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  • in reply to: royal mail delivery duty paid #194009
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    As to overseas [non Brit] ppl getting taxed at point of entry/ delivery, that’s their problem. As I stated above- most of us here defy the $400 minimum limit for tax collection at our border by ordering low

    The issue in the UK and the EU is that the threshold for collecting import VAT is zero, so tax is collected on each and every import parcel regardless of value. And that for customers in EU countries such as Belgium, the charge for collecting VAT on import is a heady 23 euros (it varies from EU country to country: under 3 euros in Finland; 6 euros in Germany; 20 euros in France, for example). You could order an item worth 1 euro, and in Belgium in theory you’d get charged 23 euros for the joy of collecting around 20 cents in tax.

    The UK adopted a variation of the EU scheme in businesses sending orders worth under £135 to the UK must register for VAT in the UK, which is why US wargames businesses among others have largely stopped sending small orders to the UK. The EU is slightly more flexible in that it also allows orders of all value to have VAT collected in the same way as before, i.e. by the receiving country’s delivery service at the point of import (it works that way in the UK too for orders over £135). But the high VAT collection fees for some countries (again, Belgium) have killed off orders.

    Most of the pre-payment systems are too expensive for a small business (OK if you’re turning over £100,000, but otherwise not). The Royal Mail’s duty-paid option potentially makes pre-payment of VAT viable for small businesses and would mean customers don’t get the pain of paying tax at the border. They might pay much the same overall, but it will come as one payment, not one for the order and then another for tax.

    Of course, the workload the change in the rules caused for customs organisations caused a massive pile-up at the frontiers because so much work was suddenly required to collect piddling amounts of tax. Electronic customs documentation, now that teething problems appear to be over, has helped.

    The sensible approach workload-wise would be to have the NZ, US, Oz approach of a high-ish threshold, only collecting VAT on imports of meaningful size. But no, the UK and EU decided they needed to collect tax on the flood of tiny-value shipments from Chinese businesses selling via Amazon and eBay – with no apparent thought about how that affected small businesses. Just as rules changes for VAT on e-products once hit old ladies selling knitting patterns  (and wargames businesses selling e-rules, which is why I use Wargames Vault or offer free e-books).

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: royal mail delivery duty paid #193939
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    Once the Royal Mail duty-paid delivery system gets around to covering the whole of the EU, it might be worth investigating. It is also not comforting seeing the process involves a vendor setting tax for each country, then knowing that Royal Mail will later let the vendor know what is ultimately charged by the receiving country, plus 50p on top. There’s an air of uncertainty therefore over how much will be charged and whether what the vendor charges the customer will be enough. At least on my first and second reading. Still keeping an eye on it, though.

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: Visited Partizan II 2023 #191374
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    … pork ramen with udon noodles …

    Worth the sacrifice. Churu churu churu

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: Magister Militum closing up shop #189057
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    Somebody else used to sell Oddzial Osmy in the UK years ago – I presume they are long gone?

    As Mike says, I used to. I stopped after it became apparent that Magister Militum was going to make a serious thing of it and, with Richard and Zoe’s outfit being bigger, and with me not looking forward to the joys of importing from the EU after Brexit, and not trying to sell EU-made products back to the EU,  I simply decided to ditch  Oddzial Osmy (O8) and sell my stock to them.

    Marcin at O8 is understandably keen to get more retailers, but the market in the UK is or was big enough to support only one. He was kind enough to let me know in advance that Richard was considering stocking the figures, and I was equally frank in letting him know that I would probably have to stop if that were the case. A number of others have tried and failed to compete in the UK with the range – at the time I had Eureka and AB to support me, so I simply was able to outlast them.

    O8’s range has grown so much – and it was large when I stopped – that it would be quite a financial burden for someone new to take it on. That doesn’t mean someone won’t, and reduced price stock from Magister Militum would certainly make it possible. I’m on a long-term retirement plan with Fighting 15s and Gladiator Miniatures, aiming at stopping in 2030 (that’s a heads-up for everyone), so it certainly won’t be me.

