Breakdown: The cost of gaming

Greetings, I would like to start off by introducing myself, although some of you may already know me. My name is Scott, I run my own blog Bay Hammer and am currently an active war gamer and hobbyist, I currently play guard and Space marines and have been a part of the community for a little over ten years.

A few weeks ago the lead editor of WH 39,999 put out a call for guest writers for this blog and so looking for a change of pace I decided to throw my hat in the ring. But my interests go deeper then simply changing the digital scenery a bit. The WH40k and WHFB online blogger community is just that, a community. As a community I believe communication is key, we may all have different circles in which we write but for the most part we are all on the same level, each post being woven into the greater tapestry that is the blogosphere (or the all seeing Google hive mind as some would put it).  The point is I think that everyone to some degree should get to know there neighbors, our opinions may very but our passions are the same (well maybe not but that line was pretty awesome). In any case I hope to bring a bit of west coast flare and some outsider prospective, and failing that, a few well worded, but not context heavy posts, regarding the average gamer/hobbyist.

Over the years I have noticed that some people are in the GW camp and some are in the hobbyist corner when it comes to supplies and paints, but what exactly is the difference in pricing, are the alternative brands any better then GW? The answer is somewhat mixed, while there are indeed some brands that are slightly cheaper, the difference in price and quality is almost negligible in some instances. However a common price trend shows that GW more often then not is a bit more on average.

Now I in no way have absolutely everything listed here and there are indeed local brands and dollar store alternatives but I am trying to capture a section that applies to a wider selection of gamers, not just veteran hobbyists. The bottom line is, yes GW is over priced, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad: their constant changes to their product line shows that they are willing to take input which is more than can be said for companies in some other industries; however, the pricing still has not changed and that keeps them in the so so range of hobby products. So, if your willing to shop around chances are you can find a deal on almost any hobby product regardless of brand, most of the prices here where taken from either retail prices or various net outlets.


  • GW $6
  • P3 $6.50
  • GF9 $5.10
  • Loctite $4
  • Army Painter $3.40

Paint: (I use a lot of GW foundations but I prefer Vallejo since they have a better tonal range)

  • GW $3.70
  • P3 3.15
  • Vallejo $2.70
  • Reaper $2.70

Primer: (quick color all the way, its a bit thicker then GW but for paying just over a dollar a can you cant go wrong)

  • GW $15.00
  • Vallejo $14.20
  • Army Painter $10.99
  • Testors (3oz) $5.00
  • Quick Color (rustoleum matte cap) $.79

Brushes: (I use a mix of GW,IMEX, Cheapo’s and art brushes)

  • Kolinsky $10
  • GW $4-5
  • Army Painter $5-7
  • Reaper $5
  • Vallejo $4-5
  • Gordon $3-4

Hobby Kits:

  • GW $50 (foundation paints basing, clippers and PVA & Plastic glue)
  • Army Painter $23.99(clippers, exacto knife, super glue, files, drill tweezers)


  • GW $15
  • GF9 $14.99
  • P3 $12.99
  • Army Painter $8.50


  • GW x3 $12.00
  • GF9 x12 $12.99
  • P3 x4 $7.65
  • Army Painter x3 $5.10

So, in short use what is familiar or suitable for your needs, but try to buy local to help support your FLGS or hobby shop, odds are even if they stock GW they can order in most any of the brands listed here (except Quick Color, you can only get it at Home Depot for some reason) that being said happy gaming to all.


Guest Columnist.
Bay Hammer Senior Editor

Here are some companies that you may find useful when shopping for hobby/game supplies.

  • Gale Force 9
  • Army Painter
  • Micro Mark
  • Reaper Miniatures
  • Hobby Town

4 comments on “Breakdown: The cost of gaming

  1. The markup you pay for a box with ‘Citadel’ or ‘Privateer Press’ on it has never ceased to amaze me. I buy generic tools from small hobby chains (if you’re in the UK, avoid Hobbycraft, who tend to swing toward the upper end of expensive, and find somewhere like Antics) and have switched to priming with Bob Ross gesso (okay, so it’s over £10 a bottle, but that bottle goes a bloody long way, there’s no wastage from overspray, and you can use it indoors when conditions aren’t optimal for spray priming).

  2. Nice post, a good fair look at whats available. I’m a big fan of Vallejo myself but like to use a mix of Vallejo and GW. Also, nice to see another guest contributor.

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