STATUM ATLANTICUM ANNO MMXXIII

STATUM ATLANTICUM ANNO MMXXIII

It’s been another great year at Wargames Atlantic - our biggest year yet - not without it’s challenges but what’s the fun in not having any challenges?!

In this update last year we were about to release our 22nd-25th box sets. We’re now about to release our 36th-38th!

Atlantic Digital

The big news from the end of last year is the launch of Atlantic Digital. We’ve been keeping an eye on the 3D printing space for a long time (and 3D printing has been part of our workflow from day one). We determined the time was now right to throw our hat into the ring.

There are a lot of reasons to go the 3D route which we’ve talked about here and online:

  1. make smaller sets/characters that wouldn't be viable in hard plastic (just like other companies make non-hard plastic figures in metal or resin)
  2. create conversion parts for existing plastic sets
  3. make a lot MORE great 28mm figures for you
  4. make things much, much faster
  5. have your participation in what gets made
  6. give the sculpting team a chance to create interesting things that they want to design

We knew we wanted to offer 3D STL files for folks who had their own printers (or access to one) but we also wanted to make it easy for non-printers to just buy figures that we made in this format. Our solution was partnering with MyMiniFactory which helps us do all these things.

We’ve set up a Tribe on MMF - a monthly subscription service that provides you with figures and complete sets for all 11 of our ranges each month! These are built around a theme each month - December was “Civilians”, January is “Rebels and Revolutionaries”, February will be “Religions and Cults”, and March is being voted on now.

We also use MMF’s physical printing arm Only-Games.co to sell physical printed versions of our digital sculpts in smaller packs. Eventually we will be selling printed versions of these products on our own site so that you can bundle plastic sets with printed resin products. We’ll be putting that in place over the coming months.

 

Hard Plastic Production

The big move of our manufacturing from China to the US took a longer time to ramp up to the levels of China-quantities production. Now we’re there with the right equipment, team, and processes and firing on all thrusters.

Our original plan was to ramp up in 2022 to 4-5 new hard plastic releases each month and we built the Release Schedule to prepare for that volume. But since it became a restructuring year we decided to refocus on the fundamentals…more on that below.

We also want to move toward GLOBAL releases. Right now this is how it works:

  1. New set is sculpted and parts are sent to engineering
  2. While engineering happens we print 3D models for painting
  3. While tooling is happening the photos of the models are given to Henry Hyde (who will already have the box illustration) to design the box
  4. We print the boxes in the UK and send enough for US and Australian/Asian production to the US (amazingly this is less expensive than printing in the US)
  5. At the same time we run the plastic in the US. Some gets packed into the individual boxes for the US/Australian warehouses and some is sent as cartons of sprue to the UK where our friends at Sarissa pack out our boxes for us and then do UK/EU fulfillment
  6. But…then we run into ship and air schedules for getting things from the US to the UK and Australia. Ideally we’d like to have everything in each warehouse ready to go and all pre-orders ship out the same day…a Global Release date. That’s going to be the goal for future releases after the current batch are all out the door but this may take some time to perfect.

Speaking of the current batch - Ooh Rah are en route to the UK (arriving Southampton on the 13th February), Landsknecht Ogres and Harvesters are with the freight company waiting for a spot on a ship. Ooh Rah, SpaceNam, Landsknecht Ogres, and Harvesters are all going via air courier to Australia (so will beat the UK). The two sets we did for 02 Hundred Hours - SAS/Commandos and German Sentries are having their plastic run (boxes are already printed). Our next release after those is WW1 British.

 

Future Hard Plastics and the Release Schedule

The other challenge we’ve had this year is just keeping product in stock. We can never seem to catch up because you lot are buying our sets too fast! (We know this is a GOOD problem to have and thank you!)

As mentioned above we’re going to spend time further refining our manufacturing and release process. This will help reduce confusion on when new releases will be available and keep everyone happy. At the same time it will give us more time to build up stock in the three global warehouses (US, UK, and Australia). Our goal is to get ahead of demand with thousands upon thousands of sets in place so that we can then restock well in advance of anything getting to low quantities.

Basically, we’re slowing down the pace a bit so we can hit a stride with global release dates and then get faster and get back on track for those 4-5 sets each month. 12 new sets in a year is nothing to sneeze at - we don’t know of anyone other than Games Workshop putting out that much in hard plastic each year? - but we want to do MOAR.

That brings us to the Release Schedule. There is a LOT on it. Even when we put out 12 new sets this year it will leave 20+ sets still to do. So we want to put the decision on what gets made first into YOUR hands.

