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Grendel and Ainsty Sci-Fi accessories discussion
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TOPIC: Grendel and Ainsty Sci-Fi accessories discussion
#5777
Grendel and Ainsty Sci-Fi accessories discussion 9 Years, 7 Months ago  
IO,

I can see the "Control Stations" better from these Angles and that does Help... But I Still think the White and Blue sort of takes over.... (But, the fact is that there are few details on the Actual Pods, so perhaps any Paint Sceme would seem Dominating)... Good Job on the Paint in any Event...

Rabid Fox,

Yes there is a College here, and you are right there is a lot more of the CCG and CMG, and Wargaming types of Support in general. I Don'ty Know why Game stores do not Make it here, But they don't, most last about Two years and Go under leaving a Vacum for a Couple of Years...

As to Property Values... I am Not so interested in Living Near Celebs... Much more Interested in Having "Space" and "Privacy", and when the Time comes to Move again We will be taking all of that into Account.
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#5778
Grendel and Ainsty Sci-Fi accessories discussion 9 Years, 7 Months ago  
Rabid Fox,

Yes there is a College here, and you are right there is a lot more of the CCG and CMG, and Wargaming types of Support in general. I Don'ty Know why Game stores do not Make it here, But they don't, most last about Two years and Go under leaving a Vacum for a Couple of Years...


That is an easy answer because I have been on the retail end and on the manufacturer's side of the fence.

One of four reasons will be why they fail:
1) The shoppe is really only a hobby.
2) The shoppe caters to RPGs.
3) The shoppe does not plan for a four-wave advertising plan for at very least the first fiscal year if not every year.
4) The shoppe owner really has no idea how to run a game shoppe and/or how much capital it takes to run a good one.

Let me explain each one:

1) The shoppe is really only a hobby.

This means they are willing to take money out of the register whenever they want.
They do not have a 2, 5 & 10 year business plan for their shoppe.
They do not understand that they cannot pay themselves anything for the first year at least, if not the first two. All funds have to be reinvested in the shoppe during the first year or two.
The shoppe probably only really started as a place for a group of friends to play their games.

2) The shoppe caters to RPGs.

There is very little repeat volume purchases in this sort of shoppe.
There is no way to maintain the cash flow needed to keep a shoppe's "head" above water.
A gamer may need/want as many as three copies of a book, but that is it.
CCG, CMG and miniature sales are the volume items needed to make a shoppe have the cash flow needed to survive.
A miniature wargamer probably needs a minimum of three blisters of each soldier/warrior type for each unit they put together for an "x" number of units. Once done with that army, they then can get caught by the next cool army that comes along by a clever shoppe owner & staff and build that one too.
The only "book" item that can match that necessary cash flow is comics.

3) The shoppe does not plan for a four-wave advertising plan for at very least the first fiscal year.

Remember the main truism of small business survival -
"Word of mouth is only good for one thing - going out of business!"

You must advertise to survive!

You need to have set up for your first year these four waves of ads:
Grand Opening (One week long one month after you have opened the shoppe)
[time enough to iron-out most of your shoppe's quirks]
Christmas (6 weeks before to three days before)
[vary the specials - make sure they are never on more than 20% of your stock at any one time]
Easter (kind of funny, I know, but Easter is the second largest toy holiday)
Beginning of ConSeason (Usually around Memorial Day)

Do yourself a favor. Do NOT open a shoppe between 15 August and 14 February. The first while will be too much of a killer otherwise because of too close to Christmas or the two major retail dead spots - September after Labor Day and the last half of January and the first half of February. You try opening a shoppe in that six months and the shoppe only has a 30-70 chance of survival for the first year. The odds are better for shoppes that open in the other six months in the U.S.A.

After the first fiscal year, you still have the four ad waves, but the Grand Opening becomes the Anniversary Advertisement in the month you opened.

Always maintain an advertisement in every school newspaper from Jr. High/Middle school level and up to tertiary level including vo-tech style schools in your area. This is fairly inexpensive for the sheer amount of exposure you will get.

