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This is a little post aimed at newer hobbyists (like those who may have recently read my guide on getting started) who haven’t yet managed to amass a mountain of unused heads and extra weapons for their bits box. More experienced hobbyists will likely find little of interest, though hopefully it may prompt some to properly organise their collection of plastic! 😉
What is a bits box?
Without meaning to sound blunt, it’s literally just that: a box of model bits!
When you assemble a box of models there’s usually parts left over at the end. If your unit leader isn’t wearing a helmet, there’s probably a spare helmet still on the sprue. One model has a heavy weapon? There’s now a standard weapon left over. Didn’t stick on all the extra grenades? You can see where this is going!
Almost all model kits come with optional weapons, heads, armour pieces and various bits of kit that you can choose whether or not to use. On some kits you may even find that you couldn’t use all the pieces if you tried – Necron Warriors for example come with two complete sets of weapons, and each model can only use one.
So what do we do with all these extra pieces? We add them to the bits box, of course!
Why should I keep one?
Keeping a bits box can allow for easy kit-bashing (making a model using parts from more than one kit), as you’ll have all your leftover bits to hand. This can be as simple as taking the pointing arm from your Eradicators to use on a Heavy Intercessor, to give the model a little variety.
These extra bits can also come in handy for things like weapon swaps (particularly if your kit doesn’t come with the weapon you want, you’ve damaged or lost the original etc) or to help liven up your bases – discarded or lost equipment could be all over the battlefield!
Should you collect enough spare bits you might even find you can build entire models from your spares!
How should I store it?
Well, get a box!
Personally I like to keep multiple compartmented boxes – you can usually find them in the pound shop/dollar store/cheap place to buy things advertised for storing jewellery-making bits, beads etc. You can also find them on Amazon easily enough.
Each army gets a box (or several, as the collection grows) with each compartment having a specific type of part in it. For example these three Firstborn Astartes boxes have compartments for helmets, Bolters, special weapons, right/left/paired arms, equipment…
Eventually I will go through my whole collection of old bits and organise them like this, but for now I do have some old bits (and indeed, entire sprues!) that are simply chucked in little cardboard boxes from various deliveries. This works perfectly well for a small collection but as your plastic mountain starts to grow a little organisation will go a long way – nobody wants to have to search through a massive box of random bits for that one pistol that you definitely know you still have!
In short: get boxes, fill with bits, throw nothing away. Simple! 😁
pawl has been an on/off hobbyist since the late nineties but still possesses significantly more enthusiasm for the hobby as a whole than skill with a brush, and so is always on the hunt for fast, easy and lazy techniques that give good results. Despite this he sometimes still attempts to paint Space Marine helmet lenses, and occasionally even manages to stay within the lines!