Isn’t GW’s Eldar Wraithknight Really, Really, Really Cheap?

How Expensive is the Wraithknight

The Eldar Wraithknight!

I can already see how that beast is going to keep my busy blogging in the coming weeks.

The new Eldar Wraithknight is part of Games Workshop’s latest release for Warhammer 40K 6th Edition. It is one of the largest kits ever made for the “regular” game of Warhammer 40K. It stands 9″ tall and comes with at least three different weapon-options.

On pretty much every forum I frequent, the announcement that Games Workshop is releasing a GBP 70,- (~USD 115.50) Eldar miniature was met with the inevitable groaning and moaning about Games Workshop robbing people blind with their pricing strategy. GW prices were also the subject of a little discussion in the comments of yesterday’s blog post.

Though I can not say the same for most Games Workshop products, the Eldar Wraithknight, as a hobby-kit of its size in today’s market, strikes me as really, really, really cheap! Think about it!


#1 – Games Workshop and Their Prices

The discussion of GW prices is clearly a bottomless nightmare. I do not want to defend GW’s pricing policy in general. There are enough GW price-tags out there that do seem unjustified (and, yes, Forge World is still far and away the worst offender as far as value-for-money goes).

  • Games Workshop’s Limited Edition Eldar Codex essentially asks you for an additional GBP 20,- over the already pricey Codex for a fancy card-board dust-jacket.
  • Black Library has been charging GBP 25,- and more for 100 page novellas bound in (faux) leather and other shenanigans.
  • Forge World’s much-lauded line of Horus Heresy Primarchs is charging you GBP 50,- and more for essentially a resin Space Marine with a fancy display base, more than twice of what Forge World is askking even for their other fancy Space Marine HQ minis.

#2 – Eldar Wraithknight is the Best Deal in Town!

Still, if you think that Games Workshop miniatures are for the well-heeled hobbyist only, the Eldar Wraithknight begs to differ. Quite the opposite, Games Workshop seems to be throwing down the price-fight-gauntlet to the competition with this one.

  • Privateer Press Khador Colossal

I never owned a Colossal from Privateer Press. It is arguable the less ideal comparison as Colossals are resin and metal kits, not plastic. Still, the US Amazon site gives the height of the Conquest as 9.3″ – almost identical to the Wraithlord.

Though the Khador Conquest is bulkier than the Wraithknight, it has no alternative weapon-options.

Official retail price for the Khador Conquest from Privateer is USD 134.99 (GBP ~ 95,-).

  • DreamForge Games Leviathan Titan

The more likely comparison is DreamForge Games Leviathan Crusader. Again, a brilliant kit, which I also got for myself one from the Kickstarter. Though my shipment from DreamForge hasn’t arrived yet (as I opted for the combined second shipment), all reviews I’ve seen have been ecstatic. A marvel of miniature design and engineering, standing 8.5″ tall.

But it comes at a price. Wayland Games puts the Leviathan at GBP 95,- (USD 140,-) before discounts (which also apply to GW products). Variant weapons are GBP 28,- (USD 40,-) extra.

  • Games Workshop Eldar Wraithknight

Finally we have Games Workshop’s Eldar Wraithknight. Seeing Privateer’s success with Colossals and Gargantuans, one can hardly blame them for hitting a similar niche.

More importantly, Games Workshop seems to run a fairly aggressive pricing policy for this particular kit (and the competitors it faces).

The Wraithknight is 9″ tall, plastic, 2 and 3 different weapon options for each arm respectively, all for GBP 70,- (USD 115.00).

It may well be the cheapest wargaming miniature/model-kit in that class that was ever produced!


#3 – Thoughts?

Of course, the comparative bargain Games Workshop is offering with the Wraithknight is more an exception, not a rule (see the new Dire Avengers). There could be several reasons for it:

  • Games Workshop themselves aren’t yet 100% sure if a kit this big will be a hit
  • Games Workshop is carefully acclimatizing its customers to the larger, pricier miniatures
  • Games Workshop wants to one-up the competition in a field it’s neglected a bit (with Colossals, etc.. moving past)

This may well be a temporary “deal”, and Games Workshop’s 9″ miniatures (if they sell well and more are released) may become more expensive sooner, rather than later.

