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Whoa! HUGE news from Reaper!
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TOPIC: Whoa! HUGE news from Reaper!
#22719
Whoa! HUGE news from Reaper! 7 Years, 8 Months ago  
In fact, other companies are beginning to offer pre-painted metal versions of their products. Black Orc Games has recently done so with their 100 kingdoms line...
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#22720
Whoa! HUGE news from Reaper! 7 Years, 8 Months ago  
[soapbox rant]

More stuff, different stuff, more choice, means more customers and specifically _different_ customers. I must admit that I get a little tired of all the doomsaying here, on the Mongoose forum, the Rackham forum, and a whole lot of other forums, where the prevailing doomsayer notion is this: "I'm a figure painter. I take pride in my skill as a painter. No underpaid chinese or some machine is going to replace my skill. I will NOT support this product, therefore it will fail."

Let me repeat something that has become something of a mantra the past couple of months: "This product is not for you."

What I'm saying is that if you are a figure painter and feel comfortable painting figures, go ahead, paint another figure and be happy that the miniatures hobby is expanding, covering new ground. The prepaints are meant for people who would prefer to grab finished playing pieces and start a game right away. As a figure painter you would probably want all the resources of the minis companies directed at fulfilling your needs, but first of all, the companies need to be able to pay the rent, the salaries and the production costs, and you do that by expanding, by finding new markets if the old one is saturated. The figure painting hobby market IS saturated, it is filled to capacity with the products of Games Workshop, the company that for the past decades have been defining the hobby. In order to break out of that the other companies need to do something different, unless they want to stay in shadows. They need to attract the people who are not figure painters, or only occasional figure painters. It's really as simple as that. Stop complaining over companies willing to open up new avenues and show some interest in the new stuff and what it may bring in the way of extras for your particular part of the hobby!

[/soap box rant]
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#22721
Whoa! HUGE news from Reaper! 7 Years, 8 Months ago  
I'm not sure it is just public relations, i think they have looked at the market and are trying to generate a new set of customers along with thier old ones, and are looking to expands with out getting rid of the older ones. I looked at the black orc, and it's not for me, metal is not for me it is to "delicate".

Honestly while i have bought Reaper, and other metal i don't like to, the miniatures are heavy and you have to paint them, and they can be some what fragile (bent swords, can't just throw them in box etc), and they require more work to go (removing flashing etc.) while much of that would be gone in pre-painted metal (prep work) they are still heavy, and i can't store my orcs in a gallon jug, they would ger ruined. I think they looked at the comments people have made on the Pre-painted plaastics and saw what people liked and didn't and are tryign to cut out a part of that market.

I don't thing they would do metal becuase ss is Metal aren't cheap, add in the cost of painting them and it is much more than i want to pay. while there are pre-painted lines out there (em4 to name one i own some of) they are pricey, and i bought what i did because i had few other options, and they are prone to my biggest dislike of the sunstance, and i haven't bought more becuase of what i don't like about metal in general.

From what has been said over on the Reaper boards, by the reaper staff (and i joined to post after reading stuff there) i think they are looking to gain the Gamer, the people like me who just want some minis "ready to use" and not spend hours of time painting and not the metal hobby Painter as a target group. They have that group, i think they are doing what DF did awhile ago, expanding there line.

DF added Sci-fi, DoE, MBS to get more people into DF. If DF hadn't done Sci-Fi i most likely would not have taken the plung. This line if it puts out the minis i want is something i can get behind, becuase i take back what i said about me not being their target group i think i am their target, they are just off on what i am interested in in this first out. They aren't making anything i want now, if they make what i want they will have me as a customer (and i told them what i want).

I don't think the metal is going away any time soon, i think they are just adding a line to get more people buying, there is a huge chunk of people who want pre-paints, and who don't mind plastic, thier gripe is the figs aren't the selection they want (blind), for me not the figs i want . It is the whole problem of non blind, i NEVER had enough stromtroopers from the metal WEG... becuase they were always sold out, that is my concern with the line that they will miss the mark on figs, and so far they have done so with this release, but i am willing to wait and see what they do next.
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#22722
Whoa! HUGE news from Reaper! 7 Years, 8 Months ago  
Ghengis,

When DF produced <a href='jumpto.php?MBS' title='More about MBS ...' class='wrapped_url'>MBS</a> and DOE they were essentially expanding an existing product line of pre-painted gaming terrain. When they ventured into pre-painted plastic orcs and skeletons, was that a raging success for them or did it almost destroy the company? In other words, was pre-painted miniatures outside of Dwarven Forge's core business?

