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How to get started with auctions?


Wumby
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Ok, so it's been approximately 5 years since I have really attempted painting. My most advanced tool in my painter's toolbox is drybrushing. Most of my paints have long since dried out (Citadel), and I have a limited palette of ProPaints, picked up some P3 paints 2 years ago, and bought the new Foundation paints and Washes from Citadel...but I digress. Ok, so all I'm really looking at doing is improving my painting quality. (At best I might be tabletop quality, I'll consider myself "new" to the painting experience.) My plan is to paint. I don't game, I just want to paint...for now. I don't have room to keep minis around, so I would like to auction off what I paint. I'm not even looking at making money, just covering the cost of the mini and shipping, now if I make a profit, then bonus. What sites would be decent to get started on auctioning? (I'll post finished projects on these boards, of course no auctioning here, just seeking constructive criticism and encouragement.) How do others repackage painted minis? If I have boxes and stat cards, I'll send them to the buyer. Like I said, right now, I'm low quality, want to cover expenses, and attempt to improve my skills. Thoughts? Suggestions? Jokes? Comments? Please, let's discuss.

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Honestly, at your admitted painting quality I'm not sure you'd have many bidders. Folks either seem to want very nicely painted figures, or raw metal to paint themselves. I'm not sure you could make back your costs selling online.

 

You might have better luck at a local game shop where folks would be interested in having you paint a squad or a unit and might be more accepting of lower quality paint jobs on larger numbers of figures just so they can get a unit fielded.

 

Have a good look at ebay and see what is selling and how much it goes for. Don't assume that anything you see will sell for its asking price. Search completed listings for what actually sold.

 

Do keep practicing, though.

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Honestly, at your admitted painting quality I'm not sure you'd have many bidders. Folks either seem to want very nicely painted figures, or raw metal to paint themselves. I'm not sure you could make back your costs selling online.

Yeah, I think unless they are done to a relativly high standard, painted minis are often worth less than bare metal, because people who buy them are just going to have to go to the extra bother of stripping them so they can repaint them, anyway. ::(:

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See, this is something I could be interested in. I have never painted a miniature before, and have mixed feelings of concern that what I do will suck/ not terribly excited about straining my eyes for hours on end. I'm new to the hobby and am more concerned with playing. I would buy pre-painted mini's but they aren't out there and if they are they are too expensive. If someone offered to paint table worthy mini's at reasonable costs I'd be very tempted to buy them. Especially if they were sold in units as opposed to individual models. I'd even be half tempted to send my models away to be painted because that way I could have input as to what I want color scheme wise and the like. however there is of course concerns about time frames and assurances and all that. But it would be something I would consider. So I say go for, hopefully I'm not the only one.

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I do sell many of my painted works. I think most here would agree that I paint to a fiarly good table-top level. Certainly nothing fantasy-wise above a 6 on CMON. When I put these up for auction, I start the bidding at double the original cost, and usually only get one bidder. So, not really making much money there. (BattleTech minis get a lot more bids, but I've been painting those for 20 years)

 

The main problem is, there's a lot of people out there painting fantasy pieces, and most of them are really good. Unless you're painting something that not so many are doing, you really aren't going to make much.

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Yeah most of the demand seems to be at the high end. Amalor getting twice retail for army painting is pretty typical. When you break it down, to me it's not worth painting anything if I am getting less than $10 an hour. Too many people want someone else to paint their army, but don't even want to pay that much (~$5 a figure if I do 2 minis an hour). If I am not getting $10 an hour for my time, I'd rather be painting my own stuff for competition or fun.

 

Luckily my friends are willing to pay that for tabletop figures or I wouldn't be painting for commission at all. I keep forgetting how much I hate army painting though <_< I think I need a break after my current figs are done...

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You see, I essentially like to paint. I don't play. So I paint a mini and then what? I used to have decent space when I was in High School living at home to just put them on the shelf and look at them. Now, they get boxed up and that's about it. I recently painted a Chapter Master, I did some layering that I was extremely happy with, so I just gave the model to a friend. All in all, I'm just wanting to unload, I would say table-top quality minis, to someone who would use them or at least appreciate them.

