Home Forums Modern Expectations from a manufacturer?

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  • #18248
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    By manufacturer I mean a business that sells products of its own design, so like myself or Brigade Models, Rebel Miniatures and ACP Games as examples.

    I am putting this out there as I am having some guilt issues and am wondering if I am being too harsh on myself?

    I have lots of ideas for cool models for my own games, by that I mean one off models that will not be made into production pieces.
    The reason they will be on off is that it is cheaper and quicker.
    Most of my resin models break even after a few sales.
    Most of my metal models break even after a few years.

    A lot of things I have ideas for would be metal if they made it into production.
    I have this dilemma then that if I make such things for my own use as one offs that I will be letting my customers down by not making them commercially available.
    But if I do make them commercially available it will be possibly ages before I see any return…

    So I guess my question is; would you expect to see any models I make be available commercially or would you accept that some are just cool one off scratch builds for my own use, and you will never be able to buy them?

    #18250
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Angel Barracks:

    You are not your business and your business is not you. If you scratch-build something for yourself that does not imply an obligation to make it available to others. If you do want to do this, then perhaps some limited runs where you try to gauge the demand for a limited release model and make only “X” number of the model. Then, if and only if demand persists, might you consider putting it into regular production. But you should feel no compulsion to do this. The decision of what to produce should first and foremost be a business decision, based on the bottom line. You can do your customers more good in the long run if you manage your business well. If you encumber your business with nonviable product for tiny fringe markets then you may either frustrate yourself into quitting the business or drive yourself out of business.

    If you want to share your scratch-built models with others why not make plans or instructions on how to build them available on line and perhaps produce a line of accessories with which hobbyists can detail and “pimp” their own scratch-built models. That is what Rebelminis did with the turrets for the ultra-modern/Sci. Fi. line of MRAP’s they offered. I have bought some to retrofit some otherwise good models with poor turrets.

    On the question of durability of models my inclination is to go with the best product not the cheapest one. I will happily pay a premium for mini’s and models of good quality (detailing and durability) and will steer away from lower quality product if I can. The customer will remember the good quality and appreciate the good detail far longer than the extra 50 p or pound they had to pay to get it.

    I wish you the best in your hobby and your business and don’t beat yourself up about this.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    PS. It was while living in Bristol that I caught the wargame virus and have been happily infected ever since!

     

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 11 months ago by Rod Robertson.
    • This reply was modified 6 years, 11 months ago by Rod Robertson.
    #18252
    GeoffQRF
    Participant

    A lot of the stuff we make because we want it. Most of it we put into production, simply because if we want it, we are pretty sure that other people probably want it to and, to be honest, they are often our best sellers rather than stuff customers tell us they want, but then dont buy once we make it… “oh, you did it with the 1936 hatch with the rounded corners, what I really wanted was the March to August model with the squared corners and extra viewport….”

    Mind you, we will often slot them into moulds while we are doing other things, so it’s not relly much of a loss.

    That said, there is a lot of stuff I seem to make on a whim that chas never quite gets into mould. I did a lovely little Russian Pchela UAV. Not seen it since. Also my geese and dogs…

    QRF Models Limited
    www.quickreactionforce.co.uk

    #18253
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    The problem for me is that I started my own sci-fi range as I wanted to use stuff that people did not make, such as sci-fi civilians and sci-fi livestock.
    I wanted it, so I made it and made them into commercial products for others to buy.
    I still have that goal/desire in mind, to offer things that others don’t.
    Now I appreciate that not everyone will like a model that I think is cool.
    And of course talk is cheap, all manufacturers are aware that people will coo over products but not actually cough up the money to buy them once they are made.

    That is why the resin is integral to my business, I make the masters myself, and mould and cast them myself.
    They turn into profit quickly.

    I have actually approached a caster I use about mould sharing, so if they say yes then I can bring out all the quirky little odds and sods that I want to be able to sell without having to pay for a full production mould.
    They will be limited in terms of availability but they will be available, which will help me in terms of sharing the 6mm joy.

    Thanks, I think simply talking out loud has helped.

    #18272
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    You can ask around but as you say, people saying they want something doesn’t mean they’ll buy it.

    You could always break it up a bit. Do a few resin products to satisfy the cash flow, then do an “oddjob” metal figure once in a while. That way, if it turns out to sell well, huzzah, you won.

    And if it doesn’t, you’re not out a significant amount compared to trying to do an entire line of metal.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #18274
    willz
    Participant

    Your are being very harsh on yourself, you care about your product and your costumers or potential costumers.  Having contacted a figure manufacture this weekend with a request about the content of his pack deals and also requesting photo’s of some of his cavalry.  Sadly his reply to both my simple request for details was met with no photo and a lack of details about his packs.

    So I am not going to bother with buying any of his figures, with the internet thingy even I can post photo’s.

    Keep up the good work, from my perspective your are doing it correct.

    #18457
    gcmini
    Participant

    Personally I make a lot of things “because I can” or it’s just something I want for my gaming,,, and then customers see some of these things and ask “will this be available”? … if enough people ask that question, sometimes I will release the item as a product on the site.

    Some things are just for me, some are just silly …. I have a 1/285th scale Eiffel Tower model that is 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall,, this is something I built “because I can”, it will never be a retail product.

    On an unrelated note, I just checked out your website and it looks like you have some really cool stuff but I could find no mention of what scale any of it is.  Maybe I’m blind, but it did not jump out at me.

    Allen
    GameCraft Miniatures
    http://www.gcmini.com

    Allen Rockwell
    GameCraft Miniatures
    Business: www.gcmini.com
    My Blog: www.allensmicroarmor.com

    #18462
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    On an unrelated note, I just checked out your website and it looks like you have some really cool stuff but I could find no mention of what scale any of it is. Maybe I’m blind, but it did not jump out at me.

    🙂

    Right at the bottom of the page.

    Maybe it should be right at the top?

    #18463
    gcmini
    Participant

    I told you that I might be blind.

    … and it’s 6mm,,, best scale ever  🙂

    Thanks

     

    Allen Rockwell
    GameCraft Miniatures
    Business: www.gcmini.com
    My Blog: www.allensmicroarmor.com

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