Fighting 15s and Oozlum Games

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Oozlum Games is the news blog for Fighting 15s, as well as the publisher of wargames rules Huzzah! The Fighting 15s shop is at http://www.fighting15sshop.co.uk/

Fighting 15s FAQs: What does out of stock mean?

The most common question I am currently asked by email is whether items marked out of stock in the Fighting 15s shop will be coming back into stock. This is in spite of the subject being covered in the FAQs, and to which the short answer is yes.

Here’s a longer explanation.

Rather than let back-orders build up for codes that go out of stock but that are on order at a supplier, we switched this year to marking such items as out of stock rather than keeping them available to buy. This reduced the post-Christmas back orders to a manageable dozen, rather than the usual 50+ that can result from the long lead times in obtaining new stock, and eliminated long waiting times for follow-on items for most customers. There were and are exceptions, as, for example, we have this week posted follow-on items for orders placed in February.

Fighting 15s re-orders new stock pretty much every week, including items that either we can see are going out of stock or that have gone out of stock, based on typical demand (i.e. we prioritize the most popular items). We are still waiting on stock ordered a number of months ago, and have a long chain of orders waiting for processing by suppliers, so even though we predicted an item would go out of stock and re-ordered in good time, our replacements have not yet arrived. And yes, yes it can seem that an item is out of stock for a long time as a result.

Note that we get 25 to 30kg shipped from a supplier such at Eureka/AB in Australia in one go, and the time taken to build up a consignment to that weight is one of the main determining factors that affects when we get new stock. It is also why we cannot say exactly when an item will come back into stock – we won’t know until about five days before it arrives.

Sometimes we can get in new stock and it sells out within hours of it coming back into stock, increasing the time that it is apparently out of stock – blink and you miss it, so to say. We can’t predict this happening.

Sometimes items go out of stock quickly because they feature in wargames news, magazine articles or a forum post. This is a position that is difficult to recover from quickly with long lead times for replacements, and so an item may actually go out of stock for several months. The week we suddenly sold out of turtle tanks was a surprise indeed.

Very rarely an item goes out of stock because the mould is shot. If we make the mould then we can remedy this quickly, but replacements for licensed moulds have to be fitted into the suppliers’ schedule. AB horse code H05 was recently subject to this, for example, but we now have a replacement and so the code is back in stock.

So, rest assured: an item that is marked out of stock will usually be reordered. A few items that rarely sell are not immediately re-ordered, but in general if it’s a code in a top-selling range such as 28mm modern, 20mm WWII or 15mm Napoleonics, it will be on re-order before anyone even asks.

Fighting 15s and The Miniatures Page

Fighting 15s woke up this morning to a message from a customer welcoming us to the growing group of exiles from The Miniatures Page, also known as TMP.

Indeed, our account on TMP (theminiaturespage.com) has been locked and therefore Fighting 15s is no longer able to engage, as Fighting 15s, with this US-based wargaming news page and forum.

What Fighting 15s had done was get involved with a discussion on TMP about the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), which came into effect on Friday and which affect any business, website or organisation worldwide that collects or uses personal information about EU citizens. TMP Editor Bill Armintrout had posted in response to a question about where was TMP’s privacy notice that the poster should “Check the site FAQ”.

Now TMP’s FAQs say a limited amount about what TMP will do with users’ personal details, and do not themselves constitute an obvious privacy policy. And so we questioned that, writing:

“TMP may promise in the FAQs not to sell on information about membership, however, it engages in direct marketing to its users through email campaigns to encourage them to take up supporting membership. Because TMP engages in direct marketing to EU citizens or residents, it therefore will fall foul of the GDPR. It would take precisely one disgruntled TMP user to make an issue of this, so you better hope you don’t have any lurking on a ‘Foreign Union UK’ forum.”

This post has, as far as we can work out, since been deleted by the editorial team.

We know that TMP engages in direct marketing about supporting memberships because we ourselves receive such requests. Hence we know that TMP will fall foul of GDPR – though we ourselves have doubts about the extent to which that matters given the EU’s ability and will to pursue small, non-EU businesses. Our advice was purely to get TMP to realize that its long resistance to having a privacy policy was stupid, and that perhaps it was prudent to have a proper privacy policy so everyone knew exactly what TMP does with users’ personal information.

GDPR has been in effect for precisely one day and already complaints have been filed against Google, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-44252327).

Perhaps our oblique reference to UK forum frothersunite.com (FU-UK), known for a long-running and scatological campaign of ridicule against Bill Armintrout and TMP, rather than pointing out the legal truth of a matter with the intention of helping is what resulted in a locked account, but we shall never know. But it is clear to us that Bill and TMP can’t handle the truth.

