The miniature games hobby is – for most people – a hobby. Even for people dealing with it as a business, making, selling or even painting wargaming miniatures for a living, it’s usually a lot of work on low margins. Aside from Mr. Tom Kirby himself, very few people will ever get rich in this particular niche.
And yet, scammers abound, trying to trick people for a quick buck or, even more puzzling, for a moment in the limelight. Ebay and, more recently, Kickstarter are rich hunting-grounds for scammers, but they are far from the only places where you better tread carefully.
Here are two recent examples of people trying to pass off other people’s work as their own for fame or profit.
#1 – 2013 US Golden Demons Cheat
At the Golden Demons in Memphis this year, the Imperial Thunderbolt above made the 1st place in the Open Competition. It’s a stunningly painted miniature and, arguably, well deserving of the prize. The problem: It wasn’t painted by the guy (girl?) who entered it into the competition!
Here’s the Games Workshop email that later went to the other contenders.
It has come to our attention that the Imperial Thunderbolt that won the Open Competition was not entered by the creator, therefore, it has been disqualified.
That means that the winners are as follows:
1st – Bennett Blalock-Doane
2nd – Jason Colbeck
3rd – Octavio Fernandez (congrats Octavio!)
We are trying to recover the 1st place trophy, and would appreciate if you could send your trophies back (Bennett and Jason) so we can get the correct trophies out. We will be sending a shipping label to you to pay for shipping. If you can’t send it back for some reason, just let me know. Then we will send the correct trophies out to you!
Golden Demon Captain
It appears the offender has been banned from Golden Demon competitions for life (is that a deterrent for people who would not or cannot enter their own miniatures?). It also wasn’t the first time this happens, it seems.
One part of me wants to ask what the point would be of cheating yourself into a Golden Demon trophy (they aren’t really made of gold, after all).
Another part of me saw too many people palming bad dice, etc… at even the most casual and “friendly” games of Warhammer 40K, so I guess some people just can’t resist the temptation.
#2 – 3D Printed Warhound Titan Scam
Unlike the attempt to cheat at the US Golden Demon, this second case is still up in the air.
The object of interest is the not-Warhound Titan seen above. By all accounts, it is a custom CAD-design printed from a 3D printer. No moulds or other forms of “mass-production” exist for it.
As far as I understood the issue, this Warhound-Titan-inspired monster was made by the guy from Big Bad Models as a one-off. Though it never seems to have been for sale (not least, I presume, because Games Workshop might not think of that too kindly).
Somebody else, however, clearly saw the business opportunity and started offering 3D-prints of this miniature for sale through the Black Crusade Studio Facebook page (and nothing except this FB-page seems to exist to present this company to the world).
In return, the original designer of the model posted this YouTube video, warning people of an assumed fraud, insisting that nobody but he – as original creator – has a copy of the file.
Black Crusade Studio – who have taken “pre-orders” for the miniature through FB private messages (yeah.. seriously, even if an offer is legit… don’t buy expensive stuff that way) keeps insisting a client of his owns the file.
Can anyone contact the guy who says he owns the files (and video) to have him email me or message me here?
I want to find out if my client stole them or was given them or something else entirely.
I cannot really pass a verdict on how this goes, given how little I know. As a vision of some of the shady things going on in the sub-regions of this hobby, I found it rather informative.
#3 – Thoughts?
All right. Time for your thoughts (or experiences!).
Have you had the misfortune of being scammed, or near-scammed in the hobby? Have you run into people trying to cheat at a painting competition? If so, what did you do?
I am looking forward to your comments on this one!