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The Inevitable One
30-12-2010, 11:59
After not being able to figure it out; I was wondering why they still make metal models? Plastic is cheap, strong, and people are willing to buy more of it. So, is it a marketing scheme or is it something else?

Crube
30-12-2010, 12:14
Couple of things spring to mind...

Metal molds are cheaper, quicker and easier to produce.

Many people still prefer metal models, and so there is some reason to fulfil that need

Undercuts. The technology for producing plastic models has advanced incredibly, but it is still generally accepted that metal allows for more overhangs on models, that plastics just wont take through the molding process.

Chaos and Evil
30-12-2010, 12:18
Metal moulds cost about 100 at most to make, and require little in the way of preparation to create.

Plastic moulding tools cost tens of thousands of pounds to make, and require weeks of engineering to create.


So, that's why metal models are still used, ultimately.

winterdyne
30-12-2010, 12:20
Plastic is far more expensive to set up for short / small run models. For rank and file, yes it's a better choice, but for short product lifespan, limited run (ie characters) items either resin or metal are better. In general the harder rubber moulds used to cast metal last longer, and so have better production value than the silicone rubber used for resin.

To get set up to cast metal miniatures is (last I looked) under 500 UKP to get the (rubber) mould made and a good few spins done. Or you can hand (drop) cast at home for cheaper (but worse quality).

To get set up to produce injection moulds is thousands just to prepare the (steel) moulds, notwithstanding you need factory floorspace for the machines (or use a 3rd party service). Plus as steel moulds are used design is far more involved to avoid undercuts etc.

Bookwrak
30-12-2010, 17:05
After not being able to figure it out; I was wondering why they still make metal models? Plastic is cheap, strong, and people are willing to buy more of it. So, is it a marketing scheme or is it something else?
Something else.

Metal is vastly cheaper than plastic for small run models and the models are also higher detail. So it's probably always going to be used for models that will never sell high volume, and that are suited for being more detailed (like Brother Captain Stern). For example, how many broodlords will a Tyranid player ever buy vs how many genestealers? How many Gabriel Seth models will be sold vs assault marines?

The Inevitable One
31-12-2010, 00:24
Ah, ok. Thank you all very much for clearing that up. I had no idea the time, money, and effort it takes to make the models, let alone make the moulds.

Wil Grand
01-01-2011, 18:37
Does make you wonder why other company's metals can be cheaper than GW plastics, though.....

yabbadabba
01-01-2011, 18:50
Does make you wonder why other company's metals can be cheaper than GW plastics, though.....Nope, most other companies don't have the infrastructure and overheads GW have. By a long shot.

Wil Grand
01-01-2011, 19:32
Funny how that argument can only cover GW when in every other industry a larger infrastructure means that the costs per unit are lower. Basically your point is true but it's not a good reason for the price difference, it's the cause.

Oh, and 'Nope' really get's my back up, especially since it's typed and the real one, ie 'no' requires less letters. It's stupid and pretentious.

IJW
01-01-2011, 19:40
That argument only covers GW because most* of their customers only exist as customers because of the retail chain.


*My own opinion with only anecdote to back it up, and of course UK-oriented.

yabbadabba
01-01-2011, 19:57
Funny how that argument can only cover GW when in every other industry a larger infrastructure means that the costs per unit are lower. Basically your point is true but it's not a good reason for the price difference, it's the cause. Tell you what then, go through the business and tell us all where all that extra, not needed profit is going. "Waste" doesn't cover it I am afraid, as any fool witha keyboard can put that. Lets get specific shall we? Otherwise your generalisation there isn't worth the time you put into typing it.


Oh, and 'Nope' really get's my back up, especially since it's typed and the real one, ie 'no' requires less letters. It's stupid and pretentious.Childish, ill informed and wrong. If you are going to insult me, try harder please.

Wil Grand
01-01-2011, 20:26
I'm not trying to insult you and I'm really not going to write a business summary and resourse management report on some bloke on the internets. Industrial mass production is only in existence because it makes things cheaper, no other company that I know of has ended up increasing product costs by scaling up, it's against the very idea of industrialisation. I take your point that GW has a stupidly high overhead and that their annual reports show that they aren't rolling in gold laughing at people. This business plan of out of control costs and them passing that on to the customer really needs to stop when the historical market is growing like it is. This situation will be their undoing.

