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Re: [1listSculpting] Re: New to the "industry"

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  • Steven Buddle
    The price point on the figures does seem to be far too high for what you wish to do. Most of your points about justifying the cost would assume that you are
    Message 1 of 54 , Feb 1, 2004
      The price point on the figures does seem to be far too high for what you wish to do. Most of your points about justifying the cost would assume that you are producing 28mm figures. People are used to high prices on such figures.

      But not with 15mm. I wonder where you have been researching to find what prices you should charge.

      Your example of the Grots from Warhammer 40,000 is an extremely poor comparison. They are not 20mm figures. They are 28mm figures that happen to be short, but they are pretty bulky around the head and weapons. They are also support products for larger figures. GW make them slightly cheaper than the bigger guys but their price is still based upon 28mm structure. People buy the larger figures for their army and then 'suck it up' when they need to purchase the comparatively expensive grots.

      The Epic tank blisters are also a poor indicator. Tanks are not little men, they are chunkier and more akin to 28mm figures in their size and casting costs.

      GHQ do sell blisters for $8.00. They're approx 6mm figures and if you check they come with individual infantry at 75 per blister. Approx $0.10 per figure.

      So, what should you compare to? If we're talking 15mm then Xyston are probably the benchmark in quality. Pretty professional in general coming from under the I-Kore banner.

      Xyston sell packs of 8 figures for approx $4.00 and they are high quality sculpts.

      Ground Zero Games do 15mm Stargrunt figures for about the same price (again, 8 per pack). Not sure too much on quality but they're normally pretty decent.

      Sad fact rules of the game

      1. The paying public is not happy to pay much for 15-20mm figures. It took a powerhouse like GW to drive up the cost of 28mm figures.

      2. Multipart. Not a justification for higher prices. It should be, but Joe public sees prices in terms of how many figures he gets, not how many pieces it comes in.

      Sorry if I've sounded like a complete doomsayer but I've been heavily following the 'behind the scenes' aspect of this industry for many years and have looked into many of the possibilities you've brought up as I was starting up my own company (which I have now done).

      There's an old saying about how to make a million from the wargames industry. Start with two million and stop when you're down to one. Sad fact is, it's pretty much the case except the occasion where lightning strikes. And I can't see that for 15-20mm.

      If you are wanting to a project such as this, your research needs to be much more heavy. You've said you found some sites with prices at $1.50 per figure. Firstly, you need to be very truthful to yourself that they are selling something truly equivalent to what you will be. And you seriously need to not just look for a few sites and take a guess. You need to rabidly check out everything you can find. Know your sector inside and out. Our advise can only take you a short distance.

      Steve Buddle


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: brasscorpion
      To: 1listSculpting@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Sunday, February 01, 2004 7:31 AM
      Subject: [1listSculpting] Re: New to the "industry"


      Man...I have to do a lot of re-thinking then. I have seen some
      prices and according to a couple of sights I've been to...I have
      seen prices at a 1.50. I thought that was pretty standard pricing.

      If you are purchasing 100 Napoleanics (spelling) then sure I can se
      them being .50 cents...but most of them that I have seen also kinda
      stink and are all very regimented single pose.

      Out of all the searching I have done, I have yet to see anyone sell
      a sci/fi mini game at the 15mm-20mm scale. GW come close with a
      game they call EPIC and they get 5.50 to 6.50 for a blister pack of
      their little trucks and tanks. But I do know that GW pricing is
      somewhat an anomaly and their is no way to command that type of
      price.

      GHQ sells MICRO ARMOR stuff for $8.00 a blister.

      GW sells Grots (20mm miniature) for 4 for $8.00 so about $2.00
      retail.

      My full 10 man packaged unit would be $1.29ea. I could possibly go
      down to $1.00 a piece...I'll have to crunch the numbers...but at .50
      cents each it will never fly because you have to remember I am not
      doing Historical. The people playing the game wont have to field 30-
      100 large units.

      Unit construction for my game will be around 50-70 total miniatures
      for 1 player.



