Monday, September 12, 2011

Napoleonic Wishlists

The other day Fons of MMPS asked a question on his blog:

I get asked all the time if I will have for instance Warlord Games plastic Russians, or Victrix metal cavalry, or Perry plastic WoTR etc etc..

The answer is that I can't stock everything, I just don't have the funds for that so I need to make choices. I make those based on my idea of what will sell in sufficient numbers and also based on customer input.

You can help me with this by telling me what you want and what you would buy if I have it. So if there is anything that you would like MMPS to offer Ready-Made and Painted just write it in a comment to this post. If enough people want a certain product we will offer it.



I thought it would be useful to repeat that question here as it is an interesting and important one, with a not so simple answer, and yes I was one of the ones asking about WG Russians and Victrix metals :)

Of course I would also suggest you go over to Fons and post your wishes their, at the end of the day that's what counts.

So what painted figures would you buy if they were available?

I think we wargamers are often like kids in a candy store or should I say kids in a toy store just before xmas. The first thing we see we want, until we see the next thing and the next thing etc. even though at the end of the day we are only allowed to buy one toy.

We also, in the current financial climate, have very finite budgets, not sure if its the same for you but my gaming budget is one of the first casualties when the family has to tighten it's belts.

So put this together and what do you get?

I think there are a lot of things we say we want but not a lot of things we actually will buy at the end of the day.

So first lets deal with WG.
Whenever there is a new set out we all go "lovely got to have some of them", I know at least I do, and the WG Russians did look very nice when painted up and if I had the money and if they were available and if I had nothing else to spend my money on I would definitely buy them.

So put them on the wishlist?

Well the reality is this, we know that the Perry's are in the process of producing the same Russians, the moment they are released we all will want them in preference to WG's Russians simply because, sad to say, they will be better sculpts or at least the Perry halo effect has us believing they are. So the 'window' when I might buy WG Russians is quite small, say the next 6 months at most, but that's not all, during the next 6 months I am focusing on building a Prussian army so even if I had the money it wouldn't be Russians I would be buying, and having just bought a couple of brigades of Cavalry I actually don't have any more money in my gaming budget for at least the next 3 months.

Also I hate to say this, but even if you are looking to refight 1812 there is still enough time to wait for the Perry's.

So no WG Russians.... at least not until I have bought all that I need of the Perry's and am looking for alternatives but even then I would probably turn to Victrix before I would choose WG . Sorry to say but WG are definitely 3rd in the pecking order at the moment.

Hmm but what about the WG Landwehr? Well as there is no Perry or Victrix alternative in the offing and Prussians are my next target I actually might buy some of these, volume would be low though because they are not the greatest of sculpts and they do have those awful boxing gloves on the end of their hands.

So what about Victrix?
Well it's a similar story, if the Perry's have something available I probably won't buy Victrix, at least not until I have exhausted the Perry's and my money. Though with Victrix having a much larger range their is a lot more that they do that Perry's don't.

So if I was into the Peninsula War, or if I was into the 1805-1807 period, I would buy Victrix plastic's and metals but I am not, at least not for the next 3 years at least.

However with Victrix there is a major problem for painting services like MMPS, the assembly time!! With the forthcoming Austrian Victrix have reduced the amount of pieces that make up a figure this issue may have been resolved but all the current stuff simply take ages to assemble, and time is obviously money for a business in a way it is not for us as individuals 'enjoying' our hobby. It's a major hurdle and undoubtedly would make Victrix more expensive.

Mentioning the Austrians, yes I would be interested in them, and the assembly time shouldn't be much different than with the Perry's. It's true there maybe a minor drill or uniform issue which has been highlighted by the Perry's own figures requiring changes but you have got to be a real button counter for it to make a difference and it wouldn't stop me buying Victrix BUT along with that Perry 'halo' again if there is a straight choice between Victrix and Perry, Perry wins again!

Again for me the 'window' of interest in Austrians will be next year by which time the Perry's Austrians will be out, so probably no Victrix Austrian but it's a close call. Of course YMMV.

Anything else Victrix?
Well yes, French Guard Grenadier/Chasseurs. These two sets are superb, no Perry competition either, sadly you don't need much Guard do you? A couple of battalions max.
Also there are the Hanoverian and Light head conversions, though maybe on Perry bodies. Definitely have an interest in these, though I know they would be expensive, and again low volume.

What's left?
Well really only Perry metals at this point and I will say that if Perry metals were available I would be all over them. I need them from one source or another, I just can't complete the armies I am aiming to build over the next 3 years without a substantial amount of metals and at the moment that means Perry metals because no one else is making 'Perry Compatible' metals for 1813-1815 period, if Victrix were to produce metals in this period then I would also be interested with them, as I do regard Victrix and Perry as being on a par quality wise, but as of today that is not the case.

However again there is a problem with Perry metals for painting services, because the Perry's know they can sell all that they can produce they never have had much of an incentive to discount their prices in the way other's do. Simply as a consumer I can buy Victrix and WG figures a massive 40% cheaper than I can buy Perry's. Staggering but true, Victrix and WG can be bought less the 20% VAT and with free postage which is worth another 20%. In addition the Perry's don't provide trade discounts which can run in the order of 50% in other cases. This means for a painting service Perry (I speculate) are at least double if not triple the price of a Victrix and then compared to plastics the price is just huge.

Of course then there is the cost of shipping the finished metals back to you, they weigh a lot more so would cost a lot more.

So as I have only a limited budget my demand for these would be low, and if MMPS were to factor in the same per figure margin that they get on plastics they wouldn't be making very much at all, clearly they would need to increase their margins, making them more expensive and in turn making me buy even less!!

But I would still buy them!!!

Though some more than others, here I am thinking particularly of Perry Artillery, no alternative and they are an 'essential'.

Thinks to himself, Victrix really missed a golden opportunity here, after having half done the British Artillery they could have gone on and done all artillery for all armies and had the field to themselves.. what a shame.

So in summary:
My 'real' wishlist for MMPS, beyond what they have, and beyond any and every Perry plastic set present and future, is maybe a few WG Prussian Landwehr, maybe a few Victrix Austrian Landwehr, French Guard, Hanoverian and Light conversions, a few Perry metals from time to time and the Perry Artillery.

When you come down to it, it's not a lot is it and all low volume....

Must make depressing reading for non-Perry manufacturer's.

and if you think it couldn't get any worse, with the Perry's just announcing the British Hussars for November what spare cash I have will go on British, KGL and Hanoverians Hussars all of which I can use straight away.

The above is just my own personal view, and I don't claim or believe I am necessarily representative of the average wargamer, indeed my focus is on the new 'Perry compatible' 28mm's and the 1813-1815 period. You may go for Foundry or Front Rank or others and your views will undoubtedly be different. I would be very interested to hear your views, so leave a comment here or on Fons' blog if you wish.

But remember we are trying to deal in a 'reality' not a 'fantasy' wishlist!


Fons @ MMPS said...

Ahaa, good news for you Rob! I already have Victrix Old Guard Grenadiers, they are just not on the website yet. The chasseurs will follow as soon as we have time to paint them. We will do Hanoverians too but in limited quantities as I will use the caps of the Prussian Freiwillige jager for the conversion and I of course don't have tons of those. And I saved the best for last, my Australian supplier managed to convince the Perry's to let him trade their metals. That means that I can get them at a trade discount soon. Artillery and command coming up! :-)


Robert said...

Well that's great news for me at least!!

I must have a word with you about those Victrix Grenadiers!!