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The Plasma Obliterator and Limited Production Runs



This is a sour topic in my opinion. So lets just get that out that this is one of those things I really believe turns the community. "Limited while stocks last" for a new product is very frustrating for the community.


It brings back the bad memories of the Void Shield Generator. It is able to be fielded in groups of up to 3, was a high costed oversized model, and gone in minutes. It shut down the site, made it impossible to order, unless of course you were buying it second hand off of ebay.

Now we are back to this with the Plasma Obliteator. All the sites were near impossible to navigate when they went up for pre-order, and some people somehow managed to beat the system and get 10+ in the few minutes there were available.

It would be interesting to sit in a board room meeting when this is discussed, because I really want to know the reasoning behind these releases. Are these supposed to be models for the game? or not?. If so what is up with these shooting from the hip releases. Obviously they would of sold a lot of them regardless during pre-orders, and continue with the sales down the road over the next few weeks.

these types of releases really sour everyone that is even aware that they happened. After-all there is no advertising or mention of what is going to be up for pre-order beyond sites like mine. Not everyone in the community spends time online.

Regardless of this, limited edition items that are supposed to be a part of the game, and have rules, should never be limited to an event or hour of online time. Perhaps a cool better looking version of a model could be limited like this... but not something like a Void Shield Generator, or a Plasma Obliterator.

I have no real problem with collector editions, special limited runs on codices, etc. The people that want them, or collect these can get them. They are however not getting any game advantages, or access to special rules within these special edition runs. This is not the case with the Voidshield Generator and now the Plasma Obliterator.

Of course there are rumors out there that we will see a Voidshield Generator coming. This to me is an afterthought, a way to calm the masses that still feel betrayed with these types of releases.

Next time GW when you are doing a run like this...... give us a standard Plasma Obliterator for everyone, and if you want to do something cool..... make a limited edition Adeptus Mechanicus Plasma Obliterator (cool model, but with the same rules as the standard version.)

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91 Comments

  1. What I find puzzling is that unlike the void shield generators, which were made from polystone cast in silicone moulds, the Plasma Obliteator is made in plastic - this means they had to go to the expense of having a metal injection mould made.

    I was under the impression that making these moulds is extremely expensive (hence why we got given finecast - to save the cost of making metal moulds), so why make it a limited product which would reduce the amount of money they can make to pay off the cost of making the plastic mould?

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    1. Are we sure it's plastic? Reading the description, I see no mention the material used in its fabrication.

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    2. This weeks white dwarf says that its plastic:

      "The Plasma Obliterator is the ultimate expression of plasma weaponry, a plastic kit with a cannon so big it requires a bastion-sized weapons platform just to hold it."

      - White Dwarf issue 63, page 8.

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    3. Agree this confused me as well. The polystone VSG sorta makes sense. The silicone mould has a limited run. So it's likely not worth producing multiple moulds. Furthermore it appears to be a stop gap for thier plastic run. But I think likely the other issue for a limited polystone run was the fact that was the first time GW attempted polystone models for mass production and they likely wanted to test the results of a mass production of them. Polystone is considered one of the best material for detail however it Is heavier material then plastic or reain. Polystone for those that don't know is polyurethane mixed with stone powder.

      the wierd thing about the plastic injection moulds are that they are metal moulds which cost a lot to tool and create but they are able to produce 10s of thousands of models before they need to be retooled. It makes no sense that the plasma obliterator was limited to 1000 models. The only thing I can see why they did this is because the injection mold presses can not keep up with all the new model and current model runs and Gw new policy of keeping low to no stock inventory makes one off nonessential plastic models hard to keep in production. Gw is really releasing new models and plastic model selection at a very high amount and its production facility hasn't gotten bigger. The good thing is if the plasma obliterator has a good mould and the issue has anything to do with production facility then they can always make future limited edition runs when they have time in thing production schedule,

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    4. They'll probably do multiple production runs, as long as people keep tripping over themselves in a mad dash to buy the limited production run items. From a business perspective it might be better to condition your customers to buy early and buy often, even if it does anger and irritate many of your customers in the process.

      Prediction: unless a large portion of players essentially boycotts (that's about as likely as it is to snow in my basement today), GW will move forward and embrace limited production runs if it nets them overall more sales with a corresponding reduction in shelving space and storage.

      I mean, that's the real rub here. People will gripe about one thing or another that GW does but they'll still turn around and throw paychecks at GW regardless. And knowing that, why would GW do anything else? If people will keep buying GW products and willingly accept GW business practices no matter what those may be (to the point that GW apologists argue against almost any criticisms leveled at GW with religious fervor) then why wouldn't GW move forward with this kind of thing, or stuff like manipulating book release/supplement/overall content to the point that people end up spending 2-5 times what they might have otherwise?

