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Pre-Painted Plastics vs Metal and related Debate


Sergei
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My question is: what do I use to strip the prepainted minis so I can paint them myself?

 

I will always be a painter, but that's just me. I have a lot of "brand loyalty" to the little Reaper metal dudes, so the ony reason I would ever buy a prepainted is to strip and repaint. I really hope bare metal doesn't go away.

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It's just me though - I'm not going to condemn the line based on my personal feelings, nor am I going to say this is the death of the hobby as it's only a new transition.

 

I am. And I do think that this is the (beginning of) the death of the hobby. My "hobby" (or one of them) is painting metal miniatures. I prefer the best-made metal minis in the world and right now those are produced by Reaper.

 

Just as a reminder, we are not going to stop or reduce making metal minis. We see no reason to alter our current business plan other than adding to it. Just putting the word in again as this thread is getting huge and Ed's earlier post may be overlooked.

 

Matt, will you explain a couple of things to me? And obviously as I'm only one customer it might not merit your time but...

 

The financial resources involved in producing plastic, pre-painted miniatures have to come from somewhere. I realize you can't give us a full disclosure of your company's financial situation but how is it exactly that you're going to introduce not just a new product line but a new product line that requires a whole new manufacturing resource without diverting funds once spent on metal mini production? And if you do divert those funds, how does that not impact metal mini production?

 

Have you considered Hasbro's reaction to this? If you start to pull significant numbers of fans away from them and they release DDMs as non-random "boosters", including statcards etc. (and I guarentee they won't sit back and let it go without a fight), and the fanboys go running back to mama WotC, what then? Where does that leave you? Where does that leave us (fans of Reaper's stellar metal minis). Moreover if these things are hugely successful, if you're selling the painted plastic at 3x the rate of unpainted metal, economic reality has got to tell you "well, that's where the money is, sorry unpainted metal mini fans".

 

Speaking of, have you taken a look at the history of MageKnight? Fuh.

 

Oh and a nuts-and-bolts question: what kind of plastic are you guys talking about, exactly? That same chintzy rubberized garbage hasbro uses? Or something with a little more body to it?

 

I want to think this is a good thing, Matt, but I just don't see it. Either it tanks and takes Reaper down the hole (which means the best minis in the world disappear) or it's hugely successful and you guys just quit making metal minis (meaning the best minis in the world disappear).

 

Oh, and SaintRigger said this:

 

The part that makes me sad is when I flip over a blister of reaper figures there is a little 'merican flag that says "Made in the USA" - and this was a point of pride for me - I think. I like supporting a US company - but I'd imagine the plastics will be manufactured overseas and painted by an army of asian kids someplace and that doesn't sit well with me. If they are being machine painted - this is a little better, I guess but still.

 

...and you know what? I'm with him 100%. I like the fact that reaper minis are made in the US. I think it's a point of pride. Best minis in the world coming from here? That's awesome.

I'm not Matt, but I can say something that might help.

1. Financial resources. We're not robbing the fund that buys greens for DHL, CAV or Warlord, or the fund that makes molds for them, or the fund that buys the raw metal to go into them. We've funded the job in other ways, not the least of which are a nearly 200% increase in production efficiency over the last two years (like our new computerized inventory and production management system - the WOPR). The number of models slated for release in the upcoming year has not changed, so I can state quite plaintivley that we will NOT be diminishing metal miniature releases to "make room" for Legendary Encounters™.

 

2. Hasbro. We'll have to see. We have considered it, but, frankly, you don't not innovate because the competiton is bigger. You innovate, precisely because they are bigger. It's survival in the business world.

 

3. And I quote: "Either it tanks and takes Reaper down the hole (which means the best minis in the world disappear) or it's hugely successful and you guys just quit making metal minis (meaning the best minis in the world disappear)." Why does it have to be either/or? What if it's successful enough to pay for itself, and to pay for itself to grow (as DHL, Warlord, CAV, Master Series Paint, Pro Paint, and Master Series Miniatures are)? We didn't stop making DHL, CAV and Warlord just because Master Series Paint became a huge hit - or vice versa. Whether Legendary Encounters™ makes More, Less, or the Same money as DHL, Warlord, and CAV, even if its hundreds of times more, as long as there's demand for DHL, CAV, Warlord, and everything else, we'll still make those, too. I mean, no big secret, DHL makes more revenue than CAV, but we still make and support CAV. CAV didn't go away because another line eclipsed it, and it isn't going to. Pro-Paint didn't go away when we introduced Master Series Paint. Why would Legendary Encounters™ have to kill a succesful line?

