TIM’s EBay Adventure – Part 5 (A Mid Week Musings Special)

… continued from part 4.

—000—

Background

Several months ago I decided I would, after much deliberation, try to sell some models on eBay.  This is is the continuation of my journey and what I anticipate will be the penultimate post!

Taxman

Before embarking on this tale I thought it would be good to have “Taxman” by the Beatles playing in the background so here is the link.

 

In 2017 it seems Europe passed a law which, under certain circumstances, requires Ebay sellers to pay income tax.  It is very unlikely that this law will be revoked under Brexit, no surprise there then.  As with most taxes it has crept in because the taxman is a sneaky bastard.  Also, as with any form of tax avoidance it carries fines and prison sentences as a potential outcome for non compliance.

So, as an eBay seller who doesn’t want to fall foul of the law TIM, how does it work?  Well I’ll tell you what I know.

If you sell goods which are the result of, say a room clear out, you have little if anything to worry about.  For example, you might have bought a wooden kitchen table years ago which you now want to replace and thought you’d try and make a little money from selling it online.  That’s fine, you aren’t deemed to be in it for profit.  However, if the buyer of your wooden kitchen table sands it down, paints it up, calls it shabby chic and lists it for sale at a price in excess of what he/she paid for it then they are deemed to be in it to make a profitable income and are classified as a trader.  Thus the same applies to the figure painter who buys the figure, paints it and sells it for a profit.  Me.

In the UK you only have to inform the taxman if your “turnover” exceeds £1000.00.  The first £1000.00 is classed as an allowance, one they have chosen to call “Entrepreneur Allowance”.  If your turnover exceeds £1000.00 and you don’t tell the taxman you will be taxed (or you could be fined or jailed!) on every penny of the “turnover”.  If you do notify the taxman they will register the “Entrepreneur Allowance” and any tax will only be payable on the amount which exceeds £1000.00.  You will also be required to complete a self assessment tax return at the end of the tax year.  Still with me?

But surely the taxman will never know?  Well I guess that’s the chance you take but we live in the age of big brother.  Everything you do on eBay is online and the Inland Revenue have access to all this information and I’m sure they have trigger points which produce exception reports.  Like me you have to ask yourself, do I take a chance?  Now I’m all for breaking the rules but not when it can cost me a lot of money or put me in jail and as my turnover exceeds the £1000.00 limit I decided to inform the taxman.

Now you would think a quick phone call to the taxman would be a simple and quick affair.  Needless to say in the UK this is not the case.  Does anywhere in the world have an efficient system?  I won’t bore you with the details but I spent an entire day getting to the bottom of this and had to listen to a lot of shitty on hold music while I did so but I got there in the end.

I am now an Entrepreneur!

Now don’t get me wrong I understand the need to pay taxes and appreciate where in theory the money goes and what we get for the money we pay in.  The thing is, and like all of you I expect, I worked hard for the money I earned and don’t take kindly to seeing the Government waste it.  I’ll spare you all a political rant buy just saying I have no intention of paying more to these fuckers than I can possibly avoid.

This tax year I will have to do a self assessment after the 5th April and declare my eBay sales.  Next year it will all go under the the wife’s name to avoid paying any tax whatsoever.  The only problem is that might cost me more than what the Taxman will charge me!

In any event now it’s time to get back to buying, painting and hopefully selling!

Knuckleduster and Hasselfree Miniatures

The service from the UK Knuckleduster distributor and from Hasselfree miniatures were excellent and my orders arrived within a few days and before Christmas.  So impressed was I with the Knuckleduster figures that I placed another order immediately.  I just knew I was going to love these figures even if they all ended up being just for me!

In the lead up to Christmas as well as during the period between Christmas and New Year I got painting away and before the year was up I had my first couple of Knuckleduster figures listed.  I revised my description wording for these figures,  increased the auction starting price to £25.00 from £20.00 and removed the option to make an offer.  I had know idea if this was a good thing or not but decided to give it a try all the same.  I braced myself for a slow start on the basis that the end of December and throughout January buyers would be at a premium.  Anticipating that I would achieve no sales I was delighted to sell four Knuckleduster figures.  I also managed to sell four Hasslefree figures in February at £35.00 each plus £3.95 for postage.  Happy days.

Since then though things have gone quiet.  A lull in the market?  Lack of interest?  Time will tell.

—000—

So dear reader you are up to date with my eBay adventure.  Future interesting developments, if any, will from here on in appear in my weekly mid-week Musings.  There is, however, one more post to follow.  It seems appropriate to draw some conclusions from my experience and in Part 6 I will aim to do just that.

—000—

To be continued …

TIM

 

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The News at TIM – Mid Week Musings (No: 45)

Welcome to this weeks Musings!

After an absence of a couple of weeks, partly due to Alex’s “Fembruary challenge”, my brothers visit and posting another installment of TIM’s Ebay Adventure, a return to conventional musings.  I’m sure you can’t wait so without further ado let’s get started!

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Its An Age Thing …

For the first time in a long time I have not done any modelling or painting at all.  No I have not lost interest in the hobby and neither have I been doing other things.  In fact I’ve been doing absolutely bugger all.  Why?  Well I managed to do my back in and for the best part of a week now I’ve been barely able to move.  So how did you manage to do that then TIM?  You may well ask.  There are two theories.

The first theory, and for anyone anywhere in the world who reads this blog this is the true explanation, I put my back out making love to She Who Must Be Obeyed.  It’s high time I realized my limitations and restricted myself to no more than four times a night but what can I say, I’m one of life’s givers.

The second theory, and one which has no credibility whatsoever, is that I managed to damage my back lifting the garden strimmer.

A painful trip to the doctor led to the conclusion I had a swollen disc which in turn was trapping a nerve.  I left with a prescription for some heavy duty pain killers and a couple of sheets of exercises to be done as often as possible.