    Ian

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: Editorial- Something Smells in Publishing #186812
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    I used to copy edit and proofread books for a living. The rate of pay for the time involved was such that it was not financially worthwhile to do more than go through a book once at either the copy editing or proofreading stage. As for fact checking on top of that…

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: New Warlord resin #183431
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    £60 gross for a day’s production is a very slow way of making money. It’s not even minimum wage

    My point, badly put… was that if I can fanny about for an hour a day and make £60, people who who know what they are doing with multiple printers can certainly do more.

    Yes, but some of us can fanny around for an hour or two a day with a casting machine and make much more. Or have more free time for the effort involved. 🙂

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: New Warlord resin #183428
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    To be fair. There are plenty of folk on etsy that make a living 3d printing. A couple of people I know have a 3 or 4 machines constantly running. Now they work from home and have no staff so overheads are low. I suspect if your cost of living is less than others then it is achievable. When I was selling 3d prints I could make about £70 rrp of prints a day that cost about £10 in resin. If you have the right product at the right price and more than 1 machine it can be done.

    Business overheads even when working from home are substantial, as year-end accounts often show. 🙂

    And forgive me for observing, £60 gross for a day’s production is a very slow way of making money. It’s not even minimum wage, especially when all business overheads are considered.

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: New Warlord resin #183381
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    Home 3D printing may well make an impact. But, for me, the resin sounds very unpleasant to deal with, there are waste disposal issues (resin in alcohol), waste of material issues because supports are not recyclable, and rate of production issues (it’s slow). The machines are still hobbyists’ tools: i.e. your hobby appears to have to be 3D printing, because you have to be willing to sort out all the issues of failed prints. Commercially, it only make sense to use 3D prints for masters for other production processes that have higher rates of production (at home, however, if you need only a few figures or tanks, for example, the rate of production isn’t a factor; but the question is more if you’re going to spend £300 plus on a machine, how much do you have to run off to make it pay for itself?).

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: New Warlord resin #183360
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    When Siocast was first available, the company seemed to approach every small manufacturer, promising greater productivity and more sales. But as Leon says, the cost for these small businesses is unaffordable and uneconomic. It has to be pitched at bigger players: Warlord, Workshop, and PSC, for example, for whom the outlay makes commercial sense. And there in lies the problem: ultimately, it’s a limited market. When Siocast has supplied machines to them, who else does it get to take up the process?

    The issues as Leon again says of using a proprietary process with a single source of materials, imported from the EU post-Brexit, has consequences on costs. Plus, if Siocast fails as a business, it’s a dead process.

    At least with metal casting, there are options for suppliers of casting machines, mould blanks and metals. So if one fails, it’s not the end of the world. And various manufacturers of equipment have failed in the past, including Saunders and MCP, both of whom made casting machines and vulcanizers.

    As I’m sure a number of people know, I feel perfectly able to supply metal figures at close to or equal to the price of plastics made using the Siocast process. While metal costs more, my casting machine was about 1/100th the price that Leon quotes for a Siocast setup.

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: New Warlord resin #183342
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    The innovation isn’t Warlord’s, rather what Siocast has done with the release of Siores Hard https://www.siocast.com/new-siores-hard/

    It’s still a thermoplastic material. Calling it resin, which is what thermoplastic granules are also called in injection moulding, only adds to the confusion caused by most wargamers knowing resin as a two-part thermosetting plastic.

    Rebranding a commercially available and presumably trademarked product is just a puzzle to me.

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: Do gamer/ modellers deserve better Service? #177983
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    Bad enough figure ranges change hands; then we’re left hanging with time delays and set up problems. Not being able to buy some few significant (and a lot more when they’re done) for over a year means nothing to those who want to see them. I can’t see figures because they have no pics, though I’m sure they have them as many others are present.

    As someone who has a few dormant ranges bought from other people, I will say that all of them have defects that need rectifying before being brought back into production. For example, I am currently, if slowly, remaking the moulds for Vexillia’s 15mm Late Medievals because the existing moulds are in terrible condition, with badly rusted locator studs. Plus half of them are made in a rubber that has a high sulphur content and discolours pewter. The production master figures haven’t been cleaned up properly, with quite evident mould lines. The range will cost more to fix than I paid for it. The work is therefore being fitted in between other mould making and casting.

