Wednesday 10 September 2014

What ho Space Hulk

When I started getting interested again in the hobby [read falling off the wagon] it was right at the last release of Space Hulk. I saw that it was a limited edition and I tried to weigh up getting it as it only had a few miniatures that my son and I needed to paint and would be an easy entrance into gaming for him. Alternatively I could get 5th Edition 40k which I knew I would ultimately want too.

In the end I waited and missed the boat. I always regretted that decision. I desperately wanted the cool Genestealers [although I have since got many of the more generic ones from the set] and the Terminators, though Blood Angels could have been converted to their Fallen brothers. Not to mention the many fond memeories I have of playing it with my mate Chris, back in First Edition. And it's a cool game to boot. Eventually my Mother-in-law gifted me 40k for Christmas and so my descent into hobby bliss continued. Obviously since then I've looked at many ebay auctions with envy and regret so to hear a re-issue of this edition was imminent was very exciting to me...

...and then it wasn't.

I'm pretty sure the reason I've lost interest is the price. From what I recall the previous limited edition was £60 [or £65] this new re-issue is £75, so we're talking a 25% increase on something that already exists, something that's unlikely to require new molds, thereby making better value of those already made. Now that's not to say that that's not still a bargain compared to ebay prices but those prices are only inflated due to the limited run from 5 years ago.

So that new price has gone over my tipping point, and that's baring in mind I didn't buy the hardback copy of 7th Edition or Stormclaw that I intended to, so I could argue I have the funds. Granted I bought other things instead but I just can't justify to myself that price, not at the moment, despite wanting it so badly.

Now ERIOCHROME posted this article the other day that echoes many of my own feelings but I can only reiterate the single biggest mistake in this is a limited run. It will make the ebay market a little more competitive, that's all. If it was still £60-65 and it was available all year I would definitely be able to plan ahead to take advantage of that but given the tiny lead-in time of a weeks notice then I can't shoehorn in a purchase of that scale. Sure I'm having a loft conversion done and that isn't cheap either but that is part of the problem, I'm seeing £100's and £1000's going out on a daily basis and I look at my office chair in the 'hobby room' that's been broken for about 3 months now which I've delayed replacing and in all good conscience I'd rather have that done, so I can paint/browse the internet in comfort than fork out for more plastic.

Oh and Mrs 40kaddict said no!

Anyway I do have some new Genestealers to paint and these are they. The funny thing is I never bought them, erm I didn't steal them either, although I thought I might have. What happened was they arrived in the post from Triple Helix Wargames, via what I believe is their ebay trading arm which is aa-wargames [or something like that]. I opened it and was really excited, had I won something only to forget? But I didn't remember paying for it either. Now I immediately though 'Free Stealers' but then I thought no, these aren't mine and someone would be expecting them and the sellers ebay rating would be affected. So I searched for completed listings and found the auction, found the seller and knew then that it was in error. So I rang Triple Helix and left a message and then also sent a message via their contacts page but never got a response so actually forgot about them over the last fortnight.

The funny thing is I started getting some cryptic messages from an old Kendo buddy Tom Widdows about bitey things and claws and teeth. Tom is an actual British Kendo Squad member and practices in Manchester. He's the guy on the left in the picture below with my friend Joe Willmott. This was taken at a fund raising event for the victims of the Japanese earthquake where we put on a demonstration and I first discovered Tom also had a passion for 40k, when I saw he had a copy of Gaunt's Ghosts with him.

When I was able to practice kendo I was a little in awe of Tom. Although I had a few years more experience on him he'd clearly crammed in a lot of training which had accelerated his learning and meant he graded quicker than I. When you add in youth, enthusiasm and a bucketload of talent I found myself learning an awful lot from those practice sessions. An absence of ego is a key element to kendo, something I continue to struggle with but believe in and seeing someone better at something you've spent longer doing is a humbling experience but ultimately rewarding. Since I had to give kendo up we've kept in touch and he's shared quite a few of his hobby related activities on my Facebook group these Eldar being the most recent but there's some crazy tru-scale shenanigans from way back too.

