For the next while, I'm going to be looking at basic steps for beginners of our hobby, including revisiting some of my old tutorials. I'll begin right at the start by looking at unboxing your miniatures and what you can do with the packaging.
Didn't realize you were buying more than just a figure? Each purchase you make provides you with useful hobby supplies and I'm going to look at just a few of the ways you can get more out of your money.
Buying a box from Games Workshop provides you with a bunch of sprues and more decals than you need. (Use those decals for the single models and vehicles you buy.) A box from Privateer Press includes a bunch of plastic containers. Single models from either company provide foam (Packing inserts?) and more plastic.
So what's all this good for? Lets take a look.
If you cut out large sections of a sprue, you can create stir sticks to use to either when reconditioning paints or if you're mixing paint.
Cut and carve up smaller pieces of the sprue and you can create things like crystals and walls.
Smaller Plastic Packaging
I like Privateer's single model packaging better because there's a lot more plastic I get to use, but GW's is still useful for similar purposes.
If you cut the package apart in to two halves, each have their uses.
The container half can be used for cleanly flocking miniatures. You can then pour the unused flock back from the clean corners of of the package.
The smooth surface of the plastic is also useful as a palette. You can wipe and mix paint off on a disposable piece of plastic, it won't absorb and will keep for a little bit, especially if you use fluid retarder.
When I made the custom sword for my Champion Hero, I traced it out first on some plastic, then built the green stuff up on the form. I've done this a few times, sometimes just layering plastic and glue.
You can also use this plastic as a semi-sturdy base for terrain.
From the larger Privateer Press packaging, I've created some storage trays. They're all compartmentalized and fit a surprising amount of product. Like the smaller ones, cut them in half first for twice the storage.
As you get a couple of them, these containers even stack and slide away in drawers cleanly.
Sponges and Stippling
Foam from smaller miniature packaging can be torn apart and used to "stipple". I find it makes a great effect for leather or stone.
If you cut open the packaging, you've got a bunch of thin cardboard, though really, nothing you can't get from cereal boxes.
These can be used though as markers for strategic zones, terrain features like forests and hills and smaller pieces like the above wall.