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Dollar Store Gaming

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Hey all, I felt like making a new thread about gaming on a budget, specifically going to places that sell goods at extremely low prices. Generally you don't want to use items you find here for their intended purpose (please don't use dollar store car jacks), but they can be easily repurposed for hobby needs. Where possible, I'll post links to where they can be purchased, though mostly its stuff I'm going to find on random trips. You might be able to look them up and see if they are available to purchase online or if its available in your area. Most of all, I'm encouraging people to strengthen their creativity and find ways of building stuff for dollars instead of spending hundreds (or thousands) on premade. I'm going to avoid 3d printing for the most part (not everyone has a 3d printing, they are temperamental, and its hundreds of dollars of investment and a lot of hours to figure out) except maybe where stuff could be enhanced with it. But there is nothing you can't do with your own hands.


Mods - There didn't seem to be a perfect place to put this, as its going to have a mix of terrain and modelling tutorials. Please feel free to move it if there is another area more appropriate.

To kick it off, I'm posting  a find from my local dollar store in the toy section. This is one of the best places to hit for parts, though they're always hit and miss. Sometimes you have to visit multiple and this came from the second store I ventured into. These were $1.25 each, so I picked up 10. I might go back for the rest. Its a street building set with an overpass section that is perfect for 6mm (epic) and works okayish for 8mm. Best of all, its made out of a similar plastic to miniatures and is ready to prime and paint. It also has a rough surface texture would could work very nicely to simulate asphalt if painted correctly. You'll want to give the cars to the kiddos (though they might work at 15mm scale?)






While it might be possible to paint each section individually, I would probably void doing that and make, at the very least, full sections to use, say a turn, a free way, an overpass, etc. The reason is that breaking them apart after each play session will likely lead to paint chipping off the connectors. It also allows you to use liquid modelling putty to smooth out the links.


So how does it stand up on the board? Here are some 6mm models for reference. Sorry, I had to use Battletech (titans) and Micro Armor (tanks), as I don't have any classic epic models, but they are perfect stand-in for 6mm sizes. Everything fits pretty much perfectly for this scale of gaming.



The normal "civilian" vehicles fit nicely in the lines, while larger armored vehicles are a bit too large (as would be expected. A tank would be expected to fill up about 80% of a standard 2 lane road:




How about Legions Imperialis?

The 8mm scale is a bit more difficult to fit, but it still works from a distance. The vehicles fill up far more of the road, but Warhammer vehicles tend to be massively oversized anyway, so it actually still works when compared to the infantry. A rhino may be analogous to an M113, but to hold 10 space marines, its going to need to be far larger, so we could expect it to take up more road space as well.






You can see right away that the vehicles are eating up the entire road. However, the terminators actually fit really nicely - you'd expect a ~10' tall terminator to eat up about that much roadway. The bikes also feel right, considering they are astartes and around 2x the size of even the largest 1800cc civilian motorcycles today.


Here is a size example I found online




So even though 8mm might feel too large for the road set, I think its actually a good fit and shows how large 30k/40k vehicles actually are. For scale purposes, it would be really good to find civilian or other small vehicles to add to the scenery to really illustrate how large space marines are vs everything else. This picture isn't 100% accurate, but still pretty good to conceptualize sizing.

One downside to this collection is the lack of a 4 way intersection. Its possible to make this from sheet styrene though, using an existing part as a template for the connectors. Two of the sets side by side would make for a good highway, providing a median in the middle.


Another downside is portability. Even if you break them into 3 or 4 track sections, they could take up quite a bit of space to cover a full 6x4 or 5x4 table, unless you relegate it to only a freeway. Filling an entire LI board with roads using this would require a lot of space in a travel bag, though not as much as large buildings.

Overall, I'd say this is a really cost effective way to add roads very quickly to 6mm and 8mm tables for around $12.50 USD.


I'm also going to score finds based on the table below, for a quick recap/TLDR using Bad, Poor, Moderate, Good, Excellent

Price: Excellent ($1.25 per pack)
Portability: Moderate (Doable, but can get out of hand if you want a full city road)
Difficulty: Good (Will require sealing to get seamless roads, requires custom 4-way intersections if desired)
Versatility: Poor (currently only works with modern and future 6mm and 8mm game systems, which are a bit rare, not suitable for Aeronautica Imperialis)



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