|Celebrations abound over the news of the Minden and Fife & Drum merger.
The response to the news of the Minden- Fife & Drum merger has been very favorable across the various forums and outposts of the wargaming community and I want to thank everyone for their kind comments. I am currently working up some advertising copy so that we can include a full page announcement in the next issue of (#367) of Miniature Wargames so that we can introduce the fine Minden range to the wargaming public in general.
|Minden Prussian infantry painted as IR1 von Winterfeld Regiment with GMB flags. These figures will also work as AWI Hessian musketeers.
So what happens next?
Moving The Inventory: The first thing is to start the process of moving the extensive pile of inventory from the UK to the US and according to Frank, there is a LOT of inventory to move -- something on the order of a dozen or more boxes. Yikes! I figure that it could take 4 to 8 weeks to get all of that done, and then unpack and store the new figures in parts bins, etc, etc. before I will be ready to open the doors for trading.
F&D Still Open For Business: In the interim, Fife & Drum AWI figures and AWI/SYW era artillery equipment are still available for order shipping now. It is rather fortuitous that we can directly pair the F&D artillery equipment up with the Minden SYW artillery crews. It's not that I foresaw this merger coming, by any means, but rather, that I commissioned the French and Prussian artillery because (a) I had found a good sculptor for the equipment, and (b) I needed 1/56 scale artillery for my own Minden armies. Now that Minden is in the fold, we will certainly want to add Austrian artillery pieces to the range as well as add more to the existing French, Prussian and British range of artillery. Can you say Brummers ?
Setting Up Shop (on-line ordering): Next on my list is setting up an on-line web site with a shopping cart feature so that our customers can order direct rather than via e-mail. Now that our range has close to 400 different figures, the sheer size of the venture requires bona fide on-line shopping. I would also like to develop the web site so that it includes informational content such as wargame scenarios, uniform information, down-loadable rules and much more.
UK Distributor: This is probably the number one question asked of me by our Euroland customers, "are you going to have a distributor in the UK to serve the UK and Europe?" It would certainly make sense to have both Fife & Drum and Minden figures available in the UK, especially since the figures are manufactured in the UK by Griffin Moulds. This will take a bit of time to work on as I don't personally know anyone in the UK who is in the figure sales/distribution and in my book, having a good personal relationship with your potential business partner is the most important variable in the mix. So if I can find that person, and the distribution arrangements are economically viable for both parties, then I can foresee having a UK distributor in the future.
In the interim though, I plan to subsidize Euroland purchases by"eating" a large portion of the shipping cost (up to say, $25 in shipping costs) by providing free shipping in Euroland for several months to see how this works out. This should help to even out the purchasing cost for someone who was previously buying the figures directly from Frank in the UK. The rest of world: you will still have to pay full shipping cost with your order as you were already doing so before the merger. Obviously our customers in the USA will benefit from lower shipping costs and quicker delivery, now that the Minden figures will be warehoused in the USA.
New Figures/Additions to the Range: We will continue to add new figures to both the Minden and the Fife & Drum figure ranges. In the short term, Richard Ansell and I are working toward meeting our Kickstarter commitments for AWI cavalry, Hessians, Highlanders and French. At some point in 2014, I expect to add some new Minden figures to the range and then going forward, alternate releases between AWI and SYW on a regular basis. The first Minden releases under the new regime will probably cover the Western Germany theatre of operations (i.e. French, British and Allies). It pains me to say that as personally I would rather add more Prussians for my own selfish purposes, but the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, as someone once said.
|Some of these would look nice in the Minden range of figures.
Hessians for the AWI: Yes, we still intend to add Hessians to the Fife & Drum range for the AWI, but in doing some research, it occurs to me that the Hessians still wore gaitors for much of the war and only a few regiments converted to the one-piece "overalls" leg wear. So that means that you could use Minden SYW Prussians for your AWI Hessians. So if you absolutely can't wait for the F&D Hessians, why not consider buying some Minden Prussians to get a head start on your Hessian army. I have been doing the same thing in my own AWI British/Hessian army. Since both ranges are made by the same sculptor, why not?
Are You Going to Add Russians to the Minden Range? : Eventually, I am sure, but I have a lot of other things that I want to add to fill out the existing Minden range of figures before embarking on adding Russians. I really can't stray too far from the AWI until we meet our Kickstarter obligations. Once those have been put into production, then due consideration can be made for adding Russians and more of the things that I want for my own collection (see below).
What is on Fritz's Minden Wish List?
Owning your own miniatures business is sort of like handing over the keys to the candy store to a 10-year old. It seems that you could have almost anything that you wanted. That is true with a miniatures business to some degree, but consideration has to be given to what the customers want, while at the same time, not pushing Richard to the point of exhaustion with endless demands for new stuff. But if I could snap my fingers and have it all, here are some of the things that I would want to add to the Minden SYW range, in no particular order:
1. Prussian Guards (IR6, IR15/I Liebgarde, IR15 2nd and 3rd battalions.)
2. Prussian von Kliest Freikorps (dragoons, hussars, Kroaten infantry, lancers)
3. Prussian horse artillery
4. Prussian Bosniaks
5. Firing line poses for all the nations in the range
6. Austrian horse grenadiers and carabiniers
7. French Maison du Roi cavalry and Gardes Francaises
8. French infantry and cavalry in bearskins
9. Irregular Croats for the War of Austrian Succession (i.e. an assortment of unmatched uniforms) both in skirmishing and "looting" poses.
This is by no means the ultimate list of Minden additions, so if something has been left off the list, do not fear, we will probably get to it in due time.