Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Price is Right!

Fly here to discuss the actual retail price... and to remind you to have your pets spayed or neutered.
I, like most of you, have an army that I secretly want to buy, build and paint even though I don't have the means or the relationship capital with my wife to do it. That army for me right now is Imperial Fists. I want a full on painted, converted, fluffy Imperial Fist army with all sorts of units, so I can mix and match every game to my current whims and playing style (this is also why I chose Imperial Fists and Guard as my next charity army).

But man, the cost. New stuff costs an arm and a leg. Sign on to any forum to hear people nerd-rage and threaten to rage-quit all GW games because of the insane price hikes that have been occurring over the past few years. Land Raiders now cost $74.25 retail. Yeow. Michigan minimum wage is $7.40 per hour. Some simple math would indicate that you'd have to work 10 hours flipping burgers to even sniff a Land Raider... but taxes! Lets pretend you fall into a 23% tax bracket-ish (which is about right at minimum wage considering 15% Federal and 6% Social Security and a couple percent for State of Michigan). After taxes, you're actually taking home $5.70 per hour, meaning  it would take a little over 13 hours instead to get that AV14 tank.
Sales tax (welcome to Pure Michigan!)! 6% in our great state. That makes it $78.71. That's 13.8 hours of work to get to unwrap that pretty little box. To clip that grey plastic off of the frames... to inhale the glue fumes and enjoy the modeling processes.
Ho hum.
That's a lot to take in. This hobby IS pricey. It is. You can't get around that. How pricey? I think that I've read posts about this before but I think its worth examining again, especially with the cost of goods and services going up and the wages of the average American staying the same or going down.

So I want to get this Fists army off of the ground. This is the price just for models. We're getting:

The Codex
2 x Assault Terminator Boxes
1 x Tactical Terminators
1 x Centurions
2 x Drop Pods
3 x Rhinos
4 x Tactical Squads
2 x Devastator Squads
2 x Storm Talons
1 x Storm Raven
2 x Land Raider Crusaders
1 x Thunderfire Cannon

Brace yourself.

Yeow. Not including taxes. Tack on 6% and we get $1191.44...
Then paint, glue, primer...
A cool grand and some change. 209 hours of work at minimum wage in Michigan. Who needs food? Or rent?
I don't know if America is ready to acknowledge how grim the economy looks right now. I make good money at my job but I know that some of my peers simply don't. This is a discussion for another time but I'm not certain where we're going in the country or where we'll be in 20 years.
Back on topic though, that number appears pretty high. It makes me sweat a little just reading it. I imagine that's why people end up going online to shop. I will list the price for this exact army with shipping currently on Ebay with Buy-it-now new.
Drum roll...
$955.06 including shipping and taxes. That is the current price, if I wanted that army right now at this exact moment NEW. The price drops further if I want to buy used and am prepared to rehab models. The taxes are currently a non-issue due to ineffective enforcement of tax laws and the internet. That's about a 20% savings! That is significant and is probably why people turn away from their local game store and go to Ebay. When faced with a  budget, that 20% seems important... even though it probably isn't as big a deal as it seems. Refer to the Hornblower article posted a few weeks back, in which he urges us to pay where we play.
This does seem to be an expensive hobby.
My buddy and his wife enjoy their hobby quite a bit. They don't play Warhammer though. They do something that on its surface appears to be way cooler: Hot-air ballooning.
The last time I went and helped them get a balloon in the air for a relaxing evening, I not-so-discreetly asked how much their set up cost them.
This includes:
The balloon
The basket
The burner
Tons of ropes and carabineers
"About $9000. We got it all used from a guy getting out of ballooning." Yikes. $9k is a lot of money, I don't care who you are. Alas, they are floating above our great state drinking wine (I'm not sure if you can drink wine, but why not?) so it really doesn't matter. You can do your own research to see the cost off all of that stuff new but it does little to further my point. $9000 is a plenty expensive hobby. 1578.94 hours at minimum wage. YIKES!

I got another buddy who loves video games. He can disappear for weeks at a time as a new game comes out. To get started new into video gaming... without getting a sweet TV.
Xbox 360, extra controller, GTAV, Call of Duty, Headset, X-Box Live for 3 months on BestBuy.com.
That's 81.57 of minimum wage hours. And every game is 10.5 hours more.
Tacking on the tax is another 6% and/or shipping. A TV can range $300 to thousands. HD cables aren't free either, last time I checked.

There are other hobbies out there. Some  are surprisingly cheap like homebrewing. Some are un-surprisingly expensive, like classic cars. No matter hobby you pick, they cost MONEY! And all hobbies continue to get more expensive as inflation continues.
So here we are. Prices in Warhammer at an all time high. The economy and wages at an all time low. Where does this leave you, average gamer? Where do you fall?
Do you buy online? Buy used? Buy new? How do you feel about this?
Until next time!


  1. I think part of the complaint, though, isn't just the cost itself, it's the way prices are continually rising for GW products, something that doesn't happen in other hobbies (or so it would seem). Take, for example, the video game industry: game prices hit a cap (typically $60 unless it's a special edition) and the consoles themselves get *cheaper* over time, at least until the latest & greatest new one gets released, but then the cycle repeats itself.

    GW is sliding out of metal and into plastic, which should mean that their production costs are getting cheaper, not more expensive, and their annual price hikes seem to indicate. Today a bare-bones SM Battle Company would cost you $772.50 (not including taxes & shipping if applicable); that same make-up (Commander, Command Squad, Razorback, 6 Tactical Squads, 2 Assault Squads, 2 Devastator Squads, 8 Rhinos) went for a "measly" $450 back in 2007 when Apocalypse first made an appearance...while not quite doubling in price, in the span of 6 years that same composition went up $322.50, and only the Tactical Squads are new sculpts...

    1. That is insane. The box sure looks nicer but $322.50?Yeow.

  2. I go to Bartertown. That way I can trade for my newest insanely planned out converted army using stuff I previously got for the insanely planned out converted army I never got to ;)

    Craigslist and trading with locals is also a great way to do things.

    1. I'll have to check out bartertown. I've heard good stuff about it.

  3. Plastic is made with oil. Oil is expensive. Also, I started to wander from GW and explore other mini companies out there since I stopped playing. Just stick with GW. The sheer volume of cool minis out there could drive you bankrupt, even though mini per mini they are less than GW.

  4. ONE army I secretly one to buy? Try like nine....

  5. Minimum wage is like $5.70? That's crazy, no wonder you always hear about people needing to work 2-3 jobs

    1. Here in Canada min wage is $10 an hour. Of course our income tax is higher than anywhere in the world so, you still need to work at least 2 jobs to support our government's nasty spending habit...

    2. Well it's about $5.70 after taxes. On paper its over $7.