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The Angry Young Man tackles Games Workshop…

May 23rd, 2012 by Marc 7 Comments

Anyone who plays Warhammer, or Warhammer 40k, or any other Games Workshop game will know that Games Workshop, over the years has become less about ‘the hobby’ and more about ‘the dough ray me’. I could go on about many a thing, one need only compare and contrast the vintage White Dwarf magazine with the current to see the glaring facts of the matter. However, in essence I will simply inform the reader (poor you) of the experience I recently had attempting to buy stuff from them from my Golden Daemon entry. And then moan.

Last month, I wanted to buy a squad of space marines. But not the normal squad that is priced at £23.00, I wanted the squad that came with the Iron Hands chapter upgrades (small metal add ons that gave the wee soldiers cooler guns etc.). It cost £25.50. As you’ll note, that is £2.50 more expensive than the normal box.

Then, as is the way, the squad with the upgrades disappeared from the website. I, as any other overgrown child, was rather disappointed. So I emailed Games Workshop Customer Support to see if they had any lying around. Below is the rather boring email trail… Minus a few things, obviously.

AYM:
Dear Games Workshop Customer Service,
I was recently looking on the website and saw the iron hands squad of space marines at £25.50, I wanted to buy a squad in conjunction with some forgeworld stuff, but alas it looks as if Games Workshop have discontinued the squad. I was just wondering if there were any left and if so would you sell me a box.
Regards,

GWS:
Hi
Thanks for the email, the Iron hands squad is currently out of production, we unfortunately have no stock left for this product.
We apologies for any inconvenience.
Regards
Games Workshop Customer Service

AYM:
Dear Games Workshop Customer Service,

Cheers for the quick response. That’s a shame about the squad.
However, I’ll not be accused of not trying my luck. I checked the GW US web site and they still have them on it, I’m just not paying thirty dollar postage for them. Is there any chance GW US would ship them to GW UK, and then have them posted to me from there? Like in a box with other stuff that is being sent across to you lot from our yankee cousins some time in the near future?If not, I fully understand, if so I’d be rather pleased.
Regards,

GWS:
Hi
Thanks for the email, unfortunately this is not something we are able to offer you, however you can feel free to order it from the US website and have it posted to you from them.
Hope this helps
Regards
Games Workshop Customer Service

See, told you, boring and rather innocuous, except for the part where I specifically state I’m not paying the postage for something from America, only to be told that I ought to pay it if I want the product.
Boring and innocuous, except, that on Friday I looked on their website (which now downloads cookies on to your computer so it can monitor your online actions, by the way.) and I saw that Games Workshop have re-released the Iron Hands squad in what they call ‘fine’ cast resin, but not as a squad, as an upgrade pack, that costs £11.00.
That’s right, something that a few weeks ago cost an extra £2.50 now costs an extra £11.00, a 340% price increase. Games Workshop would probably say it is only a 33% increase, given the price has increased from £25.50 to £34.00 for the total of the mow oop box set, but they’ve re-released it as an upgrade so I’m going to say the original ‘upgrade’ cost £2.50, and the new upgrade costs £11, which is 340% for the upgrade itself. But I’m sure their marketing department is going with the 33% stat. It was probably a quick discussion.
You make of it what you will.
So, not only a price hike, but the guy from Games Workshop actually told me to buy the product from the U.S if I wanted it, instead of basically saying: “Here mate, give it a few weeks and we’ll have some pretty cool fine cast releases that might take your fancy.”
Would a car dealer tell a customer: “I’m really sorry but the new Fordius Maximus is only available from our American Dealerships at the minute so you’ll just have to talk to them about buying one.” When they knew full well that he/she was receiving a shipment of Fordius Maximus in the near future? (Fordius Maximus that were priced at £25,000 (or £25,500) recently, but that he’she now knows are going to be sold at £110,000 (or £34,000).) I think not, it just doesn’t seem like good business sense.
But, basically, what the guy helpfully meant was something to the affect of: “You’re better off getting them from America because the postage is probably less than the price we’re going to charge you for the new fine cast minis. Muwahahaha. (Not an actual quote.)”
If one applies logic, a company would be stupid to spend more money producing something in resin when it already produced it in metal for a much lower price (If there has been a production cost increase at all.) unless your core demographic is nine to 15 year olds whose parents are buying the product and have no idea there was a 340%/33% increase in the price of the product over a period of weeks simply because the medium in which the product is produced has changed. All very dry and very boring. But they’re the ones getting away with it.
It does however prove another point in an internet debate that has been raging for years: Are Games Workshop simply a money making machine who care little for the customers/fellow hobbyists who have stuck by them for years?
Simply put, in this instance, yes.
But what of it? Does it really matter in an economic climate where everything is getting more expensive and wages are falling or remaining static? Well to stick with the Fordius Maximus analogy, first you buy the car, then you have to buy petrol. Petrol has been increasing in price rather sharply for years (Much like products made by Games Workshop.) But people keep paying for it. My advice would be this, buy a bicycle, or use red diesel, metaphorically speaking.
Applied to Games Workshop that means: buy miniatures from other suppliers and use them as proxies, or use online auction sites to buy things more cheaply. Because it seems to me that Games Workshop is moving to solely plastic and resin miniatures to slowly stymie the sale of metal miniatures on online auction sites, something that stops them maximising their profits.Oh, and happy 25th Anniversary to Warhammer 40k, may 6th edition reclaim the glory that once was the grim darkness of the future… On a kitchen table – contrary to what rumours abound.

Angry Young Man.

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Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….