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Reaper Historicals - Naval miniatures

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Here's an idea for a new product line Reaper could offer:

 

1/3000 scale miniatures of historical WWII and WWI ships.

 

Over the past few years naval wargaming has experienced huge growth. New fast play naval systems coming onto the market have ushered in a whole new generation of naval wargamers. Increasing mainstream interest in naval topics is evident in such "hollywood style" naval programming such as Battle 360:USS Enterprise that is clearly marketed towards a younger audience.

 

Wizards of the Coast recognized the emerging opportunity available in naval wargaming and released the A&A Naval miniatures game and experienced results that far exceeded expectations. What was supposed to be a once and done product line, has already gone back for a second supplement, with the possibility of more in the future.

 

However, the A&A naval miniatures game is ultimately a fairly shallow experience, and most players, having whet their appetite for naval games, move on and start looking for more sophisticated games. In this way WotC has created an excellent gateway product for naval wargaming.

 

There is a significant opportunity in the area of naval miniatures for Reaper to carve out a high profile and profitable niche. There are 3 major scales in use today, 1/6000, 1/3000, and 1/2400.

 

1/6000 scale miniatures are a niche product. Most people aren't interested in ships that small because they are REALLY tiny.

 

With a couple exceptions 1/2400 is dominated by manufacturers who really make "models" rather than miniatures. A single ship in this scale might come in as many as a dozen pieces and cost up to $16 from the most widely recognized names. There are somewhat cheaper alternatives, but they give up lot of detail and still represent a hefty investment.

 

1/3000 scale is by far the most popular range. Unfortunately, there are only two manufacturers in this scale, one of which has almost completely ceased operations.* In addition, most of the molds date to the 70s with resulting decreasing quality of casts, and nothing new has been released in a decade or more.

 

There is a huge opportunity for a major miniatures manufacturer to step in with a line of crisp, detailed, single-piece 1/3000 scale naval miniatures. Such a line would quickly take over the market and squeeze out all but the niche players (the hyper detailed expensive GHQ miniatures, and the 1/6000 scale crowd).

 

Naval rules and miniatures are produced seperately for the most part, so players of any system would be interested in this miniatures line. If you wanted a rule set to associate the miniatures with, there are some good candidates out there.

 

Reaper should already be well positioned to manufacture a naval range. All the same equipment used for casting the CAV miniatures would be usable for the simpler and smaller naval miniatures. In addition, there's no delay for from-scratch creative process, you can release miniatures as fast as you care to simply by converting historical designs from the ample information that is freely available into miniatures. With hundreds of designs to make just from WWI and WWII alone, you'll have releases in the queue indefinitely.

 

Furthermore, once a few releases hit the market and make the splash they are guaranteed to make, there will be a huge upswell of damand for these miniatures. I doubt that you will be able to keep new releases in stock.

 

Historical naval miniatures represent an excellent opportunity to create a new and profitable line for Reaper miniatures, as well as diversify the customer base. I hope you guys look into this.

 

 

 

*It should be noted that both 1/3000 scale miniatures companies are small operations and are tremendously popular because 1/3000 is the best balance between price and scale. The manufacturer who is ramping down operations is not hurting for business. . . in fact inability/lack of desire to keep up with huge demand is what is causing that company to scale back as the owner goes into semi-retirement. Thus a field with already limited competition is getting narrower, even as demand is increasing.

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I doubt it will "squeeze" out hyperdetailed figures like GHQ. There is quite a few gamers who like that thing (me included), but secondly this is the first time I have ever heard of a 1/3000 scale line of naval warships, so is there really a demand?

 

Second, I wouldn't wish historicals on any company that wants to make a decent amount of money.

 

Damon.

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I'm not well versed in historicals. They've always been around, and have had new blood with Flames of War coming 'round.

 

The historical gamers are a whole 'nother animal.

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We aren't a different animal at all. We just prefer British Rifles to Orcs and use history as our fluff. We still buy, paint and push pewter around on a table that is filled with hills, roads, villages and forests.

 

GHQ's WWII is 1/2400 and their Napoleonics are 1/1200

 

We did toy with some smaller scale stuff that CnC produced at one point but found it unsatisfing. 1/2400 is the way my group went and I would really hate for Reaper to lose total focus and decide that a line of ships would be a good idea.

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If Reaper produces small scale stuff, it should be Imperator - the Space Game for the CAV universe (probably won't happen, and it was only briefly mentioned a few years ago as being Official).

 

Rage based starship combat could be good........

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To the original post: I don't think it's a bad idea in and of itself, and there is precedence with both CAV and now Chronoscope, for Reaper producing models and games that aren't fantasy.

 

That being said however, I'd rather see Reaper pushing those first, as Chronoscope has been a success, and continue with CAV, even if it meant just finishing the line and one final set of rules, with optional downloads later.

 

The vagaries of the market are such that going too far off axis can be dangerous.

