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joshuaslater

Tin Prices

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Well, if fortress figures production runs are shorter than Reapers, then pricing is more important for them, as they get less benefit from economies of scale. So one would expect the fixed costs for raw materials to be lower for Reaper then.

 

With demold times for resin as short 2 minutes (keeping the molds warm), and no need to wait for molds to cool before casting again

 

Not all resins are brittle. They're infinitely tunable. If casters are using brittle ones, that's there fault, not the fault of the resins. The FF style resin is slightly bendy, making it tough not brittle.

 

The other question too, is the resin-resistance of RTV molds vs vulcanized molds. I know RTV silicone can have resin issues, but I have no good figures on the durability of vulcanized black rubber or silicone molds like those used in spincasting. Also, some people don't treat the molds well when casting resin, by not using silicone mold sprays, etc. Casting large resin parts also heats the mold far more, leading to mold damage. I can't find any firm info on mold life for casting small parts.

 

So I'm trying to gather some info for my own research.

 

Interesting thread on this on TMP right now...

 

The fortress figure guys posted that for 54mm ish, the cost savings can be substantial. So for CAVs, that may be a good place to start. Personally, buying Warjacks for WM is giving me pause after the latest price hikes.

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Personally , I'd prefer that Reaper stay with metal even if there was to be a slight increase in cost . The only resin models that I have are either from Battlefront , JR or Grendel and in my experience , all have needed a lot of work in preparation before painting , so I prefer metal when I can get it . :poke:

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From a forum where people do a lot of resin casting, I hear a lot of talk of the molds only being good for 25-60 moldings with resin before they need to be replaced. That would mean new production molds on a daily basis for casting popular items. Many of the casting resins also require 1 or more hours before they can be demolded, and the resin only has a 5-10 pot life once mixed. So a lot of time wasted mixing resin and waiting for it to cure (not to mention the fun of slightly wrong resin mixes which don't quite ever cure or bubbles in the resin from mixing to fast and not pressure casting the figure).

 

 

Well, if fortress figures production runs are shorter than Reapers, then pricing is more important for them, as they get less benefit from economies of scale. So one would expect the fixed costs for raw materials to be lower for Reaper then.

 

With demold times for resin as short 2 minutes (keeping the molds warm), and no need to wait for molds to cool before casting again

 

Not all resins are brittle. They're infinitely tunable. If casters are using brittle ones, that's there fault, not the fault of the resins. The FF style resin is slightly bendy, making it tough not brittle.

 

The other question too, is the resin-resistance of RTV molds vs vulcanized molds. I know RTV silicone can have resin issues, but I have no good figures on the durability of vulcanized black rubber or silicone molds like those used in spincasting. Also, some people don't treat the molds well when casting resin, by not using silicone mold sprays, etc. Casting large resin parts also heats the mold far more, leading to mold damage. I can't find any firm info on mold life for casting small parts.

 

So I'm trying to gather some info for my own research.

 

Interesting thread on this on TMP right now...

 

The fortress figure guys posted that for 54mm ish, the cost savings can be substantial. So for CAVs, that may be a good place to start. Personally, buying Warjacks for WM is giving me pause after the latest price hikes.

 

Yes, on large scale figures certainly resin is a better choice that's obvious when you find that almost all the really large scale historical pieces are resin. However, at Reaper's scale and production volume I don't see how resin can be economical. Now I'm dealing with old memories here so bear with me. A typical production mold costs about $50-60 plus time & labor to create and depending on the diameter is going to hold between 12 and 20 miniatures. Let's assume that doing everything right you can get 60 spins from that mold, yielding and estimated maximum of 1200 figures. How many castings does Reaper spin of a brand new release? I'm certainly betting that its a lot more than 1000 if it takes only 1 hour to create the production mold that leaves only 7 hours for casting each day. And how rapidly will the masters used to create the mold deterioriate from the constant, maybe daily creation of a new master mold. I'm beginning to think what ever you save in raw material costs are going to get eaten up very quickly by more intensive labor costs per figure.

 

I would be curious to hear about what you find out in your research, but I'm pretty sure that just based on Reaper's volume and the number of pieces in the line that Resin is not the way to go. After all if you over produce 1000 miniatures in pewter all you have wasted is packaging, the rest can be melted back down. Over produce 1000 miniatures in resin and they are headed to the dumpster as a total loss.

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I was under the impression that there was a federal limit on the amount of lead in toys that was enacted at some point in the early 90's (or was it late 80's) which is why all of the mini companies switched to pewter from all lead minis. I seem to recall a bit of "doom and gloom" talk from various gamers and companies about how the government was killing the hobby.

