Monday, May 21, 2018

WHERE TO GO FROM HERE?


When we last lest off on this rather rambling discussion, we had addressed the issues regarding manufacturing plastic miniatures, the costs involved and some of the challenges a small manufacturer faces, regarding time to market, the supply chain, the customer base and profit margins. 

You can view the other conversations here:



This is part 4: Where to go from here.

This is the last in that series of rather frank discussions. This conversation will be about the direction DreamForge will take and how I would like to handle new releases and how to keep the train rolling as much as possible while limiting delays as much as possible.

Where have I been since my last post? Working on prints, testing a few theories about mold manufacturing with an eye to efficiency, repeatability and quality.

Where to go from here…. Well, that is a rather large question with some fairly complicated moving parts. I love doing what I am doing but at the end of the day, this is a business and all paths forward must be manageable, efficient and profitable. With the other conversations behind us I can address my path forward.


  •  Production will be moved in house, for cost, quality control and to allow for ease of movement from one product to the next. Should one flop, the investment will be minimal, and the next release more easily moved into, as I will be controlling the manufacturing aspects and it facilitates a far more inventory on hand friendly option. Manufacturing just what you need when you need it keeps ‘dead stock’ issues to a minimum. The obvious down side is that this does impact my design time as I am elbow deep in the manufacturing process.

  • I will be releasing product in waves, making enough for the anticipated first product push and not returning to that product until there is a production slot open to deal with the extra run. This may cause issues where the supply does not meet the demand, but it is a necessary evil. Every kit setting on a shelf, is money tied up, money that could and should be used for the next release.

  •   New kits and re-issues of older kits will be in resin, the costs to tool and run the product are far more manageable and I went over in the previous paragraphs, it allows me far more financial freedom and the ability to tailor my production and keep a more fluid release schedule on hand. Having a 500 unit minimum and a 4-6 month lead on restocks simply does not work for a company my size.)       The plastic kits are limited to stock on hand, if you want them, you might want to pick them up   while they are available, once they are gone, they are gone. They will be replaced by the resin versions in the future. The infantry will not be discounted as the supply is very limited. Any kit in stock that has too much excess inventory will see some great sales until the stock levels reach a minimal level.

  • I know some of you may not have had stellar results from resin kits, I will do my best to control quality and have been experimenting with a few techniques to minimize the gate and vent size down to 1/16” (about 1mm) to help get rid of the issues with massive cleanup and destroyed details due to overly large pour gates. This process does have some drawbacks. The resin I use cannot be fast setting, which means a mold may not see more than two casts per day. To address this issue, I have worked out a means to make many copies of the same molds, quickly and efficiently. There is simply no way to match the production speed of injected plastic but considering its tooling costs and the lead time needed, it is not an option within this niche market where the ‘new shiny’, it what sells.  I much prefer being able to continually release great products than hope a kit has staying power to pay for the initial investment.


Would I ever consider a plastic release? Yes, given the right kit, it is still a better means of production. Having the experience, I have gained so far, I have a good feel of what will and what will not survive a long release, the only questions is whether the community will have moved on to the next game/product in the meantime.

 So, now you know the direction… What’s next?

Hover StuG!
I will be doing a bit more mold testing and refining of process and then the initial run of the StuG can begin. The initial run will be 200-300 kits 

Here you can see a pre-production test!






Shadokesh!
Ferals and troopers, really cool kits, fun as hell to model these, but without a game or other driving force to push sales and no obvious ‘counts as’ the sales on these may be a little soft. I will keep my initial run fairly small while keeping an eye on my customers reactions.

The Ferals are shown here with all five poses, the Shadokesh trooper is one of the five, just working on the prints for the other four.





Re-Release 
Panzerjager!
These have been OOS for some time and will be the first re-release, followed closely by other infantry lines. The re-releases will be roughly in the same format, separate arms and chests, etc, but I may join up some components that were split to ease manufacturing, assembly and part count issues.

After that? The Protectorate! Honestly not doing these in plastic is a blessing and a curse. I know they would sell with enough initial volume but the freedom of not needing to respect the ‘direction of pull’ of a hard too means I can start to really flex some modeling muscle and make them as cool as possible.
And after that? Buildings, terrain, other vehicles, races, etc.…..

My intent is to get far more interactive with the community regarding those future releases, asking for feedback and taking critiques to make every kit the best I can. The re-releases, StuG and Shadokesh are basically done from the modeling aspect, so, they are what they are…. But I look forward to flexing the old grey matter with all of you for the future lines. Its going to be fun, its going to be cool and I hope to see many of you helping to shape the products you want!

