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Author Topic: What to do - what to do? Need opinions  (Read 1349 times)

Offline pops

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What to do - what to do? Need opinions
« on: January 09, 2019, 10:34:24 PM »
Well,

I am near completion of a new line of 25/28 mm gangsters.  Line is comprised of 35 figures for now - including two vignettes.  I have, as anyone knows having done this laid out a substantial sum for sculpts, molding and casting. 

And now that the time to do or die arrives I am still unsure whether I should try a kickstarter, sell via subscription or just plain retail with my website?

I realize that it is a niche within a niche - my goal is to recoup costs if possible and plow most of the sales into expanding the line into other known gangsters and gangs and public figures.

Anyone have any suggestions?  What would you do?

Thanks,

Frank

Offline N.C.S.E

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Re: What to do - what to do? Need opinions
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2019, 10:52:43 PM »
I'll preface this by stating I've never had a miniatures line sculpted, nor spoken personally to anyone who has. I speak only from the experience of backing a number of miniatures kickstarters which have done well most of the time.

With that in mind:

If I were you I'd ask myself how ready you feel you are here. If it's a matter of the moulds being ready and the only thing needed being orders to make it worth pouring lead into them, I'd go for a kickstarter. The interest, the potential for one of those vignettes (for example) to be an exclusive to the kickstarter could well make the exercise well worth your while and will generate a lot of movement and interest (depending on your skill in advertising) in your product.

The most significant downside to this is if there are problems you might be unaware of - I don't know myself, I don't know the process of casting figures beyond adventures with Prince August. :) It could turn out that these problems put you back months and you'll end up with no money (after fixing everything), no return and unhappy customers.
The second downside is time investment. Do you feel up to handling a lot of orders in a very small space of time? There was one kickstarter I was involved in where it appeared the guy wasn't, for whatever reason, and so we waited for perhaps a year and a half before we received our figures (once another company took them over mind - not a lot of happy customers after that).
I know myself if I were to do that that I would overwhelmed fast - if in the dim future I did have the opportunity to kickstart a miniatures line (stranger things have happened), I'd prefer simply to open up a site, splash up lots of posts on all related forums, and let things develop more slowly so that I can get used to the process.

I'm always eager for guys in suits for VSF purposes (the pool of Victorian gentlemen up to no good is too small), so I'll be looking out for this kickstarter. :)

Offline WillieB

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Re: What to do - what to do? Need opinions
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2019, 01:15:08 AM »
Frank, what kind of 'gangsters' are we talking about? Mind you this is a purely personal question as I really can't give you any reasonable advice on how to market them.
Are these the classic American 'Chicago' style gangsters or would they be more suitable for something like Peaky Blinders/ Irish Troubles.
Panic, Chaos and Disorder. My job here is done

Offline warrenpeace

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Re: What to do - what to do? Need opinions
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2019, 05:30:25 AM »
Do you really want to handle the sales and shipping yourself? Do you want to create and maintain your own web store? Do you like actually casting and packaging the miniatures yourself? I wouldn't want to do any of that unless I was retired and didn't have anything more enjoyable or more lucrative to do with my time.

If your interest is really in creating the line by commissioning the sculpts and molds, why not cut a deal with an existing company such as Brigade Games to do the sales and shipping, or perhaps even the casting and packaging? (I mention Brigade Games because that company is near where you are, and seems oriented toward selling many products not originally their own.)
Sailors have more fun!

Offline pops

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Re: What to do - what to do? Need opinions
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2019, 06:57:36 AM »
Hi Willie,

They are not Chicago gangsters.  The line is named after a quote by Bugsy Siegel, 'We Only Kill Each Other'.  The line is the gangsters of NY of the 20s and 30s.  There are 8 named gangsters, 20 generic with assorted weapons, and two unique vignettes.  Many of the figures could be used as Peaker Blinder types as well as Irish or English fighters of thst period.  More than a few could be used as WWI or WWII partisans as well.


Offline WillieB

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Re: What to do - what to do? Need opinions
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2019, 06:32:08 PM »
That sounds very promising! I'll keep an eye out for those figures!

Offline zemjw

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Re: What to do - what to do? Need opinions
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2019, 08:46:10 PM »
I'm not quite sure what you mean by "sell by subscription", but it sounds like the least flexible option.

