Tuesday, July 30, 2013

X-Bits . . . Days of Conversions Past OR How GW's new BITS polcies have impacted my business model

See this model?  This one below . . .I used to build these all the time.  It was a hallmark piece of mine, a cornerstone of my business model.  Custom miniatures are what sets one clients army apart from any other clients (that and a great paint job)

A client recently contacted me regarding the above model.  "I just want an aesthetically pleasing, awesome looking model, without breaking my wallet, lol."

It's the LOL that really made me grin.  I mean . . . don't we all want that?  But we can't have our cake and eat it too, at least, not anymore.  In the past, I'd charge as much as $45 for the model above, or when I needed to move inventory, as little as $25. 

Compare this to a service like Blue Table Painting's Doom of Malantai Conversion , which is a nice enough model, don't be me wrong.  Nothing fancy.  But nice.  They charge $72 bucks for that guy.  $72!  And I thought they were insane, who would pay such a thing . . .

Then a client emailed me about the above model, and I quoted them $60.  I hated to do it, but I couldn't figure out a way to quote the model for anything less, and even at $60 . . . I'm worried I'll take a loss.

Finally, I understand where BTP was coming from asking so much for their Doom.   I got it.

Here's the problem . . . bits are a commodity.  A few months ago, I could contact Rob over at Spikey Bitz and custom order some of the bits.  Even the bits he didn't have in stock, he'd sell me a kit for 20% off.  So okay, I have leftovers for all my little future conversions.  Maybe I break even in the mean time, but make a profit down the road.  Not the worst outcome.  

But the problem is now, with GW cracking down on the bits market I CAN'T do that anymore.  Finding a Hive Tyrant tail?  There's only one place selling them, Hoard of Bits, and I don't do business with them anymore.  Long story, but let's just say customer service is not their strong suit.

So to get a tail I have to buy the entire tyrant kit.  Even at 20% off, with shipping it's still almost $50 bucks!  Yikes . . .

Now you could argue that I'll have the Tyrant left over and I can sell them.  That's true . .  but I can only sell the walking variant.  And Brother . . . since Flyers hit in sixth edition you just don't see too many walking tyrants anymore. 

What's the moral of this story? 

I'm not sure there is one.  Maybe that GW really shot us in the foot with their new policies regarding bits.  Thanks GW.

It's hard to be a gangsta and it's equally hard to kit bash a model on a budget these days.  At least if you want specific bits.  If the client had asked for a ravener tail THOSE I have  . . . but the question is can the client get exactly what they want for a price that is reasonable?

It's looking less likely these days.

 I hate to end on a sour note, so let me say this . . .. at White Metal Games we specialize in creating custom models,  but we have limits to what we can do, and that limit is YOUR budget.  So when you commission a model, ask yourself reasonably in all fairness what YOU could do it for, if you had to do it.  Then compare that to what we're asking for, consider our time and our experience, and ask if it's worth it to you?

For a one of a kind centerpiece model, is $60 really too much to ask?  I don't think so.  After all your paying for a one of a kind bit of hobby goodness.

If you allow us a little wiggle room, I'm sure we can find a good alternative.  Check out of gallery of over 9000 images for examples of our outside the box thinking. 

But if its still too much, then let me sweeten the pot.

The first client to commission a 2000 point army with WMG after this post is published can pick either one Doom of Malantai kit bash (as per BTP's model) or the above Parasite kit bash and get it FOR FREE!  How's that for having your cake and eating it too! 



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Chaos Khorne Lord of Skulls kit bash . . . behold the Deathknight! By White Metal Games

Greetings fellow wargamers! 

Since the release of the Khorne Lord of Skulls about a week ago, the internet has been a buzz with conversion gossip.  The kit is just ripe for kit bashing, and like most enthusiasts out there I couldn't wait to get it on my workbench. 

In expectation of the release, MBG over at Spikey Bits released this article.  The Dreamforge leviathan has a nice look, but sadly it won't be released in 15mm scale for a few more months.  And I wasn't willing to wait.

The Khorne kit bash, that we dubbed the 'Deathknight' stands just a smidge taller than the Wraithknight, and would defiantly put the eldar in it's place in a one on one.   The legs are from an Iron Monger toy from Iron Man movie a few years ago.  They had the right shape, feel, and bulk to really sell this conversion. 
 While I do think I could add a few more Khorne icons onto the legs, I just haven't found anything in my bits box that is screaming to me right now as being right for this model.  Not to worry, I can always glue them on later. 

We also came across a pretty decent sized base for the model in our base box.   This particular base is hard plastic, black, and beveled/convex.  Perfect!  It will be include with the model when sold (see below). 

Like most of our work, this model will be up for sale on ebay on Thursday, July 25th.  Check out all our listings including this one here.  
 And be sure to check out all the great deals we are offering on our website, too.  With so many codex' coming out back to back, maybe it's time to get that new army youve been promising yourself.  Ask us about our Looted Armies, too, for other ways to save some green. 
In other news, we've been working hard to promote our social media.  You can find links to our facebook page, youtube page, flickr pool, and more from our homepage
 We've also been working on a new podcast that we hope to debut in the coming weeks, so stay tuned to get all the most recent updates.  And until then . . .

Caleb, WMG