We've put together our best tips on how to save money on Warhammer 40K. For you, but mostly FOR THE EMPEROR!
In February 2022 Games Workshop dropped some rather somber news on Warhammer fans that it would be increasing prices (opens in new tab) across the board on all Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 products, including models and rulebooks. While it seems like Games Workshop wants to commit an Exterminatus on your wallet, do not despair. There are some alternative methods to save money in both the short and long term and still enjoy the Warhammer 40K hobby.
From the easy methods like digging for shopping alternatives to some more homebrewed solutions, there are still lots of ways you can end up saving money on this sometimes very pricey hobby. These tips will help save you money as a veteran or novice alike.
If you’re looking to save money on that other expensive plastic hobby, then you can also check out our Lego Star wars deals and Lego space deals. We also have our space board game deals guide if you prefer tabletop gaming.
1. Buy from third-party retailers
While this may seem like a virtual no-brainer, shopping from third-party sellers of Warhammer products can save you money in both the short and long terms. From immediate savings to offering legacy units that can still be played in official tournaments, a third-party shop that offers Warhammer 40K models can end up being an excellent source of savings.
Small comic and hobby shops can also be a great source for rarer units not seen very often in official stores or even legacy units that could add flair to your collection. Search for local third-party shops that sell Warhammer goods and the savings can pile up. Even if you’re buying for only a few dollars off what Games Workshop sells them for, your savings will add up over time. $3.00 here, $2.00 there, and eventually with the money you save, that could result in being able to buy that Imperial tank or Aeldari walker you’ve been eyeing.
Some good examples of bigger U.S. resellers are CMO Games (opens in new tab) in Chicago, Illinois offering various discounts on Warhammer products, sometimes up to a 20% markdown from typical MSRP. Armada Games (opens in new tab) in Tampa, Florida also offers tons of Warhammer products and modeling supplies, with some Warhammer goods seeing around 15% off. In Mt. Jackson, Virginia is Herrick Games & Hobbies (opens in new tab), selling various Warhammer 40K goods around 15% off MSRP and also selling plenty of modeling and painting necessities as well.
Across the pond in the United Kingdom there are tons of choices as well. In London there is Dark Sphere (opens in new tab), selling Warhammer 40K products sometimes up to a 25% markdown off MSRP. Element Games (opens in new tab) in Stockport, Great Manchester also sells Warhammer kits up to 25% markdown along with a wide selection of painting and modeling goods. In Liverpool you can find Just Play (opens in new tab) offering around a 20% discount on some Warhammer 40k goods and a selection of other supplies for hobbyists.
2. Buy a Combat Patrol box
Are you just starting out building a new army or in the Warhammer 40K hobby in general? A good source of direct saving is the Combat Patrol box. Containing a variety of units that follow the newly established “Combat Patrol” ruleset that contains an army of 25 Power, or 500 Points, as per the Core Rules. In a Combat Patrol match, the combined Power level cannot exceed 50, which makes calculating units à la carte somewhat involved.
A Combat Patrol box condenses the experience down to a single purchase that can save a little money up front for a good starting point of an army and allows players to easily get into the game with a lot less effort than buying individual units one at a time and using the rule books to calculate values towards Power required for certain match types. You know each Combat Patrol box contains units worth 25 Power, so that streamlines your experience.
Additionally, most Combat Patrol boxes are very well rounded. These boxes typically contain a leader unit, a squadron of basic soldiers with 1-2 varying roles, some heavy troops, and usually one vehicle or heavy type unit. Imperials and Space Marines typically include either a tank or a Dreadnought as their heavy unit. Necrons include a Night Scythe that can be alternatively built into a Doom Scythe.
On top of the Combat Patrol boxes, there are also complete single army collections for similar prices that contain a selection of units for larger format battles. These include things like the recent Black Templars box set. These collections of units contain a group or multiple groups of soldier units from a single army and either a strong commanding type and/or a vehicle type unit all in a single box.