 

In the end, I ask only that everyone please give Legendary Encounters™ a fair chance. MK pre-paints, Wotc pre-paints, and others (there are pre-painted metal, prepainted resin, and so on, if you look for them) didn't destroy the hobby, they didn't tank Reaper or any of our product lines. Doom and Gloom predictions have their place, but Metal and Plastic minaitures have their places, too. (I'd like to think that that place is side by side on some dining room table, killing the heck out of each other week after week . . . :devil: )

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I am fascinated by the comment this is the "Death of the hobby". Which hobby? Because I am willing to bet there are people here who partake in one of at least 5 hobbies that are related to figures and some who do all 5.

 

1. Painting Figures

2. Play Wargames

3. Play Rolepaying Games

4. Make and Paint Models

5. Play Board Games

 

This can only affect one of these hobbies and I think that is unlikely. There will always be miniatures for you to paint. As for the other hobbies well for those who play fantasy type RPGs with figures and hate painting this can only help. It may help the fantasy wargamers a bit as well depending on what is released. It may attract some new people into those two hobbies as they see a way in without painting.

 

Will I buy any nope because they have no use to me, when I roleplay I don't use figures and never will. Counters will do fine for me, I don't like things that inhibit my imagination and for me figures do. Wargames, well I have for the time being decided what games I play and the figures being released don't fit into those games. However if in the future they release some pre-painted sci-fi / modern figures I might give it a look in.

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You know, it's kinda funny looking at all the doom and gloom (and on various forums) despite the folks at Reaper constantly saying that their metal figures are here to stay.

 

If you go over to the WotC boards you will even see a few posts fearing that Reaper's move will mean the end of the D&D pre-paints.

 

Too much negativity all round if you ask me (though I know no-one is asking me :) ...and it's just my own feeling on the matter).

 

Just give me more miniatures... unpainted metal, unpainted plastic, or pre-paints... the more variety we consumers have to choose from, the better!

 

When I want to paint, I paint ...when it feels like a chore, I stop (though my guess is that most of us, at some time, have been guilty of painting when we were really not in the mood for it ...simply to get something finished in time for a game). To have the additional option of fielding a pre-paint instead (when you don't have the time or inclination to paint yourself) can only be a good thing for folks like me.

 

Would it be too much to at least give these mini's a chance, and give the folks at Reaper time to show you that they really don't intend on cutting back on the production of their metal mini's?

 

Of course some people are going to have reservations, and it's great to see people being so passionate about their hobby, and nice to see that (whatever their view) they only want to see Reaper doing well (don't we all).

 

...anyway...

 

anyone else I think that the 'Legendary Encounters' line deserves a 'figures we would like to see' thread all of it's own?

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That's my plan. Paint some really cool character pieces, then fill in the grunts with some PPMs. I know I will never keep the interest long enough to complete a substantial force, and this way I can get several armies fielded. Once I know which army I love to play, I can go back and fill in the grunts with lovingly painted metal. A beautiful thing. :B):

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If you go over to the WotC boards you will even see a few posts fearing that Reaper's move will mean the end of the D&D pre-paints.
Everyone I know who buys D&D minis buys them for roleplaying games, not the miniatures skirmish/collectible games. So, it would not surprise me if D&D minis dropped in popularity enough to kill it.
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I mentioned to someone (I forget who) a while back that plastic minis are about the only way I'd consider getting into Warlord. The thought of painting and detailing ALL the minis you need for an army gives me the screaming willies.

 

This is exactly my feeling. I don't have any interest in learning and playing Warlord because I don't want a bunch of unpainted metal sitting around taunting me. I can't afford it and don't have the time to paint a Warlord army.

 

This just might be the push to get me into Warlord.

 

Maybe.

 

-Newt

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I mean, no big secret, DHL makes more revenue than CAV, but we still make and support CAV. CAV didn't go away because another line eclipsed it, and it isn't going to. Pro-Paint didn't go away when we introduced Master Series Paint. Why would Legendary Encounters™ have to kill a succesful line?

 

I'd like to start a Battlestar Galactica style slow clap after that: "So say we all."

 

Aside: CAV pays for itself? That's awesome.

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The financial resources involved in producing plastic, pre-painted miniatures have to come from somewhere… how is it exactly that you're going to introduce not just a new product line but a new product line that requires a whole new manufacturing resource without diverting funds once spent on metal mini production? And if you do divert those funds, how does that not impact metal mini production?