We have a track record of letting YOU decide what we make. The Aztecs, Conquistadors, and Landsknecht Ogres were all the result of your ideas and your votes. Now we want to take that concept and make it into a more formal system.

Introducing VOX POPULI!   

Vox Populi is our system where your votes are going to determine what gets made next…and ongoing. Here’s how it works:

  1. Every item that was formerly on the Release Schedule is now set up in Vox Populi and open for voting. Any set that gets at least 1000 votes moves immediately into fast track production. (If multiple sets reach this milestone quickly we will have to space them out a little but we will try to get them all out concurrently and as quickly as possible)
  2. Votes are purchased for $5 each. You can vote for as many sets as you like and make as many votes per set as you like.
  3. The $5 vote is also a voucher that is immediately able to be redeemed on our site. You can spend $5 on a vote and immediately redeem that $5 as part of a store purchase. Or you can save them and use them later when the sets you vote on are produced and available to order. 
  4. This isn’t a crowdfunding campaign. The money is not held or allocated for any specific set it’s just a way to have folks put their money where their mouth is toward specific sets. This way the playing field is level. We have chosen to use this method in order to ensure genuine Wargames Atlantic fans get the chance to influence our future releases rather than an open voting system that can be spammed by any Tom, Dick, Harry, or Boaty McBoatface
  5. Just because your set doesn’t generate the votes necessary doesn’t mean it won’t be made. Everything in Vox Populi is moving toward production but this program will get you what you want most the fastest.
  6. We reserve the right to release additional products that may not appear within Vox Populi
  7. As sets are made we’ll run contests to suggest and add new entries to Vox Populi

We hope you like this idea and are excited for the chance to determine our future product line up! We’re very interested to see how it goes. If it works great, if it doesn’t generate a lot of interest we’ll scrap it or revise it. Nothing ventured nothing gained!

Wait…there’s more…

What else is in store for 2023? Lots! We’re going to put our mark on Kickstarter and see what that’s all about. Maybe it lets us get a whole army out in one go for you. We’re also going to be moving ahead with our license partnerships and releasing more products with them and possibly adding some new ones too. And our first games are being worked on - some small, some big. They may not see 2023 but they are moving along. And we have a lot of outsource projects we’re working on for other companies too.

We hope you continue to ride with us on this journey and we hope you enjoy what 2023 brings!

Previous article Vox Populi - Turning Your Votes Into Plastic Sets!
Next article Vote on Our March Theme!

Comments

Joshua Duplock - January 30, 2023

I’m much in the same boat as Brendan Flynn, waiting for orders to ship down to dismal old Australia. I pre-ordered the Landschnekt Ogres back in October, and ordered some Grognards in September before that. Waiting for both to hit the warehouses, then Auspost etc. In the meantime I found some of a box of cannon fodder to work on at my friendly local game store.
Still, I’m glad to hear you’re acknowledging the shipping situation. Hope its smooth sailing from here

Y. Whateley - January 24, 2023

@Colin Brewer: Great topic, actually, regarding the sprues! I hate seeing anything go to waste.

There’s a YouTuber – “Miniature Hobbyist” – who has made a series of videos on ideas for putting those sprues to good use, from clipping them into logs, bricks, cobblestones, and scaffolds/frames for use as scenic items, buildings, and bases, to carving them into small objects like furniture, bottles, candles, and other decorative items, to using acetone (careful with that stuff!) to dissolve the plastic into “sprue goo” that can then be melted into flat riveted panels, rolled flat with textured rollers to make stone walls, or molded into trees and bushes and other miscellaneous items. His viewers started sending him their leftover sprues, and he turned a huge number of them into a gigantic Warhammer 40K spacecraft model, and a great orc battlemech.

Probably most of us have accumulated enough sprues by now to craft them into elaborate castles, city ruins, walls and ramparts, barges and ships, and other scenic items that might otherwise get outsourced to model manufacturers to build for you expensively from fresh materials – if you can put even a portion of those sprues to use in crafting useful buildings and scenic items for your game table, at the cost of a common solvent, a few hobby supplies, and a little scratch-building magic, that sounds like a win-win for just about everyone (except the people who make a living getting you to pay them to manufacture 28mm buildings and terrain from unrecycled materials!)

Brendan Flynn - January 22, 2023

I was very excited about a number of kits back mid to late last year. Landsnecht Ogres, Harvesters and in particular the SpaceNam minis. I preordered the Spacenam minis in October when the release schedule said November for Australia but it has since gone to December, then January and now it looks like it will roll over again to February. These have been available for preorder since September so this means a six month turn around before they even hit the warehouse…..add another month for Australia Post and thats a pretty dismal showing….I can only hope they are worth the wait. I certainly will not be using the preorder again.