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Eric J Gibson
      I wish you the best of luck. BTW, yes I know my demographic very well. I too know how to market. I already told you the best ways to successful market your
      Message 54 of 54 , Feb 7, 2004
        I wish you the best of luck.
        BTW, yes I know my demographic very well. I too know how to market. I already told you the best ways to successful market your product in this niche market, but you blatantly ignore my suggestion, assuming perhaps that I failed to do my homework. I have no loans, no partners, nothing. Every single dime of West End Games funding, came out of my own pocket. Do you think that I didn't do my homework? Geez man, I know what the hell I'm talking about.

        Now, I could go into a long list of reason why NOT to go mass market. Just make sure you are prepared for a few realities.
        First, you will NEVER get the venture capital to go mass market. Your production needs will be to great. Walmart routinely delays payment to production companies up to 18 months. The require 100%, penalty free restocking and WILL return as much as 65% of your stock. Damage do to little kids open your produrt to look inside and not buy, product damaged in the trucks, stock stock rooms or floors.... That comes out of your pocket, not theirs. Despite there internal distribution strength, they will not use up valuable warehousing on your backlist goods, so you will still need to handle warehousing on ordered merchandise...which you cannot sell because it belongs to Walmart or Target or whoever else, even though you won't see a dime of money for WELL over a year. Trying to go mass market, has put more than a few businesses in front of a judge begging for protection.
        Going to conventions IS taking it right to the consumers doors. Gaming is a niche market. Worse yet, tabletop gaming is a niche of a niche. You better realize something right here and now. The mass market doesn't care about your product. They don't care about mine, hell... The don't care about WotC or GW's product either and they solidly manage to gobble up between 60 to 80% market share in non-board tabletop games.
        You WILL put yourself completely out of business, with plans like yours. It's the simple, honest truth. I realize you'll never believe me, but you will see. Sadly, you will definitely see.
        I understand that you have high hopes. We all do, but you are just not going to get there until you start thinking realistically. You are talking about going up against giants and you have nothing. I actually have enough personal funding to make myself a serious blip on WotC's radar, but I am still aware there is virtually no chance of me making a significant dent in there market share. You, on the other hand, are talking about going above GW's head. Hitting up mass market chain stores and what not. Wake up and smell the coffee.
        If you seriously cannot see yourself marketing your product to an extremely small market, then get out now while you have the chance, because small is all this business is. Some of the biggest RPG and Wargaming companies are run out of basements. The "grandness" of the business is a total facade. Most professionals in this business have a hard time eating, much less making it rich.
        What, you think you are smarter than them? Do you think you are the only person to consider mass marketing games? You think you are the only person who knows how to market? Look, many of these companies who are so much "less connected" or less talented in marketing have been around 25 to 30 years, making serious connection with LucasArts, Warner Bros Consumer Products, and the like. Every little idea you have had, they have already had; that I can promise.
        One last time, get real and start looking at this business in it's proper proportions, or get out now while you have the chance, because if you don't you are setting yourself for horrible failure. I know you will continue to ignore me and that is fine. The worlds most successful people are those that ignored their detractors. Unfortunately, for every one successful person, there are thousands who were not. The different is, the successful ones, didn't put blinders on to real world around them. However, If I am wrong you have gained much and I have lost nothing, so I truly hope you much success.

        ---
        Thank You,
        Eric Gibson
        Purgatory Publishing Inc./West End Games


        --------- Original Message ---------
        DATE: Sat, 7 Feb 2004 01:46:52
        From: keric davis <brasscorpion@...>
        To: 1listSculpting@yahoogroups.com
        Cc:

        Well thanks for the advice...I think. Saying that I wont get funded is a pretty safe statement though considering that about only 1% or 2% of all proposals get funding.

        I can't think small...if I think small then I will end up being like the other 1000's of companies that you mentioned who are NON public. Then I will be working on this stuff for 20 years and at the end of 20 years I'll still be selling my stuff out of the back of a van.

