A Fireside Chat
Hudson here! Welcome! Come on in, slip into your favorite smoking jacket, stoke the fire a bit, pour yourself a calvados, and settle into one of those leather wingbacks for a little chat.
- Vox Populi lets you vote on sets that are already planned to be produced - your vote just lets your choice skip to the front of the queue. There have been over a thousand votes cast so far.
- There’s no slow down on plastic releases - quite the opposite!
- The Atlantic Digital experiment is full steam ahead with 11 new file sets each month for each of our 11 ranges (we know we’re missing 3 file sets from previous months - they’re almost done too)
- We’ve been REALLY busy with a secret project
There always seems to be a lot of confusion about what we’re up to. I think a lot of it stems from the reality that most people don’t read anymore. And part of it comes from the fact that we probably over-share information. And part of it is just that we’re doing a LOT of different stuff!
Most companies like ours might preview a set of plastic and then you don’t hear about it for a year until it’s released. Since launching in 2019 we’ve always flooded our site and socials with loads of updates so it has always seemed like a lot of stuff going on. We’ve also worked on a LOT of plastic sets (probably too many because we’ve front loaded the production schedule with over 40 sets!) because we have a great team of in-house sculptors who like to keep busy (which was one of the reasons we launched Atlantic Digital but more on that below).
Although I just put our annual Statum Atlanticum update out a few months ago, I thought it was a good time to check in with everyone because there is a LOT to keep track of!
We launched our new voting system earlier this year replacing the former Release Schedule (which is now just keeping tabs on what’s out of stock or about to be released). The reason for this is that we have over 40 sets either fully designed or at some stage that’s fairly advanced and we wanted to give YOU the opportunity to move the ones you want the most to the front of the line.
The way the system works is that you’re basically buying a “vote” for $5 but it’s not just a vote it’s also a gift voucher for the online store that can be redeemed immediately. When you buy it you’re sent a code to paste into the “Discount code or gift card” box at checkout. You can paste as many as you like into one order. So there’s no true cost for a vote and no risk as you can just immediately put the $5 toward a purchase…AND you get to advance the set you want.
We knew going into this that it would be a slow roll as it was A. new and unique and B. it always takes a long time to get folks to try something different. So far we’ve had over 1000 votes and the #1 set as I’m writing this is the Trojan Chariot with 124 votes (12% of goal) and #2 is Cannon Fodder Command and Heavy Support with 120 votes (12% of goal). My suspicion is that once one of these gets over the finish line and we slot it in straightaway it will open peoples’ eyes to how the thing works. Time will tell!
We let you know back in January our biggest challenge is keeping up with production and keeping our three warehouses stocked up. There are a variety of factors that go into this but most of it has to do with playing catch up from the move from China to US-based production. Getting the US-based team up to the same speed and quality of China was a painful, drawn out process that took way too long and knocked us off pace.
We also wanted to change up how we do releases. Instead of having a new release show up at three different times to the three warehouses (with US always first as it’s closest to production and doesn’t require a ship or plane) we wanted to have global release dates. So a set goes up for pre-order and then x weeks after that is the release date but that means it’s the same date for Australia, US, and UK and all ships out at once (the release may be sitting around for a month in the US waiting for the UK ship to arrive). The German Sentries and SAS are our last sets being done the old way. The next one - WW1 British - will have a global release. We’re working on the plan for that now.
This year we plan to release at least 12 new plastic sets in total (more if we are able to) but we want to make sure we are doing it right and setting ourselves up for success going forward. So far the Landsknecht Ogres, Harvesters, German Sentries, and SAS have released/are releasing in 2023. WW1 British next and then at least 7 to follow.
And that brings us to…
April was our sixth month of Atlantic Digital and it’s been a crazy learning experience - we still are learning as we go. We’ve gone from zero to close to 800 subscribers and so far we’ve released 77 different file sets (and thousands of individual files).
For those of you who don’t know about it, Atlantic Digital is our 3D file and 3D print arm. As mentioned above, we have an incredible team of sculptors on staff and we’ve front loaded the plastics release schedule with so much stuff we wanted to give them another outlet for their creativity. So each month we create one set of files for each of our 11 ranges. Some of these are single figures, some are conversion parts for our plastics, some are terrain items, many are full figure sets like you’d get on a plastic frame.
It’s taken us a bit of time to get used to the schedule and process and we have (mostly) ironed out the kinks. As the months go by we will be bringing out that month’s releases earlier (we tend to release them all toward the end of the month or into the following month). We’ve missed a couple sets here and there (these will be added back in over the next couple weeks). But all in all the process has been fun and it’s given the team a chance to make a lot of stuff. It’s also a great test market for things that may be popular enough to move into plastic…speaking of…
We’ve been hard at work on a secret project in partnership with a well-known tabletop gaming content brand. The goal of the project is to do something we’ve never done before and bring out an entire Death Fields army in one shot through a crowdfunding campaign. And by army we mean 6+ hard plastic sets in one shot! We’ll be making an announcement about this soon but we’re within a few weeks of launch so you’ll be hearing a LOT about it.
Which brings us to…
The Atlantic Digital releases are constant - with 11 each month there’s a lot of activity on that side of the house (i.e. averaging a new thing every 3 days!). And although we’ve explained how it’s an outlet for our sculptors and doesn’t effect the plastic side of things, there are folks who either refuse to believe that or just thrive on complaining about whatever their pet peeve of the moment is. So despite Landsknecht Ogres, Harvesters, German Sentries, SAS, and WW1 all being released/announced - and despite there being over 40 other plastic sets in the pipeline - and despite the Quar game and Gangs of Rome plastics being in development - and despite the other 6+ sets that are being developed for the crowdfunding campaign - and despite the changes to global releases announced in January - they will insist that digital is taking up effort that is somehow being taken away from plastic. So when they come moaning just point them to this - or any of the several previous announcements. Of course it won’t make a difference because we know how people (especially wargamers) like to catastrophize the slightest misperception but at least those who take a little time to read or listen will get it. Now that you are here right now reading this you’ve joined the ranks of those who know!
So now you’re up to speed on everything (well almost everything) that’s bubbling behind the scenes here at WA. I hope you enjoyed my Ted Talk! Stay tuned for the big secret project announcement!