Hypothetical Question: Selling of kitbashed minis

sykoholic

Gang Champion
Jun 1, 2017
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I showed a co-worker some of the pics of my kitbashed figs and they suggested I try selling them on eBay or Etsy. I have no such intentions, for three reasons:

  1. I am a collector and consider my kitbashes to be one-of-a-kind and therefor priceless
  2. I honestly don't think I'm a good enough modeller. I always find flaws in my work and feel like I could have done a better job and such would feel like I was selling an inferior product.
  3. Acquiring the bits to build some of these creations can be ridiculously expensive and I would have to charge an equally ridiculous amount just to break even. GW might charge ludicrous prices for a 28-32mm tall piece of plastic but I refuse to.
Anyways... although I have no intentions of selling any of them, I am curious how much people might be willing to pay for.... say... this guy?

 
I wouldn't worry about whether your work is good enough. It doesn't need to be perfect. Indeed, it doesn't even need to be better than the buyer could do themselves. Some people would still be happy to pay others for assembly, painting, etc if they don't have time or enjoy those parts of the hobby (e.g. if they're primarily gamers).

I'm not in that category myself, so I wouldn't be interested in buying someone else's work and have no real idea of the market. But here are two things to consider:

1. Are you making whatever you want, then trying to sell it, or are you willing to do commissions/requests? I expect you'd get more money for the latter, but probably enjoy it less.

2. Are you thinking of this as some kind of job, where you want your time/labour paid for? Or are you thinking of this simply as covering your expenses - i.e. you get to kitbash stuff (which I assume you enjoy) without it costing you anything.
 
There have been a couple of Yaktribe members who sell kitbashes. I imagine as hypothetical you did more and more, you would acquire more and more bits, and experience in skill and ability to use boring bit in an interesting way, making your costs go down and prices up.

Asking people to name a price might be the wrong way to say it. For example, this guy I don't need, so I wouldn't buy him, but if I did I might go so far as £10. But if you asked me how much someone out there might pay I think you could try £25.

So £0, £10 or £25
 
1. Are you making whatever you want, then trying to sell it, or are you willing to do commissions/requests? I expect you'd get more money for the latter, but probably enjoy it less.

2. Are you thinking of this as some kind of job, where you want your time/labour paid for? Or are you thinking of this simply as covering your expenses - i.e. you get to kitbash stuff (which I assume you enjoy) without it costing you anything.

Neither. I have no interest is selling them... though if someone asked, I might be willing to do commissions (though, with my bi-polar tendencies and my random work schedule, I could make no guarantees as to when it would finished). Anyway... as the thread title says, it was simply a hypothetical question. I was just curious.

... if I did I might go so far as £10. But if you asked me how much someone out there might pay I think you could try £25.

So £0, £10 or £25

That's exactly the sort of answer I was looking for. If I were to sell him (hypotheically), that is roughly the price range I would have.

The whole problem with the idea of selling kitbashes is that I probably spent more than that just acquiring the bits to make him so £10 to £25 wouldn't actually cover the cost. However, I would feel like an a-hole if I were to ask more than that.

Here's an example....


Note the pistols she is holding. Those are from the Neyam Shai Murad figure from the Blackstone Fortress Escalation set. That figure is currently selling for $50US on eBay. Essentially, it's $50US just for that pair of pistols. Thus, if I were to build that kitbash today and try to sell it, I would have to charge $50US for it just to cover the cost of the pistols. Let's be honest... nobody in their right mind is going to pay $50US for that figure.

Anyways... as I said, it was a hypothetical question. I have no intention of selling kitbashes. I was just curious.
 
You say hypothetical but I am reading that it is your dream. You should strive towards your dream, whether you get there or not, or even if you feel like the next step isn't big enough.

Regarding the cost, you shouldn't undervalue your work. So many people do. My wife teaches languages and I constantly have to tell her that she should charge more, so I understand. And I'm telling you as well. For a commission piece charge at least double your material costs. But for 'off the shelf pieces' don't use ultra-expensive parts, at least not at first. Keep those bits for requests or until you have a following.

