I did a little more work on my contest miniature this week. I finished his crossbow and his gloves. I also started on the cloth portions of his clothing. At some point I'll finish him up, hopefully in the next day or two.
I've been wondering if I still want to build my Warlord armies up. Reaper just announced that they are cancelling the 3-packs for grunt-type soldiers and moving to singly packed figures or "army packs" of 9-11 figures. The problem with the single-packed figures is that Reaper took the best-selling sculpt of each grunt type and only sell that sculpt in the single packs. The problem with the army packs is that they cost approximately $40 each. The price point on the 3-packs was perfect for a standard visit to the hobby shop ($12-14) and the 3-packs usually contained 3 different sculpts, so you could build up a unit of soldiers that didn't all look exactly alike.
On the Reaper forums this move has been met with a lot of resistance from casual gamers (like myself) and people who like the 3-packs for games and painting outside of the Warlord hobby, but there are a few hardcore Warlord players who are quite adament that Reaper is doing the best thing for the customers.
The price point issue has been a major issue of debate, with the hardcore players saying that they'll just save for an extra week to buy the army packs and the impulse buyers saying that they'll just buy something besides Warlord figures. I fall into the latter camp. $40 falls into the "planned purchase" category for me, and so I'll probably be buying from other companies with the $10 or $15 purchases that make up the bulk of my hobby spending. Also, how many hobby shops will take a risk on a $40 pack of miniatures that they can't be sure they'll sell?
The problem with getting only one sculpt in the single blisters has also been discussed. The fanboys say that if you really want variety, you can just order single minis directly from Reaper's online store. I have two issues with this. First, one of the selling points of the army packs was that they cost less per model than the smaller packs. That's true, but a lot of people don't need or want 9 or 11 figures of the same type. And ordering the singles through the online catalog is a lot more expensive per model than the army packs or the 3-packs. My second issue with the "order from Reaper" solution is that it bypasses the local hobby shop. This may be good for Reaper in the short-term, but taking business and foot-traffic from the already hard-pressed hobby shops will probably be bad for them in the long term.
I like the minis and the army concepts, but the price point and extra models I'd have to buy for the army packs are putting me off in a big way. For me, Warlord is a cool game that I can pick up a couple figures for every once in a while when I don't have any paints or other figures I need. I just can't justify planning my purchases around these new packs when I have other projects with higher priority. So Reaper is going to lose my business on the Warlord end for a while until they get this sorted out.
In other news, we had a nice visit to my parents' house tonight for Easter dinner. There's always good food to be had on the farm.