Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Updates = Metal and plans (plans set in metal)

I feel like a cop out posting without a picture here!

If you follow this blog or are in any way interested in my miniatures though this is probably a worth while read.

  1. Miniatures of the north.com (the website) is finally getting some architectural changes and will start holding content in the near future: image galleries, step by step sculpting articles and painting tutorials. You'll notice I even have a “Store” page.
  2. I've sent off the Desert Insurgents sculpts to use as a test run with a metal producer (Risky!? Not really, I've used this producer before for personal heroic style casts many moons ago and they were brilliant. This is the first time with my MOTN miniatures though, finer than chunky 'heroic' style miniatures, hence my approach to this being a test).
  3. All going to plan I'll start distributing a select few new miniatures myself via Miniatures of the North.com.

I can't stress the following enough: this is in no way a commercial endeavour. I'm not intending on promoting miniatures of the north.com as a profit seeking outfit. I still hope to be working with Anvil Industries for the foreseeable future and expanding existing ranges.

Allow me to explain...

Anvil Industries have their own range of miniatures and essentially have a 'licence' to produce MOTN minis, which is a fancy way of me saying Anvil produces and sells my miniatures and I get a % of the profits as sculptor, designer, IP owner.

With Anvil producing their own ranges, expanding and managing their resources very very wisely, there are some things I make which will simply never be produced by Anvil, for a variety reasons, be that commercial aspects (this mini wont sell a great deal or appeal to anyone) or quality control aspects (Anvil use CAD and have 3D prints produced, I'm still old school and use plasticard, drills and files).

I still want this stuff cast up though, which is where the metal comes in to play.

Here's where MOTN will stick out as weird and anyone with basic business sense will see I'm not generating much profit and generally have a crap business model (if you can even call it a business).

I have a full time career in Investments. I sculpt and do 'nerd' stuff in a portion of my spare time. I've 'run the numbers' countless times and doing MOTN full time and selling miniatures myself does not add up – there is absolutely no way I can ever come close to matching my current income with miniatures. Cue the violins (I'm joking).

First and foremost then metal production is for me: these are miniatures and machines I want for myself. I'm paying for molds and casts up front for personal use (nope, not interested in using crowd funding to go commercial.)

While I'm at it though I'm thinking I might as well run a small 'boutique' style web store and sell the stuff to anyone interested. 'Boutique' is a term I'm using (probably incorrectly) to denote: small scale, sometimes limited runs, limited stock (replenished when required where possible), eclectic, non-commercial, specialised... you get the idea.

Being sensible I'm thinking about mold content – how can I get the best use of the mold! I don't want to end up with a mold full of soldiers and one character: if I get multiples of that mold for the soldiers, I'm left with multiples of the same character; that's not what I want!

I'll therefore be doing two types of mold: ones for multiple casts and ones for single casts. Multiple casts will be infantry squads, mechs, things you want a few of. Single casts will be one off characters, or things you only want one of... simple, right?

Example- The desert insurgent MULTIPLE MOLD will contain the following:
5 Insurgents (with a rifle and head sprue)
1 Insurgent with an rpg
2 Elite Insurgents
1 Insurgent Tribal leader (if it can squeeze into the plate, I'm pushing it for maximum content)

So when I get 4 casts spun up I'll have 20 Insurgents with rifles, 4 Insurgents with RPG's, 4 Leaders and 8 Elite Insurgents (Perfect numbers for skirmish gaming with my rules “Redemption Sector: Uprising”, but more on that another time.)

When I do a desert insurgent SINGLE MOLD, I'll have things like a Flag bearer, a Sheikh Commander, a couple of Honour Guards, the Messiah, the Old Man of the Desert, the Messenger Droid.... Characters, one off's you'd only buy once.

Hope that makes sense!

Here's the catch though, my plan (initially) is to sell as a box set, one spin of the mold. So no option to order 30 Desert Insurgents, I'll only be offering the full mold content, 5 insurgents, 2 elites, rpg, leader.

(If that really doesn't work for you, I'm sure you can email me and we'll try and work something out).

This is going to generate lots frustration I'm sure, maybe even controversy, but really, this method saves me a shit load of administration, accountancy, manpower and keeps things SUPER simple. More importantly IT KEEPS COSTS DOWN. I'll be able to take a clear approach to pricing things without muddying the waters with additional charges and fee's (like charging more for the tribal leader because I only get one from the mold, and the infantry themselves are sure to be more popular. Or worrying about covering a sculptors fee, as well as the mold costs... no wonder some businesses have to charge what they do per figure...). Famous last words perhaps, we'll find out soon enough.

I cannot confirm any pricing until I've had casts run for myself and the weight is calculated. You might find some miniatures cost more than others – if so then that will be because it required more metal to cast.

I will of course try and turn a small profit, I'm not a complete martyr, and that profit will offset against the cost of the mold and operational costs (should I happen to make enough for that, I'm genuinely not sure I will though). Any additional profit would go into funding future molds.

Simple stuff! Transparent? I honestly hope so, I can't factor bullshit into this when it's something I do because I love it.

Like I said, “boutique”.

So hang on with me and we'll see what happens!

I have some very cool stuff in progress, but not before I've stocked up on boxes and bubble wrap (having a 'box set' mentality lets be pack in advance and makes dispatch simpler and faster).

Comments please, I've love to hear what people think!

No need to tell me I'm probably bat shit crazy on this but you know what, I'm getting the molds made anyway and I've little to lose or gain here. Bullshit, actually, building even a small base of support from people is a significant gain! Please please please however do not approach MOTN with preconceived notions from this industry, keep in mind two things: boutique and bespoke.

If you suffered through all that ramble, you deserve a heads up on a release schedule (timeframesTBC):

Desert Insurgents MULTIPLE mold 1:
5 Insurgents (with a rifle and head sprue)
1 Insurgent with an rpg
2 Elite Insurgents
1 Insurgent Tribal leader (if it can squeeze into the plate, if not he's saved for the single mold)

Techno Communion MULTIPLE mold 1:
5 Petarikon (with rifle and head sprue)
1 Heavy Cannon drone
2 Danerikon
1 Synaxarion (if it can squeeze into the plate, if not he's saved for the single mold)

Desert Insurgents MULTIPLE mold 2: (Mold size dependent)
1 Anti Grav Tug
1 Anti Grav Scout Bike
2 Rogue Techno Communion Drones
1 Service Droid