Anyway, he'd asked for my address recently and I'd thought it was something to do with a recent North West Kendo Competition that Manchester, Liverpool and the other local clubs had arranged/supported. But it turns out it was to deliver these Genestealers and it was a genuine gift, no doubt to help fuel my own hobby and the blog. Tom is struggling with his hobby mojo so I guess at the moment I'm doing what he can't and he's doing the kendo I no longer can. He mentioned starting a hobby blog, which no doubt would be cool but personally I'd rather see him do a Kendo blog. If I could still participate I would, whether that would mean I would not be doing this, or maybe just in a reduced capacity I don't know but Kendo is a way of life. As much as I love my hobby I'm aware that it's a passion, an obsession, an addiction, it may control me but it does not define me. 

So this is a big thanks to Tom for the unexpected gift, I can now paint them without any guilt attached knowing they were for me all along and I'll look to try and add some of my spare Stealer bits so they're more interesting. So in a week where I felt marginalised by the excess of the new Space Hulk it is an act of generosity from a friend that reminds me of the spirit of the community, the meeting people and sharing experiences that are the core of what we do. So I will admire the Space Hulk as it returns and hope that in 5 years time it will come back this again, but for now I'll stick to the 10 first generation Stealers that emerged from hibernation unexpectedly but most gratefully.


  1. I was lucky to pick up the last edition of Space Hulk at a decent price (only one kidney) here in Sydney. If that's the mark up you are seeing, it will be around $200 AUS over here. That is just painfully expensive for nothing new; I was secretly hoping GW were releasing a Deathwing expansion.

    I desperately miss Kung Fu training some days. It is not something that leaves you easily, there is too much truth in it. I have a good mate who trains in (and teaches) Kenjutsu. We have sparred on a few occasions; he cuts me to ribbons. Let's just say I would never like to take a bo against a skilled swordsman :-)

    1. There are supposedly a couple of extra new counters and missions, White Dwarf also has a mission but mostly it's money for old rope.

      Thankfully there are for more unskilled swordsmen out there, youtube is full of them, so the chances are your Kung fu would be stong against the majority of 'masters' ;)

  2. The whole "limited" release thing from GW constantly reminds me of Disney's limited release of their movies.

    "For a short time only!"
    "Own the movie that defined a generation! blah blah blah"

    Four years later.

    Now own that movie on a new format!!!!

    Pretty much the same system :). I don't think you can ever truly release a product that is limited release in plastic. It's just too expensive. Back in the day I was a furniture designer, and to do one of those simple plastic chairs you always see at walmart or target was absolutely staggering. (I think at the time it was 250,000 or so for the mold). Once you had the mold, it was pennies to produce a chair, which you then sold for 10-15 bucks.

    Fun little side note. If you ever go into a target, and see red benches, or little red poofy things in the changing area. We designed that. :)

    But that mould price...

    Now resin? That's a different story. As far as I'm aware, that's a much lower initial cost. I don't have any direct experience with it, but that seems to be the online consensus.

    So limited edition product in resin? Yes. Will you still see it in plastic later because they already did the CAD work for it? Probably, but you may never see it in resin again.

    So all these terminator captains. Special edition captains. Grukk, the SW guy. They'll all be available later. Really just paying the price to get them first.

    My 2 cents. The best thing about the Space hulk release, is that it screws the ebay sellers trying to get 200 bucks for a set of the models. The bad thing about the space hulk release, is 99% of the people buying it, will be ebay re-sellers.

    Enjoyed the gene stealer story!

    1. You know I think I used to rail against that Disney tactic myself. All their vids and DVDs were reidiculously expensive, thankfully they're now more reasonably priced.

      Here's an idea, they want to reuse a mold? They want to make a limited edition? Re-issue RTB-01, the original Space Marine sprue. It may go against their new design/scale/quality levels but I bet it would sell.

