...how would he stretch his hobby dollar? Most of us don't have unlimited hobby budgets, so I'm always looking for ways to save a buck here and there.
Many blogs and lead painting/collecting websites have great ideas. One of my favorite blogs is Santa Cruz Warhammer, and even though it is mostly a Warhammer 40K/Fantasy blog, it is still full of great articles, ideas, and advice. There's the Barter Bucket, where folks can swap their models and bitz and help each other out. Another neat idea is the Super Blog Chain Giveaway, which is pretty much gamers paying it forward and giving away free stuff. And articles like Warhammer on a Budget are always appreciated.
I started using eBay to help my father-in-law sell some toys for the widow of one of his friends. In order to establish my feedback ratings, I began to buy and sell some miniatures. Since I am a stay-at-home parent, and this is a technically a hobby, I decided I could buy and sell on eBay as a way to fund my lead habit. The easy part is buying, of course! The hard part is buying inexpensive lots that can be re-sold for a profit. But if you are willing to put in the time scouring listings, it can be done.
I think the ins and outs of eBaying is an article in and of itself, so I'll go into that deeper on another entry in the future.
A look on my workbench reveals the miser in me at work. There's my Ott-Lite, which I picked up at Michaels using one of their weekly "save 40% or 50% on one item" coupons. Some folks over on the Reaper forums have raved about the small pre-cut, pre-sanded wooden disks from Michaels (6 for a buck) and used those for bases. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for those next time I go there.
I have several varieties of basing materials that I paid actual cash money for, but one day I found a new source of basing stuff - for free, even! While waiting for the school bus with the kids one morning, I looked down at the curb. There was a storm drain, and in the gutter right in front of the drain was the free basing materials!
An accumulation of silt, sand, and small rocks was just sitting there, waiting for me to scoop it up and bring it home. Once home, I washed it with some liquid dish soap (to remove all the oils and icky stuff) and let it dry. Once dry, I sifted it through a fine mesh strainer. The smallest stuff is great for general-purpose rock/sand/dirt on your bases. Then you have your teeny, tiny rocks which are perfect for adding smallish rocks to your bases or terrain. Lastly I have big rocks, good for big rocks or small boulders in 25/28mm scale.
When I thin paints or otherwise need to add single drops of water to something, I've had great results with my used Honey container. This one has a flip top, and dispenses nice, even drops of water every time. Just clean it thoroughly before you start using it!
Since there are kids in the house, and kids get sick, we've ended up with a bunch of small cups and "test tubes" for dispensing liquid medicine. The cups are great because they can be used for small batches of custom paint blends, and the "test tubes" have markings for measuring out small amounts of liquids. So if you need to be precise when creating your custom blends, they come in handy.
I use small plastic tubs to keep basing materials in. Simply apply glue to the base and dip it into the desired basing material, let the excess drop back into the tub, and you're done.
Glass spice containers are handy for storing basing materials, paintbrushes, and other items.
Right now, I have a used-up Vallejo paint dropper sitting on my desk that is about 75% clean. I should be able to scrub out the remaining residue and re-use it for custom paint mixes.
So there you have it! I've shared some of my penny-pinching tips with you, the Faithful 13. If anyone, be they a follower or lurker, has any tips they would like to share, please do so.