Get in tight with any ROTC or JROTC in the area to supply their sand table needs. This can be a source of income that will go on for decades.

4) The shoppe owner really has no idea how to run a game shoppe and/or how much capital it takes to run a good one.

Remember, you do not need a business degree to run a successful games store. You do need that uncommon item called "Common Sense".

Remember, do NOT discount your shoppe into an early grave.
Americans love a discount, but they destroy retailers with such demands.
If you absolutely want a discount system in place, make it one of two styles.
A graduated one that does not start until the total purchase is at very least $40. A safer threshold is $50 or more. I have seen successful shoppes that start their discount threshold at $100. Make each gradation a significant amount of money.
A club one that has annual fees. Make it maybe at least $20/year for a 5% discount, max of 10%. A discount greater than that is asking to go out of business.
You can combine the two ideas, but be careful.
The most successful store I have seen do this did the graduated one that started at $50, but their survival did not completely hinge on gaming items. They paid most of their bills with paint ball weapons and supplies. That is a whole other can of worms.
Almost all stores I have seen discount their stock much are not still around.
What the game companies and distributers do not cost you out of the SRP, your overhead takes if you are not very careful.

You DO NEED a GOOD bit of fluid capital to start a good store.
The best stores that I have seen were started by miniature wargamers or comic enthusiasts. Why? Because these two hobbyists understand that you need to invest a lot of money into this hobby to make this sort of shoppe work. They have seen all of the mistakes by the timid-store-owner archtype, who they have seen go out of business multiple times, because he will not or cannot invest the capital needed for a shoppe to succeed.
The miniature/comic store owner type know they have to have volume of stock (not one of each blister/box type, but five to ten) to keep up with the needs of the gamers. The RPG gamer store owner type does not have that intimate knowledge of volume because he never needed to learn it as a gamer.

My estimate is that to start a good shoppe you need these things going in:
min. 1-2 year(s) lease money
min. 1 year utility money
min. 1 year advertising money
min. 1-2 year(s) employee wages
>$35,000 to invest in shoppe stock most of which needs to be high volume items like miniatures.

If you want to get into CCGs or CMGs, you need to carefully examine the large-end retailers you will be competing against - Wal-Mart, Target, Toys 'r Us, Hastings and that ilk.
You want to make sure that you can compete price-wise without driving yourself out of business.

Contract (I really mean a legal contract here) a show-quality (or as the GW folks call them - 'Eavy Metal Class) miniature painter for the shop. You must have cabinets (And I do mean CABINETS) filled with fantastically painted minis to attract sales.
You will also need a set of good quality painted figures for the store armies in the miniature wargames you sell.
NEVER use the show figures for wargaming except in only the most extraordinary events.
Finger oils and friction destroy even the best protected paint jobs over time.

Contract a competent figure painter that can teach how to paint.
Most of the best miniature painters I have met (which have not been few) cannot really teach how to paint.
They have been doing it for years and have become instinctual in their techniques.

Contract (I really mean a legal contract here too) a wargaming referee and assistant referee for your regular occurring events and your special events. You MUST have weekly regular events and at least one monthly special event to keep a shoppe fresh and in the wave of the industry.

Why the contracts?
This way the people under contract have a stake in the venture and thereby will crank out their best efforts for you.
You also, as the shoppe, have recourse if they do not.
These people must be seen as an important investment from the shoppe's point of view.

Build A-1 relationships with all of the companies out there whose product you do sell OR may sell.
DO NOT BE CHUMMY OR CLINGY THOUGH. BIG TURN OFF!!
The best way to have great shoppe events is to have prizes that do not come out of the shoppe's kitty, but come from the manufacturers!
This builds sales potential with no financial outlay of the shoppe's moneys.

Wow! I did not realize how much I went on until I finished.
I think I have covered most items though, but I probably missed something(s).
Any questions, just ask.
I am very familiar with the subject.

As to Property Values... I am Not so interested in Living Near Celebs... Much more Interested in Having "Space" and "Privacy", and when the Time comes to Move again We will be taking all of that into Account.