 

My recollection of the story (which might be very wrong) is that New York started making noises about enacting a no lead law, and most of the mini manufacturers proactively decided to switch to pewter mixes just in case. It doesn't seem like there's any problem selling Rackham or other higher lead products in the US, so I'm not sure any laws were ever actually passed.

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My recollection of the story (which might be very wrong) is that New York started making noises about enacting a no lead law, and most of the mini manufacturers proactively decided to switch to pewter mixes just in case. It doesn't seem like there's any problem selling Rackham or other higher lead products in the US, so I'm not sure any laws were ever actually passed.

 

According to some quick googling (including reading the Wikipedia Miniatures article), it was a New York State ban that induced the switch. Minis were later exempted from the lead ban, but the switch seems to have stuck. Thanks for the clarification and sorry for the faulty memory!

 

Ron

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Like everyone we have watched the price of tin over the last year. The link below will take you to the LME, which is what is used to determine the price of tin we buy.

 

A return to lead is both a legal and economical option and several companies such as Rackham currently use lead based mixtures. For Reaper, lead would be the last option.

 

Resin is not an option. We would have to dramatically change our entire production process. We would become subject to Texas Clean Air Act requirements and the dust and smell would not be acceptable. Resin is also very brittle and would not be a good substitute.

 

At the present time we are simply watching to see if this situation will pass. If it does not pass there will be a price increase in the summer. If the market has a dramatic or sudden price shift that sticks we would have to react sooner than a summer price increase.

 

Link:

http://www.lme.co.uk/dataprices_pricegraphs.asp

 

In the top box choose TIN and then change the Start On year to 2006 to see the price graph

 

Best

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Thanks for stepping in on this thread Ed - it's always nice to get a straight answer from the source. Hopefully Tin won't rise, but at least we know if it does, you're playing fair with your customers.

 

 

 

One thing that I would ask as a consumer - if you do wind up raising prices more than $0.15-0.20, would it be possible to slightly rework the packaging of your blisters? Change a color slightly, add a new detail or something? One despicable practice I've seen by both distributors and retail stores (but more often stores) is that when a manufacturer announces a price increase, the store will immediately raise the price of old stock to match the new price. Often the claim is that their inventory software can't handle having a single stock number at two prices, but more often than not the real reason is greed.

 

They are less likely to do this if the packaging changes at the same time - because they know they'll probably get called on it because the consumer can see the difference the packaging.

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Thanks for the update Ed.

1. Please don't use the awful metal mix Rackham uses. 'Don't like it at all compared to yours.

2. Forget about resin. Period.

3. Keep doin' what you do best, and give us a heads up if things look ominous. You'd be surprised how many customers will get a larger order in they've had their eye on before a price hike. I know my next Heresy order will be like this--it's enough for large multi-part models, but Andy's notice on his boards is gettin' me to throw down and stock up on some models.

4. I love that Reaper's prez is online as well as Heresy's. 'Makes you think there are companies that care about their customers.

 

Cheers.

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One thing that I would ask as a consumer - if you do wind up raising prices more than $0.15-0.20, would it be possible to slightly rework the packaging of your blisters? Change a color slightly, add a new detail or something? One despicable practice I've seen by both distributors and retail stores (but more often stores) is that when a manufacturer announces a price increase, the store will immediately raise the price of old stock to match the new price. Often the claim is that their inventory software can't handle having a single stock number at two prices, but more often than not the real reason is greed.

 

They are less likely to do this if the packaging changes at the same time - because they know they'll probably get called on it because the consumer can see the difference the packaging.

 

You need to step back and look at this from the retailers perspective. First its very true that if they are using any kind of scanning device to read price codes they can only have one price associated with that code. Retailers that are applying price tags don't have that problem. The real issue for a retailer though is their cost. If they don't raise the price on existing stock to match the new price then they are losing money. Example if an item sells for $4.00 then the cost to the retailer (on average mind you) is $2.40, yielding a "profit" of $1.60. If the price rises to $5.00 then the cost to the retailer is $3.00 yielding a $2.00 "profit". Now if he sells at the old price point and then has to buy at the new price point he has lost .40 cents, because he has to replace it at the higher cost when he re-orders. Granted it doesn't sound like much until you start multiplying that by the hundreds of products in the Reaper line and other manufacturers and the fact that he will lose some business because of the price increase (its inevitable, we are all cheapskates at heart). It may sound strange but that .40 may very well be the difference in keeping a store open or watching it close. The margins in this industry are just not that great to expect a retailer to continually absorb losses like that.

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Kris, while I understand the logic you're trying to apply, the fact is, the old stock is almost always already bought and paid for. The retailer isn't losing any money on the old stock itself - they'll make the same amount of money on the old stock that they would if the manufacturer didn't raise the price. The only "loss" comes from the lost business damage any price increase nets the entire supply chain. To use it as an excuse to profit is just wrong.