Two days in and I elected to abandon the prescribed pain killers due to side effects.  Had it not been for SWMBO  I would have still been taking them but like most women and unlike most men she chose to read the prescription information leaflet.  Apparently if symptoms such as stomach pain and nausea occur you should stop taking the medication immediately.

The exercises offer a different kind of challenge.  Assuming I can actually make it to the floor in the first instance they are in fact motivational.  I’m not sure it was what the doctor had intended but I feel that if I can achieve the various positions shown on the leaflet then hope remains that I could still make it as a porn star.

Fortunately, and thanks to the aid of a whoopee cushion, I am able to sit with the laptop and blog for short periods.

—000—

Display Cases

Over the last few months I’ve really gotten into painting 28mm figures just as figures, not as part of a vignette or diorama.  Two main reasons for this, one being that I’ve been selling some on eBay, the other that I’ve simply loved doing them.  Knowing my boredom threshold I’m sure I will move on to something different in due course but for now I’m enjoying what I’m doing which after all is what it is all about.

The thing is I have started to build up a reasonable number of figures, not for selling but for my own collection and as a consequence I found myself confronted with the familiar question – to display or not to display?  I decided that if I could find the right thing to display the figures in then that would be the route I would take until such times as there was no further available display space.  I know when I’ve reached that particular tipping point because She Who Must Be Obeyed will typically say something along the lines of “well you needn’t think you are putting that anywhere!”.

I managed to find the ideal item on eBay so I bought a couple.  At £15.00 each and with free postage I thought they were good value.

Each one can hold 32 figures on 25mm bases so I bought a couple which should keep me going for a little while.

I then bought two more just to be on the safe side!

—000—

Sorry, Wrong Number!

Talking about eBay I’ve just put these up for sale.  Not sure how I managed to make such a mistake, must be another age thing.

FB_IMG_1550564199008

—000—

Thought for the week? 

Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?

—000—

This week TIM has been listening to …

Elton John and Tiny Dancer.

Having just bought the DVD for “Bohemian Rhapsody” (and watched it twice already!) I’m now looking forward to the release of Rocket Man at the cinema.  Naturally I could have gone with any number of songs by Elton but went for the official music video for Tiny Dancer.  Partly because the early sequences features by coincidence my yellow sports car and and young blond girl I used to go out with.

—000—

This week TIM has been watching …

Fawlty Towers.  With little else to do but sit around uncomfortably I thought I would work my way through the Fawlty Towers boxed set.  Over the years there has been some very fine comedies.  Some have stood the test of time while others haven’t.  This one certainly has.

Below is a link to some top moments.

—000—

Until next time.

TIM

 

 

TIM’s EBay Adventure – Part 4 (A Mid Week Musings special)

… continued from part 3.

—000—

Background

Several months ago I decided I would, after much deliberation, try to sell some models on Ebay.  This is the continuation of my journey!

A Lesson Learnt

Things on Ebay were going well, slowly but more than good enough to make me happy.  I should have realised a bump in the road was inevitable.

At the end of November I received an offer for two of my figures from a potential buyer.  The offer for each figure was £17.00, they were up for sale at £20.00.  As it was a new buyer I chose to accept his offer in the hope of obtaining further business in the future.  I then received the following message back from him.

Order details

 

Now the written word is never the best way to communicate in the sense that it can be open to emotional interpretation.  Now it might just be me but his note really pissed me off.  When it comes to swearing I like a good “fuck” every now and then (who doesn’t?) but it’s very, very rare for me to use the “C” word.  I thought the last piece about sending in separate packages was both sarcastic and unnecessary.  Unnecessary because the guy had an eBay score of over 1300 which to my mind says he knew enough to ask about combined postage without the need to be rude.

Now I’m not the kind of guy who can simply ignore such things so I wrote him what I thought was a polite reply.  Tempting as it was to tell him to fuck off I wanted to protect my 100% feedback score.

 

New message to:

Hi Ian,

Thank you for the prompt payment. I am unable to get to the post office today but will do so tomorrow and confirm to you that the figures have been sent together with tracking details.

Selling figures on eBay is a relatively new experience so I appreciate your feedback regarding combined postage.

So far my approach has been to provide buyers with the opportunity to make an offer, such as you have done today “or” combine postage when asked to do so. Based on my selling experiences to date this is the first query I have had as all my customers have been happy to pay the postage where I have accepted their offer.

Unfortunately offering both is not financially viable as far as I am concerned given purchase costs, painting time and postage and packing expenses. That said I’ve no desire to see you disappointed so I will combine postage for your purchase and enclose a cheque for £3.95 along with the figures which I trust will be acceptable to you.

I hope you are happy with the figures when they arrive and if you are interested in buying more in the future please do contact me to discuss pricing and postage.

Kind regards and best wishes,

David

I never heard back from him and he has never left feedback, neither have I for that matter either.  Although I did not like this guys style and I would be very reluctant to ever deal with him again the fact is he got me thinking.  Should I in my description make mention to combined postage and should I offer it?  In all honesty I never thought anyone would buy more than one figure at a time.

After some deliberation I decided morally I ought to combine postage whenever I can just as long as I cover my costs.  I amended the wording on my listings to cover UK and Overseas postage and then got in touch with the guy from Manchester who bought seven of my figures.  As he had paid the postage on each figure and hadn’t made me an offer either I was now feeling a little guilty.  Some might argue business is business but as we were only talking about a few pounds I thought it would make for a good will gesture.

I sent him an email in December saying I had forgotten to reduce postage and asked if he wanted me to send him a cheque or make a deduction from any other purchase if there was something I had listed which was of interest to him.  The last bit was a little tongue in cheek but to my complete surprise he came back to thank me and promptly bought another seven figures!

I made several other sales in December in the lead up to Christmas, the best of which was eight figures sold to a Doctor in Germany.

