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Beastmaster

What’s up with Bitz shops??

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I recently searched all the big bitzshops on the internet from which I had bought before for conversions. Seems they all got no new AoS parts in the recent months. Is the concept of selling bitz dead? Where do you get yours?

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I also noted that most of the bits shops are out of stock for a lot of pieces

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I've noticed that too... Recently I get my bits on Ebay, occasionally some sellers make good prices (even though I find the general bits trend expensive).

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I don't think the concept is dead, it's just a very time and energy consuming enterprise to do it well and so not many people who start, carry on with it. The upfront costs, the administration, storage and organization required. 

Ones I've used in the past include a few that focus mainly on 40k such as https://www.letthedicedecide.co.uk/ and https://www.bitzbox.co.uk/, which do have some AoS bits, although not a full range. There is also https://www.bitsandkits.co.uk/ which has the largest choice of AoS kits, but is also really popular and so sells out a lot of the most wanted bits minutes after their restock email goes out. I've seen their email come in and by the time I've loaded the site and checked the bit I was after, it was already sold out.

If I'm patient, I've found I've been able to get most bits I've been after for conversions. Subscribing with the different sites for notifications / stock alerts, setting up ebay search alerts, etc. 

If you're still struggling, buy the full kit yourself, take what you want and sell off the rest of it on ebay to make the money back. 

 

 

 

 

 

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It's important to remember that a few years back GW used to sell to bitz shops directly. The shops could hold an account and buy trade price products and then split them. Then at some point someone at GW decided that they didn't like biz shops doing that and thus shut that down. Refusing to sell to any retailer that was splitting kits. 

So the bitz sellers suddenly had to buy product at retail prices in order to get sets. This pushed the price of bitz up, but also made it far far far less profitable unless you were purely selling very top demand bitz - which tends to push it toward 40K more than AoS. 

 

If we couple that to the last year where most cheap stock was eaten up during the GW shutdown, its likely that bitz sellers just can't get access to cheap enough stock to make it viable as a business model. 

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Thanks for the explanation! That does make a lot of sense. It surely is an involved business model with a narrow margin of gains.

Regardless, it’s sad. I find it one of the most enjoyable parts of the hobby to customize with a wide range of possible pieces. Not easy to get exactly what you need with eBay.

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Personally I think that GW didn't have a problem with the sale of individual bitz, it was when the sellers were getting duel army packs and the like and splitting them. GW knows that a duel army pack's attraction comes from one half for most people not both halves. GW then relies on people trading on their own or "not" trading and being tempted to the other army as well. Heck with Indomitus I've seen more than a few say "I got the box but when I saw the Marines/Necrons I decided I'd keep them too"

I think GW didn't want bitz stores splitting up those models into individual sale items from a retailer. Even though ebay is loaded with individuals and scalpers doing just that. I also think GW could have worded tehir contracts to allow the sale of parts but not whole models etc... However that might have been tricky with legal limits and such on trade agreements. 

 

Suffice it to say that I agree, bitz are really great to be able to get a hold of. Sometimes you really do just want one or two bits for a conversion and you don't want or need the rest of the model. Some conversions are just way too expensive otherwise. 

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1 hour ago, Overread said:

It's important to remember that a few years back GW used to sell to bitz shops directly. The shops could hold an account and buy trade price products and then split them. Then at some point someone at GW decided that they didn't like biz shops doing that and thus shut that down. Refusing to sell to any retailer that was splitting kits. 

So the bitz sellers suddenly had to buy product at retail prices in order to get sets. This pushed the price of bitz up, but also made it far far far less profitable unless you were purely selling very top demand bitz - which tends to push it toward 40K more than AoS. 

 

If we couple that to the last year where most cheap stock was eaten up during the GW shutdown, its likely that bitz sellers just can't get access to cheap enough stock to make it viable as a business model. 

That would make sense in terms of making it difficult to make it's sustainable business. I did look into it briefly as I know there is clearly a market for it, but it didn't work out viable for me. 

 

36 minutes ago, Overread said:

Suffice it to say that I agree, bitz are really great to be able to get a hold of. Sometimes you really do just want one or two bits for a conversion and you don't want or need the rest of the model. Some conversions are just way too expensive otherwise. 

Some of the kitbases I've done are only possible due to bits sellers, I don't even want to think how much they'd cost if I bought the full kits used...

Sometimes though I have bought a full kit for a specific part, then years down the line, you're going through your own bitsbox and find the other bits useful.

 

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global shortage of GW product because of a worldwide,.. something or ,.. other,.. pandemic.  

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I think bitz works best peer to peer.  It's hard for one entity to hold and sort the required stock commercially: they're essentially a warehousing and distribution business, and any logistics business will focus on SKU rationalisation as the key driver of efficiency and profitability.  Whereas a bitz business’s entire model is taking an already-huge number of SKUs and making it explode into an insane number.  It's actively anti-efficient.

I’m lucky that I’m in a big, active gaming group who can and do help each other out with Bitz.  In the real world we’ve all got stuff lying around in boxes that we’ll never use, and other hidden gems that we come back to one day.  These bits are out there – all of them, and in great numbers – they’re just not in one place.

