Since Games Workshop last year decided to stop retailers from selling bits to customers, it has had the unintended consequence of lining the pockets of 3rd party miniature makers. One of the clearest cases of this trend is the many companies offering alternative gun bits for players to use.
Luckily for GW, they do offer some bits for their most popular guns, but only if you want to order them direct.
The casts for these guns are sub-par when compared to the typical standard we apply to GW. If they were plastic it would put them above most competitors. As it is, you can get Finecast Plasma Guns and Meltaguns from GW. The big advantage (and disadvantage) for using GW bits those is having the hand grips. As you will find with other bits makers you have to cut your own fists off and attach them to make a complete model holding a weapon. Likewise, going GW does limit the possibility one has with other weapons. GW also doesn't offer Grav Guns bits which many players crave.
The major problem with third-party makers is the ability to do one stop shopping (with exception of Kromlech) you will find yourself going from one company to the next in the hopes of nabbing all your weapon needs. Personally, I have chosen bits makers based on quality and relation to design. GW has a distinct look, while I want some variation, I also want my bits makers to show a few Warhammer 40k elements. It means avoiding guns that look like carbon copies of today's weapons, Buck Rogers, or Steam Punk looking. Finidng this right balance you are basically going to look at four companies, Puppetswars, MaxMini, Kromlech, and Anvil Industries
In order to make this simple, let us group this into the three major weapon types, starting with Plasma Guns.
Kromlech and Puppets Wars provide the best Plasma Guns on the market. The Puppets War one looks more sci-fi, while the Kromlech one is more primitive. The best deal is Puppet Wars at $7 bucks and $9.62 for Kromlech each for five guns. They both use hard resin and the quality is good, the Puppet Wars Plasma Guns provide a fist for easy converting, but it also limits the gun placement.
Next up, is Meltagun Alternatives.
This time we have all the major bit players making Meltaguns.
Each one has their own distinct advantages.
The Kromlech looks almost identical to GW meltaguns, Puppetswar has the grip, MaxMini has the scale and best value.
Then there is Anvil Industries, Anvil uses a softer resin then the other makers, but the Anvil gives a discerning buyer the most flexibility. You can buy just one Meltaguns from Anvil, and it gets even better, Anvil provides conversion kits, if you want to make combi-meltas, scopes, left or right grips for your guns.
Last but not least, we have the Grav Guns, only a few bits makers jumped on this bandwagon.
MaxMini and Kromlech lead the way in providing Grav Weapons to the masses.
Kromlech version is an obvious copy of the GW design, while the MaxMini has some similar elements it is still certainly different. MaxMini is cheaper than the Kromlech version and nets you an extra gun, both don't provide any hand grip, so you will be cutting off bolter hands to attach properly.
Seeing these bits is all well and dandy, but how about on an actual model? I took the time to take some pics to showing how some of these alternative guns look on Space Marines.
Thanks to intrepid readers, I like to add also Spellcrow Miniatures Grav Gun, which a few people seem to like!
I used MaxMini's Meltaguns and Grav Guns to show just how little distinction goes a long way. You can also see how easy it is to cut off some Space Marine fists and attach them to your alternative guns. It was done without Flashing or any skilled techniques, but once you get them just right, go back and clean up the glue and whatnot. If you are going for GW looks I recommend Kromlech, but as you can see if you want value, quality, and something that stands out go with MaxMini.
As always if you know of more conversion bits please email me or comment in the Facebook post for this article!
40k Buying Guide is rated empty your pockets. These articles are meant to help you continue complaining about GW pricing schemes at the same time you are buying used models on Ebay