Home Forums General General Do I Really want to Pay More For Wargames Figures?

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  • #147927
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Just listened to Madaxeman’s podcast on figure prices (see Ancient Board, Ultracast thread for link).

    I disagree with nearly all the conclusions of the discussion there.

    Wargaming is not a need, it is entirely discretionary.

    Premium pricing strategies are to be fought against not embraced.

    Doubling the price of figures would be a significant disincentive to those low income hobbyists with the priority of rent to find and kids to clothe and feed.

    ‘Hobby businesses’ are not evil people ‘lacking the cojones’ to charge more.

    Why would I applaud ‘proper business people’  boxing figures in large sets for their convenience not mine and charging extra for unnecessary packaging and box art I am going to throw away immediately. See ‘premium pricing’ comment above.

    Games Workshop may have ‘built a customer base’ and exploited it so they can charge what they want for figures. Is that really the model we want for historical wargaming? How is that an improvement?

    I want people producing figures to succeed. I don’t want them to produce figures at a loss or a minimal profit, but I see no need to want to spend more than necessary.

    I fail to understand the urge expressed in the podcast to pay a premium price for something where I don’t have to.

    I don’t mind price increases to keep pace with inflation, to cover increased metal and power costs, to cover labour costs if production increases but I’m stuffed if I want to pay more on a whim.

    #147929
    vexillia
    Participant

    Having listened to the podcast too I’m not sure the above is a fair summary of the discussion.  Part of the question being considered was “why are wargamers so tight fisted?”.  This was discussed in a broader context including other hobbies like golf, model railways etc.

    The big problem with the argument posted above is that it leaves each person to make their own judgement of what a premium price is.   The individual nature of the value judgement is compounded by the common habit of applying perceived, sometimes dated, market norms to identify higher priced ranges.

    Lower priced ranges (that is older ranges) will make modern, realistically priced ranges seem expensive when they may not be given their recent, and much higher, development costs.  It can take years for a 15 mm range to recover the cost of sculpting, mastering and production moulds.  That’s why there are lots of small businesses that sculpt their own and sell at the lower end of the price range: their development costs are much, much lower.

    The failure to set a reasonable retail price contributes to ranges, and sometimes whole businesses, vanishing.  I wrote an article about this in 2014 for Miniature Wargames that you might like to read.

    Finally, I was left wondering how one fights against “premium pricing strategies” other than a commercial boycott?  Only buying when things are heavily discounted perhaps (although I’m not sure that helps support any business in the long run)?

    Martin Stephenson :: Work | Blog | Auctions

    #147930
    Mike Headden
    Participant

    Given I am already avoiding buying figures I like because I:-

    Won’t buy 12 of something if I only want 1

    Won’t pay for game related cards/ dice/ charts/ etc for a game I don’t play just to get the figures

    Won’t pay more than the figures are worth to me just because the are exquisitely sculpted – they’re wargames figures not mantle ornaments

    Won’t pay more for postage than for the product

    I’m all for keeping unnecessary costs as close to zero as possible.

     

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    #147931
    Mike Headden
    Participant

    Finally, I was left wondering how one fights against “premium pricing strategies” other than a commercial boycott? Only buying when things are heavily discounted perhaps (although I’m not sure that helps support any business in the long run)?

    Sales, Ebay et al and alternative manufacturers with less slick packaging, fewer unnecessary add-ons and perhaps slightly less pretty miniatures.

    Edit: and smaller not increasingly larger figures. Yay! for 3mm 🙂

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    #147932
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    The points I raised are directly from the podcast.

    Golf and Model Railways were mentioned very briefly as being more expensive hobbies, as was biking. That seems irrelevant, given the thrust of the discussion, which was why gamers seek the best price rather than being happy to pay a premium for the ‘best figures’. (At no point was it explained what this subjective quality meant).

    The whole point of the market force in a capitalist economy is each member makes their own decision on what is the price they will pay and that mass of individual decisions creates an equilibrium price. Sellers want that to be higher, buyers lower. A totally discretionary product is in a poor position in classical theory to leverage that price upwards, hence the cunning marketing dodges employed in general markets to convince us that paying a premium for something unnecessary makes us cooler, better than our neighbour and not a mug.

    How does one fight against premium pricing? Not a boycott but exercising that classical economic choice. I avoid buying figures packed in huge numbers for manufacturers’ convenience, in packaging that is irrelevant and environmentally unfriendly, and especially stuff that is tied into complete package games. I’m happy to use existing lines as proxies for games regardless of what the rules say I should use, and in extremis would happily make my own or use cardboard counters or maps.