 

Reaper is a very conservative company. We do nothing without very careful consideration of the impact on our business model. We have no desire to change that business model to jeopardize our metal minis. Are hope is that this step will simply increase and diversify our business, not change its over all direction.

 

Let me clarify a few points.

1. No one here at Reaper thinks that plastic minis are a replacement for metal. At this time, it would be nearly impossible to reproduce the quality of metal in plastic. Maybe someday as technology changes this would be different. And, if it does then it would no longer matter, would it? It really would not matter what media they are made from as long as they are just a good, right?.

2. I personally feel that plastic minis are a game token much like Monopoly houses and hotels. They need to be created with a bit more care and love than a game token to satisfy the discerning fan, but game tokens they are none-the-less.

3. Metal minis are a relatively cheap way to manufacture a high quality, reliably repeatable, production line sculptures. At this time in history, still cheaper to do here!

4. Reaper knows metal minis inside and out.

5. Even if the metal minis become a boutique items like model airplanes and ships, there will always be a demand for them from hobbyists. It’s not like Revel is out of business!

6. No one here at Reaper expects our customers to buy plastic minis for the hobby of painting minis. If they do, great, but that is not the direction we are shooting for at all.

7. Reaper fully understands that our customers are from two widely varying camps, Painters and Game Players. Yes, they cross over, but they are two different demographics. We are just making a product that will appeal to the game player and give more opportunity for more people to get into the games not just the hobby. That said, perhaps we can get more people into the hobby via the games! How do you loose.

 

Have you considered Hasbro's reaction to this?

 

Yep, sure have.

 

Where does that leave you?

 

With an addition to our business model in place for developing more products!

 

Where does that leave us (fans of Reaper's stellar metal minis).

 

With more options! More friends! A bigger community! More fun for everyone!

 

Moreover, if these things are hugely successful…

 

Dang, I hope so! Yoo hoo!!! I sure hope that we have to build a new warehouse and hire a bunch of people for logistics and grow to a massive company, that would be great.

 

As long as there are fans/hobbyists who buy, their will be a manufacturer to make them.

 

That same chintzy rubberized garbage Hasbro uses? Or something with a little more body to it?

 

Once again, we are not talking about replacements, we are talking about supplements. No one is “replacing” metal minis with plastic.

 

Either it tanks and takes Reaper down the hole …

 

Don’t worry buddy, we are too prepared. It is not an issue, OK? We are not risking ourselves to this degree. After all, I like feeding my kids, you know?

 

I want to think this is a good thing, Matt, but I just don't see it.

 

Time is the only judge, but I have no doubts! It can be nothing but positive for Reaper!

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I think what will help Reaper's line is the non random, I recall Wiz' wanting to put out combat packs, but decided against that, why I have no idea, just makes sense if your a DM wanting 10 orc for a game & all your getting on goofy mushroom men or similar. Then again it the "HIGHLY COLLECTIBLE" BS factor.

 

 

RM

 

I'm speculating here -

 

I think one of the reason that collectable card games, and miniatures do so well is that there is the unknown factor that you might get something rare and valuable.

 

I see it this way - a DM knows that they need 10 orcs for a game - they can buy a box of figures and hope they get 10 - or they can buy a non-blind pack and get 10. Now in a random pack - if they don't get 10, they will probably buy another box or 2 until they can get what they need. (At least, this has been my experience at my FLGS) However, with a non-blind pack, they get 10 and they are set. They won't need to buy orcs again.

 

So if you release a non-blind pack, you are pretty much going to sell to your core target market within a few weeks and then sales are going to drop off - since those who want will have, and those that don't won't pick it up. You might get a few casual sales down the road for DMs who need more orks, or people who are just getting into the line. I guess this is the same for metal figures too, however. D&D groups would buy as many DHL orcs as they would need for their game, and that would be it.

 

Where CCGs and CMGs get people hooked is that there is a random assortment with a chance of getting rare powerful cards or figures - which keeps people buying. There is the same sense of excitement as there are for gamblers in that there is the uncertain probability that you will get something rare and valuable in a pack.

 

Also - CCGs like magic release new sets every few months which means people are compelled to get the latest fix of the new cards - again with the uncertainty of obtaining the rare or powerful cards.

 

I think this is what keeps people returning and makes CCGs and CMGs more profitable than non CCGs and CMGs. Ask someone who is addicted to card games what they buy more of, Magic or Munchkin?

 

I think what Reaper needs to do is create a line of figures that have the appeal that DHL and warlord have - that offer players a nice quality figure (Ie, not bendy rubber dudes) with a decent paintjob at a comperable price to the metal.

