A word from the Man

MMP Mithril in Middle-Earth The Prancing Pony A word from the Man

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  • #384
    Gildor
    MMP Elder

    I usually do not quote mails with Chris Tubb entirely but the Man asked me to communicate as much as possible about this so the best way for all of us to understand and be fully aware of his announcement is to directly copy here his email to me so here it is :

    Quote:
    I was pleased to see the announcement about the price change which was emailed to collectors yesterday, but was very annoyed that my name as well as that of Lars was put at the head of the announcement.
    I would like to disassociate myself from any part in the decision to raise the prices of Mithril figures. I had no say in the matter and was not consulted about this in any way . Indeed I knew nothing about it until I heard from you about the increase.You are very welcome to quote me on this if you are involved in any discussion on this issue on your forums or elsewhere. Sorry , Christophe , if I sound like I am ranting about this but I feel rather annoyed at my name being connected with this.
    On the other matters that you raised in your last email I agree with a great deal of what you say and have been arguing a similar point with Lars for a long time. With the number of retail outlets which stock Mithril diminishing , we cannot rely on the website to increase sales, which seems to be what Mithril is doing. The website can supply existing customers but not generate new ones. My argument has been for a much greater representation at model and wargames shows (such as Salute)etc which I have offered to run myself but my arguments have all fallen upon deaf ears. I’m afraid that being distant from the factory and not participating on a day-to-day basis in the running of Mithril my influence is not great.
    As an aside, I was sorry to hear that Model Reduite in Paris ( which was always my favourite show) no longer takes place.
    As for Mithril and its survival, I think that expanding the customer base, rather than charging the existing collectors more and more is the only viable way forward. For my own part, I have boundless enthusiasm for Mithril . it is really my baby and I would hate to see it die.
    As far as you were concerned about the Mithril backlog, this is in a fairly healthy state as far as I’m ( the design dept.) concerned.
    Helm’s deep part 1 had been at the factory since November and part 2 and
    3 are finished and sitting on my shelf. Ironically this is the furthest ahead that I have ever been with Mithril. This is largely thanks to the single figure regime that we started last year with the Ms figures ( I am currently up to the Black Numenorean Captain with these) and if things go on in this way we should be able to re-introduce the mounted and double figures again by the Autumn.
    […]
    I very much value your efforts with the website which I feel is an invaluable link in the communication chain between Mithril and its collectors and which is why I described you as virtually part of the Mithril team.

    Feel free to pass the word and communicate about this if you want… and post your feedback here…

    #5597
    Gildor
    MMP Elder

    I usually do not quote mails with Chris Tubb entirely but the Man asked me to communicate as much as possible about this so the best way for all of us to understand and be fully aware of his announcement is to directly copy here his email to me so here it is :

    Quote:
    I was pleased to see the announcement about the price change which was emailed to collectors yesterday, but was very annoyed that my name as well as that of Lars was put at the head of the announcement.
    I would like to disassociate myself from any part in the decision to raise the prices of Mithril figures. I had no say in the matter and was not consulted about this in any way . Indeed I knew nothing about it until I heard from you about the increase.You are very welcome to quote me on this if you are involved in any discussion on this issue on your forums or elsewhere. Sorry , Christophe , if I sound like I am ranting about this but I feel rather annoyed at my name being connected with this.
    On the other matters that you raised in your last email I agree with a great deal of what you say and have been arguing a similar point with Lars for a long time. With the number of retail outlets which stock Mithril diminishing , we cannot rely on the website to increase sales, which seems to be what Mithril is doing. The website can supply existing customers but not generate new ones. My argument has been for a much greater representation at model and wargames shows (such as Salute)etc which I have offered to run myself but my arguments have all fallen upon deaf ears. I’m afraid that being distant from the factory and not participating on a day-to-day basis in the running of Mithril my influence is not great.
    As an aside, I was sorry to hear that Model Reduite in Paris ( which was always my favourite show) no longer takes place.
    As for Mithril and its survival, I think that expanding the customer base, rather than charging the existing collectors more and more is the only viable way forward. For my own part, I have boundless enthusiasm for Mithril . it is really my baby and I would hate to see it die.
    As far as you were concerned about the Mithril backlog, this is in a fairly healthy state as far as I’m ( the design dept.) concerned.
    Helm’s deep part 1 had been at the factory since November and part 2 and
    3 are finished and sitting on my shelf. Ironically this is the furthest ahead that I have ever been with Mithril. This is largely thanks to the single figure regime that we started last year with the Ms figures ( I am currently up to the Black Numenorean Captain with these) and if things go on in this way we should be able to re-introduce the mounted and double figures again by the Autumn.
    […]
    I very much value your efforts with the website which I feel is an invaluable link in the communication chain between Mithril and its collectors and which is why I described you as virtually part of the Mithril team.

