Muschamp Rd

40K coming to China

October 31st, 2006
Astronomi-con 40K Logo

One of my technorati feeds turned up a mention of Nurgle in a Chinese blog. This shows just how many blogs there are in Chinese now. Soon half the blogs in the world will be in Chinese I imagine.

When I lived in China the second time I visited one of the many Games Workshop or Warhammer stores that are now in Shanghai.

Anyway my Chinese sucks. I still read many of the characters in Japanese first if I learned them for Japanese first. Chinese unlike Japanese often leaves foreign words in English at least online and URLs are almost always in the Latin character set so you can navigate or at least get the gist of websites in Chinese without being fluent. It appears someone is selling Games Workshop games in China. The books appear to be in English so they should be the current edition. I remember reading how Japan was often an edition of the game behind due to slow translation work.

Now GW is a corporate juggernaut and all their miniature packaging is in six different languages, none of which are Chinese. China is a curious market for GW. The hobby is expensive and you need space to play the games. China has more space than Japan but individuals have less money. The real problem for GW is China is not known for intellectual property protection. GW makes its money selling miniatures. They had a real problem with the miniatures being pirated in Eastern Europe particularly Poland, I seem to recall. Now Poland seems to produce a lot of great miniature painters…

Needless to say I imagine someone will make knockoff GW figs real soon now, if they haven’t already started making them in China.

A big boost to the table top game of Warhammer 40,000 came when they finally made a decent video game version. Dawn of War was made by Vancouver’s own Relic Entertainment. I talked to some of the designers of the game, some of them played the table top version but some did not, though perhaps many started after working on the video game version. Although it took a lot of time to convince Games Workshop that making a multiplayer video game version of their game could help them sell figurines, the fact that Dawn of War crops up in the original Chinese blog posting shows it has been successful.

I’ve often wondered how Games Workshop has continued to be so successful marketing to 12 year old kids when they are not only competing against other miniature games but against video games themselves. If I had to make a guess it is the creative side of the hobby. In the video game you are limited by what the game designers thought of and were able to execute which is often quite a lot. On the table top you are only limited by your imagination and your ability to bring an idea to life in miniature form. Of course I’ve also heard tales of miniatures painted by moms, some moms apparently have become quite enthusiastic miniature painters and there are always mercenary painters.

It appears in another curious example of global outsourcing, Sri Lanka claims to have the cheapest miniature painting rates on earth! There are two types of miniature painting services: those that specialize in one of kind artistic creations and those that specialize in cranking out entire armies of miniatures for the use in table top games. Some people do both for a living and some people even create one of kind armies which they either sell outright or use for a period of time and then sell. I can’t imagine trying to make a living painting miniatures though I know people who have done it, or at least supplemented their income. eBay is of course awash with miniature auctions. I tend to paint all my own miniatures even though I’ve often lived a busy life.

Since there are miniature painting competitions and tournaments where painting is taken into consideration, these services and the selling of models in general has caused some problems. Where is your pride man? Paint your own miniatures and don’t take credit for other people’s hard work. I eventually started a miniature painting blog but if you have any thoughts on this post you can leave them below.


  • Juan says:

    Oh fantastic!
    Do you know now existe a great miniature painting studio?? Here you are!

    • Muskie says:

      I approved your comment but on your website it doesn’t say you’re in China and none of you look particularly Chinese. There are good miniature painters in China. I went to a convention and of course there are Warhammer stores at least in Shanghai, they aren’t even called GWs anymore.

    • Muskie says:

      I know there are a lot of them, Instagram seems to have won miniature painting, that and private Facebook groups. I guess people got sick of anonymous cowards on forums and people stealing your credit for their work. I still paint all my own models, and I definitely think you should whether you just play “for fun” or you plan to enter some competition like a “Grand Tournament”.

      I do agree it is time consuming and I don’t have time to paint right now, but once I finish an exam I’ll paint again. And I plan to someday have a bigger apartment with a better spot for painting. Good luck with your business, there are plenty of people who play or collect but don’t paint so much.

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