"Okay fine, so there are a ton of paints at the home improvement store, thanks Captain Obvious. What does that mean for the hobby?"
Read on, my friends, read on...
My most recent trip to the hardware store actually involved a visit to the paint department. Why? I needed to paint my display board for my Grey Knights, and needed a much larger volume of paint than a 3oz paint pot could supply. The challenge I would run into would be that I wanted the board to match color-wise to the bases I already painted for the army, and do so with a cost-effective solution.
Stop laughing at the "cost-effective" part of the solution. I did it, dangit.
Color-wise, however, meant matching the old Adeptus Battlegrey, and P3's Menoth White Highlight. Now, I'm sure everyone knows that you can get custom color matches at the hardware store's paint department. I'm also sure no one needs a gallon, or even a quart, of Menoth White Highlight, or any hobby paint for that matter. So where's the solution? That's where paint samples come in! For a little over 2 dollars each, I was able to get a small jar of paint matched to a swatch of both colors I needed! These paint samples are supposed to give good coverage to a 4'x5' section of your wall at home, definitely more than what I needed, but a much smaller amount than what you normally have to buy when matching paint samples.
Small jars of Metallic House Paints!!! Just ignore the fact they are branded by Martha Stewart, and think of the applications you could use these for!
Beyond a display board, the custom matched paint samples and these metallic paints could easily be used to knock out a gaming table, as well as its terrain in a heartbeat. A good base coat with a can of spray primer, and some judicious drybrushing, and the table or terrain is 90% of the way done. You can even make some rudimentary washes with them. Just water down the paint at a ratio of about 2 parts paint to 1 part water, and adjust from there as needed.
I'm always astounded at what can be used for our hobby if I just keep my eyes, and mind, open and look. Have you tried something new lately?