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"Am I finally done with Games Workshop?" Topic

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Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2021 8:32 a.m. PST

I've been a huge fan of Games Workshop since I saw my first Citadel miniature at a Gen Con many years ago (when they were pitching the original Warhammer way back when).

Their miniatures stoked my imagination and got me excited. Back then I couldn't afford much, so when I finally was able to buy a box of skeleton warriors, I was over the moon.

I admit it wasn't my primary hobby. I wasn't the super purchasing fan who drooled over every release, but I've bought my fair share of new edition boxed sets, copies of special games, and lots and lots of regiments, individual figs, special releases and even their collector edition rules.

Most recently, I bought in heavily when they released Warhamer 40k 8th edition and had a lot of fun with my sons throwing around some Necros, Imperial Guard, Tau and Space Marines.

I bought big time into Warhammer Quest up to and including the Silver Tower release a few years back.

However, since Warhammer 40k 8th, I've noticed myself slowing way down. The last Games Workshop figure I bought and painted was Gotrek the Dwarf, since I read every novel in that series and am a big fan.

I still go to the Warhammer site from time to time, looking for something, anything that grabs my eye and realized I haven't bought or been interested in nabbing anything for some time.

Today I finally realized why.

Price wasn't, and isn't the issue I've ever had. Originally I couldn't afford those minis back when I was young, but now I make a good living and spending for something I like and want isn't a major issue any more.

What I've realized is that Games Workshop miniatures just don't inspire me any more. The reason? They went from being game pieces to tiny pieces of art. That probably sounds silly, but honestly, that's my issue. Let me try to convey why.

Old school citadel miniatures were lovely, and better than their peers, but they still were simple compared to modern miniatures. The faces were exaggerated both in expression and size, and sometimes the proportions of the bodies weren't anatomically perfect- but they had charm and style and drew your imagination into the figure. Painting them well made them sing and you could take bare metal (or plastic) and using paint, tell an amazing story or create a unique force that conveyed my own personality.

Now I look at the sculpts coming out and my problems are:

1. They are delicate. The fine bits are lovely, but some of the recent figs I'm afraid to touch, let alone manhandle around a game board. They are also harder to store, because even simple figures have delicate features pushing in all directions limiting my options to get them safely from place a to place b.
2. The sculptures are so fine and detailed and lovely that, to me, the imagination is all there already, leaving me little room to work. I can paint them so they look nice, but there is less room for me to really make them unique to fit my own imagination. I can change the colors, but the sculpt has already done most of the work, so while I can make them very different in terms of color, I can't make them sing any more than they already do, and in fact, if I were a less capable painter, could make them look considerably worse.
3. This is more of a feel issue, but I feel like these are museum or collector pieces- not game figures. I feel like I should paint them and put them on a collector shelf and leave them, rather than plop them into my games. I don't have that 'I can't wait to put them on the table' feeling any more.

I don't know if anyone else feels this way. To be clear- this is MY opinion, so I'm not trying to convince anyone or slag Games Workshop. They are a fine company, appear to be making money hand over fist, and anyone still collecting, painting and playing them has my full support.

It's just that for me, personally, the love and drive to get their miniatures, for me at least, is gone. I still feel that drive and inspiration for other miniatures and sculpts- just not Games Workshop, which has been a part of my life for a very long time and that makes me a bit- I don't know- sad? disappointed? melancholic?

Anyone else just not feeling the love and excitement for Games Workshop any more? Or am I just finally…'old.'

GamesPoet Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2021 8:42 a.m. PST

At my stage of life, I'm into producing as many painted figures as I can as quickly as possible. I'll buy some of GW's miniatures currently, yet some of them have so many details, not all, that it doesn't currently interest me when it seems as if I'll end up spending more time painting them, and when I'd prefer painting other items.

Personal logo Andrew Walters Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2021 9:02 a.m. PST

I bet you're not done. There's no escape. Styles will change again. The IP and the following are eternal.

I wonder if GW is doing this to stay ahead of 3D printed miniatures.

