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We got chatting after he asked me what I was using my purchases for (I now get all my models from alternative sites but I also still buy paints and brushes from GW direct. I told him Mordians and some WW2 stuff - his colleague behind the counter gave a very slight disgusted look, presumably for stating out loud that I gamed with something other than GW - but his mate appeared genuinely interested. Both in the Mordians and the WW2 models.
After a while I brought up a question that's been nagging me for a while. What will the final fate be of the Mordian models? I've heard and been told that GW have a general plan to make everything into Failcast, but what about these old models? To be honest, I'm surprised they've survived this long - the sculpts are so old that they almost look out of place, since they were (I guess) probably done by hand as opposed to the CAD stuff they make nowadays. Is it worth moving over to Failcast when there isn't that much detail on the models at all? When metal finally goes, will they drop all the old Valhallans, Steel Legion, Mordians and Praetorians?
This was symptomatic of a wider malaise, which is that the Guard don't get enough new models. Now I know every army thinks this, and some like Dark Eldar have been worse off than we Guard players. But when I take a look over at Faeit 212, there are endless rumours about Space Marine releases. Followed up by loads of new stuff for other armies. I suppose the Valkyrie was the newest model we got? I might be wrong there. There's nothing wrong with the plastic Cadians; although I haven't done a Cadian army in years and they are starting to get on a bit, they are still lovely models. But what about Mordians? What I wouldn't give for plastic Mordians?
Back to the store. I said in an offhand manner that I thought Mordians wouldn't make GW that much money. This seemed to offend him a bit, and (in a friendly way) he put me right. He admitted he was at the bottom end of the company, closest to the gamers, but he said in all his experience he had only met people who were gamers. Even when area managers and big, suit-wearing executives came to visit their store, they usually brought an army and once the work was done, they could have a quick game. No-one in the company knows where this perception of them being a big money-grabbing company came from.
I fought my corner, saying that however benevolent the company hierarchy was, if the prices keep going up and the quality comes down, people will stop loving the game. He admitted the quality thing is particularly worrying for their lower-level workers. Until recently, you could say that GW were expensive but they had the best quality and the best range. Now there has been an explosion of superb quality conversion kits and even whole models of excellent quality, that make the collection of an army (especially Guard) an entirely feasible option. And all this at a time when GW's reputation for quality is being eroded away - like the detail parts of a Failcast Commissar ...
(My top two parts websites are Victoria Miniatures and Curious Constructs - check out Col Ackland's (incidentally great) blog for a thorough rundown of the two)
Anyway, we parted on jovial terms, and I even plan to go back there for a battle soon. But he took my points, mainly that although SMs are their moneymaker, the Guard have a very high proportion of older gamers (both fluffy players and elite tournament gamers). There is certainly a bit of a cult feel about the blogosphere - there are loads of Guard blogs out there, but how many Eldar army blogs can you find? (Edit: just did a Google search and found a few. Bugger. But you know what I mean). So if, as this anonymous employee assured me, people at the highest levels of GW read the blogs and forums - give us new models! And keep the Classic Range of Guard on the website! What are your thoughts on the state of the Guard in today's hobby?
Anyway, just so you know I'm planning on doing something apart from hours of Silent Hunter - I'm thinking of doing a bit more on my Chaos Renegades after payday, and I've got a WW2 game coming up with Headologist soon!
Thanks for reading!