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  • #84341
    Angel Barracks
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    Anyone have any questions about working in the industry?
    I may be able to answer, or ask someone who knows, maybe give an inside point of view?

    Not even sure if anyone has any questions or cares?
    But hey, you never know…

    #84353
    Private Snafu
    Private Snafu
    Participant

    What gross margin do you shoot for?

    ___________________
    http://moveshootassault.blogspot.com
    https://sites.google.com/site/miniaturemachinations

    #84355
    Angel Barracks
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    So when I say questions about the industry I was not really thinking about divulging that sort of intimate information to the world.
    More about the industry than my own financial situation.

    However, it varies by product, factors being complexity to make that product and the time to make that product for an order as well as the raw material cost.

    Some resin models are big and easy to cast, some are small and difficult, some are small and easy some are big and difficult.

    Take a typical resin piece, let us say it uses £1.00 of resin to produce.
    Let us assume it is an easy one pour model.
    I may charge say £3.00 retail for that.

    Let us say I have a much smaller and much more fiddly piece that costs 10p of resin to produce.
    By the same logic as above I would charge 30p retail.
    However, I would not be happy spending all day casting at 20p profit per item when I could be casting the other one at £2.00 profit per item.
    So that smaller more time-consuming item would say be £1.00 at retail rather than 30p.

    A much larger margin than the other, but it has to be, to be worth my time.
    It could be the difference between say making £6.00 per hour and 60p per hour.

    Metal cast models tend to be more set in terms of margin as I don’t make them in house.
    I normally double the cost to me for the retail.
    So a model that costs me £1.00 to produce I sell for £2.00.
    That is not always the case but gives you a rough idea.
    Hand painted terrain / models again varies on the complexity of the paintjob and the size of the model.

    #84356
    Ivan Sorensen
    Ivan Sorensen
    Moderator

    If anyone has questions about game writing, I’d be happy to take a stab at those too, though it’s up to AB if that should go in its own thread instead?

    AB – I’d be interested in some talk about different materials (resin vs metal etc) from the perspective of people doing the sculpting and design.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

    #84357
    Angel Barracks
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    I’d be happy to take a stab at those too, though it’s up to AB if that should go in its own thread instead?

    Nope, this topic is fine.
    Especially with me working on a set of rules that will be not be free, unlike my last ones.

    AB – I’d be interested in some talk about different materials (resin vs metal etc) from the perspective of people doing the sculpting and design.

    In what sense?

    #84358
    Ivan Sorensen
    Ivan Sorensen
    Moderator

    Is resin more problematic to work with? How easy is it to fix mistakes while sculpting ? Are the costs of equipment different? Is either metal or resin more cost-effective long term?

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

    #84360
    Private Snafu
    Private Snafu
    Participant

    If you said 40% I wouldn’t bat an eye.  If you said a 100% I could get on board with that as well.  People who would be outraged by whatever percentage you aim for would be outraged that you tried to make a profit at all.  I can tell you from experience in homebuilding gross margin targets are around 40%.  Apple has been running in the high 30% range.

    I actually think if the industry was more open and transparent about it in the long run they would be able to increase profitability as customers would more readily see value.

    ___________________
    http://moveshootassault.blogspot.com
    https://sites.google.com/site/miniaturemachinations

    #84361
    Angel Barracks
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    Resin is more time consuming to cast.
    A mould of 6mm figures will get me 30 metal figures cast in a matter of minutes.
    A single resin building could take say 10 minutes or so.
    If someone wants 30 resin buildings, you could be talking a day or two, unless I have duplicate moulds made.

    If you muck up the metal casting, you melt it back down and start again.
    You can’t do that resin, though I will sometimes chop up a miscast resin model and drop it into a mould of a bigger resin piece.
    I have sent out Crom’s Anvil models that have small 6mm sci-fi hovercars inside them!

    I don’t sculpt the people myself, but I have asked for corrections and they are done.
    I understand that green stuff may be harder to correct as that cures as you go, but some sculpting materials need to be baked to cure, as such they may be easier to fix?

    Buildings are different, depends what sort of cock up you make.
    Cut the doorway in the wrong place and you may well have to start that wall again, not such an issue if the first thing you did was the door.

