I've made some progress in downsizing my Marine gear. I sold a few items at the FLGS for store credit, and am hammering out a deal for a couple items over at Bartertown. It does feel nice to shed some of this stuff, and I've not even gotten into the valuable stuff. So far I've just moved random items and castoffs from dead projects.
As I sit and think about how many of each item I need, I'm discovering that most of my collection can be summed up with "The Rule of Four."
This is an idea I started working under back when I was first amassing my initial compliment of infantry. I was unsure how many models of each type I needed for maximum list flexibility. Did I build all the missile launchers I owned, or only a few? How many flamers did I need? I decided that four was the magic number for special and heavy weapons. The maximum number of heavy weapons in a Devastator squad is four, as is the maximum number of special weapons available to a Command squad. So, I worked on special and heavy weapons in sets of four. I've got four plasmagunners, four missile launchers, four heavy bolters, etc, etc. Thus far, I've never really wanted for more than that.
I think part of this is due to how I play. I don't tend to build forces that feature the same weapon over and over. You won't see me playing an all-melta army, or a list that exclusively uses missiles. I like to mix and match my weaponry.
Now that Sixth has rolled around, the Rule of Four is even easier to enforce, due to the points levels we play at the FLGS. Some folks clamor for 2000+ point games, but so far we've hovered in the 1500-1850 range due to the time investment involved in tourneys. Sixth simply takes longer to play, so lower points levels help ensure complete (or near-complete) games. My Marines simply don't have the ability to cram in more than four of a given unit in those points ranges, while still being an interesting and balanced force.
So, I counted out the parts I need to get all of my heavies and specials up to four of each type, and bagged up the spares. The spare heavies are already gone, snapped up in a flash after I'd posted them. I only have two meltagunners to build and paint, so I'll have to inventory my special weapons next.
This rule even extends to vehicles. I had set my NIB Dreadnought aside in the Keep Pile, until this morning. I have four Dreads built and painted in my collection already. One plastic Venerable, two metal standard Dreads, and an Ironclad. I always fooled with the idea of running six, and had collected stock to do so. But, Dreads took a big hit in 6th Edition, and I decided that four was plenty for games of the previously mentioned points range.
The only exception to the Rule of Four right now are Rhinos. I have four built (though one is an old-school variant that I've grown out of love with). All of these are magnetized, have removable hatches and opening doors, and painted interiors. I could stop at four, if Rhinos were only used for transports. But, they also form the basis of Predators, Razorbacks, and Whirlwinds. I like running all of those models, and they're almost necessary when running a force that needs Rhinos as transports. So, I've decided to break the Rule of Four for Rhinos and go with a full six. I might even sell my old Rhino/Razor when I'm done, and pick up a new chassis to replace it. We'll see. If so, it would be the first painted model I'll have ever sold. Not sure how I feel about that.
I finished off another Sternguard model last night, except for his static grass and repainting of the base ring. I was pleasantly surprised while assembling him that his head fit neatly in the collar without the issues of the previous model. This second model uses a different helmet, the one with two pipes on one side, vents on the other, and a skull on the brow. The lack of vents on both sides makes it possible to fit his head in the neck socket without contacting the collar! Huzzah! I have decided to stop using Mk8 torsos after the third model, though. This is because I'm keeping three Tyrannic War Vets models from my metal veteran collection, and adding them to the Sternguard pile. Since that breaks the cohesion (as does the one model I've had built and painted for ages now), there's no point in keeping to Mk8 for the rest.