Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Quality Vs Cost

There has been an issue that has been bugging me for some time and it is GW related. The quality of their models is undeniable; they produce some of the best plastic models around (with the exception of a few of the Hobbit Models) however the quality must be viewed in the context of the cost of the models, even using the best example (50 NZD for 10 Enteral Guard/Wildwood Rangers) we can see the product is overpriced. I doubt that it took anywhere near 50 NZD to produce that kit and the actual value of the plastic that the models are made of isn’t worth 50 NZD.

Now if you buy GW’s models from sits like Ebay and Trade Me, or even online retailers you are likely to get a better deal. I just picked up a Brand New Riders of Rohan box for 31.50 NZD (including postage) from Trade me. This is about 20 NZD less than the retail prices and I think it more actually reflects the actual value of the model. Sure the models look great but for not 50 NZD (for only 6 models).

There is another part of this that I have yet to mention in all my posts about GWs price and that is the core of my issue with GWs pricing. I started this hobby in 2007 (ish) at the start of the Storm of Chaos Campaign. The standard box set (arcos all WHFB armies at least as well as some 40k armies) was 55 NZD for 20 models, some of the box sets that I can recall are 20 Imperial Guardsmen for 55 NZD as well as Zombies, Skeletons, Beastmen (12 Gors 18 Ungors), Orks (both 40k and Fantasy), Empire State Troops, Dark Elves, High Elves, Tomb kings. And it wasn’t just core troop box sets the metal “Blister Packs” were also reasonable prices. There were issues, certain units could only be bought by the Blister Pack (Savage Orcs and Grave Guard are two such examples) and other units had rules but not models . And the models produced during that time were as good (or at worst slightly worse) than models produced nowdays, and yet GW sold them for less and still were able to thrive as company. The core of my issue is that they sold similar products for less when I started and now the sell roughly the same products for so much more now days.

And yet for all my complaints about GW prices i still buy their models, why? Because they quality is so damm good however there will come a point where the cost of the models will overshadow the quality of the product and will cause me to look elsewhere, hopefully by then the other companies ( Avatars of War has the most promise in this regard) will be up to challenging GW quality wise. 

There is one final point I wish to address that is only tangentially related to the main point of the post: What would I like to happen to GW and what would I change if I could. Some people I know wish to see GW gone, they think that the company is a “Stain” on the war gaming community and should be removed utterly, yes they did good work before but now it’s time for them to move along (and before I go on if you are reading this and think “ Hey! I said that it him and now he is picking on me” fear not, many different people have said this to me, this is a general response). I do not hold this view, I grant the point that GW is worse than it was before but I don’t think that the solution is to get rid of GW nor do I think that GW is a stain on the community.  Yes their pricing is an issue as is the majority of their business practices but if you want to know what a real “Stain” type company is like take a look at our friends in the Video Gaming community, they have to deal with companies like EA and Strategy First, the former making awful anti-consumer business choices that restrict their customers gaming and the latter making crappy broken games and then having the gall to charge for them. Those are companies that really are stains on their respective communities. By comparison GW is mewling kitten. Yes their prices defy reality but at least they still make very good quality product and at least they don’t restrict when, where and how you can use their product. People who think that GW is a stain on our community don’t know how lucky we are. And in saying that I don’t say that I think GW is fine as is and shouldn’t change, I only say that GW could be far, far worse and shouldn’t be considered a stain on the community, and if you insist on this view then you have to accept that it would be on the lowest end of the scale.  My stance on GW is that they could be so much better with so little effort and that I would prefer a reformed GW to no GW at all.

But how would I change GW? Well there are a few minor no cost related things I would do. 1) Open a bitz section on their website where people can buy any part from any kit GW makes. This would make people who do conversations love them because no longer would they have to buy a whole box for just a few parts or go to online Bitz vendors who don’t always have the bitz they want. 2) Bite the bullet and reopen a community forum. If there is one thing people hate more than a company that gives them grief it’s a company that refuses to hear their grievances. Yes for the first few months there will be nothing but bile and hate, but eventually the idiots whose aim is to only spew meaningless hate will leave and legitimate criticism will come through. The lack of community interaction is a big deal and needs to be fixed if GW wants to become a better company. 3) Return White Dwarf to its former glory. The White Dwarf of years past continued wonderful things like native driven campaigns whose battle reports crossed multiple issues, community painted and produce models, Chapter Approved rules and much more and GW would make great strides in repairing its relationship with the community by resurrecting this style of White Dwarf. 

