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Author Topic: Figures or not figures (cardboard hero style)  (Read 6748 times)

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Offline bobloblah

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Re: Figures or not figures (cardboard hero style)
« Reply #30 on: March 28, 2011, 09:40:38 AM »
Yeah, steel injection moulds are for far higher production runs, ranging from thousands to millions. Generally speaking, the higher the production run, the more expensive the tooling. Conversely, the more expensive the tooling (and higher the production run), the cheaper it is per part. Lots of everyday plastic items we buy are costing the manufacturers a few pennies per part. This logic has a lot to do with GW's sustained profitability, in spite of apparently shrinking market-share..
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Offline smokingwreckage

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Re: Figures or not figures (cardboard hero style)
« Reply #31 on: April 20, 2011, 09:35:38 AM »
Well because miniature moulds are made of RTV silicone (some might need vulcanizing but that's beyond my narrow knowledge) they can have undercuts, which the machined steel moulds for injection moulding can't have. That's why plastics have those odd flat spots where the detail just sucks. A spin caster for metal casting is a relatively (small and ?) cheap item compared to an injection moulding rig.

The strength of the green, master, RTV mould and spin caster is relatively low start-up costs and very low costs for new figures once you're set up. I can't say what sculpting costs, especially now properly applied CAD can do perfectly good sculpts (that then need to be 3D printed and touched up before being mastered at extra expense IIRC.... but reposing and changing weaponry on an established sculpture takes minutes) but moulds cost a couple of hundred back when I was researching this stuff around 2002AD, maybe.

So, working in metal you might get a new miniature into production for a few hundred dollars where the machining for injection moulds would be 1000s or 10,000s, IIRC, bobloblah would know better (is injection mold the right term, even?). That might mean that the regular release cycle is not only good for your image, it might be your "comparative advantage" over plastics as well, I wouldn't know, but it sounds like it makes sense, right?

Offline Kindred

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Re: Figures or not figures (cardboard hero style)
« Reply #32 on: April 20, 2011, 11:52:26 AM »
well, that's always the point of most games.

Metals have a lower start up cost, but a much higher per-model cost.
Plastics have a higher start-up cost but a lower per-model cost.

So, that is why companies like GW make the popular models, or the ones that have interchangeable parts usable across the board, out of plastic. They have the money for the initial outlay, and the price point means more profit per individual model sold (since they rarely make plastic model significantly cheaper than metal ones)

For specialty figures and figures which people buy one or two of, they continue to use metal...


So, an initial outlay should be for metal minis, IMO -  until the purchasing pattern is established and Clark et all can determine which models are worth casting in plastic.

Offline smokingwreckage

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Re: Figures or not figures (cardboard hero style)
« Reply #33 on: April 20, 2011, 12:53:43 PM »
$50 sais the plastic would be UNE Paladin PBA and the ubiquitous G1 Nightmare. I'd love to see Paladin PBA get a re-sculpt; I love the old minis but I also think there's a lot of room to explore the idea of relatively hard sci-fi power armour.

Offline smokingwreckage

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Re: Figures or not figures (cardboard hero style)
« Reply #34 on: April 20, 2011, 12:57:29 PM »
While i think these guys have a few too many greeblies and doodads, they make me think of updated UNE:
http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/yhst-77590103967523_2141_6865363


Offline grendeljd

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Re: Figures or not figures (cardboard hero style)
« Reply #35 on: April 20, 2011, 02:54:58 PM »
While i think these guys have a few too many greeblies and doodads, they make me think of updated UNE:
http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/yhst-77590103967523_2141_6865363

Those are pretty cool - I see the resemblance to UNE especially in the shape of the helmet design. I agree with SW that the basic original Commando fig could use an update, although I really like the sculpt of the 'armless' base for the paladin armour used for the PI guys. Perhaps just getting new arms for commandos over that base would be relatively easy to accomplish?
I hate people generally, but I like them specifically - John Malkovich

Offline Clark

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Re: Figures or not figures (cardboard hero style)
« Reply #36 on: April 20, 2011, 03:15:10 PM »
Back in the day a completely new fig would cost less than a grand for concept art, sculpting, masters and moulds. A blister averaged about 10 bucks retail so we got 4 and our mark up was about 200% so that meant a gross margin of about $2.50 per unit. On release we sold about 400 units, so there is your grand. Then we actually made money out of the follow on sales.

Offline grendeljd

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Re: Figures or not figures (cardboard hero style)
« Reply #37 on: April 25, 2011, 09:58:36 AM »
Back in the day a completely new fig would cost less than a grand for concept art, sculpting, masters and moulds. A blister averaged about 10 bucks retail so we got 4 and our mark up was about 200% so that meant a gross margin of about $2.50 per unit. On release we sold about 400 units, so there is your grand. Then we actually made money out of the follow on sales.