There are, of course, more modern-looking, active sources of wargames news and discussion than The Miniatures Page that don’t shut for maintenance for two hours every morning just when you want to read them in the UK. We recommend that you try some of the following:

The Wargames Website – UK-based wargames site for news plus forums

Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy – industry news page from one of the top wargames magazines

Lead Adventure Forum – excellent, moderated forums mainly about gamers’ projects. A friendly place to be, it’s our go-to forum of choice.

The Wargamers’ Forum – replacement for defunct forum The Guild. Again, moderated.

In the meantime, some music from the Isle of Wight:

 

 

Fighting 15s: Privacy and the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation

If there’s one thing guaranteed to make customers snooze it’s a piece on new EU privacy legislation, especially one for which all the official information is poorly explained as to its effects on small businesses and customers. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into effect on 25 May 2018, excels at being especially obfuscatory and confusing.

Fighting 15s has slightly tweaked its privacy policy at https://www.fighting15sshop.co.uk/privacy.asp to suit the new laws.

In short, because Fighting 15s does not ask and has never asked customers to sign up for direct marketing (email newsletters, promotions, and such), and does not engage in direct marketing, the GDPR has minimal effect.

The GDPR requires businesses to get customers to confirm that they want to receive direct marketing by actively ticking a check box consenting to such marketing. Fighting 15s does not send out direct marketing, and therefore there is no check box on the website in the checkout process. Our webshop provider does offer direct marketing tools but we have not signed up to them.

Fighting 15s holds essential information for the processing of customers’ orders: name, address, email and phone, plus the system will record the IP address used when placing the order. Obviously we need name, address and contact details so we can send out orders, confirmation emails, fulfil our legal obligations to provide a durable copy of the current terms and conditions, and to contact a customer in the event of questions about an order. The IP address is required in the event of digital product sales to help prove the origin of an order for VAT liability.

Customers who do not want such information held on record may request its deletion by simply emailing or writing to Fighting 15s, and we will remove it from the shop (the GDPR doesn’t seem to have considered a requirement for proof that the person emailing to have such information deleted is actually that person, but it would seem sensible). However, Fighting 15s is legally required to hold customers’ essential information for six years for tax/accountancy purposes, and therefore we can delete only what is historic information – currently information obtained before 6 April 2010, the start of the 2010-2011 accountancy year, because the last tax year for while Fighting 15s has filed a return is 2016-2017.

We don’t record other information about customers. We have no idea what wargames periods you prefer, other than by general patterns of your orders, or of any other interests, penchants or peccadilloes. The privacy policy is a general purpose document that allows us to know these things in the event that we have customers’ permission to collect them.

Financial information is handled by third-party processors, so we never see payment details if customers place and pay for orders through the online shop. Our payment processors are PayPal and Barclaycard.

Our preferred means of passing on news is via Facebook and our WordPress blogs (Fighting 15s news and oozlumgames.com). If you don’t want to see what we do on Facebook, unlike and unfollow the Fighting 15s page (https://www.facebook.com/Fighting15s/). The power to sign out of following a WordPress blog remains solely with the follower: WordPress site administrators do not, repeat do not, have the power to delete followers. Details of how to unfollow a WordPress blog may be found at https://en.support.wordpress.com/following/.

Of course, non-EU businesses that record details of EU customers are supposed to adopt the GDPR. As with reporting VAT on digital products, Fighting 15s by and large cannot see businesses outside the EU conforming. Except the UK after Brexit. Good old law-abiding Blighty will be the only country that conforms to a law that also encompasses Martians and Venusians should they start direct marketing to the people of the EU.

In summary, Fighting 15s’ policy remains as it always has been: we won’t bug you by sending out a relentless stream of marketing drivel. If you want drivel, you have to come to us…

AB Figures: new 20mm WWII Russians

Two new sets of Russians have joined AB Figures’ range of 20mm WWII miniatures: a Katyusha crew (RTS04) and a 120mm mortar set (INS32). These are now both in stock at Fighting 15s.

Link: www.fighting15sshop.co.uk/russian-1116-c.asp

AB Figures: 20mm Afrika Korps

AB Figures’ latest releases in 20mm are for the German Afrika Korps, adding infantry and more artillery crews to the existing sets. Please note that all Afrika Korps sets have been re-coded and start AB-ING7 – the Fighting 15s site has been updated to reflect this change.

Future releases will include an infantry command set and engineers. These are not yet available in the UK.

Link: https://www.fighting15sshop.co.uk/german-afrika-korps-1124-c.asp

Fighting 15s to host Derby Worlds 2020

Wargamers are aware that Derby World Wargames has gradually been moving south – from Derby itself, to Donington Park, and then Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground, Lutterworth. Organiser Daryl of KR Multicase has a three-year rolling schedule for the worlds at a particular venue, and at Colours 2017 Fighting 15s talked to Daryl and put forwards its own garage and garden as a spacious venue with a view to hosting the event in 2020.