    Casting in metal requires spin casting equipment and so on.
    Resin casting requires no special equipment, however to avoid air bubbles and holes appearing in resin (not an issue with molten metal) then a pressure pot or a vacuum chamber or similar is needed.
    I do not have either so carefully try to poke the bubbles out before the resin sets, if any holes do appear and I deem them unsightly I will fill them with green stuff.
    If they are too bad I will not sell that model.

    Resin moulds wear out more quickly than metal ones.
    I have yet to need to replace a mould for my figures, but have replaced many many resin moulds.

    Most of my resin buildings break even after a few sales.
    I sculpt them myself, make the moulds myself and cast them myself.
    Figures however take many more sales to break even.
    Don’t think my Crom’s Anvil figures have broken even yet..
    Hence why with both AB and CA I make more resin items.

    #84362
    Angel Barracks
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    I actually think if the industry was more open and transparent about it in the long run they would be able to increase profitability as customers would more readily see value.

    I am not sure, the amount of people I have encountered that begrude a painter charging a rate that equals minimum wage is plenty.
    Quite a lot of people seem to think that as it is just time, and no real significant materials then it should be very cheap.

    Same with rules writing, comments along the lines of “yeah but it actually cost you nothing except a pad of paper and a pencil” when people sell PDF rules…
    I can’t imagine those people doing 3 months of work at an office for nothing…

    #84373
    Phil Dutré
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    I am not sure, the amount of people I have encountered that begrude a painter charging a rate that equals minimum wage is plenty. Quite a lot of people seem to think that as it is just time, and no real significant materials then it should be very cheap. Same with rules writing, comments along the lines of “yeah but it actually cost you nothing except a pad of paper and a pencil” when people sell PDF rules… I can’t imagine those people doing 3 months of work at an office for nothing…

    Well, yeah, … but it’s a flawed comparison.

    Since we’re talking about a hobby, we’re also talking about hobby spending-budgets. So no matter how “fair” the wage is that you’re asking, if if it doesn’t fit the combined hobby budget of all wargamers interested in your product, you will not be able to earn that wage. And unfortunately, budgets that people are willing to spend on wargaming are far less than the budgets people are willing to spend on software developers …

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by Phil Dutré Phil Dutré.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by Phil Dutré Phil Dutré.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by Phil Dutré Phil Dutré.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by Phil Dutré Phil Dutré.
    #84381
    Angel Barracks
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    And unfortunately, budgets that people are willing to spend on wargaming are far less than the budgets people are willing to spend on software developers

    I am not saying that someone doing 50 hours of figure painting a week should get the same that someone doing 50 hours of coding a week should get, but that they should get something.
    It does not seem unreasonable that you should get at least minimum wage for your work, regardless of what that work is.

    However plenty of people out there do think it unreasonable that games people earn money for their time spent working.

    #84384
    Phil Dutré
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    It does not seem unreasonable that you should get at least minimum wage for your work, regardless of what that work is. However plenty of people out there do think it unreasonable that games people earn money for their time spent working.

    Well, yes, of course, but if the payer decides that even the minimum wage does not fit his budget, there is no minimum wage. Minimum wages only work if the alternative (i.e. not paying someone to do the job and therefore not getting the job done or having to do it yourself) is a much worse option.

    Don’t get me wrong, I sympathize with your argument, but economic principles don’t always apply to hobby markets and associated budgets.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by Phil Dutré Phil Dutré.
    #84389
    Ivan Sorensen
    Ivan Sorensen
    Moderator

    There’s also the old-as-time tradition that someone who doesn’t want to pay 2 dollars to have a figure painted (or whatever it costs nowadays) will complain bitterly when the figure they paid 25 cents to have painted looks like ass 🙂

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

    #84394

    How much does copyright infringement affect rules producers ?

    #84395
    Ivan Sorensen
    Ivan Sorensen
    Moderator

    It’s hard to quantify.

    The other day, while searching for reviews of something, I came across one of the “chan” sites where one of my older titles had been uploaded with something like 3000 downloads of the file indicated.

    Thats about 10 times as many as I’d ever sold of it.

    Would every one of those 3000 people have paid for it? Certainly not.