Thats not too bad of a cost factor - if you get original figs into production again, it has to be less expensive since all that is already done?
I hate people generally, but I like them specifically - John Malkovich

Offline Clark

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Re: Figures or not figures (cardboard hero style)
« Reply #38 on: April 25, 2011, 12:11:24 PM »
The cost is just to get new production molds and hold an inventory. Back in the day molds were $50 each with multiple molds necessary for figs with more than two or three pieces. The average casting and packaging cost was about $1.25 to $1.50 per blister but RAFM was willing to do short runs of a dozen or so. The molds were replaced by RAFM as they used them, so that was basically a one time cost. So to get all the figs back into production, at those prices, would be about $6,000.

Offline YojimboUsaka

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Re: Figures or not figures (cardboard hero style)
« Reply #39 on: April 26, 2011, 07:57:35 AM »
Doing the UNE Paladin armor and the G1 nightmare in plastic would be very nice.  So many figures are based off those two chassis you could sell them in large numbers and then offer modification packs to upgrade them to all the variant types.  If you made the plastics at least semi-posable I would buy 100 right now. 

There are a  couple of miniature companies doing CAD based models and then waiting to make the moulds until they have x number of preorders.  Wargames Factory i think http://www.wargamesfactory.com/webstore/alien-suns/shock-troops-sci-fi-greatcoat-troopers .  Might be able to talk with them and see what there business plan is like.

I do think making the base model a multi-part figure and then just adding different upgrade packs would be the way to go the more I think about it.  Would only require a small mould to be made for each new variant instead of a whole new model set.  Oh the possibilities for mods and custom conversions.  [wrings hands in devious glee]

Charles

Offline Dave Chase

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Re: Figures or not figures (cardboard hero style)
« Reply #40 on: April 26, 2011, 08:16:17 AM »
...
I do think making the base model a multi-part figure and then just adding different upgrade packs would be the way to go the more I think about it.  Would only require a small mould to be made for each new variant instead of a whole new model set.  Oh the possibilities for mods and custom conversions.  [wrings hands in devious glee]

Charles

Reminds me of the games Ronin and Hybrid. Both not only had custom figures but used magnets to hold the limbs and extra on. Quick swap of items between games and if you cut an arm off, you took it off and left it on the table.

Stifkas is another great model concept. The concept was later turn into the playable figures of XEVOZ game.

I tried to get both companies of Stifkas and Ronin to join forces for a new game. Ah, sigh, it did not work.

Dave Chase
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Offline YojimboUsaka

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Re: Figures or not figures (cardboard hero style)
« Reply #41 on: April 26, 2011, 08:40:02 AM »
The magnet idea is a good one.  Works well for using one model but being able to arm them differently when needed without needing umpteen different models to represent each one.  I have done that with my Tau crisis suits as they have like 10+ options for 3 different hard points. 

Charles

Offline smokingwreckage

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Re: Figures or not figures (cardboard hero style)
« Reply #42 on: April 26, 2011, 08:45:16 AM »
I would love to have access to weapons sprues and "bitz" of the UNE stuff. Now that I have a second Superfortress I want to build my (Defiance game) custom version that mounts twin auto-RAMs on a swivel in place of one or both UberRAM mounts.

Magnets are good for gamers but fiddly for my tastes and don't sell models ;)

Offline Kindred

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Re: Figures or not figures (cardboard hero style)
« Reply #43 on: April 26, 2011, 10:59:53 AM »
oooh, I liked Ronin. Only ever got one model, but loved the concept.

The problem with magnets on the small scale of these figures is that they have to exactly match the join points.
Magnetics are useful for vehicle sized figures that can be equipped differently per scenarios. Human-size models are just easier to make 10 standard plus 10 custom to build a 12 man squad, IMO.

I think plastics of the UNE Paladin and Nightmares is a cool thought, especially since plastics are so much easier to slice for custom modding. :)
However, the price point on plastics is MUCH higher. (i.e. individually cheaper in HUGE runs, but only if you make HUGE runs)

Offline Clark

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Re: Figures or not figures (cardboard hero style)
« Reply #44 on: April 29, 2011, 09:55:26 PM »
I think HUGE will have to wait.

My day job right now involves teaching Chinese business students.  If we were going to go to plastic, then three words: Made in China.  A few of these kids are super smart and highly motivated and have their own business contacts (through their parents).

But the time will come.