At the moment, however, Games Workshop is the best bargain in town!

Z.

Zweischneid

Zweischneid

I am Zweischneid. Wargame Addict. Hopeless painter and founder of Pins of War. I hope you enjoyed this article. Don't forget to share your favourite miniature pictures and wargaming videos at www.pinsofwar.net.
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  • http://twitter.com/belverker belverker

    Yeah this is mini is about 3 inches taller then any of the Privateer press big stuff (if the battle foam for them is anything to go by nothing taller then 6 inches) and multiple options and the bonus fact that you don’t have to work with pp’s atrocious plastic/resin
    I agree I think it is an experiment though it is the same price as the old super heavies (although not here in Australia where it is only $125 and not $185 like the baneblade and stompa)

  • spiderdrol

    perhaps they are experimenting if they can actually produce these large models with enough profit to justify even bigger mdels, and then i’m thinking about the new apocalypse book that has been rumoure.

  • dynath

    er… gundam master series models are about that size and 50 bucks, and way more options and totally pose able too. A lot of companies make toys in 8 and 10 inch scales with more accessories and detail for 15 to 20 bucks. Price is still a bit dodgy even when everyone’s price is dodgy.

  • DerNarr

    From a collectors point of view there is much to say for your arguments even though height is most of the time not the crucial factor concerning them (excluding guys allways wanting the hughest toy in town). And in matters of pricing concerning mass, there is allways to calculate the width and depth (and sparrings and hollows and many more) not only height of a modell.
    From a gamers point of view (one with a little bit competitvist attitude at least) there is a much of a problem with the pricing at GWs new toys. They managed to establish the feeling, that the newest miniatures in their repertoire are the most competitive choices. Even if this feeling may not allways be correct, it is there. PP on the other hand released a book with huge miniatures, that allowed the players from the get go to chose wether to play them or not without having huge misadvantages when not. That is, of course, founded in their style of tournament-settings, where everybody and his/her grandmother brings two to three lists to choose from, but also in the huge pointcost of those colossals and gargantuans, that make it nearly impossible to build lists containing those without building the list to support them (certain cases may or not be exceptions). So one or two colossal plus a bit of support make a tournament list, while on or two wraithknight or riptides make at 1850 points approximately a third of the list max. that leaves the competitive player with roundabout 1200 points to spare for the things he also needs in a list. That is what makes the pricing at GW that much more incomprehensible than that of PP in my oppinion.

    • http://pinsofwar.net/ Zweischneid

      Well, I think the actual plastic, even if these things were 20″ tall, is fairly negligible. It’s probably the design, engineering (DreamForge has these nifty ball-joints that make their Leviathan fully poseable after (!) assembly and painting), marketing, distribution, etc..

      That said, tournaments – either PP or GW – are not the entirety of the hobby. And even if they were, would you argue that GW should sell comparable miniatures at even lower prices than their competition because their rule-set is different?

      • DerNarr

        Thanks for youre response, I was surprised about myself to write in the first place. Moreso about youre answer, which infact gave me a good time of hard thinking and having fun with certain constructions.

        long things short: “comparable” is a strong term. Imho only comarable things are those complaints and the reasons given. GW as company is not dealing with costumers but with market and defined target groups. Costumers need to define, for themselves if they are part of that group or not..World peace;)

        short things long: I do not think, GW should sell comparable miniatures at a lesser price. But what is comparable? A: Comparable means equal physical attributes (including material, height, weight, depdth and therefore mass, but also time and work) B Comparable means of equal worth ( where the question rises: For whom? And including most certainly the ones above, too)

