Archive for the ‘Fighting 15s’ Category

Fighting 15s opens soon

Work is well under way on our new web shop, and Fighting 15s should be open for business again in July at www.fighting15s.com – we’ll set up pointers from our existing URLs once we are ready, so it should be no trouble finding us.

We’ve been with our existing web shop provider, EKM, for more than 15 years. EKM served us very well in the early years, has been easy to setup and use, but stopped being reasonably priced a few years ago. The costs were bearable while we were the agent for AB Figures and Eureka Miniatures, but are not sustainable as just Gladiator Miniatures and Fighting 15s. EKM justified a massive hike in prices as a transformation to being “the best” ecommerce provider, but sadly it continues to fall short, with parts of the software clearly not working as intended. Squashed product images has been the latest quirk that was not been solved for months. My constant disagreements with members of EKM staff after it ditched its customer forum in favour of a community Facebook page tell me I should leave. 🙂

Fighting 15s is jumping ship to Andy at Tradestands, which provides webshops for a number of businesses in the wargames community and has come highly recommended by three people we know who use his services. Our products are now uploaded to the new shop, including 375 new images for all the flag sheets that did not have them.

We will shortly begin work on inking and photographing figures to replace the existing pictures, or to simply provide pictures for items that currently do not have pictures. This will take a long time and will be nowhere near completed by the time we reopen. Obviously we have been at work on adding pictures of painted figures to the site, but photographing figures and editing pictures to a commercially acceptable standard is slow work. It also depends on having a reservoir of cast figures to ink and photograph, which we have now built up after 21 months of running Gladiator Miniatures.

We’ve been working hard to get a cleaner website design with a number of more modern features, particularly when it comes to working on mobile devices. We are able to integrate all three of our payment gateways – PayPal, Stripe and Square – in the new shop, providing a choice of secure third-party payment systems. Apple and Google Pay should also work via the Stripe gateway.

We are still getting to grips with the software behind the new shop, although a lot of the Woocommerce setup is familiar because it’s just like using the WordPress blogs we use for news. The system feels much more modern.

Customer details are not being transferred, so regular customers will have to set up new accounts and passwords. Although this is an inconvenience, it will also purge the shop of a lot of out-of-date or irrelevant information.

Our new website is at www.fighting15s.com and just to repeat we will reopen in July – hopefully at the start of the month!

Ian
Fighting 15s

The incredible Eureka Meltdown sale

Fighting 15s is clearing its remaining stocks of Eureka Miniatures and AB Figures and is pleased to announce that the incredible Eureka Meltdown sale is now on!

We have vastly less stock than a year ago when we gave notice that in September 2019 we would cease being Eureka’s and AB’s agent, but none the less we still have plenty to dispose of, even though customers have been taking advantage of some amazing prices over the past six months. Although the selection of codes may not be the best, it’s hard to argue about the value. We have very little left in the way of stock of AB Figures.

The meltdown sale is, as it suggests, terminal. If prices were to fall any further we might just as well melt down the remaining stock and turn it into something else. By mid-summer 2020 we will review the stock situation with this option in mind.

Fighting 15s is currently able to continue trading during the coronavirus epidemic, even with the UK in lockdown. We operate entirely by mail order and work from home. We are using Royal Mail’s click and drop service to buy postage online, and orders are posted when we make essential trips to buy food. There may, accordingly, be slight delays in the dispatch of orders. While the postal service is still working, we will continue to post out orders.

And yes I know it’s 1 April. This is not an April Fool!

Au revoir to the EU

The UK officially leaves the EU on 31 January 2020, but will the world end on 1 February? No. There is no change in the trading relationship between the UK and the EU until the end of the transition period, currently set at 31 December 2020.

During the transition period, VAT will continue to be charged at UK rates on orders from EU customers and mercifully there will be no faffing about with customs documentation until near the end of this period. Again, Fighting 15s expects to have to close for a few days around the end of the year to make the necessary tax adjustments in the shop. But it’ll be the Christmas holidays anyway, not some stupid date near the end of the tax year during peak sales season.