20 comments:

  1. This is great news! The hover STuG is aces and the shadowkesh have great movement and menace.

    What I'm really looking forward to is your reengagement with the community. Welcome back! I'm looking forward to the future of Dreamforge.

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  2. So... everything is turning to resin? What is going to be the price difference? I have ordered the ww2 plastics in quite large numbers and was impressed with the plastics... i have been waiting on the good ole female troops to drop for quite a while, thinking the plastic releases looked great...but now resin? Kinda hurts to see this back slide in quality.

    The ferals and troopers was pretty cool concept but they never hit the store...and would have bought some. It would still be on my to buy list but i personally stay away from resins as much as i can.

    So... how much of a pos or neg difference will we see in price?

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  3. Said it already in a comment in the last 3 posts, but I really appreciate the way you are detailing your plans for your company and products. Is really good to learn how a small business in this hobby has to run in order not to fold all too quickly.

    I am super stoked for those Shadokesh! I have the plastic Feral and Handler (still) sat waiting for paint and would LOVE to add to their number and a unit or two of the soldiers would perfectly compliment my Stormtroopers in my small scale Sci-fi/Post-Apoc style campaign game I am planning to organise for 2019 amongst my game group.

    Keep up the good work mate, I look forward to seeing where you take things from here.

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  4. I wish you good luck, but with going with resin instead of plastic you've lost me as a customer.

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  5. Ya know, my 30k Salamanders would love to use that stug as a vindicator!

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  6. Those Shadokesh look fantastic. I'm only peripherally aware of Dreamforge Games, and I saw these previews linked on Tabletop Fix. I would definitely be interested in the Ferals for use in a wide variety of games and applications. I'm specifically considering them for demons in my D&D games and as counts-as ur-ghuls for my 40k Drukhari.

    Is there any chance of getting a scale picture with the Shadokesh next to a human sized model? Or is there a place someone can point me to where that already exists?

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    1. I've all ready been using the Feral Shadokesh as Ur-Ghuls (they were the plastic ones from the kickstarter). They work great. Also been using the handlers as some other Dark Eldar bodyguard (can't remember the name right now).

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  7. It looks like the Shadokesh + Ferals squad (which look fantastic!) would work very nicely for a 'counts-as' version of the 'Hukk bounty hunter outfit' mercenary unit (a handler with 5 hunting beasts) for 'Beyond the Gates of Antares' from Warlord Games.

    https://us-store.warlordgames.com/collections/antares-mercenaries/products/hukk-bounty-hunter-outfit

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  8. Looks like the Shadokesh/Ferals would work very nicely for a 'counts-as' of the 'Hukk bounty hunter outfit' (an alien handler and 5 hunting beasts) for 'Beyond the Gates of Antares' from Warlord Games.
    https://us-store.warlordgames.com/collections/antares-mercenaries/products/hukk-bounty-hunter-outfit

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  9. Oh, that Stug is lovely, do you have an idea of the price point?

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  10. Thank you so very much for your series of interesting and honest posts.

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  11. I'd love to see more minis in the style of your female Eisenkern troopers. We do not get enough female soldiers. ��

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  12. Those Ferals are awesome. Not sure what I'll use them for yet but I'll figure it out.

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  13. Those feral guys look fantastic and depending on scale/size would work very well as chaos spawn!

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  14. This is great! I am confused though as resin has always been a higher detail material in my book. So out side of cost and the production slow down you mentioned, why would it be bad?

    STuG? YES PLEASE!!!

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  15. You are right Mark, sales would benefit by having a game or backstory to fit these incredible models into, it's what drives my purchases of WH40K, Cthulhu, and others. Plastic or resin. Gotta be plastic i'm afraid because assembly is easier and Superglue is horrible to the user. Best wishes and keep up the endeavour.

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  16. Any idea how much the Stug is gonna run? Gotta start pinching those pennies.

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  17. "...back slide in quality." That's just not true. In my experience resin models are of a much higher quality than plastic. I for one welcome the return to resin.

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  18. So the Panzerjäger are going to be resin now? To be honest, that's a bummer but at least they're gettign a rerelease since I was never able to pick them up before. Hope you'll be suscesful in finding a way to make them as easy to clean up as possible.

    Good luck.

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  19. Couple of requests moving forward. Can you do a choice of optional weapons for the StuG? I would prefer a more high-tech looking main gun.

    and can you do a hover version of the current infantry transport in the same style :) because it is awesome.

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