What I was meaning is that property values here are not as cheap as a lot of people might think because of the celebrity factor. It may not be beach front property, but . . ..
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#5779
Grendel and Ainsty Sci-Fi accessories discussion 9 Years, 7 Months ago  
Sound advice all of it! My experience from the production end ties in completely!
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#5780
Grendel and Ainsty Sci-Fi accessories discussion 9 Years, 7 Months ago  
Actually RF that particular post may get printed and added to my buisiness maxims notebook. It was very cleanly done and well thot out. While I do not expect to enter into any store front retail venture myself for at least 20 years ( possible retirement activity ), what you've laid out meshes well with most of the retail hobby store failures I've seen in the last 30 years in this hobby.

God bless,

Spencer
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#5781
Grendel and Ainsty Sci-Fi accessories discussion 9 Years, 7 Months ago  
I finished up the “control stations�, so here’s my attempt at a spaceship.





Notice how the “1.5" door� fit nicely where the two corner pieces meet. What a pleasant surprise.



I need to custom make a large forward control screen “Star Trek Like� that can be placed against the forward wall. It would really set off the control room.





I took the above screen idea from Star Wars.

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#5782
Grendel and Ainsty Sci-Fi accessories discussion 9 Years, 7 Months ago  
Rabid Fox,

Sounds Good... I Do not Know much about Marketing, or about Business Practices in General, So I have nothing with which to Compare it. Except perhaps the One Business in town which IS still open after more than Ten years which IS first and foremost a Comic Store, that primarily Supports the Wargame, and CCG Community. They will Special Order RPG Items, however it is Never a Priority, and they do not Support RPG Sessions in the Store... That having been Said, they have Moved and Changed the Size of the Store several times, but they are Still Going... And You Know... They Made their Initial Stand with the Arrival of the Original Magic The Gathering... And The Only Time I have Ever Noticed a Sale is When they Need to Change the Size of their Stock (Moving, Expanding or Reducing the size of the Store)... So Where does your Familiarity of the Discussion come from?
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#5783
Grendel and Ainsty Sci-Fi accessories discussion 9 Years, 7 Months ago  
I finished the Weapons Locker and the wall backdrops for the Cyber Bar. I just decided to paint these together because of their similarity.

Here’s a Cargo Hold idea.







One thing that I did was cut this piece from the Cyber Bar into three pieces.





This way I got a stand alone “Vault like Door�, a wall backdrop that could be used anywhere, and a small stand alone Computer Terminal that fits nicely next to one of those “1.5� doors� at the end off a corridor.





Here’s all of it.



One more Thing,

When I was boxing up some items in the closet I found some of the Blister Cards from these pieces. Just for reference some of the cards were Grendel, and some were Leviathan? But they were the same pieces. Wasn’t Leviathan out of Scotland? Edinburgh?
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#5784
Grendel and Ainsty Sci-Fi accessories discussion 9 Years, 7 Months ago  
Rabid Fox,

Sounds Good... I Do not Know much about Marketing, or about Business Practices in General, So I have nothing with which to Compare it. Except perhaps the One Business in town which IS still open after more than Ten years which IS first and foremost a Comic Store, that primarily Supports the Wargame, and CCG Community. They will Special Order RPG Items, however it is Never a Priority, and they do not Support RPG Sessions in the Store... That having been Said, they have Moved and Changed the Size of the Store several times, but they are Still Going... And You Know... They Made their Initial Stand with the Arrival of the Original Magic The Gathering... And The Only Time I have Ever Noticed a Sale is When they Need to Change the Size of their Stock (Moving, Expanding or Reducing the size of the Store)... So Where does your Familiarity of the Discussion come from?


Sorry for the delay in answering - got sidetracked.

Experience is from:
*working or volunteering at three game shoppes in three states one of which went out of business because he refused to treat the shoppe as a business,
*from being close friends with four other shoppe owners,
*having watched five other shoppes struggle and die and knowing why,
*having been a customer and gamer at the shoppe that was the showroom at the Armory Distributers which merged with Chessex Distributing to form Alliance Distributing,
*from having worked at one of the major companies in the biz
*and having had close associates at three other major companies in the biz.