It seems you are aware of the problems and are working on solutions, I hope you find some as WA are the miniature company that excite me the most at the moment.

Walt - January 20, 2023

At first I was like “five dollars to have a say!?”
Then I was like “it’s also an instant voucher for WGA store!?”

Yes yes! You are good men.

Wargames Atlantic - January 20, 2023

Colin Brewer- HIPS (high impact polystyrene) is recyclable although not every municipality will take it. We do regrind and use a small amount mixed in new product (anything more than 5% and you’re asking for material issues like it being more brittle (you’ll notice this on some other manufacturers’ material) Unfortunately mailing a bunch of empty sprues back to the factory probably creates more environmental damage than the leftover plastic! There might be local plastics injection companies that want them. Some folks do some very creative terrain with their leftovers too. Sorry there is no easy answer on that.

Wargames Atlantic - January 20, 2023

Dennis Horne – Only-Games is UK-based. They’re playing catch up on production right now because they were hit with an extraordinary amount of orders leading up to the holidays. I understand they have been hiring and training new production staff and will be caught up in the next couple weeks. Thanks! Hudson

James Cutts - January 20, 2023

Fantastic update after a very busy 2022 its great to see what plans you have for 2023 and beyond.

I’ve been really enjoying the Atlantic Digital Release variety, there’s some excellent sets being released in there that fill some great gaps in ranges. Its well worth joining the tribe for anyone who is a fan of Wargames Atlantic and hasn’t already and has a 3D printer. Sadly its too cold for me to print at the moment but as soon as the weather picks up I have a print list queued up and ready to go!

The new Vox Populi voting is a great idea and certainly lets people show their support rather than just shouting about it, fingers crossed it works! I can see one potential flaw in it though, I suspect it wont matter too much but the (currently) smaller ranges may not get the votes necessary, I’m thinking Napoleons Wars/First Empires etc. as I think those buyers tend to be quite genre specific with less crossover so less likely to make another purchase, though they should!

Very much looking forward to the release of the WWI British set, along with the fantastic 0200 Hours plastics, though I question the sanity of anyone who needs 3 boxes of German Sentries, what are they guarding? I’m even looking forward to the Ooh Rah release, sci-fi isnt really my thing but more grounded in reality look appeals to me as a generic set of future soldiers for the great wave of small sci-fi skirmish games we got last year.

As for Vox Polpuli votes, I’m spoilt for choice, the German Maxim and French Hotchkiss sets certainly get my vote and im sure Firelock Games vote too for Blood & Valor! All of the Napoleons Wars range will be getting a vote and love to see some cavalry in the mouted conquistadors.

Dropping wishes for future ideas its only right i bang on about the Prussian Range, a Army Builder set of Landwehr Infantry alongside a Landwehr Cavalry set would both get a massive thumbs up for me.

Thanks for all your hard work and excellent releases over the past year, heres to a great 2023!

Paul Frith - January 20, 2023

I think it would be a great idea to do Conquistador cavalry. This would make the range complete and more importantly no one else makes them in plastic.

Regards
Paul

Colin Brewer - January 20, 2023

Good morning.

What an interesting newsletter, well done! Clearly a very innervative company.
I do have an issue which is slightly ‘left field’.

It’s the Sprues waste that comes out of boxes. There is sometimes more waste material than figures. I have mentioned this to some sales outlets and I can understand how returning this material for recycling is not commercialy viable.

Now, I mention this because I work for a company that makes small medical in vitro medical devices and during the manufacturing the Sprues are automatically removed, put through a grinder and immediately recycled.

I’m sure you are aware of this, but over the years I have built up a huge amount of waste, which cannot be recycled it seems!

I’m not expecting a reply, but just feel I should raise the issue and would appreciate a response.

Keep up the good work!

CB

Dennis Horne - January 20, 2023

I’d refrain from releasing anything else via MMF until they manage to get their December deliveries sorted out.

I put in an order from them a month ago, nothing – not even an e-mail on status of delivery. I’m querying them on a weekly basis, not even getting an acknowledgement of the query.
I am UK based (as they claim to be – are they really China in disguise?), I put a direct order to yourselves and it turned up via Sarissa in less than a week – out Postal strikes whilst annoying are just putting days onto parcel deliveries, no more.

I am not alone in this, getting a reputation for poor/late/lost deliveries will prove very bad for buisness.
I am highly unlikely to use them again. I hope you have more sucess with your plans to allow direct ordering of these figures.

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