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Tactica: Starting Tau on the Cheap
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Old 29 May 2007, 04:16   #1 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Tactica: Starting Tau on the Cheap

For fellow fans of the cheapskate army building everywhere, read and enjoy.

Step 1. Figure out what you want. This is probably the most important bit, as it really doesn't matter if you shop wisely if you're trying to buy every model they sell. Every army is required to have a crisis suit and a firewarrior team. These are pretty safe bets, and almost any army build can take advantage of several of each, by all means, go right ahead and start with these. The main divergance is mobile vs static. Static = broadsides, sniper drones, swarms of firewarriors. Mech = suits and skimmers. Figure out what you prefer early on, then go nuts with the buying.

Step 2. Combos. Remember that you'll need crisis suits and firewarriors?
Battleforce: $90 - XV-8, Devilfish, 3x XV-25, FW team, Kroot team, and assorted drones. 145 bucks worth. IE, about 60% extra free.

Megaforce: $175 - 2x XV-8, 3x XV-25, 20x FW, 1x DF, 1x HH, 3x Piranha and drones.
268 bucks worth, total.
About 53% extra free.

This should be the point where you think...woah, buying the bigger package results in a lesser discount? Well, yes, it does, but you also have to keep in mind what you need. Calculate out the different ways to get your army, and go with the cheapest overall. Also, keep in mind that both boxes come with 1 ML drone and 6 gun drones. Not a huge difference, but if you like the frisbees, it might be a factor.


Step 3: Check out discounters. You can reliably get good deals elsewhere than from GW. If you work at GW, you have a rockin 50% discount across the board, so shopping elsewhere is mostly pointless. Anyone can pick up a 20%ish discount at any number of sites easily found with a quick google, and shipping generally ranges between free and around $5. Not a big obstacle to any but the smallest order.

Step 4: Bitz Ordering.
Some bitz are more valuable than others. Extra pulse weapons? Everywhere. Extra drones? Pretty much. Devilfish hull? Probably not. In some cases, however, you may accumulate extra bits of certain types, and it may be cheaper to pick up a coupla extra bits from a friend, bwbits, ebay, or your friendly GW bits catalog than buying a whole new box.

Step 5: Keep in mind that not all models are equally expensive on a per points basis. For example, kroot hounds cost $10 a blister, which contains two six point hounds. Given than you can field 12 per unit, this can rapidly add up. A hundred points of hounds costs around 83 bucks. A hundred points of vanilla kroot costs about $31. While cost probably isn't your only consideration, taking into account price per point might help you afford a good army faster.

Step 6: Buying secondhand. This can allow you to save money by the pile, if done right. If done poorly, you end up out money, and with a pile of junked models. The golden rule here is always know EXACTLY what you're buying. Something new in box? Terrific. On sprue? Make sure you know which specific sprues. After all, not getting gun drones in a FW team isn't a huge loss, but if you know you're getting less than comes in the box, you'll know how good a deal you're getting. Also, know the retail price of what you're after, and how well things resell.

In my experience, you can roughly group resell value into three categories, with condition vastly affecting things of course. Oh, and people selling models typically overrate the value of their paint job. Most buyers are simply not interested in a given paint job, or have a very specific image in mind. Charging extra for your paint job is usually only a good idea for one of a kind models, like greater deamons, that don't really need to match the army exactly.

Great resale:
Anything forgeworld. Unfortunately, they also cost a ton in the first place.
Broadsides. High price plus high numbers desired in a static army.
Crisis Suits. Ditto. Every farsight army started requires a ton of these babies.
Piranhas. Again, expensive models you can field a ton of.
Shield/Marker Drones. Pain to get.
Kroot Hounds. The high price per point means people don't run a ton of them, and thus, demand outstrips supply.

Moderate resale:
Stealth Suits.
Special Charaters.
Sniper Drones
FW with Rifles.
Kroot
Pathfinder. Note that rail rifles, specifically the prone one, seem to be in higher demand.
Hammerhead
Devilfish.