 

If it's old price was $4.00, and the retailers cost was $2.40, bumping the price up to the new MSRP of $5.00 nets the retailer an additional $1 that is going straight into the retailers pocket, and in effect, he's actually netting more profit on the old stock - and often at the expense of the manufacturer's reputation for people who aren't business savvy. The re-order shouldn't even be a factor - yes, it will cost him more to re-order it, but he hasn't actually lost any money on the old stock until/unless he discounts the old stock, and the reorder of new stock can be put on the shelf at the new price. And if it's been sitting on the shelf for too long in the first place, well, leaving it at the lower price point should help it move faster, when compared to new stock.

 

I can understand where the impulse comes from, particularly in an industry with such tight margins. But that doesn't make it right.

 

I'm not looking at this from just the aspect of a consumer, either. I have a degree in small business operations and management, I currently own my own business, and I have previosly been co-owner of a mail order game retailer. It is actually my understanding of First In First Out inventory management that causes my abhorrance for the practice, as I know how easy it is to do this, and I understand completely who profits, and at whose expense.

 

I haven't actually seen a game store in the Colorado area do this. I've only seen this with a couple of stores in the Bay Area (at least one of which is no longer in business because of practices like this), and once in dealing with an unnamed distributor (who admitted it was old stock, and caused by their software and refunded the price difference to us). I won't hold a manufacturer's price increase against a retail outlet - I might not buy that particular line any more, but that doesn't mean I won't stop shopping at that store unless they don't carry anything else that interests me. But any store that applies a price increase to old stock across the board and then refuses to honor the old price on old stock once I realize what they've done will immediately lose my business. For example, most of the new Warlord stock comes with a datacard, but a lot of stores around here still have older stock that doesn't have the card. If that old stock gets bumped up in price by a retailer after a Reaper price increase later this year, then either the store is trying to gouge me, or the distributor is trying to gouge the store.

 

If it's the store that's getting gouged in price by the distributor's old stock, then they need to address it with the distributor, not simply accept it and pass it on to the customer. If Reaper makes slight changes to the packaging along with any significant price increase, then the packaging acts as a red flag throughout the supply chain - there are people who won't like it, but it keeps everyone honest.

 

Overall, price increases hurt everyone. The distributors and retailers can minimize this hurt to the consumer and themselves by not applying practices like this. If Reaper announces a price increase one week, and the next week I walk into my FLGS and find that all of the Reaper items have the new price applied to them - even items I know have been sitting there for weeks or months - then I'm going to be an upset consumer - the store blames Reaper, and possibly both Reaper and the store lose my business. But if the FLGS only applies the price increase on new stock as it arrives, I'm not as likely to notice it, which means that the increase would be more gradual, and easier to accept.

 

I hate it that gas stations do this - they buy a full storage tank of fuel to sell at price x, then something happens in the middle east, and they immediately raise the price to y, even though the fuel in their storage taks is still technically the older price x gas. However, I can at least understand that gasoline is a liquid, and once it's all mixed together, you can't seperate the old price fuel from the new price fuel.

 

The same principle can be applied to the raw pewter that Reaper buys - once it's all melted together, you can't tell which is the old price metal and which is the new price. So I won't ask Reaper to even try. But finished miniatures and games are a whole different ball game - the packaging can be used to denote the difference in prices and the age of the item.

 

EDIT: I should point out that I'm not afraid of any of the stores I do business with here doing this, though I admit I don't know their business practices well enough to know if they would or not. I am afraid, however, of their distributors doing this to them, which would lead to a more immediately noticable effect of any price increase, probably to the FLGS's detriment.

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As far as old stock being raised in price I disagree. If the cost of production is raised, the value of the miniature is raised as well. If I were to do an exchange with Reaper, they would honor the new price of the miniature, regardless of how old it is. The simple fact is it is a metal, a commodity, and it is worth what it is worth (not getting into it is worth what someone will pay for it, as in the collectible game).

 

If a store decides to sell you older stock at the older price after a price increase, in my opinion they are doing you a favor. That being said, I know lots of stores that do this, and I frequent them. I wouldn't hold it against a store if they raised the price on old stock, however.

 

Of course, if the price increased miniature also includes a game card or whatever that the older priced miniature doesn't, then it is effectively a different product and should be treated as such.

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As far as old stock being raised in price I disagree. If the cost of production is raised, the value of the miniature is raised as well. If I were to do an exchange with Reaper, they would honor the new price of the miniature, regardless of how old it is. The simple fact is it is a metal, a commodity, and it is worth what it is worth (not getting into it is worth what someone will pay for it, as in the collectible game).