The business problem with plastic miniatures is the initial investment of injection-molding. While a large production run is offset in costs, that initial set up fee is far more expansive than using pewter. The exit cost of painting up existing metal figures is far less than the exit cost of the plastics, resulting in less risk to the company.

The actual cost of pre-painted metals for smaller figures would be about $2 more per figure and would not cost Reaper a ramp-up cost for injection molding, and thus be a less risky business decision.
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#22723
Whoa! HUGE news from Reaper! 7 Years, 8 Months ago  
Willypold,

I'm not sure that I agree with your rant.

1. This isn't the Mongoose or Rackham forum and I haven't seen anyone on here say "I'm a figure painter. I take pride in my skill as a painter. No underpaid chinese or some machine is going to replace my skill. I will NOT support this product, therefore it will fail."

2. I disagree that "figure painting hobby market IS saturated, it is filled to capacity with the products of Games Workshop, the company that for the past decades have been defining the hobby." From my limited vantage point, I see several new metal miniatures companies that appear to be performing very strong in the gaming market. Check out Magnificent Egos and Dark Sword miniatures who offer excellent quality sculptings that are innovative and unique.

3. The nature of forums is to provide differing opinions. I'm of the opinion that this particular product release doesn't appear to be a sound business decision by Reaper, and instead strike me as a "me too!" reactionary approach, much like TSR did when they released Spellfire in response to WOTC's Magic the Gathering. I haven't read other forums, but if there is widespread dissent then Reaper does face a customer loyalty issue with this product release and obviously failed somehow in their Public Relations campaign, or there wouldn't be an outcry of doomsayers.

In summary, I believe that had Reaper invested in additional old-school sculptings (such as the direction that Otherworlds is headed), or innovated with new quality products (Magnificent Egos, Dark Sword, Dragon Rune), they would have remained focused on expanding their core business. Pre-painted plastics are outside of Reapers "Heartland", in my opinion, and pose a grave business risk that only time will tell if it was a prudent business decision.
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#22724
Whoa! HUGE news from Reaper! 7 Years, 8 Months ago  
The Pre-painted Resin (i think that is what they are made of) orcs, and skeletons was before my time so not sure what happened back then. But essentially Reaper is doing the same thing DF did when DF made more terrain they, made more of what they make, just a new line in it. They made Terrain and expanded the line of products tp new terrain types, to generate new customers. The same thing Reaper appears to be doing, they are still making minis, just a different kind, plastic, and they are pre-painted. They are expanding an existign line of miniatures to include plastic, that is painted. I see no difference from what they are making before. they made minis, they still do.

As to costs of set up etc i can't say what the cost is to do what, i'm not making minis for a living, nor dealing with injection molded plastics so i won't make any comment at all on the cost of things i have no knowledge of such things.

As of the cost increase of the per-painted metals i will make one point, at even just $2 more you are not going to get me to buy that line at all.

As it stands now i think the metal minis are too expensive to purchase more than 1 or two of on occasion, in the 3100 line a typical single figure goes for $4-5, add another 2 on that for $6-7 and sorry, no deal. For the cost of two metal painted figures i could get 8 of the painted plastic from DDM, or 4 (if MK was still around) or Loads on E-bay. For me who i think after reading the Reaper forum posts is the ready to fight market, it is just not cost effective, and i wouldn't buy them. It's why i Don't buy the em4, now they have painted metals, and there have many i haven't boguht becuase since DDM the cost effictiveness just isn't there for me for the price i would pay for what i get it's isn't there.

And from the response of people who like to paint and like metal, i don't think the increase in sales of painted is significant enough for Reaper to invest in it. I have seen many online places that will paint your metal for you, or sell select nmbers or figures from a line painted, and the cost is just to much. The people who are willing to pay that price do so now, and Reaper adding that factor to exsisting i don't think would expand the business at all. the Marginal returns i think would be too low. Sure they don't outlay any cash to make a new or different product, so they save $ there, but they also don't do anything significant to generate new customers.