    Similarly, I have the old 15mm Oddzial Osmy Napoleonics, all of which have bayonets on the wrong side of the musket to be fixed (rectifying this is very fiddly work). And a 40mm range of Late Dark Ages Saxons none of which have bases, because they were done for a museum and had resin bases (no moulds provided). Plus new photographs for 2,000 codes… particularly for those that don’t have even a poor picture. (I managed to process another 15 yesterday in what was a full day’s work to produce commercially acceptable pictures.) Some of these ranges have also been bought with a view to eventually, not immediately, bringing them back into production after refocusing the business.

    At least I know how much work is involved and am still producing figures and fulfilling orders for the main lines. Others buy ranges or businesses and all too quickly are made aware of the work involved and can’t cope. Some even discover that they can’t operate a casting machine properly or cut moulds that work….

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: AB figures and figure prices #172886
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    Sorry, I accidentally fired the shotgun load of customer assumptions about AB rather than using the sniper rifle and being more precise and sticking to the point. 🙂

    Some customers come across as very entitled when they buy AB Figures, with some very odd ideas about what the price gets them. I am very happy to no longer be serving those few who made selling the best figures there are a sometimes miserable experience. Most of my customers for AB were lovely.

    The worst ever customer was the one who acquired AB figures secondhand from other people over a number of years and then sent the broken ones to me expecting them to be replaced. Others have come close. 🙂

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: AB figures and figure prices #172769
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    AB Figures cost what they do because Tony Barton licenses them to be produced and charges a royalty for doing so, the percentage of which I’m not prepared to reveal, but it’s not small. When I also cast them under licence from Eureka I had an additional royalty to pay on top of that, the end result of which was that a large chunk of the price was royalties.

    No one is paying for a magical better way of production, so you’ll still get mould lines, flash and vent metal from traditional spin-casting moulds and techniques. If you think you are not getting those, then you haven’t seen some of the figures I never sent out to customers while agent.

    No one is paying for magically better levels of customer service, or should expect it because AB Figures cost more. You get that because the people who sell AB Figures are nice people. YMMV 🙂

    Eureka uses a relatively cheap tin-lead-cadmium alloy (cheap, that is, compared with the lead-free pewter I used for licensed AB Figures) so no one nowadays is paying for magically better metal quality. It casts well and holds detail. The actual cost of metal in an 18mm foot figure, for example, is pennies, even given the high price of tin nowadays.

    You are paying for shipping twice over. Once in the actual price, caused by the cost of importing to the UK. And then again for dispatch within the UK. Shipping from Oz to the UK typically used to add 16% to the price of the figures, done in bulk via courier.

    So it’s not surprising that a domestically produced 28mm item costs near the same as an imported 18mm item on which royalties and shipping play a significant part in determining final costs.

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: Is Frothers down for good? #159592
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    This happens periodically to Frothers, although less so in the past year. Like a bad penny it will turn up again in a day or so.

    It’s more the floater in the pan that won’t flush. 🙂

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: new eu tax system ioss ? #159591
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    IOSS is not viable for small businesses with limited sales to Europe. The Desucla platform mentioned above actually has a tier 5, annual fee £475, which if you indeed send 100 parcels to the EU a year will work out at just £4.75 extra per shipment. I don’t get to that level of EU orders nowadays, so the cost would be higher (whereas if I were still Eureka’s agent, the cost would be less, because the EU accounted for several hundred orders a year).

    However, it’s not a bargain for some countries, which charge only a small handling fee for collecting VAT on import (e.g. Germany, Finland, Sweden). It’s only attractive for those countries that have a high handling fee (e.g. The Netherlands, Belgium). And as Andrew Rae of Statuesque Miniatures has pointed out on various forums, some countries are still adding a handling fee to IOSS shipments to help cover the cost of introducing new technology to cope.

    There also remains the issue of having a shopping cart system that will charge VAT for EU orders under 150€ for the IOSS, and not charge VAT for orders over that value. And the grey area of exchange rates that make the breakpoint fuzzy for sites priced in other than euros.

