Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Cost of Our Hobby

So recently my wife got me to do an inventory for our insurance company of all of my hobby things.  As many of you can imagine this made me cry a little inside.  Its bad enough that I have thousands of dollars worth of models and board games, but actually discovering just how much makes you hurt a little.  Particularly when you think about return of investment.  I've seen people sell their armies before but the fact is you will likely never get retail out of an army, even when its painted really well.

To give you an idea of my pain I'll show you the basis for this.  Using my Dwarf Army (the only one I've actually completed the inventory for) we'll go over the cost analysis.  These prices reflect what it would cost to replace the models in today's prices also using plastic models to replace ones that I have which are old enough to be made of metal where available.  Also this is using GW only product.  I only have one model in the army that isn't GW so that's not a big deal.

Runesmith - $15.25
Thane - $15
Thane Helga - $15
Thane (BSB) - $18.25
Engineer - $13.25
Engineer - $13.25
Dragonslayer - $15
Thorek Ironbrow - $53.75
Lord on Shieldbearers (converted with on of the Subscription White Dwarf mini's) - $30
*Of course you'd have to eBay the subscription mini at this point so we'll just replace it with the actual Shieldbearer model.
Josef Bugman - $15
Josef Bugman (Bugmans Bar Special, 2008) - $22 ($35)
*Pain is I'm not going to England so this would also have to be eBayed which is more around $35
Character Total: $238.75 

Core Troops:
20 Dwarf Warriors - $35
20 Longbeards (Metal) -$101.50
20 Thunderers - $35
10 Quarrlers - $35
Drunk Dwarfs - $17.25 
Core Total: $223.75
*Problem, the boxes don't come in groups of 20 they are in groups of 16, the idea here is that with 2 boxes of Thunderers/Quarrelers I replace all of them and have 2 additional models left to turn into Warriors.  I'll just short myself the other 2 models for the estimate

Special Troops:
20 Hammerers - $101.75
20 Miners - $49.50
10 Slayers - $49.50
15 Slayer Pirates - $82.50
2 Cannons - $25/per
2 Bolt Throwers - $38/per
1 Grudge Thrower - $38
Special Total: $ 447.25

Rare Troops:
1 Gyrocoptor - $38
2 Organ Guns - $25/per
1 Flame Cannon - $33
Rare Total: $121

Army Book - $33
Total Retail Cost: $1,063.75

Not pretty is it?  Honestly my Dwarf army is a relatively elite and small army.  Imagine an Empire army or a Skaven army.  Well I've got one of those too which I'll be inventorying at some point.  The boon of those two armies is that they are almost exclusively plastic while a big chunk of the Dwarf range, even now is still in metal.

Here's the real kicker.  Even with the price above being super high we need to give ourselves a cost analysis for painting that damned army because it is all painted.  Now I may not be a professional painter but I'm pretty damned good. After looking at about 5 different painting services I went with what I believe was one of the cheapest which is Miniature Painting Authority.  Going off of their suggestion of basic infantry lowest at $4 and medium infantry for the larger models (I'm counting the War Machines here) at the lowest of $7 we've come up with the following price cost to paint the army to a standard tabletop job.

Basic Infantry - 148*$4per - Total: $592
Medium Models - 11*7per - Total: $77
Total Cost for Painting: $669

Adding that to the retail replacement cost: $1,732.75 is the grand total for army replacement.  Admit it.  Somewhere deep down in your soul you just whimpered.  I know some of you reading this. You know your army is going to be worth WAY more than mine.

In the end you have to analyze what your hobby is worth to you.  I know I've spent loads of money on the hobby.  It doesn't honestly bother me.  Its my life and this is one of the ways that I get enjoyment out of it.  The insurance company really isn't going to like these prices when I get them all put together, but that's neither here nor there.  There was a point where I never would have thought about doing this kind of inventory, but now as I've gotten older and collected more and more things I've realized its pretty important.  If my house were to burn down how on earth would I replace it all?  I own three different armies, two blood bowl teams, a set of Warhammer Quest along with a lot of extra material for it no longer available, a full size 8x4 gaming table (a nice one, not just a piece of plywood) a ton of terrain and a whole boat load of paints/brushes/primers, etc...

I'm sure that your hobby is as important to you as mine is to me.  I highly recommend taking a look sometime for yourself.  Getting everything listed out takes a while, and then getting your insurance company to agree to the price list you've given them takes even longer.  Most insurance companies wont agree with it right off the bat so you'll have to provide photo/video documentation to go along with your lists as proof that your product actually exists.  Its hard to get it all done but in the end, should the worst happen its worth it.  Even worse is the fact that insuring large collections will increase your home owners insurance by a bit.  A necessary evil I suppose.

Now you know though and remember, knowing is half the battle.

The All American Hero!


Richelieu said...

Joe, I am pretty floored by this... I assume you are videoing/taking photos as you go? How do you deal with things like partially assembled models/things still on sprue? Try to as best you can put them back 'together' as a sprue for counting? And conversions? Do you price out the bits? I suppose the real pain in the butt here also comes if your significant other hasn't clued into the cost.

Joe Flesch said...

Luckily most of my stuff already has photos all over the net.

I didn't price bits. It'd be nearly impossible to calculate a value for random bits and pieces and there of no particular loss if they went away.

You really can't estimate the cost of a conversion either so I've just left them priced based on the original models cost.

Also I got lucky on your last point. My wife was already well aware that my hobby was ludicrously priced.

Cpjiardina said...

Well you could base bits off of Horde o Bitz on ebay but your right the boxes of bits some of us have laying around would be insane to add in...

Unknown said...

Eeek I've never sat down and priced it up. Safe to say my somewhat larger and more classic dwarf army is going to cost a packet!

Just the painted stuff:
50 Mantic Warriors
50 GW warriors
20 Xbows (3rd ed metal)
10 Hanguns (3rd ed Metal)
30 Longbeards with GW (Metal)
20 Longbeards HW&S (3rd Ed metal)
20 Hammerers (6th Ed metal)
30 Hammerers (3rd Ed metal)
20 Iron Breakers (3rd Ed metal)
20 Miners (5th Ed Metal)
40 Slayers (assorted Eras Metal)
20 Slayer Pirates (Metal)
2 x 4-5th Ed Bolt Throwers (Metal)
1 x 4-5th Ed stone thrower (Metal)
1 x 3rd Ed Gobbolobber (Metal)
1 x 4-5th Ed cannon (Metal)
1 x Cannon (Plastic)
2 x 3/4th Ed Gyrocopters (Metal)
1 Flame cannon (Metal)
1 Organ gun (metal)
1 Anvil (Metal)
10-15 various characters

Guessing based of your list that's $3000-4000 once you take in the painting.

And that's one of 4 fully painted armies I've got, admittedly the biggest one, but still a hell of a lot of cash tied up in those.

Joe Flesch said...

Yeah, I have to get a list put together for my Skaven and my friend Chris's Empire army that lives in my basement too.

Roder said...

Your estimates aren't far off. My car was jacked several years ago, and it had both my Brets and Wood Elves in it (stuck up at gunpoint while chatting with my friend after I'd loaded the armies into the trunk). State Farm ended up giving me ~$5k for the loss of the armies. For what it's worth, the car was recovered the next day, torn to hell.