I recently purchased a set of models from a series of independent manufacturers. I’ve been a member of the Facebook group ‘Eavier Metal for a while, and it’s certainly opened my eyes to models that both fit my own army, as well and being uniquely awesome in their own right. Seeing non-GW models not only linked, but usually painted to an incredible standard on a daily basis certainly opens your eyes to the possibilities out there.
The obvious drawback to this form of promotion is that you come across a lot of things that are sadly either unavailable (such as limited editions, Kickstarter exclusives, or simply being out of production), leaving you with the choice of forgetting it, or praying eBay won’t rip you off entirely. Occasionally, however, you stumble across something that’s not only fairly accessible, but even still available from the original manufacturer.
I’ve always preferred buying from original manufacturers rather than eBay (or other unaffiliated resellers) for the simple reason that I am old enough to value the concept of supporting the provider of content. Whether it’s paying for a music streaming service (or a CD, for that matter – I still buy them), or getting your new books directly from an author’s webshop rather than Amazon, I find the concept of supporting whoever provides you with the content and material you love to be not only important, but an ethical choice on a personal level.
In that regard, I simply want to express my utmost satisfaction with three independent manufacturers. First and foremost, Ax Faction, who not only shipped my miniatures at an alarmingly fast pace, but even took the time to send me a personalised email thanking me for my order and support, and that the models were being packed up right away – on the very same Sunday evening I placed my order. When my package arrived, it even came with some random swag in shape of mini-posters and a jacket pin – extraordinary.
Secondly, Figone, whose website is something of a mess, but whose miniatures are pure art. While communications were somewhat hazy (apart from an automated order confirmation, I didn’t get a single order update until the miniature laid in my mailbox), the quality of the model was perfect and the shipping cost and time was more than impressive.
Finally, there’s Siren Miniatures, who make some of the most stunning pieces I’ve seen in a while. Again, communications was fairly non-existent, and shipping was relatively slow (over a month to deliver a small order within the EU) – however, once my package arrived, I realised they’d not only shipped two independent orders as one, but filled out customs forms in a manner that made the package not exceed the import tax limit for Norway, declaring it as a single order and saving me a bit of money.
Money that will likely go towards getting more models from independent manufacturers. If there’s one thing these experiences have taught me, it’s that generally, these suppliers are trustworthy. Yes, they might require some patience on your end, and they might not bombard your inbox with status updates on your order. But the miniatures arrive, and once they do, the quality is almost always unsurpassed. Go try yourself – the odds are, you won’t be disappointed.