Tuesday, February 14, 2012

LOTR vs FoW, or Games Workshop vs Battlefront?

A recent post on the One-Ring forum got me all worked up and I had to reply, and vent my own frustrations...

"Mor-galad of Greenwood wrote:...this whole thing: the move the Failcast, the drop in quality, the increase in price, the change to the pricing and quantity in the plastic model kits ---- I've had it with GW. They are so full of themselves and they don't give a sh!t about us loyal fans. They have shown no respect for the LotR cannon, neither have they shown any real dedication in putting out a superior product. They're raping us and laughing their @sses off about it all the way to the bank because we keep forking over the cash and saying dumb stuff like: "this stuff isn't so bad, you have have to warm it up for a bit to get it to fit together."

Get a grip people, they are ripping us off at every turn and it's only going to get worse until we do something about it. I, for one, and refusing to buy anymore of their tripe until they smarten up and quit producing a substandard product. And it pains me so much because I am such a student of the JRRT world, at one point I could've been convince that the backstory writers at LotR SBG cared as much about the minutia of Middle Earth backstory as I do.... I've come to see that all they care about is profit and I can, no longer in good conscience continue to feed their greed."

I hear your frustrations…
I lost interest in the ‘GW Hobby’ many many years ago, and only stuck with GW for their licence on the LOTR range and to be fair they made good models that represented the movie depictions.
But recently, with ongoing price increases, and drops in quality and the FineCost fiasco,

a picture of Finecast 'quality' or lack thereof from another poster to one-ring forum, and remember you are paying premium prices for this new wonder material, thats so hyped as the best quality ever...

 ...and a poor performing WOTR, AND the fact that they stopped my access to fairly priced stock via Maelstrom Games for us poor sods in Australasia. That’s my biggest beef with them!

For those not happy paying 44 quid for a Beast of Gorgoroth, whether the Finecost sculpt quality is worth it or not, just have a thought for us down under who are getting stung $140NZ for it. At current exchange rates that makes it about 70quid. Now how do you feel?
Yeah , Ive only really bought from Ebay and Trademe over the years , but as others have said you can’t always rely on this to get what you want, especially new releases…

Despite a true love for the movies, books, ethos and mythology… GW’s recent actions have put the knife in it, for me, and I doubt I’ll be doing much directly with them again.

I do have an ‘out’, as I can still probably source via Maelstrom via friends and family in UK, and even having them ship to me here in NZ, its still cheaper than paying direct from stores here.

It’s just that my motivation for their game and figures has been seriously sapped by recent events.

Whilst the SBG is fun, for me LOTR should be big battles and I had high hopes for WOTR, but that failed to hit the mark, and seems likely now to go the way of the dodo… perhaps it was one revision away from being corrected, but that doesn’t seem likely now. With current figure prices who could afford to build a sizeable WOTR army anyway?

 My current obsession is Flames of War (I’ve always been a WW2 nut too), not having played LOTR now for over a year at least…, and GW could learn a thing or two from this company – they release an updated and improved version of the rules, and anyone who has a copy of the current version of the rules gets a FREE small format version of the entire new rulebook. Now how good is that to keep current players happy???

Now I know Battlefront have had their issues, and quality control of missing and miscast bits and pieces is another frustration with some of their stuff, but they, and to be fair GW too have decent customer services and replace missing or defective parts quite well.

But Battlefronts recent stance on the new rulebook, and GWs draconian stance on sales via MaesltromGames and other online sellers, really made me stop and think.

Come on GW, wake up and see what you're standing in…

...enough said!


  1. It is such a shame that a company that once clearly had nothing but god intentions for the franchise should leave loyal gamers feeling this way. It was the original release of the LOTR range that got me started in painting and collecting miniatures, been such a fan of the books and movies. I have to admit I was looking forward to possible revisiting them with the release of the Hobbit merchandise but now have serious reservations.

    The only good thing to come out the 'finecast' revelation is liquid green stuff!

    1. Yes I have to agree, their liquid greenstuff is quite useful, and probably essential, for fixing bubbles holes in 'Finecast' resin casts. No surprise it was realeased about the same time Finecast was then?

  2. I think I'm moving to the same camp. The Finecast debacle has really made me shy away from their new models. The LotR SBG was the last hold out for me. But now I have to plunk down US$125 to get the legal lists for all my current forces in five different books. Then the new models are Finecrap. I think I'm at the end of the rope with GW games. I'll still get their (non Finecast) models but use them in other systems.

    1. Nice to hear you chime in Jerry. I wonder how many players they are losing, but do they care? Heck, if I buy all the required books here I pay $240NZ, thats about $200US at todays rates... thanks the gods for Maelstrom and me still having connections in the UK...
      Some posters to forum have suggested GW are making their money out of starter sets, and not bothered about the long term gamer... I wonder if thats true. Their recent Deadfleet game makes me wonder at this too; a throw away one off game, not much support needed and once its all sold through, who cares, they've made their bucks...