Low Resale:
FW with Carbine. It's not that a carbine is bad...it's just inferior to the rifle in almost all roles. Thus, less people looking for them.
Outdated Special Characters. You get the odd collector, but many folks wont know/care.
Gun Drones. They come with nearly every box, and honestly, most people get more than they need without trying.
Any poorly painted plastic model. They're a pain to strip without ruining, and work kills money.
Vespid. Argue all you wish about the efficiency, but they're simply not often fielded, and don't mesh with many players styles. Thus, they resale cheaply.
Krootox. Nobody buys them, and fewer people play them. The anti-infiltration makes them simply low demand.
Skyray. This is ONLY if the skyray top is hard-mounted. If it's swappable with a HH turret, it's medium-high, as people LOVE flexibility.

Now, there are a few things that will boost prices.
*Cool conversions. Keep in mind that the definition of cool varies greatly.
*Having all the spare bits to go with it. People enjoy the little touches.
*Nice touches. FW seekers. Magnetized crisis weapons. These are all great lil bonuses.

Thats all for now, feel free to add any other comments you may have.
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Old 29 May 2007, 04:49   #2 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Tactica: Starting Tau on the Cheap

Here is something else to point out about buying from others.

An important thing to remember is that people selling their stuff are typically doing whatever they can to get rid of it. If you live within 100 miles of a battle bunker, find out when they are holding their bizzare bazzars. You can get 500+ dollars worth of models for less then 50 bucks there.

Also, buy from children. As nasty as it may be, they don't usually understand values of the models very well. Look on the bright side, if your fending for yourself, and are short on cash, while the kid is still supported by their parents, take every break you can get.

Another key thing: Remember a checklist of things that reduce the price of models. Here is a sample list.

Assembled models (yes, this reduces price because you may have to go through the trouble of repositioning them)

Missing bits of the sprue (even if its a tiny bit, its still is enough to reduce price due to lack of customizations now avaliable)

Painted models (Unless they are REALLY pretty, it usually means you need to strip them later.)

broken (but repairable) models. (even if its the jumppack off a stealth suit, its enough to dock a few bucks for the effort you need to take.

If they ask for 15 bucks, offer 10. If they offer 13, settle on 12. (The ancient art of haggling)

Make business deals (If someone has a set of five stealth suits, well painted, but lacks a sixth, find one, painted or not, and offer to buy the lot for a good price if he paints the last one up like the rest. I got my hands on six, superbly painted stealth suits for 30 bucks this way)

Here are some general buying tips.

If you can avoid it, never buy a large number of models for a large set price.
For example, at the last Bizzare Bazzar, someone tried to sell off a large number of guardsmen vehicles for 200 bucks. while the paintjob was OK (see above), and it was about 8 vehicles (including hellhounds, chimeras and a leman russ), NO one bought it.

Never buy from anyone not willing to haggle

If someone tries to compare a price from the GW pricing for the model (which is frequently done to try to hike prices) use these clever methods to prevent the price jump.
1. Tell them that you can get the same model cheaper, elsewhere. This is almost always true (don't get your hopes up on a titan or any FW model though).

2. If its pre-painted, inform them that no matter how good it is, it will need to be stripped to fit in with your army.

3. Tell them that GW prices are insane anyway, and you can get the same stuff from another retailer for 20% off. (again, this is always true. other hobby stores generally have a way to cut down on the prices for their consumers)

4. if they say that the model was 45 bucks, that it is assembled and painted well, and that they would let go of it for 30, tell them 25. if they say no, look elsewhere.

5. Do not hesitate to spend a little more then you may have wanted on 'the perfect item for your army'. i have done this three times and i still love the models.

6. Buy from gamer buddies. People you play with often at your store. they would be more likely to cut you a deal.... or rip you off.

7. ALWAYS REMEMBER: Buyer Beware!

8. Do not fear a childs parents. odds are they have no clue as to what the hobby is, thus they don't know the value of the models. Fear a childs elder sibling in the hobby. they probably are just as shifty as you.

If you need more tips, don't hesitate to msg me!





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Old 29 May 2007, 04:58   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tactica: Starting Tau on the Cheap

Good advice. +1 to both of you and stickied.
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Old 29 May 2007, 04:58   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tactica: Starting Tau on the Cheap

...well, I like everything, except the whole taking advantage of children thing. :huh:
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Old 29 May 2007, 05:34   #5 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Tactica: Starting Tau on the Cheap

I must say Tyndmyr, I doubt you before, since I am not really in math hammer and all.