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    My stock reply to people claiming to have years of experience doing a job is: “That’s all very well, but are you any good?” Bitter and repeated experience of people who’ve been doing something for years, but not actually doing it very well, from sub-editors to figure painters, gardeners, garage mechanics and builders.

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    I’ll certainly be rolling the packs out to other parts of the range, but it takes time to put them together on the website because I’m trying to get them to suit newer rules systems better than the existing army packs. I’m also aiming to back them up with castings from new moulds, and making those takes time. I’m currently redoing key moulds for the Marlburians, if that provides any hint about what may happen next. 🙂

    However, all packs will remain about the same in content: around 128 pieces for starter armies, and 32 infantry or 16 cavalry booster packs. Greater refinement in tailoring units and armies comes from the existing standard packs.

    There isn’t much benefit for me in discounting for what are only double standard packs, that’s why the new packs start discounting for what are in effect quadruple packs. If I do shows again, there’s a physical limit to what can be handed over in a day using standard packs. If if go via marketplaces such as eBay to reach the EU to better cope with VAT collection fees, I have more fixed costs per item to consider and smaller value items aren’t viable.

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    Mega Army And Unit Packs

    Looks like at least one manufacturer has been following with interest – these 15mm figures seem to now be actively priced at “cheaper than those new plastc ones” !

    I indeed listened to the original podcast. But it took plastic figures to go up in price since then for it to become viable for me to offers packs at matching prices – other manufacturers’ 15mm offerings are now cheaper compared with some packs of plastics, mainly the booster units of 32 infantry/16 cavalry.

    The actual value of metal in a 15mm foot figure is tiny, even in pewter, so making the things in plastic has a marginal benefit in terms of materials cost (the maths is more attractive for plastic mounted figures, but none the less I’d guess that two-thirds of the material costs of plastic figures must go into the sprues; metal sprues are just recycled when casting): the main factors remain the cost of living, royalties if appropriate, and being able to offer margins that will satisfy agents or retailers. Only sell direct and you can offer better prices: have retailers or agents, and you have to make a living after offering 40% discount.

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: Can someone explain VAT to me #149703
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    Sooooo, will HMRC seize packages from companies that didn’t register/pay VAT, holding it hostage until customs charge + £8 handling fee is paid as usual. Or can we expect the much downsized British Army to invade countries and enforce this law?

    The one thing we don’t know at present is what happens to a parcel worth under £135 that is non-compliant. It could easily be refused entry and sent back to the seller, or it could be destroyed as non-compliant, especially if no return address is given, on the grounds that by not complying with the law the seller is committing tax evasion. Complaints from the sellers that they don’t know the law will fall on deaf ears.

    It’s conceivable that UK customs may carry on using the old system for all imports that fail to comply. The old system of charging tax on import is still valid for shipments sent between private individuals, rather than business to consumer.

    But this thread is not about items coming into the UK, it’s about items coming into the EU from the UK. The EU will have its own version of this law (it’s an EU/UK law) soon enough (1 July): it scraps the 22 euro low threshold exemption for VAT on imports and will have non-EU businesses registering for VAT in a single EU country and filling in VAT returns. It’s that or have them run into the arms of online marketplaces such as eBay that will automatically take care of charging the VAT and the VAT returns. So expect this subject to rise again from the grave in July. 🙂

     

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: Can someone explain VAT to me #149669
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    There are several possibilities.

    First, as Whirlwind writes, a business is not registered for VAT. Many small U.K. wargames businesses do not turn over enough (£85,000 per rolling 12 months) to require them to register. This very generous VAT threshold is unlike the situation in a number of EU countries, where there is no such threshold. So, as they are not registered for VAT there is no VAT to charge. This confused the heck out of many USA wargamers before Brexit; now the confusion has spread to the EU. 🙂

    Second, a business is registered for VAT but does not deduct it for sales outside the U.K. This is perfectly legal provided that the VAT is declared to HM Revenue & Customs. In order to deduct VAT for sales outside the U.K. a business must provide proof of export. The effort of providing proof of export is too much for some businesses, so they do not deduct VAT.

