Thursday, 17 January 2013

Mierce Miniatures Kickstarter

"You must be shitting me" is the first thing I thought when I heard that Mierce Miniatures was having a kickstarter for their Darklands range of miniatures. For those who aren't in the know, Mierce Miniatures is owned by the same person who owned Maelstrom Games

Yes, that Maelstrom Games. The company that went bankrupt in Oct/Nov and left hundred; if not thousands, of orders unfulfilled. Even though they had already taken the money for them. There's a frigging 55 page thread on Dakkadakka about it and despite what CERTAIN people might claim; it's not unsubstantiated. For those who go tl;dr, this is the very very brief summary of events

  1. Maelstrom Games claims to be moving warehouse since Jun/Jul and sends out a lot of stock clearance sale codes
  2. Since Jul 2012, people have claimed to have been issues with MG. To be honest, I already had issues with them taking MONTHS to fulfill orders back in Jan 2012. 
  3. They couldn't really get any answers from MG who apparently stopped listening to calls and emails
  4. MG kept sending out clearance sale codes, slashing prices by 20% and then by 30 and then even more. 
  5. Meanwhile, there were still no responses from MG. Almost nothing was in stock on their webpage
  6. The discounts kept getting more ridiculous. Those who were in MGs list pretty much got a new discount code every day
  7. A suspicious called Eye of the Storm was set up. For those who don't know, Eye of the Storm is the physical store name for Maelstrom Games. And it looked pretty much identical to the MG website. 
  8. A lot of people saw it coming, but a lot of people didn't. At the end of Oct, MGs website went offline for 'maintenance', something most people couldn't ever remember it doing. 
  9. 6 days later, a statement was posted up on the MGs website (statement can be found here) saying it had officially gone bankrupt, blamed some other company for its bankruptcy because the company had refused to let it keep stalling on it's 100K pound debt to them and then saying people who had ordered were Shit Out Of Luck
Those are the facts as stands. Almost immediately, the company that was blamed put out its own statement and considering certain issues, most people were inclined to agree with the creditor. Mostly because MGs statement reeked. Seriously, here are a few questions that MGs owner should be forced to answer in court.
  • If it was obvious that you weren't going to be able to pay back the 100k debt in one month, WHY did you continue taking people's money for items that were NOT IN STOCK. Especially when it seemed like your suppliers had pretty much burned your bridges and didn't want to supply you unless you had cash. So why take orders for things you know are never going to be fulfilled
  • Why did you take people's cash that they paid you for stuff X and use it to fulfill orders that other people had already paid you for but which you didn't have the cash to fulfill at that moment?
  • Why did you split off your various subsidiary companies; such as Mierce Miniatures and your physical store location so conveniently a few months before the collapse of MG?
  • You claim that Wayland demanding the 100k debt back from you in the span of a month was the reason for your collapse. How do you explain the fact that according to your accounts, your total liability was really 400k? (link here) and that the estimated worth of your company was -100k pounds? Obviously you had 300k pounds to pay back as well and you claim that it was the 100k that broke your back? 
  • When did you know that you were going to face serious financial issues? MG closed in Oct 2012, but obviously money issues of this kind don't just appear suddenly. More interestingly, you only split off Mierce Miniatures in Mar 2012 while your annual accounts, with that shockingly huge debt were done in April 2012. 
As such, most people should have a clear idea of just what kind of people are running the show at MM. Especially since the very same person who owned MG owns MM as well and is still a director there. However, when pressed on this issue, MM had this to say. 

He paints a pretty sob story. Poor Rob Lane, he was just a victim. He took everyone else's money while thinking he could pay it back. Sobsob. Note, I'm paraphrasing here. 

Almost immediately, a few people questioned his claims. 
  1. If Rob Lane legally bought MM from MG and paid what is construed as a fair 'market' price for it, where did the money go? Obviously MG doesn't have it, and Rob Lane supposedly isn't raking in the dough, so where did he get the money from to buy MM from himself essentially? Or was this just a 'paper' transaction?
  2. Supposedly MM never made much money during its formulative years up to the period it got 'bought' over, so really, where did the money come from?
  3. You tell us not to blame Rob Lane for what happened at MG but there's no denying that it was under his stewardship; and let's face it, a fucking game shop isn't a MNC where the boss doesn't know what's happening at all, that MG went bust and basically stiffed a lot of people. And then NOW you tell us that MM is going to be under Rob Lane's stewardship and guidance as well. Yeah, I'm not sure you understand how that makes us feel.
  4. You keep saying MM and MG are totally different entities. How can that be if your director is basically the SAME person and you're going to be following his stewardship as usual
Surprisingly, there were no answers. Of course, then this was followed by the embarassing faux pas of using the old MG email list to mail people asking them 'HEY ARE YOU INTERESTED IN MM MINIATURES? COME BUY SOME FROM US AT 20% OFF!!!"

Yeah...this kind of struck a chord in almost everyone who received it. Good way to prove you're totally not related to each other at all MM -_- Using the email list of a defunct company that ripped off a lot of people to try and promote your own product. 

And now they have a kickstarter. And since the initial goal is only 5000GBP, they're almost guaranteed to get funded. However, it is a question if any of the backers will ever receive what they want or if they will just keep getting endless emails talking about an impending warehouse move. 


  1. Great article.

    I want to visit Lane and crush his skull with my bare hands.

    1. Sounds extreme. How much did you lose in the fall of maelstrom?

    2. ...sorry

      As I was saying; it was the complete lack of contact and customer service that I received that really enraged - My and hundreds of others' previous loyalty (and considered cash injection) clearly counted for very little.

      A little piece of my hobby love died with MG, and for that, I shall never forgive...

    3. That sounds too bad, but there are a lot of other reliable shops online

    4. I have a lot of these miniatures. Still want more as they are really good. I Don't want my collection half Done. Yet I don't want to buy from this guy. He let everyone down big time.

    5. If you're wary of buying direct, you can get it from stores that actually have it in stock.