Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Wargames Factory

Wargames Factory...the reason why 3 of the Kickstarters I've backed are running very very late. 

Let's go into a bit of background history here. Wargames Factory was the company previously owned by Tony Reidy; the same owner of Defiance Games. Due to mismanagement on his part, he ended up owing too much debt to his chinese suppliers and in the end he had to sell his company to the chinese suppliers. In the years since then, they've managed to turn the companys reputation around and produce some pretty good miniatures. Wyrds plastic line is from them, as are Dreamforge games plastics. 

However...despite all these great things about their miniatures, I would be very very very very very hesitant about backing any Kickstarter that would be producing their miniatures at Wargames Factory. I love their quality. Their delivery time on the other hand leaves me annoyed and disgusted. Like I said, I've backed 3 KS that were/are being produced at WGF and I haven't gotten a single thing from any one of them yet. 

Let's start with the first and most outstanding one. And by outstanding, I mean late. I'll be listing these out in terms of how late they are from their projected shipping date. 

DreamForge Games

Back in Sep 2012, Dreamforge Games finished their Kickstarter to produce hard plastic sprues for their already existing resin products, as well as several new products. This was outsourced to WGF and at the time of the KS, DFG had already been in contact with WGF to discuss production of these sprues. The estimated delivery time was....Mar 2013. Actually wave 1 was supposed to ship Nov 2012, wave 2 in March 2013 and wave 3 in may 2013. Sadly, I backed products that only came in wave 3.

Needless to say, they hit some snags. Wave 1 was delayed by a few months. Wave 2 was also delayed by a few months. It's coming on close to ONE frigging year and I still have no news of when wave 3 is coming out. Or even being produced. Thanks WGF. Then there's no. 2...

Total delay so far: 10 months and counting

Secret Weapon Tablescapes

Another great KS by another established name in the industry. Secret weapon has been producing resin bases, washes, scenic bits etc for several years now. They had the idea of making hard plastic, modular gaming boards with bits of terrain on them and all running in themes. The KS was pretty successful and finished in May 2013, gaining 311k when its initial goal was 80k. It's initial projected ship time was... Oct 2013. Once again, SW was in talks with WGF during the KS for production of these plates. 

Several months later, still nothing. In fact the only thing that was shipped on time was Mantics Deadzone boards but that was because there were going to be severe contractual penalties if those didn't ship on time. So I guess, good for mantic, sucks to be the rest of us backers since we don't apparently have severe contractual penalties to help us enforce delivery dates. 

Once again, backers have no real clue when these rewards will ship out. The money's been given to WGF, they are producing molds etc but again, we're clueless on when it'll ship. Tentative ship date at the moment is May but it's not even certain if that's only for SOME of the themes and if the rest will be shipped in another wave or if it's for everything. Again, no real hard dates. 

Total Delay so far: 5 months and counting

Kingdom Death: Monsters

And now we come to this killer of a KS. Kingdom was a line of boutique resin figures that were pretty expensive because apparently, you can attach the word 'boutique' to things and people will pay more for them. Who knew? Anyway, back in Jan 2013, KD:M raised 2 million from its initial funding goal of 35k. It's estimated delivery date was Nov 2013. 

Well, if it wasn't delayed, I wouldn't be writing about it. As it is, we've seen some production sprues but nothing else from this line. Otoh, Adam; the KS creator, has apparently had time to reproduce several of his past miniatures in hard plastic and offer it on his webstore. Meanwhile, no plastic sculpts for these have been seen in the wild yet. You would think they would finish manufacturing all the sculpts for the KS which is already overdue instead of producing sculpts that were already available in resin so the creator can sell them on his webstore. 

To be fair, they do have a tentative release date which is Q2 2014. Again, that's pretty much on us at this point but we still don't really have any idea when this will ship. Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised in 3 months time. Maybe not. 

Total delay so far: 4 months and counting

So 3 KS that are being produced by WGF and all of which are late and all of which have no firm ship date in mind. Sure, there are a lot of other KS I've been involved in which are delayed as well. Unfortunately, there aren't 3 of them that are tied together by a single factor or in this case factor-y like these 3 are. 

Overall, I'm not really sure I would blame the creators in this case. Obviously it's up to WGF to decide how they want to assign their production slots and how much time they'll take per slot. However in this case, it's pretty clear WGF has double-booked its own capacity, maybe even triple-booked. It doesn't help that WGF ALSO produces its own lines of hard plastic miniatures as well as producing hard plastic miniatures for Wyrd. That's at least 5 series running at the same factory, one of which is seeing regular releases (Wyrd). Not to mention they have to continue producing what has previously been produced and are still selling for them as well such as the DFG Leviathan Crusaders. Which are bound to be a popular item now that Imperial Knights has come out. That's just going to push production for any newer items back even further as they try to meet demand of existing products before trying to produce new ones. 

In the end, I like WGFs quality. I like the hard plastic miniatures they produce. But I won't back another KS that's going to produce its miniatures at WGF simply because I don't trust them not to delay it for 10+ months. At this point, I really rather just wait and get the product at retail.