As you might recall, at one time Games Workshop had a massive bitz service, whereby one could buy old miniatures, parts of miniatures, and individual sprues from kits, as well as other ephemera related to the vast Games Workshop hobby. In the US at least, this reached its peak in the early 00's when the massive "phone book" bitz catalogs were released in all their hardback glory. This regularly caused me to go on mad buying sprees as I matched this arm with that body and this head to create (at least on paper) some amazing conversions or weird custom units.
However, Games Workshop decided to get out the bitz business right before they decided to get out of the metal business, and stopped the broad swath of what they had available, reducing it to just a few sprues and figures, now priced even higher. Gradually, this lack of available bitz from Games Workshop was replaced by eBay and other online bitz sellers, chopping up kits and selling the pieces. This year, Games Workshop has decided that the terms of sale to merchants would not allow for this practice, and to a certain extent the availability of bitz has declined from some sellers (matched of course by the rise in price from the remaining).
Tangentially to this, Games Workshop has always had an excellent replacement service. When kits are incomplete, or miniatures are miscast, they quickly replace the missing pieces, often with complete new ones. So when my new box of Tau Pathfinders was missing one of the muzzles for a rail rifle, I duly contacted Games Workshop for a replacement, visions of a whole new box, or at least that particular sprue dancing in my head. As the weeks wore on,
So I was a little surprised to get the following in the mail:
Faugh! Exactly what I needed to complete the kit, and no more? Which was perfectly fine of course, and ultimately amusing when I realized that GW is effectively supplying bitz in the same way as all those online chop shops...