        If i do understand it correctly, mass shouldn’t matter, because in the production-process it seems to be negligibe quantity (even though i think the quantitys in which the material needs to be provided may not be that irrelevant.. So most certainly material is no factor too (except for those components that allow or dissallow certain design-desicions but only if they prolongue the process of designing at a relevant amount). So design and time are the only relevant costfactors. I personally have no clue, how much time and ressources each of the companys do have invested for those large models. So from my point of view, they are under definition A not comparable untill there is further information.
        Under B a large part stays the same: I (and I includes a whole lot of people i think) do not know the materialcost, productioncost, or any of those exactly for one of the miniatures of the above companies. So the “worth” of one miniature of the above type for those companies stays at least enigmatic, at worst unsolvable untill further information is given.
        So whats left to discuss: The worth we know or at least asume to know a little better. That is, in my case, from a collectors or players perspective. Those were my reasons for not indulging in hypothesises about the marketingpolicy of GW (which is in fact, with certain goals in mind, a truely interesting one) but the feelings of players and reasons for those feelings. Surely i percepted them and know, that those perceptions are strongly subjective. But at least, i have something for building theorys instead of taking things for given without any sort of evidence. So I at least needed to include the perspetion of players, because as i stated before, collectors are, in my opinion, in most cases not the ones complaining on prices. So I chose players with the given competitve mindset, because they do have evident reason behind their complaints. Those reasons lead to you’re question what GW (and any other company in that case) should do. The answer can not be, the one you seem to have read in my statement, to sell things of equal wort for less money. The answer needs to be that every company has a defined target group and each and everyone needs to define for themselves if they are part of this group. Complaining on prices helps to both sides to evaluate if someone is still part of that target group or not. So GW doesn’t need to change anything.
        What they could change without much loss i think, is the ruleset and the seemingly allways progressing invalidation of older units with simultaneous exaggerated rules for new units. But that’s a good step away from wraithknights and their pricing and leads back to the target groups i think.

  • Mandragola

    The wraithknight is not a big kit for GW. I don’t know why everyone is saying that it is. Ok it’s tall, but there’s nowhere near as much plastic in it as there is in a land raider or storm raven, and it costs as many points as them too. A storm raven is actually 4 sprues, while the wraithknight is only 3. A Dakkajet costs them as much to make.

    GW have said in the past that their pricing is based around the in-game cost of the thing, which makes it reasonable for a WK to cost more than a dakkajet, but not more than a land raider.

    • http://pinsofwar.net/ Zweischneid

      Interesting to count the sprues, I suppose.

      The argument that pricing is based on in-game costs is a bit tough to uphold though I believe. A Finecast Spiritseer (70 pts.) costs as much as a Finecast Calgar or Phoenix Lord (all nearly Landraider-priced) because it’s a similar miniature. 200 pts. worth of Ork Boyz will cost you a lot more than 200 pts. worth of Grey Knights.

      This doesn’t exclude the possibility that someone at GW rigs the odd price here and there because something is seemingly more valuable in-game, but it’s hardly a yardstick to start assessing their prices from on a general basis.

      • Mandragola

        I herd somebody very senior in GW (Jervis I think in a seminar) explain that points cost was one of the factors in determining price. They need for it to actually be possible to make an ork army and for it not to just cost 5x as much as a marine army. It’s one of many factors though, or rhinos would cost £5!

        Producing plastic kits has a high lead cost and a low unit cost. That lead cost is per sprue, because you have to build a mould for that sprue. So the wraithknight and dakkajet have the same production cost. The nephilim/dark talon only has 2 sprues so a lower cost of production.

        However that cost then needs to be offset by the number they will sell, as the initial cost of the moulds then gets divided up between either many sales, or not so many. It takes a lot of sales for any given kit to return a profit. So for the dark talon, not huge numbers of people play dark angels and those people won’t need many, so they probably won’t sell all that many of them. The cost for the customer for each one is therefore high.

        The thing is, I can see GW selling lots of wraithknights and quickly recovering their (not that high) costs of production. In this case it does just look cynical. It’s entirely possible for a player to want 3 of these things, which costs under 750 points without upgrades, but £210. That’s hard to justify really. The thing costs as much money as a baneblade or stompa but it is in no way comparable to them. It’s nowhere near as expensive to produce, they will sell far more and it costs a fraction of their points.

        The one thing is, the wraithknight is a really great-looking model. People will want one, so GW can push the envelope on the price. It’s clearly a big step up in price from their previous standards though.

        • http://pinsofwar.net/ Zweischneid

          Well. The lead cost on plastic sprues isn’t THAT high. DreamForge showed that the lead cost for around 80 to 100 different (!) GW-equivalent sprues is still under 100K USD. Nothing that’ll put GW out of business if there’s one – or ten – sprues more or less either way.