      I don't really care about this model in particular and I'd be happy to let someone proxy a shoebox with a flashlight taped to the top of it. But at the end of the day GW does this kind of stuff because there is a kind of tacit approval at work within the hobby and they don't NEED to do any differently. They'll just wait until their next opportunity, push out another 1K models, and laugh maniacally as people fight over the 2nd run like starving dogs fighting over table scraps.

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    5. I think that GW has greatly reduced their design and production costs over the past couple years. This would explain why they've been able to keep up an unprecedented release schedule.

      The fact that newer kits' assembly instructions use computer-generated figures indicates that they're now using CAD programs to quickly and cheaply design new models using preexisting digital shapes. The finished digital models could then be sent directly to a multi-axis machine to produce molds. An all-digital process would explain the crisper details and better fit that the newer models have.

      I also suspect that limited edition kits and figures like the Plasma Obliterator, Krom Dragongaze, etc., are made with aluminum molds. The metal is cheaper and they're easier to machine, but they have a shorter lifespan than steel molds. That would explain how GW can make a profit off of a limited edition plastic kit while being unwilling or unable to produce too many of them before the mold starts to degrade.

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    6. I did wonder how the limited runs of the plastic character models could end up being profitable.

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    7. Great post James, thanks for the insight.

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    8. Even aluminum molds have a lifespan of up to ***100,000 cycles***, so a run of 1,000 is a conscious choice. Way too low of a number to produce. They could have made 20,000 of them, and would probably sell close to that many in the initial outlay (people being more interested in terrain, particularly terrain that does something). Also, while metal molds are costly, the reason Finecast was there at all is not because it is cheaper (because overall it is not), but because it takes less time to get it into production than things needing metal molds. GW has been steadily increasing its plastic production capability- so much so that it will eventually be able to produce everything they need to produce in plastic, in the release time frame that they wish to.

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    9. Why would they want to give people what they want? If they dont produce a gape in the models people want and force the black market to fill it who are they going to blame for falling sales numbers?

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    10. Gotta laugh when I read the comments above.

      It's like reading comments from people who have been living in a bubble.

      Welcome to the 21st century. Throw away, plastic instant gratification world , where companies just don't care as long as they can make a quick pounds or dollar or two it isn't restricted, its global.

      Huge companies are not worried about about a few thousand loss as long as it gets suckers to cough up for the product without thinking about do they actually want it, Gotta have it cos IT IS LIMITED!!!

      Simple fact be it mobile phones, pc's or plastic miniatures the giants can afford to do as they damn well please.

      It was a long time ago when GW truly had the hobby gamer in mind!
      Welcome to the new world.

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    11. Limited edition = limiting players. They day they started doing LE was the day I gave up any hope of GW caring about the game.

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    12. The obliterater was a while stocks last run not limited edition this has the subtle benefit of of not having numbers mentioned, so the could have done 10k of them and sent 1k to each country/zone and sitll sold out quite quickly especially as resellers are blitzing 10-50+ of them.
      Also there is nothing stopping them from doing a second run later.

      As for production aluminium (as described above) is much cheaper to make the moulds for but you can also use epoxy resin.
      http://www.instructables.com/id/Home-Plastic-Injection-Molding-with-an-Epoxy-Mold/
      By having a stock of 'Frames' they can easily 3d print a master and clean it up, knock up a mould and produce the limited run. Much cheaper and quicker than the other processes.

      Other options include China, we know they do sometimes go to china for manufacturing of terrain and such so buying in a fixed run of kits from a resin mould made in china would make it financially viable.

      One advantage (and the Reason Dreadfleet isn't seen as a financial failure by GW as They sold out out even if FLGs still have coppies) of these runs is you know all the profits and costs before you even hit the shelves, on the assumption you will sell out you know exactly how much revenue you'll turn over and the costs to generate that revenue.

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    13. I suspect that most of these limited production items aren't related to the mold wearing out but availability of their production facilities. If they've got adequate warehouse quantities of existing products but want to keep the equipment/crews working at 100 percent, they do a limited run that they can push to stores/preorders so they know they won't have to warehouse it.

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  2. Well we can either panic and buy every new release GW do, or get over it and pretend it never happened. I'll be doing the latter.

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  3. Ebay resellers snatch them up and price them for eight or nine dollars more. It's disgusting, and doesn't really give the average joe a chance to get them.

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    1. Not only that. Many of the resellers may have trade accounts with GW, which offers a substantial discount for web orders (not as much as regular stock / best seller items, but quite close).