People have bitz, and people want bitz.  The challenge is putting those people together.  So the way I could see this working for everyone’s benefit is a trading platform: so a bitz site where rather than holding stock themselves (or, in practice, not holding that stock – or certainly not enough of it) and charging a mark up from retail prices, it’s essentially a catalogue of bitz.  People have buyer and seller accounts and trade those bitz with each other, with the website taking a commission from the sale for bringing them together (as opposed to owning and carrying the stock themselves).

There would still be a lot of work and costs involved in cataloguing the bitz, hosting the website, resolving disputes and so on, and like any peer to peer business it would take a while to get up and running with active buyers and sellers.  But I think this would be of great benefit to the community, so if anyone reading this thinks there would be a buck in it, feel free to nick the idea! 

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I've noticed there's definitely less bits on ebay for AoS than for 40k. I wonder if this largely boils down to the fact that units in 40k tends to have more options than AoS. Where an AoS unit might have the option of giving a unit all one weapon or all with another, often in 40k you have the option of equipping a unit with a wide array of special and heavy weapons, some of which don't even come in that box. The ability to tailor squads in 40k results in a larger bits market than AoS seems to need.

I also wonder if the doing away with of modeless options has also hurt the bits market. Gone are the days of the ability to stick most heroes on a variety of mounts or chariots with a vast array of weapons that were never made. The current formula of no model = no rules may have resulted in a lower demand for bits for conversions. While there is still plenty of conversions happening it is often a creative endeavor and not stemming from the need to represent a hero which isn't actually sold. 

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Shearl said:

I've noticed there's definitely less bits on ebay for AoS than for 40k. I wonder if this largely boils down to the fact that units in 40k tends to have more options than AoS. Where an AoS unit might have the option of giving a unit all one weapon or all with another, often in 40k you have the option of equipping a unit with a wide array of special and heavy weapons, some of which don't even come in that box. The ability to tailor squads in 40k results in a larger bits market than AoS seems to need.

I also wonder if the doing away with of modeless options has also hurt the bits market. Gone are the days of the ability to stick most heroes on a variety of mounts or chariots with a vast array of weapons that were never made. The current formula of no model = no rules may have resulted in a lower demand for bits for conversions. While there is still plenty of conversions happening it is often a creative endeavor and not stemming from the need to represent a hero which isn't actually sold. 

I also miss the days of WFB where heros/etc were much more customizable with mounts and equipment. The closest we have now in AoS is the recent addition of the Anvil of Apotheosis which does allow quite a lot of freedom in creating your own rules to cover all sorts of custom heroes. 

Edited by SunStorm

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GW resellers are definitely getting less stock as the production is focused onto keeping the webstore up and stocked a lot of the time.

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On 10/1/2020 at 11:37 PM, PlasticCraic said:

I think bitz works best peer to peer.  It's hard for one entity to hold and sort the required stock commercially: they're essentially a warehousing and distribution business, and any logistics business will focus on SKU rationalisation as the key driver of efficiency and profitability.  Whereas a bitz business’s entire model is taking an already-huge number of SKUs and making it explode into an insane number.  It's actively anti-efficient.

I’m lucky that I’m in a big, active gaming group who can and do help each other out with Bitz.  In the real world we’ve all got stuff lying around in boxes that we’ll never use, and other hidden gems that we come back to one day.  These bits are out there – all of them, and in great numbers – they’re just not in one place.

People have bitz, and people want bitz.  The challenge is putting those people together.  So the way I could see this working for everyone’s benefit is a trading platform: so a bitz site where rather than holding stock themselves (or, in practice, not holding that stock – or certainly not enough of it) and charging a mark up from retail prices, it’s essentially a catalogue of bitz.  People have buyer and seller accounts and trade those bitz with each other, with the website taking a commission from the sale for bringing them together (as opposed to owning and carrying the stock themselves).

There would still be a lot of work and costs involved in cataloguing the bitz, hosting the website, resolving disputes and so on, and like any peer to peer business it would take a while to get up and running with active buyers and sellers.  But I think this would be of great benefit to the community, so if anyone reading this thinks there would be a buck in it, feel free to nick the idea! 

Check out Bricklink (if that's not already where you got the idea!) It's precisely what you describe for the redistribution of LEGO pieces. They have a really comprehensive catalogue which must be a Labour of love to compile and maintain, but as a community platform it is massively successful, and central to a lot of that hobby. Something similar could definitely be done for warhammer (or minis in general), but it would take a lot of work. I wonder if there is enough overlap between the hobbies that you could get access to the Brick link architecture, but I don't know. That's probably wishful thinking.

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@EccentricCircle nope I hadn't heard of Bricklink, but it's good to know that the concept worked! 

I'd imagine that Lego is way bigger than Warhammer, but I do think our hobby is now of a large enough scale that something like this could function if someone had the time and energy to get it off the ground.

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On 10/7/2020 at 11:56 PM, PlasticCraic said:

@EccentricCircle nope I hadn't heard of Bricklink, but it's good to know that the concept worked! 