    Third, from 1 July it gets more complicated. From then, U.K. businesses (in fact, any non-EU business) will be able to register for and use the EU’s IOSS system to charge and collect VAT at the point of sale and declare it in just one EU country in which they are registered for VAT. They will then submit a VAT return to that country, detailing sales to all 27 EU member states, which will obviously require a lot of paperwork. However, businesses that choose to go this route will be able to send out orders flagged as VAT paid, and their packages should should go through EU customs without a hitch (in theory!). I should add that this EU system is optional, and it is still possible for businesses to send parcels that have VAT collected by the delivery service. That’s where the EU system differs from the new U.K. system that came into effect on 1 January, despite both systems being children of the same EU parentage.

    I will add that Fighting 15s is VAT-registered, doesn’t find it too much trouble to get proof of export, and accordingly deducts VAT on orders going outside the U.K. but that deduction doesn’t show until the customer enters the delivery country in the shopping cart, for example, for estimated shipping costs.

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: Tinywargames. #148863
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    I know someone who had to try twice before getting the right mat. Mike

    So do I. Twice. 🙂

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    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.

    Also, VAT. Hello an extra 20%. Fighting 15s, for handy example, is VAT-registered and so its current offerings are more expensive to UK customers, but the comparative price to customers outside the VAT regime is good: 15mm Gladiator Miniatures are 42.5p inc VAT but about 35.5p ex VAT. The madaxeman podcast (I listened to the lot) doesn’t really compare like with like on prices because it’s an entirely UK-centric view. I’d deregister for VAT if my 12-month rolling turnover dropped low enough, but it wouldn’t change the price to non-EU customers or to EU customers from 1 January.

    Of course, I use to sell AB Figures at 70p inc VAT (58.3p ex VAT, better than the current 65p ex VAT) and had absolutely no trouble shifting them. I repeatedly got accused of price gouging, I assume by people who looked at the flat price in Australia and didn’t factor in overseas delivery at 16%-20% and VAT at 20%. And royalties in the UK of 40% for licensed castings (AB works differently from almost every other manufacturer, because the sculptor, Tony Barton, continues to earn from his figures when they are sold, guaranteeing him an income when he is no longer able to sculpt). Why are AB Figures so much more expensive? Royalties. Royalties that keep a very talented 15mm sculptor alive and producing. Factor out those royalties and AB Napoleonics could sell for around 40p.

    In the podcast, IIRC, I’m quoted as saying the main cost of a figure is not the material its made from. It’s true. Even using pewter at 2.4p per gram, there’s only 5p of metal in a 15mm ancients foot figure: use a cheaper metal and it’s less than 3p. Resin at 1.5p a gram and 1/8th the density of pewter will get material costs down to under half a penny. Those PSC plastic ancients, therefore, are still hugely more than their actual material cost. It’s the need to make a living that decides the price. Some businesses have lower outgoings and don’t have to price products to support a huge empire of shops and staff or to meet the expectations of investors, or to support the costs of just a small industrial unit. If you’re able to run your business from home and save industrial unit rent of thousands of pounds a year, you can sell your products cheaper.

    There are figure ranges at costs and qualities to suit everyone. Buying the most expensive, best-sculpted figures may be a complete waste if you haven’t the painting skills to do them justice. Block-painted dipped figures will look similar no matter the figure quality. Really broke? Then there are paper figures – but don’t expect a metal miniatures manufacturer to listen to anyone wax lyrical about them. 🙂

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: My SYW Swedes #147875
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    Better a meatball paradise than the surströmming of hell! Interesting read, though.

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: Postage Rates! #146079
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    Delivery costs aren’t even easy if you use actual weight rather than percentages, because weight doesn’t take into account bulk and some shopping carts are not sophisticated enough to figure bulk into the equation, which means a shop may be forced to settle on, say, small parcel rates for shipping rather than allow for large letter.

    I will briefly comment that since moving to Woocommerce, I have at last been able to differentiate between definitely bulky items (paints, larger figures) and items that will go into large letter packaging, but I still have to decide the break point on weight that triggers an order going by large letter or small parcel if it is not a bulky item (items with the shipping class “bulky” automatically trigger small parcel rate regardless of weight). Getting it right is worse for international orders.

