This is taken from an excellent discussion on the Bolter and Chainsword regarding how those of us on a budget keep in the hobby. The original comes from a French website discussing a similar topic, and I wanted to see what Chaos Dwarfs Online made of it.
IMPORTANT: This is not an anti-GW thread. There have been plenty of those here and in other places. This is purely for discussion of the charter and money saving tips. If it devolves into "Blleuurgh! GeeDub is evilz and robbin us of r cash!!!11!!one!" I'll have to lock the thread
Ahem. That disclaimer out of the way, presenting The Charter of the Grumpy But Responsible Hobbyist:
Are you unhappy with Games Workshop's policies?
But you still like their games and products?
If so, then this charter is for you!
The only way to express your unhappiness to Games Workshop (seeing as they have closed down their official Facebook page, GW store pages are censored, GW YouTube videos don't have the option to post comments, e-mails go unanswered, etc...) is to simply stop buying their products. But it's not easy!
The goal of this charter is:
1. To develop critical thinking about your consumption versus your expectations of the hobby (and Games Workshop);
2. To restrict or even stop your GW purchases, while still continuing to enjoy your hobby;
3. To support Independent Retailers (IR's);
4. To discover and favour alternative games and companies;
5. To make people aware of the real costs of counterfeit models, which penalises the Hobby and harms hobbyists and manufacturers.
GW has always been expensive: I started the hobby back in 1995, when it was already said that "GW sells plastic at the price of lead, and lead at the price of gold". Nothing new on that front twenty years later, but now it is not only the prices that irritate hobbyists, but also their policies regarding their consumers, retailers and other companies which are more or less concerned with the miniature modelling world. If you, like me, are still buying GW products twenty years later, then this means that you have accepted the price of the hobby.
This charter is not for whinging, or for denouncing GW as a company that robs you of your hard-earned coin, an anti-GW charter, or even a charter created in the vain hope that it will eventually force prices to go down. Let's not forget, GW is a profit-seeking company, listed in the stock exchange. with shareholders to satisfy. The problem is that a company's success must include the satisfaction of its consumer base. Among this, there is a minority among informed hobbyists which is unsatisfied by the recent turn of events concerning GW's general policy. These hobbyists recognise the growing quality of GW products, both with the models and games. However, this same group deplores and fear a decline of service linked to GW's products, which in turn affects the usage of the products which we call the "Hobby". The concerned policies will not be covered as this is not the goal of the charter.
To continue in the Hobby while stopping or restricting your GW purchases is possible!
Limit your GW purchases
Your greatest power as a consumer is to penalise GW by not buying anything or at least restricting your GW purchases. If we could all stop purchasing GW products, it would be the most effective thing we could do, but there's little chance that that will happen because we all really like and enjoy their products.
This is why one should act sensibly as a consumer. Identify what it is that you really need from GW (books, models, paints, terrain, tools, accessories, etc...) in accordance with your idea of the hobby. While it's very difficult not to buy the books and many of the models, many other GW products are easily replaced by cheaper or better substitutes produced by other companies. This gives the opportunity to (partially) penalise GW while still continuing with the hobby and enjoying yourself.
Kill the impulsive purchases, plan out your projects.
Everything is in the title: think before buying, plan your projects and armies, make lists, put what you would like down on paper. But most importantly, do not break down and whip out your credit card! Think twice about things. Always ask if the price is justified for you or if you're being drawn in by GW's hype. Be strong!
Paint what you have already bought
Before going off and buying shiny new stuff, paint what you've already got and that's been lying around in drawers for ages. It'll keep you occupied and save you spending more money on things you probably won't finish.
Seek out alternative brands/companies
There is a good few hundred other brands of models, games, paints, tools and terrain out there, linked to the hobby. A lot of them are in the 28mm-32mm scale in varying qualities and materials. Go look somewhere else if you don't find what satisfies you! There so much to discover! Non-exhaustive lists of alternate minis can be found here on CDO and on many other forums. For paints, you have Army Painter, Vallejo, Coat D'Arms, P3, Reaper and many others. There are even resources like chart to help you find GW alternatives and to help your transition to other brands, like this one.
Go through an Independent Retailer
Making your purchases via an independent retailer can help you in many ways. You will still be purchasing GW stuff, but at least part of the money will got the independent retailer and not all directly to GW. Favour shops where you can go in, discuss and actually touch the products you are buying. It's also an excellent way of paying slightly cheaper prices, to discover new products and alternative brands, but also to meet other people and share the hobby. By supporting these retailers (especially brick and mortar stores) you can show that you value a different style of business to the pushy GW hobby centre model whilst supporting struggling businesses which are often hubs of hobby activity run by truly passionate people.
Buying second hand is (often) worth it
If you are patient, resourceful and cautious, second hand purchases are an excellent way of getting models for less than the RRP, and often in fairly good condition. There are many places to buy all over the internet (Warseer, DakkaDakka, eBay, Bartertown, etc...) and independent retailers often do discounts on second hand stuff too.
Counterfeit isn't good
I won't do a big moralising speech, but more a reminder that counterfeiting penalises the hobby via the support of counterfeiting companies (they don't just counterfeit GW stuff), and also affects your health and the health of the workers because the resins used do not respect any of the regulations imposed by the EU or national governments and can be highly toxic. As the old "Marmotte" said "a full Elysian army is worth lung cancer at 50 years of age." Think before wanting to save those few pounds on that FW product that you really want... And we're not even going to discuss quality and other problems.