Looking ahead, at some point Fighting 15s envisages that all value declarations for tax on exports will be managed electronically by the sender, as it is for items sent by courier to places such as the USA. This may put an end to the excessive handling fee charged by various countries’ postal services which, as Fighting 15s has argued before, is the most damaging aspect to trade with the EU post-Brexit from the point of view of a small business because this charge will put customers off from ordering. No one wants to pay VAT plus a 10 euro handling fee on just 16 euros worth of figures. Fighting 15s will, therefore, investigate other delivery options for EU customers once the picture of what is happening becomes clearer.

Fighting 15s may, in the due course of time, consider engaging an EU agent.

Ian
Fighting 15s and Gladiator Miniatures

Fighting 15s deletes AB and Eureka posts

Fighting 15s has purged its oozlumgames.com news blog of almost all posts relating to AB Figures and Eureka Miniatures. This purge covers posts going back to 2005, and the posts affected are in the main announcements of new releases from AB and Eureka, details of price changes and shipping updates for consignments from Australia. Some even relate to products that are no longer available.

Fighting 15s is no longer the agent for AB and Eureka, and these posts have been removed to avoid any confusion about Fighting 15s’ status. Posts relating to the end of the agency or milestones in the agency will remain on the site for now.

Clearance sale: AB Figures and Eureka Miniatures

Fighting 15s’ clearance sale of figures from AB Figures and Eureka Miniatures has begun: some prices in the online shop are now at levels that haven’t been seen for about 10 years.

All the codes listed are genuine imported stock made by Eureka Miniatures in Australia, and therefore quantities are limited to what is to hand: Fighting 15s cannot obtain any more of these items. If a code isn’t showing, we do not have it in stock. Stock levels are live, although to find how many are available of a code you have to add them to the cart until the system says there aren’t any more. It’s a quirk of the shopping cart that we cannot change.

We have rationalised the listing for AB Figures to just the quick codes, because a number of categories for some nations were empty. Therefore you’ll find all the remaining Imperial French, for example, on one page of the shop, not divided up into Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery and Generals. Items should still be searchable by code.

Link: https://www.fighting15sshop.co.uk/

Christmas hours for Fighting 15s and Gladiator Miniatures

Last year, Fighting 15s shut completely for two weeks over Christmas and the new year. Although it turned out to be a lovely break from everything toy soldiers, the reality of the return to work was a nightmarish backlog of orders that took months and months to beat into submission.

So, this year, Fighting 15s and Gladiator Miniatures will remain largely open over Christmas. We’ll be shut on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, and will be off to see family one random day during the holiday season, but otherwise, we’ll be at work processing orders, casting figures, making moulds, updating the website and in general keeping on top of everything. Orders may be a bit slow going out, but they will go out. The online shop, of course, remains open every day.

We will also be at work planning new releases from Gladiator Miniatures over the coming year. Stay tuned!

Last posting date for Christmas has gone: we cannot now get your order to you in time for the big day. Many thanks to everyone for their custom over the past year.

It only remains to say Merry Christmas, God Jul, Joyeux Noël, Frohe Weihnachten, Feliz Navidad, Buon Natale, Feliz Natal, Wesołych Świąt, Счастливого рождества! and Vrolijk Kerstfeest to our customers in the UK and beyond.

E Day arrives

I thought it would never happen, but Fighting 15s is no longer the EU agent for Eureka Miniatures and AB Figures. My agency ends today (4 September, or “E Day”) and Fighting 15s embarks on a new journey as a manufacturer in its own right.

It’s hard to believe that 15 years ago I emailed Nic Robson of Eureka Miniatures when I saw his new 18mm British Napoleonics on a forum, and asked whether he had a UK agent. When he replied that he didn’t, I asked if he wanted one. The result was that in fairly short order boxes of 18mm British Napoleonics and 28mm Seven Years War bears appeared under my desk and I began the work of introducing Eureka Miniatures to the UK and Europe. It seems hard to believe anyone could get so lucky today, now that internet use is so commonplace.

