With hype for the upcoming film adaption of the Hobbit in full swing following the world premier earlier in the week (I have booked my tickets for the HFR 3D Showing on the 15th December!) I think it is only fitting that we take a look at what Games Workshop will have to offer.
GW have the rights to produce minis for this new film, following on from their very successful Lord of the Rings range.
Their minis are currently available for pre-order on their site, and after a chat about the prices at club a couple of days ago I thought I’d go and check them out – they offer an ‘interesting’ range of options and value.
The best offer by far would appear to be the Escape from Goblin Town. This set offers 56 plastic minis, including the entirety of Thorin’s company plus Goblins and even scenery, all for the sum of £75.
This set looks to be good value for money, and certainly the ‘purchase to make’ if you were looking to make one at all. On the down side, it is listed as being strictly limited edition.
These Hunter Orcs seem to be much more the GW ‘standard’ pricing. At £20 for 12 plastic minis, some would argue that they are still decent value. However, when for the same price you are purchasing between 28 and 40+ plastic miniatures from the likes of Warlord, Victrix or Gripping Beast, I would argue that this box set doesn’t represent that good a purchase.
It’s a similar story with the Goblin Warg riders: £25 for a box set of 6 may, on the face of it, not seem too bad. Again, this does seem high when compared to the fact that many box sets of plastic mounted figures are selling for £20, and give you twice as many figures (if not more in some cases), and the sculpts are just as good, even if the subject matter is different.
This is the point where I suggest that things start going off the rails somewhat. GW’s Trolls boxset is £50, and considering that you get 3 large trolls for this figure, you may be forgiven for thinking that this is pretty good value…until you realise that this is a plastic kit.
£50 for 3 plastic figures!?
This last box set, for me, takes the proverbial biscuit. It’s the White Council box set, consisting of four 28mm miniatures in the much maligned Citadel Finecast resin.
How much use these figures are in the game? Who knows – they certainly aren’t the most dynamic poses in the world, and of course we have seen all these characters before in the Lord of the Rings range.
However, the price for this box set is somewhat staggering at £45. That’s £11.25 each for resin 28mm figure. Surely, even the most stalwart GW fan or Middle Earth geek would balk at such a price? It has been argued with me already that since these are collectors figures, then charging in excess of £10 is OK. Not sure I agree with that reasoning myself.
Knocking Games Workshop for their pricing certainly isn’t new, and many would say that they are simply an easy target. Obviously, from a commercial point of view, GW must have paid a high price for the rights to produce these figures (although it’s probably an extension from their Lord of the Rings franchise) and it would seem that they are not averse to passing this cost onto the customer.
Certainly, there is a disparity between pricing in the Fantasy & Sci-Fi side of the minis market when compared to the Historical hobby. I don’t fully understand why this price gap exists, other than to simply say that people appear to be prepared to pay more for their Sci-Fi & Fantasy figures. It has a much bigger market share in the hobby, and the laws of supply and demand are obviously at work.
So, why am I blogging about this? As someone who doesn’t normally concern myself too much with what Games Workshop is doing, I thought it would be interesting ‘looking over the fence’ at the company that is still undoubtedly the ‘public face’ of the wargaming hobby. Given how popular The Hobbit will undoubtedly be, this new range might end up being the first experience and contact that people will have with the wargaming hobby. I would expect that many of the customers purchasing these figures this year will actually be parents, and so I do have a concern that these prices might well cause many to stop and think.
Ultimately it comes down to a simple choice – pay the prices or don’t. I don’t have a problem with that, and I made my own choices a long time ago. It does seem a shame, at least in my eyes, that some may look at these prices and decide to pass by, and thus miss out on what is one of the most deep and rewarding hobbies around.