    Feel free to pass the word and communicate about this if you want… and post your feedback here…

    #5599
    Theobald
    Participant

    As from my present contact with Chris I can only state that I really do believe in any single letter of his statement … rhuoommm … that’s all there is to say from me … tree … hom.

    #5602
    Turambar
    Participant

    There is a huge present of respect that I feel after reading his words.

    #5603
    hsf62
    Participant

    It is very sad to hear, that Mithril doesn’t even take in considerstion to talk to Chris about rising the prices and still use his name in the letter……
    And also “someone” at Mithril must have a hearing problem to listen to what everyone who wants to help is crying out loud.
    Maybe this “someone” should get himself a hearing aid, or he should take out his earplugs!

    #5605
    twrich
    Participant

    Gildor, thank you for sharing this email. it is good to know, as most felt, that Chris had no part in the price hikes.

    #5606
    hsf62
    Participant

    Right there Master Estel.
    If you don’t “flow” with the time, you don’t flow at all after a certain amount of time…..

    #5607
    Gildor
    MMP Elder

    Ideas such as your are great Estel… I will pass them along to the man this week end I suppose

    If others have ideas suggestions or comments please post here as I am certain about one thing, even if Mithril company (Lars Edman) does not hear us as much as it should, Chris is interested in our devotion and ideas… I suggested him to take things in his hands once more maybe that’ll add some weight…

    As for not presenting figurines in “preview”, actually it is a legal problem… Figurines cannot be put on public preview until Tolkien Enterprise has vouched for them… or Mithril could be sued to “REVEAL” unlicensed products…

    I checked the Tolkien Enterprises websites recently and read about their charts of conduct, that is very military and drastic. Only 12 campanies in the world are a licencees… and why so? because many others have managed to Loose their licence because of a “mistake” and their sales/marketing… (among the twelve… 4 of them are giants : New Line Cinema, Electronic Arts, Turbine (Lotro MMO), and Games Workshop) 5 or 6 others are luxury products (porcelain, mints, statues, jewels) and two are small game companies (tabletop LOTR games, playbymail games) … and there is Mithril, at the very end of this list…

    Some among you may have received in the past, preview pictures of next figurines to be released, months before their public preview but you were given instructions not to disclose them anywhere publicly on the net … well that’s how it seems to work with TE…

    #5608
    hsf62
    Participant

    Now that makes sense. Who wants to loos his license.
    I wonder how it works with MX. If i read through the add on the Mithril page, there is nothing said, you can’t choose a character out of the simarillion. How does TE approve these figs? Hmm
    It seems there are a lot of dangerous edges you can easily cut yourself as a licencees…. No wonder there are only 12 left.
    In the last few days I learned a lot of interesting “things”. Thanks to all involved!

    #5609
    Turambar
    Participant

    Estel, you speak very right from my heart. I observate exactly these things you mentioned for a long time and that´s the reason why I am such critical to mithril.
    The official painting: finally there is somebody else who is aware about this. I would also mentioned the photographic part.
    It takes such a long time until the miniatures found their place on the webside. And how they are depicted? With ONE picture.
    There was a time you have this 360° overview . . . Simply go to the webside of gamezone miniatures and have a look at their presentation !
    A Green Room. What a wonderful suggestion. What would i give for that: news outta Tubb univers . . .:D
    That´s the point. It is so easy to feed the hungry costumers like Hasslefree or any others.
    I want to tell you a little story:
    I went to a shop of that no-named-company just to by a brush years ago! They involve me into a conversation to by their wonderful miniateures !:o
    I informed, that I only buy mithril and I have to leave their figs. The guy only said: oh, mithril, isn´t that the company with that strange webside . . .