I’d like to thank Nic for putting up with me. I’m quite difficult to deal with when I know what I want, and I can say what I want pretty bluntly, for which I blame 20 years of journalism and being paid to be right about everything. It has been a blast dealing with him, Tony Barton of AB Figures, and the various members of Eureka’s staff in my time: Tony Ramsden, Jack Garley and John Chadderton.

I’ve said that I’m basically taking semi-retirement to focus more on the house and garden. But rest assured, I have plenty to do: Gladiator Miniatures (the former Black Hat 15mm) needs reorganising to be fit for the next 10 years, with new moulds, new horses for some ranges, and better photographs of what are some quite marvellous figures (and new versions of the less marvellous ones). Martian Empires needs completing. Those Oddzial Osmy 15mm Napoleonics I’ve owned for years may eventually appear now that I have time to rework and remould them. Plus I aim to start expanding the 40mm offerings for the former Flashing Blade and D’Arlo ranges. As to the question, where to start? rest assured, the answer is new photographs for Gladiator Miniatures!

Oh, and I may find time to take a paintbrush to some figures for the first time in years.

Ian
Fighting 15s and Gladiator Miniatures

Fighting 15s now running on live stock levels

Work on changing the Fighting 15s shop to live stock levels is almost complete: just the 28mm Wars of the French Revolution range from Eureka Miniatures and the 15mm Ancients from AB remain to be done. That means that the most popular ranges are available to buy again and that in theory it should only be possible to order what is either in stock or can be cast to order. The shop does tend to randomly hide categories, so please contact Fighting 15s if you feel a range is missing or unavailable.

Of course, live stock levels depend on the accuracy of the counting, breakages, and on mispacks by suppliers, but hopefully they will provide confidence to customers that any code once ordered will be in stock.

The shift to live stock levels means that Fighting 15s will be ready for the change in agency for Eureka Miniatures and AB Figures on 4 September. On that day, the shop will shut for maintenance, and reopen later (probably on 5 September) with only our own ranges and the actual remaining stock from Eureka and AB available to buy. The ranges will only be removed completely if the new agent for Eureka and AB opts to buy Fighting 15s’ stock outright, otherwise Fighting 15s will simply run down stocks naturally.

We repeat that any order placed by or on 3 September 2019 for AB or Eureka Miniatures that are cast under licence by Fighting 15s in the UK will be honoured, and licensed casting will continue after 4 September only to complete those orders.

Fighting 15s stops being Eureka’s and AB’s agent on 4 September 2019; the new agent takes up the reins on 5 September 2019. Because the changeover is only just more than six weeks away, Fighting 15s is not ordering into stock new releases from Eureka Miniatures or AB Figures.

Fighting 15s shop: changing to live stock levels

Parts of the Fighting 15s online shop are inaccessible at present because I am switching the whole of my stock to live stock levels. This simply means that if an item is shown in stock, then customers can buy it up to the stock limit.

This has been largely irrelevant up until now because so many of the items I sell are cast to order, and because I can get key items quickly if necessary from Australia. However, as Fighting 15s heads towards the end of its status as agent for AB Figures and Eureka Miniatures, it’s important that all items from those manufacturers are set to live stock levels. That way, come E-day on 4 September, Fighting 15s can simply run down stock and I can provide an inventory for the new agent if they decide to take on the stock. There’s no guarantee of this, hence plan B is to continue listing items on the site until they sell out: live stock levels will automatically ensure that a code is delisted and hidden when it runs out.

Obviously, this is a huge amount of work, because I have to count the existing stock. Therefore, all items have been set to a stock level of zero until I have been able to count the stock for that code: one they have a stock level of more than zero they will reappear in the shop. So, although the shop looks empty in places, it will fill up again over the next week or so. I am focusing on getting all the AB codes live first. The Imperial French, Imperial Guard, Peninsula British and the 20mm WWII lines are already done. Eureka’s 10mm Fantasy and 18mm Seven Years War lines are also running on live stock levels.