Generally things were going well and my gross income at the middle of December stood at just over £1000.00, the vast majority of which had been earned following my second eBay foray which began in September.  I was pleased with how things were going but couldn’t help but think how best to try to improve things.  It was time to sit down and reflect once again on the way forward.

Being realistic I hadn’t had many customers.  Although I had sold a reasonable number of figures the majority had been purchased by three people.  Unlike other sellers I had never had more than one bid on an item to help push the price up and although I was pleased with the sales there were weeks in between when nothing happened at all.  I was also focused solely on Artizan figures, mainly wild west which in itself was not a problem but the range is limited and if these guys had already bought them then why would they buy more of the same figure?

The Next Step Forward

Anticipating that the middle to end of December would be quiet I decided this would be a great time to search for some new figures, take advantage of Christmas savings such as free postage and get some figures painted to replace those I’d sold.  January was also likely to be slow too so this felt like the best use of my time.

It was quite a while ago that I first discovered the wild west figures produced by Knuckleduster.  The figures looked great but as far as I could see there was no UK distributor.  Whilst it was possible to buy them from the States it was expensive to do so.  Buying them on Ebay was an option but the ones I found were retailing at about £8.00 a figure including postage.  nevertheless I thought I would email Knuckleduster on the off chance to see if they had a UK distributor.  A swift reply followed to say that they did.

I checked out the site and was delighted to learn that they carried the whole range of figures.  Each figure retailed at £3.50 but if you spent £20.00 or more postage was free.  I placed an order for three individual figures but bought two of each one making six in total.  I decided that I would very much like to collect these figures for myself as well as trying to sell them.  With well over a hundred figures in the range Ì had plenty to keep me going and to sell if there was a market for them.  By purchasing two of the same figure each time I could keep the better one for myself and sell the other!  Also, painting them both at the same time would be quicker.  It was worth a go that’s for sure.

Another decision I made was to paint a few Hasslefree figures and chose fantasy humans as the genre.  Once again I bought two of each figure as I was keen to have these as well for my own collection.

All I had to do now was wait for things to be delivered and then to start painting!

Things were going well and I was happy with the progress I was now making right up to the point when a friend said “are you keeping records for your tax return?”.  “Tax, you’ve got to be kidding me?”.   “No I’m not, there’s a new law, you ought to check it out”.

FUCK!

To be continued…

—000—

TIM

 

TIM’s EBay Adventure- Part 3 (A Mid Week Musings Special)

… continued from part 2.

—000—

Background

Several months ago I decided I would, after much deliberation, try to sell some models on Ebay.  This is the continuation of my journey!

Ebay Listing

To get things started I decided upon painting and selling some Artizan miniatures, figures from their old west range.  Three of their figures sell for £6.00 but add the cost of postage and the figures work out at about £2.50 each if you buy a few packs to spread the cost of the £3.50 postage.  Financially I wasn’t going to go under if this little eBay adventure didn’t work out.  Worst case scenario I would simply end up with a few figures I would have happily bought, painted and kept anyway.

Painted, based and varnished they were ready for listing.

I still wasn’t sure what the best price was to list a figure at or how best to list it but completely out of the blue settled on £15.00 for each figure and went down the standard auction route.  The way I saw it I had to start somewhere and one way or another I’d learn something from the experience.  I drafted a brief description and said in it that I would be willing to paint a specific figure if there were others which were of interest.  A bit bold but I was feeling confident at the time so went with it.  In April 2018 I pressed the go button and then spent the next few hours checking how many bids I’d received.  Needless to say sod all happened!

Not only did nothing happen in the first few hours but nothing happened during the 7 day listing period.  I did have some views and I did have a couple of the figures “watched” but nothing sold.  The listings duly expired but were automatically relisted by eBay.  I chose not to keep an eye on them, adopting instead a “watched pot never boils” approach.   I got lucky.

I woke one morning to find that I had opening bids on six figures.  On closer inspection they were all from the same guy in France.  He also sent me a message to say he wouldn’t bid higher but was interested in having some figures painted.  I can’t say I was bothered if he didn’t bid higher, either way I had sold the figures, but the fact he was interested in having some figures painted was exciting.  He also wanted the figures sent in one batch but didn’t want to pay Ebay postage costs.  This final bit was a little lost on me.  I understood what he meant by combining the postage but not the eBay cost element.  As there were a few days before the auction ended I investigated a little further.

It turns out that when you list on eBay postage for overseas buyers automatically defaults to their Global Shipping Program.  The program works as follows.  The UK seller, in this case me, posts to a central address in the UK at the cost of UK postage.  eBay then post overseas.  The Cost of posting overseas is higher and presumably increased by eBay as well to cover their involvement and it is this cost that the overseas buyer sees on their countries eBay.  As it would be cheaper for me to send direct to (in this case) France the buyer would save money on postage.  There are some incentives for using the eBay method as a seller but if it puts a buyer off then what’s the point?  Fortunately you can simply switch the Global Shipping program option off and then raise your own invoice to send to the buyer which includes your own overseas postage and packing cost.

The auction ended with no further bids so I raised an invoice, packaged the figures, calculated the cost of sending to Paris, France and posted them care of Royal Mail.  I then sent an email to the guy in France with tracking details and told him to let me know what figures he was interested in.  A few days later I received very positive feedback on eBay from the buyer in respect of the quality of the figures but never heard from him again.  I was disappointed but looked on the positive side, I’d sold six figures for a gross income of £90.00.  In the words of Del Boy Trotter, this time next year I’ll be a millionaire!

Selling six figures was great but now I needed to replace them on eBay.  Figures were duly painted and listed at the same price and using the same basic auction option.  Nothing happened during the first week, or the second or the third.  In fact nothing happened in the fourth, fifth or sixth either.  I needed to rethink my approach.  After a good start things had ground to a halt.  Had I got the price wrong? Were the figures not good enough?  We’re they painted well enough but not what anybody wanted?