 

The group that I game with plays alot of 10mm WWII - and we mostly use minifig vehicles. There is a company called Can.Do that makes 1/144 scale pre-painted tanks and halftracks that are a nice plastic, and have a great paintjob - and cost about the same as the minifig vehicles. The guys I play with will hands down buy as many of the Can.Do tanks as they can get their mitts on simply because they cost about the same, but are painted to a high standard - so why pick up something that you have to DIY when you can pop a tank out of a package and right onto the tabletop? If they cost more, I'd imagine they would go with the least expensive option, chosing to spend the time painting their own.

 

I'd image the same would hold true for warlord and any other game - if there is a range of pre-painted figures of a comperable quality with a decent paint job - and they cost about the same as the unpainted metal - they will sell. Heck, I'd probably buy them so I can have a painted army to place with, which frees me up to paint other things I'd like to work on. I've been itching to play with my dwarves, but have had no desire to paint them - honestly. I'd like to one day finish them - but if I can get a prepainted army for the same price or a little bit more - that is they way I'd go. Then I can focus on gaming and building terrain.

 

 

I suspect I'd have alot more opponants too, actually

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1. No one here at Reaper thinks that plastic minis are a replacement for metal. At this time, it would be nearly impossible to reproduce the quality of metal in plastic. Maybe someday as technology changes this would be different. And, if it does then it would no longer matter, would it? It really would not matter what media they are made from as long as they are just a good, right?.

 

This I think is what some of the detractors are talking about: that the technology will change so much that unpainted minis will be redundant: most will not want to buy them or want to paint them because plastic pre-paints make such an effort a waste...

 

Note, I do not have any problems with plastic minis per se. The big injection molding companies make plastic figures that are in some cases better than metal (at the cost of multi-part figures). Look at what Dragon's Gen2 figures are doing.

 

5. Even if the metal minis become a boutique items like model airplanes and ships, there will always be a demand for them from hobbyists. It’s not like Revel is out of business!

 

No offense, but are you serious?

 

The injection molded model business is FAR LESS a "boutique" item than cast metal fantasy minis. Yeah you can walk into Waldenbooks and get D&D minis, but on that same note I can walk into Walmart or Kmart and get injection molded plastic.

 

Revell (really Revell-Monogram or "Revellogram") hasn't been an industry leader in decades. It's releases are haphazard, and often retreads of previously done subjects (how many F-16 kits do you think they've made? Or F-14s? etc). Although they occasionally throw a surprise in the ring (the 1/72 Gato sub is one), but it seems they zombie along by releasing cheap repops of older tools, with the occasional new car or plane kit to make us think they're responsive to the market.

 

No, I think the real thing that keeps model airplanes and ships in the stores is the much greater popularity of the Asian hobby scene (which I gather is orders of magnitude larger than the US...traditionally Japan but now China as well). If modellers in the US had just Revellogram to rely on for kits, I think the hobby would die off...

 

 

On a final note, I'd like to mention that I considered no longer replying in this thread. Some people (not Reaper, I'll add) have said a few things that made me rather upset. I'm not going to mention any names, but I think people who are so distainful of the arguments to be dismissive should consider using a bit of empathy when debating the subject...

 

Damon.

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I think what will help Reaper's line is the non random, I recall Wiz' wanting to put out combat packs, but decided against that, why I have no idea, just makes sense if your a DM wanting 10 orc for a game & all your getting on goofy mushroom men or similar. Then again it the "HIGHLY COLLECTIBLE" BS factor.

 

 

RM

 

I'm speculating here -

 

I think one of the reason that collectable card games, and miniatures do so well is that there is the unknown factor that you might get something rare and valuable.

 

I see it this way - a DM knows that they need 10 orcs for a game - they can buy a box of figures and hope they get 10 - or they can buy a non-blind pack and get 10. Now in a random pack - if they don't get 10, they will probably buy another box or 2 until they can get what they need. (At least, this has been my experience at my FLGS) However, with a non-blind pack, they get 10 and they are set. They won't need to buy orcs again.

 

So if you release a non-blind pack, you are pretty much going to sell to your core target market within a few weeks and then sales are going to drop off - since those who want will have, and those that don't won't pick it up. You might get a few casual sales down the road for DMs who need more orks, or people who are just getting into the line. I guess this is the same for metal figures too, however. D&D groups would buy as many DHL orcs as they would need for their game, and that would be it.