They have metal people already, they don't have a portion of the Plastic crack market. This way, does selling painted plastic, selling painted metal won't sway to many of the people who buy the plastic crack. It just costs too much to get them, and for the plastic crack crowd, we larely don't give a hoot about the great paintjobs, those who do will repaint any way. The plastic crack crowd would rather get more for the $, then spend a lot of $ to get a great paint job on a fine metal.
Reaper wants to take a hunk out of that market.
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#22725
Whoa! HUGE news from Reaper! 7 Years, 8 Months ago  
Aracon, about point number one - you are saying that very thing. Not with those exact words or actually not even nearly those, but you are adhering to a tradition that is looking at the issue from a _painter_ perspective. And that's where you've missed the big picture, if I may make a pun of it.

It's like this. I used to be a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. Ages ago I switched over to LARP. For several years in Sweden, during the Visby Medieval Week, both the Swedish branch of the SCA and hundreds of larpers came over for a week of fun in medieval clothes - and both groups totally misunderstood each other. They basically looked the same to outsiders, did basically the same things, but did what they did for entirely different reasons. One group created a historically accurate "room" to step into and enjoy, the other group created a set for the stories they wanted to tell, using the costumes and objects as story devices instead of accurate replicas made for their own sake.

In a roundabout way, this is the same with people playing with minis. Some are hobbyists and painters, some are pure gamers. The non-hobbyist gamer is underrepresented in the demographics, simply because there hasn't been that much product catering to that group. Wizkids and then WotC realised it, and did something about it, and the market expanded.

Now Mongoose and Rackham are taking the idea one step further, with prepainted non-random unit boxes of prepainted figures for regular wargames, instead of the randomly packaged figures for skirmish games from Wizkids and WotC.

Reaper is now about to do for fantasy what Mongoose and Rackham are doing for modern warfare and sci fi.

Doomsaying from a hobbyist standpoint is, therefore, not relevant. Comparing paint-your-own-metal to machine painted plastic is not relevant either. It's the same story as with the SCA and the larpers. The prepaints are like chess pieces, you buy them, you play with them - they are the tools for your game. Some look better than others. If they look good enough for the gamer wanting them, he or she will buy them and use them, totally disregarding hobbyist whining about the quality of the paint or whatever.

Point two. The hobby market IS saturated with Games Workshop. The other makers are an absolute minority, not getting close to the size of GW even put together. Looking at Sweden, with a fairly large hobby movement, game stores in every city and town, and large annual gaming conventions, what do I see? Warhammer. Warhammer 40K. Some Blood Bowl, some Epic, some Mordheim and Necromunda. Then you have the people playing historical games. There are a few, but you don't find the minis in any of the stores. You will find DDM and SWM in some of the larger stores in the biggest cities, but not everywhere. I know of one place in Stockholm where you can get Warmachine, but nothing from Mongoose or Rackham, or Crocodile Games or any number of other companies. The list of Games Workshop retailers in Sweden is the longest in Europe outside of the UK. When you talk about miniatures, you talk about Games Workshop. They are defining the hobby, how it works, what it looks like. This basically means that the gamers and hobbyists are doomed to get into GW or they can't find any opponents.

Most of the companies doing metal are basically catering to the expert painters, and to the roleplayers looking for character figures - not the collectors of massed armies, which is where the money is. You don't want to sell a few minis, you want to sell an army, and then you want to sell another army, which is quite possible, because the buyer has already invested a lot of time learning the rules for this particular game, so another army is just another paintscheme...

Point three. Everyone's opinion should be respected - to a point. But if that opinion isn't going anywhere, why should I listen to it? I'd rather point out why that opinion lacks merit, and in this particular case it's simply too much of a hobbyist complaint about something that is not targeted at the hobbyists. Very similar to the SCA/larper complaints about the "other group not doing it right".

My opinion about Reaper's business decision is that they display an extremely sound business acumen, because they can't break out of the GW stranglehold on the market by doing more of the same, they need to expand into different markets, at the same time doing what they are experts at doing - making goodlooking minis - but expanding to meet the needs of a larger customer base - is the best strategy ever.

The core business isn't possible to expand by just doing more of the same. Later perhaps, when they've increased the market by drawing the non-painters who would love playing with minis into the fold. Some of them are eventually bound to find painting minis to be an interesting aspect of the gaming hobby...

By the way... The reason TSR failed with Spellfire - really a bad example - is that they hadn't thought it through, they didn't know how to do it, and they never realised the customer needs and wants. What they saw was a way of making a quick buck by cashing in on a fad, using leftovers, with absolutely no structure. Not relevant as an example and the thing to be learned is that you really should try to understand what you are doing and why you are doing it. TSR didn't either with Spellfire.