How are you at painting? I imagine that the customers that pay for kitbashes are also the type to not want to paint too.

You might also want to research what styles are popular. A good way is to look on a site like this to see who gets the most likes. Then look for similarities. Is gore a common feature, cold or warm colours, Necromunda or Inquisimunda (or any other system you would be interested in making), etc.

But start small and see where it goes.

Do you have a piece that cost you less than 15usd to make? And are you familiar with international postage costs?
 
You say hypothetical but I am reading that it is your dream.

Not at all. I simply enjoy creating unique minis. I have never once ever considered trying to make money from it. If someone asked me to kitbash a mini for them and supplied the bits, I would do it for free.

How are you at painting?

Mediocre. (IMO). I haven't actually painted anything in nearly 15 years and, as such, am horribly out of practice. I found painting to be a chore and don't really enjoy it.

Do you have a piece that cost you less than 15usd to make?

Maybe this guy... and that's only because he's not really a kitbash but more of a conversion with spare bits I already had. I'm not GW so there's no way I'd charge 15USD for him.
 
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Whether you sell your work or not, it is truly very inspired and well done! I had some similar ideas several years ago about making and selling terrain, but I quickly tossed those ideas because of how slow I am at building and painting.
 
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Instead of selling (which you already said you have no interest in) how about blogging the process in a sort of step-by-step way? Like an instruction manual for kitbashers using whatever you feel like making at the time. I really enjoyed @Kiblams and @Bilbostomper’s stuff but I have no interest in laser cutting. And @Hawkins44 ’s (I think it was) creation of new Necromunda tiles.
 
“Have you put primer on these? They look very glossy. Plus that Adventuring Noble looks a bit… detail clogged. Look at the skull on the waist, the respirator round the neck and is that fluff stuck to the gun on the right??”

Am I being harsh??? Yes. Because that’s what you face if/when you offer stuff up for sale. People will use that to lower the price. Because people want bargains and can be dicks. They don’t care it cost you £50 to get those guns or how many days/hours to make it.

Anyway, you’ve identified the big flaw with kitbashes - scaling up production.

Kitbashing is practically a hobby in itself, much like conversions. Plenty of people love the process of creating a unique miniature and collecting components to do so.
There are more though that either don’t have the time, skill or passion to do that - but they love the end result. Those people may be the ones who would buy a kitbash/conversion.
It’s a bit like painting services; people who just want to game and want a pretty (rather than bare material) army will pay to have their models beautified.

I don’t know how many people have made any kind of success from kitbash/conversion sales. Getting the parts is hard, expensive and means you end up with a lot of waste. That means you have to have silly prices. ForgeWorld is getting to £25 a single mini these days and a lot of people refuse to pay that!! 3D printed stuff can be acquired for £6-£10. That’s your competition.

I have a feeling a lot who try this route often go off to create bits services, or their own miniature ranges anyway which they can scale up as they own those parts and don’t have to track them down.

So… you want my advice (I’m guessing not after that opening) - you need to start an Instagram account showcasing your work, your WIPs and even fully painted versions of completed miniatures so it’s a showcase of what these look like once fully finished.

Then, like sol_vince on Instagram you can build up a following, then a fan base and at that point, you can offer up your finished pieces for sale - hopefully by then people will pay appropriate costs to acquire one of your original pieces.
 
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Instead of selling (which you already said you have no interest in) how about blogging the process in a sort of step-by-step way? Like an instruction manual for kitbashers using whatever you feel like making at the time.

Honestly, I don't think I'm a good enough modeler to do something like that. Don't get me wrong. I'm very proud of these creations but I'm also very aware of the flaws and the fact that there is a great deal of room for improvement. I need to get allot better before I go telling other people how it's done.. Also, I'd need to get a better camera and become a better photographer.

They don’t care it cost you £50 to get those guns or how many days/hours to make it.

