Oldhammer – The Hunt – 2021 status

While consolidating and taking stock, I made the decision that I wanted to keep the scope of my collection to the mid to late 90s Games Workshop miniatures. I narrowed it down to certain projects and evaluated, which to complete or sell off.

The original idea was to write about "the hunt" for Old- and Middlehammer, which I started in 2019 with a brief introduction on how to start your project and to scope it. The ongoing process of sourcing your stock / the needed miniatures was covered in two more articles, one rather generic with basic information and another focused on the Imperial Guard. From there I went on and covered the progress, introducing the individual units, with detailed information on design, alteration, prices and so on - for example with Chaos Space Marines. And all that went more or less well until early 2020.

Warhammer 40.000 - Oldhammer Chaos Space Marines Warhammer 40.000 - Oldhammer Chaos Space Marines Warhammer 40.000 - Oldhammer Chaos Space Marines

It is not that I lost interest on continuing the series or stopped the projects. It is primarily due to the fact, that the circumstances have changed so much, that it is rather difficult to write about something, like price values or suggestion, that aren't reliable or useful at the moment up until the unforeseen future. And it is not a single incident, more a rather unlucky combination of multiple things, that lay heavy on our small niché hobby.

UPS Paket - January 2021

BREXIT - With the UK parting from the EU, this is a problem only limited to Europe. But I used to buy things from the UK via or market places in social media or communities. Due to the pro-longed delivery times in the beginning (the AT Cerastus Knight Atrapos were sent to me for a review arrived 5 months late ...), this became are very unreliable and unpopular resource. Especially with eBay and PayPal, as you can only claim certain problems in a specific time frame. So, UK shipping, which is already weirdly calculated got more expensive, as tracked shipping and so on became more and more necessary. And beside the 2nd hand market, a lot of the traders even up 'til today struggle to coop with the "new" situation, especially the next one.

IOSS VAT and Fees

EU Import regulations / IOSS - not aimed to mess with Brexit even further, but affected trade with the UK as well. As I said, not aimed as a sucker punch towards the UK leaving, but to cope with a huge mass of delivery from Asia via AliExpress, Wish and eBay. The EU dropped the vat-free import on online shopping / e-commerce from 22 EUR to nil. So, before July the 1st, you could buy something for 20 EUR (incl. shipping) and only paid that amount towards the seller. Now as soon as the VAT chargeable is more than a Euro, it is charged, but as that isn't done by the customs authority directly, but by any Third Party Logistics company (your local post agency for example), they charge a fee for that. In Germany that's 6 Euro. Let's say, you got yourself a nice miniature from abroad, for about 10 EUR, managed to get cheap shipping for around 5 EUR, maybe add PayPal fees on top for buyer protection, (~ 0,70 EUR on top), that's already 15,70 EUR for your 10 EUR miniature. But wait ... 2,98 EUR VAT and 6 EUR handling fee on top - a total of 24,68 EUR for your 10 EUR miniature.

And that has become a big no-no, along with the seller having to fill out documents as well, creating more work load on their end and thus making many offers exclusive to the UK or charged at a premium on shipping. IOSS isn't a problem for most traders who do their business in a professional way. But with the wargaming hobby still done in a vast majority as a side hustle, in back yards or garages, this is even a problem for many manufacturers.

Bitbox #9 2016

COVID - With the regulations on public gatherings and events, along with returning waves there is a long break for the most wargaming events and especially the smaller shows and / or things like bring & buy, which are a great source for 2nd hand and older miniatures, haven't been around for almost two years. Shows like Crisis are great events to browse through the bring & buy (as you can see from my haul posts from 2019's show or 2015's show) and I am missing the Bitbox very dearly. But aren't those people now just selling online? Nope, they are not. It is rather time consuming, to take pictures, make lists and having to post the items afterwards. Many people prefer just going to a show, a flea market or something similar, put a price on it and move batches or entire lots at once. And in our case, with the Bitbox being hosted in the heart of the Ruhrgebiet, with the former Headquarter and a lot (a lot!) of Warhammer stores less than an hour away, you have a lot of stock by (former) GW employees.

Oldhammer - Imperial Space Marine LE02 Warhammer 40.000 - Oldhammer Chaos Space Marines

Increased Demand - I am certainly not the only one having the idea to start a retro-project. With the development of latest releases and editions, more and more people look up closed rulesets and / or older editions. The Wh40k 2nd edition group on facebook grew to more than 5,000 members, the Middlehammer group more than 9,000. And it is more present on social media all across the board (Crown of Command and Herohammer Fanzine, Emil / Squidmar building an 90s Thunderhawk, 28k+ posts on Instagram for Middlehammer, almost 130k post for Oldhammer). With more people looking into a hobby, that is based mostly around OOP miniatures - meaning limited and shrinking supply - this creates higher prices. Along with the aspect, the hobby did good overall during lockdowns, as you can take care of at least two of the aspects of it home alone. With many people actually getting around to reduce their pile of shame and partially slowed down production / availability of shiny _new_ stuff (that even happened to Games Workshop), they looked on older systems / retro projects. Miniatures they couldn't afford when they were young, but now as adults do. I covered my own motives what fascinates me on the hobby back in 2019. And this creates an additional multiplier beside the increased demand. A Space Marine unnamed character was 12 DM when I started the hobby, you could get those used 30 years later for 5-6 EUR easily. But with a current Space Marine Primaris Ltn. having a price badge of 25 EUR, to many people prices of 12 or even 15 euros feel cheap or "reasonable". At least cheaper than buying a new one. That forced up prices all across the board, along with the points above, with some armies (like Bretonnia or Khemri) and individual miniatures (Orion, Questing Knights, Citadel Giant...) reaching absurd price levels.


All those are, beside a limiting time factor, the reasons, why I didn't move on in the scheduled pacing with the series. I have more articles on the Black Legion in preparation, finished the stock taking on the Imperial Guard, and wrote up a few drafts on the Eldar. But - as an example - when I bought the Wraithguard, they were used 4-5 euros a pop, pretty cheap on eBay with a solid supply, - for comparison they were 25 DM when they were released, that's 18,52 EUR in today's money incl. inflation. I cleaned them up, and recognised earlier this year that half of them were - underneath that shoddy paint job - rather not so well-done castings (probably recasts) and I thought, well, so be it, get 3 new ones ... yeah and they were now 10 to 12 euros each (for the old metal ones). That got me thinking, and I checked for other units as well and noticed that this wouldn't a proper, coherent foundation for that part of the article series. Of course, I am aware, that all the price points and availability are very Euro / German-centric, as the situation in Australia, South America or other regions is vastly different, yet the content should be sound at least for western Europe.

With that said, I will have to add a pinch of salt to the price indication in those articles. I spend a lot of time working through the lore and background, to get a proper narrative for my projects (which is very important to me) and will pick it up 2022, as there was a challenge spoken out and a battle to be fought using 35 year old rules.

Posted by Dennis B.

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