Welcome to Librarium Online!
A common complaint about 40k is that it is too expensive. This is a bit of a subjective view, as some people view time spent assembling and painting as entertaining, while others only consider time spent playing the game as a return on their investment.
Regardless, I believe we can all agree that it generally requires a significant investment up front.
In order to make this less painful for prospective Chaos players, I've decided to compile the best deals for the money and the table that still support your Friendly Local Game Shop (FLGS). Feel free to post anything I may have missed. These are generally conversions, so if you do not have the time to fiddle with your toy soldiers they may not be for you.
The format is (Difficulty, Cost per Model, Cost per point)
Convert Obliterators from Chaos Terminators (easy, $10 a model and 7.5 points per dollar) or Assault on Black Reach Terminators (see AOBR section)
Convert Plague Marines from normal CSM (easy, $3.50 a model and ~6.5 points per dollar) or Khorne Berserkers (harder, $2.50 a model and ~10 points per dollar).There are plenty of tutorials for this elsewhere, so I won't go into much detail with these guys. Generally, use greenstuff to make them look bloated and plague-y, add special weapons to taste, and cut the Khorne Horns off of the Berserker heads in order to avoid confusion.Convert Noise Marines from Normal CSM (medium, $3.50 a model and ~7 points per dollar)Let's face it: Noise marines are absurdly expensive thanks to the GW bits order they require. Instead, I recommend just using some gargoyle heads from the Rhinos you'll no doubt need, and attaching them to the end of a regular boltgun, after smoothing it with a hobby knifr.. Remove the Boltgun's Ammo feed with said hobby knife, and greenstuff over any other visible bolts. For Blastmasters, do the same to heavy Bolters. They may not be quite as pretty as normal Sonic Weapons, but they aren't costing you nearly as much.FAST ATTACK
Convert Raptors from Loyalist Assault marines. (very easy, 5.30 a model and ~3.5 points per dollar)Give them the leftover heads/shoulders (you'll have plenty) from your other squads, and they're ready to go. Not the most cost-efficient, but included anyways because they're nearly half the price of normal raptors.HEADQUARTERS
Terminator Lords/Sorcerors come with enough bits in the box to make two or more, with a spare Terminator body. If you don't need five Oblits, consider buying one of these boxes to fill out your HQ slots (and give several spare loadouts)
Point costs vary, but generally very good bang for your buck.
This is the one case where I'm going to advise you not to buy something entirely at your local store. Pick up one Rhino box for the bits, then get the rest from Battlewagon Bits for $16 a pop, plus the cost of turrets (Turrets can be found on eBay for ~$1.25 plus shipping)
There are more, but I'm in class at the moment so I will finish this later.
I'll add some I've used (though I don't have the exact cost figures):
Convert Chaos Dreadnoughts from loyalist, especially Assault on Black Reach. I use a close combat arm (already provided) and a missile launcher (just use a Havoc Launcher since you probably have lots left from your other chaos vehicleS). The Black Reach Dread has easy to scrape off icons and you can just slap on some spikey bits. Comes out to under half the price of buying the metal Chaos Dread.
Chaos termies are easily made from Black Reach Termies. Especially if you have some possessed bits. Just add some spikes from chaos vehicle accessory sprues, and maybe use a mutated limb for the power weapon arm.
Basic Chaos Marine shmucks can be converted from Black Reach marines by simply scraping off or defacing the imperial icons and purity seals. The arrow on the shoulder pads already resembles chaos motifs anyway. If you've got them to spare, a chaos backpack completes the picture. (You can mix the loyalist / chaos backpacks between kits if you need to)
Any cult troop kit can be stretched out by mixing it's parts with a basic chaos marine kit. If you pick up big boxes like the Battle Force sets, you'll likely have more basic chaos marines then you want anyway. Especially if you're already using the above Black Reach conversion.
Havocs (for those who use them) can be converted from either loyalists (like the Black Reach missile launcher) or by getting a single IG Heavy Weapon Team and using all those lovely gun bits and converting a basic Chaos Marine to hold them (requires a little cutting / re-glueing of the arm bits to hold it right). Beats the $12+ for a single havoc metal figure.
I never buy chaos rhinos straight up (though I do get some in the battleforce, etc which is a great deal itself). If I'm shelling out for a tank, I get a vindi / pred / etc. They can all be magnetized pretty easily to act as either a rhino, or thier alternate tank version. Gives you a lot more list flexibility for the dollar then almost any other model kits, and easy-to-use magnetic weapon destroyed results for extra table-top coolness.
Wargamer Haven, my little cyberspace blogspot.
Also, Nurglings/Plaguebearers can be made out of fantasy Crypt Ghouls with little or no greenstuff modification (and at half the price of normal plaguebearers!)
The only downside? you need to buy circle bases for them seperately, unless you have spares.
This is exactly what I am doing.
I sold my CSM and my BA (wow, crazy player sells an army when it gets overpowered ) but I kept my fav models. I just couldn`t sell them. So, what can I do with ~40 footslogging models from different armies? Convert them. I also had some crappy terminators, I am making oblits out of them... (I`m going to post some pictures as I`m not sure about their size)
The best result I had with berzerkers: the champions` heads went for my death company, now they are my raptors. The pre-heresy helmets went for the plague marines. Just 12" GS and a low budget army is done. For PM`s also nice tutorials somewhere here. Fantasy skeletons can give extra good looking bits.
Even cheaper if You buy them used, there are many good tutorials on this very site how to strip off paints. Also You don`t have to be too picky on smaller details in the case of plague marines as You might cover them with GS. I had some models with joints filled with basecoat, I put some GS and made a pile of worms come out from the joint.
Also a good looking thing is the chainmail tabard that can be made over the imperial eagle and gives a really chaosy impression. And I even did not bother with taking off the purity seals but paint them to Camo green than rotting flesh and use them as decay seals Tutorial also can be found around for tabards, just simply put holes on them with a pin and paint silver.