But now that I know that you like cheap stuff I will not be that sceptical ;D

Relax Its just a friendly jk . Nice article.

I can only add few things ->

My [glow=gold,2,300]Golden rule[/glow] for hobby is...

[glow=gold,2,300]Creativity is an nontaxable income source[/glow] ;D (No its mine, I didn't rip it off)

Really what I mean is -> Buy basic models and bits and make expensive models out of them. Save every bit of them too! Trust me, when it comes the rubble pile making time, you'll be glad if you didn't throw away those plastic sprue's.

What do I make/planning on/have idea ->

Fire warriors to Pathfinders. Well everyone knows that. Just cut off (or cover with Green Stuff) the armor plates and give a carbine a little wires that will be attached to the pathfinders belt. Its a ton of money to buy pathfinders, And I also find them badly posed... I actually got the commander from fish to be one of my pathfinders...

Spare bits into pathfinders -> You have extra heads weapons and legs but not bodies? Fear not! U can make the wear greenstuff cloaks!

Crisis suits -> U can make them into Shas'El/O if u need to. Weapons for them are also can be made from spare bits.

Spare bits into a crisis suit weapons. You can make something nice even out of a peace of plastic sprue ;D U can use spare stealth suit systems if you have any...

Gun drones to shield to sniper -> For shield, just put spare SG from your suit on the bottom of the drone and hear ya go! For sniper. Get a spare pulse rifle, and some plastic sticks (cut of the peace of sprue). Take a Sand "stick" (I don't know the word, so sue me ;D) and make it "thinner" on one end. Then use some glue/GS and imagination. And hear ya go, sniper drones. For the spotter. Well it is enough to just use a devilfish commander, but thats bare minimum. Use the imagination for anything better.

No shapers! -> I mean don't buy them. I have one... well I didn't knew back then... Just convert some kroot. Give him a knife and a cloak as a bare minimum.

I guess you can convert Regular crisis into a broad side somehow... It can be a fun project and if you succeed, you'll again save!

I hope I helped, and no I am not fishing for karma

Walk Tall
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Old 29 May 2007, 21:57   #6 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Tactica: Starting Tau on the Cheap

it may not be pleasant, but it sometimes a poor college graduate has no choice in the matter.
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Old 29 May 2007, 22:27   #7 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Tactica: Starting Tau on the Cheap

Glad to see it being enjoyed.

Coupla more random tips:

Don't be afraid to say no. Make excuses if you must, but if someones being ridiculous, they get to go home without your cash. A coupla swap meets ago, some kids were attempting to sell some heavy weapon teams I kinda wanted. However, they were asking 15 bucks each(for the expert paint job, they claimed). A rather poor deal, considering you can buy three new for 35. I passed, and in the last swap, the same kids were selling a pile of random models, including a sentinel and one of those exact same heavy teams, for two bucks. Score one for me.

When you hit a trading day, show up at opening. Bring painting stuff, so you can putter around when you've got nothing else to do. Also, bring how much cash you are prepared to spend overall. Bring some change as well, as having to make change for $20s repeatedly during the event is generally difficult, given that others are probably doing the same thing. Make sure to survey while people are getting stuff set up. Don't be overly eager or annoying, but theres no point missing good deals simply because others got there first.

Stick there throughout the day. People come, people go, and prices drop as people realize that if they don't sell it, they get to lug it all home. Often, sellers themselves will find a deal they like, and want to pick up a few bucks in order to get this. Children are especially prone to this.

Don't forget the extras. If you're going to buy something anyhow, ask if it comes with the extra weaponry and such. If someone's selling an army off, bits often mean little to him, ditto for the codex. However, extras come in handy time and time again in building an army cheaply, and every once in a while, someone feels bad about selling stuff without all the parts, and offers to lower the price. The only thing better than haggling with buyers is having them do it for you. =)

On taking advantage of children: I'd feel worse about it, but I've seen these kids parents buy them entire armies at a shot...and once, a titan. Any 10yr old given access to that much free stuff isn't really going to suffer if he sells me a land raider for $5.