    Never was been there . . .

    I never understood why mithril had changed their old, black webside! There are sooo many possibilities in designing websides.

    This is the link of the above mentioned gamezone webside: http://www.gamezoneminiatures.de/

    PS: I understand this license-stuff very well. To make sure about it that´s step one of the business, isn´t it ?!
    Estel gave a solution ! But you can show greens after publishing. Isn´t it interesting how the masterfigure looks?
    I only know two or three examples of greens somewhere hidden in the LT-part of the webside! ” somewhre hidden ” ! ! !
    I agree once more to Estel: the success of GW seems to be founded generally on their excelent public work and not on their plumb miniatures !

    #5610
    Gildor
    MMP Elder

    how bad the world has gone if now Games worshop has the RIGHT to produce a fake Beruthiel…

    It’s all a matter of money when it comes to TE I think (and to newline too!)…. GW pays TE a little fortune to be free to do whatever they please. Mithril on the other side may certainly not afford to pay such a bunch of money and only pays what is necessary…
    The implicit laws of market apply here : providers are generous and make “gifts” (physical, or abstract, by closing their eyes) with their “good customers” and providing the price of a TE licence, I doubt Mithril can afford to “pay more”…

    Among the rules of Tolkien Enterprise licencing program there is a prerequisite of having a “good experience and standing” in the proposed domain of licence for at least 3 good years…. they do not accept anybody, and are not the generous kinds of person… they are there to make profit… (which is a reason why Tolkien Estate mainly opposes and are mad at them…)

    About releasing unnamed and unreferenced previews as a “work in progress” that could be done providing there is no implicit knowledge that it belongs to tolkien (heraldry, hobbit like figurines, designs on shield or tabards etc…)
    Also I am not aware on how the Licence contract works in the case of Mithril and TE. If the contract mentions that Mithril is to release Tolkien Only products and that EACH product must have been validated before being publicly announced, then they are bound by this countract… BUT

    if this was the case, why would Michael had sent, in the past, in Newsletters, pictures of “later to be released MS figurines” which are waiting for TE validation to be put on sale… (which is precisely how he explained it) that means they can send pictures… but there seems to be political barriers inside Mithril itself ….

    Mithril are great products and I am certain it could sell very well… at least as good as Andrea Miniatures or Pegaso, which are not as massive than games workshop but sell quite good and have no crisis and far less references and can be seen in many shops…

    Isn’t it Ironic that the roleplaying shop in which I go every week-end, whose owner is an international figurine painter who won many prizes (and indeed knows mithril quite well… and had a personnal collection that he is willing to sell) well they have all kinds of figurines of all sizes, and companies… But only two or three “unblisted but new” mithrils in a glasscase for display at the back of his shop….most of which are old LO 54mm, or the old Gildor Inglorion vignette painted in gold for promotional purpose, or such dusty things… and when I tell him about mithril he is not aware and has no information from Prince August for many years… and PA does not promote the figurines or mithril in general… no… nothing at all…
    He used to have customers…. used to… but one after the others, they have ceased to come, ceased to buy… because they all thought mithril was dead… and they focused on other companies and now they would not go back because it is too late…
    (these customers are painters, roleplaying gamers, diorama builders but NO collectors or tolkien especially dedicated… and a company or another is the same… but for mithril, this pool of customers is definitly lost…)

    Michael O’Brien seems to be in charge of the communication departement … I wonder if there is not a filtering of communication in one way or the other… or Lars too does not want to involve himself in marketing strategies?
    Indeed marketing, when the sales are bad and the money is missing in the company is quite hard to handle because it does cost money… and I don’t want to be bad with Michael but havn’t you noticed that since Mithril has gone “online and new-technologies oriented” (which is parallel to Michael’s arrival at Mithril and his work as a webmaster….) well since that time that Mithril choose the internet as their favorite way of doing business…. Mithril has declined… the laws of market are not the same, online, and in reality… having an online store does not provide customers because you miss “the display” part… and they lack any promotion events in partnership with their international retailers….

    what shocked me is when I read on Twitter that the prices had been changed and that Michael said he would have to change all the prices followed by “Blast it”…. I don’t know if that was just a joke or not… but he felt upset to having to change the price and work on that… When it comes to changing such details, it takes no more than 5minutes….

