Monday, April 14, 2014

The strange case of the not so much "Limited Edition" minis

Let's talk today about one of the most cheered and discussed announcements of these past few days.

Raining Frogs announced a new edition of their massively successful blockbuster "Barbarian Dude".

New Limited Edition of Barbarian Dude

This time, the miniature has been slightly modified. Instead of an axe, it comes with a broad sword, and as an extra, the kit comes with a nice fur cloak.

Miniature fans all over the world are divided regarding this announcement. On the one side, fans who are extremely happy because now they will be able to get a copy of this exquisite piece of miniature art, which they could not do at first because the previous casts sold out like burning gunpowder. On the other side, fans who purchased the kit attracted by the "Limited Edition" characteristic of the mini. Collectors and (why not) speculators who probably had the chance to grab one of the previously edited copies have a general feeling of betrayal. They feel they have been fooled since what they were sold as "limited" seems like it was not so limited after all.

The new Barbarian Dude: run and get one while you can!

About this, we can also find the argument that this new edition is even better than the one before, with a few changes that make it essentially the same miniature (axe vs sword) but with a cool extra (the fur cloak which may or may not be used in the mini) for just one euro more (16€ now versus 15€ before). Arguably not the best reward for those who guided by the "limited" characteristic of the mini bought it without hesitating some months ago.

The old Barbarian Dude: you should've run while you could! ... or maybe not?

We've seen this kind of practice many times in the miniature world. Games Workshop for example, the most important maufacturer of miniature products, has done this repeatedly over the years. For them it is totally OK to sell insanely expensive products as "Limited Editions" and some time after releasing them again as normal products gravely upsetting miniature collectors all over the world.

The miniature market doesn't seem to be the best place for "Limited Editions". We see lots of kits advertised as such, but with so many stories of miniatures sold as "Limited" and then re-edited, buyers do not really trust anything anymore, and collectors just have to flee to other markets.

A good example of true "limitedness" is the trading card industry, especially its most famous franchise, "Magic: The Gathering" (MTG). An extraordinary game still very much alive after more than 20 years of history in which collectors find authentic gold. In this environment, Wizards has treated Limited Editions extremely earnestly throughout the years, promising never to reprint all-time-favourites that have seen their value continously rising thus creating a market that is like a small version of the Stock Market Exchange. The promised land for collectors and dealers, where people not only make money but in many cases even make a living.

MTG, or how to make cardboard worth thousands

So, the question is, where do you guys stand on this story? Have you ever felt betrayed by the not so much "Limited Editions" announced as such? Do you like the idea of re-prints that make blockbusters accessible to all once again or do you prefer that "Limited Editions" stay truly limited? Would you like to see a miniature version of the MTG market on collectible pieces? Have at it guys!

15 comments:

Roman aka jar said...

Well spoken my friend! I don't give to much attention on the word "limited" anymore due such behaviour of companies ... I sometimes feel strange about that, not betrayed, but there is a thin line were such words like "limited" can make me buy a figure or don't because I feel fooled ...

Nathan Pullen said...

I don't really see what makes it different to the tactic used by Kingdom Death, and why this should be a big deal as opposed to them.

The guy with the axe is a first run figure. No different, really. I see it as preferable, actually, to the fact that the original model had hit the price of $200 on eBay, unassembled and unpainted. That seems to be taking significant advantage of the situation.

Your barbarian dude with axe will always be a one of 150 cast.

Naiconn Log said...

I think people who feel disgruntled by this are like you said e-spectulators and collectors, who see monetary value more than anything else. I can't see painters being upset that another batch have been released and may be more happy that another version has been released.

I for one am happy they have released a new version, though I like the figure with the axe.

Rafael García Marín said...

Speculators! True, I'm sorry about the mistake :) Just changed it! Spanish speakers like me have big trouble with works starting with s- and es-! :) Thanks for pointing that out!

Ver_Bla said...

People who buy a miniature for the miniature and not for it being 'limited' are much less hurt by this announcement, than the collectors. Honestly, you shouldn't buy a miniature because it is limited but because you like the design, looks or feeling of the miniature. Unless you are a so called collector and not a painter(or gamer).

Of course it is strange that something that is claimed to be limited is suddenly being released again, but I gladly took advantage of it ;)

Roman aka jar said...

