Wargaming in Australia is an expensive hobby – far more expensive than for hobbyists in the UK, the US or just about anywhere for that matter. For New Zealanders it will be just that extra bit worse. For those of you in the UK, I’ve read some chatter on the forums about increased prices of metals and postage charges in recent times and no one feels that more than those of us down-under.

The two things that puts the pinch on us is the currency exchange rate and postage. The Aussie dollar (AUD) is almost always significantly weaker against the pound sterling (GBP) – by a long mile and usually near half the value. As I type we are only getting 55-58 pence to the dollar. In Australia our cost of living is more or less on par with Brits who live within the greater metropolitan area of London or in the South more generally. Pretty much, a dollar here buys what a pound buys you over there.

The postal rates for shipping figures from the UK to Australia is the worst you can get and what’s worse still is that we take the high postal charge in GBP then nearly double it by paying in AUD – wicked. Allow me to illustrate.

The current price for a box of Perry Miniatures plastic 28mm infantry (French for Franco-Prussian War for example) bought directly from the Perry’s in the UK is GBP 22.00. There are 25 figures in a box and their UK postage charge is just over three pounds – so that’s near GBP25.00 for you in the UK to buy a box of Perry’s, working out to be 1 pound per figure.

If I buy the same box directly from the Perry’s my postage is GBP 10.58, so that’s GBP 32.58 per box. At today’s exchange rate (58 pence to the AUD) that box costs me AUD 60.89 which works out to AUD 2.34 per figure. Remembering our comparable cost of living, that’s like wargamers in the UK paying 2.34 sterling for each plastic 28mm figure. Would you?

Now it just so happens that I’m a big fan of much of the Elite Miniatures ranges which I use for my Napoleonics. In this case we have a comparison which you might find revealing. If I buy a set of four metal figures from Elite Miniatures (UK) it will cost GBP 5.30 and I am charged 35% ‘rest of the world’ postage at GBP 1.80 for a total of GBP 7.10, converting to AUD 13.27 which equates to AUD 3.30 per figure. Now it just so happens that we have our own Elite Miniatures Australia (G’day Vinnie) who produces Elite Miniatures in Australia under license. The same set of four metal miniatures will cost me AUD 1.75 before postage and thanks to Australia Post, it’s a low rate and depending on quantities ordered, the unit price does not reach AUD 2.00 per figure. It’s bizarre how they are cheaper than a plastic figure.

To the best of my knowledge, no other figure manufacturer has such an arrangement in Australia and I think you can see we could use some more.

I don’t know to what extent overseas sales are relied upon by UK manufacturers and Australian wargamers represent a comparatively small market share. I do think that everyone would benefit by a more expansive business model. I don’t know how significant in the mind export markets are to UK figure manufacturers. I have no idea what impact BREXIT has made on the industry.

Australians like myself cannot hope for improvements in the exchange rate as it works too well for the existing trade balances. The Australian economy exports far more than it imports in dollar terms so a weak dollar makes exports more competitive, whereas the UK imports more than it exports so a strong pound increased purchasing power. So, it seems I’m stuck with it.


  1. I agree. It has become far worse in recent years. I recall starting 28mm Prussians about 5 or 6 years back and, at that time, it was significantly cheaper for me to get a Perry brigade deal plus some metals and pay the postage than to buy in Australia. I can't say the same thing now.

  2. Couldn’t agree more Greg. It’s even worse from the States. Postage costs are just incredibly out of whack at present.

  3. Hi Greg, I am not 'Anonymous' but I am having heaps of issues with Blogger. Anyway, this is Chris from 'https://brisbanenapoleonics.blogspot.com/' and I have to fully support your comments on the cost of gaming here viz a viz the UK. We also don't get shows where manufacturers offer deals on their figures etc. It isn't just figures though, books and terrain is also affected by the cost tyranny of distance. I remember model stores in England having racks of Osprey books for example.

    That said, I wouldn't live anywhere else (I grew up in England) and the positives FAR outweigh the negatives, taking life as a whole.

  4. Very interesting. Brexit does appear to have harmed out trade with the rest of Europe. I wonder whether there is a sub-conscious adjustment going on, in that in Auz / NZ gamers might be more discenring and careful in their purchases, resulting in a much more controlled and sensible ‘lead mountain’ and a better concentration on a fewer range of projects and dare I say a higher regard / respect for their collections? I can see the advantage of the 3D printer becoming increasingly significant for you. - norm (UK).

    1. No. It's mainly the postage. Postage to Australia from the IK has increased significantly and many suppliers are using incremental postage fees (ie: a percentage of the purchase as the postage charge). In some cases the postage is greater than the desired items. I always look for local stores when I purchase but over here you can't always find a stockist. I've been thinking that a 3d printer might be the best and cheapest option going forward.

  5. Hi Greg, the cost to NZ us about the same as Oz, but the exchange rate of our Pacific Peso is around 10-15% worse. A few years ago I changed my buying habits to save some cost. First, I try to deal only with those companies that deduct the VAT on exported goods (Perry and Nirthstar ar two that come immediately to mind). In the case of a box of Perry plastics direct from them that takes the price from £22 to £18.33. Second I try to buy from those that offer discounted or free shipping on volume.

    I was spending, for example, around £100 a month with the Perrys, so I switched to buying £200 every two months and get free shipping. Between the VAT and free postage this gives a saving of as much as £80 per order. I have also been known to ask any friends if they want to add to the order if I can't build up the order to £200. If I need figures from a different source I will buy from Caliver if possible and work to get his free shipping offer. Of course if I want something outside the offerings of those two, I am stuck with the postage cost.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts