Friday, March 26, 2010

What Does A Competitive Guard Army Cost?

by SandWyrm

I don't think it comes as a surprise to anyone that 40K is an expensive hobby. Most of the expense, however, is hidden in many small purchases done over time. But how many of us have stopped to think about how much a typical army costs? Especially a competitive one that has to have multiples of certain weapons like meltas?

Or... What would it cost to replace my army if it was stolen or lost? Especially considering that I collect an obscure metal Guard range instead of the "cheap" (in relative terms) plastic Cadians/Catachans.

Let's consider my fully-painted 1500 point tourney army from last October. 1500 points is a good baseline, since that's the typical size that most people shoot for.

205 CCS w/4 x Melta, Astropath, Fleet Officer, Chimera (Hull Heavy Flamer)

65 Marbo

155 Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera (Hull Heavy Flamer)
155 Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera (Hull Heavy Flamer)
155 Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera (Hull Heavy Flamer)
170 Veteran Squad w/3 x Plasma, Chimera (Hull Heavy Flamer)

Fast Attack
120 3 Scout Sentinels w/Autocannons
145 Hellhound w/Hull Multi-Melta

Heavy Support
165 Leman Russ Battle Tank w/Hull Lascannon
165 Leman Russ Demolisher w/Hull Heavy Flamer

1500 Total

If this army were stolen out of my trunk tomorrow, what would I have to buy in Plastic Cadians to get it back? Let's see:
Qty Unit Price Description Line Total
2 $22.00 Cadian 10-Man Box $44.00
5 $8.25 Cadian 5-Man Box $41.25
2 $6.60 Space Marine Melta Bitz $13.20
1 $6.60 Space Marine Plasma Bitz $6.60
1 $15.00 Marbo Blister $15.00
3 $25.00 Sentinel Kit $75.00
1 $49.50 Hellhound Kit $49.50
1 $49.50 Demolisher Kit $49.50
1 $41.25 Leman Russ Kit $41.25
1 $17.00 IG Advisors Blister $17.00
5 $35.00 Chimera Kit $175.00
Total: $527.30

Hmmnnn... not too bad really. That's probably in line with most other plastic 40K armies.  Of course, this is an army without Valks or Vendettas, which cost a lot more than Chimeras. Adding metal minis like Stormtroopers will add a couple of hundred dollars to this list very easily too.

Now let's consider what it would cost to re-buy that army using metal Tallarn minis and the Forge World bits for my Commander and Chimera Conversions.
Qty Unit Price Description Line Total
4 $40.00 Tallarn Troop Box $160.00
13 $15.00 Tallarn Assault Weapons Blister $195.00
1 $7.50 Tallarn Tank Commander (Forge World) $7.50
1 $15.00 Marbo Blister $15.00
3 $22.50 Tallarn Sentinel Kit (Forge World) $67.50
1 $49.50 Hellhound Kit $49.50
1 $49.50 Demolisher Kit $49.50
1 $41.25 Leman Russ Kit $41.25
1 $17.00 IG Advisors Blister $17.00
5 $35.00 Chimera Kit $175.00
5 $7.50 Chimera Rear Door (Forge World) $37.50

Total: $814.75

Honestly, that's not as bad as I thought it would be. I get raped badly on the assault weapon packs that I need to get my meltas, but at least the Forge World Tallarn sentinels are slightly cheaper than the ones on the GW website. 

Another thing to consider is that those metal figs won't be available through discount retailers like The War Store, although if you're patient eBay is a great place to pick up old models at 20-30% off of GW retail.

Anybody else know what the replacement value of their army is? I suspect most Marine forces will hover around the $350 to $400 mark.


  1. Interesting. I think I may just work out the replacement cost of my Eldar at 1750...those Fire Dragons are a bitch fro cost though. :(

    And all those Wave Serpents were cheaper when I bought them.

  2. Well 60ish genestealers gets me around $250, my five man metal raveners are almost $100
    another $100 for my five hive guard
    $50 for each monstrous creature...
    and then add all the gaunts and warriors
    puts me around $1,300 after random lictors, zoanthropes and stuff I've destroyed/converted

    My standard 1,500 point army... around $400-550.
    All the conversions, painting, priming, varnish, and TLC put into them, Priceless (actually probably another hundred for the GW brand paints and primer)

  3. Yeah, as my wife loves to remind me, I spend as much on paint, plasticard, brushes, and such-forth as I do on models. :)

  4. Eeek. When it is written like that in stark terms, it is a lot of money! But I guess that the investment is spread over several years which alleviates the cost somewhat. I guess it is no worse than purchasing a coffee a day?

  5. My nids were probably at about 495 retail but that includes only the 180 that the assault brood box was. Now it would be much worse. Like 644 but that is larger than 1500 points probably closer to 2250.

  6. I'm pretty sure (or at least I hope) I didn't actually spend that much on my Nids. I got like 30 of the genestealers on eBay for like $1 each, I got two of my carnifexes from the warstore, so half price. I traded plastic warriors for metal raveners on the forums, so that saved money. I got my trygon free with store credit.

    You just need to be smart and plan ahead for your army/collection and you'll save a good amount of money.

  7. Roughly all my armies cost about £180 - £250. It firstly depends how big your collection is. I try and cap all my armies at 2k points however it depends on what other things you have or want, some armies are 2,600 due to additional units or apoc units for example.

    Another cost is depends where you buy it from. Do you get your stuff from Games Workshop, other suppliers or e-bay? The cost can vary here depending on your sources.

    The type of army your doing can change the total cost of a army. If you're doing mech then those Valkyries or Land Raiders are £35 each. If you're doing infantry then a box of Guardsmen are £12 for 10 and are very common to source from else where for a much cheaper price.

    It has given me food for thought and I might clock up how much my armies have costed, see which one is the best buy! :)

  8. oh gosh. This is bad for me. It's terribly ironic that as frugal as I am (Cheapskate), I play some of the more expensive armies.

    of course, Most of my collection is second hand.

    so, a 1500pt WH list?

    Cannoness: $15

    4 Sisters of Battle boxes: ($41.25ea) $165
    5 Meltaguns (for conversions) $6
    10 flamers (for converting Stormbolters to Hflamers) $12

    1 Battle sisters blister: $16.50 (for 3 sisters)

    2 exorcists: $50

    6 Immolators (3 as rhinos, 3 as Immos) $35ea. $210

    6 Meltagunners @$8.25 $49.50

    huh. only $524

    That's assuming you're converting flamers to Meltas, and StormBolters to Hflamers.
    if you bought those, it goes up, but not tremendously.

    This gives you:
    Cannoness, 3 dual melta Celestian squads in Immolators, 3 Hflamer/flamer Sisters squads in rhinos, and 2 exorcists.

    not a horrible force, but a much steeper price than most other armies.

    I'm not sure GK's are worth working up.

    WH with inducted IG isn't a lot less, I think. transports can get pricey fast. so do metal models.
    I couldn't afford my IG if I bought all those Tallarn, Praetorians, and Steel Legion retail.

  9. Ugh, I don't even want to think about it.

    I'm proud of my Tyranids though.

    I picked up the big Apoc box (2 old battleforces + a fex) for 100 bucks on a Black Friday sale (180 normally), plus I got a free random Lictor with it. Everything I got normally, the Trygon (50), Broodlord (12, back when they were cheapish), and a box each of gaunts and stealers (70). I also got a boat load of stealers from Space Hulk (100 bucks for 11 Termies, 20 ish stealers and a game, hawt).

    All told, the bug bits add up to around 300 bucks. Not bad for what can get to around 2000 points. Buying it all back normal retail would be nightmarish.


out dang bot!

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