I’ve been away from the hobby for what…15 years maybe. I’m still not sure I’ll pick it up again…my old paints are a graveyard.
However, I’ve been looking through my old White Dwarfs…and I found something that brought back the worst gaming memories for me.
In my March 1991 White Dwarf I found this:
Regrettably we have to announce price rises for all our games and miniatures.
It’s been three years since our last price rise and, in the meantime, inflation and the cost of lead have risen dramatically, increasing our costs.
To give you an idea of some of the new prices: Advanced Space Crusade and Advanced Heroquest are going to be 24.99; other large boxed games, such as Space Marine and Blood Bowl will cost 22.99; Warhammer 40,00 will be 11.99; and a typical blister pack will now be 3.99 for 4 miniatures.
These new prices will take effect from the 18th March.
This was no small price hike. before his date 5 miniatures cost 2.99. So the average miniature price went from 60p to 1 pound. After this, I never bought miniatures as freely as before.
I started buying citadel miniatures at a very young age…maybe 6 or 7. In 1984 they cost 60p each or 45p in combined packs. So very little difference to the 1991 price. So this article brings back a horrible nightmare memory for me.
This coincided with the long term takeover of GW in 1991 and basically becoming the company we know today.
Horrible topic for Christmas, but any nightmare memories out there?
I actually think there is some merit here for once. They don’t mention this but it was around that time that they switched from an alloy very high in lead (cheap) to a tin-pewter alloy (less than 15% lead, high in tin → expensive).
That being said, GW became the company it is today solely because of us. Because we didn’t stop buying their overpriced products. Simple free market dynamics. To put a good spin to this, I think this spawned the creative side in a quite a few hobbyists without which CDO would probably not exist anymore.
Hmmmmmmmm So I know they stopped using lead altogether in 1997.
However in the article it states “… inflation and the cost of lead have risen dramatically, increasing our costs.”
I think there was a change of metal not long after. Around the start of 4th edition so 1993-1994? I can’t remember any 3rd ed figures being in a tin-pewter. Where as 4th edition and 3rd edition BB most definitely were.
This I believe prompted another price hike. I remember figures going up to 1.35 each and then 1.60/1.75ish. I tried a bit of figure casting and the price difference of the 3 metals was huge, that’s for sure.
Also to note that no other figure company had a rise in price like this around this time. I seem to remember one of the price rises prompted the creation of Harlequin Miniatures (now black tree design).
" Harlequin Miniatures Ltd was founded around 1994 by Dean Edwards and Vaughan Edwards.
I wasn’t in that early, but I remember the boxes of plastics troops going from 20-25 and then 25-30 during my time in the game, a full 50% increase.
In my (limited) experience GW has made their money from new players. I don’t know many who stuck it out for long to be honest, 2 or 3 price hikes and most people had quit. Most everyone I know has come back after a decade+ of being out of the hobby; now with more money, but also many more games to choose from.
That definitely feels true. I think a lot of players quit during this period. The transition between 3rd and 4th. The price hikes and the move over to expensive metals and plastics. It felt a different hobby.
I wasn’t a fan of 4th, but there were some good things too. Chaos Dwarfs, Forest Goblins and Night Goblins looks blew my mind.
Furthering into this White Dwarf there’s the Marauder Chaos Army advert. The one with the Chaos Dwarf unit. I remember this advert now. Nothing blew my mind more than seeing this Chaos Dwarf unit and was the point where I fell in love with CDs.
So maybe I should call this topic ‘The best and worst of times’. I very much doubt a magazine ever has had such a positive and negative impact on me!
My nightmare was the moment I tried Age of Sigmar the very first time. I understood the good old Warhammer was gone forever.
Nothing wrong with the new game or the reasons behind this evolution, my problem was that I entered into Warhammer because I loved the idea of fielding armies in blocks of regiments and face the enemy.
I know there are many other games out there and we can stick to the old rules we love the most (I do) but I felt something was lost in that moment…
If you are based outside the US this is true. GW used the alloy high in lead until c. 1988-1991 (I don’t have many miniatures from that period, so I don’t know when exactly), very easy to identify by the weight of the miniatures. By the start of second edition WH40K, this was replaced by a white metal alloy, which was 80> % tin, 15< % lead which was eventually replaced by some lead-free alloy in 1997 (I believe Sisters of Battle and the 2nd ed Necrons where among the first miniatures with this alloy). I think there was even a short experimental transition period before they settled on the alloy we have today in the late 90s, early 2000s.
If you are US-based everything after 1992-1993 should be lead-free altogether due to some (proposed but not passed?) state legislation, more info in this thread if you are interested.
Much later generation here but it made me sad when they stopped publishing scratch/terrain building guides after 7th ed dropped.
Oh hey, that’s exactly me Mordheim & chaos dwarfs were rather obscure things when I started in 2006… For me, the moment of enlightment came when I realized that you don’t have to buy official miniatures and play the respective newest installation of the franchise. Sure, each edition is broken is some way but if you subtract the super-competitive players (which gladly moved on to newer editions) who exploit this, I have no problem with something that is not updated anymore.
Yes, I’m in the UK. So the US and UK had different dates of changes. I wonder about the US price structure. The 40k release time 1993 sounds about spot on. Citadel figures had a 14 years and above label on them. It was at this point where the started targeting a younger audience and thus needed to remove that label and lead. It fits in with Harlequin coming into being. I remember that Harlequin figures were 1 pound. So i think GW must have put their prices up to 1.65 by then. Hold on, I’ll dig out a WD from that era…
Ok so I found June 93 and this is well into 4th edition. Surprisingly figures are still 1 pound, but 1.35 for the command. The black and white bear metal figures do still look quite ‘leady’ though. A lot of the late 3rd ed Marauder line is used for the Dwarfs still. This issue also has Chaos Dwarfs, and my Chaos Dwarfs from this era are definitely pewter/tin.
A year later October 94 edition and these figures are definitely more pewter than a year before. Prices are much more bespoke as well. 1.15 for goblins, 1.50 for imp guards. However, Black orc Command figures (the metal 4th ed ones that match the plastics from this era) are a whopping 2.25 each.
There seems to be a lot of change in that year in policy.
This by the way is the Chaos Army advertised in that issue. It totally blew me away, especially the Chaos Dwarfs. Never has any unit impressed me more.
My personal worst day was every single match i played.
The anxiety, the extremely bad tactics and the formidable unluck with dice rolls made me always dislike gaming on some degrees.
I’m one of those people who enjoyed painting over gaming
Why bother so much to paint some model that will just be erased in minutes due to my total absence of tactical skill?
Probably if I played 30 games in my lifetime I’m being over optimistic
The last price rise I really remember was in the mid 90s, when troop blister packs went from £3.99 to £4.50, with a big sticker over the old price that let me know I was going to be spending more than I planned. After that they went to the letter system, so they could raise prices less conspicuously by just updating priceguide instead (A=£3.00, B=£4.00, etc) . I remember Rhinos going from a cheap £6 to £12 for some reason, and boxes of ten plastic monopose models becoming boxes of eight. The goofy models were on their way out and the grimdark started to descend over all of GW games - the irony of trying to appeal to younger kids with more adult themes.