Now, knowing that this is touching on pricing I feel the hand of a mod coming and perhaps my last ten warning points with it for being off topic so I'll end it here.

Also, I now admit that 'No' is in fact a shortened version of 'Nope' and that the use of no is "wrong". Claiming otherwise is wrong and I'm childish for suggesting so.

lanrak
03-01-2011, 09:39
Hi all.
The main reason to use white metal casting along side plastic injection moulding has been detailed above.
Metal casting is the most cost effctive option for a limited run.

Plastic casting is the most cost effective option for high volume production.

Infact the more plastic product you make and sell, the cheaper the production costs become !

And most plastic product producers use 'the economies of scale' to maximise profit of thier plastic production.
The more they sell the lower price they can charge.
So most plastic minatures are sold at 'low prices to achive higher volume of sales' and therfore achive more profit.

I understand arriving at the 'ideal price point' is a complex and long winded process, if you want to achive optimum return from your investment in whichever casting medium you want to produce.

However , why replace white metal minatures with plastic IF you are going to limit sales by charging the same price?
'Gold swords ' are a prime example.
Why spend an extra 50,000 appx, on a mould , then still sell the same volume of minatures as when using a 500 set of rubber moulds?

I think Wil Grand was tring to point out that other manufacturers use the econimies of scale to thier advantage, where as GW appear not to?

TTFN

Wil Grand
03-01-2011, 10:22
That's exactly what I was trying to say. Why go to Tesco instead of the corner shop? Why Boots instead of the local chemist?
Because it's the same thing only cheaper and easier. Do these companies have larger and more complex infrastructures? Of course they do but it doesn't end up costing you more.
I enjoy GW models as much as the next man but I haven't bought very much from them of late. I don't want to get into pricing talk but you get legions of moaners on here about how much this costs or how they won't be buying that and I just think are these people so blind that they can't see that GW is the U2 of wargaming? There's a lot more out there.
The one thing I can't get is the guys with a fantastically painted fig in their avatars who come out and say"GW costs too much/nerfed my army so I'm giving up The Hobby".
Right, so the wargaming hobby ends outside the realms of GW, aye?

Sorry to be off on one but this "larger infrastructure/overhead makes the models dearer" guff really get's my back up. If you're happy to accept that then I'm pricing will continue to grow.

yabbadabba
03-01-2011, 10:48
That's exactly what I was trying to say. Why go to Tesco instead of the corner shop? Why Boots instead of the local chemist?
Because it's the same thing only cheaper and easier. Do these companies have larger and more complex infrastructures? Of course they do but it doesn't end up costing you more. Sorry but these are poor examples for a variety of reasons, not the least being they are not manufacturers, and that the Walmart buying principles have allowed comapnies like Boots and Tescos to strong arm manufacturing companies into a far lower return per unit in exchange for a sales rate far beyond anything GW will ever produce. what you will see is little if no variation between these shops on items which are of a high quality/value and slow selling rate and they will be few and far between in Tescos! Milk is a great example in the UK where it actually costs the Farmer to produce milk without the subsidies, and for some farmers it can still cost some years with the subsidy. The supermarkets have driven the price of milk down to this level via a variety of mechanisms, allowing them to present what appears to be a low price, but actually contains a substantial mark up. I am sorry I don't have the figures to hand but you can find them relatively easy online.

GW, for all its domination in the wargames market, is a tiny company in comparison to Tescos and Boots etc. They just will not have the same bargaining power for the raw materials. They produce their own product AND sell it, something substantially different from many of the larger businesses out there. If GW was just a manufacturing arm I would agree whole heartedly, but what we need to do is compare like with like for a more accurate assesment, maybe not within the wargames market, but certainly within the 100-140m turnover, manufacturing and retailing niche market parameters.