    I’m not a figure collector despite having c9,000 of the little blighters, and I currently intend buying more. I’d be content not to however if a weird buyers movement decided that every manufacturer should significantly increase prices to ensure ‘the best’ survived. Sounds a bit like a cartel (albeit one driven by strange consumers) to me. Competition drives prices down not up.

    #147933
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    Rant follows.

    I’m a wargamer, and I’m not ‘tight fisted’. I have a collection of luxury watches to prove it.

    That’s not a brag (well, maybe a bit), it’s all about perceived value versus intrinsic value. Many wargames figures manufacturers have a higher opinion of their product than their consumers do, the consumers are often correct.

    Charge premium prices, deliver a premium product. The comparison with any other hobby is a distraction, no other hobby demands that the consumer spends time improving the product they purchase before it’s fit for use.

    “WTF does the daft sod mean?” I hear you say. I mean flash, mould lines, miscasts, and all the other crap that lands on my modelling desk from Perry, Foundry and the other buggers who charge top prices for an inferior product. I’ve just spent a week deflashing, cleaning up mould lines and drilling the hands of a couple of dozen Foundry figures.

    When other professional manufacturer’s tooling gets tired it’s replaced, not eked out to ‘ahh, it’ll last just a few hundred more casts’. Cleaning the rubbish that wargames figures manufacturers produce is not ‘part of the hobby’ it’s a f***ing con, so don’t any of you dare tell me that I  ‘deserve’ to pay higher prices.

    Moving on to multi-figure packs. It makes sense for smaller sizes I suppose, although the price of 15mm packs is becoming a little spendy. For 28mm, it’s another bloody con. I don’t want to buy 12 figures when I only need nine. I don’t have to buy six Rolex just to get a frigging Submariner, or a case of mixed single malt to get the one distillery I want.

    The only exception I can think of to the above is Front Rank, which is why they get a large amount of my money. I just wish they had wider ranges.

    Don’t get me started on human and equine anatomy as understood by some sculptors, including Front Rank.

    And, as usual, what Guy said.

     

    The above screed was bought to you courtesy of Glenfarclas 21 year old. And now I need another…

     

     

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #147934
    OB
    Participant

    What Guy said.

    Also in current times the lipstick factor (A reasonably priced small treat) comes into play for many.  Price yourself out of that niche and watch sales disappear. There must have been a fair few Covid compensation purchases this year from what manufacturers are telling me.

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

    #147935
    McKinstry
    Participant

    I still remember  a professor whose constant refrain was ” a product is worth only what the consumer will pay”.  Certainly some subset of gamers will pay a premium for any given product but will that be a large enough subset to make that product successful? Unless a manufacturer  can create a genuinely iconic presence either through notably superior quality or a unique product offering I doubt the conditions exist in the hobby that can make premium pricing a commercial success.

    Never wrestle with a pig. You both get muddy and the pig just likes it.

    #147936
    Norm S
    Participant

    The hobby started from what was essentially backed up by a cottage industry. From here came the building blocks and plenty of that still exists, as do the generation of customers that have been part of that for decades.

    The line for money spending will be drawn by the individual depending upon financial situation (ability to pay) and mindset (willingness to pay). This line is what it is and the hobby hangs off it.

    Wargame shows are absolutely dependent upon spending and their testing time at the moment, other than the obvious Covid, is how many punters turn up to spend and how many turn up just for a social occasion. I think shows are probably the one obvious thing that are most exposed to the financial viability of the hobby.

    There are some clear marketing strategies that I am not keen on, such as rulebooks that have the Codex thing of you have to keep buying volumes of the set to be able to play. I am not an advocate of the the view that things were better when we bought a £2.50 set of stabled black and white rules with a pastel coloured light card cover, we can do better than that now and the likes of stand alone rulebooks from Great Escape Games and the rather excellent all encompassing (but £32) Bataille Empire from Herve Caille are good examples of that.

    I don’t get the impression from the traders that I deal with that they are driving around in Bentley cars or building swimming pools and I don’t get the impression that they are just selling product, any old product that could even be cabbages, first and foremost they do seem plugged in and care about the hobby and generally come from a wargames background, many could probably be thought of as enthusiasts rather than business people. We actually have rather a nice community.