I'd imagine that Lego is way bigger than Warhammer, but I do think our hobby is now of a large enough scale that something like this could function if someone had the time and energy to get it off the ground.

Bigger in the segment that actually trades and collects Lego? 
I have no idea but it’s an interesting comparison 

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On 10/7/2020 at 11:56 PM, PlasticCraic said:

@EccentricCircle nope I hadn't heard of Bricklink, but it's good to know that the concept worked! 

I'd imagine that Lego is way bigger than Warhammer, but I do think our hobby is now of a large enough scale that something like this could function if someone had the time and energy to get it off the ground.

I don't think adult fan of legos is that that much bigger than the whole of Warhammer (I'd say between 2-5 times the size), but I may be wrong.

On one hand, LEGO fans have more variety in colour, on the other hand, a given brick will fit in architecture, space, castle (RIP) and microscale, while an Ogre arm will fit Ogres, and that's about it.

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1 hour ago, zilberfrid said:

I don't think adult fan of legos is that that much bigger than the whole of Warhammer (I'd say between 2-5 times the size), but I may be wrong.

On one hand, LEGO fans have more variety in colour, on the other hand, a given brick will fit in architecture, space, castle (RIP) and microscale, while an Ogre arm will fit Ogres, and that's about it.

Its tricky to judge whether there would be enough of an audience.  Clearly Lego as a whole is a far bigger hobby than even the most successful table top gaming franchise. That said, the majority of its market share, and indeed its target audience, are kids who are likely not using Bricklink.

The AFOL (Adult Fan of Lego) community is loud as niche fandoms go, but while Lego caters to us a fair bit these days, its still largely an accidental fandom, rather than a deliberately cultivated one. I thus wouldn't be surprised if a Warhammer Bricklink equivalent might get the same amount of traffic, just because the proportion of the fanbase that would use it would be so much larger, even though the fanbase as a whole is smaller.

Lego is definitely easier to resell, and the pieces are a lot more versatile, but online Bitz stores do exist, and seemingly work, so there is no reason why it couldn't happen if it got enough momentum behind it.

 

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49 minutes ago, EccentricCircle said:

Its tricky to judge whether there would be enough of an audience.  Clearly Lego as a whole is a far bigger hobby than even the most successful table top gaming franchise. That said, the majority of its market share, and indeed its target audience, are kids who are likely not using Bricklink.

The AFOL (Adult Fan of Lego) community is loud as niche fandoms go, but while Lego caters to us a fair bit these days, its still largely an accidental fandom, rather than a deliberately cultivated one. I thus wouldn't be surprised if a Warhammer Bricklink equivalent might get the same amount of traffic, just because the proportion of the fanbase that would use it would be so much larger, even though the fanbase as a whole is smaller.

Lego is definitely easier to resell, and the pieces are a lot more versatile, but online Bitz stores do exist, and seemingly work, so there is no reason why it couldn't happen if it got enough momentum behind it.

I know, and used bricklink, bits sites, and a bits exchange facebook group. I even currently have 20 guardsmen packed that will start a new career as zombies (I wanted to type new life, but that isn't right).

I enjoy building LEGO when I'm with friends, and painting minis when I'm alone. The group of friends I build Lego with lives quite a ways away, so that plastic stays in its boxes. If LEGO ever restarts Castle though, I might hop back in (last castle set was 7 years ago).

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34 minutes ago, zilberfrid said:

I know, and used bricklink, bits sites, and a bits exchange facebook group. I even currently have 20 guardsmen packed that will start a new career as zombies (I wanted to type new life, but that isn't right).

I enjoy building LEGO when I'm with friends, and painting minis when I'm alone. The group of friends I build Lego with lives quite a ways away, so that plastic stays in its boxes. If LEGO ever restarts Castle though, I might hop back in (last castle set was 7 years ago).

Yeah, I really miss the days of proper Castle and Space themes (I know there's an astronaut theme at the moment, and there's always Star Wars, but that's not quite the same thing...)

I really like the big Ninjago dragons, but beyond that Lego hasn't put out something that's been a must buy for me for a while.

Though to not go completely off topic, that's sort of been good as its really let me focus on Warhammer more the last couple of years.

I've never really got into bits selling on either franchise. I think for both it can get very expensive for what its worth very fast if you aren't careful. That said I collect such a variety of Warhammer stuff that I have a fairly good supply of bits stored up already. Most of the conversions I've wanted to do over the last year or so have been perfectly doable with stuff I had in stock.

In many cases I most appreciate a really elegant conversion, where you can effectively take spare bits from one kit, and combine it with spare bits from another in order to make something cool. I was kind of annoyed that they discontinued empire archers last year, because the archers kit gave you spare legs, and the greatswords kit gives you spare bodies, so if you put them together with all the spare arms and heads you're likely to have kicking around you get a whole extra guy to turn into a cool general or captain. I made some female doomfire warlocks, which I was sure was going to mean ordering additional female torsos from a bits store, or getting additional kits just for conversion potential. However in the end I came up with a recipe where you use the spare witch elf heads from a kit built as Sisters of Slaughter, the spare breastplates you have left over when you build the serpent archers, and it all worked out pretty well.

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