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joshuaslater

Metal Prices

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'Seems like word around the campfire is that metal prices are on the rise, again. Heresy just announced on their forum that their prices are going up, so I imagine it's only a matter of time before we see every model company having to raise their prices.

 

Will Reaper advise us in advance if this is the case?

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I don't know What reaper will do, but I know Croc Games also had to raise their prices across the board to cover rising metal costs.

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History shows that we do make announcements when we have raised prices. I have been here for at least one, (when I first started) and Ed did make an announcement.

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Speaking of metals - what are Reaper minis made of. Is it pretty standard across the industry?

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About 90% tin, and the remaining is copper, antimony or bismuth, and lead (and maybe some other metals). Metals used for pewter alloys are fairly standard across the industry, but the exact percentages vary.

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True that. Every company has its own mix; I happen to like Reapers' metal quality. It is excellent. Rackham is brittle, and my least favorite.

 

I know Reaper has made announcements in the past; I suppose this post was just to see when it was coming, again. :(

 

Our shared hobby is going to get hit hard by this, as tin prices and the Chinese market will have us over a barrel.

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One thing to remember - when/if a company has to raise prices because of rising metal costs often has to do with how much they currently have on hand, when they have to buy more, how much they buy at a time and how closely they watch the market.

 

The company I used to work for was one of the few companies in our industry that didn't have to raise our price or tack on a surcharge like other companies were doing when Stainless Steel spiked because of a sudden Chinese buying binge a few years ago. We had enough Stainless Steel components already built and ordered that we made it through what was a 3-4 month crisis period for many in our industry. In the end, we did have to raise our prices because the price never went down to what it was, but the mere fact we had the stock enabled us to hold out raising our prices much longer than some of our competitors, and in the end, not as much of a price increase overall.

 

If Reaper has sufficient quantities on hand, and the price dips again, they could conceivably get through a lot longer without a price hike than their smaller competitors. Of course, only Reaper insiders could actually confirm that is the case, and I suspect they won't reveal to us the exact status of their situation. But my point is that just because metal prices rise, it doesn't mean that everyone everywhere will suddenly be raising their prices.

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I work at a foundry so I know first hand how figures are made and how much metal/cost goes into them. The average 28mm figures costs about 19-25 cents to cast and weighs about an ounce. Yes the metal prices have been and still are going way up but overall price per figure is still low. Low enough that I wonder if companies are just using the metal prices as an excuse to just raise product prices for more profit.

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For smaller companies, probably not. I'm sure the metal price increase is affecting them somewhat. Larger companies producing lots and lots of figures, like Reaper, can spread their overhead costs over their wider range, and have better buying power. They probably have more effecient processes, resulting in less waste, as well. Increases in metal prices won't cut into their profit nearly as much as they will to the small guy casting in his garage, or the smaller companies that don't have the volume needed to spread out their overhead.

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I work at a foundry so I know first hand how figures are made and how much metal/cost goes into them. The average 28mm figures costs about 19-25 cents to cast and weighs about an ounce. Yes the metal prices have been and still are going way up but overall price per figure is still low. Low enough that I wonder if companies are just using the metal prices as an excuse to just raise product prices for more profit.

 

I'm thinking the exact same thing. Compared to the cost of the manpower needed for casting, quality control, distribution etc etc etc. metal doesn't really seem like that much of an expense.

 

 

I'll use the Heresy announcement as my example. Price increase from £4.65 per kilo to £10.90 are used to justify a price increase on :

Boris model from £4 to £5£,

Hellbeast £3.5 to £5£

Azeroth £18 to between £25 and £35

 

Assuming the same amount of metal is used now as was previously used and that the price increase is only caused by metal prices rising (as stated in the announcement) we get systems of two equations with two variables.

 

For Boris for example the equations are

4.65x + y = 4

10.9x + y = 5

where x is amount of metal (including waste) in a Boris and y is all other expenses and profits which are constant (since no other reason than metal prices are given)

 

Solving this we get that this much metal is used to produce the various minis:

Boris 0.16 kilos

Hellbeast 0.24 kilos

Azeroth between 1.12 and 2.72 kilos.

 

I don't own any of the mentioned minis and know next to nothing about how much waste is involved in casting but I do know math and that Azeroth sure does seem to use up a lot of metal.

Edited by vejlin

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also please note that I'm not saying the price increase isn't warranted, I'm just examining if it's feasible that metal prices are the only reason for the price increase of minis.

 

Other reasons I can think of:

Increase in other expenses (salary, distribution, machine prices going up etc etc)

Increased profit margins.

 

I think both of those are valid reasons for increasing the mini prices, but I'd like a bit more honesty about what's going on, rather than just blaming metal prices automatically.

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If I understand the post I read at the other company I mentioned earlier there has been a 400% increase in Metal prices in the last year to year and a half. (From 2 USD a pound to 8 USD a pound) So that is approximately 50 cents and ounce USD instead of 12 to 13 cents an ounce... And a lot of places have already been putting off raising prices as long as they can, meaning surplus is already depleted. As Stated earlier we have no idea of Reaper's situation, but I would expect a price increase soon. It's already been stated that their box sets like the court of the abyss is going to go up in price. (Granted these have been released in individual blisters now.) So In this instance it is perfectly feasible that the Rising cost of Metal is the reason they raised the prices, or at least the proverbial straw. US based companies also have to keep in Mind that Minimum Wage is also fixing to go up. So Another way to look at it is companies seeing these factors and saying, well if metal was at the same price it was x number of years ago I wouldn’t have to worry about raising my prices, But since metal cost y amount now I will have to raise prices for that. So while x might be a factor it is not the Reason. (This is all hypothetical of course….)

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Well, people don't like to hear reasons like "we want to make more money," or "sorry we're mismanaging our resources," or "sorry our client base is shrinking and we can't make ends meet" to explain a price increase. So, regardless of what the numerous reasons may be, when there is a convenient scape goat like tin prices to blame, miniature companies use it. I don't really see anything wrong with it. These companies are mostly privately owned. They can increase their prices all they want, and don't really have to give us a single reason. But due to marketing and in the interest of keeping good customer relations, they do give us one of their reasons.

 

There is a huge price discrepency between miniature lines at the moment. You can get a human size miniature for anywhere between $1.00 (Mega minis) and $12.00 (GW). Clearly, metal price is not the only determining factor for price.

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I think you're right. I think most manufacturers use the "metal excuse" to cover all new expenses. I think it's totally reasonable to want more profit (since cost of living has gone up, or the margin may have been too small to begin with). I also think it's totally reasonable to increase prices to cover new or larger expenses (both metal related and others). I also realize they can set their prices however they like and that they're under no obligation to give a reason.

 

When all of that is said, I as a consumer don't like feeling lied to. When I'm told the increases in metal prices are to blame I don't want to find that on closer inspection this can't be the case. The Heresy announcement leaves me feeling lied to, and thus less likely to buy Heresy minis. I don't mind price increases as much as I mind being lied to.

 

There are a lot of options.

-Don't give a reason for the increases

-Give the right reasons

-Be vague about it

 

I don't really care what reason you give, if I don't feel you're lying to me and I can still afford the minis I'll buy from you. If I feel lied to I'll think twice about buying regardless of the actual prices.

Edited by vejlin

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