Personal logo cloudcaptain Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2021 9:06 a.m. PST

Move to OnePage Rules (Grimdark Future etc) and snag a lower end Resin printer (Elegoo Mars Pro or Pro2) There are some artists doing 1980s and 90s style sculpts that you can download and print. PM me if you would like more information. Would be happy to help.

Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2021 9:18 a.m. PST

Oh, I'm aware, and happy with the other offerings (and own both an FDM and Resin 3D printer). I'm well covered for figures. Rules isn't really an issue, as often I played Games Workshop figures with other rules anyway, and if Games Workshop comes up with new rules that get me excited, I might get them (and just use other figures). I'm just talking about Games Workshop and my lack of purchases there and why that happened.

MajorB10 Jun 2021 9:33 a.m. PST

I'm just talking about Games Workshop and my lack of purchases there and why that happened.

The words "failed business model" come to mind …

Winston Kodogo10 Jun 2021 9:52 a.m. PST

Given their most recent results, if that's a "failed business model", I wonder what you would consider a success in our hobby industry?

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2021 9:58 a.m. PST

I have moved to different rulesets but still use my GW figures – I have enough painted and to paint that I have not bought any for quite a while – my kids bought me the Gotrex fig which I had a lot of fun painting up – have to agree, the new figs are somewhat fiddly

Rdfraf Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2021 10:23 a.m. PST

I still love their miniatures but I left after finecast.

GamesPoet Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2021 10:27 a.m. PST

Speaking of "fiddly", gluing some of their newest and overly detailed figures together has been a real pain in the brain, especially the one box that didn't come with instructions.

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2021 10:34 a.m. PST

I have also ( exception Adeptius titanicus ) stop even looking at warhammer/wH 40k figures. They are as you point out fragile in design and overly active posed for game play.

Example ( just looked at BOLS) Gaunt's Ghosts new figures. I loved the books, but the new figures are nice but why do they all need branches interwoven with the figure?

3-d modeling allows for easy of design but I think they have forgotten you have to stand them on the game table anymore.

rvandusen Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2021 11:11 a.m. PST

I appear to have been immune to the GW bug altogether, and I've never played any of their games with the exception of Space Hulk…once. While GW has contributed far more to the hobby than the likes of my wretched carcass, they have also brought in an aspect that I don't particularly appreciate- hyper-spergey competitive style gaming coupled with rampant consumerism. I once visited a gaming store, long defunct, and innocently asked about historical miniatures. The nerd behind the counter looked up from painting his candy apple green orks, and sneered, "Historical? Well that deals with facts, and we are only concerned with imagination, not facts!" I turned on my heel and walked out of that place, mainly to avoid any jail time for wringing that nerds neck , and breaking his glasses. Thanks to that goof, the store permanently lost a customer. That is but one of my run-ins with that type. There have been several more.

Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2021 11:50 a.m. PST

I also want to point out that Historicals remain my first love amongst my many miniatures pursuits. I've never been a GW hardcore 'fanboi' in the hard core sense of things, but definitely a fan and have spent a fair bit of money over time. I, too, am turned off by super competitive gaming. I love to play scenarios, not tournaments. That doesn't stop me from having loved a lot of their worlds, miniatures, lore and rules.

My falling away from them is definitely not a failed business model. They are making more money than ever.

Personal logo Cardinal Ximenez Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2021 12:05 p.m. PST

While I really like some of the models, I can't say the same for the exorbitant rat wheel of rule and army book obsolescence. While I admire the business model it's just not for me as a customer anymore. Grimdark Future is fun and you can finish relatively large multiplayer games in a evening without suffering a migraine. To each his own.

jwebster Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2021 1:00 p.m. PST

Thank you for giving specific reasons why your enthusiasm has declined

I'd like to add my 2c – I think that the models are so complex, with so many fiddly bits, that they lack a central focus and look like a jumbled mess. There are a very few painters who can deal with that, but most can't. The Games Workshop house style of painting makes this even worse in my opinion.

Incidentally – "I'm done with Games Workshop" as a topic comes up frequently …


Tiny Legions10 Jun 2021 1:00 p.m. PST

Have the same issue here, but with a different perspective. I think all of the new sculpts just look uglier and uglier every year.