Others found better words than I did. I am no collector of grey resin figures ... I buy a figure to paint it, but still I don't give much attention to the word limited anymore ...

Anonymous said...

Also, what is the limit for a limited edition?! 500 copies edition does not look like exclusively in this little world, taking in account that a good miniature selling is considered from 300 copies...

Denny Crane said...

I dont have any problem with that release.
The first edition is cleary different to the new version, so if you are a collector you still can be happy with the axed barbarian.
I think Raining frog find a good solution to satisfie people who couldnt get their hand on the first one.
Collectors who are dissapointed as "their" Version No1 Babarian is slighty changed available again appear a little bit childish from my point of view....They have to accept, that other people will be able to own a Version 2 Babarian.
I also give Raining frog the kudos, that he didnt tried to gain the profit with the V2 blockbuster and still stays on a fair price level

Avicenna said...

I think it is difficult to compare a trading card game (TCG) with miniatures sold for painting/gaming. The whole business model of a TCG is based on the relative rarity of the cards they produce... in other words the market is specifically controlled to make some items harder to get than others. As soon as they break that trust, it's all over.

I have little sympathy for people who buy limited edition miniatures with an eye to sell them off at extortionate prices later - that to me is just stopping someone with a real love of the miniature from getting a chance to paint it at a reasonable cost... It is like ticket touts who buy up tickets for concerts/football matches etc only to sell them on for profit making it difficult/expensive for real fans.

I think there is an issue with exclusivity in that it seems to bring out the worst in people. It makes people jealous of others who get what they couldn't, and then when something like this happens, the people who got theirs the first time round feel disgruntled that theirs isn't as exclusive as it was before... it cant be good for the soul...!

mathieu said...

What pisses me off is when a company charges extra for the "limited" character of a piece, yet keeps producing more and more of it. Example: the long-awaited Behemoth Orcs Ballista. The master sculpt was shown by Rackham back in the day, bought from the original sculptor by Mohand, and sold as an ultra limited 10 cast release... With an ultra limited 150€ price tag, and Mohand's claims that the one he was selling you was the very last one ever produced, that it was a solid investment that would only gain value... The kind of talk that makes you feel a little better about spending that amount of cash on a toy soldier :)
And then it turned into a 300 cast edition piece, still sold at 150€ despite the piece hardly being limited any longer.

Raining Frogs could have re-released the same exact Barbarian Dude and it would have sold. They could have jacked up the price and it would have sold. They chose to convert the model to give it a different feel (slight maybe, but significant enough to me) and still sell it at a fair price. That's what makes the difference between trying to milk customers as much as possible and trying to make people happy.

I feel that the Barbarian Dude was and still is fairly priced for a resin piece this size and quality, and I find the conversion significant enough to make the model different.

Mohand said...

Hey Matthieu ,

It's very difficult for us to find the good price for this kind of miniatures .
We buy the master of Behemoth Ballist direcly to Benoit COSSE the sculptor and the price was very high so we have to increase the quantity to 300 but at this day we only sold 100 miniatures .


I know that strange but small company like us need to find the good price to dont loose too much money with this kind of big miniatures ....

Don't hesitate to send me an email at aitmehdimohamed@yahoo.fr and we can talk about that .

Arne Wilkens said...

As I was playing M:tG about 14 years I know well what it means to speak of a limited run.

But I can feel with all these complaining about this "recast" with sligh changes at all.

What I like abouit the new version is the furcape as I have done nearly the same with my original dude about 1 year ago. :)

Paintguild Miniatures said...

I am happy they redux previous version and released it! Difference is limited edition resin run cast and limited edition miniature imho. If it is limited edition cast run, that means at that current time there is gonna be available only small amount of mini's, with more in the future. With limited edition miniature, there is gonna be available some amount and never again. Period. Since this is converted edition don't think it's the same miniature anyway. Cheers!

Bacms said...

Slight late comment on this as I have been pretty much living inside a cave for the past two months.
I am normally against the all limited edition model thing, specially because I have the temptation of buying them all with fear I might regret not buying them later. I think the Barbarian dude is actually a good example of how to do it, rather than just releasing more of the exact same thing that was limited before. And I still prefer to buy non limited editions at reasonable price than overpay just for the limitation on the the number of sculpts you can get

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