Thursday, February 19, 2015

Miniature 13- Bringing a small band of 32mm specialists to Kickstarter

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Kickstarter season is back in full swing.  We've got Kickstarters for board games, tabletop games, new miniatures lines, and new companies.  One of these first-time runners is Miniature 13, also known among abbreviated circles as M13.  They don't yet have a game, but what they do have are some really nice looking pieces you should give a look at. Quickly.  Because you only have a week left.

What, really?  Well, yes.  Their Kickstarter was set up to run for 17 days total.  The concept was that Kickstarters seem to do really well for the first week, then plateau, then pick up for the last ten days- so cut out the middle bit, and just run where the money is.  We were a little bit skeptical of this idea, but it seems to be running just fine.

There's a couple really obvious reasons for success on this one: pre-Kickstarter campaigning, quality product, and limited scope.  M13 was thumping the tubs of the internet with prelaunch photos for well over a month- and maybe more than two, my memory isn't what it used to be- making sure people knew what was coming, and that it was going to be short.  Then, he got to see a handful of really crisp concept art- but only a handful, there was no runaway stretch goals on this thing.  That limited scope meant the target could be nice and small, but would attract enough of an audience to allow growth in following launches.  This, by the way, is probably the best design I've seen yet for a unknown trying to make a splash in crowd funding- take the time to make your own crowd, and don't assume that just because Conan can bring in three million dollars, that your home brewed barbarian boardgame is going to come anywhere close.  

Miniature 13 has a bit of a storyline for these models as well- they're a crack team of soldiers for hire.  Which has to be the best excuse I've ever heard of for bringing third party models into a game- a limited team of elite contract professionals. The figures are all sculpted to 32mm- which seems to quickly be replacing 28mm as the "scale of choice" for small miniature game companies.  Personally, I agree- I think there's a lot of details you can work in at 32mm that get lost at 28mm.  Additionally, that 10% increase in scale allows the sculptor to be far more "truescale" in their anatomy, so you don't get the goofy big head and goofy big hands so prevalent in 28mm Heroic models. 

Two of the figures in the Kickstarter are designed to be "Kickstarter Exclusive Models" for M13.  Now, let's take a minute to explain that.  It's not M13's intention to make them exclusive to this Kickstarter, merely exclusive to their Kickstarters and not available on their webstore.  Which is fine, it means I'll be able ot get more of these later and don't need to burst the bank ordering three of each right now.  The downside though is that it means I'm only ordering one of each. Still, these models look really good from their concept art, and I'm willing to toss some money at it to see them unlocked.  

Currently, the "Delta Level" pledge for 85 euros will get you seven models.  Not exactly a windfall of cheap plastics, but remember this is a "true Kickstarter" for a company trying to get off the ground, and that price is pretty reasonable.  After all, it's about a third off of what they claim will be their release prices (although I think they might find they have some trouble moving them during non-Kickstarters if that is the case). That gets you everything currently unlocked in 32mm aside from this big cat guy here... which you can pick up for another 18 euros.  Which I plan on doing, because he should come in at a nice strapping height.  That actually gets you all the models offered in the Kickstarter aside from one last one not yet unlocked.... a sniper on a motorcycle.  Yeah, it is that cool.  I'm really hoping that one gets unlocked as well, I have some cash set aside just in case it gets a little bit closer.  

Also, should you be the type to enjoy painting 54mm pieces, you can get two of the figures cast in that size:  Rayne (the first model shown up above) and Scarecrow.  There are pledge levels which would allow you to get them solo, or add them to an existing 32mm Delta pledge.  Either way, I don't think you're going to be disappointed. The only slightly questionable thing with this Kickstarter is the material the models are being produced in.  As a first time release, we're not sure exactly what we're getting when M13 says they're using a "high quality resin" to produce the models.,  Private conversation with them have assured me that while it seems to be a pressure (possible spun) form of polymer resin, and they are being cast by Zealot Miniatures, which have a good name for quality.  This looks like a great way to help support a fledgling company make their way into the industry, and the models are unique enough to be original takes on their own property, while not so far removed form the norm that they could potentially be inserted into existing 32mm wargaming.  All in all, a solid squad that I'm looking forward ot adding ot my gaming table very soon! If you agree, go pledge in while there's still a few early bird spots open at the Delta level, and save yourself a few euros.

I'll see you on the other side of the table,
The Second Class Elitist

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