Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Running Your Dreadnoughts Like a Business Part 1: Cost-Benefit Analysis

In between playing Minecraft and looking for the best possible location for my Amy Adams/Isla Fisher fantasy three way, I occasionally think about 40k.  For the last few days, this list from GW (more on this in the future) has been floating near the surface. 

I've always really liked the various flavors of Space Marine.  The aesthetic is pretty great, the rules have been increasingly solid and the latest codices have been absolutely fantastic at creating 3 distinct forces.  Plus, who wouldn't want to push some armored bad-asses around the table? Losers, that's who.

Despite all that, I've never really pulled the trigger on getting myself a marine army - though there have been at least 3 major attempts over the years.  But more than any other army, the collected space marine chapters are the most frequent subject when I get into listmania mode.  There's just so much damn flexibility with the three books.  Even more once it dawns on you that custom chapters can stand in for ANY of the 5 flavors.  Its kinda crazy.

Each of the 5th ed. marine books has there strengths, but there is one thing they all share in common:  they all have access to the extremely awesome Rifleman Dreadnought... or the Destroid Defender Dreadnought if you want to be, ya know, technical.  Unfortunately, its also one of the two very valuable and very 'not produced by GW proper' models that most often find their way into lists.  The other item being the las-plas Razorback turret.

Luckily for us, we have options.  The two most popular are buying a pair of arms from Forgeworld or converting up some arms from the Aegis Defense line.  Both options have their pros and cons, but what frequently comes up is cost.  There's a general feeling that the plastic Aegis kit is cheaper than the import-only resin arms, but are they?  And if they are, by how much?  I sure as hell don't know.

So that's where I'm at - which of the two 'good' TLAC options is cheapest for me.  Knowing full well that I'd probably get the Forgeworld options no matter what, it's always nice to know exactly how much of an opportunity cost I'm paying.

For my purposes, we'll ignore the cost of a dreadnought body since, no matter what, you'll need to buy arms in addition to having a chassis to put them on.

Next, its time to price out the Forgeworld stuff as its cost is fixed (at least in pounds).  They can only be had from one source at list price - all other retailers add a markup and ebay is just plain to fickle to rely on.

Each arm costs £7 plus shipping. Shipping is ALWAYS calculated as 15% of the total order cost. There's also the little mater of the foreign transaction fee - about 3% for me.  This brings us up to a cost of £16.52 (I'm sure my notation is wrong). Assuming a rough exchange rate of $1.6 to the pound, our arms will cost us close to $26.

Not bad so far, BUT the Forgeworld option already costs more than the list price of the Aegis set - $22.50.

Ordering from an online retailer with the standard 20% off looks sweet on the surface, but the shipping charges kill it - even a the Warstore, shipping costs $6 no matter how much you order.  One Aegis costs $24.  Thankfully, things get much better when you buy in bulk.  Three kits (shipped) will run about $20 each (which is about as good as it gets on ebay).

So, realistically, the Forgeworld arms cost 6 bucks more per dreadnought than the Aegis-conversion option.

Pro:  Cheaper, comes with 'free' terrain, unique conversion possibility
Cons:  Does not completely match Marine aesthetic, larger time investment, potential for conversion mishap

Pros: ready out of the box, built to match other dreadnought weapons, Forgeworld 'bling' factor
Cons: expensive, sloooow delivery time, potential resin casting defects

Since I hate converting things and I'm persnickety about the way things look, I'll fall back on being able to solve problems by spending money and pony up the 6 bucks to get exactly what I want.

Now, because this post is insufferably boring:

Amy Adams and Isla Fisher - which is which?  WHO CARES!?


  1. I've seen the Aegis arms in person that several people have done and they are nice... enough. To be honest, they just don't fit all that well. From a distance, they look good, but up close, it's easy to see the "implant scars" ;)

    I bought 6 sets of the Forgeworld ones, and I couldn't be happier. Sure, the cost was almost prohibitive, but they just look so damn good.

    If you want my honest recommendation, go with the Forgeworld ones. The tiny cost increase is worth it.

  2. if you're lurking around the used market, a las plas turret exists. Back in the early 90s (2nd ed)there was an awful open topped turret razorback with those weapons. Honestly, I think that's the only reason that weapons option resurfaced in the new codex.

    also, the only thing that looks worse than Aegis dread arms are Aegis hydra turrets.

    ocalito- a delicious rice and tamarind based mexican bebida

  3. I am very surprised that they published a fairly competitive list in the GW website. I thought it was anathema to them. The end times must be drawing near.

    I've seen a couple of conversions of rifleman dreads from the aegis and I must say that the autocannon barrels look very stumpy and kinda ugly. Then again if someone wants to save money it is the better option. Personally I would get them from Forgeworld (as I did with all my IG tanks).

  4. I loved the GW list, and even the analysis below it, which was fairly accurate.

    This article was typically great too, though I prefer Aegis lines cos that's what I've done. Sort of. My first Rifleman was actually with IG HWS Autocannons.

  5. Thanks for this one, Lauby. My next tournament army is going to be a Dread-Bash, so I really needed this.


  6. If you are on a budget, hit up ebay for surplus autocannons from IG heavy weapons teams. I picked up 9 autocannons for about $14 including shipping. Although not as nice as the Forgeworld arms, that outfitted 2 dreadnoughts with double TL autocannons.

  7. What dreadnought do you use with the forgeworld arms? do the arms match with any dreadnought of gamesworkshop?

  8. @mithrosiris: I was using the forgeworld mk IV's, but it the arms should work with any of the plastic kits.