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Since I'm basically in the same boat as the original post...I like to paint, but have no interest in playing games. I've come to the conclusion that if I paint well enough I can sell them. I'm not making money really, just re-investing those earnings into more mini's and supplies (if I didn't buy another mini, I could probably paint for 10 years and still have plenty left that needs painting...). I sell mine on ebay for 15+ for the most part. Sometimes they sell, sometimes they don't...it's really hit or miss. I don't try to promote my painting ability by posting elsewhere or even here for that matter, I'd rather just let my painting speak for itself on the auctions. I've probably sold upwards of 200 mini's on ebay over a few years, nothing stellar, but it has been enough to keep my hobby "free".

 

-Z

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I'm pretty much of the same mind. I don't play anything, I just love to paint. I'll paint up several, then list them on ebay at what it cost me to buy them, what else would I do with them, and I don't have room to store them. Sometimes I come out ahead, sometimes I just break even.(At least that way I can justify the money I put into the mini to my husband.."see, I got the money back..LOL) I've sold several that I thought were less than tabletop sell for twice what I hoped for, and others I thought really good not sell well. Sometimes it depends on the paintwork, others on the mini, so I would suggest give it a go and see how it works out.

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A reply from another Non-Gamer. I used to game, but I have lost touch with that world. I have been painting miniatures since the 80's at table top quality or a little better. I started selling some of mine on ebay a few years ago. I have been selling the Ral Partha and Grenadier figures I purchased in the 80's.

 

I do have to admit that unless they are show quality, you probably will not get much. I am like you though, I don't want them just sitting around collecting dust once their painted, so if they sell on ebay, then either someone was happy with my paint job or they were looking for the miniature for their collection and would probably strip it down anyway.

 

I feel that it is also a way to get visibilty while you are getting better.

 

Just so you get an idea of some of the selling prices I have gotten, my sales have gone from as little as $1.50 to the $15 dollar range for the older 80's figures (Not a lot of detail in those minis. Tough to paint also.) If you feel you have done an OK job and you put a little time into a mini, start it at cost plus a few bucks an see what happens.

 

It can't hurt to give it a try. Above all though, have FUN and ENJOY painting!

 

Jim

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Honestly, at your admitted painting quality I'm not sure you'd have many bidders. Folks either seem to want very nicely painted figures, or raw metal to paint themselves.

 

 

I disagree with this statement because my tabletop minis sell WAY better and more frequently than any of my display quality minis. If a display mini does sell it's usually not enough to justify the amount of time I spend on it. Recently I had a 3 hour mini go for $45 while I had a display piece start at $49.99 and no one bid on it. Right now I make less than minimum wage painting full time. So that's something to keep in mind too. You aren't going to make a whole lot unless you are cranking out tons of minis at tabletop standard and starting them at blister price. If money isn't an issue then yeah just list 'em on ebay and make some extra money. Why not? And it's more practice for you.

 

There are a lot of people out there who want minis to play with and don't have any interest at all in painting them. Most of my commissions are actually doing nice tabletop and the auctions are good for making those connections. Auctions really are more of an advertisement of your services as well as getting rid of minis you paint and are done with.

 

When the economy is good that is when people will pay more for display minis but even then it's difficult. Tabletop is the cash cow of auctions. At least that's my experience and I've been at it for several years.

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What Meg says makes sense...very few people are going to throw down the kind of cash for a display mini...The mini I think Meg was referring to that she started at 49 bucks was a steal at that price and I thought about buying it, but in the end I just dont have the cash to spend on that quality mini...and again 50 bucks is a steal, that thing should have been going for 100 at the very least.

 

I know lots of people just from local gaming competitions who have offered me to paint squads for their army for 100 bucks for 5 minis, which for a tabletop standard isnt bad at all, but if I painted those to a standard that took me 10-12 hours per mini I would be losing too much money and time to make it worth it.

 

I am thinking of taking up commissions for tabletop minis, because I could make enough to warrant the time spent, but my higher quality ones will be kept or given to friends for now.

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Right now with this economy yes Tabletop seems to be the way to go. I usually try and compromise so I don't lose my mind and provide the client with a high end tabletop. Something that looks really nice, really clean but may not have as much depth or detail to it as if I were painting it for display or competition level.

 

I've had several minis that I start at $49.99 and they don't sell. So I just keep them and maybe when things get better I'll try again.

 

The standard price for painting is $10.00/hour and that adds up quickly. Many people guffaw at it.

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