Archive for August, 2013|Monthly archive page
As Fighting 15s recently posted, a Hong Kong based eBay user is selling painted, pirated versions of Eureka’s 18mm Seven Years War range. I have now taken a pirated figures off its base to see if there is a vestige of either the EUREKA or the MBD (Mike Broadbent Designs) stamp that features on the underside of many bases across the range. The stamp is deep and cannot be ground off without seriously thinning the base; on genuine Eureka figures the stamp is sometimes not complete because of cleaning up in the generational process of producing master figures and production masters.
Even though the pirated grenzer figure shown above has a different feed, and the base of the figure has been trimmed, the URE of the EUREKA stamp are still distinctive enough, as well as marks from the original feed to the figure through the top of the E, which also indicates the original parting line in the mould. Please note that the clipped base is not indicative of piracy: Eureka’s pre-production SYW figures started with circular bases, but have since been clipped on pretty much all but the grenzers to use less metal and to make basing easier.
The pirated figure is thinner, being about 4.9mm thick at its deepest point measured by Vernier calipers, compared with 5.5mm on the genuine figure or about 89% the thickness of the original.
In short, Eureka Miniatures and Fighting 15s do not provide figures to China and Hong Kong in the quantities that are being made available from this eBay user. This is as true of 15mm AB Figures as it is for Eureka Miniatures.
The figures made available by this seller are substantially thinner but have original brand markings and are therefore counterfeits.
The eBay seller is imfadcom (painting service CHYT). If you buy painted 15mm SYW figures from them, you risk buying pirated Eureka Miniatures of poor quality. Please don’t regard this as an advert to go and buy cheap pirated figures: think of it as an opportunity to defend and support what are small, full-time wargames businesses against piracy.
If you have recently bought figures from this eBay user, please do the comparisons necessary when rebasing (look for the letters – you’ll need magnifiers) or compare with genuine Eureka Miniatures of the same type to be sure they are fake (use ours or Eureka’s website pictures), and then report the item as counterfeit and get your money back.
Above all when buying from any eBay user in Hong Kong or China who is selling painted and based figures, please think before buying. Some may be genuine – unlike Eureka and Fighting 15s, other miniatures businesses may well supply these countries in quantity – but China has no concept of copyright laws. Do the comparison work. And if you buy and discover the figures are thinner than genuine figures (please do an actual comparison, don’t just guess), report them.
Note that in 2010, Nike sued the buyer of a pair of fake Nike shoes for trade mark infringement and won. Nike did not go for the importer or the retailer, but the private individual who bought them. The individual’s defence that he did not know they were counterfeit was no defence. The court ruled that “the defendant’s defence that he did not know the shoes were counterfeit had no real chance of succeeding at trial. The language of the Trademarks Act makes it clear that ‘[W]hether or not the defendant believed the goods were authentic is irrelevant to the question of trade mark infringement.”
So if you buy counterfeit figures, unwittingly or not, in the UK you can be sued. But it would take a special kind of company with very bored lawyers to stoop that low…
Keep me, Nic in Oz, and Rob in the US, and every small business in this hobby happy: buy from trustworthy sources.
A Hong Kong based eBay user is selling painted, pirated versions of Eureka’s 18mm Seven Years War range. Fighting 15s has been following this user’s activities for some time, and at last has obtained examples of the figures and been able to compare them directly with genuine Eureka figures. Examples of pirated and genuine work appear in the pictures accompanying this news item.
Ebay user imfadcom (painting service CHYT) has been selling painted pirated version of Eureka’s SYW range since at least 2011. Fighting 15s became aware of this after attending Central London Wargames Club, where examples were fielded by one of the players in a large game. Thanks to that player we now have copies of the eBay emails relating to those items, identifying and confirming imfadcom as the seller, and have been able to make a more detailed comparison of the figures and take photographs.
As the photographs show, the pirated figures are substantially thinner than genuine Eureka figures, owing to compression in the mould. The bayonets and legs are particularly thin and prone to damage.
Unfortunately, imfadcom is not the only seller of pirated painted figures operating out of Hong Kong. Others sell counterfeit 15mm Napoleonic AB Figures.
There are tell-tale clues to identifying sellers of such figures on eBay:
1. The figure are much thinner than genuine figures owing to mould compression from a second generation mould. They’ll be the same height, but in one dimension look thinner than a supermodel. Bayonets may be cast incomplete (although as we occasionally send out the odd incomplete bayonet by mistake, that’s a hint not a clincher 🙂 ).
2. Neither Eureka Miniatures nor Fighting 15s supplies Eureka figures to Hong Kong and China in the quantities that are offered for sale on eBay. An eBay seller that is offering multiples of identical painted units may well be cutting genuine figure-makers out of the supply chain. Eureka Miniatures and Fighting 15s are well aware of which painting services they supply in bulk.
3. The seller may not identify the manufacturer of the figures that are being sold. In Fighting 15s’ correspondence with imfadcom via eBay messages, we asked whether the figures were compatible with Eureka (answer: no), and then asked which make they were, to which no answer was received. None of imfadcom’s pirated Eureka miniatures are identified as Eureka Miniatures, but are given codes, such as EuAu007 for Austrians and EuRu015 for SYW Russians, which looks like shorthand for Eureka Austrian and Eureka Russian. It is difficult to conceive that a painting service that regularly lists new eBay items would not know of the source or be reluctant to identify such figures if they were genuine.