    It is rather difficult to price the hobby as some of the traders are hobbyists at least in part and in financial terms, the customer base is very broad, with varying levels of actual disposable funds and like all sectors in life, even when the funds are there in good strength, some spend wildly and others who hang on to every penny for dear life ( I know both ) and so the whole thing is a variable feast, but ultimately, each of us makes our own contribution to some degree and the market finds its own level. The internet has an unfortunate consequence of showing the voices of the crowd that want something for nothing and at the other end of the scale, the crowd that publicly show off consumerism, both being an irritant to the middle ground, but I suppose it has always been thus.

    I have a hobby business friend who says that while there is a natural tendency for hobbyists to try to turn their hobby into a business, that that path is often fraught and that to be successful at the business you have to see it purely in terms of product, in his words ‘you may as well be selling cabbages and if you can’t shift the cabbages, you haven’t got a viable business’.

    The point at which a trader crosses the line where they need to scale up and employ staff and have a cash flow, seems to be a bigger part of our hobby now. I have absolutely no insight as to how much it costs to run such a hungry monster, but the truth is, to have a sustainable viable hobby, there needs to be spending, at what level will determine our vibrancy. I already see shows and magazines as being under pressure,  but an internet zone that seems to have everything we might ever wish for in our niche hobby.

    #147939
    Mike
    Keymaster

    I have often said that those who sell miniatures as a hobby are often the reason those that sell for a living find it harder.

    Those selling for a living need to ensure their selling price delivers enough profit to pay the bills.
    In an ideal world, they need to sell enough to pay the bills and put any excess back into the business to grow the range.

    Those selling for a hobby can (and some do) sell at a loss, they can use their salary from their day job to pay the bills and in many cases use their salary surplus to grow their hobby business range.

    Assuming both companies’ cost to make a figure is 50p, the hobbyist can sell them for 75p and after 100 sales has £25.00 for a curry on Friday.
    The business can’t live on 100 sales being only £25.00 so they charge £1.50 a figure.

    Wargamers being people are more likely to buy from the 75p guy than the £1.50 guy, why would you not?

    And this is what has and does contribute to the closure of many businesses.
    I have also seen the hobbyist business grow due to their low prices and then collapse as they get so busy they are working 24/7 like they would if they had a regular job but due to their low pricing they are earning less than minimum wage.
    They could risk doubling their prices to try and get their income to minimum wage but then the sales dry up..

    I have a hobby business friend who says that while there is a natural tendency for hobbyists to try to turn their hobby into a business, that that path is often fraught and that to be successful at the business you have to see it purely in terms of product,

    I agree, had I known what I know now I would not have sold 6mm sci-fi skirmish, nor 15mm fantasy skirmish.
    I would be selling 28mm, probably historicals in order to make at least minimum wage.

    There are many other subtle things that can be a factor, such as not buying from a reseller of a product is sometimes better for the producer than buying direct from them, but I digress.

    #147943
    Sane Max
    Participant

    Rant follows. I’ve just spent a week deflashing, cleaning up mould lines and drilling the hands of a couple of dozen Foundry figures.ixed single malt to get the one distillery I want.

    good god, I wondered who it was that was still buying Foundry stuff. I would never have thought it was you. They were a Premium product 20 years ago maybe.

    I don’t think we consumers are expected to agree with the idea of putting prices up, but it would need all the various manufacturers to do it at the same time really… I remember when a certain Ansell phoned his GW stores (there were few enough he could do that) and told them to take everything off the shelves, double the price and put them back. It worked because in those days where else were you going to go for your GW Stuff? Any Historical Manufacturer pulling that stunt in the modern era will vanish in a puff of insolvency.

    So, It’s not a thing I expect to happen any day soon.

    #147952
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    In a free market, a customer has the choice where to buy his product. It’s the responsability of the seller to price the products in such a way that the seller earns a profit he thinks is sufficient for his labour, efforts and costs. And it’s the customer who can decide whether he wants to pay that price.

    Of course, in hobby markets (as opposed to simplified models used in economics 101) there’s a whole range of factors that will influence the price the customer is willing to pay: loyalty to a specific manufacturer; care about the hobby at large; hobby items being luxury items; the need at that point in time for a specific product; hype of the day; etc.

    But overall, I do think wargaming figures are too cheap. We all buy 100s of figures that never will be used. Over half of wargaming purchases end up in lead mountains, stored away in garages. Wargaming purchases (as many hobbies) are not about actual wargaming. There are about dreaming about wargaming 😉 Based on that, yes, figures could be more expensive. But of course, manufacturers would then also sell less figures. Up to them to determine the sweet spot.  And if the sweet spot would be such that only spare-time-businesses can survive, so be it.

    But in essence I see nothing wrong to sell high-priced high-quality figures to collectors, and lower-priced lower-quality figures to the wargamer who needs masses of them.