I decided not to relist the figures when the auction ended.  I needed to think more about what I was doing and why.

If I’m being honest I was at a low point.  Others were selling their figures but I wasn’t.   In fairness I could accept that the high quality figures were selling but other figures which I didn’t think were well painted at all were selling also.  I decided to give up but despite having made the decision to do so couldn’t stop thinking about what I could do differently.  Was my pricing right?  Were the photos good enough?  Should I write a better description?  Were they listed in the right category for people to see?

EBay Listing – Take 2!

In September I decided to give eBay another go.  I spent time trying to get the photos right.  Because the camera exaggerates I wanted images which were more representative of what the eye naturally sees.  I wrote a better description and left out a link I had previously included to my blog so people could see my gallery.  Calling myself The Imperfect Modeller might not be the best name when it comes to selling!  I increased my auction starting prices from £15.00 to £20.00 but allowed potential buyers to make offers.  Was that enough?  Time would tell.  It was now a case of listing the figures and being patient.  If there were buyers out there then I needed to give them time to discover my figures.

As it turned out I didn’t have to wait long.  A guy from Chester made a reasonable offer on three of my figures.  I accepted the offer and began to start painting some replacements.  I was encouraged but refused to get carried away this time around.

In October the same guy came back.  Not once but four times to buy some more.  In total I sold him seven figures that month but nothing to anyone else.  I was pleased with the sales and the money added up to a nice little sum.  It was also great to think that the chap liked my stuff enough to come back for more.  The only problem was he was just one guy.  There was no pleasing me!

November saw some more sales.  One customer purchased two figures, another bought one and a guy from Manchester bought seven.  Oddly none of them chose to make offers, choosing instead they all sold for £20.00 each.

I was on a roll but a bump in the road was just around the corner!

To be continued …

—000—

TIM

The News at TIM – Mid Week Musings (No: 44)

Welcome to this weeks Musings!

—000—

Cotton Reels!

As many of you are aware I am a domestic victim.  Despite this I bear no grudges against She Who Must Be Obeyed, so much so that I thought I would give her a shout out in this article.

Now I recently made an eBay purchase.  Nothing unusual in that but I bought something for modelling.  Nothing unusual in that either, except that what I acquired was 20 wooden cotton reels.

The inspiration for this was none other than SWMBO when she very recently said to me – “Would this be any good for your modelling?”.  What she held out to  me was a plastic cotton reel minus the cotton which she had just used up.  “Might be I said” and duly placed it on my work desk where it sat while I continued to search through my forgotten pile in the hope of finding something for Azazel’s (February) monthly challenge.

During my search I came across my set of Dad’s Army figures comprising 18 miniatures which I bought several months ago.  The figures aren’t really neglected as they have there position on the to do list but I have been putting them off until I could identify suitable bases.  What I’ve been looking out for but so far without success are small wooden plinths (for a reason that will become known when I get around to doing the first figure and posting details of it at some point in the future) identically sized and suitably priced.  Some wooden bases can be very, very expensive for what they are.

Then, thanks to SWMBO, I had a light bulb moment!

The cotton reel provided by SWMBO was perfect in height and size but unfortunately made of plastic.  Wood can be sanded, stained and varnished and looks so much better.  “Do they do these exactly the same but in wood?” I asked.  “Yes” she said “but you’ll probably have to buy old fashioned ones like your mother would have had.  “Check eBay”.  So I did and there I found lots of classic wooden cotton reels for sale in different sized lots.  A lot of 20 identical wooden cotton reels fitted the bill perfectly and were duly bought.  I can’t believe I got excited about winning an auction for cotton reels!

Now if that wasn’t enough good news there was an added bonus to be had.  All 20 of the cotton reels when they arrived had a considerable amount of cotton left on them.  The next step is to transfer the cotton to plastic bobbin’s and give them to SWMBO as a nice little surprise wedding anniversary present.  What more could she possibly want?  Yes, you’re quite right, I do indeed spoil that women.

So there we have it.  Twenty wooden plinths and the wife’s wedding anniversary present for under fifteen quid.  Happy days!

—000—

Postage

Having placed a couple of orders for a few new items I was reminded at the online check out that Christmas is over.  In the lead up to Christmas the majority of retailers I now typically use were offering free postage albeit geared to a minimum spend.  Alas the festive period is over and once again it is possible to find myself doubling the cost of an item thanks to the cost of having it mailed.

When possible I try to make the order financially worthwhile but sometimes I simply do not want more than a single item and I’m not prepared to wait until Christmas comes around once again.  Sadly it’s just the way it goes.  It did however remind that – “Despite the high cost of living it remains popular!”

—000—

This week TIM has been listening to …

Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of War of the Worlds.

Nice bit of background while doing some painting and I’d forgotten just how good this was.

WayneTWOTW.jpg

—000—

This week TIM has been watching …

Luther.

Image result for luther

For one reason or another the last couple of series passed me.  Not entirely sure why but these days, thanks to various recording devices and the likes of BBC iPlayer, I prefer to watch a series once its finished so I can binge watch it.  The idea of waiting a week in between doesn’t cut if for me any more.  So I sat down whilst modelling and got myself up to date.

As with the previous series’ I enjoyed the villains getting  their comeuppance although I was struck by just how weird and perverted the various purveyors of the dastardly crimes were.  Then I got to reminding myself that I was watching fiction which in turn made me question the mind of the guy who wrote it.  In the end I was left wondering if the writer was a creative genius or some one who perhaps ought to be locked up just to be on the safe side!

—000—

Remember …

In the darkest hours when modelling and painting aren’t going your way just remind yourself of the old saying …

“If at first you don’t succeed then perhaps skydiving is not for you!”

—000—

Until next time.

TIM

 

 

 

 

TIM’s EBay Adventure – Part 2 (A Mid Week Musings Special)

… continued from part 1.