There is hope. I mentioned in my opening that the new Wood Elf boxes were 50 NZD (ish) for ten models. This is a large step down from 80 NZD (ish) for ten models, which is the pricing scale for so many of the new infantry plastic box sets. We haven’t seen a WHFB army release for some months and I hope that when we do see another that it will continue this cheaper trend, so there is hope, GW could well recover from the greed madness that seems to have gripped it in recent years. Until next time.


  1. Some good points. I agree that GW's pricing is ridiculous, in our part of the world at least (AUS/NZ). I don't want to see the company disappear, but I would be very happy if it gave up and pulled its bricks-and-mortar presence out of our region and allowed us to buy easily from overseas once more.

    They definitely should be engaging with the community. Refusing to do so just helps foster the image of a cold, uncaring company that is only interested in our money. Of course, as far as I can tell, this is pretty much what the company as a whole has become.

    I too would love to see White Dwarf return to what it once was, but I fear its time has passed now that we're well into the digital age and there are so many other sources for hobby-related material (painting advice, galleries, etc).

    I still buy GW models because I've spent most of my life immersed in the lore of the Warhammer world and I like to use the "right" models for the game. But I worry that one day I will wake up and realise that my commitment to that is outweighed by the thought of feeding money to a company that treats me with contempt. :(

    1. I too have the issue where i almost feel bad about buying GW models for exactly the reason you presented, that i dont want to be feeding money to a company that treats me with contempt and that bis why i try to buy off 3rd part vendors of GW goods as opposed to using GW, unfortunately Wood Elf units seem to be hard to find in 3rd party stores so more often than not i have to buy GW.

      I personally have high hopes that the new CEO will change things for the better, that we will get a proper gamer CEO one who has played the and loves the games GW produces and wants the company to thrive. Perhaps its an irrational hope but at the end of the day all we can do is hope, its not like GW would listen to us

  2. I personally dont like GW models for their relatively shallow detail and crazy chunky models. But I will admit its they are the easiest models to assemble out of the box. But the details and aesthetic are not really that great in my opinion. A lot of places have models that are amazing but are let down because out of the box takes a bit more effort to put together.

    When I started trying alternative models I was blown away by how amazing they all were since then have avoided GW models whenever I could. Both for their (in my opinion) kinda lame models and shallow detail. Im also not much of a fan of plastic when I can avoid it. Although perry miniatures has amazing plastic models.

    I wouldnt mind it if GW was gone. All their model lines would quickly be replaced by other companies moreso than they already are (especially Sci-Fi kits). I think they are a horrible company and I couldn't care less if other groups or hobbies have horrible companies, simply because im sure people hate them too.

    Even if cadians become 20 for 55 dollars again I wont be touching them ever. Gross models from a gross company. The only GW range I like are the Lizardmen, some Eldar and some of the LOTR models. Other than that most are meh and even some of the models in that range are meh.

    Their models are people friendly though. A 7 year old could buy a kit and pretty much assemble it without instructions after doing them for a bit. SOme other companies need experience for their models, which is why I think they have managed to be successful despite all the issues. People wanna assemble them quick with no hassle. GW does that.

    Other than that GW offers little else anymore and simply relies on old and tired ideas to try continue. Like releasing a limited edition space hulk... again. Useless really, considering they where once the leaders of wargaming ideas and so on. Now they are degrading I think. Which is a pity, but thats the old GW and its not coming back.

  3. God all I can imagine when reading this blog, is Rex and Jayden as old men sitting in the park on a bench bitching and saying things like "in the good old days", "in my day, things were different" etc etc etc. Every second post on this blog is just a GW bitch fest. We get it.

    1. I hate to point it out but the last post i did where i complained about GW was 14 posts ago, back on the eve of CTA. I have actively been trying to cut back on the GW complaint posts and since it was 14 posts since the last one i think thats a goal i have been achieving well

    2. This isnt even my blog...

      My blog is elsewhere. And its usually just a blog of different models, battle reports and recently giving stuff away.

      Rex has heaps of stuff here too.

      You have free will, simply dont read the ones you dont like.