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"You could buy a real house in Afghanistan for this price!" Topic

21 Posts

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Action Log

30 May 2018 7:23 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from TMP Talk board
  • Crossposted to Terrain and Scenics board

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931 hits since 28 May 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Volleyfire29 May 2018 1:48 p.m. PST

Are these guys for real? How much for just the one model????

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2018 2:15 p.m. PST

Well, I don't want it and couldn't afford it--but I'd certainly pay that price to have it as a model on my table here instead of living in it in Afghanistan.

I feel sure that certain prices on Ebay and on Amazon are put there to see whether anyone will fall for them.

Patrick Sexton Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2018 2:23 p.m. PST

So… that is the price for ten buildings; correct?

evilgong Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2018 2:58 p.m. PST

It started at $1 USD and was bid up to $800 USD?

I don't understand.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2018 5:24 p.m. PST

Who was the guy who used to have an "Ebay outrage of the week"? Voivoda?
Whatever. It didn't bother me then, it doesn't bother me now.

zoneofcontrol Inactive Member29 May 2018 6:15 p.m. PST

I looks like 11 of the 16 bids are by the same person.

bsrlee29 May 2018 8:24 p.m. PST

He's also running up the postage too – $58 USD Canadian for surface?

wrgmr129 May 2018 8:32 p.m. PST

Could be two guys in cahoots, one selling and one pretending to buy. Making it look good for a potential buyer.

Mad Guru Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2018 10:36 p.m. PST

It's a model from CTMM -- Chris The Model Maker, aka: Chris Riordan of Ontario, Canada. Of course like any other creative endeavor, judging the quality of his models is a very subjective thing, but in my humble opinion he makes some of the best model buildings and fotresses on earth, especially for Ancient, Medieval and Colonial style which benefit from his rough-hewn, handmade, pre-industrial style (though I have also seen hiim do great work on modern buildings for Stalingrad and Berlin).

As noted above he set the starting price for this auction -- like all his eBay auctions -- at ONE CANADIAN DOLLAR. Please trust me when I tell you none of the bidders are in cahoots, they are just in love with his model buildings, like me!

It's true that current auction is just one humble "28mm Colonial Arab Middle East" building but if you look through the pics every detail looks great and Chris doesn't put many items up for sale, so it's pretty much a seller's market.

I first saw his work many years ago when I won a perfectly dusty and worn-out looking Boer War blockhouse he had built for someone else who later put it up for auction, which I got for what I considered a steal, maybe $25 USD or $30. USD Then about 2 years ago, around my birthday, I spent a lot of money to win an amazing Afghan/Central Asian Caravansary he had on eBay. I'm married with three kids and my wife and I have always lived frugally, and that was the only time I ever spent that much for anything on eBay, but I'm glad I did!

Looking back, I wish I'd done the same for a couple of his other masterpieces that have shown up on eBay over the years, like the Moroccan Souk with indigo dying vats crying out for Berbers to battle Legionnaires over or Crusaders to battle Saracens, or the fortified mountain village that would have raised my NWF/Afghan gaming to another level. The thing is, once his models are gone, that's it. Customers like me have asked him to make copies of items lost at auction (I offered to pay the same as the winner) but because Chris describes his scratch-built models as "one-of-a-kind" he always politely refuses.

I have nothing against the OP or anyone who commented above and I hope none of you take any offense, I just feel compelled to add my two-cents to the discussion. I realize I sound like a "Chris The Model Maker" fanboy or even groupie but that's okay… because I am one!

PS Here's a few pics of that Afghan Caravansary….





Volleyfire30 May 2018 1:18 a.m. PST

I guess Mad Guru has put it into context there, I wasn't aware of the makers background. However whilst the model above is gorgeous I'd certainly baulk at paying the amount the one on the auction is currently going for. Looks like someone was determined to have it and just put a ridiculous bid in thinking no one would ever bid that high, and the other guy has rumbled him and is just pushing the price up as high as he dare go to spite the fella and make him pay through the nose for it. I suppose if you're daft enough to put $800 USD as a max bid then you get what's coming to you.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP30 May 2018 2:02 a.m. PST

Agree that it is nice but way over priced IMHO.

Legion 430 May 2018 4:57 a.m. PST

I don't know if there is anything in A'stan even worth that much !? huh? wink

But seriously … the price of anything is "what the market will bear"[yes, it's bear Not bare] …

Some may just want a model like that just that bad(?) ! …

Volleyfire30 May 2018 6:12 a.m. PST

Well someone wants it badly because with 4 hours to go when it got to $877.00 USD the top bidder decided the other guy was getting too close and bumped it up to $887.00 USD and put another bid on top of that.:-O

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP30 May 2018 8:36 a.m. PST

If it got past $25 USD, I would have dropped out.

VCarter Supporting Member of TMP30 May 2018 11:37 a.m. PST

It is very nice, but not $877.00 USD nice.

Money laundering?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP30 May 2018 1:40 p.m. PST

OK, I wouldn't pay it, but "he is well paid who is well satisfied."

I'm looking at that caravansary and trying to figure out how many armies you could use that with.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2018 5:57 a.m. PST

Holy Cow! He looks like one of the few people to turn a profit with peddling toy soldiers.

Long Valley Gamer Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2018 5:58 a.m. PST

Been following his auctions for awhile now. Wouldn't dream of paying those prices regardless of the quality even though his work is top notch. There seems to be a small handful of bidders that obviously love his work and drive the prices way up. I say…good for Chris…

Personal logo jhancock Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2018 5:39 p.m. PST

Egos with deep pockets or credit cards can run up auctions!

Baranovich02 Jun 2018 8:53 a.m. PST

We need to be VERY clear about this.

