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So it's a company with a bad fulfillment reputation creating a second company to run their new kickstarter while making a poor effort to disguise the connection between the two companies? So... anyone know what this means for Upfront?

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Interesting read. I cant believe so many people are still in this...

 

I am guessing that a lot of people actually don't know what is going on because the creators refuse to address it properly in the updates, and most of them don't know anything about Prodos.  Every once in a while a confused backer shows up in the comments section wondering why the funding is decreasing.

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I'd say this is a pretty solid one to back in terms of chances of successful fulfilment especially if you're mainly afer the minis with the game a mere bonus

 

the sculpts are done,

the technique is up and running (Prodos has done some of their Space Crusader using this method)

the KS is being run by the Archon company (which was set up a good while ago, not just when AvP went wrong for Prodos) so IF Prodos crashes and burns (which I don't think will happen) you'll be safe

 

now that doesn't help if the reason you're not backing because of prodo's involvement at an 'I won't give them my business' level, but if so the latest update gives a long list of other companies who they've done contract work for who you might also want to avoid (or not)

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I'd say this is a pretty solid one to back in terms of chances of successful fulfilment especially if you're mainly afer the minis with the game a mere bonus

 

the sculpts are done,

the technique is up and running (Prodos has done some of their Space Crusader using this method)

the KS is being run by the Archon company (which was set up a good while ago, not just when AvP went wrong for Prodos) so IF Prodos crashes and burns (which I don't think will happen) you'll be safe

 

now that doesn't help if the reason you're not backing because of prodo's involvement at an 'I won't give them my business' level, but if so the latest update gives a long list of other companies who they've done contract work for who you might also want to avoid (or not)

 

The main risk I think would be if Prodos is in actual financial trouble, Archon could be a way to shift assets away to protect them from creditors. If that were the case, and they got caught, anything Archon had could potentially be seized to pay for any Prodos debt that was outstanding in the same way Radiant's assets were seized.

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I'd say this is a pretty solid one to back in terms of chances of successful fulfilment especially if you're mainly afer the minis with the game a mere bonus

 

Why?

 

A large client will have a written contract and terms that a KS backer does not have. Frex, With Recon, MegaConGames first saw the sample miniatures, paid half, received the production miniatures, and paid the other half only when the miniatures were approved. Some company contracts will have penalty clauses for late delivery of milestones in a project. I saw a KS that used an escrow account. KS backers have no such recourse. Once the money is handed over, there's pretty much no recourse after whatever refund period your credit card company gives you.

 

While I'm not "solid" that Prodos / Archon will fail like they did with Aliens vs. Predator, which I believe was significantly hurt by Fox's involvement, the research I've done on Dakka and BGG says Prodos is not capable of communicating with its backers in a professional manner, and has not shown that it can deliver a project to KS backers in a satisfactory manner. They have hired a writer who has plagiarized sections of rules from the Rum and Bones 1st edition rules. They said they had an NDA, which they lifted after BGG connected LOAD with the Demigods: Evolution campaign (there is no connection except that the logistics staff member of D:R is the president of the PR firm Prodos / Archon is using to promote the LOAD KS). 

 

Here's a quote from the Quirkworthy comments section of a *small* client of Prodos, and his business experience with them.

 

 

 

 

Kyle says:

I will speak on behalf of my experiences when trying to get them to both 3D print, and then cast up my first bust.

 

Communication only happened when I initiated it. If I was not pushing, then no follow up or actions were being taken. It felt more like they were on the approach of; he who screams loudest, gets highest priority. That or anything that is less than a few hundred copies ( mine was only 100 copies being requested ) is placed bottom of the pile.

 

Cost was interesting. I will admit that they are quite a bit cheaper than a lot of their competition out there, but that is changing. However I will also mention that the price changed a few times throughout the lifecycle of the project. Each time going up. To this I was not impressed, as it was only again happening when I reached out for updates on what was happening.

 

Quality was a mixed bag. I have to say that for a single cast bust, with some decent undercuts, many came out that were perfect replicas of the original. No mold lines or anything visible on them whatsoever. However, this was not the case for all of them. Out of 100, 18 were so badly miscast that they had to be redone. Where you could see where the mold itself had split off, and was still being used for several more afterwards. When they claimed that everything was going through quality control, you can tell this is definitely not the case. So instead of making another mould, they just kept on going regardless of the wear and tear on the 2 ( can tell depending on miscast which they came from ). When I did meet up with them last year at Spiel, I also had to bring a copy back with me as they had sent me everything they had and not kept a master for themselves on hand to make more copies in the future, had I wished that option to be used.

 

Timing.. from the start of the communication with them right till I received the final copies from them ( the replacements of the miscasts ) we are talking close to 8 months here. With a majority of that on their side due to it just being a 3D render file being sent to them to print and cast up. And with me having to chase them to get timelines back from them, and understand where in the process this was occurring or when I might begin to see copies being made, let along shipped out to me ( in UK btw ).