I enjoy GW models as much as the next man but I haven't bought very much from them of late. I don't want to get into pricing talk but you get legions of moaners on here about how much this costs or how they won't be buying that and I just think are these people so blind that they can't see that GW is the U2 of wargaming? There's a lot more out there.
The one thing I can't get is the guys with a fantastically painted fig in their avatars who come out and say"GW costs too much/nerfed my army so I'm giving up The Hobby".
Right, so the wargaming hobby ends outside the realms of GW, aye? Agreed. There is nothing wrong with only playing GW games, but to give up wargaming without looking at the market as a whole is just.... not right.


Sorry to be off on one but this "larger infrastructure/overhead makes the models dearer" guff really get's my back up. If you're happy to accept that then I'm pricing will continue to grow.Maybe my explanation above can help show why your point of view, while not invalid, can also be argued against. I also happen to know that GW implement a "what the market will bear" part of their pricing, so I am not arguing that the totalioty of what you are saying is wrong, just maybe some of the substance is far less clear than intimated.

So sorry, to bring it back on topic, why produce metal models? Simply it is cheaper for smaller companies and/or for models with an important position within the range but with a limited sales potential - even GW is subject to this. There are also, as mentioned, aesthetic reasons.

AndrewGPaul
03-01-2011, 23:12
It may be an extreme comparison, but a few things GW have to cover with their costs are premises rents, national insurance contributions, possibly pension contributions and also the cost of transporting all those miniatures and games from Nottingham round the world. Most other small miniatures manufacturers make the customer pay the transportation costs, which artificially reduces their item prices.

dominic_star
04-01-2011, 10:07
Perhaps because people still like crisp detail on their models. If people need plastic models because metal keeps breaking, then perhaps they should look after their models especially given the price. Amazes me people will fork out 300 on an army, yet treat it with the contempt necessary that it breaks often enough to cause complaint.

Chaos and Evil
04-01-2011, 10:14
Perhaps because people still like crisp detail on their models.
What people like has no import to GW, if plastic models make them more profit.

GW would prefer every single model they sell to be plastic, if they could afford setting up all those moulds.

RayvenQ
04-01-2011, 13:18
Perhaps because people still like crisp detail on their models. If people need plastic models because metal keeps breaking, then perhaps they should look after their models especially given the price. Amazes me people will fork out 300 on an army, yet treat it with the contempt necessary that it breaks often enough to cause complaint.

*reads post, looks at plastic models....reads post again*

Plastic ooks pretty damn crisp to me.

AndrewGPaul
04-01-2011, 13:27
Really? It's getting better, but the difference between plastic and metal versions of the same troop type is readily apparent. Compare a plastic Space Marine to a Sternguard, for example.

dominic_star
04-01-2011, 14:18
*reads post, looks at plastic models....reads post again*

Plastic ooks pretty damn crisp to me.

*looks at my 12 year old metal Bretonnian knights* - *looks at my current plastic Bretonnian knights* - *gets visions of Lego* ;)

wilsongrahams
05-01-2011, 19:34
With respect to Games Workshop compared to other retailers that also have online stores - Games Workshop would sell just as much product with it's stores as without them. The difference is in the overheads - they have to pay rent, and staff wages just to teach children how to play the games.

They only generate income from sales, not from instruction, so having the large chain of shops is actually a drain on their income and a reason your miniatures cost more - the sales cost has to cover the shops and not just production and shipping.

This is where smaller mini manufacturers have a bonus - their overheads are purely on production and storage for the most part.

Also, a mold for a metal model may last 1000 casts (total guess to prove a point). Games Workshop, would need several master molds and to make new ones for the same model due to their larger sales compared to smaller companies, whereas that smaller company may have just one mold of a certain figure. The product is that that their is a price difference per unit between the two - and casting higher quantities does not in fact lower the production cost with metals as it is labour intensive (a man has to do it by hand basically) and new molds will need to be made. For plastics, a mold will be used in a machine so is cheap on labour though high on initial set up, and becasue those steel molds will almost last forever they more you make and sell, the cheaper it costs per unit.

That is why your plastic core is cheaper than your plastic specials - they sell more core so can get their money back quicker.

And as already mentioned but not clarified properly - elite infantry in metal will become a thing of the past slowly, but character sculpts and unique figures will remain metal for a long time to come due to the lower production quantities.