—000—

Background

Several months ago I decided I would, after much deliberation, try to sell some models on Ebay.  This is is the continuation of my journey!

Research

The nice thing about researching things in this day and age is you don’t have to do much more than hit the keyboard.  Thanks to Google (other search engines are available) pretty much everything is available at the touch of a button, there is no need to leave your desk let alone your house.

I started my research with eBay.  I’m not naive, there are very few new ideas these days, it’s all about doing things better and cheaper than your competitors, or so it seems to me. Not surprisingly other people paint figures to sell.  The bigger questions were who buys them, what do they buy and how much do they sell for?

I’m no expert but I know that people collect anything and everything so why would figures be an exception?  They are not.  Of course lots of people paint there own but some are collector’s of figures, some simply cannot paint but want a good looking figures on the table, some just don’t have the time.  The thing to do was search eBay and “watch” numerous items to see how they fared.

One of the first things that struck me was the standard of painted figures and the different selling methods people were using.  The standard ranged from professional to, well let’s just say not very good.  Now I’m not knocking the poorly painted stuff, I wish those sellers good luck but in their narrative some like to describe their work as “pro-painted”.  I can only assume that by pro they are using an abbreviation for the word prostitute as I can’t believe for one minute that the work was that of a professional painter.  At the other end of the spectrum the standard is extremely high and clearly the work of skilled painters.  As I would have expected prices tended to correspond with the quality of the work for sale although I couldn’t help but feel one or two sellers were being optimistic.  That said one figure I monitored sold for £142.00!  On average though figures at the top end of the spectrum generally seemed to sell in the region of £50.00/£60.00.  The question now was how to value my own work?

Selling methods were also varied.  As well as the traditional auction method some sellers chose to adopt a fixed price while others were open to offers or a combination.  All have there merits of course but what would work best for me?

Another factor was genre.  There was a market for Old Wild West figures and the SAGA period figures appeared to be popular too.  Some fantasy figures appeared to sell as well but there were fewer up for sale, or so it seemed.  Other categories might have been popular too but with so much scope in those three genres alone I had more than enough options to get started.

Postage was another consideration.  Do I offer free postage as some sellers did or do I seek to recover my costs?  Would I be willing to sell to an overseas buyer?  One thing was for sure, I would need to sit down and do a reasonable costing.  Only then could I determine if the whole exercise was worth it or not.  Before going further I decided this now needed to be my next step.

The Cost of a TIM Figure?

Armed with a pen and paper I jotted down what I considered to be the key costs of painting and posting a figure:

  • Cost of the figure and base
  • Time taken to paint and base the figure/hourly rate
  • Packaging
  • Postage
  • Basing materials
  • Painting materials  – brushes/paints
  • Ebay/PayPal fees

Strictly speaking any product should be properly costed to the “n”th degree but I felt in my position it wasn’t appropriate.  Firstly I decided to ignore the cost of painting materials.  This is my hobby first and foremost and as long as I can continue with it I will buy and replace all consumables.  Simply doing more figures with the aim of selling some wasn’t going to change that and the rate of consumption would, certainly from a starting out perspective, be insignificant.

Secondly, I decided to make some assumptions on painting time and thus the knock on effect of any hourly rate.  I’m in the fortunate position of being retired.  My aim here is to paint and fill my time enjoying what I do.  If I couldn’t sell any figures I would still paint them anyway wouldn’t I?  Was there any need to actually charge for my time?  Another factor when considering this point is the people I am competing against, the professionals.

So who are the professionals?  Well my assumption was this.  Now if I were a sculptor, but then again no.  Or a man who makes potions in a traveling show … whoops, Elton John tangent there, let’s start again.

If I were a sculptor then my aim would be to create figures and sell them direct via my own website.  To help sell them it would look better if the figures were professionally painted.  If I paint them myself they might not look that great but time spent painting could be time spent sculpting and that’s where my strength and the money lies.  Better to commission someone to paint them?

Sticking with this scenario I reckoned that the professional painter would probably get the figures for free, get paid for painting them and possibly get paid too for sending back tip top photos for the sculptor to use.  Of course the actual painted figure could be sent back but that would incur the additional cost of postage and still require the sculptor to have photos taken which is more money and more time.  Under this scenario we have a professional painter who gets his figures free, has been paid to paint them and take photographs and who now has figures that can be sold on eBay for a 100% profit!  Not a bad little system.

Now I can’t be fully certain that the system works that way but I did manage to identify two ebayers who’s work appears on figure sellers websites so at the very least  I felt confident I was thinking along the right lines.  The thing now was what conclusions could I reach from this?

One conclusion I reached was I couldn’t set a starting price for any figures I list higher than the professional guys.  In time I might be able to if my own work improved and if what I was selling was of a different genre perhaps.  For now though I felt I had an indication of the highest price I could set, now I needed to determined the minimum.

To determine the minimum price I needed firstly to ensure that any sales income would at least cover my costs, essentially the sum of the figure plus postage and packing.  It also needed to cover eBay and PayPal expenses.  I then needed to see a profit, a price which to my mind made the whole thing worthwhile.  Anything less would beg the question, why bother?  I settled on an arbitrary amount and decided that would do for starters.

All that now remained was decide how to sell on eBay.  Auction?  Buy Now?  Accept Offers?  Something to ponder while I actually painted some figures for selling!

To be continued …

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TIM

The News at TIM – Mid Week Musings (No: 43)

Welcome to this weeks Musings!

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Plymouth Model Club Annual Competition

The Monday before last was the Plymouth Model Clubs annual competition.  Now I know competitions aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but I like them.  I’m genuinely relaxed about winning or losing (I prefer the former but am far more experienced in the latter!) as I’m more interested in getting feedback, being inspired by others and trying to gauge my own standard.  The way I see it there is always room for improvement and entering competitions is one way of determining what works and what doesn’t in the eyes of other people.

