The cost of the hobby

I feel that I mention this in pretty much every post I write but I come from the gaming side of the hobby. I feel this gives me a very different perspective on many aspects of our hobby. (Apparently the thought of painting the eyes on a 1/50th scale figure is terrifying to many scale modellers?). It also has introduced me to a world of little things that I find curious as I continue to become more familiar with the scale modeller side of things.

One thing I’ve found particularly fascinating is the perspective on spending in the hobby. Games Workshop models are notoriously expensive but even other brands will frequently charge a couple hundred bucks on a starter set and gamers will often drop as much as fifty bucks on a single 28mm (1/50ish) model… something that puzzles even me. (Despite the reality that I have in fact done this myself once or twice). Scale modellers seem to have much lower thresholds for model kit pricing despite generally needing to purchase many fewer (you don’t need to assemble a 100 model army to field for that tournament next week after all!). Of course the modelling isn’t the end point for gamers and generally these models are being painted for use in a game so there’s arguably additional utility there but it is a marked difference in approach.

The opposite seems to hold sway for other areas of the hobby. I am not sure I know of a single scale modeller without an airbrushing rig. Even if they may not be completely comfortable with it, yet for gamers… it couldn’t be more different. Things have changed a lot over the last ten years but my default assumption is that a gamer WON’T own an airbrush and if you dare suggest they should consider getting one… you better buckle up because you’re invariably in for a tirade about the cost, the space, the noise… I’m sure I’ve missed things and if you’re one of those gamers – feel free to send angry emails about how unreasonable it is to expect poor hard working gamers to afford the outrages sums demanded for airbrushes to I mean I’m not going to read it but if it’ll make you feel better then go for it.

I am being a little hyperbolic but sadly not far off the mark in many cases. Of course it’s ridiculous, now sell a pocket sized battery powered compressor and gun kit for $50 that works surprisingly well, is quieter than the music I have going on my computer and will literally fit in my admittedly large pockets… but that’s the inertia of the zeitgeist I suppose.

Going back the other way I feel modellers have a reluctance to venture into new paint lines. Of course there is a lot of loyalty to brands and particularly when those existing lines are thought to provide good colour accuracy. For myself, I’d rather find a paint that sprays well, and is easy to work with than provides perfect colour accuracy, but then I’m not much of a ‘details’ guy when it comes to my hobbying! Are most paint lines a rip off? Yes. Should you be painting $33 for a can of Games Workshop spray paint? Under NO circumstances! However if you find a different line of paints that works better for you and achieves the results you’re looking for then you should absolutely investigate other lines.

All in all this has been a bit of meandering stream of consciousness from me but hopefully one that’s given you pause to rethink your preconceived notions on what you should and shouldn’t drop some cash on. Meanwhile for club members there’s SWAG to be had! Go check out your email inbox and spam filter if you can’t find it.