The Allfather wrote:
Making the jump from resin to plastic. How much does an extruder company set you back? Or is it cheaper to buy your own machine.
You're looking at injection moulding, not extrusion. Cost varies widely, depending on the company and your relationship with them - you would need to speak to some production companies to get any sort of meaningful figures. But no, buying your own injection moulding machine is unlikely to be a viable option unless you know how to operate such a thing. And you're still going to be outsourcing mould tooling, which is the expensive part of the process.
The other big considerations are -
An experienced resin producer can potentially get you from master model to production casts in a week or two. For plastic production services, you're looking at an absolute minimum of 6-12 months, and potentially more if they have a full waiting list. The number of companies out there experienced with moulding specifically for models is fairly small, and most of them either have long waiting lists or are simply not taking on new clients.
- Sculpting Talent
Because plastic injection moulding for miniatures has really only been achievable by a very few companies historically, the pool of available, good
sculptors is very
small. With the industry shifting to digital sculpting, you would think this would open the field up a lot, as there are a lot
of people out there banging out digital sculpts of just about everything you can think of... but the vast majority of them are sculpting either for video games or for resin/3D printing production, and sculpting for injection moulded plastic is a very different skillset.
Plastic production is only viable with large volumes, due to the high setup costs, which is a big part of the reason most start-ups go for resin or metal instead. There's no point shelling out for plastics tooling if you're only ever going to sell a handful of copies of that model.
Is terrain a better option than game development?
If what you want to do is produce a game, then game development would clearly be the 'better' option. If your focus is just to run a company making something
, and hopefully make money from it, then terrain is potentially the 'safer' option... getting market share for a new game is hard
, because most gamers won't bother to try a new game for fear it won't last. And games don't last if people won't try them...
The problem with terrain is that there is so much of it out there now... The market is saturated with resin and laser-cut options in varying levels of quality and cost, so you need to find a way to stand out from the crowd. Plastic is certainly under-represented in the fantasy and scifi gaming market, but that's mainly because of the expense in getting started... it's a massive investment for an unpredictable return.
Lastly are model cars/ planes , and trains more lucrative than wargaming and RPGs and other table top game?
They have a wider potential audience, certainly, but you would be competing against some very
big players, so I wouldn't expect it to be at all an easy option.
What other sources of funding are available in addition to crowd sourcing.
There would obviously be the more 'traditional' options of saving up to self-fund, taking out a bank loan, or finding investment partners with available funds to throw at you.