    It’s not as if there’s a monopoly in the market right now.

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
    Wargaming Mechanics Blog: http://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.com/

    #147953
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    … And this is what has and does contribute to the closure of many businesses. ..

    Closing a business and dealing with the consequences is always a hard nut to crack for the individuals involved.

    OTOH, if the nature of the market is such that small-scale prof businesses cannot survive, and the better model is to run a hobby business in your spare time, then why would that be a problem for the hobby?

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
    Wargaming Mechanics Blog: http://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.com/

    #147955
    Mike
    Keymaster

    OTOH, if the nature of the market is such that small-scale prof businesses cannot survive, and the better model is to run a hobby business in your spare time, then why would that be a problem for the hobby?

    I guess one issue is that without the financial need to stay in business then many small time businesses operating as hobby businesses may just decide to pack it in, after all they can afford to just shut up shop as they are not reliant on that income.
    Why is this a problem?
    Well, maybe Bob’s Models was one of 3 that made those obscure period/genre models you are working on.
    You chose Bob’s Models over the other 2 as even though they are all “25mm” Bob’s actually are 25mm not 32mm so they work with your existing stuff.
    You can’t use the other 2 as Clare’s Models are 32mm and Sam’s Models are just plain crappy to look at.

    So that is your project stalled/abandoned.

    I think that if all companies produced the same size and same style and same quality models it would not damage the hobby if a business shut as the customer could spend money at another shop and keep pumping cash into the industry.
    But without the consistency then some projects will be abandoned which will of course frustrate some customers.

    Though to counter that the same customer may likely start a new project and sell their old stuff, thus potentially starting the cycle again.

    On a personal note, having started for the first time in about 15 years starting using figures other than what I produce myself, it is a massive PITA.
    One companies 10mm are another companies 12mm and another companies 15mm!
    It is difficult to match up sizes, then styles are different, then buildings are not the same size across the industry, there is a huge amount of inconsistency and for someone new coming into the hobby it could prove to be a stressful experience.

    I can see why so many people stick with GW for example, it all is contained and everything you need can be bought online or on the high street with the knowledge you can get it all in one place and it is all designed to work together, and whilst nothing is forever, I would gamble on GW being in the hobby business for a while yet.

    Which is another thing, when I retire my miniatures range will be gone, when the CEO of GW retires, GW will carry on providing their product.

    #147956
    madaxeman
    Participant

    Wargamers being people are more likely to buy from the 75p guy than the £1.50 guy, why would you not?

    As one of the people on the podcast (you can listen to it at https://madaxeman.podbean.com/e/episode-53-the-price-is-right-come-on-down/), Mikes question here I think quite nicely cuts to the heart of what we were trying to discuss.

    For the rules we all play a typical 15mm army comes in at 120-odd figures. That means the price difference between buying an army of the most expensive figures on the market today (50p each = £60) vs the cheapest (31p each = £37.80) is just £22.80.

    Given figures are at the heart of everything we do as gamers – playing, painting, collecting – and we all keep our collections for years (decades even), we spend loads on paint, terrain, gaming mats… heck, even box sets of naval games from Warlord Games that we’ll be lucky to play even once – in what part of our collective psyche does it make sense to spend ages calculating how to ‘save’ £22 on 120 figures we’ll spend months painting and play with many times if that means we are compromising on “quality” by not just buying the figures we like the most ?

    Why don’t we instead spend the same time simply choosing the figures we like the best and then buying them, whether they are 31p, 40p or 50p a pop?

    The knock-on stuff about hobby vs commercial manufacturers is very interesting, but it’s almost a separate topic.

    You can:
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    #147957
    Sane Max
    Participant

    I can see why so many people stick with GW for example, it all is contained and everything you need can be bought online or on the high street with the knowledge you can get it all in one place and it is all designed to work together, and whilst nothing is forever, I would gamble on GW being in the hobby business for a while yet.

    Which is another thing, when I retire my miniatures range will be gone, when the CEO of GW retires, GW will carry on providing their product.

    True….. but with GW you have the opposite problem – I don’t wake up one morning to discover my Union Army is suddenly worse at fighting, and wear different hats from the day before. I was browsing YouTube for tips on stripping, and when I watched some done by GW players felt like Rip Van Winkle’s Granny. ‘That’s not a Genestealer!! What happened to those nice Lizardmen? Aren’t Arbites looking young nowadays?’

    #147958
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Why don’t we instead spend the same time simply choosing the figures we like the best and then buying them, whether they are 31p, 40p or 50p a pop?