MajorB10 Jun 2021 1:45 p.m. PST

Given their most recent results, if that's a "failed business model", I wonder what you would consider a success in our hobby industry?

A successful business doesn't lose customers.

Zephyr110 Jun 2021 2:49 p.m. PST

"They went from being game pieces to tiny pieces of art."

I think the exact opposite. ;-) The early ones were the works of art (the main reason I collected them, before I ran out of money these last few years) and are full of character, while the newer ones have so much 'detail' that the figure itself is often lost underneath it…

FABET0110 Jun 2021 3:07 p.m. PST

Never really bought big into GW. A fair bit of Citadel when Ral Partha brought them to the US as RP Imports.

The big difference for me is that the OLD figs had Character. You looked at it and it told you a story. Since the company went public the figures are more about clutter, glam and "Bling".

Winston Kodogo10 Jun 2021 3:52 p.m. PST


Every business, of whatever kind, loses customers for all sorts of reasons. The key is ensuring you either replace them with more new ones and/or increasing the average spend.

LY financials are impressive: sales of £350.00 GBPm (+30% on LY), profits of £150.00 GBPm (+69% on LY, and an incredible margin), with staff share bonuses worth £12.00 GBPm.

Andy Skinner Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2021 3:57 p.m. PST

I still like some 40K figures (I've played the game maybe once, but One Page Rules now). But their fantasy figures don't appeal to me anymore. I use Lord of the Rings figures mostly, and already have elves from that, but I do like the old high elves. I'm not at all interested in the new ones, with cow masks and multiple strings on the bow and overall weirdness. (OK, I think elves probably ought to have some weirdness, but I'd prefer something more appealing.) Didn't like the fishy ones, either.

The new orcs (I know) for the next version look a bit better, almost a cross between the big green goobers and Tolkien orcs.

They do seem a bit fancier than I want.

And whatever it says about me, I don't want mixed male and female.


Personal logo aegiscg47 Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2021 4:07 p.m. PST

There's been heavy criticism of GW for well over a decade now, but it seems like in the last few months it's reached new levels. Various Youtube channels, forums, blogs, etc., are really going after them now on multiple fronts. Figure prices that have reached insane levels, too many influencers peddling their games everywhere, unsupported games, ever changing rules/army books, and now stipulating that 3D printed pieces and even their own earlier models can't be used in current competitions are causing many gamers to question the wisdom of the company. Also, a good portion of their audience don't paint the figures, so producing tiny works of art is of little consequence to many GW gamers.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2021 5:31 p.m. PST

I dropped Games Workshop after I bought and painted over a hundred Forest Goblins.
A month later a new Codex came out and dropped them completely. That didn't mean that I couldn't still use other rules, which I did.
It just meant that they were not to be taken seriously.

rvandusen Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2021 5:43 p.m. PST

FABET01, That is the era of Citadel I'm most familiar with, back before those awful "slotta" bases. Yes, I'm that old! I still admire those venerable Ral Partha figure sculpted by Tom Meier, etc. GWs comedy "Orks" turned me away from fantasy for a long time, and I didn't find my way back until the more recent trend in 15mm resurrected that old school aesthetic.

SultanSevy10 Jun 2021 7:21 p.m. PST

The older figures had charm and character. Most of the newest figures are overwrought abominations. I'm sure there are many folks who like that art direction, but I'm not one of them.

andresf10 Jun 2021 7:36 p.m. PST

I like GW figures even though I don't play their games, with the exception of the excellent Blackstone Fortress.

That said, there is a fair amount of valid criticism: they are expensive (though Midwinter Minis did an interesting analysis showing many of their models have actually decreased price when taking inflation into consideration!), they are overdesigned and getting more fragile with each new design, sometimes with bits so delicate they break during assembly! (I'm looking at you, Amalyn Shadowguide).

That said, their quality is top notch, and I still buy them from time to time. They kitbash well and if you avoid their models too specific to the setting (e.g. Space Marines), they can be used for multiple games and settings. For example, Tyranids and genestealers make awesome generic Space bugs, Cadians and shock troopers make great generic scifi soldiers, the old Empire line was awesome for all sorts of reasons, genestealer hybrids are so good and full of kitbash-friendly bits they should be illegal! And many more examples.