    Would some of them have, if it was the only way to get it? Certainly.

    How many? That’s hard to say, but if even one out of every ten of those people had paid for it, that’d have paid my rent for a couple months.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

    #84397
    Whirlwind
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Are there any particular growth areas in the industry currently?  I am thinking of new geographical locations or new demographics.

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #84402
    Paul
    Paul
    Participant

    Do you see consistent growth in figure sales? Is that growth dependent on bringing out new ranges. IE: do you grow because you have the same grognards buying more new toys, or is there new blood buying into your older ranges constantly?

    Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let's go kill them!

    #84406
    Angel Barracks
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    Do you see consistent growth in figure sales? Is that growth dependent on bringing out new ranges. IE: do you grow because you have the same grognards buying more new toys, or is there new blood buying into your older ranges constantly?

    Ah, so new products are key to growth.
    I have not made any new products for AB for over a year and sales have remained consistent, a combination of regulars coming back for more and new people.
    Crom’s Anvil is growing, reaching new people.
    Growing a business is hard, you need to be everywhere all the time, what works best is people talking about you.
    It is time consuming to be on all the forums/sites yourself.
    I used to promote AB in 6mm groups on FB.
    But there are so many groups, many full of the same people it became of dubious value to post the same thing in a score of groups to the same people over and over.
    So I mostly let others talk about me on FB.

    When bringing out a new product I find it valuable to reference older ones.
    With Crom’s Anvil I have started for the Simurgh range to use one of my Character Models as a sort of sales person.
    It highlights the new model he is promoting as well as the figure range he is part of.

    People like to know that a range they want to buy into will be not die.
    For historicals if you have all the known troops available it is not such an issue I guess.
    But for sci-fi / fantasy there is always room for another version of something, and as such I feel it best to keep adding to that range, that way the range is alive and will attract both new people and draw the old one back in.

    I also think (from my years in B2B and retail sales as much as this) that people buy from people.
    I have certainly lost sales because of what people perceive about me and I have definitely gained sales for the same reason.
    How much in terms of overall sales are lost/gained due to my perceived online identity I am not sure, but it does have some effect.

    #84407
    Mike
    Mike
    Keymaster

    The other day, while searching for reviews of something, I came across one of the “chan” sites where one of my older titles had been uploaded with something like 3000 downloads of the file indicated.

    Uncool.
    I have also found my free rules uploaded to similar sites, people can be arses and plain weird.

    #84409
    Angel Barracks
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    Oh and the latest trendy rules can help.
    If someone brings out some new fancy WWII rules and you sell WWII models, expect a spike in sales if you do some promotion.

    #84410
    Tim
    Tim
    Participant

    It’s hard to quantify. The other day, while searching for reviews of something, I came across one of the “chan” sites where one of my older titles had been uploaded with something like 3000 downloads of the file indicated.

    That’s awful.  Is there any way to get them to take it down?

    #84411
    FCBoon
    FCBoon
    Participant

    I know you’ve touched on it above, but what consistently annoys me is when people try to negotiate down commission sculpting rates. If I quote, say £60, for a miniature that might only take 3 or 4 hours of work (over several days), yes that is more than minimum wage (although why this causes such outrage, I fail to understand), but they are buying more than just my time, they’re buying the IP of the miniature, that they can then do with as they want.

    http://www.boontownmetals.com

    #84428
    Noel
    Noel
    Participant

    Was it everything you thought it would be?

    #84432
    Darkest Star Games
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    I have found that when economies are good people purchase less miniatures.  Instead, it seems like people go on trips or do home improvements.  When the economy is bad, for some reason people tend to buy toys and hobby items… strange but true!

     

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #84433

    OB
    Participant

    I suspect it’s not that strange.  Big stuff is out of reach but little stuff is still affordable and gratifying.  Also cash rich, time poor has its obverse in times of recession.

    Interesting thread by the way.

    OB
    http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/

    #84451
    Ivan Sorensen
    Ivan Sorensen
    Moderator

    If I remember right, the video game industry saw an upswing in 2008/2009 as well.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

    #84512
    Ivan Sorensen
    Ivan Sorensen
    Moderator

    Are there any particular growth areas in the industry currently? I am thinking of new geographical locations or new demographics.