        Also I have made contacts with people from Lucas Arts, I have a marketing guy from Warner Bros on my team and I have already met with some venture capital folks through school. I also have one of the biggest West Coast distributors lined up to get my product at least distributed up and down the west coast and out to Nevada.

        Also just for general knowledge I am working on my MBA from the University of Irvine, California a top 25 business school...is it Wharton...no...does an MBA mean I know jack about business...no...but I do now how to market, promote, distribute, and sell. I also have a certificate in Production and Inventory Management from the American Production and Inventory Control society so I know about inventory control Japanese lean manufacturing. I am also a Military Vet and hold an Airframes and Powerplants license.

        If more people would take the concrete business approach to the hobby instead of just winging it waiting to get lucky then possibly there would be more news out there and miniatures wargaming wouldn't be such a surprise to people when you mention it.

        Tell me if you know...how many university campuses across the United States have rec centers with miniature wargaming table set up?...Okay...How about military bases?

        Do you even know what the demographics are for you industry? Did you know that when gamers really start to get heavy into wargaming that they are under the age of 22 and are usually still in school. Did you know that 15% of the whole market contains individuals with some type of military experience and that 10% of those that play are still employed in a military organization?

        I mean hoping that a 13-18 year old kid goes into a hobby store and chooses your product out of a possible 1000 is just insane and no amount of advertising is going to get them to buy your product if the store owner has your 1 TORG 2.0 book stuffed in the corner while all the D20 stuff is lined up nice and neat.

        If your going to spend your money going to conventions and stuff then why not spend your money more wisely and take your product right to the customers door? How about MASS MARKETING take your book right to Walmart. Did you know that Walmart is now the largest toy distributor in the US and for electronic games (PC/Console) they are climbing...is there something wrong with them selling miniatures? The profit margins should certainly be there if everyone would quit selling 15mm at 0.18 each. You ever notice how when 1 cereal company raises their prices ALL the cereal companies raise prices. Maybe the US miniature industry isn't organized well enough.

        Anyway I need to go to bed it's late...you certainly gave me alot to think about though.

        Eric J Gibson <hellsreach@...> wrote:
        Much more realistic and "doable" goals. I really didn't mean to be a total asshole in my post...well, actually I DID mean to be an asshole. It's a harsh business and everyone should hear some staight talking before going into things. Of course you won't listen (nobody does), but maybe if you can take a little bit from my post, you will be just a bit better off.
        ---
        Thank You,
        Eric Gibson
        Purgatory Publishing Inc./West End Games


        --------- Original Message ---------
        DATE: Fri, 06 Feb 2004 15:04:01
        From: "Jason Miller" <stripwalker@...>
        To: 1listSculpting@yahoogroups.com
        Cc:

        I agree, - when my brother and I started we quickly realized that if these
        things could be done fast and easy then everybody would be doing it and
        making it rich. Our dreams of being a big name in the industry was quickly
        scaled down- right now we are shooting for having 1-2 local stores sell our
        game and product- casting what we need to have in VERY small numbers (ie
        1,000 pieces at most). The owners are friends of ours and since they are
        local we can be our own games reps and shamelessly plug them and run
        leagues. If we can actually get 20 people who locally play our game and
        buy our figures- and we expect this will take 2-3 years AT LEAST/BEST, well
        then we'll talk to our friend in the next town and see if he'll stock our
        minis. Again if he can get even 10 people to play the game within a few
        YEARS- well then- maybe (BIG) IF we have actually come even close to
        breaking even we might get a web site and try online sales FOR A FEW YEARS.
        Thats right- our 'big dream' is basically to have our friends like and
        play our game- the rest is just pipe dreams and gravy ;)


