Today we have an interview with Keith Armstrong of Armies Army about his recent successful kickstater (Armies Army Kickstater) which had 75 backers and £3,250 pledged of £1,750 goal, hitting all of it's stretch goals.
To see more of Armies Army please visit his blog at:http://armiesarmy.blogspot.co.uk/
Note: This interview was conducted over Gmail chat, so please forgive any typos!
HaroldWas the Kickstarter successful for you?
As a product yes
And for lessons learnt ....yes
HaroldWould you do it again then?
If I have no option financially
Yes – with additional planning
If I had finance then no
However kickstarter did provide a big market. I had a surprising amount of direct traffic
Mine is probably classed as a 'success'
However I’m still probably about $1500 down
Despite what I thought was 'great preparation'
HaroldIs that from shipping costs?
Keith ArmstrongThat has hit
The weight of the items far heavier than expected…it’s a lot of lead!
It was also poor planning in that I needed far more molds then I estimated and higher sculpt costs
HaroldYou were able to put fewer figures per mold than you were hoping?
Keith ArmstrongMore like - I needed far more molds to get the packs I wanted
Example The multiple head options....
I covered the costs of them I thought. - However not the fact I needed a new mold for each type. So for every head swap option, I needed a master and a new production mold. They all added up!
HaroldYou did offer a lot of options
Keith ArmstrongYep - didn’t cost that right
All a well-earned lesson!
My other big problem is how long it’s taken to do!
HaroldI think everyone realizes that it's a lot of work
To be honest, I was surprised you were able to get everything cast and shipped as quick as you did
Again - a lesson learnt. Using a casting company takes time
Especially one also has to run his own business. He has worked wonders and has even provided free molds to get things out quicker, so I can't complain! Just didn’t expect 1100 packs !
|Greens of the riflemen.|
HaroldDid you have most of the stuff sculpted already?
None of it
Some of that was a little late to, however I also had additions as I thought of extras
HaroldYou did have some really cool concept art though... I think that pulled in a lot of people.
Keith ArmstrongI went with one or two I wasn’t 100% happy with, due to time. Id of preferred to tweak a couple
Yeah - that worked really well the art
Found a good guy
Gave him very specific design and he came up trumps! He is a bit of a fan to, so that helped.
HaroldDid he do the PLA stuff too?
Brought to life my drawings
Which is quite frankly crap
HaroldDo you sculpt the figures yourself?
Keith ArmstrongNo – I’ve got a sculptor who does the main work
I do all the conversions and sci-fi them up
|Two more of the greens, command figures.|
HaroldAh... that's a cool arrangement.
Keith ArmstrongYep works well. So all militia are mine, spetznaz ,heavy weapons. For the brits i did berets and bush hats. Ill also do my own germans and usa using the brits as dollies. Change the webbing, weapons and heads etc. Ill get my sculptor to do the odd character for it.
I’d never have the time otherwise and my sculpting is ok for conversions, not nearly good enough for sale on its own.
HaroldThat's a great way to build up the skill though. I really like all the packs and equipment on the neo-British... they really seem like they're ready to conduct a patrol on some colony world.
Keith ArmstrongYep backpacks, Law and eye sets etc were all my addons. Wanted a 'we are on our own' look.
HaroldThose are probably my favourite parts actually... A lot of 15mm figures are missing the packs and everything you often see real troops carrying. And I've always liked the idea of eye-pieces on helmets
Keith ArmstrongI’m thinking on providing additional packs, weapons and vehicle items etc. However not sure on the market
|A painted master.|
HaroldI love that stuff... I think it'd be popular. But I also think it'd be hard to make it profitable.
Keith ArmstrongCost recovery is my only aim to be honest
The problem is it’s about $200 per pack in costs
HaroldDo you see this more as a hobby/business?
Keith ArmstrongYep - just a hobby
In future - as in when I retire...who knows?
Keith ArmstrongI doubt I’ll ever break even
It’s what I did. Work bonus -put some aside - if I lost it...no worries
However it’s addictive
You want to release more....
And so the break even gets further away!
HaroldYeah I can totally identify with that.
Keith ArmstrongYep....you just buy it all!
HaroldIt's hard not to!
Keith ArmstrongIndeed and I was you....before I started my own
So I bought my own
Now the money I used to spend...goes on my line
Ideal world - someone pays me for it. Not profits - just recover my costs and then support my whims. What I make - I get paid in copies. They can make the fortune :)
|One of the Molds.|
HaroldIf you had a chance to do the Kickstater over again, what would you have changed?
I would rework how I did packs
So one infantry pack - 10 unique sculpts. I would not have multiple heads, I’d have helmeted
I would calculate p&p better....
Calculate number of molds correctly
I would work on a time line. So if I get this reward level - It will take this long to post, If I get this reward it will take X longer
The head swaps would come later as a product
I’d also think on trying to actually make a small profit...
|Bags ready to be shipped off to backers.|
HaroldAny parting advice?
Keith ArmstrongParting Advice. The costs - Plan it, check it, plan it again, plan it again and then once again. Get someone else to look It over. Do not forget to calculate the costs of casting the figures! Estimate a per pack cost. I did, however I underestimated it! Don’t expect to make a fortune. Think of it as a loss leader into a new line.
I’m happy to help others out if they need advice.
HaroldI'm sure someone will take you up on your offer! And again, Congrats on your successful kickstater, and I look forward to seeing the next line you come out with.
Thank you very much for you time!