X-Bits . . . Days of Conversions Past OR How GW’s new BITS polcies have impacted my business model

See this model?  This one below . . .I used to build these all the time.  It was a hallmark piece of mine, a cornerstone of my business model.  Custom miniatures are what sets one clients army apart from any other clients (that and a great paint job)

A client recently contacted me regarding the above model.  “I just want an aesthetically pleasing, awesome looking model, without breaking my wallet, lol.”

It’s the LOL that really made me grin.  I mean . . . don’t we all want that?  But we can’t have our cake and eat it too, at least, not anymore.  In the past, I’d charge as much as $45 for the model above, or when I needed to move inventory, as little as $25. 

Compare this to a service like Blue Table Painting’s Doom of Malantai Conversion , which is a nice enough model, don’t be me wrong.  Nothing fancy.  But nice.  They charge $72 bucks for that guy.  $72!  And I thought they were insane, who would pay such a thing . . .

Then a client emailed me about the above model, and I quoted them $60.  I hated to do it, but I couldn’t figure out a way to quote the model for anything less, and even at $60 . . . I’m worried I’ll take a loss.

Finally, I understand where BTP was coming from asking so much for their Doom.   I got it.

Here’s the problem . . . bits are a commodity.  A few months ago, I could contact Rob over at Spikey Bitz and custom order some of the bits.  Even the bits he didn’t have in stock, he’d sell me a kit for 20% off.  So okay, I have leftovers for all my little future conversions.  Maybe I break even in the mean time, but make a profit down the road.  Not the worst outcome.  

But the problem is now, with GW cracking down on the bits market I CAN’T do that anymore.  Finding a Hive Tyrant tail?  There’s only one place selling them, Hoard of Bits, and I don’t do business with them anymore.  Long story, but let’s just say customer service is not their strong suit.

So to get a tail I have to buy the entire tyrant kit.  Even at 20% off, with shipping it’s still almost $50 bucks!  Yikes . . .

Now you could argue that I’ll have the Tyrant left over and I can sell them.  That’s true . .  but I can only sell the walking variant.  And Brother . . . since Flyers hit in sixth edition you just don’t see too many walking tyrants anymore. 

What’s the moral of this story? 

I’m not sure there is one.  Maybe that GW really shot us in the foot with their new policies regarding bits.  Thanks GW.

It’s hard to be a gangsta and it’s equally hard to kit bash a model on a budget these days.  At least if you want specific bits.  If the client had asked for a ravener tail THOSE I have  . . . but the question is can the client get exactly what they want for a price that is reasonable?

It’s looking less likely these days.

 I hate to end on a sour note, so let me say this . . .. at White Metal Games we specialize in creating custom models,  but we have limits to what we can do, and that limit is YOUR budget.  So when you commission a model, ask yourself reasonably in all fairness what YOU could do it for, if you had to do it.  Then compare that to what we’re asking for, consider our time and our experience, and ask if it’s worth it to you?

For a one of a kind centerpiece model, is $60 really too much to ask?  I don’t think so.  After all your paying for a one of a kind bit of hobby goodness.

If you allow us a little wiggle room, I’m sure we can find a good alternative.  Check out of gallery of over 9000 images for examples of our outside the box thinking. 

But if its still too much, then let me sweeten the pot.

The first client to commission a 2000 point army with WMG after this post is published can pick either one Doom of Malantai kit bash (as per BTP’s model) or the above Parasite kit bash and get it FOR FREE!  How’s that for having your cake and eating it too!