Thursday, 26 May 2011

Buying bits

It’s not that long ago that I thought “bit sellers” on EBay were a blight on my searches. I would search for something innocent like “Warhammer Empire” and I would get bombarded by hundreds of results offering me a single sword, or a set of horse heads, or just the tops of some wizards’ staves. Suffice to say, this was not what I was looking for.

More recently however, I have started to see the benefit of sellers such as this. A large amount of my Empire army was purchased second-hand in a store. Some crazy person had dumped a very large army in-store in the interest of selling it off as easily as possible. I bought knights, infantry, artillery, and I bought bits. Lots and lots of bits.

I confess that buying mixed bundles of second-hand models feels a bit like Christmas to me. You get to dig through, not knowing exactly what you’ll find, and never knowing if there will be some hidden gems that you hadn’t spotted earlier. In the case of this Empire stuff, I found that some of the “bits” bags actually contained a large number of legs and/or torsos. I realised I had more complete models than I had first thought.

Then I realised that the only thing holding me back from making yet more models was a lack of legs and torsos. I had tons of everything else I needed. It is the normal GW approach to limit the number of models you can make from a box by having a set number of legs and torsos, so this shortage did not overly surprise me. However, the bit sellers on EBay suddenly had something that I wanted. I jumped online and discovered that, of all the different Empire sets on offer, Militia and Knight torsos and legs were pretty heavily out of favour. They didn’t fetch the sort of prices the newer, fancier Greatsword or State Troop bodies were going for, but did I really care about the fancier stuff? No, I did not. I was trying to cheat extra models out of spare bits. With that in mind, I set about purchasing.

Having finally tried one of the bit sellers, I can honestly I was impressed by the service. Postage from the US was extremely reasonable, the stuff arrived fairly quickly, and it was all neatly divided into tiny snap-lock bags and even a cute plastic container. It was all a very pleasing experience. Maybe bit sellers were not agents of the devil after all…
Bits in cute containers. Why is this sideways, Blogger? Why?
Since then I have placed a number of orders for bits through this service. Things like unridden horses which turned up in a second-hand bundle have suddenly scored riders, courtesy of the bits sellers. Likewise, my various conversion plans to pad my existing units are based around my existing bits supplies, supplemented by those offered cheaply by the bit sellers.

Unfortunately these sellers are not silly. If you think a certain bit is highly desirable, chances are other people do too, and the sellers will know this. You will probably find these bits priced accordingly. Having said that, unless you are buying most of a box worth of bits, it will still be cheaper to buy the bits you want and leave the rest of the box alone. Regardless, if you have a lot of arms and heads sitting around, or you have some bit-intensive conversion projects in mind, these bit sellers are well worth a look.

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