To me it looks very much like Reaper knows exactly what they are doing and why. It's a good indication that they will succeed, as long as the figures are appealing to all of the non-painters looking for some good "chess pieces"...
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#22726
Whoa! HUGE news from Reaper! 7 Years, 8 Months ago  
Willypold,

A couple of points.

On point one, just because I question Reaper's business decision, does equate to: "I'm a figure painter. I take pride in my skill as a painter. No underpaid chinese or some machine is going to replace my skill. I will NOT support this product, therefore it will fail." So please, don't put words into my mouth assuming you know what I buy or will support. Just because I can paint and do ridicule sculpts such as the DDM Ghoul from Harbinger or the (in my opinion) poorly sculpted dragons (compared with other plastic dragons such as McFarlanes), doesn't mean that I don't have a sizable amount of DDM.

On point two: Yes, GW is a monolith worldwide. Yes, GW is saturated. However, that doesn't mean that other companies can't compete and make profits. It doesn't mean that Warhammer will always remain at the top. Like it or not, Reaper's core business is unpainted metal miniatures, just like DF is painted terrain. This may be why you see so many people questioning Reaper's decisions. If what you say is true, Reaper obviously has a major PR issue on their hands. To assume that merely releasing pre-painted orcs and skeletons will be a big smash hit product really isn't a valid argument based upon historical results. Look at DF's success (no offense intended to DF) at doing exactly that.

On point three: If you don't like my posts, then by all means, don't read them. Just because someone may think your SCA/larper comments are without merit doesn't mean they should go on a rant about your opinions.

As for TSR's ultimate failure, it was a combination of both Spellfire, Dragon dice, and lack of strategic direction combined... My point was that they ventured into an area outside of thier core business expertise, and in the case of Spellfire had a "me too!" approach to card games. The massive return of Dragon Dice that failed to sell was the multi-million dollar straw that ultimately crushed them.

While Reaper may do very well with pre-painted miniatures, their late-coming to this market (seven years after Wizkids had pre-painted figs), the limited initial release (orcs, skeletons, ogres, trolls and minotaurs), and the public outcry that you have mentioned (obviously a PR failure by them) leads me to believe that they're going to have a real problem with this. I just don't see crowds lining up awaiting their product release in my neck of the woods...

As a side note, my FLGS didn't even know about the upcoming product release as of last week and he owns multiple game shops and is well connected in the gaming industry. He still has painted skeletons and orcs on the shelves from DF and I'd be surprised if he even carries the line unless he sees something very unique at GAMA.

Until I see something otherwise, I stick to the following: In my opinion, this move appears hasty, and seems to be a "me too!" approach to expanding business. I simply fail to see anything innovative about this product.
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#22727
Whoa! HUGE news from Reaper! 7 Years, 8 Months ago  
What's wrong with expanding your business?
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#22728
Whoa! HUGE news from Reaper! 7 Years, 8 Months ago  
Time out, guys; let's not get personal. It doesn't work, it doesn't fly here, and it's likely to get Doug PO'd - NEVER a good idea! (remember RF*?)

Anyway, you both have VERY VALID points, and to be coldly objective about it, only time will tell.

I do NOT LIKE GW, but I wil be the first to admit, they have dominated the fantasy/SF wargaming genre for A WHILE now. I keep hoping that someone will come along and break that stranglehold, but so far, not so good. Oh well; maybe they're right and I'm wrong.

Reaper has replaced Ral Partha as THE Number One source for fantasy Fine Metal figures; I don't care how many Thunder Mountain goodies you have, NOBODY makes an elven Princess like Reaper. Reaper has combined the 'every gamer-boy fantasy chick' figures with the BEST in everything else fantasy figs and made it right.

HOWEVER, some people see painting their figs as the ultimate expression of the hobby; that's cool, everyone gets into a hobby for different reasons, and hobbies are for relaxation and self-expression. If you're NOT doing a hobby for that reason, then shut up and go watch TV, or find something ELSE that relaxes you. DUH! And by the way, that SHUT UP was NOT aimed at anyone here on the forum, it is a generalization only.

AND, some people just want a huge collection of miniature people to shove around a game board, or a wild DF setup, and let them beat each other to a blood pulp. And THAT'S cool, too; because that's where they get their relaxation! Remember, this is a HOBBY?

AND, if Reaper want's to try to swipe some of WotC's near-monopoly, fine; it's their nickel, and they have the expertise to do it - maybe. Again, time will tell, one way or another.

