Buying a used Army can be a lot like buying a home. With the economy as it is you can find some great deals, and with a little elbow grease, you can come out with a great profit. Sometimes you wind up finding one that’s been stripped of anything of value.
To get to where we are now, I’ve flipped a couple of Armies. In the beginning, I played 40k. I had a well painted Nurgle army that I’d done a bit of converting, painting, and loving(I got an ointment for that) but had only invested maybe $300 into. This was flipped into about $600 of unpainted, unloved Orks. There was a lot of repair here and there to those Boyz, but eventually they became well painted, converted, and loved. after $150 or so investment, they were later flipped again as I decided to leave 40k for good. I moved into warmachine and found someone who had a surplus of Cryx and Menoth. I wound up getting around $900 worth of stuff for it and some of it was in rough condition. The Menoth portion of that trade was later traded to flesh out my Cryx and start my Legion and Mercs. In the end after much painting and repair, my Cryx hit the shelf for over a year.
That’s where we come in to this story. Bits and Pieces of my Cryx army had been piecemealed off to pick up legion stuff for a while, or Painted units were traded to friends for unpainted counterparts plus other models. My Cryx army had somehow managed to maintain itself around an $800-900 mark, although it was slowly loosing paint as a whole. Over the past 3 months I’d had a couple of bites at my cryx, but no one wanted everything and mostly wanted to leave me with a lot of unusable/untradable models, so my Cryx continued to sit on the shelf. Recently though I was approached with an offer I couldn’t refuse. An Army swap with another Atlanta local. So.. like so many Armies before it, my Cryx was flipped for a slightly larger Circle Army. About $1100 worth.
I figured now would be a good time to record a bit of what transpires and of the restoration process and what to look for in trades.
The first thing to look at in any trade are the people involved. There are really only 2 types of Warmachine/hordes players when it comes to trading; The Tin-man, and The hobbyist. The Tin-man is quite possibly the laziest and cheapest of gamers. This isn’t to say that they aren’t good at their craft, just that their craft only cares about maintaining a bare metal semblance of their army. The other side of that coin is the Hobbiest. These are the people who love their minis, and see them taken care of. While not all of them may spend hours painting, or converting, they always seem to have a nice showing (even if it was commissioned) when they game.
The issue here is that the Tin-man and the Hobbyist value things differently. The Tin-man really doesn’t care about the condition of the minis he gets and will often try to value his beat up toys as much as your loved minis. I usually try to avoid trading with them unless I got some damaged goods tossed in on another trade. I find I get the best deals off the Hobbyist who has no painting or conversion skills of their own.
The second thing to look for in a trade is the condition of the minis. While My cryx went out 90% as new or better (there were some throw-ins that I’d picked up in other trades), Some of Circle I acquired in exchange needed a little work.
Here are the things to look for when trading for an army and are usually the first things I ask.
- Are there abundant amounts of glue? If it’s metal, it can be stripped. a Little acetone goes a long way. If they’re Plastic minis, the best you can do is toss it in Simple green, remove the paint around the glue and chip away at it with an Exacto knife.
- Was Zip-kicker or another excelerant used? If so this is good, this means the glue is a bit more brittle than just super glue would be.It means that things can more easily broken down into components and the glue cleaned up.
- Was it elmers/pva? Most commonly used for basing, but I’ve occasionally see it used in an odd spot or 2 on a mini. This is good. Elmers breaks down super easily.
- You what????*facepalm* I’ve gotten a couple of old metal jacks held together with JB weld and epoxy. I’m not sure where anyone got the idea that these were a good idea. Sure JB weld holds anything, but if you’re the least bit sloppy… it’s permanent. Epoxies tend to get rubbery when you remove them and still hold a lot of adhesion. this can be a huge pain. Definitely devalues a mini…even as parts.
- How was the mini put into the base? Unfortunately the most common answer is “Super glued the tab in”. That usually means the base will probably be ruined if you try to remove the mini for stripping. It’s rare that I find a mini in a trade that was pinned into the base, but when I do, it’s a god-send.
- How was it based? PVA glue? Thank You. It dissolves easily and can often be ripped from the base in one solid chunk. Resin base? that means the model was either pinned or just glued underfoot. easy to clean up. Was it super glued down? Probably a rough time. You can however usually chip away enough to re-surface the base, but it’s labor intensive.
Paint and Primer
- Some primers work really well, others are spraypaint. While it works well as a primer for some people. it’s pretty hard to remove, short of paint stripper, and if it’s enamel it’s going to be really tough to deal with.
- For paint you ideally want to see minis painted in low-gloss acrylic, they stip easily and usually don’t go on thick. Oil based paints and Enamels(testors) Are a bit tougher to remove.
- Unpainted, unprimed? This is your best investment.
- I lump these things together as it’s usually remedied by pinning. Most often the broken pieces are weapons like swords or spears. Bent things can usually be straightened.Conversions can usually be broken down into their base components and pinned/green-stuffed back to their original condition.
- After overlooking everything, take a tally of what’s missing, if it’s metal, you can most likely order it from PPs online bits store. This can sometime get kind of pricey, so it’s usually best to discuss this with the person you’re trading with. A couple missing parts can swing a deal in or out of your favor depending on what they are.
Here are a couple sample pics of all the problems you can find in an army. While these are all mild versions of the problems present here, they were a bit repetitive throughout the army.
Lastly here are the tools I’ll be using to repair everything.
- Pin vice and paper clips
- Super glue
- PVA glue
- New bases
- Basing goods
- Xacto knife/blades
- Wooden tooth picks
- Acetone/Simple green/Paint stripper
In the next couple of articles I’ll walk you through some hobby articles and some repair articles.
I made the mistake of calling her a fixer-upper.