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Why is styrene so %&#$@ expensive?


Dr.Bedlam
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Somebody help me out here. I seek to expand my knowledge base.

 

Why are styrene minis so motherhonkin' expensive?

It's my understanding that styrene is about as cheap as you can go, as far as cost of material. I am also told that the molds and tooling for styrene are hideously expensive, but once you HAVE them, producing the models is cheap. I would assume that this is similar for PVC models, plastic, molds, tooling, and so forth.

So why is it that Bones are cheap and plentiful, but the stuff I like for Malifaux and Frostgrave costs a mint? With GW, I always assumed it was because they were padding their profit margin  -- even in metal, a general figure cost what three troopers did -- and now most outfits will sell me a respectable metal mini for $8 - $12, whereas GW will sell me a Harlequin in resin for $25. True, I understand that working in resin has its ups and downs, but even their styrene Space Marines and Eldar will set you back a bit.

Is EVERYONE seeking to max their profits? Or am I just old, and griping because a candy bar ain't a dime anymore, and therefore Hershey's is staffed with thieves? What's the deal?

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With Bones, Reaper planned well in advance, and understood that before the Kickstarter they would only release a few models a year. Without the boatload of KS dollars they've received, we would not see the sheer number of Bones SKUs from Reaper that we do. They really do seem to play a long game with their plans, and the KS platform really worked out well for them. 

 

Malifaux and Frostgrave wouldn't have the decades of experience Reaper does. There was a need for many SKUs to be produced quickly, so they need to recover more of the mold costs with each mini to bring in any profit (or just to stay afloat.)

 

GW? Those guys have always been overpriced. They have also been rewarded for it. They're a huge name that's been around for years decades. They'll keep overcharging like that until people stop paying for it.

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Not including GW,I always assumed that it was to pay for everything else. Im pretty sure that at least a good chunk of it is sunk into the needless box art, distribution, advertising, and everything else. Once your customers get used to prices as they are, why lower them?

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Up front costs is my understanding. Large costs for mold creation and set up, low per unit production cost. So if the number of units is not high enough, you don't get cost savings. So particularly if they are sculpts to support a skirmish game where you average 1 copy per player you probably need to keep cost high to make sure you can pay off the mold in a reasonable time.

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GW wasn't always overpriced. ..

Their minis were on the inexpensive side before Warhammer and 40k came out and transformed the company...

I was working for a hobby distributor at the time. I remember that change well and being shocked at the prices when GW stopped making generic fantasy minis and then opened up their own store here.

 

On topic, I was excited when Warlord and Wargames Factory first started producing injection molded polystyrene minis with the hope I had that they would cross over from historical (their first minis were Romans) to fantasy, which didn't quite happen.

Mantic did try to make fantasy models with their elves, but their design wasn't very popular which made it difficult to recoup the mold costs and affected their future plans for polystyrene minis.

 

Basically, unless you know you've got a winner on your hands, it's difficult to make back that initial investment.

Having said that, I'd love to see Reaper try moving in that direction.

While Bones have proven popular and fill a certain niche, I still don't believe they are the end all material for minis.

Edited by Darsc Zacal
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With Bones, Reaper planned well in advance, and understood that before the Kickstarter they would only release a few models a year. Without the boatload of KS dollars they've received, we would not see the sheer number of Bones SKUs from Reaper that we do. They really do seem to play a long game with their plans, and the KS platform really worked out well for them. 

 

Malifaux and Frostgrave wouldn't have the decades of experience Reaper does. There was a need for many SKUs to be produced quickly, so they need to recover more of the mold costs with each mini to bring in any profit (or just to stay afloat.)

 

GW? Those guys have always been overpriced. They have also been rewarded for it. They're a huge name that's been around for years decades. They'll keep overcharging like that until people stop paying for it.

Because the KS funded the molds, we do not have to amortize the costs of the molds into the production runs.

 

When you do amortize the molds into the cost, and then mark up the MSRP so that retailers and distributors can ell your product, and you can still make profit at the discounted level (because you need profit to stay alive), that amortized cost is multiplied at final MRSP.

 

whether it si gouging as many claim is debatable, but I know what our costs are like, and when the model is factored in, a Bones model would have to be sold at about 3-5 times it's current cost. This would bring a standard character model to nearly $7-$11, and for simple, smaller, 1-2 part styrene models, this is a similar price to what other companies offer.

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GW wasn't always overpriced. ..

Their minis were on the inexpensive side before Warhammer and 40k came out and transformed the company...

 

It has always been my understanding that Warhammer and 40K models were priced by their power on the table.  The more powerful and unique the unit in-game, the higher the price.

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Ordinarily, a mini will be created, an expensive mould will be made, a number of units will be cast and shipped to the warehouse, where they'll fill up shelves or large bins. Then they'll trickle out in ones or twos over the next months or years. Who knows when that particular mini recoups the cost of the mould or other work.

