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1997 v 2020 GW Price comparison


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According to Consumer Price Index data from the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistic, there has been a cumulative rate of inflation of 61.9% between 1997 and 2020. In simple English, that means something that you could buy for $1.00 in ‘97 ought to cost $1.62 in 2020; Thus an $50 item in ‘97 ought to cost about $80 today.

But, of course, CPI data is only one measurement. It doesn’t account for changes in the marketplace or consumer trends, changes in technology, or any of the infinite other things that determine price. But, let’s put it this way, the Intel Pentium II processor (with its amazing 233 MHz of power) was the hot item in ‘97; in 2020 my goddamn wristwatch blows those specs out of the water... and I paid less for my Apple Watch than I did my first Pentium II desktop. 

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I would be very curious to see how this translates to USD. It's a well-established fact that GW tends to inflate the cost of models in the US market versus the UK; whether that's because of the cost of customs, importing models to the US distro centers, assumption that Americans have more money, or just regular old English ethnocentrism, coin for coin, you'll get more models in the UK for your cash than in the US. I also recognize that inflation in one country is different from that in another. But the cost of models in the US is usually about 30-50% more expensive than in the UK.

Also, the theory put forward in the following video may explain the insane increase in the cost of character models, as well as certain infantry units:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivgmMFA3UP8

Also also, I apparently can't figure out how to embed video in a post properly.

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You’d need to factor in the relative strength of the Dollar versus the Pound, export and import tariffs, regulatory complete costs, and a bajillion other things. It’s never as simple as “the exchange rate says that $X = £X(1.25).”

As for the cost difference between character models back in ‘97 versus ‘20, I suspect that has to do mostly with the characters becoming far more complex sculpts. A blister packed single-piece monopose Space Marine Captain (with maybe a plastic backpack or plastic arms) is a heck of a lot lower cost to produce/transport/shelf than a boxed set that comes with two separate sprue of much higher detail.

And let’s face it, we’re getting some very nice models these days...


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All true. This discussion is further complicated by the reduced relative purchasing power in the United States as wages have stagnated over the last 20 years or so. I actually got into a long winded debate on a Facebook group I'm on about this (it went from the OP video and turned into a debate on Marxist theory, so I have no idea how that happened.) 

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Political wonks, like me, have a tendency to inject our pet political philosophy into every discussion about any topic that even comes within a few thousand miles of being related to our pet political philosophy. I'm actively restraining myself from turning this post into a 24,601 word screed on the interdependence of economic, social and institutional phenomena and methodological individualism. 

So, instead, I'll share my favorite econ meme:

The curious task of the internet… | Inside McFloogle's Mind

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It’s not £40 to £175 that he’s comparing; it’s £73 (the inflation adjusted price) to £175 (current product price). 

Of course, this isn’t a truly fair comparison. Yes, the original Necromunda box came with a large amount of terrain... But it was mostly cardstock stuck into plastic bulkheads. Dark Uprising came with a massive pile of entirely plastic terrain. 

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  • 5 weeks later...

My memory* is that the individual blister packed models from Citadel were always a little higher priced than most of Ral Partha’s or Reapers offerings... But not remarkably higher. GW was also the only game in town for decent plastic kits in the Nineties.

Historicals and scale models were always been a helluva lot cheaper than any fantasy gaming companies minis. Still are.

* So, y’know, take it with a heaping helping of skepticism.

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I still like to think that one of the best values for GW miniatures in the early 90s were the packaged teams for Bloodbowl. 16 metal models for $20 (IIRC). About the only problem was that the sculpts for team positions (blitzer, etc) varied (1-2 poses per position, except for linemen) and aside from shaking the plastic container to shift the contents, you weren't completely sure about what models you were getting. 

Many was the time I would spend 1-2 hours scoping out all the blisters on the rack at the Mall 205 Things From Another World with my HS buddies.

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I really don't have an issue with GW pricing, which I know puts me in the minority. Over time everything becomes more expensive. The kits are getting better each year. And since GW is publicly traded, their fiduciary responsibility is to their share holders, not us (unless you're a shareholder).But we do have to remember, that this is a hobby. And hobbies tend to be expensive. 

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