    My take:

    Demographics is one of those topics that tends to get people angry and shouting but I assume we’re all adults here… market to people who aren’t white dudes.

    Women, POC etc. play board games, they play RPG’s, they play card games.
    So figure out why they aren’t buying toy soldiers and there’s a lot of untapped money waiting for you.

    If it’s a question just of presentation, then one of the big glossy book companies will figure it out.
    If it’s a question of topic…well, we have literally all of time and space to work with.

    I think overlaps between wargaming and other game styles is also a market that has a ton of potential for someone to step into.
    Mini’s games that have aspects of RPG or card games (or the other way around). Board games that play like a mini’s game etc.

    There’s games that explore that space, but I think there’s still a lot of unrealized potential there.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

    #84525

    OB
    Participant

    Good point Ivan.  I’ve come across a few Indian wargamers in my time and Aaron who posts here has, I think, some Japanese gaming pals.  Mostly though the hobby is white and male in my experience.  If someone could crack the Chinese market I dare say there’s a lot of money to be made.

    OB
    http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/

    #84541
    Ivan Sorensen
    Ivan Sorensen
    Moderator

    China also has a fantastically rich history to draw upon for gaming material.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

    #84548
    Katie L
    Katie L
    Participant

    “I suspect it’s not that strange. ”

    It’s indeed not that strange. The situation even has a name amongst economics people — it’s called the “Lipstick Effect”. In a poor economy people buy small luxuries instead of large ones. So the sales of expensive shoes falls but those of expensive lipsticks rise.

    “So figure out why they aren’t buying toy soldiers and there’s a lot of untapped money waiting for you.”

    One thing that a lot of people (a lot of women but also some men) have mentioned to me is that they don’t like playing games involving the “death” of figures which are human enough that they associate with them. They don’t mind games in which they lose faceless counters. They don’t mind meaningful character deaths in RPGs. But when people-shaped things are being mown down with wild abandon makes them uncomfortable.

     

    #84549
    Ochoin
    Ochoin
    Participant

    The Chinese make a lot of the 1/72 plastic figures on the market.

    I have wondered if there is much local use.

     

    donald

    #84550
    Ivan Sorensen
    Ivan Sorensen
    Moderator

    One thing that a lot of people (a lot of women but also some men) have mentioned to me is that they don’t like playing games involving the “death” of figures which are human enough that they associate with them. They don’t mind games in which they lose faceless counters. They don’t mind meaningful character deaths in RPGs. But when people-shaped things are being mown down with wild abandon makes them uncomfortable.

    Yeah, that would make sense.

    It reminds me that I always wanted to try writing a wargame that was specifically for battles between robots (ala the old Battle Isle games).

    Though I read the other day that some officers end up feeling emotional attachment to those bomb disposal robots, so maybe that’s not even an option 🙂

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

    #84581
    OldBen1
    OldBen1
    Participant

    I think I buy miniatures because of my love for action figures as a kid.

    It is difficult to put a price on art, especially competitive art.  Miniature companies have to carve out new markets all the time I imagine.  There are a lot of hidden costs (sculpting, mailing, cursing) that buyers never see.  They wait at the door for their package to arrive.  People will haggle over the most ridiculous things.

    I think AB, Crom’s Anvil, and Nordic Weasel stuff is fairly priced, and I have invested in both.

    My question is:  Michael, Do you make a living from selling miniatures, or do you have another job?  I hope that’s not too personal.  I am a high school teacher.  It seems like such an interesting way to make money.  I met a man at my daughter’s soccer game whose daughter is in the same class as mine at school.  He sells ahem, feminine hair removal products for women’s more sensitive areas.  What a strange business to be in.

    #84583
    Mike
    Mike
    Keymaster

    TWW, AB and CA are my sole sources of income.
    I have no other job, but I do not make a living from them.
    I bring home enough to pay for the monthly food shop and a bit extra.

    However the flexibility it gives suits the needs of our family and especially those of my daughter.

    #84604
    OldBen1
    OldBen1
    Participant

    I was a stay at home Dad for 2 years when my kids were younger.  They were some of the best years of my life!

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