Meanwhile, can we stop backhanding each other here? willy, Aracon, both of you have valid points, both of you have your own opinions, and both of you have the right to those opinions. Just don't beat each other to death with them, okay? Or at least, don't do it in public; someone might notice and call a cop, and THEN where would we be?

Just my own little UN Blue Helmet action, here.

See ya!

Jim
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#22729
Whoa! HUGE news from Reaper! 7 Years, 8 Months ago  
I second the call for peace round these parts.

As for the rest -- I really don't know what to expect. I believe Reaper when they say they didn't risk the company on this move. If that were true, I think they'd just stay quiet and hype the product rather than come out and say "If this fails, we'll be fine." Most big failures have been preceeded by lots of hype and telling us how great the new stuff is -- not by people promising that, should it fail, the company would be fine.

I agree, for that matter, that this has a "me too" attitude about it, and that it doesn't innovate. For people saying they won't get it because it isn't innovative -- fine. That makes sense to me. But personally, I will probably get these because a) they're cheap, b) they're fun, c) I am a total mark for this sorta thing, and d) I want to support the line so that they DO get to figures I want.

I mean, the ogre and the minotaur I would get anyway -- I don't have too many of those, and I expect to like Reaper's versions. The rest I'll buy out of brand loyalty and zombie consumerism.

The "me too" thing may be true, but if so -- it's a little late. "Oh that Reaper! As soon as WOTC puts out, you know, 13 sets of pre-painted plastics, and several years after WK's prepainted plastic game 'Mage Knight' died, they jumped right on board!" Yeah, next they'll be putting out hoola-hoops! ;)

I also think that Reaper is a much, much smaller company than WOTC, and can probably consider a line successful if it doesn't move NEARLY as much product. I also collect toys, and in that world, you really have to be aware of the size of the company. Hasbro needs to sell a TON of sometihng before they consider it a success, but smaller companies like McFarlane can be profitable on a lot less. And even THEY can afford to make $11 dragons, while the market WOTC caters to is much smaller, hence no $11 dragons from them. Reaper is going to be smaller still, so the sales numbers they hope for won't be nearly as high as what WOTC sees from DDM sales. It really would have to be a colossal DUD for Reaper to consider it a failure.

Which is possible. But remember, different numbers apply.

So I don't know what to expect. We'll just have to see.

L
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#22730
Whoa! HUGE news from Reaper! 7 Years, 8 Months ago  
Competition in business is good. It tends to bring down prices, burns away market inefficiencies, and highlights consumer preferences. Even if a new entry into the market fails, it can still influence those who were already operating. Yes, it sucks for the business(es) that take a hit, but that's how things work.

DF was just getting started when another company introduced another line of modular floors and walls -- they were made of plastic, had little or no color detail, and were generally touted by gaming stores as "a cheap alternative to DF". I don't see that product on the shelves anymore, and I've never seen anyone carting around bin-fulls to use in gaming. But if nothing else, it showed that in the modular architectural gaming accessory market, consumers have a strong preference for polyresin constructed pieces with painted details and pre-assembled wall-to-floor and corner junctions. Anytime DF thinks about pricing and ways to reduce costs, they will remember that as a consumer vote against going plastic.

I hope that the Reaper entry into plastic minis will at least influence DDM. I have only ever bought DDM at cons or hobby shops that sell individual pieces secondhand -- I refuse to buy something sight unseen, and I refuse to give a company money for some random product that they make. (Would you go to a clothing store, put down thirty dollars, then accept whatever shirt the clerk decided to put in the bag? Or go to a restaurant and let the waiter bring you whatever was available?) I'm not saying they need to completely abandon the present system, but some tweaks would significantly improve the system for consumers and remove some blocks that keep people like me out of the DDM market entirely.

Even being assured of ONE figure in a box would be an improvement. At least then I could buy three boxes and know I was getting the three Dire Hedgehogs that I want. Uncommon and rare minis would be excluded from box labeling, and shipping to stores could remain random (as the inventory and order fulfillment savings are, I think, the driving force behind this d-a system), but consumers would have SOME control over what they were getting.

For very common minis, or minis that lend themselves to group encounters (Wolves, Giant Wasps, Goblin Infantry, that sort of thing), why not sell packs of three or six, and include one or more random minis as a bonus? Again, WotC gets to move their inventory, but customers can get the figures they prefer without taking on the inventory and storage costs that the manufacturer has unloaded on them.
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