    I received a private message from Michael too saying all my posts were transmitted to Lars and they were aware and thankful for my passion for mithril… this sounded, (but I may be mistaken indeed) as if I had been answered “thanks for your mail… we’ll call you back…” (you see what I mean?)

    #5611
    Gildor
    MMP Elder

    I agree with all of you…

    the main problem comes from the communication in all its possible ways (not optimized website, no promotional campaign, no physical investiment in catalogues and advertisement papers, no big striking operations like there was in the past)
    Remember the first MX figurines and all the information designs, sketches we had… remember the flip effect on the LR figurines with both back and front faces… I am webmaster as a hobby this is not my profession and I think my site may help promote mithril a bit better than their own site at times… A lot of their links are broken, the general sitemap and navigation methods used for the site (double scrollings, lack of expandable sections etc) makes the site totally archaic on a technical point of view…
    (I know better than to officially criticizer Michael’s work but the mithril site is rather a static one….not at all dynamic like those I myself coded… The whole mithril site does not use any PHP or SQL programmation, it is fully static and not dynamic at all I was checking that just at the moment and I found astonished to discover that…
    That means that each time there is a slight change to make in several places, they have to modify the info one by one… this process of website making is not used anymore for at least 10 years… this is a serious problems
    for example , even if you don’t understand french : check http://ardalie.faerylands.eu or http://eq2artisans.faerylands.eu and of course this site itself.. Data are injected on a dynamical way… and you modify something in one place to have it replicated anywhere it has to appear on the site…

    I just noticed two days ago that mithril had banners to put in your website if you wanted so… they were well hidden at the very end of their links section… not very intuitive…

    what can be done? I wonder… If Chris has any power over all of this we may have an ally here… and he may not only hear us but also suggest firmly to Lars what we are suggesting here… but if Chris personal influence does not go outside what he calls the “design department”, I fear that we’ll have to endure Mithril errors in the future… which will lead to the only possible conclusion…. another price increase after another…until Mithril closes…by lack of customers

    #5612
    Turambar
    Participant

    . . . exactly, Gildor !

    #5614
    hsf62
    Participant

    Well, next week tuesday I win the Lotto and I’ll buy Mithril and then there will be a lot of changes!:cool:

    #5615
    presto247365
    Participant

    Well, I think Chris is spot on with the need for more Mithril presence at conventions and game shows. That’s how I got “re-introduced” to Mithril by Jim Corless in the US. I had bought a few of the older minis from game shops, but then they all sort of disappeared.

    Imagine my delight at finding a massive display of all of the MC’s, boxed sets and current production M ranges at Historicon back in 1994 (or was it 1993??) Anyhow, Jim and a few passionate collectors here started organizing little mini-gatherings of mithril collectors and gamers in the midst of these huge historical wargame conventions put on by HMGS, a mostly East-coast based historical gaming society. Once they even displayed a complete M-series collection! I was lucky enough to see some of Peder Hammarskold’s work in person, including his Balrog of moria display as it was a work in progress. Very inspiring stuff!

    Jim was the licensed US distributor for many years, but eventually got out of the deal. He still attends the conventions with his Time Machine products, and continues to carry current Mithril releases and puts up large Mithril displays.

    I obviously don’t know all the details, but apparently there was always some level of difficulty and frustration in his dealings with Mithril. It underscores the short-sightedness and chronic lack of marketing directly to the miniature buying population that has hobbled Mithril for many years.

    We as the passionate few can do what we can to help promote our obsession, but Mithril really needs a broad-reaching, organized business plan to market their products as something parallel to, but different and better, than the GW LOTR products out there. They just don’t seem to have an interest in doing that thus far.

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