A number of years ago there was a series of Babylon 5 sets that were sold by subscription, with each set numbered and limited. However, unless you knew about it beforehand you risked being unable to ever get the earlier sets. I subscribed for a while, but it got too much quite quickly, with some sets being useful and others not so much, but no way to skip a set without cancelling the whole thing.

Of your choices, I'd either set up and sell via a website, or go via kickstarter. If you have a bunch of figures ready, sell them and see what the market is like. If it's great, perhaps use kickstarter to fund the next round of figures.

Offline FramFramson

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Re: What to do - what to do? Need opinions
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2019, 11:57:19 PM »
Kickstarter will be a good option if you have the moulds ready to go.

Usually miniatures Kickstarters are dodgiest if the figures have not been completed yet, whereas those where the investment has already been made in the design sculpting and moulding are the most solid.

Any pictures? You've got me interested in what might be on offer.

Offline pops

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Re: What to do - what to do? Need opinions
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2019, 05:35:12 AM »
Sent some sneak previews to those that were interested.  BTW the terrific sculptor that sculpted all the greens for the line was Alan MaGuire of the UK - a member of this list.  Great guy and terrific sculptor!

Thanks for all the advice gents and for those showing interest a double thanks.

Offline Alan maguire

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Re: What to do - what to do? Need opinions
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2019, 11:30:39 AM »
pops :

Thank you for the compliments Frank!

Alan

Offline digid

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Re: What to do - what to do? Need opinions
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2019, 07:29:33 AM »
Speaking for myself I only do Kickstarters if the items ship within 90 days of the Kickstarter ending, And even with that I very rarely do Kickstarters any more. I play lots of pulp in the era mentioned and would be interested in the figures mentioned. That being said I would be most likely to purchase from a website than any other method. Subscription I would not participate in either, my interests change from month to month, and I buy a new project and it gets added to my list. In most cases it could be a year until I finish what I purchase.

Dale

Online fred

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Re: What to do - what to do? Need opinions
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2019, 11:17:53 PM »
My thoughts (as a customer, not a manufacturer )

Do you need to raise cash to complete the production of the range if so a Kickstarter could be a good option, as it will bring in cash to do the moulding ad casting. This reduces the risk to you from further outlay.

Another thing that a kickstarter can be good for is marketing, but I know that with some other small miniatures KS that they dont gain a lot of traction beyond people who already knew about the new range.

The downside to KS are the fees on KS.

If you have the cash to mould and cast the figures, and have a webstore then this seems a good option, you are already picking up interest here on LAF.

Offline fastolfrus

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Re: What to do - what to do? Need opinions
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2019, 11:42:03 PM »
I could be interested.
Already have quite a few Chicago types, but happy to branch out.
Just gangsters or innocent civilians and police too?

Might also be handy for Cthulhu settings such as Strange Aeons etc.

As for kickstarter or not. Hard call.
But I'm aware that some folks (perhaps just Nick Eyre of NorthStar) run their own pre-order systems. Nick does occasional "Nickstarter" offers through his website, often for new Frostgrave releases, which generally run for about a month, have a few exclusives and stretch goals, but he can avoid the KS fees.

Would be keen to see some of your planned figures.
Gary, Glynis, and Alasdair (there are three of us, but we are too mean to have more than one login)

Offline beefcake

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Re: What to do - what to do? Need opinions
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2019, 11:59:44 PM »
I'd go kickstarter myself. As people have said, if you haven't the money for the molds yet this is a good way to go. Always start with a finished product though as in greens to show what people will get. After that you will be able to sell any extras off in retail but I imagine the bulk of your sales will come through kickstarter. Then you can always have them as add-ons in future kickstarter campaigns as well as your product range expands and more people get into what you are doing.


Offline pops

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Re: What to do - what to do? Need opinions
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2019, 07:16:39 PM »
Thanks for all the excellent advice - I do appreciate it! 

Here is a little something as a thank you:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/KxdQ8kigew6BaxY36

Shown are 2/3 of the 'Cement Shoes' vignette, a paunchy Bugsy Siegel - the good life in Hollywood!, and Owney 'The Killer' Madden.

One more of some of the boys outside the Cotton Club:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/bB97jF7cMhtwUXLeA

For anyone interested please send me your email address or pm me and I will send you a sneak peak at what exists to date - we are very close to having everything in place.

Thanks so much,

Frank
« Last Edit: January 22, 2019, 07:50:33 PM by pops »