The Cost of a Tyranid Army

Wh39kHiveFleetProteus (7)Something I’ve been threatening to do for a while now is to tally up how many points of Tyranids I have and how much money I have invested in it.  Tallying up points will be easy: I just have to force myself to sit down and do that.  Coming up with pricing should be even easier though, as I can do that without having to dig all of the models out.

Well, that’s partially true.  I can come up with a current value, based on MSRP.  Sadly, I wound up buying a lot of things used or for otherwise less than MSRP, and I’ve purchased over the past twenty years or so, and prices have increased dramatically over that timeframe.  I also didn’t have my frugal gaming project in place at that time, so I have really no means of going back to get an accurate number.  Because of this, I’ll never know what I spent on the army.

So, armed with a list of my models (built from my last full inventory in 2012 and adding any models I’ve painted since then–I think), and using the current pricing from GW’s and Forgeworld’s websites, this is what I’ve come up with….

Wh39kHiveFleetProteus (14)Some things should be said before I continue:

  1. I know that talking/writing about money makes people squeamish.  I’m not doing this to brag or to throw it anyone’s face.  I’m inspired out of sheer curiosity.
  2. I do have a lot of bugs (virtually all of them are painted), but keep in mind that this has been one of two armies I’ve collected over the past 20ish years.  Most people don’t stick to one hobby for that long, and certainly not one army (rest assured that my Ultramarines aren’t nearly this comprehensive)

So, onto the inventory…

Description Manufacturer MSRP # Per Box MSRP Per QTY Owned MSRP Total Notes
Hive Crone / Harpy GW $80.00 1 $80.00 2 $160.00
Haruspex / Exocrine GW $73.00 1 $73.00 3 $219.00
Toxicrene / Maleceptor GW $73.00 1 $73.00 2 $146.00
Tyrant Guard GW $70.00 3 $23.33 3 $70.00
Hive Guard GW $70.00 3 $23.33 6 $140.00
Venomthrope GW $66.00 3 $22.00 2 $44.00 *Not GW
Zoanthrope GW $66.00 3 $22.00 9 $198.00
Tyrannocyte / Sporcyst GW $63.00 1 $63.00 9 $567.00 *Not GW
Tervigon / Tyrannofex GW $57.75 1 $57.75 3 $173.25
Trygon / Mawloc GW $57.75 1 $57.75 3 $173.25
Carnifex GW $53.75 1 $53.75 9 $483.75
Swarmlord / Tyrant GW $53.75 1 $53.75 3 $161.25
Tyranid Warriors GW $51.00 3 $17.00 12 $204.00
Codex GW $49.50 1 $49.50 1 $49.50
Raveners GW $47.00 3 $15.67 12 $188.00
Red Terror GW $41.25 1 $41.25 1 $41.25
Biovore GW $41.25 1 $41.25 9 $371.25
Pyrovore GW $37.25 1 $37.25 3 $111.75
Genestealers GW $30.00 8 $3.75 90 $337.50
Termagants GW $29.00 10 $2.90 130 $377.00
Hormagaunts GW $29.00 10 $2.90 60 $174.00
Gargoyles GW $29.00 10 $2.90 48 $139.20
Lictor GW $24.75 1 $24.75 5 $123.75
Broodlord GW $24.75 1 $24.75 6 $148.50
Spore Mines GW $24.75 9 $2.75 50 $137.50
Deathleaper GW $24.75 1 $24.75 1 $24.75
Ripper Swarms GW $14.00 3 $4.67 7 $32.67
Hierophant Forgeworld GBP 242.00 1 $367.84 2 $735.68  *not official, cast
Dimachaeron Forgeworld GBP 85.00 1 $129.20 1 $129.20
Malanthrope Forgeworld GBP 49.50 1 $75.24 2 $150.48
Ripper Swarms Forgeworld GBP 19.00 3 $9.63 19 $182.91
Mieotic Spores Forgeworld GBP 19.00 3 $9.63 9 $86.64
Skylahser Forgeworld GBP 20.00 3 $10.13 6 $60.80 *not painted
 Total 528 $6,341.82

At the time of writing this, the exchange rate between USD to GBP is $1.52:1. Other things that aren’t official but are included are:

  • 2x “Imperial” defense line
  • 3x Trygon Tunnels
  • 8x Forgeworld Capillary Towers (no longer in print)
  • Custom-cut foam for everything

I don’t know what to value the stuff at above, so I didn’t include it.  I’m sure that the capillary towers are quite valuable to the right person, but the Trygon tunnels are an unofficial terrain piece for a horrible rule that only applies to a bad unit so I can’t see them being worth much to anyone.

