The Bitz Bins

I know I mention the bins now and again.  I think most game stores have some version of the bitz bins.  People bring their unwanted bits and models into the store in exchange for credit, and the store re-sells them for a bit of profit.  The downside is it's a bit like a rummage sale and you’re working around poses, paint jobs, and leftovers.  The plus side is you’re usually getting them at a big discount.  Often 60-70% off.  Sometimes even more.

I know some people have this kind of phobia about using pre-owned models, but if you can get past that it’s possible to save a lot of money.  In the past ten years or so, here’s a few of the things I’ve found in the bitz bins of my local stores (first in San Diego, then later up here at my favorite store in Los Angeles)...

* an Eldar Avatar of Khaine—I don’t play Eldar, but I’ve always thought it would be neat to paint an Avatar like molten metal—darker on the outside, hotter closer to the core.  Kind of like the Balrog from Lord of the Rings.  He also had a Thousand Sons head in his hand, so a little glue remover and I had a spare trooper for my Thousand Sons army.  Bonus.

* three Krootoxes—a few editions back (when I had more disposable income) I had a very nice Kroot Mercenary army.  Now I just have a lot of Kroot, and the hopes that the upcoming Tau Codex will address the issue and make it a viable allied force, at least.  Still, three metal Krootoxen (Krootoxi??) were a nice bit of heavy firepower, especially at five bucks each.

* legs and torsos for about twenty-five Ork Boyz for my lovely lady, plus an unassembled Black Reach deffkopta.  If all this cost me ten bucks, I’d be amazed.

*a little over two dozen Catachans—their heads were crooked, and two or three needed their arms redone, but other than that they just needed paint.  They were put together with superglue, so on the really bad ones it just meant popping off a head or an arm, scraping it down, and then putting it back on with proper plastic glue.  I think that find cost me twenty dollars.

* a plastic Eldar Wraithlord—Again, I don’t play Eldar, but my friend Gillian does.  It was missing its weapons and posed a bit awkwardly, but other than that it was fine.  Well, it had a really awful paintjob.  She’s already salvaged it and sent it back out on the battlefield.

* parts for a solid Lizardman army – I don’t play Warhammer Fantasy, either.  I have no interest in it.  But, as I’ve mentioned before, I love the models and I have a long-time love of Lizardmen (reaching back to the Sleestak on Land of the Lost).  I found the parts to make a dozen Saurus warriors, a dozen skinks, a skink hero, an Oldblood on a cold one, a salamander, and even five of the Temple Warriors.  I just liked building and painting them.  I might do a whole post on these guys. 

* at least twenty assorted Dark Angels detail pieces for Marcus.

* a box’s worth of Bloodletters--  Alas, one had a twisted leg and two of them had one foot snapped off, so I only took home eight of them (and who wants a unit of eight Khorne demons...?).    They’ll make a great allied force for my World Eaters.  I used one of the old skeleton helmet horns and a skull to replace the missing foot on one of them.  They’re about half-painted and already itching to fight.

* probably a dozen Dark Eldar heads, arms, and detail pieces, not to mention a double-handful of the older bodies.

* a handful of Blood Angels pieces for Matt.

* parts for at least twenty zombies – These mixed with leftover Catachan parts to become a full squad of Catachan plague zombies.  Poor bastards...

* two Black Reach Space Marine captains.  One was really just the larger back half with legs and cape, but I've got a use for it.

* about fifty of the old Bretonnian bowmen, plus about two dozen detail elements from the new ones to make them pop—Even without playing it, I know enough about Fantasy to know the bowmen get mocked a lot.  I also know enough about math to know that anything is dangerous in large numbers.  Goblins, grots, Kroot, scouts, bowmen... anything.  More to the point, I just love the look of dozens and dozens of archers standing ready with their bows.

* just shy of a dozen Daemonettes.  These showed up a few at a time, usually in pieces, but I kept picking and saving them.  First it was just a few to add to my existing units.  Then it was a nice, Slaneeshi six of them.  Then nine (one with a standard).  Then eleven.  One more and I’ve got a nice group of allies for my Emperor’s Children.

* and tons and tons of bitz.  Almost anything you can imagine.  Shoulder pads, ammo pouches, canteens, purity seals, knives, daggers, bolters, holsters, sheaths, targeters, backpacks, banners, spare arms, spare heads, spare skulls, chains, spikes, tentacles, tails, wings, bases, and much, much more.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying your local bitz bins are going to be some kind of gold mine (again, this is ten years worth of finds), and they’re not really a place you can plan on finding something.  But for the hobbyist on a budget, it’s always worth taking some time and sifting through.  Sometimes you can find some fantastic, useful detail pieces.  Or models.  Or whole units.

And if your friendly local gaming store doesn’t have bins... why not?  It’s a win-win for everyone.


  1. ah the joys... and dangers of bitz box diving. I have so many unfinished projects and models on my shelves because of "Hey that looks cool" syndrome I've experienced while diving around the Bitz Boxes at various hobby shops.

  2. Hey, Michael. Good to see you again. :)

    Yeah, I used to buy far too many "it looks cool" things. I've managed to cut back and now the bins are where I can find all the little accessories and add-ons that would cost three or four times as much on eBay.

    Okay, and some cool-looking stuff I'd never buy at full price...

  3. Man, I forgot to mention the ten Fire Warriors I found, too. A nice little squad or "living objectives" for the battlefield.