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    2. You dont have 9 Dollars?
      Get out! What are you doing in this Hobby?
      If you can afford GW, you can afford eBay ripoff. Youre probably only going to Pay 100,- more.

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    3. @Nathaniel

      The world isn't a charity mate.

      This is called free market forces or being an entrepreneur, Buy up stock that is in demand and sell it at a high mark up- capitalism working at its best,

      Apple anyone!!!- cheap bog standard pc parts rebadged and sold at a fantastic cost!

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    4. Macs last much longer than PCs and retain a good bit of resale value. I agree with your other comments though, not that I much like where reality is headed.

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    5. Why would they last longer? Its only diffrent Software.

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  4. I think it's a great opportunity to get something unique. But aside from that I am unpleased that I missed out on the VSG. I got one of these things because of my huge regret last time. I went to a GW store and I think it's the only reason I got one, store must have priority computer sites.

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    1. I ordered one from an online shop who seemed to have stock, but they may have been fibbing or their stock control system may not cope with one off items like this, in which case I guess I'll get an email and refund on Monday.

      The really dumb thing is that I'll then buy one off the Chinese, like my VSG. Not a smart move GW, literally driving your customers into the arms of the illegal recasters.

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    2. Where did you find a Chinese recast of the VSG and for how much? I'm in the market for one.

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    3. ^ INB4 someone mentions you should feel shame. just hold your heads in shame. killing off the hobby.....is what someone who gave a crap what you did would say, me...well i understand that no one is killing off the hobby faster or more efficiently than GW themselves. shooting others in the foot by shooting yourself in the face is a good business practice after all.

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    4. Indeed. Impossible to "hurt the hobby", or any specific company, by buying a counterfeit of a product that is not commercially available otherwise.

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    5. don't be silly Unknown, if GW don't have the product available (deliberately) and yet provide rules for it then people will go elsewhere. If GW wanted the money they would make the product available.

      Starchild I bought mine from Miranda Irene on Aliexpress but GW have closed down the more obvious internet recasters. Still possible to order if you know where to go or if you have ordered before and have the recasters email address, but I am reluctant to pass it on to someone I don't know online in case they get closed down again. Best ask around in person and someone who knows you will give you a contact.

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    6. ^ if they don't have something and i have money and i want that thing but don't use Ebay etc, and they aren't making it so i can buy then by all rights i should go spend my money elsewhere. that is the point, i cannot buy what i want as GW is forcing my hand and going with another option instead. it's like GW wants me to spend my money elsewhere.....so by that my point of "shooting others in the foot by shooting yourself in the face" stands.

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    7. also if GW ISN'T making something and has rules for something and has no intention of re-doing it (VSG/PO) then the recasters are NOT killing the hobby any faster than GW themselves are.

      don't want recaster issue then release more stock. simple. if you DO want an issue with recasters then release more limited releases. i have no stock or shares to lose interest. i have nothing to lose by not buying GW stuff. i am a consumer and GW should be worried i am about to spend money elsewhere and not on them. but they made their money back and don't care about my money...so in a way support the recasters all you want. i won't mind at all.

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    8. I think this is their goal. " Support recasters all you want because we will spite you with our limited releases that make us all the money we need."

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    10. @ pain ted

      "Support your LOCAL recasters..."

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  5. I figure like void shield gennies this'll be something that even GW stores accept proxies for.

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    1. Have you found any note worthy VSG conversions? I have been trying to concoct a similar model but the parts just aren't around it seems.

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    2. Plasma ball one. Bunch of different ones have been made just look it up.

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    3. http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/569401.page

      see it done here:

      https://lethlis.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/void-shield-generator/

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    4. @ Pain Ted: did you try Google. (it took me like less than 0.4 seconds to pull up no less than 5 articles on custom VSG)

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    5. The bases of the Vengeance Weapon Battery seems to be a popular staring point, especially if you only bought the Weapon Battery so you could put battle cannons on a Firestorm Redoubt.

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    6. Tried google a few times now with no success on one with a serious match up.

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    7. ^ if you don't have anything soon i'll drop some links here (battery for laptop is almost dry so gotta do it later today)

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  6. Hopefully it's a listing error and these are just an underestimated product (like the tau)
    It makes no sense at all to make a limited run of a plastic model

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    1. sure it does. if we are the ones that indirectly pay for the molds with increased cost on top of new releases and many people buy at that price point (or a minor discount) then they make their "limited time cash back" and possibly then some. so in a way it makes perfect "GW" sense. assuming what GW website mentioned was incorrect. if it was then it's business as usual with us lot. (complaining and scurrying to get the latest shiny- which actually goes on to prove my point)

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  7. WSL is not the same than Limited Edition. Like Space Hulk they can release again in the future. Limited editions are always sold with a serial number.