Again, sorry for the delay.
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#5785
Grendel and Ainsty Sci-Fi accessories discussion 9 Years, 7 Months ago  
One more Thing,

When I was boxing up some items in the closet I found some of the Blister Cards from these pieces. Just for reference some of the cards were Grendel, and some were Leviathan? But they were the same pieces. Wasn’t Leviathan out of Scotland? Edinburgh?


It is all Scotia which is based at Hallgreen Castle, Inverbervie, Angus, in Scotland.
Scotia bought up the rights to all of the Grendel, Kryomek and Leviathan figure lines.
Actually, their official name now that they bought the Grendel line is Scotia-Grendel.
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#5786
Grendel and Ainsty Sci-Fi accessories discussion 9 Years, 7 Months ago  
"Looks to the post above" :rolleyes: . The boys got knowledge :D .

Thanks for the info Rabid.

One thing, I've never seen the "Kryomek" blisters. are they the same as the Grendel and Leviathan molds? just differen't Packaging/Blister Cards?
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#5787
Grendel and Ainsty Sci-Fi accessories discussion 9 Years, 7 Months ago  
IO -- great, great, great stuff. Fantastic paint jobs, great pics. Looks like you guys can put together one of the best sci-fi tables ever. The stuff looks really great.

Man, when my recently-ordered SF passage set arrives, not to mention the ROTS merch. blitz starting in April, culminating in more SW minis -- man, I'm going to have to get some of those Grendel sets I'm missing....

L
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#5788
Grendel and Ainsty Sci-Fi accessories discussion 9 Years, 7 Months ago  
"Looks to the post above" :rolleyes: . The boys got knowledge :D .

Thanks for the info Rabid.

One thing, I've never seen the "Kryomek" blisters. are they the same as the Grendel and Leviathan molds? just differen't Packaging/Blister Cards?


Thank you for the compliment.
It is called being in miniature wargaming for over 30 years.
A lot of folks got into gaming back in the 70s, but it was RPGs and they got in only as gamers.
They did not get into the business at all and have not been able to watch the ebb and flow of the gaming world as I have.
Boy, what a motion picture it has been too!

Kryomek is a miniature wargame that has been around a good while.
It has been both an independent company and a part of Grendel.
Lately, it has been part of the pieces of Grendel's body around the world.
In the UK Grendel washed up into Scotia.
In the US it appears to have been picked up by SimTac.
One problem, SimTac appears to have gone belly-up, but also appears to not have.
Officially, SimTac went out of business 1 Jan. 2004, but then Kryomek USA came into existence 1 July, 2004.
The funny is that they are within miles of each other in CT.
Here is the WEB page:
www.kryomek.com/index.asp
There are very few pictures in the terrain section.
Anyone here brave enough and have the disposable funds enough to order the following terrain items could help us all out a good bit:
Airlock x2, Door x2, Hatch, Cargo Bay Door
Typical spaceship entryways.
KNI-001 Price: $14.95

Computer Banks x2, Holographic Projector
Command and communication equipment that fits with any spaceship or computer center.
KNI-002 Price: $14.95

Navigation, Comm, Tac, and Cmd Consoles
Spaceship or command center equipment.
KNI-003 Price: $14.95

Power Generator, Life Support, Power Regulator
Specialized equipment that is required in alien environments to sustain life.
KNI-004 Price: $14.95

Cryogenic Chambers x6, Cryogenic Controls
Early space flights could take years to arrive at their destinations. Passengers and non-essential crew went into cryogenic sleep until arrival.
KNI-005 Price: $14.95

They may well be the very same items as the Grendel Items y'all picked up from Discount Hobby.
Kryomek USA does have free shipping on orders of $100 or more.
They have some cool looking craters if you are looking to round out the order over $100.

Need to go. Have a great night!
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