They also paint up well. Contrary to common wisdom, overdetailed models are easier to paint than plainer ones: block colors, then wash and drybrush and you're done -- the mini's details "autopaint" themselves decently enough.

The main reason I often buy other brands are:

- I want to play historicals

- I need more generic scifi or fantasy models than what GW can give me (and more generic is always good, since I can use them to play more games).

- For the money about 10 models from GW cost me, I can easily buy 30-40 of other brands.

- I want to support other brands like Perry Miniatures or North Star.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2021 7:41 p.m. PST

I buy their paints and--when I can get them cheap--some of their figures. But scale creep had pretty well put an end to the figures. Style is less important than being a head taller than the units they'd go with.

MajorB, aegiscg47, it's the financial track record which matters. The "disposable customer" model works quite well for them. Once you decide that the purpose of a GW rules set is to sell figures, almost everything else they do makes sense--including letting figures age out, so the disposed customer can't sell his old figures to the new GW recruits.

RandomIdiot10 Jun 2021 10:50 p.m. PST

I concur completely with the OP except he expressed the vague ennui I feel with GW these days much better then I probably could.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2021 1:50 a.m. PST

I am so glad I am historical gamer. Never had any interest in
this what so ever. I have seen friends of mine spend a fortune on GW stuff and now they have switched to historical gaming. Where I have been into historical gaming from the get go. I am still using all the figs I have collected over the years and my ex-GW friends had to start from scratch.

Norrins11 Jun 2021 7:54 a.m. PST

I've still got my GW Warhammer figures that I bought back in the 90s. They've got bags of character and I use them with Dragon Rampant.

Other than contrast paint, the last GW product I bought was the first couple of (cheap) issues of the Mortal Realms magazine – picking £50.00 GBP of figures for £1.99 GBP was too good to miss.

andresf11 Jun 2021 8:38 a.m. PST

Well, we should be glad GW makes games so appealing that they pull new gamers into this hobby and they end up going to other games and even historicals!

I must add though that if you switch from GW to scifi or fantasy, your existing minis collection is instantly useful for your new games. No need to start from scratch! :)

emckinney11 Jun 2021 4:49 p.m. PST

I think GW is doing absolutely beautiful work, as you say. However, my painting skills can't even come close to doing them justice. I'm too intimidated to even try!

Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian11 Jun 2021 6:33 p.m. PST

I wish I still had my copy of Oi Dats Me Leg. That's about all I miss.

A Lot of Gaul Supporting Member of TMP12 Jun 2021 6:35 a.m. PST

I never warmed to GW rules or figures, and I switched from fantasy to historical wargaming for many decades. Now that I am retired, I am getting back into fantasy, painting up an army of Battle Valor miniatures for Nic Wright's Fantastic Battles, and I couldn't be happier.

Achtung Minen13 Jun 2021 9:36 a.m. PST

Jesus, I haven't been a "fan" of GW since around 1997 or so. I am honestly surprised that people have stuck with them at all! But I also don't understand the appeal of plastic models over metal ones, so maybe I'm too old school for all this.

ManofErebor13 Jun 2021 12:06 p.m. PST

A person's interest in the hobby--or part of the hobby--waxes and wanes.

I wasn't a fan of 8th edition 40K, but I love the figs and I just keeping playing 7th. WhY? Cause I started with 7th, and I like it.

I also find some of the figures are incredibly tedious to paint because they're so detailed, but it's my choice to be so fiddly. I don't "have" to use three colors and a wash to paint boltgun. I could just paint it silver or black and be done with it. But that's just me.

Maybe you need a change of pace for a while. Maybe you'll come back to GW. Whatever works for you.

I'm having a blase with 40K. I'll eventually learn 40K so I can find some opponents been doing a lot of solo gaming during the pandemic). But I'll keep painting the figs cause I love 'em.

