Thursday 10 January 2013

The Kitbasher's Cookbook

I have a guilty love for cooking shows. I remember an episode of Dinner Impossible where the Robert Irvine had some of his most vital ingredients taken away - things like oil and salt.

I love me my kit bashing, although I am still building up my 'stock' of bits as we speak, because a lot of the stuff I thought was cool and useful when I was a kid is practically no use to anyone.

I use a mix of ebay and specialist bits websites to get what I'm after, and I have learnt a few lessons which I'd like to share.
  • Check the ebay description and the picture. If they don't match, don't bid
  • Show patience. Set yourself budgets of what you're willing to pay and don't go after them. Parts come around, and impatience will have a cash premium.
  • Shop around. I have one set of suppliers I use for one offs, single pieces and test runs, and another set I use for larger projects, as they sell batches of parts in one go.
  • Keep a list of what you're after, and go for larger, planned orders, rather than lots of little impulse buys. You'll save on postage, and also stress with non gaming partners who may start querying why you're getting hundreds of little parcels. I am lucky in that the wife paints and models, so is more forgiving!
My final piece of advice is that some things are not worth buying as bits. For me, the core item is Guard infantry. I shouldn't pay a bits supplier premium when I will be using 90% of the parts in the boxes. I plan on saving up, buying a Battalion box, and working through until I need another.

There are also some items I'm seeing as pretty common in kit bashes on all those nice Inq28 blogs. As such, they're things I'm thinking about picking up as a full kit.

High Elf Archers
Robed legs, in large numbers. You won't get much more out of the kit, maybe a couple of the torsos, a nice pointing arm, some feathers, a cape or capes, and maybe a head with a Prince Valiant haircut.

Bretonnian Men at Arms
I am worried that kit bashing the bodies into Guardsmen will be a horrid, horrid experience, but I've picked one up to play around with. But there's lovely heads, odd little things people can be carrying, shields that can easily translate across to combat shields / storm shields . . . there's not much you won't use.

Vampire Count Ghouls
For awesome creepy mutant bodies, mis-shapen arms, and freakish heads, you can't go far wrong. The best conversions I see only use one or two bits from this kit in them - use too many and it's obvious what you're basing off - but most conversions will benefit from a freaky ghoul part.

Empire Militia
The heads, the long coat, the other torsos and some of the legs and arms - your good parts to rubbish is very high here. Its likely to be one of my first purchases.

Empire Flagellants
You should know this - everyone uses them. I think they are maybe a little overused now, but the robed bodies, odd heads, scrolls, parchment, books, bells, flaming torches . . . there's a crazy man with a flaming brazier on his head!

It seems most of the parts kitbashers are after, at least from a human point of view, is to introduce more of the gothic and grotesque into the ranges, by introducing yet more medieval elements into the 40K setting. We want the crazy stuff from Mr Blanche's drawings to be on our gaming tables or display cases!

There are certainly other things I want to experiment with - like using non human parts from Tau, Kroot, Eldar & Orks for human mutants and renegades, but I suspect the challenge will be to do so while disguising them sufficiently that it won't be obvious where they are from . . .


  1. Some of the dark eldar kits maybe useful for death cultists and female inquisitors. but with all the kits these days there are a wealth of bits out there. Kit bashers dream

    1. The Dark Elf Spearman female torso looks promising too, but there's a high ratio of good stuff to stuff you'll never use in there...

  2. I cannot believe you didn't mention the Zombies kit?!?

    The Militia kit would be my number 1 recommendation. From that I have made some rustic Guardsman in the past, a Pirate Blood Bowl Team (Which won best team award) and also mixed with Zombies, Zombie Guardsman.

    1. See, I'm not convinced by the zombie kit, as I'm not sure how much you can make with it that won't, well, look like a zombie...