Last year I got a great buzz from winning the club Diorama and Single Figure categories.  Notwithstanding the fact that the club is not huge the club members are nevertheless my peers and if they like what I do then that’s a good start to the year ahead.  It’s also worth noting that prior to last years modelling success I would at best described myself as a serial loser.  Despite years of devotion to sport and hundreds of pounds spent on lottery and raffle tickets for good causes it is true to say that up to last year I had won the square root of sod all.  To find out that I was reasonably good at something was to put it very mildly, bloody amazing!

A year on and with several talented new club members it was never going to be easy to emulate last years success.  This year saw a lot more entries within each of the nine categories and for sure the standard had increased throughout.  I knew this would most likely be the case and with that in mind felt I would have to pull out all the stops in the three categories I had chosen to enter.  I wasn’t wrong.

With very little to chose between 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in every category I was delighted to learn that I had managed to defend the two titles I won last year whilst adding a third.

“Operation Overlord – The Road to Caretan” came first in the diorama category, “True Grit” first in single figures and “The Dragon Slayer” first in the miscellaneous category.  To say I was delighted was an understatement.  I’m not getting carried away, far from it.  I plan to enter all three into one or two other competitions during the year but am well aware that the competition will be much, much tougher.  There are without a doubt some very, very talented people out there and as I have said before the best modellers don’t even bother to enter.

Already I’ve started to think about next years competition.  As our club chairman pointed out, the standard within the club has significantly increased and winning any of the competition categories in the future is going to get harder not easier.  So the search for ideas has begun.  Finding a figure which appeals to me shouldn’t be too difficult and I’ve seen a couple which appeal to me already.  I have some diorama ideas floating around in the air but something for the miscellaneous category, which includes Si Fi and Fantasy, is  very much a blank for now.  So, if anyone has any ideas don’t be shy!

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Conversions

Now as the above article might come across as a bragging post (which it isn’t meant to) I thought I ought to balance things up a bit.  I am well aware of my failings as a modeller and one of the biggest by far is figure conversations.  I’ve done a couple of extremely minor things like bend arms and limb amputation but beyond that nothing to write home about.  Why is this?  Well to tell the truth I simply cannot see beyond the composition of the original figure.

Try as I might I cannot picture the figure any other way and as such feel unable to even get started.  Swapping body parts and weaponry from one figure to another requires a level of imagination which so far continues to elude me.  I’m not without imagination, I’d like to think I apply it to the scenery and composition of my vignettes and dioramas but for some reason I cannot seem to apply it to figures.

Many of you, IRO and Thomas for example, both of whom posted excellent pieces just recently, have a vision which I can only admire.  I on the other hand don’t which of course is another reason I will continue to remain the Imperfect Modeller.

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This week TIM has been listening to …

Waterloo Sunset by the The kinks

Now I’m not called Terry and my wife isn’t called Julie (listen to the lyrics) but Waterloo station is where I proposed to She Who Must Be Obeyed almost 40 years ago.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  These days the final verse of “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” by Meatloaf seems a more meaningful track as I reminisce!

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This week TIM has been watching …

Rhod Gilbert

We are fortunate to have some great comedians doing the rounds at the moment.  One of the things I like about Rhod Gilbert is he is funny without the need for f’ing and blinding every few moments.  This link is to one of my favorite pieces.  If you enjoy it then I would recommend two of his full length shows on YouTube –

and,

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Until next time.

TIM

TIM’s EBay Adventure – Part 1 (A Midweek Musings Special)

Introduction

Several months ago I decided I would, after much deliberation, try to sell some models on Ebay.  The experience of doing so is still very new but nevertheless I thought it might be of some interest to share with you my journey thus far via a post or two.  Like all stories it’s best begun at the beginning and therefore the first thing I should explain is why I decided upon doing so in the first place.

Why?

Before I retired She Who Must Be Obeyed rarely if ever questioned the amount of time I spent modelling.  Now fully retired there is an expectation that jobs around the house should be shared, her jobs not mine, I still have mine to do.  Now I love my wife, we’ve been married nearly 37 years (it feels like only yesterday, if it was tomorrow I would cancel it!) but retirement for me was about spending more time modelling (and anything else I wanted to do) not more time working.  I needed a plan, not just any old plan but a cunning plan.  One which would enable me to openly do modelling without the expectation of doing anything else and remove the feeling of guilt for doing so which I often feel is being heaped upon me.  But what?

Then I had an idea – make modelling my job!

Let me say right up front it’s not about making money.  Well that’s not entirely true, it is about making money but not for money’s sake.  Making money is relevant but more as a performance indicator and to justify what I am doing to SWMBO.  There are other reasons too of course.

Before I finally decided to fully retire last September I had spent all my full and part-time working life in UK corporate companies.  I did a job, they paid me.  Simple.  I wouldn’t describe myself as a specialist but I wasn’t a Jack of all trades either so if I had an IT problem I spoke to the IT department, likewise, HR, Legal, Risk, Marketing, etc.  I was never self-employed and I never had to make something to sell in order to live off the proceeds.  As I look back I’m beginning to wonder what it was I actually did do!

Over the years I’ve known several people who have set up their own businesses and I have admired each and every one of them.  They all had two things in common.  They worked extremely hard and they had to become knowledgeable on just about everything, not just what they did.  No corporate security for them, they needed to learn marketing, HR legislation if they employed staff , IT, finance, the list goes on.  I would like to say they were all successful but alas I’m sorry to say most of them failed.  Not because of their own product, work ethic or service but simply because they got swamped by everything else.  Well that’s how it seemed to me.

