Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Monday, February 19, 2018

Hobby shop excursion

Today the wife and kidlings were keen to make the trip to Osaka to attend a sale, so I had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours in Shinsaibashi to go check out the new Warhammer store and another similar one nearby.

As it was the first time I'd visited miniature-wargaming stores in Japan, I was thinking that to be neighbourly I'd pick up a few pots of paint (or even some minis, if I could get away with it...), but the whole experience was a bit of a disappointment. The prices were triple what I'd pay for my usual paints, more yen per pot than I'd pay to order in Coat d'Arms from the UK, and the service worse than you'd get when asking about the contents of a riceball at the convenience store.

I wonder if I've underestimated how spoiled I am being a collector of 15mm, a predominantly solo hobbiest (meaning I can play what takes my fancy without needing to follow trends), *and* resident in Japan.

Even when including 20-40% shipping costs, 15mm gives good value for money in terms of spectacle (though the pound's fall is probably changing that now), and the low cost of locally produced hobby materials (paint, primers, brushes, washes, clear-coats, etc.) means that miniature wargaming has been, as a hobby, relatively inexpensive.

I've also been very lucky in that the local hobby connections I have have been with genuine hobbyists, interested in the pursuit itself and in the passing on of knowledge and techniques, with the money to be made from it a side issue (though of course as an appreciative customer one wants to direct as much of one's hobby money as possible to those people!).

If I were the kind of person to work these things out, it would probably have cost me more per year to be a keen gym-goer or snowboarder here than it has to be a lead-importing wargamer.

So, all in all, today's visit was an educational if not greatly edifying experience. I wish them well, but I probably won't go back.

(As an FYI, I did notice that introductory game sets were quite reasonably priced; it was the follow up ones and the paints that weren't...)

13 comments:

  1. Games Workshop tends to charge as much as they can for their products. It is interesting to see that the better the unit is in game terms the more expensive it is even though there is only cosmetic differences between the figures.

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    Replies
    1. That's interesting, Bill. I was wondering why some boxes were less expensive than others despite having the same or sometimes more figures. Makes sense now.

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  2. GW has us by the gonads dude, and the problem is if you stop buying it, ten year old will get mommy to buy it for him/her. That may be an over simplification but not far from the truth.

    I still buy there stuff, but refuse to pay full price for a product that is greatly over priced to what it should cost. You can go to ebay and get sweet deals, and frankly I would not still be collecting if my local hobby store didn't give me 25 percent off all GW products.

    What kills me most is that a box of Saurus Warriors (20 figures) is 38 US dollars, while a box of Saurus Guard (15 figures) is 55 US dollars. I'm like are you kidding? So what they give you an extra bit or two too add to the figure.

    As far as I am concerned GW are price gougers plain and simple, but they get away with it because of all the plastic addicts having to have the latest and greatest.

    Bat #*$Y nuts!!!!

    Cheers
    Kevin

    PS
    What's even worse is that they'll wait five years, re-invent a line and make everything obsolete so you have to buy the crap all over again. Brilliant business model that seems to keep on growing, but sucks for us guys that need our money for the ever growing cost of health care.... okay I'll stop ranting now. Where did I put my xanax... grumble, grumble, grumble.

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    Replies
    1. I fully agree with what Kevin says. I don't play Warhammer, but do use their figures. A local game store used to sell their figures at a discount, but no longer carries them. Due to their constant price increases I stopped buying their products.

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    2. Yes, this does seem to be a fairly accurate summation of the state of affairs!

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  3. My local model shop has done a lot of work focusing on the key supplies gamers need instead of tring to compete with direct mail order shops. It works well for them

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    1. Sounds sensible to me. The thing that surprised me was the contrast in price between these places and the local toy shops which stock Tamiya and Mr. Hobby paints, brushes, etc., plus diorama materials from the model railroad side of things. GW shop was at least double, mostly triple and for some things up to five time the price for the same basic hobby materials (primer, paints, varnish, brushes, etc). I don't see how they can justify it.

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  4. That's very frustrating. I count myself very lucky in Melbourne to have Eureka Miniatures just a suburb away. Always a welcoming and enjoyable place to drop in to. I guess this just forces you online - - hopefully the Yes/GBP/USD exchange is favorable.

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    1. The “Yes” currency is an excellent idea!!!

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    2. I like the yes currency too! Melbourne sounds like a good spot :)

      I do have to order figures in from overseas, but I get all my paints and things locally, except for some washes I grabbed at the same time as ordering figures.

      It's been a pretty good arrangement, really, so I can't complain!

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  5. Recently, I went to a new hobby shop nearby. There was a selection of games, mostly Euro-style. There were some minis but mostly reaper and DnD. There were, of course, paints but mostly GW. It was not different than the other hobby shops in the area except for one thing. The smell. There were a group of 20 or so people playing in a card tournament maybe 15-20 feet from the front of the store. The funk was almost impenetrable. I did not spend much time looking around. I left the place unimpressed and likely won't be back. I suppose the same outcome as your story but different reasons.

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    Replies
    1. Didn't have that problem here, fortunately! Japanese people do tend to be pretty fanatically clean though - even nerds and gamers!

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