        >From: 54 <54@...>
        >Reply-To: 1listSculpting@yahoogroups.com
        >To: 1listSculpting@yahoogroups.com
        >Subject: Re: [1listSculpting] Re: New to the "industry"
        >Date: Fri, 06 Feb 2004 16:28:21 -0500
        >
        >Brasscorpion -- although I won't be as harsh with you as Eric here was,
        >I would say I noticed one piece of your last email -- you mentioned that
        >you would be working on your business plan until the end of the school
        >quarter -- my advice to you is that noone is going to give money to
        >someone who hasn't already run their own business. It just won't happen.
        >If this is your life goal -- then you should take Eric's advice and
        >start small, or better yet, go out and get a biz degree and get a job at
        >a company like Wizkids, Hasbro, Milton Bradley, GW, etc. and work in the
        >industry in a true corporate environment for a decade or so to gain
        >experience, expertise, and contacts. All the while refining your plan
        >and getting ready for the day that you're going to go after it on your
        >own (or when you're ready to pitch it to your employer). That would be a
        >more realistic avenue for you.
        >
        >Eric J Gibson wrote:
        >
        > > Please don't let me try to stop you, but it time to face some facts.
        > > Venture capital is VERY VERY difficult to get in this current economy
        > > in anything but the fastest glowing sectors and then, only with an
        > > "iron clad" business plan. Venture capital in an industry like games
        > > will be IMPOSSIBLE (see I didn't say next to impossible, I spoke in
        > > definites) to get from venture capitalists, and entertainment industry
        > > corporations. The reason is simple. The have already thought of pretty
        > > much everything you have thought of and decided NOT to go that route.
        > > I will speak in definites again... I WILL NOT get money from Mattel or
        > > Time-Warner and the like. It will NOT happen.
        > > Second, you will NOT get money from a bank, unless you have some solid
        > > financial numbers from the manufacturing community. Since VERY few
        > > game companies are public and few of the private companies share there
        > > numbers, you will not have an accurate financial picture. This means
        > > your wonderful 25 page business plan will not be worth the time you
        > > spent working on it. Banks will see that and you will not get a dime.
        > > The only other avenue to get money through a bank, is to go through
        > > the SBA and get an SBA guaranteed loan. But, you must have a good
        > > business plan with accurate numbers (which you do not and will not
        > > have) and you must have around 25% of the loan request come from your
        > > own pockets. You have already said that its risky and you are not
        > > putting your money up. Banks and other investors really like the warm
        > > fuzzy feeling they get when entrepreneurs feel so strongly about
        > > something, that they are willing to put there own life savings on the
        > > line. If you don't trust the idea
        > > enough to put your money on it, they definitely will not.
        > >
        > > The last and (truthfully) only real avenue for capital is friends,
        > > family and other private investors. The big problem is, anybody who
        > > has had any real money for a while, will be cautious about where to
        > > invest. Even families are sometimes like this. Private investors that
        > > you don't already know are even harder. They have heard hundreds (no
        > > exaggeration) of "great, sure thing ideas". But nothing is a sure
        > > thing and most "great ideas" or not. Not great, no money making, no
        > > creative or new. Your best chance is if you have a friend who just won
        > > the lottery or anyother friend, clueless about business, just got
        > > access to their trust fund. Good luck!
        > > I know I am such a downer. I sucks, and by now you probably think I'm
        > > a total asshole. But stop, take a moment, a realize a couple things:
        > > You are not special.
        > > Your ideas are not new or creative.
        > > Everything that you think is a winning idea, others have had already
        > > and passed on.
        > > The games business is a tough one and VERY FEW are successful. Those
        > > that are successful are only successful because the focus of there
        > > business is not to make lots of money, but to make just enough to keep
        > > making more. Gaming is a "vanity" business and you 95% of the time,
        > > you would make more money, per hour, working at McDonalds than you
        > > will in gaming. Remember the old cliche', "How do you make a small
        > > fortune in the game business? Start with a large fortune!"
        > >
        > > Now, if that hasn't discouraged you, and I'm sure it hasn't, you are
        > > either a masochist or you have more bravery then sense. Fine, I