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    1. Yeah I would be surprised if we didn't see it again. This could have been a tactic to sell a ton up front, it wasn't limited edition like you say.

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    2. Technically they could rerelease anything at all designed during the entire history of the company. When I toured the GW Memphis warehouse they had shelf upon shelf of old molds going back as far as 1988. From what I understand they don't discard the original master models either.

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  8. Make your own Void Shield Generator and Plasma Obliterator. All the other pieces of terrain have been great, but those two are ugly as sin. No wonder GW didn't want to make more of them.

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  9. If it's plastic, they'll just make more.
    They probably did a small run, maybe due to time constraints, to gauge interest.

    It sold like hot cakes, they'll make more.
    This is just a temporary "sold out"

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    1. while i am not arguing with you it did say "while stock lasts" this implies that it is a one off release. (as VSG also has that i do believe IIRC)...i'm going to assume it is a "while stocks last" and "limited to x number" type release. (bummer but it is what it is)

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    2. As pointed before the vsg was a polystone model and so it was a silicone mold and doesn't have a long production cycle. Likely only 1000 before the master mold makes bad casts with bubbles. The plastic injection models requires a metal mold even a softer cheaper metal mold such as aluminum will last 10s of thousands of presses before the mold fails. So while supplies last does mean they might not make more it's certainly more possible they may.

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  10. rather than talk about this sad tell, feit should talk about those 100'000'000 views his site just hit a few hours ago

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  11. eh. stuff like this drives people to counterfeiters, which GW shouldnt really complain about when they do stuff like this

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    1. They dont. They only complain about guys like chapterhouse hi-tech scribor ect. Ect. That creat original content on "GWs IP"!

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  12. Still available on the Australian website

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    1. yeah but it won't when i get $$$. but everything breaks down at once. FML. :(

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    2. Alrighty, latest chapter in the Starchild Epic. The reseller on eBay politely informed me that the Plasma Obliterator was sold out. Money refunded. I went to GW Australia and preordered there. No problems, money taken and now I just have to sort out with GW customer service how to get the blighter shipped to my location on the 18th. The lengths I have to go to get one blasted model! Sheeeeeesh

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  13. I love how people complained about how expensive this was during rumors, and that no one would ever buy it.

    Those same people are now complaining that it's sold out and they can't get it.

    Anything to hate.

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    1. No you hate how people complained you hypocrite.

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    2. i love how you always run with your Bollocks and expect others to eat the bullshit like you do with a spoon. you welcome the hate. so here you go have some hate. i don't want it, it's all you and all for you. always hate or complaints what do you have that is not on these two scratched and broken records that is constructive to say...? because you have a list of no more than 4-7 generic responses that vary slightly but still have the same underlying bollocks at it's core....so do tell Mcdoogle....why the hate and complaints? (or the blatant douche arrogance and sarcasm) what does it prove or what does it achieve.....not a lot in your favor that's for sure.

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    3. Man, what happened to that "Don't Feed The Trolls" sign. I know it was around here somewhere.

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  14. I have been irritated by these releases like most of us but now I have been thinking and I have another thought.

    Since a few editions back GW stopped creating units/machines etc that they didnt have any model for. Before I had machines like the Plague tower with no actual model but stats to make your own.

    With these limited releases we get stats for things we could build ourself instead of no stats at all hence no rules for cool terrain.

    This actually calmed me a little and Im starting to look forward to more of these things so I can creat more things at home.

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    1. that is the conclusion i also got to. that is why i abandoned buying the GW terrain and now am using scraps to make a space hulk battlefield instead.

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    2. That's is a very good point, these limited runs give them the IP protection on the Kit yet we get shiny rules to play with. May have to do and Ork version of this to go with some VSGs.

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    3. Also at least having kit existing also gives people the size guide as there was a lot of people confused when there was no model as to how big one was supposed to be.

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  15. Chinese Forgery World for the win!!

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  16. One thing I dont understand is when they do a limited run of something like this, but yet they remove units without models form books to protect IP. How is this any different, no model available 3rd party reaps the rewards. Just stupid business practices hurting the community that supports them.

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  18. Was this item advertised as "limited"?

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  19. What is the issue?
    This is just like any other limited releas. If you dont by in the first 5 minutes youre chances drop very fast, very low.

    The fakt it has rules is no Problem. Just dont let youre opponents use it if youre so scared of a big plasma or a 12AV shield -_- or proxi youre own. Whats the issue really?

    You still got eBay & reprints are possible. But you also got to think about the resell value for people that actually bought it.

