Last time I wrote about the cost of wargaming as a hobby and intended to write about 3D printing too. However that post got a bit long and I didn’t want to derail things by changing subject so drastically.

Where was I? Oh yes, this quote, with regards to the notion of Warhammer 40K being a very expensive hobby:

3D printing can definitely change that though.

3D printing is a rather interesting technology in that yes, it can replace traditional sculpting but.

Yes, it’s an awkward way to end a sentence but the but is big enough to deserve a separate paragraph. Thinking about paper printers in the home I know plenty of people who don’t have one. It’s not something I just assume everyone will have, even if they are/were recently students. They’re a pain to maintain and the ink/toner for them tends to be fairly painful to replace, financially speaking. Also most people who have one only have A4 printers. I’ve never met an individual who owns an A3 printer, for example.

Do they not exist?

Of course they exist! You can pick one up on Ebuyer for as little as £64! Admittedly a plotter which can handle A2 and A1 will set you back £750, but they’re still available through normal retail channels.362759-406412-800

Why do we not see them in the home though?

Simple – why would we need something that big?

The same applies to 3D printers. Ones which can print at the detail level required for Warhammer figures is rather costly. Prohibitively so for most people.

It’s not something I foresee changing in the near future simply because there’s no normal use case where I see it being necessary. In time, certainly, but there’s not much in the way of nagging demand for something that can manage to print human faces that are a few millimetres tall without obvious layer lamination marks.


The lines on that piece are where the layers have been laminated together.

I hadn’t considered it from this standpoint though:

Have you seen the prices lately? At this point, yes, I think buying a 3D printer would be cheaper than fielding a full army.

And you have to paint the minis yourself, either way.


Imagine in a year or two if one worked out how much an army would cost to buy in plastic and then spent that money on a printer good enough to print all the models required?

It’s an interesting idea, I feel, even if at the moment it’s not viable.

It wouldn’t have worked in the past due to size creep.codex_orks_v2

I actually looked up the point cost* of a mob of Orks in 2nd Edition WH40K (the codex in question was from 1994).

*Warhammer armies are based on points. A battle might be 1500 points each meaning each player could field units up to that total. In theory if the points were the same the armies would be roughly equally matched, although unit choice played a big part in who would be the victor.

A mob of vanilla boyz with the equivalent of sluggas and choppas was 5 – 20 models at 12 points per model.m1240070_60030103003_Orkcodexmain_873x627

In the most recent Ork codex a vanilla mob of slugga boyz consists of 10 – 30 boyz at 6 points per model.

Think about how many more models are now needed for a 1500 point game.

The models themselves have gone up in price, some more than others, but I don’t generally find the expense to be all that crippling taking things at my own pace. If I was trying to build an army over night, sure, but things take me a while!

As it happens the poster was apparently being sarcastic. Generally sarcasm is fairly obvious but in this case it seems that he didn’t realise how close to the truth he actually was. To be frank, his proposition is fairly reasonable.

Now to get a little snide, I’ll share his response to my comments:

Well, the fact that you need to analyze someone's off handed comment in such detail just leads me to believe you're probably not that much fun at parties.


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