      They need to start looking at loss-leaders. I think Stormclaw may be a step in the right direction but look at how Dreadfleet sank without a trace [pun intended]. Whereas if it had linked in with Man O'War it would have already had people to support an update. At least with Space Hulk you can repurpose the miniatures in 40k, it's an easy entrance as Eriochrome suggests but at that price it's too much.

      I look back at all the beginner's games they used to have, even wanted to write an article on it, that are a cheaper outlay to just enter into the hobby. Once you've got people hooked you still need to land them and at this rate their struggling to even get a nibble on the bait. It's been oft rumored about an Inquisition style game but in 28mm. Or here's an idea a Kill Team box, with rules and a dozen figues from two different faction for no more than £40 would probably sell.

      I get the hobby can be expensive and I support that price based on repeated play, quality of product multiplied by hours of entertainment. But Dark Vengeance is £65 and although you get more figures, which reiterates your point that the plastic is cheap and those card Space Hulk tiles must have scaled up in price, then I can't reconcile the increase versus the full 40k game.

      But a purchase of that price needs a decent lead in time. I try and compare the cost of wargaing to the cost of video-gaming and the one thing you usually get notice of is when a big game is going to hit so you can save up, but even then the games are then available all year round. Can you imagine the next Call of Duty being Limited Edition only?

      The fact is even if GW went with a standard release and they were left with stock that didn't sell they could then reintroduce 'the sale' and if after 12-18 months there were copies on the shelf they could mark it down. They make a profit on selling to third party retailer, who in turn make a profit so GW can discount anywhere within that trade price should clearing stock off the shelves be needed and it would also drive bulk/impulse buying in the smae fasion a Limited Release does!

      Funnily enough my next post will also present further sage business advice to GW so look out for that one.

    2. I believe GW's loss leaders are not their plastic products. It's their book/app/video game products. They get into the younger generations heads that way, who then investigate the plastic hobby.

      That's a far better bang for buck loss leader then trying to fire sale old products (which generally no one wants, like nobz and killa kans).

      I'd love to see some of the actual sales metrics for GW.

  3. Very cool.. always nice to get freebies! I received Space Hulk for my birthday when it originally came out and was pretty happy.. those BA Termies are nice 8) And top notch work on those Eldar models .. I didn't notice what they were at first glance but as I read it I was like.. oh ... wow! 8)

  4. According to BOLS it will be $235 NZD. I just can't justify that for the same models. It would be nice to get another Broodlord but I already paid too much for a second hand box. So, i'm with you on this one. Plus Mrs. 40kaddict must be appeased.

    1. Appeasing Mrs. 40kaddict is my primary function which is why my addiction to 40k often comes into conflict, I'm like RoboCop that way!

  5. Thanks for reading and linking my rant. GW is just not very good at making decisions. They always focus on short term. Most of their limited stuff are cardstock products and they subcontract that out. So instead of ordering enough to keep them in stock for months they order what they expect to very quickly to create a stupid sense of scarcity to drive people to their webstore. They appear to prefer selling 1 copy through the webstore right now than like 5 through all channels over the next 6 months. I in fact doubt it is really more profitable and is just really accelerating the profits to meet current numbers but leaves future income on the table.

    1. The cardstock items are a massive example. Why the heck they didn't just include the cards with the rulebooks....I mean come on guys. How much happier would everyone had been if we got our tactical objectives and power cards with each codex?

    2. I'd be happier if I could just buy the darn things regardless of them being in a box. Still out of stock BTW!

    3. As to subcontract the card stock, then I don't know why they aren't getting reprints done. Surely they can see there's a demand and you can guarantee ordering 10,000 sets is going to work out better margins than 5,000 this month and 5,000 next. And if it's the box that's slowing things down then get rid. I'd love to have it, it's a quality item but right now I'd have the cards without the box just for the function, forget the form!