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Subject: Why aren't extra miniatures common? rss

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Mike C
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I love the miniature figures that come in our games like Mice & Mystics, Shadows Over Camelot, and so many others. We've just started to paint them, which is fun in and of itself.

But if I screw one up, or want to try a different color scheme, I'm stuck.

Why don't publishers routinely sell the minis separately? I imagine most of the cost is in the initial sculpt and mold manufacture, and that once they are in production the incremental cost is minimal. But I don't see minis sold separately on any of the publisher's websites.

Can someone more informed tell me why this isn't a common part of the marketing plan?
 
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Beau Bocephus Blasterfire
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mikec wrote:
I love the miniature figures that come in our games like Mice & Mystics, Shadows Over Camelot, and so many others. We've just started to paint them, which is fun in and of itself.

But if I screw one up, or want to try a different color scheme, I'm stuck.

Why don't publishers routinely sell the minis separately? I imagine most of the cost is in the initial sculpt and mold manufacture, and that once they are in production the incremental cost is minimal. But I don't see minis sold separately on any of the publisher's websites.

Can someone more informed tell me why this isn't a common part of the marketing plan?


Probably the demand isn't there. I'm sure if there were a bigger demand, they'd do it. The current demand probably doesn't offset the cost of producing extra minis.
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Ryan Morgan
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Dunk the guy in simple green for 20min. take a tooth brush out and scrub him under running water. Then prime him again and your ready to try paint scheme #2. I have a few space marines that have fought in several armies.

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Russ Spears
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mikec wrote:
Why don't publishers routinely sell the minis separately? I imagine most of the cost is in the initial sculpt and mold manufacture, and that once they are in production the incremental cost is minimal. But I don't see minis sold separately on any of the publisher's websites.

Can someone more informed tell me why this isn't a common part of the marketing plan?


Although making the molds is a big cost, I believe the set-up for subsequent production runs is also substantial - I want to say I read this somewhere on the Defiance Games website when they were getting their first batch of miniatures ready.

For selling miniatures separately they would also have to factor in specialized packaging, associated artwork, extra inventory tracking. Those were just off the top of my head, though.

Most publishers probably have the mindset of not being in the miniatures selling business, too.
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Lee Cherry

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I would agree it's demand/cost, business model of publisher; to add to what some of what others mentioned... another issue may be licensing; the publisher, designer and artist may not have addressed the licensing issue on releasing the figures/tokens as standalone (replacement) miniatures or they have a separate contract outlined for derivative works and usage of design and work products.

I've also read of instances where some miniature makers own the original molds but can't get the licensing rights to produce a new set production run of miniatures from prior artist/designers or publishers because of license/contract negotiation issues or the wording of original contract details.

Depending on the publisher's print numbers the original molds that were created may have been used to meet production quotas and they may not be of use any more; i.e. mold detail line deterioration, quality of miniatures decline - so they would have to invest in making new master molds to do another run. It's not as much of a problem on newer molds but I recall this was always a major concern with pewter figures... either way it's something that happens.

On the bright side, there are a ton of different miniature figurines out there and quite a number of them do specific miniatures that would fit this theme. We swapped out miniatures/tokens for a number of our games with figurines and miniatures from Mantic, Reaper, Ral Partha, WoTC, TSR AD&D, Games Workshop, et.al.

There's always SmoothOn and Alumilite mold making and duplicating, eBay for extra figures and picking up an extra set or two of the game

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Eddy
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On a related note, of the several games that really ought to come with extra parts in the first place, I nominate Hi Ho! Cherry-O to head the list. Think about it. Its primary component is a bushel of pea-sized plastic cherries. And it's designed for small children. I'm not a professional statistician, but I estimate a 113% probability that some of these little guys go missing. Including 46 cherries in the box instead of 40 couldn't increase the cost by more than what -- maybe a nickel?
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John "Omega" Williams
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There isnt much demand outside wargames and RPGs which sell minis seperately.

Some publishers would pack in more units than needed, MB used to be good for that.

The cost to press more than needed is negligible once the molds are had.

BUT, you need to press them on that first go.

Otherwise most factories will either require you to order another large batch, or the pressing cost for a small batch climbs. And some small publishers may simply not have the overhead to handle what will be a VERY small demand for extras unless their game is woefully short on minis for some reason.
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Mike C
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Thanks for the answers. It just seemed to me that a production run could affordably be for another 5% or 10% miniatures, to sell as special orders or simply have on-hand in case a customer loses one and wants to order a replacement.

But I hadn't thought about the overhead of tracking inventory, packaging, and so forth.

Thanks!
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Brook Gentlestream
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I'm generally impressed with how Flying Frog has a catalog for replacement components on their website.
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John "Omega" Williams
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Any company thats done research or minis before will usually order 5-10% more minis than they need to cover replacements. They hang onto these to cover inevitible call ins to replace broken or missing parts.
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Bernd Caspers
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I would only be interested in pre-painted miniatures, since I don´t enjoy painting, but enjoy painted miniatures.
The quality of games like Star Wars Miniatures and Heroscape is really good (despite what some snobbish mini gamers say...who put x hours of work in a single mini and compare them with mass produced once,silly).
However these have become really expensive to make these days, so the appeal of buying extra miniatures would be dimished.
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Stasia Doster
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I know that in the case of Mice and Mystics, Plaid Hat Games does offer additional copies of the miniatures on their website. You can find them here: http://www.plaidhatgames.com/store/49
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James Hutchings
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big__rhino wrote:
Dunk the guy in simple green for 20min. take a tooth brush out and scrub him under running water. Then prime him again and your ready to try paint scheme #2. I have a few space marines that have fought in several armies.


Now that Games Workshop has backed down, you won't be sued for saying 'space marines'.
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Ryan Morgan
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blech, what a can of worms that was. My space marines are 10 years old and have fought many wars for the emperor using homebrew rules of war similar to The Games of War: A Treasury of Rules for Battles with Toy Soldiers, Ships and Planes.

Good Luck with your dudes Mike, share pictures when you finish your projects. I love seeing how other people interpret figures from board games.
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