 

Where CCGs and CMGs get people hooked is that there is a random assortment with a chance of getting rare powerful cards or figures - which keeps people buying. There is the same sense of excitement as there are for gamblers in that there is the uncertain probability that you will get something rare and valuable in a pack.

 

 

On the one hand, you're right; there is a sort of gambling factor that causes some buyers to keep buying closed boxes in the hope that they will eventually get something good, and that does probably boost sales, overall. On the other hand, I don't think that's what Haldir was referring to when mentioning the "BS factor." I think Haldir meant that it sucks that you can't just buy what you want or need, under the pretense of "rareness" and "collectibility." And I agree, that IS BS. I have a very strong feeling that just as with the comics industry in the '80s and '90s, all of this "rare" and "special collectors" nonsense is going to end with the supposedly rares being not worth much at all in ten years. Just as with Magic: The Gathering, where, yeah, for a short while the cards were going on eBay for pretty good cash, while eBay was new and the game was relevant. But eventually, mass-produced means mass produced, and that means a lot. And a lot can't truly be rare and holds no true value for collectors, down the road.

 

Thus, both my local comics shop and local hobby shop only give store credit for comics/cards you bring them, and at that waaayy under value. So obviously, the collectibility racket is just that: a scam. A marketing technique. Which is BS.

 

But on the subject of whether open box stuff can have repeat customers, let's not underestimate the human (and especially gamer) compulsion to buy. Just because I bought a box of ten orcs a year ago, doesn't mean I don't want the new orc box when it comes out. I probably do, not only because they're newer and cooler, but because I either have a new game hook which requires them, or looking at them, I come up with one.

 

Right now, I buy eight to twelve Reaper packs a month. Sometimes I buy things only slightly different to what I've purchased before. Sometimes I buy the same thing, if I need more of something at a time, or I'm doing some sort of conversion. Most of the time, I buy on a whim, because I'm inspired.

 

I don't imagine it will be different with the plastics. I already buy D&D minis because I'm hoping to get something inspiring that can be dropped easily into next week's game. But sometimes I pass, because I know I'm likely to be disappointed. But if I had a choice to actually know what I was buying? To be guaranteed to have something to drop in already painted? That's the ideal situation.

 

What I'm saying is that prepainted minis satisfactorily fulfill an already existing compulsion to buy. As long as they release something decent and new every month, they'll have plenty of people like me buying it.

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speaking about Revell in this case (as they are my nascar car models) heard this year's releases for nascar are the 8, 20, 24 & 48. You know what last year's nascar releases were, hmmmmmmm 8, 20, 24, & 48 & the sad thing is really other then some update sponser stuff like a new logo, none of those cars changed from the 06 season to the 07 season, but according to a guy who has a buddy at Revell, a insider you might say says Walmart (buyer of more then half their(Revell's) stock) just wants just those kits, they don't want anyone else, how's that for a responsive company.

 

Sad thing is every # above is a Chevy kit, now take the decals out of those kits & you have a generic Chevy Monte Carlo kit that can do any Chevy that runs in nascar, that's where the aftermarket guys come in, without those, there wouldn't be a nascar car hobby, but that still leaves guys like myself who favorite driver runs a Ford & the other 2 makes in the series Dodge & Toyota out in the cold, unless we want to pay booko bucks for resin bodies (no kits just bodies) for those makes or try & make those cars with older bodies using scratch building & putty & other doodads.

 

Sad thing is I know for a fact a #9 Dodge would sell, as the driver is very popular & like the # Chevy kits it would be generic without the decals, but I guess Revell doesn't give a flying (#([email protected] about those fans/buyers

 

Just irks me, one reason I've made minis & rpgs once again my favorite hobby.

 

I just got to thinkin even thou GW has plastic & of course it's not prepainted, it co-exists with their metal lines just fine, why couldn't Reaper's line do the same thing. I know if I was running games locally I'd want my players to have metal figures to represent their character as they should be special & that's what metal gives you, a great looking figure, but really as a game player/GM I would love to have my entire adventure have minis to represent each critter encountered, would love to do that with Temple of Elemental Evil or Return tTEE module someday & that's where a plastic mini would come in real handy, why should I spend alot of time painting up a orc that is gonna wiped in the first encounter, when I could have spent the time either planning a encounter better or painting a major character better.

 

guess I've rambled one a bit on this one, but I think the OH WOW factor is still in the air, espically with Reaper being the metal mini company out there vs the other either all plastic prepaints or plastic/metal combo.

 

Let's just wait & see what the products will be like before we pass judgement on them

 

RM

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