    Some people are not that fussed over the look, they prefer the mechanics and the game, rather than the look/feel?
    So they choose cheapest.

    #147959
    madaxeman
    Participant

    Why don’t we instead spend the same time simply choosing the figures we like the best and then buying them, whether they are 31p, 40p or 50p a pop?

    Some people are not that fussed over the look, they prefer the mechanics and the game, rather than the look/feel? So they choose cheapest.

    Absolutely – there are clearly some gamers out there for whom figures are just 3D counters, and that’s one of the answers we came up with too (spoiler alert!). Maybe we need to get you on as a guest so we don’t need to wiitter on quite as long next time around

     

    You can:
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    #147960
    Russell Phillips
    Participant

    Some people are not that fussed over the look, they prefer the mechanics and the game, rather than the look/feel? So they choose cheapest.

    I’m largely in that category, although I don’t do much buying or wargaming these days.

    Also,

    For the rules we all play a typical 15mm army comes in at 120-odd figures. That means the price difference between buying an army of the most expensive figures on the market today (50p each = £60) vs the cheapest (31p each = £37.80) is just £22.80.

    When I was younger (and wargaming regularly) £22.80 was a big difference, even allowing for inflation. I had very little spare money to spend on wargames figures, so I’d buy the cheaper option wherever possible. At the time, I did a lot of WW2 and Cold War wargaming in 20mm, which meant that a lot of vehicles were available as resin, metal, or plastic kits. The plastic kits (Esci or Airfix IIRC) took much longer to assemble, but were much cheaper than the resin and metal options. So I bought plastic kits wherever possible, because I could afford to spend time much more than I could afford to spend money.

    Military history author
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    #147961
    Dave Hollin
    Participant

    I refuse to pay the Games Workshop prices but then I have no interest in their figures anyway….

    The first consideration for me is quality followed by range followed by single figure purchase options and/or multipose packs followed by price. I like to mix and match all kinds of figures in my units which invariably means using a spectrum of manufacturers across all the price bands in practice. I thus tend to buy my figures at an ‘average’ price. This was when I bought 15mm. Now I have moved onto 10mm (historical) and so the questions and considerations are in fact relegated to ‘can I get hold of any figures for this army/period’ and then the price question is irrelevant

     

    #147962
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    Rant follows. I’ve just spent a week deflashing, cleaning up mould lines and drilling the hands of a couple of dozen Foundry figures.ixed single malt to get the one distillery I want.

    good god, I wondered who it was that was still buying Foundry stuff. I would never have thought it was you. They were a Premium product 20 years ago maybe.

    I think I bought them in the 90s 🙂

     

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #147963
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    I think that if all companies produced the same size and same style and same quality models it would not damage the hobby if a business shut as the customer could spend money at another shop and keep pumping cash into the industry. But without the consistency then some projects will be abandoned which will of course frustrate some customers.

    Ok, but how many wargamers act like that? Quite the contrary. Many wargamers I know buy tons of a specific range all at once, then end up using only a fraction.  Also, you assume that many wargamers want 100% consistency in their figures and scenery. But from what I see, that’s simply not the case for the majority of wargamers. Many wargamers mix different figure ranges, even though they are not fully compatible to the purist.

    But I agree that it can be a disappointment if a figure range suddenly becomes unavailable and if you were still planning on buying more.

    But consumption patterns vary greatly. When I was just starting out, and all the money I had was pocket money I got from my parents, then of course you think and think and think for weeks about a single figure to buy. But 30 years later, the situation for me is quite different. I’m not really limited by the amount of money I am able to spend (well, in practice of course there is a limit), but my real limits are now more defined by storage space, self-discipline(!) and a realistic assessment of whether I will use the stuff in the next couple of years.

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
    Wargaming Mechanics Blog: http://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.com/

    #147966
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Also, you assume that many wargamers want 100% consistency in their figures and scenery.

    It is certainly a question I get a fair number of emails about, how well do my figures scale with X and how tall are they in reality etc.

    #147967
    PatG
    Participant

    Wargamers being people are more likely to buy from the 75p guy than the £1.50 guy, why would you not?

    …. For the rules we all play a typical 15mm army comes in at 120-odd figures. That means the price difference between buying an army of the most expensive figures on the market today (50p each = £60) vs the cheapest (31p each = £37.80) is just £22.80. ….

    I use 15mm for SF skirmish so that £22.80 is another 73 odd figures, another 2 platoons, or a 160% increase over a 120 figure army. Buying better has a lost opportunity cost for variation. In my opinion, the difference in appearance between “good enough” 15mm and “superb” 15mm at table distances is not all that great.

