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Are you spending too much? Frugal Hobby

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  wurzzel 1 week, 1 day ago.

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    Cult of Games Member

    I thought based on the weekender’s request to start a thread on saving money whilst hobbying.

    An example I learnt recently was nylon brushes. I have for years bought brushes from hobby companies because it was convenient but more recently I have been making terrain and shopping around for the parts that I need.

    I found 30 nylon brushes in ‘The Range’ (UK store) for £10. So much cheaper than hobby companies and at 30p a brush I don’t care about throwing them away when they’re knackered. Currently my Ork project has all been painted using one size 6 brush so they’re clearly not gimmicky either.



    What useful bargains have you found or seen?



    Buy flock from specialist companies who do car dash renovations 100g bag about a fiver

    Buy pva from diy stores, 5liter container about £10 its cheaper if you got a builders merchants

    Use lentils for cobbles

    If you can wait buy your tools from china on aliexpress, its where all the hobby companies buy there tools from before they slap a badge on it (gundam tools is the secret search term to find awesome things)

    Think laterally just about everything sold as a hobby supply is repurposed from something else a lot cheaper.  Basing gravel, is just fine reptile grit from the pet shop, 1kg bag £4

    Take broken things apart you never know what widget you will find inside that that will look cool, or be useful or both, water filter cartridges for example are full of plastic and charcoal grit which mates a great basing material just spread it on a tray and microwave for 5 mins or put by a radiator to dry, the cartridges them selves with a bit of imagination can be turned into refinerys, rocket engines, wells, storage silos, caps off of plugin room stinker refills are good techno widgets in a scifi game, vape coil wire makes excellent aeirials on vehicles 5m roll of clapton wire £3 or so much cheaper than guitar strings

    As mentioned the range is your friend, as is B+M, and surprisingly hobby craft just look in the kids section, bought a bag of assorted sponge brushes for £3 they are great for weathering just rip chunks of sponge out to get an irregular surface and stipple away, also if any makeup in your house is getting thrown away hoard it, eyeshadows can be used as weathering powders, the brushes are really good for dusting and drying excess water from decals.

    Nailart supplies can be great for cheap decals especially for weird things you wouldnt normally find for hobby stuff.

    Dont buy snips from hobby shops, instead look for a beading shop they have a wider range and are the SAME but usually 30% cheaper for not having a hobby brand on them.

    If you want cork for basing or terrain cant go wrong with ikea placemats

    I could go on for hours……


    Cult of Games Member

    Wow Tim that’s quite a list! thanks!

    Ive also been getting quite a lot of milage out of ‘mitre fast’ glue. 50g of superglue with spray activator for £5. The range has a brand called Soudal and B&Q has mitre fast by evo stick… in fact now I search their website ive found this one for £1 for 50g



    B+Q do a decent paint brush multi pack which is great for terrain (do a good job on door frames and skirting board as well) and cheaper than the 2 citadel terrain brushes (surprise surprise)

    Any white wood glue is PVA just dont use a polyurethane based glue (gorilla glue, any honey coloured wood glue) unless you want a lot of tidy up (it foams as it dries and will not come off), thats a really good thing to mention about activator trim carpenters have woken up to the awesomeness of activator they use it for glueing dado rails and cornices together before attaching to the wall, but it also means you can pick it up cheaper and in larger quantities than typically you find in hobby shops. 200ml activator spray £4.50
    and just stumbled on an activator pen which could be really handy for mdf possibly mini’s too

    Would be wrong of me not to mention super glue debonder can be had by the litre for a couple of quid, BBQ lighter fluid (not the gel) is the main ingredient in it (well naptha, but thats what lighter fluid is), can also be used with silicon sealent as a thinner so you can use that for water effects, you can colour silicon sealent with a drop of ink in a sandwhich bag (or paint if you want) just give it squeeze until the colour is even, add a drop or 2 of lighter fluid and you can snip a corner of the the bag and pipe it like icing, needs experimenting with though as it can be too thin and never set properly, but when you get it right it self levels and gives a nice water effect if you hit it with the back of a spoon as it dries to form waves. Not as fool proof as off the shelf water effects but its not brittle either so robust to transport.


    Cult of Games Member

    I switched to buying all my superglue and PVA from Screwfix a couple of years ago and it has made such a difference in annual costs of hobby. Same with bird sand from the pet shop for basing. Bought a huge bag for a couple of £, it will last years and has a strangely nice smell 😂



    I found that if I went cheap, the results showed… so although I’m not one of those “ZOMG! GW makes everything I need including SAND!” types, I do appreciate good brushes (W&N series 7) – I own so few I can count them, and I take great care of them. Some are 10+ years old.

    Paints, I do a fair amount of mixing and keep a journal with my formulas, so can get by with less than I had.

    Sad story interlude: before my life implosion, I had about 350 paints, although 100 or so I got for $1 each on clearout. Sure, that many Vallejo looks lovely, it’s a great display! But how many paints do you really NEED?

    I have 60ish Vallejo, another 20 Createx airbrush specific (I paint goalie masks for hockey), and then 15 or so of my favourite Vallejo primers. That’s it. Learn to mix, and never be without a colour again.

    A wet palette! Never paint without one. Just poured a few drops, mixed in water and … something comes up. Pop the lid on, paint is good to go when you’re ready. And mixing is so much easier!

    Desks. I use IKEA – they make lovely throwaway tops, and a set of legs is cheap. I use two legs, and a shelving unit for the other side – storage!

    IKEA other things – plastic photo frame holders, make fantastic paint organizers! They take about 60 small bottles three deep per shelf, and arranged 15cm or so apart in height, it’s easy to get at paints. Use the ROYGBIV black/grey/white organization system to know where your colours are. Also, their pegboard system is awesome and affordable for tools, trays, little drawers (clear plastic!); and don’t forget a great chair to sit in.

    Golden brand coarse pumice gel. Yes, it will seem expensive for a pot of it – but if you can get a coupon for Michaels in Canada or similar, the stuff is awesome for texture on a base – I don’t use sand!

    Flock and basing. Train shop near me has a “previously enjoyed” section; probably estate sales. I find flock at half or less the price, in nearly full containers.

    Hopefully this helps a bit.


    Cult of Games Member

    It pays to be smart when you go cheap …  no one will notice a cheap brush when doing terrain work 😉

    I’ve been thinking of using bird sand for bases myself. Never got around to it because I rarely have a need to visit a pet shop.
    Also a potential good source for plastic plants to use as terrain.


    Cult of Games Member

    I dont know if it counts as a bargain, but I reuse the coffee grinds from my morning pot as basing material. It works really well and I’ve used it on bases to represent a number of different ground types.

    All you need to do is preheat your oven to 200C spread the grinds on a baking tray, bake for 10 minutes and then trn the oven off leaving the coffee to cool in the oven.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by  wurzzel. Reason: spelling
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by  wurzzel.
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