        > > understand, I'm in the game business too :). If you want to give
        > > yourself the best change of success, please do the following:
        > > Keep working on your business plan, but when you are working on
        > > "industry" numbers, start focusing heavily on the very small business.
        > > Regardless of where you would one day like to go, those are the ones
        > > you must compete with. Since they (small production/press companies)
        > > don't often report numbers, it will be difficult to get an accurate
        > > financial picture. The best way to get numbers is to go to
        > > conventions, etc and meet the business owners. Get friendly with them.
        > > The horror stories they can give you is far more valuable than your
        > > "neighborhood bank".
        > > Think much smaller. You will never come close to competing with GW,
        > > WoTC and probably not Reaper and if you do, it will take YEARS of
        > > slogging through the trenches. Get used to it.
        > > Take your OWN money and start to do what you can. If you wait for
        > > other people to invest in you ideas, you could be waiting a VERY long
        > > time. Write you game and publishing it as a pdf, small print run or
        > > even as hand outs at conventions and game stores.
        > >
        > > Sculpt, or have sculpted, your models. Work a second job and save a
        > > few hundred to a few thousand, to have them cast. Sell directly to
        > > your players via your website or over the phone. Talk to distributors
        > > and have them pick up your line. Be truthful about when your next
        > > product is coming out and make sure the people know about it.
        > > Advertise...Advertise...Advertise...
        > > Retailers couldn't give jack shit about your game and most players
        > > couldn't either. It could be the best game in the world, but it's just
        > > another game to them. They want to know one thing only...what are you
        > > doing to help them put it in the players hands.
        > > oh, did I mention:
        > > Advertise, Advertise, Advertise?
        > > Go to conventions. If you can't afford to be dealer, make up handouts,
        > > buy a guest badge and hand them out by the thousands. Most will be in
        > > the trash, but some might make it home and they might remember you.
        > >
        > > Keep shooting for the stars, but remember you are in the stone age,
        > > buddy. Its a long, boring, stressfull road ahead a you probably WON'T
        > > make it.
        > >
        > > ---
        > > Thank You,
        > > Eric Gibson
        > > Purgatory Publishing Inc./West End Games
        > >
        > >
        > > --------- Original Message ---------
        > > DATE: Fri, 06 Feb 2004 19:26:57
        > > From: "brasscorpion" <brasscorpion@...>
        > > To: 1listSculpting@yahoogroups.com
        > > Cc:
        > >
        > > Well i think 15mm fantasy is a mistake in my opinion. Yes fantasy is
        > > very popular...probably more so in japan than here. However it
        > > is also the biggest market when you look at the whole industry. All
        > > the D&D stuff, all the kids plastic fantasy board games, all the
        > > reaper stuff and on and on.
        > >
        > > Now 15mm Sci-fi that is a different animal. Void, 40k and a few
        > > others and that is it. In the 15mm arena...maybe 2 or three tops with
        > > 40K epic probably being the best at 6-10mm.
        > >
        > > My marketing approach is going to be different and the game is going
        > > to be packaged with other supplemental products.
        > >
        > > Its a risk I know...I sure not going to use my own money. I am going
        > > to try to convince other people to give me their money. Probably
        > > wont happen...but I have to try. By the end of this school quarter I
        > > will have a full blown 25 page business plan put together ready to
        > > shop my idea around.
        > >
        > > Places like Warner Bros or Mattel are my first choices.
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > --- In 1listSculpting@yahoogroups.com, "Joel Gregory" <gregorys@t...>
        > > wrote:
        > > > 15mm is a hit or miss thing in the fantasy market. Repear sold
        > > their 15mm
        > > > line and Black Raven Foundy producers have found that Distributors
        > > are not
        > > > really interested in 15mm Fantasy lines. I would suggest that if
        > > you are
        > > > hoping to get some the GW crowd, then I would think about switching
        > > to 10mm
        > > > in scale, which seems to have more acceptance.
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > > I've forgotten if this question has already been asked but how many
        > > > > 15mm systems are there and how popular are they? In fantasy we
        > > > > have/had (not sure of it's status) Demonworld which had fantastic
        > > > > miniatures. I think they did well for a time.
        > > > >
        > > > > Bye, Ming-Hua
        > >
        > >
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