    As Martin of Vexillia says above, there are all sorts of hidden costs to take into account. It costs me £2 to drive to a post office, plus vehicle servicing costs for the year, so what’s the add-on for that for just one parcel or 20 parcels? Nowadays, of course, I can just book collect and fix extra costs at 72p per parcel.

    I note that Perry charges typically £7.50 per pack and 12% UK postage, so assume it must be them (12% is an unusual amount to add because it’s not as easy to work out as 10%). So you can just accept you’re being lured in with cheap figure prices and that there’s a cost for that. Or that Perry Miniatures has calculated that its average UK delivery costs work out at 12% and so that’s what it charges for everything.

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: Any Tentacled HG Wells Style Martians For 15mm? #144045
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    It’s HUGE!!!!

    I believe at this point I’m obliged to comment: “I’ve never had any complaints”. 🙂

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: Any Tentacled HG Wells Style Martians For 15mm? #143992
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    About 24cm, or 9.5 of your Earth inches.

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: Any Tentacled HG Wells Style Martians For 15mm? #143940
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    NP. Thanks – I am on the mend. I can stand enough to do casting, and hope to be back ready to injure myself again playing tennis within the next two weeks… 🙂

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: Any Tentacled HG Wells Style Martians For 15mm? #143918
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    I am indeed hurt, but mending. 🙂 Also I am awake on a Saturday morning. Pic of the Martian cephalod civilian (EMP804), handling machine (EMPV10), and tripod (EMPV09) with an Imperial Martian ghost archer (EMP304) for scale. All are 18mm.

    I should also plug the Martian Empires Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/699293393894929

     

    Martian Empires EMPV09, EMPV10, EMP804, EMP304

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: Arrrgrghhh!! #140930
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    There’s the Eureka Minatures approach which is (or appears to be) a dark wash on bare metal followed by a black and white photo. It need not be art, though I think everyone appreciates the results of a good 10-hour process.

    And yet Eureka too does not photograph every code in its new releases. I write with the experience of being their agent for 15 years and the frustration of seeing a new range launched but only partly illustrated, when it came to adding product to my own shop. It did the same with AB. And that was true even when Nic Robson used to have the staff to deal with the new releases. Eureka still has a vast back catalogue that is only partly photographed.

    But the inkwash is the bare minimum I do, because it picks out detail. Cut out and with the right background it is more than passable than a bare metal miniature shot against a white background that turns grey because the camera can’t cope with the exposure. However, to get to the inking stage requires figure cleaning and assembly, and that’s one of the really time-consuming elements.

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: Arrrgrghhh!! #140787
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    Hi Ian, I don’t think that anyone is claiming that the lack of photos has driven anyone out of business.

    That’s not my point. My point is exactly this:

    If you are making enough sales and profit to meet your needs/expectations without photos, why add photos?

    The bare minimum for anyone to sell things online is to get the catalogue up there so people can see codes to buy, whether it’s an online PDF, list or an actual working shopping cart. Anything else is a bonus. For all businesses with a legacy line, they have had customers who have been buying those figures for 20, 30 even 40 years, and the customers know what those figures look like, keep buying, and keep them in business without the need to cater for new customers. Prospective customers may also see these lines at clubs and competitions and find out what the figures are like in person without needing pictures to buy.

    For businesses with new products, it’s different: they do need pictures to sell. And they need good pictures. They have to show product at its best, not its worst. A bad picture does not sell a product: it invites further enquiries about whether there are better pictures, and it makes the website that hosts it look unprofessional. It’s better to provide a good picture from the off to avoid pointless duplication of effort: there’s no point taking time to take 2,000 bad pictures and upload them, if later on you’re going to take and upload commercially acceptable pictures.

    I recently took a month off to work on a new website for Fighting 15s. I added more than 500 new images in that time, and I’m still adding or replacing images at about 80-100 a month now that I’m processing orders again. I have well over 2,000 figures still to photograph. I none the less had someone bleat that I hadn’t photographed a particular range, when mere paragraphs above their comment I had stated that I hadn’t photographed everything and still had a lot to do. It’s as if no one ever reads anything written above their own two-penn’orth. 🙂

    Anyone interested in the process of creating what I regard as commercially acceptable pictures can take a look at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5hhe1RnD1C61hqjUbRbrcuOvkv7lSfkq&fbclid It’s not quick: preparing and assembling figures, and editing pictures are by far the most time-consuming aspects. And I know what I’m doing, using the tools of my former trade. Even then, sometimes I think I could do a lot better.