Wh39kHiveFleetProteus (3)So why does it matter?  Well, I guess it matters in a couple of ways.  One could look at it as an extent of the Frugal Gaming project in that it helps to understand what kind of money I have tied up in the hobby, but if I’m quite honest with myself, it’s because I’ve been entertaining the idea of selling my bugs as of late.  I know someone who purchased a good looking army recently for a fairly high dollar amount (not nearly as large or as expensive as this) and asked myself what it would take to sell off my bugs.  Frankly, I don’t play the game enough to justify having this much “cash” sitting around, so what would be the number it would take to get rid of it all?

Well, now that I know that approximate MSRP is, I can come up with a number.

My initial conversations really started at twice the retail value (which essentially means you pay for the models, and for painting and get all of the bits, gubbins, foam, etc. for free).  How many people out there have $13k to drop on a Tyranid force though?  Sure, that person exists, but I have to imagine that they’d be pretty hard to find.  More likely I’d have to find someone who wanted to trade their car or something, but even that would be extremely rare.  So, while the price might seem reasonable at first, extrapolating it to the scale I’m dealing with makes it fairly absurd.

Wh39kHiveFleetProteus (16)But nobody pays MSRP for most things.  So why not give a discount on that (and the painting fees).  Maybe a flat 20% off to reflect a normal GW discount.  That’s still a tad over $10,000.  Would I sell it at that point?  You betcha!  But if I can jump on that so quickly, what would I realistically go down to?

So then I thought about MSRP–would I sell it for that?  I’m not sure.  That might be doable, if I actually needed the cash, but I don’t have an urgent need for it.  Selling it would mean that I lose all of that work I put into it, and I do enjoy playing with them the 12 times a year that I do get to play 40k…

My goals for ebay sales are generally to try to get 50-60% of MSRP, so why not sell it at that price?  Frankly, that’s a non-starter to me.  The thing is that I like playing the game, so at that price, I’d rather keep them and hand them down to my kids when they get old enough to play.

So that gives us some numbers to play with.  It would be less than $10k, but more than MSRP.  Still, you’re talking about a pretty hefty sum of money though, so I don’t think the pool of buyers would be very vast.  For that purpose, I think I might just list it up for sale and see who bites.  My guess is that it’d take a while before I could find the right buyer, so what does it hurt to start looking?

Do you know anyone that’d be interested?  If so, send them my way!



11 comments on “The Cost of a Tyranid Army

  1. What about selling them off unit wise? This way you might get more, but it will take longer naturally. You could also split them in four discret forces. If you have to sell them at a loss, I would just not sell them at all. Ebay prices are mostly due to miniatures being not very well painted or assembled. However, in your case neither applies, thus your doubling of the price is fair, if not underpriced (if you look at the going rates of painting studios). So maybe make units of say 30 or say a”starter force” and sell them like this with nice close ups that show the paintjob off. In the end you only need one (or a few people) person who is happy to pay a fair price, so if this is not a pressing matter make it a project for the next year.

    • Oh, selling them off piecemail would definitely be easier. I suspect if I truly needed to sell quickly, that’s what I’d do, but my normal habit of listing everything on ebay for $.01 and letting the market dictate value doesn’t seem like the right way to go there. I suspect many people would be looking to pick up an entire matching force or looking to strip them to make them match. Of course, it’s a big enough lot that I could break them into separate armies. Make semi-competitive/balanced lists out of them and then sell them that way.

      But I don’t need to sell them. For now, I’ll probably continue to own/play with them and maybe make a dedicated page to sell them. That way if someone just so happens to stumble upon it and want to buy the whole shebang, I can sell it…

      On Tue, Nov 3, 2015 at 11:55 AM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


  2. Howdy,
    Long time follower, first time poster. What about just thin out the hive a bit. I don’t play Tyranids, so I really know how many of X type of unit you really need. Example: 90 Genestealers. Can you field that many? Would you? Actually that sound impossible to defend against… Keep what you think you might field, plus a few more and then sell the rest.

    • Well, given that “unbound” is an option now, you can pretty much field anything you want in a game. When I purchased them originally, the idea was to be able to field the max amount of allowable units in a single FoC. You could field 6x troops of genestealers (10x each–though you could actually field up to 12 in a squad if memory serves, maybe more–I just rounded to 10 to make it even) and you could field three squads of Ymgarls at elites. That’s where you get 90. Now you could only field 60 in a single FoC, but you could expand to 90 if you used a second chart. I very rarely do that (except in Apoc games really).

      Still, it’s a valid suggestion and worth consideration. I’ll mull it over. Thanks for the thought!

    • I don’t play nearly enough. Though I have game nights nearly every week, the last game I actually played was against you in September. Hell, at this point, you’re playing more frequently than I!

      On Sat, Nov 7, 2015 at 7:41 AM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


Have something to add?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s