Chris makes good terrain, his buildings look very nice. But he is NOT some kind of elite scratch-builder who makes terrain that is worthy of some spectacularly inflated price because of some hidden talent or secret recipe.

That middle eastern building is nothing more than a few pieces of foamcoare, some wooden dowels, some thin card and craft fur, with some textured paint that's drybrushed. Also to be clear. This is not artistry. This is not artistic. Painting good-looking miniatures that "pop" on the tabletop, and making seriously visually good terrain is TECHNICAL in skill, NOT artistic. Once you figure out how to replicate a technical technique and learn how to pick the right materials, you can crank out DOZENS of buildings on the same level as Chris, for 1/100th the freaking price.

The only time where artistic skill enters wargaming is when you are literally hand-painting a banner, or hand-painting a street sign, or hand-painting a pattern on a dress or armor on a mini that isn't actually sculpted on the miniature. Free-hand creation on a miniature is artistic. Painting miniatures themselves ISN'T. And this kind of terrain ISN'T.

And I don't mean like half-a** facsimiles. I mean you can make the SAME exact thing, detail for detail. This guy Chris must have some kind of inflated head, and must have really seriously out of touch customers out there.

Remember the first time you ever saw a spectacular army of painted miniatures when you were a kid? And you saw like perfectly detailed chainmail on medieval knights? And you thought that the painter must have literally hand-painted each and every link of chainmail by hand? You were in awe and thought it was some otherworldly un-achievable thing that YOU could never do, unless you had a single-hair brush and spent 100 hours on each miniature. Only later when you got older and found out that that amazing-looking chainmail was drybrushed, and took about thirty seconds to do. An illusion of great labor!

Same thing applies here.

Please don't get me wrong. I respect people who make hand-built terrain and buildings for wargaming. But it's not worthy of the kind of praise it gets sometimes. It all comes down to how much time do you want to spend and how many layers of detail do you want for your terrain. Then you just multiply the same, basic techniques several times over. That's IT. Because those who are truly dumb enough to pay THAT much for a single building in that scale either don't know any better and assume it's some big "model-making secret" that Chris knows OR they DO know it's not a secret, but have so much money to burn that they don't mind paying over $500.00 USD for a piece of terrain that, on it's BEST day is worth MAYBE $40.00 USD or $50.00 USD when you thrown in the labor.

So in short give me a break! I make buildings that look as good as Chris', some even better and it's not that hard to do once you settle in and sort out the technical aspects of it. Not hard.

Mad Guru Supporting Member of TMP02 Jun 2018 8:46 p.m. PST


I've always liked you, as much as you can like someone you only know through an online forum. Over the years I've praised your terrain work here on TMP and had my own terrain praised by you, and I've always appreciated the time you take to share various terrain-building methods you use and new materials you've picked up. However, I must disagree with almost everything you wrote in your above comment.

First, with regard to some facts: every model listing Chris The Model Maker puts up on eBay includes the note that it was scratch-built entirely from wood construction, with no foam, or card, or balsa. Of course this means each piece of each model must be prepped with a table-saw and/or bandsaw.

I've been told I make great model terrain, but my buildings are made with the materials you list above: foamcore, cardboard, styrofoam, craft-sticks, balsa and bass wood. Comparing the durability of my models (or yours, or anyone else's built with those same materials) to CTMM's plywood and resin models is like comparing the durability of a kid's playhouse built of wood and a kid's playhouse built of cardboard boxes. Both can look nice and be fun for kids to play in, but one will obviously last a lot longer than the other.

You are entitled to your opinion, which dismisses the value of Chris's work as being far less than what people (like myself) who you describe as, "truly dumb" are willing to pay. I would never suggest you're not entitled to that OPINION. I will however say that your opinion does not equate to objective fact, as you seem to state in your comment.

Also, as someone who has built tons of terrain for myself and my friends, I have to disagree with your claim that anyone is capable of making anything, simply by learning the techniques involved and then: "just multiply the same basic techniques several times over. That's IT."

At least in my 40+ years of hobby experience, that is not, "IT." Not by a long shot.

I doubt you'd claim that all the painters who use dry-brush techniques turn out figures that look the same. Use of a technique doesn't automatically equate to mastery of it. Lots of us never master any technique, and when and if we do, lots of us still don't master the blending and combining of the multiple techniques that go together to turn raw lead or raw model-making materials into finished figures and model terrain.

You can find lots of different quality levels of terrain for sale on eBay, and lots of different final bids for each -- from $0.00 USD at one end, to the hundreds and hundreds of dollars people pay for Chris's models. Some of those auctions involve people bidding on items I think look pretty bad, others involve people bidding on items I think I could do a better job making in an hour or two, and still others involve people outbidding me to spend more than I'm comfortable with on a model made by Chris. I have opinions on all of them, but I don't feel compelled to insult any of them.

Finally, you are certainly entitled to the opinion that this is "not artistry" and "NOT artistic" but only "TECHNICAL in skill." Personally I will again have to disagree. Many of us are good "technicians" but far fewer (amongst whose ranks I don't consider myself to be a member) do work which at least in my humble opinion reaches another level. Whether we call what they do "next level technique" or "art" doesn't really matter to me. Maybe CTMM isn't an artist, maybe he's just a higher level technician, but as someone who has seen and enjoyed and appreciated virtually every terrain-related thread you've posted here on TMP -- rivers, castles, towers, buildings, etc. -- I must disagree with your final statement and say that in my honest opinion, you are not capable of making model buildings that, "look as good as Chris'," let alone, "some even better." That is not in any way an insult as, like you, I make some pretty nice terrain, but am not capable of it either.

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