Kitbashing is practically a hobby in itself, much like conversions. Plenty of people love the process of creating a unique miniature and collecting components to do so.
There are more though that either don’t have the time, skill or passion to do that - but they love the end result. Those people may be the ones who would buy a kitbash/conversion.

Getting the parts is hard, expensive and means you end up with a lot of waste. That means you have to have silly prices.

Indeed. As I said, if I were to try making the Adventuring Noble today, I would have to pay 50USD just to get the guns (not gonna happen) and then have to try to sell the figure for (at least) $50 just to cover the cost and nobody is going to pay $50 for that figure. There is also the issue that, game-wise, the figure is utterly useless. What are the rules for an Adventuring Noble? There aren't any. So, unless the players allow "counts as" rules, the figure has absolutely no use in the game. As such, why would anybody buy it?

Again, I have absolutely no interest in trying to sell my kitbashes. A co-worker simply suggested that I do it and just to satisfy my own curiosity, I asked what other people might be willing to pay. Nothing more.
 
I’ve seen your work elsewhere on the forum, you do nice work, if you don’t have an Instagram, it may be worth doing one - there’s a decent kitbash/convert community on there.

As for the Adventuring Noble, people would use it for whatever. A Kal Jericho proxy is the obvious one and if they’re happy with that and everyone else is, it’s fine.
 
Nah. Don’t tell people how to do it. Tell people how you did it. That’s what the three I mention do.

I have an instagram and post on FB forums not because I’m great in any way, but to encourage others of similar ability to do the same because i wanna see more stuff. I’ve entered almost every Yakcomp since I joined up, and I’m always in the bottom of the votes. Still hasn’t stopped me from entering or sharing pics.

Anyhow, if it’s something you want to do (sharing outside Yaktribe), then do it. If you don’t wanna, don’t. It’s your hobby, you decide where, when, and if you share it. I like seeing stuff here, and tend not to follow stuff like YouTube channels or blogs. But I will look at some from time to time.
 
I tend to avoid social media. I've always seen it as self-absorbed, attention whoring... "Look at me! This is what I'm doing! Aren't I special?"... like those jackasses that post pics of their food.... "This is what I'm having for lunch. Aren't I just so trending, hip, and health conscious?".

To me, social media is responsible for the self-centered, self-important, self-entitled "me" mentality that seems so prevalent in society today. It creates a mini, virtual universe that revolves solely around the individual and makes them the center of everything. Hence, why people spend so much time with their face buried in their phone. The "world" created by their social media accounts revolves solely around them, which is far more appealing than the real world, which does not. In their social media universe, they matter. In the real world, they do not. Thus, the virtual world created by their social media accounts is preferred. They spend so much time in this virtual world where everything revolves around them that they become accustomed to having everything revolve around them and thus retain that perception and mentality in the real world and as a result, behave like self-centered, self-important, self-entitled assholes.

Gah... soap box psycho-babble rant. Sorry.

(Note: I am fully aware that I am, in my own way, as guilty of the above behavior as anyone else thus making me a hypocrite. The very fact that I posted the statement on an on-line forum is, in and of itself, a hypocrisy.)

Anyways... I've never really considered having a blog or Instagram (or whatever) account where I post in-progress pics and explanations of my kitbashes. I really don't see much point in it. I honestly don't think I'm all that good at it. Most of my better creations are a result of pure dumb luck. Other people are far better at it (and way more interesting/entertaining) so why would anybody bother looking at mine. Also, the rules (and GW itself) do not encourage (or even allow) creativity. Most of my bkitbashes are far from "rules compliant" and are therefore of no interest to most people.
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Uh... okay... yeah... wild tangent and subsequent brain fart... what was I talking about? How did we go from me asking how much people might hypothetically pay for a kitbash to me ranting about social media? 🤨
 
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No worries. I have lacked any true "intellectual stimulation" for four months so my brain is mush.