 

When you run a KS you 'sell' a lot of units at the same time, get all the money up front to pay for the mould and production, with very little worry about warehousing costs. 

 

Warhammer and 40K = The tabletop version of 'Pay to Win'?

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GW wasn't always overpriced. ..

Their minis were on the inexpensive side before Warhammer and 40k came out and transformed the company...

 

It has always been my understanding that Warhammer and 40K models were priced by their power on the table.  The more powerful and unique the unit in-game, the higher the price.

 

Only from second edition WH40K on - when they started having special minis for named characters.

 

Before then, the games (WHFB in particular) were a means and incentive for people to buy their minis - and that trend was reversed from 2e WH40K on.

 

The Auld Grump - who actually likes the older GW models better....

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Having said that, I'd love to see Reaper try moving in that direction.

While Bones have proven popular and fill a certain niche, I still don't believe they are the end all material for minis.

 

 

I'd also love to see a line of Reaper minis in styrene. Maybe one day we'll get a "Hard Bones" add-on set in a Bones kickstarter.

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Having said that, I'd love to see Reaper try moving in that direction.

While Bones have proven popular and fill a certain niche, I still don't believe they are the end all material for minis.

 

 

I'd also love to see a line of Reaper minis in styrene. Maybe one day we'll get a "Hard Bones" add-on set in a Bones kickstarter.

 

 

There were pics of hard plastic prototypes from ReaperCon, but whether or not those will see any kind of release only Reaper can say.

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I suppose that it might be illuminating to look at similar products from manufacturers without big IP.  HaT will sell you 32 El Cid 28mm medieval infantry  (or a dozen cavalry) for under $20.  Cheaper than Bonesium, but you've gotta buy in bulk.  But that's kind of always been the story with historical vs. fantasy.

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With Bones, Reaper planned well in advance, and understood that before the Kickstarter they would only release a few models a year. Without the boatload of KS dollars they've received, we would not see the sheer number of Bones SKUs from Reaper that we do. They really do seem to play a long game with their plans, and the KS platform really worked out well for them. 

 

Malifaux and Frostgrave wouldn't have the decades of experience Reaper does. There was a need for many SKUs to be produced quickly, so they need to recover more of the mold costs with each mini to bring in any profit (or just to stay afloat.)

 

GW? Those guys have always been overpriced. They have also been rewarded for it. They're a huge name that's been around for years decades. They'll keep overcharging like that until people stop paying for it.

Because the KS funded the molds, we do not have to amortize the costs of the molds into the production runs.

 

When you do amortize the molds into the cost, and then mark up the MSRP so that retailers and distributors can ell your product, and you can still make profit at the discounted level (because you need profit to stay alive), that amortized cost is multiplied at final MRSP.

 

whether it si gouging as many claim is debatable, but I know what our costs are like, and when the model is factored in, a Bones model would have to be sold at about 3-5 times it's current cost. This would bring a standard character model to nearly $7-$11, and for simple, smaller, 1-2 part styrene models, this is a similar price to what other companies offer.

 

 

I'd WONDERED if the success of the Kickstarters had helped keep costs down, but didn't wanna say; I was afraid I might be pokin' into trade secret territory.

 

And yeah, I remember when Citadel went from making generic fantasy minis to "Wargaming Material" as well. Didn't sit well with me, but I didn't really gripe until I began playing Warhammer...

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GW? Those guys have always been overpriced. They have also been rewarded for it. They're a huge name that's been around for years decades. They'll keep overcharging like that until people stop paying for it.

If GW's financials from recent years are anything to go by, they've been feeling the sting of their overcharging. But the new CEO has actually been making strides to bring GW back into favor with people by doing things like bringing back Specialist Games, having bundles that are worth buying, trying to fix the Age of Sigmar debacle, etc. He was their old CFO, so he's got a very clear idea of what their old practices of "low quantity, high cost" under Tom Kirby were doing to them.

 

 

 

Having said that, I'd love to see Reaper try moving in that direction.

While Bones have proven popular and fill a certain niche, I still don't believe they are the end all material for minis.

 

 

I'd also love to see a line of Reaper minis in styrene. Maybe one day we'll get a "Hard Bones" add-on set in a Bones kickstarter.

 

 

There were pics of hard plastic prototypes from ReaperCon, but whether or not those will see any kind of release only Reaper can say.

 

Those prototypes were 3d printed, from my understanding, and were a way to get 3d renders to a table for display and to test how they would work out. Though there was one that I certainly hope ends up as a hard plastic release and not Bones. Metal at the least. And that one is the knight that they had in different poses and sets of equipment which Brian said was a prototype for a multi-part kit.

 

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