Captain Redbeard’s Pirate Dwarves: RPE Kickstarter (#3)

I don’t often pimp Kickstarters on this blog, but I’m happy to make an exception for this one. It’s RPE’s (Ral Partha Europe) s̶e̶c̶o̶n̶d̶ third Kickstarter, and like the first one, they’re keeping the scope quite small. A 14-day campaign with a £1,000 goal, with £775 pledged so far at the time of my writing, so success is pretty much a given at this stage. 

It’s a crew of pirate dwarves which fits perfectly well into a little project I’ve got lined up for the future. 9 models so far, with freebie stretch goals at £2,000 and £3,000, and (possibly) more if it gets higher. Delivery is set for August this year, so a plan for (roughly) a 4-month turnaround from completion to delivery.

RPE Dwarf Veterans, from the previous KS Campaign

I personally had a good experience with their previous campaign, the Dwarf Veteran Warband, with it delivering on time(!) and producing quality models – the sculpts being a nice throwback to the characterful “Oldhammer” Citadel style of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s and that of the satellite companies where ex-GW sculptors like Kev Adams and Tim Prow ended up.

Having said that, delivery was a little rougher for some others who backed as they had it set up for a la carte additions and such which they have said complicated matters on their end. To stop that from happening again, they’re making each pledge reward a set group of models – 1 of each without add-ons and duplicates and so forth.

So if piratical dwarves seems like the sort of thing that floats your boat, go and have a look at the Kickstarter campaign.

Tomorrow: Back to painted miniatures!

RPE/Ral Partha Europe Launches Dwarf Kickstarter

I rarely pimp Kickstarters. I’ve done it for three counting this one – Impact Miniatures’ not-Blood Bowl campaign (delivered, but a year late). Shieldwolf’s Shieldmaiden campaign (cancelled, and currently relaunched with 5 days to go. And now this one. Simply because I like what they’re doing:

It’s the kind of small-scale, low-risk KS I’m still happy to back. RPE do their own casting, they’re a solvent business who I’ve bought from before and the first five models are already done. Most importantly, I like the models, as I’ve always had a soft sport for Dwarfs, and these are in the overall Citadel style that I like. I need to grab some of the Kev Adams Dwarves from their webstore sometime, too…

RPE’s Kickstarter Dwarfs

Our aim is to produce a warband of 10 dwarves in 28mm scale. They will be sculpted in epoxy putty, moulded in black rubber and cast in metal – miniatures the old school way!

Picture the proud dwarf king in exile, forced from his mountain stronghold. Leading a band of grizzled veterans, they hire their services out, biding their time and amassing gold and followers until the day they can reclaim their homeland. You know the story, it’s the classic excuse to get a dwarf warband together, though this one needs no hobbit or human help and comes complete with its’ own dwarf wizard. Perfect for dungeon bashing and skirmish games, or with the possibility of adding duplicates to your pledge you could even build a small army.

The first 5 sculpts pictured above have been mastered already, the next five will be based on these and will provide another spearman, swordsman, axeman and a pair of crossbowmen. The next sculpts are already in progress and pictures will be added as soon as we have them.
They measure approx 20mm tall and scale well with other miniatures.
Designed and sculpted for us by the talented hands of Mark Evans.

These are the different pledge levels, only the Flagon of Ale level and above qualify for the free assassin dwarf.

1 dwarf of your choice £4 posted add £2 outside UK Wee Dram
1 dwarf king £5 posted add £2 outside UK Half Pint
5 dwarves £14 posted add £2 outside UK Pint
10 dwarves £22 posted add £3 outside UK Early Bird Flagon of Ale
10 dwarves £25 posted add £3 outside UK Flagon of Ale

Army deal- king, wizard, 5 spears, 5 axes, 5 swords, 5 crossbows total 22 +freebies £45 posted add £3 outside UK  Early Bird Pewter Tankard 

Army deal- king, wizard, 5 spears, 5 axes, 5 swords, 5 crossbows total 22 +freebies £50 posted add £3 outside UK  Pewter Tankard

All pledges can add extra miniatures from the list below, each mini has a letter for ease of selection, simply increase your pledged amount by £2.50 for each additional dwarf you want. When we contact you after the kickstarter you can use these letter codes to easily confirm additions.
Any miniatures or extras unlocked – will be added to this list.

Buying Toy Soldiers from New and Old

I buy new models and paints and such fairly regularly. Like most of us, I tend to buy from the same stores most of the time, but occasionally I’ll try a new place, and see what they’re like for one reason or another. My retail go-to for years was always Maelstrom Games, though we know how that one panned out. I  tried Wayland Games a few times around then, as well as during and even after the decline of Maelstrom, but shipping was always more expensive, slower to despatch, and their customer service was seriously lacking. No links for you!

firestorm

Since then, my go-to retailer of choice has been Firestorm Games in Cardiff, Wales. Friendly and efficient service, a 10% discount, free international shipping, and a willingness to sort things out very quickly. Orders placed are typically picked and sent out within a few hours. Great to deal with and my current #1 choice.

trolltrader

My secondary retailer for International orders has often been The Troll Trader in Cornwall. They also offer free shipping and a 10% discount, and have a different range of stock to Firestorm in general. Lately they haven’t has the stuff I’ve been wanting to order, and so I haven’t ordered from them in ages now. I still check their site when I’m after something, and hold them in fairly high regard as a retailer (Though their eBay postage costs are insane as they don’t really combine shipping in a realistic manner.)

