Friday, 1 March 2013

Kickstarter Watch - TAG Tudor 28mms

(image linked from TAG's site)
A much more wargaming-related Kickstarter drawn to my attention today, this is The Assault Group's Tudor/Valois/Hapsburg range in 28mm. The Kickstarter started today, finishes at the end of the month and is aiming for £20K.

And I quote:
The English Tudor armies are these given in Osprey’s Field of Glory Renaissance rules;
Tudor armies cover the whole 16th Century, under 4 (or 5) Monarchs, but we have chosen to concentrate our efforts on the middle period, making miniatures for the Campaign in France by Henry VIII in 1544.
The troops from this army will enable us to cover Tudor armies for about 40 years, in the middle of the century, covering the end of the early list, the whole of the middle list, and the start of the later, Elizabethan list.
We plan to make about 40 packs of new miniatures to fill this army, amounting to about 30 new cavalry models and 100 new infantry, as well as the artillery necessary.
Have to say, they do look rather tasty.

It's also rather interesting to compare them to the Beyond the Gates of Antares Kickstarter, among others. As I said previously, I think one of the big mistakes BtGoA made was aiming far, far too high, rather than using stretch goals. The TAG KS has drawn some comment, even criticism, in that it doesn't seem to have much at all in the way of stretch goals, and seems to be aiming purely at raising the money to make the figures. The basic pledge level is pretty much £30-36 for a pack of 24 foot, 12 cavalry or 6 artillery. Very pretty and very tempting, too :D

Personally? I don't see a problem in that. The ultimate aim of Kickstarter has always been to help people raise advance funding to do things they otherwise couldn't afford to do (another reason why I find BtGoA a bit of a 'WTF?' concept - you can't tell me that RickP and Warlord are too poor to start a new project, and that that project couldn't succeed without raising £300K of advance seed capital).

To reiterate: KS is for the artist to raise capital so the backers can get to see something they otherwise wouldn't. Masses of cheap stuff as a result of economies of scale and insane pledge levels is a bonus. I think we the backers have been rather spoiled by the runaway success of some of the gaming KS's - Reaper, Mantic's Dreadball and Kings of WarSedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster, Kingdom Death etc - in that because they've gone mental, economies of scale make it possible to produce more plastic/resin per buck for the folks who pledged. I'm not 100% au fait with the economics of small scale figure manufacture, but I'm pretty sure that casting lead doesn't scale as well as plastic or resin.

Using KS for something like this gives you the chance to turn up on day 1 with lots of stuff ready to sell, and gives you the chance to gauge your market by making people put their money where their mouth is. It doesn't necessarily mean if things go mental you can afford to give away more stuff. That only happens if your project has economy of scale: for example, suppose you're doing original oil paintings, one per pledge? It doesn't matter if you get 10 backers or 100, it still takes you the same amount of time and money per backer to produce stuff. Compare to doing expensive art prints of an original: there's a base cost for the original, plus printing setup, and copies are cheap. If you get 10 times the backers you expect, you can give them all TWO prints instead of one and you're still ahead!


  1. I am not convinced KS works for Metal Minis.

    The pledge levels seem high for results - when compared to Plastic or Resin.

    £100 for 51 foot and 14 horse seems a lot.

    I know this is a saving on the individual pack prices but...

    I am not convinced by it.

    Compared to Perry prices for WoTR with a mix of Plastic and Metal and they become less appealing.

    Too much of a niche - I think it goes the other way to BtGoA.

    Now if they were working on plastic multi-pose figures that are adaptable for armies of the 16th century then I would be more enthused.

    Plus the stretch targets get lost in the timescale - one reason I see for KS is to get things to market quicker by being able to buy in expertise with the pledges, but this KS looks just to get an upfront "is it worth us doing this?" for their normal speed of development.

    Still very much a hobby business approach, not moving to the real world of business.

    compare Fireforge and you see the problem.

    After all with Perry and Warlord Games the 15th and 17th Centuries are now coming alive, but the very popular (books and TV) Tudors are still missing.

    I may buy some of these minis - as I adapt my WFB Empire Army in to a 16th C army with the addition of Perry WotR and a pile of unpainted Reivers from Vendal that I already have, but I would not start from this Kickstarter, sorry!

    1. I think it depends on who you think the KS is for, and what you think it's supposed to achieve.

      KS works just fine for metal minis if you're the artist and you want to use it as a trusted way to handle folks basically pledging to buy your figures, so you can have the money for metal, moulds, paying sculptors and packaging etc in advance.

      It doesn't work if you're a backer and think all KS's should be for the backers to put out in advance and get masses of extra cheap stuff as a reward. The reward in TAG's case is they can guarantee to be able to afford to make the figures, they know they'll sell, and the backers get a say in what gets made.

  2. Just an update - Kickstarter did not reach the required £20,000.

    I did subscribe - and I am now paying for the figures directly.

    1. *wry grin*
      Personally, I think they aimed a bit high. Clearly they *could* afford it without, and perhaps they should have figured out a way of making the initial goal lower and adding stretch goals.

      I was very tempted, but in the end couldn't afford it.


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