I definitely feel that kitbashing is something that needs to be promoted and encouraged, in the conjunction with the allowance of the "counts-as" rule. Not meaning this as any sort of criticism towards anyone but if you look at the forum gallery, it's just the same stuff over and over again. "Oh gee... yet another generic, out-of-the-box, Goliath gang." Yes... the paint job is superb but it is still just another Goliath/Escher/Orlock/etc gang. Boring! Where's the creativity? Where's the originality? Where's the imagination? The answer is simple.... the rules don't allow it and this dissuades most people from doing it. Why spend the time and energy (and money) to kitbash something that they aren't going to be allowed to use?

This needs to be changed. Kitbashing and "counts-as" need to be promoted and encouraged. Blogs and Instagram accounts dedicated to kitbashing are certainly a good means of achieving this. I just don't think that yours truly is the person to do it.

Hmmm... ranting about how there needs to be more creativity and imagination in the hobby yet reluctant to do anything about it... to quote Doc Holiday in Tombstone, "It seems my hypocrisy knows no bounds". :confused:
 
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Isn’t there a Lorax quote that goes along with that? Something like “If now you, who? If not now, when?” But I’m also notoriously free with other peoples time and money…
 
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“If not you, who?”

Somebody who is better at it and more charismatic thus more effective and can actually accomplish something. I'm a thinker, not a doer. ;)


I’m also notoriously free with other peoples time and money…

As am I. If thinking more people need to kitbash isn't being free with their time and money, I don't know what is. :ROFLMAO:
 
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A lot of the reason behind why there isn't a lot of kitbashing is simple (and you already noted it)- there isn't a reason to do it because there are no rules for it in the game(s). Necromunda is a bit different in that you have access to a lot of options via the Trading Post, but for the mainline games like 40k or AoS, if the model doesn't have rules then you don't play with it. There are exceptions, but that would be the main reason that kitbashing isn't done for the majority of the gaming community.

Even in Necromunda, you'll face some difficulties in finding an in-game reason to kitbash. Yes, you can buy almost anything in the Trading Post, but you have some issues even with that; the "more boys or more toys" conundrum is always there, as is the obvious problem of real-world money and getting the most value out of your hobbying dollars. Is it really smart to spend X amount of RL money on a kit-bashed Orlock with a multi-melta when you may not ever use it beyond the one campaign? If you are playing with a dedicated, serious group of Necro addicts that will play either long campaigns or use older gangs when starting up a new campaign, then you may have a reason for the super-cool conversion. If, on the other hand, you play shorter campaigns or ones that frequently involve either new gangs or newer players, then you may never have the chance to use the conversion again. Those are some of the problems with kitbashing.

For me personally, I love seeing peoples' odd or crazy kitbashes, and even indulging in them myself occasionally. I view the hobby from a whole-process view, trying to enjoy the building of a model as much as the playing (though I'm less tolerant of painting). I know that for a lot of players they just care about the actual game, and I can understand that view, but it is detrimental (in my opinion), to the skill of customizing and kitbashing.

As far as the original post was concerned, about selling kitbashed models, I think that is a hard personal choice. As was pointed out, the buyer most likely will not care about the amount of money spent on it, the time invested in both the concept creation and actual modeling work, or anything else really. So selling a kitbashed model is a very iffy thing, unless you are kitbashing a model that currently doesn't have rules (like a Necro named Bounty Hunter or something), you have a pretty small audience that would probably purchase it just by listing it on eBay or something. You can increase that audience by several ways- painting the model to a high standard (thus putting it into a more "general" style of listing of just awesome painted model), using social media or some other method to increase interest in your own work, or going hard into the specialist idea and creating your own "standard" of ganger/army type.
 
Fame, fortune, and narcissistic internet preening are all out. Unfortunately, I believe this year's Yak Santa has closed, as it might be one of the most worthwhile outlets for kitbashing creativity. However there is always next year! In all seriousness, it usually has a good many kitbashes and conversions, and they are shared with people who really appreciate the craftsmanship and artistry that go into a customized miniature. Keep an eye out for it next time it comes around!
 