Arcane

Lately, I’ve been using Arcane Scenery and Models an awful lot. In fact, I’ve been ordering from them more frequently and in larger quantities than Firestorm, and TTT has dropped out entirely. This is because I’ve been buying more Historical stuff, for use in games like SAGA, Kings of War and (theoretically) LotR and Hail Caesar! They don’t have any discount scheme in place, but they do offer free worldwide shipping, and Steve, the (the owner?) has great service. Arcane is another retailer who has your order out the door within a couple of hours of ordering. They have possibly the world’s worst website to deal with – it’s as slow as hell and the search function is hidden on the “contact us” page, but the quality and speed of service make it worth the time it takes to navigate their site for me.

This week I ordered from both Arcane and Firestorm – I often find that they make a great combo when there are things I want to buy as I can take advantage of both stores’ stock levels – and both had my stuff on its way within hours. I love it!

This week, I also tried a couple of “New” retailers (to my experience).

Brigade

The first of the two was Brigade Models, who I tracked down recently as the current owners of those metal skeletons I picked up recently.

Fir Bolg Skeletons

Those Skeletons I quite liked.

They have pretty reasonable prices for their models, though their website suffers from a bit too much of the dreaded “No Image” image.

My usual response to this on almost all miniature websites selling me stuff at retail is to skip them entirely. I persevered a little and placed an order of Skeletons as well as a rules bundle for Celtos, as it was priced very fairly. The reasons I was willing to order from these guys is because I like the specific models that I ordered (I like sturdy metal undead models) and also because they state that they remove the 20% VAT for non-EU orders, and they actually have very reasonable shipping costs.

Sadly, and I guess that this is my own fault – but after ordering I saw the “despatch times” for Brigade.

Delivery Times

Brigade Models is very much a part-time business. Because we have full-time jobs, these sometimes must take priority, so bear this in mind if your order is delayed. Please allow up to four weeks (six weeks overseas) for your order to arrive. We strive to get orders turned around much faster than this – in ‘normal’ periods (ie outside of sales) 95% of orders are sent out within two weeks. However, sometimes Real Life overtakes us and it takes a little longer. If your order is particularly large or contains lots of resin items that may also affect delivery time. We can also get very busy during our sales, when we sometimes receive as many orders in a week as we do in a month ! In the case of severe delays we will send partial orders, or at least let you know about the delay. If you really, really need some items in a hurry then contact us before you place your order and we can let you know if we can ship them within your timeframe.

Ouch! Up to 2 weeks to send my stuff out at best? 4-6 weeks delivery? A bit of a chance from the instant-2-day despatch and week in transit that I’m used to from UK companies. I guess I’ll see my Skeletons sometime in mid-late June. Hopefully?

rpe

Finally, I placed an order with Ral Partha Europe – or as they tell me they’re wanting to transition to – RPE. (Time to register a couple of URLs, guys. – RPE.com and RPE.co.uk have squatters on them, though). I only became aware that these guys even existed recently, initially through Goblin Aid for Kev Adams, and then a few months later when a colleague at work (who I just found out is also into wargaming) told me that he’d bought a ton of Heartbreaker Kev Adams Dwarves from Ral Partha Europe. I followed up and found that they also have much of the range of Heartbreaker Kev Adams Orcs and Goblins that I’d picked up back in the 1990’s, as well as more of the Bob Olley Ogres that I’d also bought a couple of in the ’90’s. They have a nice little range, and so I added quite a few things to the bunch of Ogres that I’d come to the site for. I had quite a nice chat on the phone with (I believe) Martin who was pleasant and friendly to talk to, and answered a few questions I had.

Encouragingly, they say that they charge actual postage and also that they will (manually) refund VAT for non-UK customers. “If you pay by Paypal and are from a non EU country we will refund the VAT on orders over £10 in value, before discount and not including postage cost.” They also say that orders are usually posted within a week, and please to allow 28 days for delivery before worrying. Basically, I’m happy to pay actual shipping OR VAT to UK retailers, since the VAT comes to 20% anyway which goes towards shipping. I’m NOT willing to play with places that have those horrible 1980’s-1990’s style “add 20%/25% of the total for shipping” – and even worse are the ones who do that and then keep the 20% VAT on top.

So, at this point I ordered from both Brigade and RPE on Wednesday night (my time) which is around Noon in the UK. I haven’t heard anything from either yet, the time of writing being late Sunday afternoon my time. I did get a newsletter from RPE yesterday touting their new releases and also mentioning that they had electricians in for most of last week, so had to put regular business on hold for a few days – fair enough. I guess we’ll see how this one pans out as well! I’ll keep these two updated!

Update #1: My Brigade Models Order & Experience