    Moving up to 20mm WWII in North West Europe. This is my “cheap” project done with Airfix style plastics. I have a few ABs and they are indeed stunning. I need to buy more Germans but there is no way I am going to spend more than the price of my Matchbox/Italeri Canadians – especially since I need to buy SS.

    25mm Colonials/VSF – I have been lusting after some Tsuba 28mm Japanese from Empress, but I have a sizeable collection of true 25mm that I am not about to replace. To be fair, with true 25mm getting harder to find, sometimes the price differential is less of a concern.

    28mm WWII – Now this is where your discussion resonates. Figure counts are low, and detail makes a noticeable difference at this scale. This is where I will consider spending more for better figures in the future.

    #147968
    Thomaston
    Participant

    So many points above are true.

    (deleted a long ass post becasue it coudl be said in fewer words)

    I think companies like GW/Privateer Press/Corvus Belli could dictate the high price because they have a regular schedule of new releases to keep people interested. Tornament players will buy minis to keep their armies competitive. Those already into their games/minis will have excuse to spend more and the new stuff will inevitably draw in more people. Smaller companies selling minis for proxies don’t heve the same added value of officiali minis but are still great display minis and probably cater to a more specific crowd. At least some will think the price is fair.

    For those of us who think minis are getting way expensive there’s plenty of cheaper options, the trade off is the lack of coherent style and non-uniform scale.

    Tired is enough.
    R-rated narcissism

    #147969
    Mike Headden
    Participant

    On Cruel Seas, since it’s been referred to, I bought the rules from Warlord, the ships and a lighthouse from Tumbling Dice and Ros & Heroics (in 1/600 scale), made the ship roster and markers myself and have played three or four dozen games (several solo, alas, courtesy of Covid).

    Cash, storage space, painting time, playing area and range of models available all played a part in my decisions.

    With “big box” offerings I prefer to play the game I want, not the game the company might prefer me to want.

    I’m happy with my decision and don’t miss the bigger, more detailed models.

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    #147970
    PatG
    Participant

    ….I’m happy with my decision and don’t miss the bigger, more detailed models.

    And your boats don’t look like hovercraft. 1/600 gives a better feel for the ranges involved as well.

    #147974
    madaxeman
    Participant

     In my opinion, the difference in appearance between “good enough” 15mm and “superb” 15mm at table distances is not all that great. ……. 28mm WWII – Now this is where your discussion resonates. Figure counts are low, and detail makes a noticeable difference at this scale. This is where I will consider spending more for better figures in the future.

    Yep, that’s all more than fair – “quality” is always going to be subjective, and its importance differs by scale too. Given that we all play multiple scales and multiple periods I’m sure we all play some games where the figures are “gaming pieces” and others where the aesthetics are much more important too. It’s not a “one size fits all” discussion really..

     

     

    You can:
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    #147978
    Thuseld
    Participant

    Great topic and discussion. Absolutely brilliant. I will be naming manufacturers and hope this is okay.

    I started out as a kid with Airfix, Matchbox/Revell, and Italeri figures (1/72) along with various 1/72 kits that we bought when pocket money allowed. This was fine as a youth as we weren’t all that interested in proper historic gaming, just tanks blowing each other up. But as time has gone on, price counts more for me.

    I spent money on Armourfast and PSC multi vehicle boxes because they were cheaper. Yes they were less detailed, but I was not worried about that. It allowed me to get actual tank platoons ready for games that never happened. If I ever go back to 20mm WW2 gaming, I will likely continue down that route, because I can paint and customise a durable wargame model to a decent standard, rather than having an intricate, expensive model. Likewise with figures. I will gladly pay £12 or so for a PSC box of 20mm figures, knowing it is an entire platoon, and all I will need to buy for a while. I care about quantity, not so much quality, unless the quality is utterly garbage.

    These days, with 6mm WW2, I am using H&R, because they give me most for my money. The Germans look great, the vehicles are fine, the US infantry are kind of lame, but I don’t really care at this point. I can buy what I need for a platoon with extras, HMGs, MMGs, bazookas, mortars for £8 or so, whereas if I wanted Baccus, which is superior figures, I am looking at a much larger cost for similar. Will I one day use Baccus? That is the dream, but I fear their being larger would mean I have to start replacing my vehicles. GHQ have priced themselves out of my purchasing power also, even though their figures are gorgeous.

