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The Paperless Benefit of PDF Build Instructions

Covered in this article: Why use digital PDF Build Instructions, the ecological and societal benefits of going paperless where possible, and the potential cost benefits.

Some Food for Thought – the Environmental Impact of our Hobby

Building, painting and collecting a Warhammer army takes times and dedication, and also unfortunately consumes resources.

As most industries continue to mature and wake up to their environmental impact, we’d like to take a moment to look at the eco-cost of being in the Warhammer hobby, and see if there are any opportunities for us to do better and reduce our impact.

Warhammer Plastic Sprues 3
Warhammer Plastic Sprues

Thankfully, we think that Games Workshop are a pretty reasonable bunch as things go, and there are a number of examples of changes they’ve made over recent years to improve their business practices and reduce their environmental impact.

We’ve seen the wholesale departure of metal cast models, and wider adoption of plastic kits. Whilst the die-hard enthusiasts amongst us might have loved our old metal models – surely they were more energy intensive and expensive to produce.

Collection of Old Warhammer Metal Blister Packs
Collection of Old Warhammer Metal Blister Packs

A quick bit of research online also highlights that our beloved plastic minis are produced in what’s called un-expanded Polystyrene.

Yes – the normal expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is that chunky white squishy stuff you used to find in packaging, and it looks a lot different to our familiar grey sprues. But it turns out that both EPS and un-expanded PS are actually recyclable.

Both expanded Polystyrene (EPS) and unexpanded Polystyrene fall into the Plastics Category 6, which is recyclable, but unfortunately – isn’t currently widely recycled, and a lot of local councils will end up sending it to landfill.

Categories of Recyclable Plastics
Categories of Recyclable Plastics

Whilst the availability of recycling specifically unexpanded Polystyrene is limited (i.e. your local council might not be able to handle it’s separation and recycling from your kerbside trash today), there are some places working on it and trying to close this gap.

So it takes more effort to properly recycle Polystyrene, and in general your local council and bin collection won’t do the job, but yes you can recycle your used Warhammer sprues.

Here’s a good example of one reseller who have a mail-in facility for recycling old Games Workshop sprues.

Here are a few other good articles on the subject if you want to read more:

So what’s the Environmental Benefit to PDF Build Instructions?

It’s pretty simple really.

The benefit to hosting build instructions online as Digital Downloads and PDFs, is a Paperless Benefit.

For every Warhammer model set currently produced, there is a cardboard box, a set of Polystyrene sprues, and a set of model bases.

Now we definitely want our beloved plastic sprues and the accompanying model bases, and we need that box and packaging to make sure they arrive safely to us, but do we really need a paper copy of the Build Instructions?

Let’s face it, once we’ve built the model set, we tend to either throw away the paper copy of the build instructions, or “file them” on a shelf somewhere – never to be seen again.

Landscape Hand Holding iPhone with Warhammer Build Instructions 2
Landscape Hand Holding iPhone with Warhammer Build Instructions

With how quick and easy it is to open digital files on our mobile phones or laptops today, and how used to doing similar tasks we are – why not digitise and provide all Build Instructions in this way?

This cuts down on paper, cuts down on printing, and yes – even though the cost of each booklet is likely pennies (or even fractions of pennies), when you multiply that up – there will also be a not-so insignificant cost saving for Games Workshop in there too.

The value in having an online library of free to download PDFs –

The website focusses on helping both new and existing hobbyists with the build and assembly part of the hobby.

Every Games Workshop model set comes with a set of “how to” construction guides to help the hobbyist build their Warhammer models.

These instruction booklets typically come printed and included in the box with all new model sets bought either direct from Games Workshop or through an approved reseller.

Collection of Paper Copy Build Instructions 7
Collection of Paper Copy Build Instructions

However it’s also very common nowadays to buy new or second-hand model sets on secondary markets such as Ebay, and often these don’t come with the original printed build instructions included.

That leaves a lot of Warhammer enthusiasts underserved and looking for digital copies of build instructions online.

We’ve done it ourselves, and we’ve found the blog pages, and Reddit threads full of links to instructions which the community has photographed or scanned, all for the purposes of sharing and helping each other out.

This is where helps out and helps foster the Warhammer community.

Our team are continually crowd-sourcing a growing library of instruction booklets in PDF digital format, which we then make available to the Warhammer community as free downloads.

The team does this to help the community and ultimately get more Warhammer built, but we’d also like to see Games Workshop consider moving away from paper based booklets and provide just digital copies in the future.

Thanks for reading.

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