Quality isn't really the issue as cost though they pretend it is. Plastic will have better quality but not as sharp edges usually.

yabbadabba
05-01-2011, 19:36
With respect to Games Workshop compared to other retailers that also have online stores - Games Workshop would sell just as much product with it's stores as without them. How do you figure that, especially in the UK? I take it you would advise a marketing campaign?

wilsongrahams
05-01-2011, 20:01
How do you figure that, especially in the UK? I take it you would advise a marketing campaign?

I maybe didn't make that point very well!

What I meant to say was that sales would not drop that much if GW closed it's stores. The existing fan base could just as easily order online (and most do) as buy from the stores. For ten years I never visited a store - in fact not until I had my own transport to reach one. GW would not have got to where it is without it's stores however.

I say this because everyone I know personally that plays GW games, and myself included, heard of the game through advertising (I include those computer games here) or word of mouth (friends) and not by walking past the stores. Admittedly I am of the slightly older generation (I'm 27) and the younger generation would be more susceptible to buying on sight whilst hanging around in the shopping centres.

GW would need a good advertising campaign if it did not have it's stores, but then a lack of stores has never really hurt the other miniatures companies. Availability isn't the issue here, it's reknown.

Feel free to disagree - I'm basing my statements on my own experience with the hobby.

yabbadabba
05-01-2011, 20:38
@Wilsongrahams - that would only work if you knew that 11-18 year olds are regular online or mail order sales orientated. There is no doubt their parents are, but whether that shopping trend would extend to their children, I haven't heard of any data to suggest that.

If you dropped all the UK stores you would lose 21.6m a year, and would need something really special to keep the majority of those sales (15k/month x 120 stores - very rough I know). If you kept that as a constant state of sales across the business that could average out to approx 59.4m approx. The question you have to ask yourself is why these people shop at the store if it is cheaper online? Conveniance, lack of knowledge and the service. Losing that I think, would mean many of those customers giving up, then you have the knock on effect of flooding ebay with cast offs.

Just another p.o.v.

wilsongrahams
05-01-2011, 20:48
yabbadabba, I do agree with you that it would be a bad thing for the hobby on the whole.

If GW were to drop their stores, they would also save on staff wages, bills and rent etc, so would recoup some of those sales lost from stores, and the online sales would increase.

You're probably right actually, seeing as 90% (going from people in store and on here) of GW game system gamers are below 18 they would not have as easy access to buying online with the need of a credit card - and parents are often loathe to allow all the pocket money on toys every month. I know mine complained til last year when they realised there was money to be made with a good paint job! Strange how they stopped being toys, and became models then...

Trasvi
06-01-2011, 06:36
GW's stores are their advertising. I know of very very few people, who if they know about the wargaming hobby, do not automatically associate it with Games Workshop (then again, Napoleonics/WWII are less popular in Aus than Europe). Other games like Malifaux, Warmachine/Hordes, have VERY little presence outside of the wargaming hobby. Generally the path I see people take is:
non-gamer
GW gamer in GW store
GW gamer in clubs/flgs
non-GW gamer.

The other companies can do alright, but GW is doing a lot of the expensive work of recruiting.

But, everyone else is right about production of metal models; they are more detailed, have undercuts, cheaper to produce in small runs, and have nostalgic weight.

wilsongrahams
06-01-2011, 12:52
But, everyone else is right about production of metal models; they are more detailed, have undercuts, cheaper to produce in small runs, and have nostalgic weight.

Nostalgic weight? That's right - my three lead-containing dreadnoughts weigh more than an entire plastic army including tanks alone! There is even a noticable difference in weight and hardness to the white metal ones without lead.

checkmorale
10-01-2011, 06:27
After not being able to figure it out; I was wondering why they still make metal models? Plastic is cheap, strong, and people are willing to buy more of it. So, is it a marketing scheme or is it something else?

Metal molds are cheaper, and better for things that will be made in short/lesser runs like characters. They also hold more detail than metal models, so again, better for character models. Although GW and other companies are improving the quality of their models all the time, and tossing in tons of alternate bits in the bargain.

Plastic models are generally intended for things you need tons of, like infantry, or large models like tanks and super-heavy vehicles.

-Check