 

Location. If you have checked online to see where they are based you will see something about UK, however that is just a site to allow them to have UK employees for conventions. If you dig deeper you know that they are from Poland, and there is nothing wrong with that. And they state that they are from Warsaw. I had the opportunity to go to Warsaw last year for Hussar, and had asked if I could come and chat with them since I would be in the city and have some spare time. It was then I found out that they are not actually in Warsaw either but several hours outside of the city ( though I cannot be sure of this anymore ) and thus it would be difficult to visit them without a car or personal transportation. End of that conversation, and instead would see them in person at Spiel.

 

So overall I was not impressed and have found alternatives to produce future pieces on my behalf. Even if it requires a bit more funds, the timing, communication and quality have been far better overall.

 

Oh and to top if off.. I was also a backer of the kickstarter, which is what drove me to work with them in the first place. However at no point during dealing with me on my bust did they make the effort to send me my pledge, and I have only just received it in person at Salute this past month.

 

I can appreciate what your trying to achieve with this blog post, and I can see what Prodos is trying to do to get them out of their hole they have dug for themselves, however I think the hole is far too deep for them to climb out at this point. And they really do require some professional assistance in either project management or business administration to get them back on track. Along with one heck of a good PR campaign to bring them back from the darkness. I think that if they can do that, and if they can treat the small contracts with as much respect as the high paying ones, then they will see that they will become the champion of such projects, and help many others grow ( am on my 6th model being produced now with a few more in the wings ) and they would see themselves has having repeat business instead of one shot wonders that learn from their mistake of working with them.

 

Sorry for the rant.. but you got a good subject here to discuss on.. be it from those that backed them or worked with them behind the scenes.

 

Cheers

Kyle

Edited by ced1106
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The main risk I think would be if Prodos is in actual financial trouble, Archon could be a way to shift assets away to protect them from creditors. If that were the case, and they got caught, anything Archon had could potentially be seized to pay for any Prodos debt that was outstanding in the same way Radiant's assets were seized.

 

Yep. Who knows. Jarek calls himself the ex-employee of Prodos, and Prodos *had* thirty employees and is down to four. Archon has thirty employees, including Jarek. A family membere of Jarek, a family member of another former (?) director of Prodos, and Prodos are the shareholders of the most stock of Archon. I'm not about to risk $111 to find out how you play the shell game with Polish law!

 

Anyway, your post reminds me of Center Stage Miniatures and Itar's Workshop. Both are companies whose assets were bought by other companies, but whose debts, such as obligations to KS backers, were not transferred to the new company. My thoughts are that Prodos and Archon in case that sort of situation would occur. Although Archon was created 2.5 years ago, iirc, the AvP backers have been waiting over three years.

Edited by ced1106
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The main risk I think would be if Prodos is in actual financial trouble, Archon could be a way to shift assets away to protect them from creditors. If that were the case, and they got caught, anything Archon had could potentially be seized to pay for any Prodos debt that was outstanding in the same way Radiant's assets were seized.

 

Yep. Who knows. Jarek calls himself the ex-employee of Prodos, and Prodos *had* thirty employees and is down to four. Archon has thirty employees, including Jarek. A family membere of Jarek, a family member of another former (?) director of Prodos, and Prodos are the shareholders of the most stock of Archon. I'm not about to risk $111 to find out how you play the shell game with Polish law!

 

Anyway, your post reminds me of Center Stage Miniatures and Itar's Workshop. Both are companies whose assets were bought by other companies, but whose debts, such as obligations to KS backers, were not transferred to the new company. My thoughts are that Prodos and Archon in case that sort of situation would occur. Although Archon was created 2.5 years ago, iirc, the AvP backers have been waiting over three years.

 

 

 

I don't know about the Itar stuff, but with Center Stage the company which got the assets was truly a different company and the transfer of assets was court approved after the assets were declared to have no useful value in settling Center Stage's debt after they declared bankruptcy. Completely different from having two companies with the same owners shifting assets around.

 

This sounds much more like Valley/Radiant where they made a new company with all the same owners and the new company "bought" assets from the old company in sort of a shell game to hide the assets because they knew they would be getting sued soon.

 

There are of course perfectly legitimate reasons to spin off a company like that even when it is the same owners involved. When they try to hide the connection though it makes it easier to suspect something shifty.

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There is a new update with photos of the manufactured miniatures.  No close ups. 

 

Weird: if you had just made 6000 miniatures of different kinds would you throw them all in a box together?  Whose job will it be to sort those out?

 

I am as fascinated by the "Unicast" technology as anyone but I am too dubious about how long the molds last and how that will affect quality overall in mass production.  Just my personal opinion.  There is a difference between first samples of individual figures and thousands upon thousands of figures produced from the same molds. 

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Well, I'm still in at the moment because I really like the minis that much. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about it. I'd even thought about pledging the Epic Load level for all the epic minis, but I don't think that will happen now.

 

What bugs me the most is that it's like they've got their fingers in their ears going "LALALALALALALALA" and just continuing with the campaign as if nothing were wrong. They made a couple of attempts to quell people's fears, which were unsuccessful, and now nothing. Like I said above, they really need to step up and make some big moves to do something about this, especially with Massive Darkness launching a day before this one ends. If there's a mass exodus at the end, I might drop it along with everyone else.

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