I’m doing this now rather than nearer E-day because orders have dropped to a manageable level. My apologies if the short downtime for some items affects buying plans, but at least when codes are set to live stock levels customers can buy knowing that what they’ve ordered should be in stock – subject to my counting errors.

Gladiator Miniatures, Martian Empires, and Fighting 15s figures and flags are unaffected by the change because earlier this year I set them to high stock levels. They are therefore still available to buy. I may have to cast figures or get flags from my designer, but this usually involves a delay of one week at most. Shadowforge Miniatures and Laughing Monk are also set to live stock levels, but these ranges are clearance items.

Ian
Fighting 15s and Gladiator Miniatures

Countdown to E Day

Or should that be E-less day? But certainly not AB-day, which belongs in a bathroom. Yes, the bad jokes don’t stop.

With slightly more than two months to go before Fighting 15s stops being Eureka Miniatures’ agent, and therefore also AB Figures’ agent, what is going to happen?

Eureka Miniatures has now chosen its new agent. That agent takes up the reins from 5 September and may take orders from customers for AB Figures and Eureka Miniatures from that date, but no earlier. Up until that date Fighting 15s is still the agent and is the point of contact for orders for AB Figures and Eureka Miniatures in the UK and EU. For forthcoming new releases, such as Eureka’s 15mm Sumerians, the new agent is obviously the best point of contact now. All questions about stuff you’ve seen on the Eureka US site but which aren’t officially released yet or even available on the Fighting 15s site or on Eureka Miniatures’ site in Oz can also be directed at the new agent.

In accordance with Fighting 15s’ letter of notice to Eureka, Fighting 15s will continue to cast licensed figures and supply Eureka and AB Figures from stock for orders placed up to and including 3 September 2019. For new orders from 4 September, Fighting 15s will supply items from existing stock only. At some point we will temporarily close the AB and Eureka sections of the website for maintenance to introduce live stock levels – that way, when they are re-opened it will only be possible to order what is actually in stock. In practice, Fighting 15s will hide the AB and Eureka sections of the site sometime after hours on 3 September, and gradually reveal those categories for which stock still exists, along with live stock levels so that is not possible to order more of a code than remains in stock. The Gladiator Miniatures and Martian Empires sections of the site are ready for live stock levels to be enacted and therefore will not be switched off.

Licensed casting at Fighting 15s will cease on 4 September except to complete orders placed up until and including 3 September. The new agent does not have casting facilities at present, so all their stock is likely to come from Australia to begin with.

The new agent may decide to buy our remaining stock or if not, as outlined in our letter of notice, Fighting 15s will continue to dispose of any remaining stock. The new agent has already blocked me on Facebook, so the prospect of handing over remaining stock is in doubt.

Fighting 15s flags (Flags for AB) will remain with Fighting 15s and is unaffected by the change in agency. I will try to remove any Flags for AB branding as soon as possible.

Colonel Bill’s, Fighting 15s UK shows agent, will be unable to place new orders for stocks of AB Napoleonics and Eureka SYW from Fighting 15s as from 4 September. Because Colonel Bill’s has paid for and therefore owns its existing stocks of these figures, remaining figures will continue to be available through Colonel Bill’s while stocks last. Stuart at Colonel Bill’s will be taking on some of our Gladiator Miniatures lines of figures. Eureka’s new agent will be taking AB Figures and Eureka Miniatures to shows at some point in the future.

I intend the transition to go as smoothly as possible given that it’s a massive change. I look forward to your custom for AB Figures and Eureka Miniatures up to 3 September, and for Gladiator Miniatures, Martian Empires and Fighting 15s flags and figures afterwards.

Ian
Fighting 15s and Gladiator Miniatures