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: Arrrgrghhh!! #140712
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz… Sorry, but 10+ years of this topic coming up, discussed only by a vocal minority, has changed absolutely nothing.

    It’s amazing, isn’t it, that in that time no wargames business has stopped running because it has instead opted to fulfil orders rather than spend time taking commercially inadequate pictures.

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: Figure Storage #113360
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    I use Really Useful Boxes – you can see what’s in them, and they’re waterproof. Easily lined with steel paper for use with magnetic bases. I have some lovely KR cases, but they don’t get used much.

    For use at home, I don’t bother with the steel paper. The boxes don’t have to move far.

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: The Battle of Auchentoshan. #111454
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    My personal battle of Auchentoshan is deciding between the 12-year-old and the Three Wood… 🙂

     

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: Black Tree Design #111284
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    What disgusting service, I sell the odd item on ebay and never post an item later than two days after I have received payment. With modern technology and this inter net thingy wargame company’s have no excuse not to have posted your paid for item within a working week. “Ba hum bug” to Black Tree Design I won’t be buying any of their stuff. Willz.

    The interface with the customer may be all modern and internety, but the technology used to produce figures is still ancient. 🙂  The default position in U.K. consumer law is still that a mail order company has 30 (presumably working) days to get your order to you, unless its terms and conditions state otherwise. Those days of “allow up to 28 days for delivery” are still here.

    Few wargames businesses, even some of the big ones, seem to pay attention to the legal requirements for their websites.

    BTD, I understand, uses a contract caster for its figures, which would add to the time taken to get figures made if they are out of stock. A contract caster will fit orders in when it can, and this may lead to substantial delays. The key here is good communication with the customer.

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: Quarrie to General de Brigade Conversion Kit #101455
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    Kills the Prussian army, just like Quarrie did, and makes it unplayable. I honestly have to ask why resurrect the worst traits of  1970s wargaming? Quarrie’s rules drove me away from Napoleonics because everyone believed those national characteristics had to be accurate. GdeB is complex and slow enough as it is without bogging it down with extra factors and different movement rates for everything.

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: Yeah, that is nice, but what about my question? #81084
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

     As at least four of the original users of r.g.m.h are on this forum, perhaps it lives on in spirit.

    A strong reason for the practice of exorcism…

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    in reply to: Toy soldiers vs model kits #80675
    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    Toy soldier kits do not come with assembly instructions, just a psychic link to the mind of the sculptor: scale modelling kits come with assembly instructions. 🙂

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    I should also add that I feel the route for businesses to get wargames news out to gamers suffered a setback because some years ago all three major wargames magazines in the UK feebly caved in to other internet wargames sites rather than rise to the challenge of maintaining current wargames news on their own magazine sites. Any one of the three could even now be challenging wargames news sites and providing a daily need to access the magazine site by maintaining a current online news page. If I were still in the magazine editing game, I’d be striving to run the “go-to” site for wargames news to go with my print publication.

    This is a very intriguing observation! I’m inclined to agree (though obviously I can’t speak from publishing expertise).

    That’s 25 years of experience of print journalism on professional magazines speaking. 🙂

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    I’d forgotten about Beasts of War also

    I confess that I find BoW so confusing to look at that I’ve stopped bothering. There is a lot to be said for the papyrus and heiroglyphics approach of TMP… 🙂

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    Avatar photoIan Marsh
    Participant

    I should also add that I feel the route for businesses to get wargames news out to gamers suffered a setback because some years ago all three major wargames magazines in the UK feebly caved in to other internet wargames sites rather than rise to the challenge of maintaining current wargames news on their own magazine sites. Any one of the three could even now be challenging wargames news sites and providing a daily need to access the magazine site by maintaining a current online news page.

    If I were still in the magazine editing game, I’d be striving to run the “go-to” site for wargames news to go with my print publication.

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

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