Although I never had the urge to break away from the corporate world a part of me always wanted to see if I could do my own thing, to sell something with a degree of regularity and generate an income.  My own little business if you like.  With the onset of retirement and the need to keep physically as well as mentally occupied I started to give the matter some further thought.  I wasn’t looking to make a living off of any idea, I just wanted to dabble and to see if I could produce something which people would be interested enough in to buy and to see what I could learn from the experience.  SWMBO and her expectation of sharing domestic chores tipped the balance!  I got started and sold the idea to her.  She bought into it far to quickly which tells me she has got one over on me but so far I’m buggered if I can work out what!

The first question I had to address was what was I going to try to sell?  The second was how was I going to try to sell it?

The second was the easiest to answer.  I had already decided that initially eBay would be the vehicle for selling.  Why reinvent the wheel?  The first was a little more difficult.  Modelling is a passion and what interested me the most but my major concern was who would want to buy vignettes and dioramas and even if they did how on earth could I post them without them arriving in pieces at the other end.  There was another problem too.  Each vignette and diorama is unique, a one-off and as such I didn’t think I could bring myself to part with them, even if many of them do now reside in boxes and are stored away.

What to make and try to sell continued to elude me until the obvious hit me, just paint figures!

The more I thought about it the more this made sense.  The figures, typically one piece castings could be easily posted and packaged to arrive safety (if sold!), could be very simply based and if I really liked a figure and wanted to keep it, unlike the more unique basing of a vignette or diorama, I could do another identical one.

I felt now that the idea was taking off, well in my head at least.  There was more to consider though.  What figures would I paint and try to sell?  What price could I realistically charge?  How would I package them up?  What else did I need to consider?

If I was going to do this then I was going to try to do it as good as I possibly could.  The good thing was I had the time and motivation to do so and more importantly it really didn’t matter a jot if things didn’t work out.  The main thing was to avoid doing any cleaning, cooking and shopping.  Nothing financially rested on success or failure, I didn’t have bills to pay or major overheads to meet, only time spent modelling was at stake.

I was just keen to try it, to see if I could make it work and if it did then great and if not then at least I can say I gave it a go and would just have to lie to SWMBO at how well it was going.  Lie to SWMBO?  Yes, lie.  What’s wrong with that?  Most marriages involve lies at some point don’t they?  OK, so there are good lies and bad lies.  A bad lie is saying “I was out with the lads” when actually I was screwing a hot girl I met in the pub (oh how I wish!).  A good lie is saying you had a good day at work when you just got made redundant and don’t want the little lady worrying needlessly.  One way or another they are all lies.  Besides, wives lie too, just think about all the headaches they have!

Whatever the final outcome would turn out to be the fact was I was nearing the launch pad but far from ready for take off.  I needed to do more research.

To be continued …

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TIM

 

The News at TIM – Mid Week Musings (No: 42)

Welcome to this weeks Musings!

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Charlie Foxtrot

As some of you will have seen, just before Christmas I completed a WW2 diorama which I called “Operation Overlord” (link below).

https://wordpress.com/post/theimperfectmodeller.wordpress.com/4052

The buildings I used in this model were all from a company called Charlie Foxtrot Models albeit with some customization on my part.  The buildings themselves are of a high quality and I would recommend them to anyone.  Having completed the model I thought I would email a couple of photos to Colin at Charlie Foxtrot and let him know how pleased I was with his kits.  Let’s face it we all like good feedback and I thought Colin would be no different so with it being the season of goodwill to all men I thought I would pass on my thanks to him.

I didn’t anticipate a reply but to my surprise he came back and said he was impressed with what I had done.  More than that he asked if he could put the images up on his Facebook page in the lead up to Christmas.  I was happy to agree that he could but if I’m being honest thought he was being polite and that would be the end of the matter.

Good to his word Colin did put up the photos, along with a few kind words, just before Christmas as he said he would.  It made me feel like an author getting his first book published.  I was chuffed!

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Carry On Carrying On?

Over Christmas one of the TV channels, I can’t remember which one, aired a few of old Carry On films.  I’m not sure how well known these films are outside of a certain age group or outside of the UK either for that matter.  The humor is mostly built around the English language and the use of the “double entendre”.  Although dated the humor is nonetheless what I was brought up on and to this day I love the adaptability of the English language and the ability it has for word play.

Another outlet for this type of humor, again turning the clock back to when I was a kid, were saucy seaside postcards produced by Bamforth.  These were, and still are to my mind, very funny.  They also played a significant part in my sex education and must have caused my dad much embarrassment when he was asked to explain what some of them meant!

Needless to say there is now a down side to this humor in today’s world.  Only yesterday I read an article on the BBC website about sexual harassment in the work place, it included a quiz to help determine your understanding of what is and what isn’t acceptable in this day and age.  I didn’t do very well!  I’ll go one step further, if I was still working in an office environment I would probably be hung, drawn and quartered.  Goodness only knows how kids flirt these days!  With internet dating I guess they don’t.

These days not only do we have to be more careful about what we say but we also have to be aware of where we are saying it.  For example, “Have you ever had a PC go down on you?” is an innocent enough question in an IT environment but said inside a police station it could be misconstrued.  Personally I’d find it funny but others might take offense.  Similarly, “Wow, that’s a lovely figure can I hold it?” is not an unreasonable request said to someone at the Plymouth Modelling Club but could well upset someone in an office environment.

It gets trickier though when the words are potentially innocent and said in the correct environment, for example “Those are lovely looking melons” is fine when you are in the supermarket fruit and veg aisle but heaven help you if you happen to be standing next to a large breasted female at the time you say it!  Here’s another example …

Image result for seaside postcards

Now I appreciate in the examples I have given the female of the species is at the butt of the joke and as such there are those delicate soles who would be most offended.  There is however an alternative, join in!  If, as she is inclined to do, She Who Must Be Obeyed happened to say while I was doing some DIY – “That’s a hell of a big tool you’ve got in your hand!” I’d be quite pleased.

It’s often inferred that this type of humor was one way traffic.  Some people tend to forget that men were “victims” of this humor too.