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The historical market has always been a very tricky market to deal with. Based on purely anacedotal evidence from 30 years of conventions (and yes that made me feel old) this is my generalization of the historical gamer (and please note that I do consider myself to first be an historical gamer and 1500 painted 15mm Napoleonic miniatures in the basement should be sufficient evidence of that fact):

 

1) They tend to be more affluent than most other gamers, lots of higher end white collar workers. In my own immediate group I have three aerospace engineers, one computer graphics developer (with a PHD no less), and one physics engineer. In another group I play with I can count one bank president, 3 lawyers, 2 judges and another assortment of civil and mechanical engineers.

 

2) Despite the fact that, on average, they have more money they are amongst the cheapest gamers I know. Getting them to pay more than $3 for a tabletop quality miniature is like pulling teeth, let alone actually paying a reasonable amount for the miniature itself. If they can't get what they want at at least 20% off they won't buy.

 

3) They are very vocal about what they want manufacturers to produce. Then when a manufacturer produces it they claim its to expensive and don't buy it.

 

4) They also tend to have fairly high standards for the quality of the miniature and the paint jobs but they still don't want to actually pay for them.

 

5) Oh and they should never have to pay to come to a convention and play. They should be allowed to come and play for free because they are doing us a huge favor by gracing the convention with their attendance there.

 

All of the above are generalizations and not rules.There are plenty of exceptions and truly wonderful people involved in historical miniatures.

 

However, I take everything with a grain of salt when someone claims that there is a lot of money to be made if they would just start selling a particular period . There are costs to create the masters, molds and packaging all to be considered before a company like Reaper would even think about just diving into something like this.

Edited by Heisler

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Dig. I remember being scoffed at on TMP regarding my thoughts on a resurgence of historicals by the fact that Flames of War was bringing in some new blood into the genre.

 

Gamers are not easy to deal with; I wouldn't go near historical gamers, as I have enough to deal with in sci-fi and fantasy gamers.

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Kris - 1 through 4 just described the guy who got me into wargaming in the first place.

 

He still makes nearly twice as much as I do, and yet my gaming budget has always been nearly three times his.

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I doubt it will "squeeze" out hyperdetailed figures like GHQ. There is quite a few gamers who like that thing (me included), but secondly this is the first time I have ever heard of a 1/3000 scale line of naval warships, so is there really a demand?

 

Second, I wouldn't wish historicals on any company that wants to make a decent amount of money.

 

Damon.

 

To start with, saying you've never heard of a 1/3000 scale line of naval miniatures, really doesn't do much for your credibility on this topic. Try going to any forum that discusses naval waragaming and ask them what the most popular scales are.

 

If you will re-read my post, you will see that I said specifically that GHQ and other niche producers would not be squeezed out, but that the opportunity exists to capture the bulk of the middle market.

 

I would agree that many historical games - especially napoleonics and acw are not a good idea. However, the fact remains that naval wargaming is the exception and represents a unique opportunity within the historical genre.

 

Many of the statements made in this thread accurately characterize the "old grognards" of historicals, which certainly do not represent a lucrative market.

 

However, as I indicated above, naval wargaming is experiencing an explosion of "new blood" coming into the hobby thanks to the release of gateway systems such as Axis & Allies: War at Sea, and Victory at Sea.

 

Reaper is well positioned to take advantage of this blossoming market. In fact the market is so hungry for quality miniatures outside the "top end" line produced by GHQ, that any new miniatures line release is widely circulated by word of mouth due to the excitement it generates.

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I doubt it will "squeeze" out hyperdetailed figures like GHQ. There is quite a few gamers who like that thing (me included), but secondly this is the first time I have ever heard of a 1/3000 scale line of naval warships, so is there really a demand?

 

Second, I wouldn't wish historicals on any company that wants to make a decent amount of money.

 

Damon.

 

To start with, saying you've never heard of a 1/3000 scale line of naval miniatures, really doesn't do much for your credibility on this topic.

I've never heard of 1/3000 scale Naval warships either.

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The new players getting into historicals from FoW/Axis and Allies etc. are probably going to end up being the old grognards of the future.

 

If the need is really there, I suggest commissioning some sculpts and having them cast up. It's costly, and time consuming, and you don't know how they will sell, but I can tell you, it's fun.

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Well maybe I should clarify. . .

 

I am talking about WWI/WWII naval here. . . not Age of Sail. AFAIK there is no age of sail 1/3000 scale miniature line, I believe those are 1/1200, 1/2400 only but I'm not an expert on that side . . . and that's not where the opportunity lies.

 

Here's an example discussion from the miniatures page WWI naval forum which includes discussion of miniature scales and the relative merits of each. I'm at a loss as to how any veteran steel-battleship era naval wargamer could NOT be aware of 1/3000 scale.

 

http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=168430

 

Oh. . . reading through that thread I guess I should also mention a fact somebody points out. . . 1/3000 scale is only made in Europe, and right now everybody in the US gaming in that scale, is having to order them from overseas. Reaper would be the ONLY U.S. supplier of 1/3000 scale miniatures.

 

That said, I really don't care one way or the other about 1/2400 vs. 1/3000 scale. The main point is that the opportunity is there for Reaper to become a major player in a rapidly expanding market. My thinking was that 1/3000 provides a way to make them more cheaply and easily, but 2,400 would work too.

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