    Also look at the Eldar heavey gun platforms, the whirlwind & loads of other Kits that are no longer available.
    Thats just the way it is these days. I think Its nothing new anymore at this point or is it?

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    1. dude. you hit it out of the ball park. home run. +1 didn't think of those other things now also NLA (no longer avail) so in a way there is no issue to be had now that i thought it over.

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    2. Seb, what Eldar heavy gun platforms are you referring to?

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  20. Limited edition runs, event only miniatures. I never bother anymore. If I want these models I just buy from recasters at a fraction of the price. It's not as though GW is giving me the opportunity to buy these items from them directly.

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  21. Bought a battery/USB powered plasma ball off Amazon for $9, some leftover bitz, plasticard and foamcore - Hey presto, Ork Void Shield Generator! Looks better than than ugly monstrosity that GW put out for sale (for 10 minutes)

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  22. That's odd as I was able to order it no problem and that was 5 minutes ago. I didn't go ahead with the purchase, but they were still available.

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  23. As an Ork player I will be scratch building one anyway, limited or not..

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  24. I suspect that limiting the production of a new single model is down to several factors: how much it is to produce, how many of a similar item GW have sitting about not selling and how well GW expect it to sell.

    As the production run is for a plastic model it's pretty obvious that GW will be able to do future runs whenever they have the incentive and production capacity to do so; it's not like they have to get a special mould or 3rd party to produce the model like the VSG. How many large fortifications do GW shift in comparison to other stuff? I suspect that it's not that many because most people would rather spend on less specialised models and large fortifications are not cheap. How many do GW expect to shift? Clearly they thought (correctly) that their initial run was a safe bet, now that people know it's a plastic model and most likely not a one-off GW can hold the release of the next batch until they see a slump in sales figures and need to get profit in quick.

    It's all about money, innit? Items sitting about on shelves not selling because you produced too many is not good. Having a limited run to recoup costs with little risk is good, having people wanting more is better.

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    1. Wouldnt be surprised if it becomes available only as part of a bigger and more expensive terrain set, probably costing $300 so for the low low price of $600 you could buy some tiles and terrain to go on top of the tiles and have a table like the next kid who balgged their parents into buying that for christmas.

      Personally i would bodge one together from a bastion kit and make the over sized plasma gun from a pencil eraser and some copper wire and greenstuff

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  25. My guess is they are pulling a "Smaug" on this one. Since it is in plastic it will likely be back.

    Release, build hype/anxiety that in its second run it will sell out again, then release again.

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  26. Is the Plasma Obliterator really so great that people are desperate to buy it?

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    1. nope. it is a ugly model, however conversions and kitbashes, beautiful masterpiece of a kit. (what i had planned for the kit won't come into fruition though so i guess that is a forgone conclusion)

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    2. I just bought 2 of ebay :\ I am disgusted with myself and the fact that I know I have to cut them up to fit the beautiful idea in my head.. I think I am going to be sick... what have I become???

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    3. Yes, to me it is a beautiful model. I had to have one. I really like how it can be stacked on top of the Aqula Strongpoint to make a larger terrain piece. I skipped on picking up an Onager layer this week.

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    4. I definitely see potential in the kit hence buying two. I think they look a little bit stubby by themselves but on top of othe fortifications they look more towering and imposing great for narrative or planetstrike battles.

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  27. Some UK stores are getting them, at least in limited numbers. Hope people didn't spend too much on panic eBay buying.

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  28. This is one of the biggest reasons that I'm currently on hiatus from purchasing Games Workshop products this year. Warhammer 40K isn't a collectible card game. Rarity is supposed to be an element of army building. These limited edition runs add a another element to army building beyond just spending points. It infuriates me.

    So far this year I've sent close to $4k on games. In previous years Games Workshop would have gotten pretty much all of that. This year they haven't gotten a penny out of me.

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  29. Looks like the Plasma Obliterator is back up for pre-order, at least it is on the UK version of GW's site, dunno about other countries, but worth checking.

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  30. I'm just never going to play against one. I don't care whether it's potent in-game or not. I'm not going to play against a limited run model that someone had to be lucky to get. Someone can drop $83 on one and paint it up as nice as possible, I don't care. If they have an issue with that, they should take it up with a company that sold out before the kit was even placed in the preorders section of their website, and before anyone could have seen it in White Dwarf. As noted in the article, the only way to even know this model was coming is to watch online for leaks of what's in the next week's White Dwarf magazine, so only people doing that would have had an idea to look for the item, and I'd bet the moment they saw it was a limited run, some people rushed to snatch multiples so they could sell them second-hand later for a ridiculous profit.

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