      I'll probably end up getting the new books eventually so I can 'legally' use my existing figure collection, but I am extremely reluctant to buy new figures due to price and lack of quality, which is a shame as I quite like the look of the Beast of Gorgoroth and the new Demon, I always was a sucker for the bad guys! Even if I do source from Maelstrom via family in UK, if the quality is crap its gonnan cost me to send it back for a replacement, and I'm not sure how it will be viewed if I walk into a local store for a replacement on a product bought online..., especially one thats not supposed to supply to this side of the world!

  3. I really gave up on GW before I every really got started. It is true that I have been a GW gamer for many years but I have rarely purchased new products. The first time I went through the GW angst was with Necromunda. That was a game that I bought lots of new stuff for and then *poof* gone. I learned my lesson with that one and when I decided to jump into 40K it was on the cheap. I buy used stuff or discounts. I only buy new for the really hard to find models. When LOTR came out I was back into the old way of buying lots of stuff but I still bought more used than new. GW has always been able to get my money from the books but not so much from the models. With all the Finecast drama and the new LOTR books I am probably really done now. I still have lots of models to build and paint but my interest is dropping fast. The good news is this is freeing up time and $$ for historicals. I love FoW but I don't buy too much Battlefront minis (they are just too expensive for what you get). I really like the Old Glory figures and the Plastic Soldier Company tanks. I also have plans for Black Powder and a return to acients gaming. All in all, not having GW distracting me will be a good thing.

    1. Hey DS , thanks for reply. Yeah like you, I've been there, done that with GW over the years inc. Necromunda; a fun game I played for a while, but it dissappeared, and I flogged off the bits I had, only kept an Orloc gang as I had it fully painted up (I have a hard time parting with stuff that I have painted up that I think is to a decent standard).
      The funny thing is once you throw off the GW 'yoke', you feel a lot free-er to pursue whatever you want in this hobby, and historicals are certainly a big draw, with lots of quality figure producers out there, who dont rip your wallet apart as soon as look at you... I certainly agree with Plastic Soldier Co., and the various sensibly priced plastics out there available for games like Black Powder and Hail Caesar, and may I also suggest 'Hail Sauron' http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/HailSauron/? I'd like to think I'll still get to play big battle LOTR using this adaption, just need to get some army lists sorted...

  4. The big issue with GW, I suspect, is that it is a publicly traded company. Having worked in the executive team of a large plc myself fairly recently I was amazed at how the principles of the firm had to give way to shareholder pressure and board interference again and again.

    I have only bought one finecast set: the Fellowship, and have no problems with it. Indeed I think that the figures are genuinely better than the metal equivalents. Having kits that don't fit together is something else though. We should keep taking them back until they acknowledge a mistake.

    1. I hear what you saying...I wonder if the rot set in when Rick left? It seems a shame a company should sell its soul this way in the name of profits and not really give a stuff about the punter anymore...

      I am still very wary of the finecast stuff due to quality issues. I know GW will replace any faults, but its the hassle involved that puts me off. As previously mentioned I am not paying prices here, I'll source via Maelstrom, via a UK buyer, but then I cant look at blister packs & boxes before I buy... So I have no idea what will arrive in the post and then having to sort any issues that may arrive. I've asked Maelstrom if they can open boxes to check before sending out, which sadly they said they cant do, though they are happy to send out replacements for poor quality, but again via a UK address first... hassles hassles, it just puts you off. Cant get it at a fair price here, and difficulties fixing up if bought elsewhere...

      GW, make a sentence out of following words: " foot, oursleves, the, shoot, in", because thats what I feel you have done concerning any further purchases from me and many others out there. I, (and many others I suspect), have been loyal customers for many years, spending $1000s on their products, but thats really set to change... but do they care??????

  5. I don't have a problem with the lord of the rings plastic sculpts and here in Canada it is nice and cheap. Especially compared to GW other game systems. Me being a student I find I need cheap. The finecast problem can be pretty bad. For example I bought a warhammer fantasy general and he would not fit in his hase and he was missing his foot. Needless to say I took it back and they gave me a new one. All in all though it will take alot to turn me off of GW
    Ps great blog love it

    1. Hi Andrew, thanks for your response. I would agree the GW LOTR plastics are to my mind OK, for representing lots of rank and file type troops. What really irks me with these is simply the price, compared to other manufacturers offering similar plastic figures for historicals and such like (Perrys, Warlord Games, Wargames Factory etc etc). The price GW charges for these plastics is quite simply 'taking the piss'.
      How long its going to take them to 'fix' the finecast issue, I've no idea, and I dont know when I would be confident buying such products. OK GW may offer to replace poor quality product, but it means I've got to drive 50kms and back, back to store for the privelidge... And then there is still the price ~ $20NZ per man sized figure - its just crazy!

  6. Hey Scott, bored at work so reading old posts on your excellent blog and came across this one. I got myself a Great Beast of Gorgoroth last month fully expecting to have to spend hours dipping it in hot water and so on but was very pleasantly surprised when I opened the box and discovered that they have changed the casting. Now, instead of two halves, the model comes as a whole with just the two left legs needing to be attached, Quality of the one I received was excellent as well needing minimal prep before assembly, so perhaps the initial woes of failcast have been overcome?


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