4. The prices of the painted units can be remarkably low. A unit of 24 unpainted Eureka SYW infantry from Fighting 15s costs £12.00, yet is available painted on eBay from imfadcom typically from £19.99. The CLWC player who provided examples of the pirated figures actually managed to pick up a painted gun and crew from imfadcom for 99 pence (UK price unpainted £4.00), and a painted 24-man infantry unit for £9.99. Prices for newly painted figures that are too good to be true are a key indicator of pirated figures. Please don’t regard this as an advert to go and buy cheap pirated figures.
Eureka Miniatures and Fighting 15s are small, full-time businesses run by people who are, frankly, nuts about the products they sell and are prepared to live on a modest income to continue selling them. Pirated figures in the quantities that are appearing on eBay are extremely hurtful to our continued existence. Please do not buy them. If in pursuit of a bargain on eBay, think before you bid or buy.
Notes: The pirated figures pictured in this item were obtained from eBay seller imfadcom, as evidenced by confirmation emails from eBay for the transactions. The genuine Eureka Miniatures in these pictures are from the collection of Fighting 15s’ owner Ian Marsh, depicting Austrian infantry regiment Puebla and Grenzer regiment Warasdiner Creuzer, to the best of his failing painting abilities. The flag on the genuine figures is an advance sample from Fighting 15s’ forthcoming SYW Austrian infantry flags designed specially for Eureka’s figures.
Fighting 15s has an aggressive, mallet-based approach to dealing with counterfeit figures. Be warned…
Above is the advert that should have appeared in the Colours show guide and issue 365 (September 2013) of Miniature Wargames. Unfortunately, because of an error in Miniature Wargames’ ad production, the wrong advert will appear.
The above advert was to be used to key in to a new display of Eureka’s 18mm Seven Years War figures at the show, on which I have been working all summer. I am keen to promote this range now that it is being cast in the UK under licence, allowing me to reduce the prices, and advertising in the Colours issue of Miniature Wargames was a vital part of drawing wargamers’ attention to the range.
Over the past 24 hours there has been a moment of, shall I say, uncharacteristic fiery incandescence on my part directed at Miniature Wargames’ outsourced ad sales team at Media Shed. Editor Henry Hyde, however, rang me this morning, having talked to the publisher, and has settled the matter to my satisfaction.
So, I will be at Colours on 14 and 15 September, as usual with Black Hat Miniatures up on the first floor. I will have painted examples of Eureka’s lovely 18mm SYW figures on display in the cabinets. I will even have stock of the range at the show, but as usual the advice is order in advance to guarantee that I have what you want at the show.
Owner, Fighting 15s
There is now a “collect at Colours” delivery option in the Fighting 15s shopping cart for customers who want to order online and collect at Colours in Newbury on 14 and 15 September. Customers can pay in advance through the shopping cart or select Telephone Payment or Cheque Payment to pay in cash on the day.
Please note that this delivery option is subject to our terms and conditions relating to collecting at a named show.
An item that cannot be obtained in time for Colours will not be put on back order, and the value of the item will be refunded if payment has been made in advance.
With just six weeks to go until Colours at Newbury Racecourse (14-15 September), it’s time for Fighting 15s’ customers to think about advance orders for collection at the show.
This year advance orders will be more important than ever, because Fighting 15s is changing its approach to shows.
Over the past few years sales at shows have been declining, and the costs of attending shows have been increasing. A number of wargames shows are no longer worth the expense of attending them and accordingly Fighting 15s is cutting back on the shows it attends. Fighting 15s’ overall sales are still good, despite the poor state of the economy, showing the shift in purchasing power to the internet.
Chief among the economics of attending the show is the return on stock taken. This summer has been spent deciding whether to upscale, using a van to carry more stock and taking a larger stand at shows to display more ranges, or downscale, taking only the most popular items and keeping to small stand. The result has been a decision to downscale, on the grounds that upscaling will attain only a temporary increase in sales against a background of continually falling show sales overall.
Starting with Colours 2013, therefore, Fighting 15s will have a stand largely comprising display cases showing samples of the ranges it sells. Stock for sale on the day will comprise only the major sellers, which are 15mm AB Napoleonics and flags, 18mm Eureka Seven Years War, and 28mm Eureka Moderns. The AB Figures and SYW ranges will be in unit and battalion packs only. There may be seasonal variations depending on demo games at shows, and special new releases from Eureka Miniatures. Absolutely anything else must be ordered in advance.
In 2014 we will be scaling back our show schedule and only definitely plan to attend Salute (12 April 2014, London) and Colours (Newbury, September), which as usual will be in conjunction with Black Hat Miniatures. These are by far and away our two biggest shows.
We will make a decision later in the year about attending Carronade (Falkirk, May), Triples (Sheffield, 17-18 May 2014), Derby World Wargames (Castle Donington), and Warfare (Reading, November). Carronade/Triples depends on the date for Carronade (taking the week off between the shows for a holiday worked very well this year), not because of finances ; Derby and Warfare both depend on sales at this year’s events. In general we would still like to reach customers in the South, London, Midlands, North and Scotland once each year.