Hope you find something that gets you motivated--and entertained.


andresf13 Jun 2021 12:49 p.m. PST

> "But I also don't understand the appeal of plastic models over metal ones, so maybe I'm too old school for all this"

As an absolute fan of plastics vs metals, I can field this one: plastics are more convenient, less fragile when dropping, way better to kitbash, cut & modify, weigh less, are usually multipart and easier to pose, and with modern plastics they carry more detail than metals, too.

I mean, some GW figures are fiddly precisely *because* they carry way too many thin details that are to cast in metal (but GW goes overboard and the resulting plastics are fragile too, of course).

For the hobbyist kitbashed and tinkerer, plastics are a boon unmatched by metals.

andresf13 Jun 2021 12:58 p.m. PST

One more and I'll shut up (today hehe):

> "I also find some of the figures are incredibly tedious to paint because they're so detailed"

Since the advent of ready-made washes (or before, if you make your own), detailed figures are *easier* to paint than simpler figures. This is because with a detailed figure, you just block flat colors, then apply a wash and voilà -- a pretty decent looking model. Maybe some drybrushing afterward. The wash does all the magic by going into every nook and cranny, making your figure look "done", and this requires zero skill.

Contrast this with a plainer figure: because the details just aren't there, there's nothing for a wash to work with, and so you must paint any details yourself, which is way more work than many people are willing to do, and also requires a steadier hand!

Achtung Minen13 Jun 2021 7:49 p.m. PST

I can honestly say that I've never broken a metal model I've dropped… a couple bent models but they were easily bent back. I'm not a fan of auto-cad designed models though, which is basically all plastic models… they all just seem so lifeless and soulless. It works best for vehicles for that reason, I think. But even then, the light weight makes them seem cheap to me, to be honest. I'm actually not even a fan of multipose models even. The sculptor is the artist, I want to see the model *they* sculpted by hand. Having a copy of that mini is like having a little piece of art, a piece of nostalgia. A multi-pose model isn't one single model… it is any number of variants that are largely defined by the end-user, not the artist. It's the different between getting a print of a famous piece of artwork vs … I don't even know… maybe a DIY kit themed on a famous piece of art? But anyway, I was never into kit-building either… I realize a lot of wargamers are and it has a long association with wargaming, particularly in the UK, so maybe its just different strokes for different folks. But I know I parted ways with GW back when they started to go heavy into multi-pose plastics and never regretted that decision. I likewise did the same with Flames of War more recently (never used their rules, but the old metal models were terrific for other games… it was a real shame when they stopped producing them!).

andresf13 Jun 2021 8:39 p.m. PST

> "I'm actually not even a fan of multipose models even. The sculptor is the artist, I want to see the model *they* sculpted by hand."

I understand what you mean, and for some minis I agree. However, I see plastic kits as a kitbasher's dream, and kitbashing is a big deal for me -- but if it isn't for you, I can see how plastic would have a lesser draw. If that's what you prefer, you're in luck with GW's most recent plastics though -- they've been moving away from posable models and towards monopose for some time now, especially for their big centerpiece models. They have options (choose this head or that weapon) but you cannot really pose them. They do have finer details than anything you could make with metal, and their size means if it was metal they would crumple under their own weight, which takes me to my next point:

Quality products and weight -- I get you too! My dad is fond of saying that something expensive should also feel heavy, otherwise he feels cheated. But for me, weight is a hindrance, and I prefer both vehicles and figures to be lightweight for transportation and storage. And if I need to weigh them down, I can always add a washer to their bases.

Squash at home15 Jun 2021 9:33 p.m. PST

I find it curious that the trend currently is towards more slender and realistically properties models. I agree with those who have said this is due to the technology of plastic construction, which allows finer details. However, ever since I have been in the hobby, the unrealistic or "heroic" proportions were always what distinguished Wargames figures from scale models. I chose to start collecting and painting in 1/72 scale, largely due to cost (I was a poor student at the time). But I always felt like my figures were a bit inferior as they didn't look like game pieces. Now the big companies (or at least GW) are bringing figures with more realistic proportions into vogue, and I am feeling great about my choice.
I do think it will be cyclical though. There are already companies that are returning to larger chunkier figures to distinguish themselves from GW or to capture the nostalgic GW market.

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