          The digital design. The “manpower” going into the thing.. with all it’s poseability far exceeds even the lead-costs for tooling the hard-plastic injection many hundred times over. And I would argue the complexity of the Wraithknight, with all the multi-poseable hands and legs, the entire pinning-system, is infinitely more engineering know-how than the Landraider, which is just a big plastic box with details on it.

  • Fenter

    Sorry but this is isn’t an effective argument. Comparing the Wraithknight merely on how tall it is to PP’s colossal/gargantuan kit hardly conveys your argument. As well as this, PP doesn’t give the buyer weapon options because each faction (sans Minions) only has ONE load-out for the Gargantuan/Colossal – future releases may implement more load-outs, but as it stands there is one load- out. You’re not paying for length, you’re paying for detail and mass – something that this kit is lacking in comparison to the Gargantuans/Collosals.

    On to the Leviathan Titan now. This is a more suitable comparison, but you’re forgetting one thing. The production cost for a smaller sized games company to a huge sized games company is pretty skewed when it comes to new releases. I’m not well versed in their models so I’ll leave this part at that.

    • http://pinsofwar.net/ Zweischneid

      I think I said that the Gargantuan is an imperfect comparison.

      That said, I doubt you pay for detail, as the Wraithknight has more. I also doubt you are paying for mass, as a kg of Resin costs like.. um… 10p or so? Should the Gargantuan be cheaper if they attempt (the from an engineering PoV more difficult procedure of) making it more hollow where it isn’t?

      As for the production costs of DreamForge, the Leviathan is tooled in China, the Wraithknight in Britain. GW’s production costs are likely higher. That said, prices are determined by supply and demand and corporate strategy as much, if not more so, than production costs.

      • Fenter

        More detailed? Hardly. I’ve seen the Wraithknight in person as well as all of the Gargossals. Have you ever seen the Gargossals in person? Why bring the range into a structured argument if you’re not well versed in the range. The Wraithknight has smooth panels and sharp edges, something that has been rinsed and repeated throughout the course of their production design. When PP went for Gargossals it was something entirely new for them. If you look at the design of the entire range it’s a pretty far leap, but has adequate nods at their respective factions design premises (i.e the crab legs for the Kraken).

        The whole premise that this is a ‘cheap’ kit is a ridiculous notion. Nearly every miniature company is overpriced; they are out to make a buck. Asserting that “Eldar Wraithknight is the Best Deal in Town” is a pretty clear red herring, because all miniature companies are overpriced. The highest rated comment on this article reinforces this claim.

        It’s not very clear where you’re going with the direction of this article in regards to pricing. Answer me this – if you’re not paying for detail why are ForgeWorld kits much higher in cost in comparison to GW’s line?

        • http://pinsofwar.net/ Zweischneid

          To answer the last… because Forge World generally sells to an older, more affluent demographic who pay for the privilege to “stand out”.

          Wraith knight has smooth panels, sure. It also has detailed runes, multiple poseable fingers where the gargantuans have simple “resin-balls” with some basic grooves to make the reminiscent of fists, etc.. .

          You may not agree with my opinion, but that doesn’t mean I am not versed in the range.

          As for “all miniatures are overpriced”. Perhaps. Or they may all be underpriced for what I know. I can only make comparisons against comparable benchmarks. If “everything” is off… well… how would you determine that? What’s your benchmark for making this claim?

  • http://pinsofwar.net/ Zweischneid

    I didn’t intend to prove that the Wraithknight is an amazing deal. I intended to prove that all the nerd-rage going on about “GW-is-ripping-everyone-off, I’ll-rage-quit-for-Privateer-Malifaux-etc..” was misplaced, because they latter are often as expensive, and in this one case more expensive, for similar products.

    I could’ve made the same case with… say… GW’s (newly expensive) Dire Avengers and .. say .. Malifaux Plastics too.

    And if the Ork Stompa is offering even better (!) value than the Wraithknight, that only proves my point even better.

    As for the basic materials, that isn’t necessarily unique to miniature wargaming. A Levis Jeans costs under a dollar to make. The rest is marketing, brand, maybe a bit of logistics and that’s it.

    If you think the miniature industry is – as a whole – out of whack because they don’t charge minimally more than the raw materials, than you’ll be finding almost any consumer good industry out there to be rather oddly priced.