Hosting Derby Worlds on the Isle of Wight  will, of course, avoid the inevitable slip down the country to London and the Excel centre and prevent it becoming “The Other Salute”, and mean the event will go as far directly south as it can in the UK without everyone getting their feet wet. A location on the sunshine Isle means there is no fear of rain in October – it only rains on the Island when there is a music festival – and an outdoors event is possible in the clement weather.

The bucolic surroundings of Fighting 15s mean that those gamers who long for the heady smell of farm animals and agricultural machinery from Donington Park can experience nature itself, red in tooth and claw, just along the farm lane from Fighting 15s.

Don’t forget your bucket and spade.

For details, phone 01983 010418.

Fighting 15s: Service update 20 March

Fighting 15s is currently exceptionally busy with orders. March is usually our busiest month of the year for orders and 2018 is true to form.

Although orders will be processed as soon as possible, they may take longer than usual for Ian to get through. Orders that need casting may have to wait until a casting window becomes available at weekends.

Please be patient, especially if you have submitted an order by phone or email: our policy is always to give priority to paid-for online orders, and this means that orders for which payment has not been processed wait.

Stock is updated manually on the site, which means items that go out of stock may not be updated as quickly as usual. The shop does not use an automatic stock update system because it is not relevant for items cast by Fighting 15s – these items would risk being marked out of stock in spite of being available.

Fighting 15s at Salute 2018

Fighting 15s will be on the Colonel Bill’s stand (TD19) at Salute, Excel London, on 14 April 2018.

Please note that the closing date for advance orders for the show is 1 April. I am unavailable in the week or so running up to Salute and have to cut-off advance orders early this year.

Advance orders may be made by phone, email (please don’t send attachments) or by sending a message via the Fighting 15s Facebook page. Fighting 15s can no longer offer a collect at Salute option in the shopping cart because of a change in how the shop’s delivery system works. Payment must be in advance by card or PayPal: at Salute, Ian will be in Colonel Bill’s livery and operating Colonel Bill’s till and Fighting 15s cannot, therefore, take cash payments on the day.

Colonel Bill’s is Fighting 15s’ official stockist of Eureka 18mm SYW figures and Fighting 15s’ medievals. In addition to our lines that Colonel Bill’s usually carries, there will be a selection of Napoleonic unit packs of 15mm AB Figures at the show. Packs on the stand are based on our best-sellers, and by its nature the selection will therefore be limited. Orders for 20mm WWII AB Figures must be made in advance.

Advance orders for collection at Salute may also be made for our clearance lines of Oddzial Osmy, Shadowforge and Laughing Monk figures. These ranges, however, will be removed from the Fighting 15s shop on 1 April.

Eureka Miniatures has its own, separate stand at Salute. Please do not confuse it with Fighting 15s when placing advance orders.

Ian
Fighting 15s

Fighting 15s: Service Update 5 February

Just a heads-up that this week is particularly difficult as I have to fit in, among other things, surveyors for probate valuations, solicitors regarding wills, and I have to travel to the depths of Kent to meet my sister and scatter my mum’s ashes. So although I will be working on orders on and off during the week, service will not be up to its usual speed. I had recovered to just a day or so behind, but I regret that this will lapse again: I expect to catch up just before I take some long-planned holiday and throw everything out of whack again.  Janet will be at HQ while I am away, but because she doesn’t understand anything about toy soldiers please don’t expect sense from her if you phone.

Thanks to everyone who has sent their condolences. It really is appreciated.

Ian
Fighting 15s

Fighting 15s: Service update 29 January

Fighting 15s is gradually catching up with the backlog of orders and emails. Ian’s mum’s funeral was on 22 January, and he is not entirely clear of responsibilities in that regard.  Last week, for example, lost a number of hours simply dealing with solicitors, and clearing up matters to do with the estate will continue to interrupt work over the next few months. Ian will be away shortly for the scattering of the ashes.

By and large emails from early January onwards have now been answered or have been dealt with. Orders are five days or so behind, longer for those that require casting or that are waiting on stock to arrive. A shipment that arrived last week from AB/Eureka will resolve a number of those issues once it is checked and unpacked. Ian had hoped to do this over the weekend, but circumstances prevented this.

Fighting 15s continues to deal with a large number of orders for its clearance lines (Oddzial Osmy, Laughing Monk, Shadowforge, Coat d’arms). Stocks are still by and large good, and codes that go out of stock are being removed as soon as possible from the online shop.