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A lot of the reason behind why there isn't a lot of kitbashing is simple (and you already noted it)- there isn't a reason to do it because there are no rules for it in the game(s). Necromunda is a bit different in that you have access to a lot of options via the Trading Post, but for the mainline games like 40k or AoS, if the model doesn't have rules then you don't play with it. There are exceptions, but that would be the main reason that kitbashing isn't done for the majority of the gaming community.

Even in Necromunda, you'll face some difficulties in finding an in-game reason to kitbash. Yes, you can buy almost anything in the Trading Post, but you have some issues even with that; the "more boys or more toys" conundrum is always there, as is the obvious problem of real-world money and getting the most value out of your hobbying dollars. Is it really smart to spend X amount of RL money on a kit-bashed Orlock with a multi-melta when you may not ever use it beyond the one campaign? If you are playing with a dedicated, serious group of Necro addicts that will play either long campaigns or use older gangs when starting up a new campaign, then you may have a reason for the super-cool conversion. If, on the other hand, you play shorter campaigns or ones that frequently involve either new gangs or newer players, then you may never have the chance to use the conversion again. Those are some of the problems with kitbashing.

I kitbash entire new gangs. One of my on-going projects is a gang of Hive Brats. In case you don't know what a Hive Brat is, a bit of a history lesson. The predecessor to Necromunda was a game called "Confrontation", the rules for which were published in a series of articles in White Dwarf magazine back in the early 90s. In Confrontation, one of the gang types were called Hive Brats: young members of rich noble houses who dressed flamboyantly and used exotic weapons. When Necromunda was published, the Hive Brats were replaced by the Spyrers (which, while still young nobles, were something completely different) and their flamboyant look was given to the Eldar Harlequins.

Anyways, I figured that young nobles getting together to venture into the Underhive to raise hell and maybe make a name for themselves are very much a likelihood in the world of Necromunda so I decided to build some... even though there are no rules for them. I decided to go with a more cyberpunk look rather than the flamboyant look that the original Hive Brat figures. I imagine that each individual gang of Hive Brats have their own unique look to identify them. Anyways... mine are a combination of Eldar Harlequin and Tau Pathfinder parts. It is proving to be something of a pain as not only do the Pathfinder legs need foot swaps but the Harlequin torsos are too small at the waist to properly fit on the legs and will require greenstuff, which I'm not very good at. Heads are also a problem. Human heads are larger than Eldar heads and typically look ridiculous when put on an Eldar body. There is also the issue of hair. Hair style is often part of a gangs' look so I want my Hive Brats have a particular hairdo... shaved bald on the side but left long on top, similar to a mohawk but rather than sticking up, it is allowed to fall to one side or else pulled back into a tail (a warhawk). Obviously, heads with such a specific hair style aren't going to be found. So... not only do I have to find bald human head (male and female) that fit on Eldar bodies but then I'm going to have to greenstuff hair onto them. Ugh!

(And I actually wonder why more people don't kitbash? :rolleyes:)

As for rules, that's easy. They're young nobles therefore they're rich and have access to more advanced technology. Thus, logically they "count as" Van Saar.

"Counts As" was much easier with original Necromunda. Each of the gangs essentially specialized in a specific trait:
  • Orlock - Toughness
  • Escher - Speed
  • Goliath – Strength
  • Van Saar - Tech
  • Cawdor - Faith (Willpower)
  • Delaque - Stealth
Simply pick which trait best suits the idea/theme of your new gang and voila, "counts as".

I'm also kitbashing military/security forces for the various Necromunda Guilds, even though there are no rules for them. There aren't even any rules for some of the Guilders themselves. We don't even know what an Air Guilder looks like, though I imagine long, flowing robes and lots of tubes. There isn't any art of an Electro Guilder either but there is at least something of a description.

Obviously, creating whole new gangs is not something most players are going to do. As you said, most players just want to play the game... and there's nothing wrong with that. [Psychoanalytical Anti-GW Rant Cancelled.] It would just be encouraging to see some originality and creativity rather than just the same thing over and over. If nothing else, it would give me ideas and inspiration for my own kitsbashes.

What any of this has to do with anything, I don't know but.... :rolleyes:o_O:unsure::confused:
 
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