    6mm Sci fi, I will basically pay what I want for what I want. Brigade, GZG, Khurisan, CinC, Angel Barracks (CP Models now). I have stuff from all of these and the price has never impacted me. GZG throw in loads of figures per pack. Brigade give you a specific number, but it is cheap. CinC is more expensive, but I love the figures. Khurisan, well I want my Xenomorphs. If I see a figure set and want it, I will likely just buy it with 6mm Sci Fi. However, oddly, every time I get the urge for 15mm Sci Fi, something about spending £3 on 8 figures turns me right off.

    I guess I want to feel like I am getting a good deal, while also helping out someone in my hobby. I have enjoyed this discussion.

    #147981
    Norm S
    Participant

    Context ……. £45 to get into a football stadium 🙂

    Hairdresser visit £60 🙂

     

    #147983
    John D Salt
    Participant

    Given figures are at the heart of everything we do as gamers –

    They certainly aren’t for me, and I can’t be the only wargamer for whom this is true.

    Context ……. £45 to get into a football stadium 🙂

    Hairdresser visit £60

    I also doubt that I’m the only wargamer who has never paid to get into a football stadium, and spends very little on haircuts (having, in fairness, very little hair) since investing in a set of clippers 25 years ago.

    All the best,

    John.

    #147984
    Mike Headden
    Participant

    Confirming I have never paid to go to a football match and that I cut my own hair – even though there’s a reasonable amount of it 🙂

    Pre-Covid I was an avid movie fan and went to the local Cineworld to see four to six films in an average month. Best, or worst depending on your point of view, was seeing four films back-to-back on a cold, wet, dreich day.  So I got a pass that cost less than twenty quid a month and let me go as often as I wanted. So, it’s not just wargames!

    Then again, I am a Scot. 🙂

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    #148003
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    Context ……. £45 to get into a football stadium 🙂 Hairdresser visit £60 🙂

    How much?! £60 … for a haircut? I don’t even pay that much here in Norway. It’s £20 here and £8 when I am in the UK, and I have a veritable mane that needs taming.

    On the figure pricing front, I don’t have strong feelings about pricing of 15mm or 6mm. 50p for a 15mm figure still feels ok. I know I used to buy them for 10p each but that was a long time ago and there is this thing called inflation. I can still afford enough for the gaming I do (or at least plan to do). As I have been collecting figures for games since the early 80s, I am not that interested in quantity any more either and am more interested in interesting figures that fit with what I want to game. What I do want is for the manufacturers to remain interested in producing and supporting their ranges, so I am happy to pay a price that makes it worth their while. I am generally ok with current market prices for 15mm and 6mm and will make a purchasing decision based on perceived value to me. Don’t get me started on premium 28mm prices though!

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    https://emidsvikings.ac.uk/
    https://roderickdale.co.uk/

    #148004
    irishserb
    Participant

    First, let me qualify that I didn’t listen to the whole podcast yet (to hours is a lot of hobby time for me).

    What I find from the above is that many of the assumptions about me and my hobby, and the way (at least) some gamers approach their hobby is not correct, or at least not my experience.  For example, with respect to madaxeman’s example above, I’ve never been a big ancients gamer (though I do have some interest there), and neither have the members of my gaming groups over the years.  But, for pre-mechanization 15mm armies, my armies have ranged from 800 -1800 figures, 4-10 times the size of his example.  My 15mm mechanized armies tend to range from 300-500 figures, and, 80-400 vehicles and aircraft, where  vehicles run typically 15-33 times the cost of a fig.

    I suspect that the amount of time that I spend  deciding which figures to buy is far less than madaxeman’s experience given probably differences in our approach to the hobby, and thus, his roughly $30 increased cost for his 180 fig army is increased to an extra $330 for my smaller armies, now when you multiply that over my 38 or so 15mm WWII to modern era armies (my earlier period armies have mostly switched over to 28mm), that translates into around $12, 500 dollars.  In a big spending year, I might pop out around $1200-1300 hobby dollars, so to follow the practice that he suggests, I lose all of my figs from my 10 highest spending hobby years.

    A lot of my armies would simply never get to be, to save a relatively small number of hours.  I don’ t have a lot of free time, and the time spent considering which figures to buy usually consists of down time between projects at work, sitting in the car waiting for my wife to pick up the odd item at the store, etc.  I’m not losing premium time over where to buy my figs.  I couldn’t be painting my figs or playing a game with the time instead.  Additionally, I am often reduced to choosing from 1 or 2 serious contenders for my figs, as “over-priced” figs are almost always out, and the worst figs are usually out, unless they are the one available line.  The money is far more important than the time with respect to this issue.

