I spent $1.50 at a local thrift shop on some broken toys, and thought I could share some ideas with anyone else who scratch-builds and converts models for games. I will be taking apart a broken cement mixer and a radio-controlled car, and there was also a nice barrel that is just begging to be a gas tank on a crazy battlewagon I have in mind.
When building models from scratch, a well-stocked bitz box is absolutely essential. Many parts are hard to make, so a stash of supplies makes the job easier. I planned my ork army from the beginning to have occasional steampunk-ish clockwork embellishments, and this requires a supply of gears and screws. Taking apart the mixer truck supplied both, since it was powered by a friction motor. The reduction gears inside will be useful.
The fenders over the rear wheel also scream usefulness for something, perhaps also the aforementioned battlewagon I plan to eventually build. I may also take a hacksaw to the surprisingly-sturdy axles so I can use green stuff to embellish those wheels and use them, too. Time will tell.
The RC car with the creepy Buzz Lightyear came apart easily enough, too. Inside there was only one gear that wasn't affixed to a shaft, but there were interesting loose plastic pieces nonetheless, and a really cool integrated circuit board that will look great as a high-tech wall panel.
Some final notes: Thrift store toys can be very, very dirty. This is not good for germophobes. Grab bags can be treasure troves or a complete bust, so be prepared to add a supply to your giveaway box for your next garage sale, or re-donate it to the thrift shop charity that supplied what you did use. And have a good container on hand to store all these parts in a way you can find them again when you think, "Hey, I know exactly what would be perfect for this project!" So unleash your inner Mekboy, and loot some toys for shiny worky bitz and gubbinz!
Author's note: previously posted on Steemit