 

If a store decides to sell you older stock at the older price after a price increase, in my opinion they are doing you a favor. That being said, I know lots of stores that do this, and I frequent them. I wouldn't hold it against a store if they raised the price on old stock, however.

I can't and won't argue with your assertion that a mini is metal and therefore a commodity - but that doesn't change my mind, because I don't feel it applies here. And if Reaper chooses to do an exchange at the new price, that is their perogative, and I applaud them for it, but I don't feel that they have to.

 

The majority of any price increase that we as consumers see is not going to be the actual value of the metal - it's the percentages in mark up in the distribution chain. Fact is, any increase in MSRP is going to benefit the retail stores and distributors more than it will Reaper - while their margin may increase a bit, the bulk of any increase they make will be eaten up by the metal prices themselves. Because the game industry works on percentage mark ups, any increase in margin the manufacturer sees is typically less than half of the increase in margin the distributor and the retail store see.

 

My ire at this practice was raised during the mid-late 90s when the majority of the manufacturers switched from lead to pewter. GW had an across the board price increase because of this. At that time, a certain store in the SF Bay Area which will remain unnamed, went through and repriced all of their existing, mostly lead GW stock at the new pewter price upon receiving their first shipment of the lead free miniatures.

 

Now, while the switch from a lower price metal to a higher price one isn't the issue here, the fact is that mini manufacturer's aren't required to disclose exactly what their metal composition is (unless it's lead, and then they only have to disclose the lead). So we, as the consumer, don't truly know the metal content/value of the actual mini itself. And even if we did, the actual value of the mini itself hasn't risen in value all that much due to the metal content. Therefore, we can't really treat the miniature as a commodity, even if the metal is. That's not where it's value lies. If it was, mini prices would rise and fall with the price of tin much as gasoline does.

 

Game stores are one of the few retail outlets that can have stock sitting around for years. Miniatures in particular have an indefinite shelf life, with usually only the packaging having any shelf wear. But I don't see that as a justification for the store to raise the price on something that has been sitting around, paid for, for months or years. If it had the value to the areas customers in the first place, they would have turned over the stock already anyway.

 

Most stores don't do this when a price increase comes along. Most of them like their stock turnover to be at least quarterly or bi-annually so they don't even have to worry about it. The old stuff goes out at the old prices, the new stuff goes out at the new prices. But the stores that do things like raise the prices of old stock often have other predatory pricing practices that aren't favorable to the industry or the consumer, particularly if there are no other alternatives in the area they operate in. For example, the store I mentioned above - during the height of the Magic:TG craze, they artifically limited supplies of boosters beyond the already scarce supply in order to increase their own profits. Local customers were forced to either drive for miles to find competitive prices, or pay their highly inflated prices.* I'd rather see those type of stores go out of business and support ones that treat me and the manufacturer's they sell with respect. Stores with those predatory pricing practices don't often last long - but they damage the hobby. I know there are many accounting models and methods that make this an accepted practice in many industries. But I still find the practice abhorrent. Our hobby is already one that businesses struggle to support - we need all the good will we can get.

 

All I asked for from Reaper was some sort of indicator on the packaging to help us, as the consumers, identify new stock vs old stock if and when they have a significant price increase. I won't begrudge Reaper a price increase under the circumstances. I do begrudge the game store and distributor who wants to use a manufacturer's price increase due to costs to gouge an extra buck or two out of me and then blame it on Reaper.

 

 

 

 

 

*when I say highly inflated, I mean it. Boosters that were elsewhere going for $10-$12, they were selling for $20 or more. At one point, they hoarded a bunch of boxes until the nearest competitors were out, then released theirs at double the previous price.

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You need to step back and look at this from the retailers perspective. First its very true that if they are using any kind of scanning device to read price codes they can only have one price associated with that code. Retailers that are applying price tags don't have that problem.

 

Actually, retailers using price tags may have the same problem. The store where I used to work used SKU numbers on tags to track inventory. That the tag also included the retail price and additional information was for the customer's benefit, internally all reference to the product used SKUs. And yeah, last time Reaper raised the prices, the store followed suit not long after. The store carries Reaper's full catalogue, plus a lot of OOP Reaper stuff. To have two SKUs for the old and new price (and now three if there's another price increase) seems a little unreasonable. On the flip side, they didn't seem to bother much about ebay value on OOP stuff and the like, and there were items worth more than the original MSRP on the shelves at original sticker price. They changed prices when their suppliers/manufacturers changed prices because the SKU has to work on all levels, not just on the shelf. That's not to say I think that and every other game retailer are blameless innocents who have never done a customer wrong, just that I'm not sure this particular issue is that cut and dried and indicative of a gouging mindset.

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