It's no surprise that the Oldhammer Community have had a huge inspiration in sparking my return to fantasy and Sci-Fi wargaming. Games Workshop back in the early '80's was my starting point, as I'm sure it was for many people. Aside from time and family commitments etc it's usually the cost that puts many people off. What I've realised in the last few months however, is that this doesn't have to be the case.
The photograph above is my current collection of Imperial Guard and Dark Angels. Bought brand new, these would have taken a significant chunk from the weekly paycheck. But thanks to buying and selling websites like Ebay and Gumtree (as well as the Facebook page "Warhammer Buy, Sell and Swap" which is fantastic btw) I've gathered this entire force for less than £50.
The popularity of GW over the years is perhaps the reason that there's so much of it available cheaply secondhand. Like any wargaming fanatic, lots of folks go through phases of collecting - whereby they either decide on some other period or genre, or give up on the hobby altogether. Either way if the items don't end up on ebay or on car boot sales (this is especially the case with Warhammer stuff and is another ideal way of buying collections) or they get stashed into the attic.
I began with just asking friends who I knew had been into the hobby in the past. Quite often they had a couple of shoe boxes or carrier bags somewhere with unused sprues, vehicle parts etc. or a load of half painted odds and sods. Most were happy to part with everything for a couple of quid. If you're quite lucky you'll even get some decently painted figures. Many of my Dark Angels were already basecoated and had the armour highlights started. It took me a rainy afternoon to finish the guns and gear, and hey presto...30 figures ready to go.
Again, Ebay and Gumtree offer similar opportunities. The Imperial Guard here were in a sorry state with a particularly rough paintjob, but it doesn't take much to turn them around (some of my Terminators were spray painted in silver and gold - so the way I see it, almost anything can be salvaged!
I imagine the method of collecting I'm suggesting here is quite good if you've got children who want to get into GW. Especially if you're worried about coughing up £100 for the GW Deathwatch Overkill game, facing the possibility that it'll be discarded in favour of the XBox somewhere down the line. On that point in particular; Ebay sellers are currently flogging the Deathwatch Rulebook and tiles for £10-£15 without the figures. Buying a load of cheap Tyranid Genestealers secondhand, along with some space marines and Imperial Guard would probably mean you'd get everything you need for less than £35.