Image result for seaside postcards

Image result for seaside postcards

Having worked part time in a Pharmacy I’ve dispensed numerous prescriptions to men who suffer from Erectile Dysfunction.  I’ve never met one who didn’t see the funny side of the situation or had a Viagra joke to tell.  In fact it’s taking Viagra with a glass of water which gives us British guys our stiff upper lip!

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This week TIM has been listening to …

Heroes by David Bowie.

Now the problem with an icon, any icon is they are iconic.  To become an icon you need to have done a lot of great influential stuff which by definition means it is hard to select a single track (or film) from a comprehensive list of outstanding music.  So it is with Bowie.  I chose this one because even if you don’t like Bowie you can’t argue with the title.  Well you can but I wont be listening.

Probably an artist who is not every bodies cup of team but that’s music for you, it’s personal, no rights or wrongs just different opinions.

Expect to see me list more of his tracks in the future.

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This week TIM has been watching … 

JFK’s Secret Killer: The Evidence

Now I’m sure I’m not alone in liking a good old mystery and one of the more fascinating and most popular is the Kennedy assassination.  Theories abound as to what actually happened and many of the things which simply did not add up were featured in the film JFK starring Kevin Costner.

Some years ago I saw this documentary on TV.  I stumbled upon it again recently on YouTube and thought I would share it.  For me this represents the most likely scenario of what actually did happen.  It provides a very realistic answer, backed up with evidence, which addresses the numerous anomalies of the Warren commission and also explains why there would have been a cover up.

Mystery solved as far as I am concerned but I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from watching this fascinating investigation.

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Until next time.

TIM

The News at TIM – Mid Week Musings (No: 41)

Welcome to this weeks Musings and the first of this year!

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2019 – The Initial Plan

The clue is in the title, this is the initial plan, which is to say it hasn’t got a hope in hell of coming to fruition.  So why bother?  Well old working habits die hard (now there’s a title for a film, wonder if anyone has thought of that?) and I like the idea of objective setting and having some focus.  That said I’m not in the slightest bit bothered if I deliver against it or not.  This is my hobby after all and the aim is to enjoy it and if, as I suspect I will do, I choose to go off in a different direction at some point then that’s just what I will do.  I can be so rebellious when I want to be!

So, what do I currently have in store for 2019?

First up, but in no particular order are Knuckleduster Miniatures.  Possibly the finest range of Old Wild West figures on the market.  My modelling roots lie in this genre and I’m really quiet excited at the prospect of a major return to simply doing some figure painting.  With well over a 100 figure in the range (and being added to) it is my intention to do them all so expect to be bored silly during the course of the year (and probably beyond!).

Reaper will also feature this year in what I plan to do.  I’d like to do another dragon at some point but first up will be a boxed diorama.  I’ve only ever done one and I found it bloody difficult.  Expect some serious f’ing and blinding as I “enjoy” myself on this one!

Hasselfree Miniatures have also grabbed my attention and several figures have already been purchased.  Also sitting in my “to do” pile are quite a lot of WW2 figures, some 28mm and some 54mm.  Most of these are intended for the Plymouth Model Show in June where the theme is D-Day as it is the 75th anniversary of this landmark event.  I’m not sure how many I will get done but there is a time critical element to it so at some point I will have to get my finger out.

In the second half of the year I would really like to start work on my next mega project, mega by my standards that is.  It has long been a desire of mine to do a Western town diorama and if possible I’d like to get it under way this year.  Research is the biggest need right now and I’ve yet to fully decided between several ideas on how best to do it.

As if I didn’t have enough to do IRO suggested I do something around Rorke’s Drift.  To be fare it’s a great idea of an amazing historical event and a great film to provide further inspiration if more were needed.  This is one which needs a lot more thought so if I do go down this route it wont be for a while.  I might just go down the vignette route rather than a full blown diorama.  If that wasn’t enough he had some other ideas too!

Another dabble into the horror genre appeals but I need to get my head around this one as well.  Plenty of options but I’d like to do a film crew again for sure.

A look at my neglected pile left me feeling more than a little guilty but I hope to reduce it a little by riding off the back of some Azazel monthly challenges.  No rush though as the pile is far from inspiring me right now.

Away from actual modelling I’m hoping to attend a few model shows during the course of the year and entering a competition or two as well.  Standards are high but the idea of bench marking my work appeals to me and win or lose I find it motivational too.  In all honesty the best modellers don’t enter.  It’s a bit like asking the Beatles to do the Eurovision Song Contest, but I’m happy trying to become one of the best of the rest even if I have to embarrass myself along the way.

I’m also aiming to continue my weekly Musings, certainly for the foreseeable future at any rate.  I’m currently contemplating a new mini series of perhaps 3 or 4 posts in which I will reveal the cunning plan I implemented allowing me to spend as many hours a day as I want modelling with the full support of She Who Must Be Obeyed!  

Last but not least I think I have found a solution to my growing storage problem.  Alas plans A and B have had to be shelved for now owing to the reluctance of both my kids to move out but plan C has great merit.  Unfortunately SWMBO is also reluctant to move out so plan D, a garage revamp, is looking the most likely right now.

So there you have it, the initial plan.  Time will tell just what and how much gets done but whatever the outcome is hopefully the journey will be fun.

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This week TIM has been listening to …

Another couple of tracks by ELO.  I couldn’t decide between “Rock’n Roll is King” and “Don’t Bring Me Down” so I went with both.  Great video’s accompany each although “Rock’n Roll is King” steals it for me.  Some brilliant movie clips in this one including “The Breakfast Club”, “Pulp Fiction”, The Wolf of Wall Street”, “Back to the Future”, “Love Actually” and “Footloose” (the remake).  I must sit down and watch all of them once again!

This week TIM has been watching …

Mission Impossible:  Fallout.

I do love a true story!

Image result for mission: impossible – fallout

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Until next time.

TIM