    Beyond that, I have some philosophical issues about marketing, profit margins, and a lot of other things.  I don’t buy into “premium” quality at a price disproportionate to production cast.  “Best quality” is a subjective term, considering price, style, scale, accuracy, package quality, turn-around time, scope of range, and other issues, not just artistic quality of the fig.

    I master and cast some of my own stuff, and someties sell some stuff too. probably falling into that hobby business category of Mike’s.  That happened, because some gamers begged me to make some of my models available to them, because they were unhappy with what was out in the market place or couldn’t find what I made otherwise, not because I wanted to stop any full blown businessmen from eating.  Anyway, the cost of making a really good master, vs. making a not so good master is like 8 percent more time for me.  I imagine people who are good at this, can do better, so why the frick is the difference between average and good miniatures prices often a 50 percent price increase?  It doesn’t cast me any more to cast a good miniature, than a crappy miniature.  This is more notable in larger scales, but given my experience, that lower end 31p figure should be more like 35p if done pretty nicely.

    Now, another manufacturer offering something that I want, saves me the time of mastering and casting my own, and that convenience is worth something to me (casting is brain numbingly boring for those who don’t do it), so I might be willing (as in, absolutely) to pay more than what I suggest in the last paragraph without holding any grudges or anything, but I’m not a fan of the concept of “premium pricing”  because buying an over-priced item (relative to production costs), makes some insecure dude feel good about himself, or because somebody just wants to gouge me so that they can buy another lear jet for the family.  And, I’m happy to pay a “fair’ price, one that keeps my miniature maker/supplier and his kids eating well, warm, and  dry with hopefully a bit more to enjoy.  I appreciate the manufacturer, because he does save me the time of making masters, molds, and casting, which lets me game more armies and periods.  I want the manufacturer to do well, but not at the cost of taking away enough of my hobby, that I might consider doing something else, which madaxeman’s suggestion, if acted on, might be enough to do in my case.

    I think that the real answer to the question is that the hobby marketplace is made up of quite a variety of buyers (just consider the different perspectives, habits and interests shared above), with different “needs’, and as a result, there is room for a range of manufacturer’s who can appeal to different parts of that market place.  The trick for them is that they need to understand their part of that market well enough to be successful, which I wish upon all of them (well, maybe except for those two lear jet miniatures manufacturers).

    #148006
    Mike
    Keymaster

    so why the frick is the difference between average and good miniatures prices often a 50 percent price increase?  It doesn’t cast me any more to cast a good miniature, than a crappy miniature

    Production cost is more than casting.
    Sculpting costs for better figures tend to cost more than for poor figures.
    One of my sculptors charges double what the other does.
    I eat these costs myself due to the low number of figures I release.
    If however I was producing a lot of the nicer sculpts I would look to cover my costs by charging more for the nicer sculpts.

    For example, say 5 figures a year of the better style would cost me £200 more to commission, I can swallow that cost myself.
    10 figures a month of the better style however would be nearly £5000, not a cost I can afford to ignore.

    #148008
    Sane Max
    Participant

    Context ……. £45 to get into a football stadium 🙂

    Hairdresser visit £60 🙂

    I don’t think you can claim you spend £60 on a haircut, and then not provide a ‘photo of your Barnett 🙂 I am expecting a pretty damn impressive looking Wargamer here.

    I spend a fiver once a month.

    #148014
    Norm S
    Participant

    £60 would be what the ladies are paying (at least!) as a standard price on the high street

    me ……. I am OK with my set of electric clippers doing a number 4 top and a number 2 sides ….. or in old money, a short back and sides.

    The front is as styled as a short back and sides can be …. the back ….. who knows, I can’t even see it 🙂  it probably looks like a knife and fork job!

    #148015
    John D Salt
    Participant

    I don’t think you can claim you spend £60 on a haircut, and then not provide a ‘photo of your Barnett 🙂 I am expecting a pretty damn impressive looking Wargamer here.

    I spend a fiver once a month.

    This, I think, is the difference between a hairdresser and a barber. Probably it would cost more yet if you were ever to visit a coiffeur.

    All the best,

    John.

    #148016
    Dave Hollin
    Participant

    The last time I paid for a hair cut I think you could buy a 15mm figure for 10p

    #148017
    Thuseld
    Participant

    Speaking of hair cuts, I am in the “bought some clippers” camp, again to save money.

    I want to add a few things. My funds are such that I basically spend maybe £100 per year on miniatures and modelling supplies. And that is generous. So making sure my miniatures are worth buying is absolutely vital for me.

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