Also, children often tend to be selling stuff with notoriously bad paint jobs. I got a huge pile of cadians off a young teen for $5, which, considering the models were originally worth about $150, appears a great deal. However, they each appear to have been dipped in white paint, a glob of green stuff mashed over the face, then the head dipped in orange paint. Also, a coupla weapons are broken. Essentially, I'm going to raid my immense bitz stash for tons of spare heads and weapons to repair these, so that and my time is worth quite a bit.



Notable stuff for buying:
Pathfinder Shas'ui Blister: They cost as much as two normal ones, sure, but they're one piece, which makes them MUCH more durable(the regular ones sometimes fit together poorly, too), and they come with a shield drone. Very handy.

Crisis Commander: You only really need one of these, ever, as the only real bennie is the metal AFP and CIB. Also, IIRC, they come with a single marker drone.

Note that in both the above examples, it's more expensive to buy the models, and the drone seperately via bitz order.

Skyray: Comes with all the parts for a hammerhead or a devilfish. And lots of bonus seekers, which are quite desirable as bits go, since you can legally field twice as many as come in the normal boxes. It's the same price as a hammerhead. However, you do miss out on the gun drones. Overall, if you're going for a HH, buy this box, if a DF, buy that box. Gun drones should never be purchased individually, as they come free with so much.

FW Broadside: If you want to get cool looking FW stuff into your army, this is the way to do it. Broadsides are normally $35 bucks, and FW broadsides run 22 pounds. Now, exact prices depending on exchange rate vary, but basically, the FW premium on this model is extremely low, compared to most, and should you ever trade it off, you'll be able to bargain a much better price for it.

FW suits: Note that they all come with the complete plastic crisis sprue. You don't actually need all the stuff off them, so they provide plenty of extra bits. In fact, except for the front chest plastic bit, you normally end up with extras of pretty much everything. This means you can use the purchase of one of these to replace nearly all the bits on even the most destroyed crisis suit, giving you more options with buying damaged used models.

I do the gun drone to shield drone conversion all the time. In fact, I recently had someone look at them, and say he liked them just as well as the real thing, so he'd swap for them as if they were. Free dev squad for what used to be excess gun drones. And I now have extra carbines, too.
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Old 30 May 2007, 10:32   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tactica: Starting Tau on the Cheap

Yeah, the Forge World broadsides are only a few bucks extra, but totally worth it because they look so much better. I want them myself, but I got a couple of cheap GW broadsides off of eBay instead. :-\
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Old 30 May 2007, 12:41   #9 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: Tactica: Starting Tau on the Cheap

"Also, buy from children. As nasty as it may be, they don't usually understand values of the models very well. Look on the bright side, if your fending for yourself, and are short on cash, while the kid is still supported by their parents, take every break you can get."

Haggling is all well and fine, in fact I enjoy it quite a bit. Taking advantage of children who are not wise enough to understand how to negotiate with adults is unsavory. Your financial straits do not justify such unethical actions, this isn't a survival situation, i.e. you are not stealing bread to feed your family, this more similar to taking candy from children.

Ebay is another matter entirely as children are not able to get in over their head there, there are filters and permissions necessary for them to interact that involve parental oversight. Not so, or not as often, in the local gaming store though.

Further more having sacked some kids items, the long term effect may very well be that they are not exactly happy about the hobby as a result. Would you want to be treated this way?

Perhaps some sage advice to the youngling about the relative worth of their trade goods would be a more forthright approach?

The board and the mods are not really condoning lowballing some 5th grader for their goods now, are they?
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Old 23 Nov 2008, 10:56   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tactica: Starting Tau on the Cheap

Okay i know this post is older than 30 days, and you don't like things being bumped back up.

But...

Just a reminder here, that GW (UK anyway) is no longer selling the individual sprues or bits, they have gone back commercial again. So keep your bits, even if you have chopped up part of a weapon stick the remaining bits back in your bits box, never know when that little bit might be useful.

There are a few websites out there that are selling bits/sprues, just take a quick search if your after a specific bit that you cant find anywhere else.
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