immersed in this hobby if you do so. If you choose not to do any of these things in your own private circles, then fine but don’t expect to come out in to the larger gaming world with such low standard and be welcomed with open arms.

      • Ballsrog October 20, 2018 5:11 pm #

        Yes to all of that except bases is too far. Not only do I not want to spend my time on that, but the argument can be made that my wolves running around with snowy bases on a table with no snow anywhere is worse for immersion. If anything, clear bases should be the norm.

        • Dakkath October 20, 2018 7:26 pm #

          Man I would LOVE having clear bases for everything.

          And sturdier bases/stands for skimmers, all the ones on my tau tanks snapped right at the peg.

          • rvd1ofakind October 20, 2018 8:08 pm

            Buy a Necron DDA/Ghost Ark. Gigantic model, tiniest flight stand. I glued it in, put the model on the base. Snap. Twice in a row. So I greenstuffed it up.

          • Reecius October 21, 2018 6:58 am

            Custom bases for models like that are totally fine.

          • Reecius October 21, 2018 6:57 am

            We allow clear bases, actually and plain black bases as long as the army is consistent. The only downside to clear bases is it is really easy to cloud them with superglue if you aren’t very careful which can ruin the effect.

        • WestRider October 20, 2018 7:37 pm #

          I think Reece was just saying use the right size of base, rather than trying to come in with a Carnifex on a 40mm square, or Hormagaunts on cavalry bases.

          • Reecius October 21, 2018 6:57 am

            Yeah, precisely.

        • rvd1ofakind October 20, 2018 8:06 pm #

          Bases are often painted that way for display boards. If the display board is a swamp – they’ll paint some swampy bases.
          So yeah, clear bases is as a norm is a no-go.

      • Darren October 21, 2018 6:29 am #

        this is an excellent reply Reece.

  5. Hotsauceman1 October 20, 2018 12:39 pm #

    Best thing ever are second hand shops, I have gotten so much cheap stuff. And talk around, likely you will have some willing to sell.

  6. David VanOoteghem October 20, 2018 10:42 pm #

    My conversions are built with all GW parts.I think count as is fine if your using bits from other models. Also important is to convert to the proper foot print for game purposes. Tournaments this is important while in friendly play not so much. Also Warzone Atlanta is coming up and that is a solid sized GT. Many great players will be there.

    • Reecius October 21, 2018 7:00 am #

      Yeah, the rule of cool is the most important rule (IMO) when it comes to these things. If you make a bad ass conversion then please do bring it and let’s have fun!

  7. Ste Amigo 1 October 21, 2018 5:30 am #

    Proxies have their place. I’ve proxied many a time to decide whether or not a list works before forking over absurd amounts of money. However once I know something works, I can’t wait to buy the model. Furthermore, that place is not in tournament/events.

    Conversions, on the other hand, are part of the hobby. I have a model, cataphract terminator, sword, storm bolter which I use as a Belial model as I don’t like the current one. The bolter, sword hilt, banner are all from the Belial model. Looking at the model it is very clear what what/who it is. And this should be a cornerstone of conversions, clarity to your opponent.

    • Reecius October 21, 2018 7:01 am #

      I proxy in practice all the time, too. And I agree, it is a very useful tool.

      ANd I also agree 100% that conversions are awesome and should be encouraged. As you noted, consistency and transparency is the key.

  8. Frodo LAGGINS October 21, 2018 7:57 am #

    So I realize it’s not the same exact scenerio but what about cases when the model people want to use is OOP models. For example say someone actually wants to use rough riders, what should they do? I think there needs to be some leeway when relating to instances like this, or when there isn’t even an official model. Basically just get the dimensions close (which can be a pain since those aren’t published) and put in some actual effort and I think the model should be fine.

  9. NinetyNineNo October 21, 2018 8:58 am #

    I mean, sometimes proxying and conversions are all but inevitable. If I want to kit out a squad of Crisis suits with CIBs, I’d need to buy 9 Commander boxes to get it legally (as CIBs come at one per box). I don’t think that’s a very reasonable demand.

    • Reecius October 21, 2018 10:28 am #

      In that instance, some cool conversions to make them makes sense so long as you’re consistent across all iterations of the weapon.

      Also you can always bits swap and such.

  10. Petey Pab October 21, 2018 11:41 am #

    I too don’t think people should be forced to by the actual model from GW. It can get very expensive and time consuming. It can be especially draining when you spend all the time and money just to have a long terrible game with a hobby snob or WAAC gamer.

    Having said that, I think the best way to get newer players into the game is to purchase models secondhand on ebay or otherwise. I run our secondhand store (link above) and you cannot imagine how many armies I have sold for a fair price and people FLG may have gotten into the hobby. When you can go online and buy rhinos for $20, and basic infantry troop choices for $1 each (our prices by the way) you really have very little excuse to get into the game as a new player.

    As for tournament players who are cheap for the sake of being cheap. They exist, but are few in number and can either simply get better “conversions” or find tournaments that accept their models.

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