The Danger of Free Figures

Warren Gleeson’s cupboards were each an Aladin’s cave. Several decades spent buying up Games Workshop stores up and down the county, not to mention most of the stores in Germany, has let Warren amass a vast collection of GW figures. Boxed games sets, regiment sets, blister packs and loose figures, some painted, some not, some still in their cellophane wrappers, the figures spilled out every time a door is opened, bearing prices in pounds and pence (and some in shillings and old pence!) Some, it is rumoured, still speak in terms of groats and florins Well, one evening, whilst casually exploring one of Warren’s cupboards, I saw some strange looking apparitions, and asked what they were. Warren replied that they were old style Chaos Dwarfs, and being a generous man asked if I would like them – for free! Now, being perpetually skint, and always on the lookout for a cheap army, I instantly agreed, and my Chaos Dwarf army was started. Warren kindly threw in some free plastic modern Chaos Dwarf stuff as well.Over the next few months I bought a few command figures from the bring-and-buy stands at shows, and my army proudly boasted 13 plastic axe-wielding dwarfs, 7 assorted command figures, and four obsolete scatter-guns. Then came the GW Dogs of War sale, and I scooped up some Ogla Khan wolf-boyz. Then I sold some Napoleonic figures at the 1999 Newbury show, and went to the second-hand dealers and bought several handfuls of blunderbuss armed Chaos Dwarfs, some artillery and some Bull Centaurs. Now I had a complete army, all of it free or second hand.

However, experienced wargamers will know that a completed army is never completed. Chris from Spot On models allowed us to go into his back-room one Saturday and sort through his boxes of second-hand stuff. I was there at nine o’clock in the morning, and like the proverb says, the early bird catches the black orcs, hobgoblin wolf-riders and yet more Bull Centaurs. Another GW sale, where I went to buy Dark Elves, netted some more Chaos dwarf artillery and some Chaos Dwarf characters on monsters.

By this time I had yet to paint a single model, but I knew how the army would form. 2000 points, with 25% on war machines, was three Earth Shaker cannons and a bolt-thrower – some cheesy Bull Centaurs and black orcs for striking power – and then the world turned on its axis. Warhammer version 6 arrived and suddenly my carefully planned army needed extra things. Late night calls to mail order netted me some very expensive full price troops. Think 10 Goblin wolf-riders are expensive at £15 now? Try Hobgoblins on wolves at £4 each! And the minimum regiment size is – ten? For wolf-riders?

Well, the army is currently under the brush, and will easily do about 4,000 points of the new system, when I get the monsters painted and the riders tooled up. From a few free plastic figures, my army is now the most expensive I have (I have spent almost £200 on it) and gives the most points.

So, a cautionary tale. Never accept free figures hoping for a cheap army. I tried it and it doesn’t work.

I will never make the same mistake again.

Sorry, Warren, what was that? Would I like some free? Oh, well, if you’re sure you don’t want them…


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.