I thought it would be good to sit down and discuss gaming flea markets. I was surprised to learn that many hobbyist have not heard of these before. Essentially, local gaming stores host a day where you can rent a table to sell warhammer, warhammer 40000, or other miniature games. Depending on the store, there is a rental fee for a table. Most stores allow cash transactions, and most offer the ability to put money on a gift card for the person selling the models.
Last October, the Lord Primarch and I heard a local store, Dropzone Games, would be hosting a flea market. We went down to check it out and were instantly blown away. There was tons of stuff. Guys were stacking things 2-3 feet deep on there tables in some cases. We got a lot of good deals. The owner mentioned on the way out that they hold this market twice a year, the next one would be march. We marked our calendars and spread the word to our fellow legionaries.
March rolled in and we all geared up. We got there early, the space opened at 10am. We had a narrative event to play/run later that day so we all wanted to get this done early. What we learned is it is great to show up early. Deals were everywhere, and most good ones were getting snapped up in front of our eyes.
The second thing I learned was make sure you have a list of things you want. There can literally be so much cool stuff you have never seen before, that you quickly lose focus. I was looking to finish out the armored core of my iron hands, a landraider, a vindicator, and a stormtalon. After that, I had a set budget of $150 and planned to just go nuts.
For the most part, I didn’t even haggle like I would at a regular flea market. I knew a few of the sellers and the ones I didn’t seemed like fair guys offering fair prices. The nice thing about these kind of markets is that the guy you are dealing with is probably a lot like you. You both play the same game, and you both no the value of the models. That being said, if you feel a price is to high, don’t be afraid to ask if they will take less for it. The worst they will say is no.
In short, here is what I picked up. A crusaider landraider new in box ($40), a vindicator that was assembled and unprimed ($30), a new in bag gamesday model from forgeworld called runtbot ($30), and 4 forgeworld tetras new in bag ($40 total). All in all I spent $140 dollars and walked away with an estimated $400 dollars in product. The stand out deal was the tau tetras, which are 35 pounds a piece. I snapped those up so fast, shoereaper’s head spun (I did end up trading one to him for some ork dice since he is a fellow follower of the greater good).
The other members of our expedition can fill you in on there deals if they want, but generally speaking, we all found things we wanted at good prices. They did not have everything we were looking for (there wasn’t a stormtalon in sight, and I would have likely had to battle the librarian for it). In the end though, it was most definitely worth the effort (i.e. waking up at 7 am on the first Saturday I had off in 6 weeks).
I encourage you to seek out these markets. My history with flea markets has taught me that they can be hit or miss. Sometimes you meet people offering fair prices (or even crazy low prices…tetras) and sometimes you meet people asking high prices. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Make a list and know what you are willing to pay for these items. Show up early, all the good deals will disappear fast as the mobs pic over the tables.
Buying models second hand like this takes a little more effort than buying new. Sometimes a model will need a little TLC before it is up to your standard. I can go on and on about stripping models of paint, unassembling a model to then re-assemble it, ect. I think it is worth it in the end. The money I saved by getting a lot of my models second hand is going to allow me to splurge on some forgeworld units to round out my iron hands list.