Overall a Combat Patrol box will save you a few dollars up front, even paying the typical MSRP from Games Workshop directly, due to how the units are packaged with a slight discount. Currently Games Workshop offers a list of 13 different Combat Patrol sets (opens in new tab) across a variety of armies. At the time of writing this article, some armies do not have a Combat Patrol box available as of yet, but you can still get the older Start Collecting boxes for these factions.
3. Split a box with a friend
Much like a Combat Patrol box, these collections save money in the short term because of buying units in a packaged deal and make for a solid addition to a force or as a basis for a larger one as a starting point. Splitting the cost of multiples of these make for great ways to build larger armies with a friend, or even on your own if you’re looking to get into larger-scale forces for battle.
Larger than a Combat Patrol format box, a Battle box is a good way to get yourself set up for larger size battles in Warhammer 40,000. They can be costly, but that cost can go down if you can split the cost among yourself and a friend. The current Battle box is Eldritch Omens (opens in new tab), featuring a scenario of Chaos Marines versus the Aeldari.
Splitting the cost of one or more of these boxes gives collectors another excellent leg up in starting army collections with decent balance due to the spread of units available for each army.
You can also split a Kill Team box with a friend if you're both looking for the units inside, and then you'll get some terrain to help build up your battlefields too. The current Kill Team box set features Tau and Sisters of Battle, though there is a new box set incoming pitting Aeldari Corsairs against Chaos Space Marines.
4. Buy second-hand models and armies
Local stores, various second-hand websites like eBay or Craigslist, and online forums can be excellent sources for purchasing partially complete or completed armies that can save you money. Some collectors occasionally may sell their units for profit, but more often than not you can buy armies for a discounted price that are ready to play as is. Cutting out the labor of painting and building units, if you buy a ready-made army, you can get straight to the action.
However, the thing to keep in mind is the up-front costs can be higher from collectors or builders offloading their armies for more than MSRP and that you would be paying more for the labor already done of building and painting any models you may acquire.
So rather than buying, say two Combat Patrol boxes’ worth of units for $250, a seller may turn around and sell their completed army for $350 or more as both profit and what their labor is worth for building the army for you. It all depends on the quality of the paint job on the models that you're buying, if they're painted at all.
5. Invest in 3D printing
Ever since the introduction of 3D printers to the consumer market, toy making and craftsmanship has taken off in so many unique directions thanks to these plastic printers. Now, a decent resolution 3D printer can set you back quite a bit at first, sometimes a few thousand dollars, but the real savings come from long-term investments.
Being able to freely express your own art style, if you have the knowledge to sculpt 3D models suitable for printing or utilizing community creations shared via the Internet is one heck of a shortcut. Instead of paying markups for plastic models and supplies from Games Workshop directly, you can find custom-made models for almost anything in Warhammer 40,000. Vehicles, commanders, soldiers, there’s tons available for download.
You can find free STL files to print on sites like Thingiverse (opens in new tab), or you can pay for models on sites like MyMiniFactory (opens in new tab). Paying for models supports creators and usually offers higher quality and more variety, but there are some great free prints out there too. Even if you are paying to download models, the cost of printing and painting them yourself still saves you money in the long term.
The cost of an average roll of ABS type plastic for a filament 3D printer is around $25.00 and you’re buying around 2 pounds of it at a time, so your savings long-term on even a single spool of plastic is worth the high floor of investment from buying the 3D printer in the first place.
Resin printers are slightly more expensive, as is the resin they use, but the trade-off is a massive increase in print quality. In general, we’d say resin printers are better for miniatures, and filament printers for terrain or large vehicles. We’re kicking up our 3D printer coverage this year, and we recently reviewed the AnyCubic Photon Mono X 6K if you’re looking for an example of a great resin 3D printer to pick up.
Even if you decide to suddenly switch armies if you’re tired of Space Marines and maybe want to try out the Daemons of Khorne and some Chaos Marines, it can be done with the magic of 3D printing. The advantages outweigh the disadvantages if you are willing to take the plunge on 3D printing for Warhammer 40,000 models. It just takes a willingness to learn it.