I am have been a Games Workshop fanatic for 18 years, and after buying and selling minatures on eBay, I have felt compelled to offer my services to similar hobbyists on eBay. It does appear that we have a problem in the community that unscroupulous people are taking advantage of gamers with lawyeristic and "unfair" sales that I believe will damage the hobby. Therefore I have written this brief guide to buying and selling Games Workshop products on eBay that I hope could be of use to you. I am willing to answer queries on items / lots within the parameters set below. Included in this guide are some commonly used abbreviations, and I have listed them at the bottom.VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: This is not officially sanctioned and we / I do not own the intellectual property to any Games Workshop products, names, description etc etc and although I can advise, they are the don-mega's. They are their games and we can sell our stuff but we do not own the intellectual rights to them. Complicated and dull, any queries get yourself this months White Dwarf and read the legal disclamer in the front. If I can get a copy of it I will and pop it in here somewhere. Basically don't go claiming that you invented it, you made it up, you are a Shaggoth. Got it? Lets begin with buying....
1.) POSTAGE: Please don't ask me if postage is fair or unfair. That is up to you, and I know that a lot of people get angry by inflated postage. There is nothing you can do about it but I would advise a little flexibility, and common sense. One small plastic minature being posted 30 miles with £3.00 postage seems unfair, whereas £1.00 seems about right when including materials, time spent etc, etc. Just ALWAYS CHECK THE POSTAGE AND ASK THE BUYER IF UNSURE, BEFORE BIDDING.
2.) PHOTOS: This is complicated. Personally I wouldn't buy any minatures without seeing a photo, but I am aware that this is a quick route to a bargain. If there is no picture then ask the seller for the dimensions of the minatures and the answer should give you a clue to the system. As a quick guide:
VERY SMALL - These very small minatures (under 1 inch) are for Epic / Adeptus Titanicus / Space Marine / Battle Fleet Gothic (Sci-Fi) and Man-O-War / Warmaster / Mighty Empires (Fantasy) and The Battle of Five Armies (Lord of the Rings). If you see 4 Land Raiders going for £10.00 then you probably haven't got a bargain coming, just some epic tanks. I have noticed that with a bit of cunning descriptions then you can get hoodwinked into thinkig you are getting a bargain. Like they always say if it looks too good it probably is...
MEDIUM - These "normal" sized minatures (approx 1 inch high for individual troops) are for the core games of Warhammer 40,000, Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Lord of the Ring, and the specialist games of Necromunda (Sci-Fi), Mordheim (Fantasy) and Blood Bowl (American Football thingy).The Vehicles and other extra equipment for these systems should be at the same scale. There are also numerous deleted games which fall into this category (Heroquest, Space Crusade), ask if unsure.
LARGE - Large minatures (approx. 5 inches high for individual troops) are for the specialist game Inquisitor (Sci-Fi) and some other forge world sculptures. Big 'n beautiful, these minatures are usually specialist so the sellers won't be trying anything funny. But check all the same.
2.) NOT GAMES WORKSHOP PRODUCTS - There are other gaming systems out there although non as popular as Games Workshop. There however is a trick where minatures from other systems will be listed under a GW header with a GW description. These minatures will not be allowed at tournaments and make gaming hard as the weapons / equipment will not be recognizable to opponents. Beware, these minatures will usually be of a slightly different scale and often (although not always) of lower quality. The tab on the bottom of the minature will state if it is "official" and I would ask the seller if unsure. Any queries can be directed to me and I'll do my best to identify them for you. NB for private games and conversions these minatures are ok, but just bear in mind that if you take them into your shop or stroll up to the grand tournament with them, then you will get laughed at.
3.) FALSE CASTINGS - There was a message put out in White Dwarf magazine (can't remember which one but'll find out and get back to you) warning all buyer and sellers of false Games Workshop castings and I have seen a few myself. BEWARE. These will not be of the same high quality as Games Workshop, and will often be shoddy. If you have ever tried to cast minatures then you will be aware that it is not easy, and the bargain you are buying will often be very poor. Once again, ask the seller to see the tab or ask me, and I'll do my best.
4.) PAINTED MINATURES - We've all been there, 3.00 am trying to get a army finished wishing that the painting fairy could visit and just do the job for you. Buying painted minatures is quick and easy and often very rewarding. Two things. Firstly you are paying for the sellers time, materials and skill so the price is not fixed. The minature may well cost £3.00 in the shop but painted they can cost anything. Its your opinion on how good the paint job is, so getting angry with your badly painted minature which was listed as "pro-painted" is just too bad. Advice? Well a pro-painter is invariably going to have a good photo and be able to tell you what they did and how they did it so ask the questions. Is it varnished? What colours did you use etc. A little bit of research will help again. Secondly, pro-painting as described rarely is. The pro-painters at Games Workshop are just that, professional, so beware that if it ain't as good as those on the box covers and White Dwarf then it isn't pro-painted. Its just painted. But I have seen some ex-Games Workshop painters selling their stuff and there are some brilliant painters out there who could be professionals. Just take care.
5.) BITS BOXES - The holy grail, a good bits box. Many new gamers will wonder why these boxes of cast offs seem to go so high, but the answer is because a good bits box is priceless. When looking at bits boxes look for complete minatures (leads and plastics) and weapons. Avoid bits boxes that seem to be too jumbled up or random and ask the seller what it contains. Sometimes they won't know and this doesn't mean that it is dodgy, but a good bits box will have a wide variety of models and off cuts. NB: Bits boxes are really only useful for converters and modellers. My advice to new gamers is make your own first of all from all the bits you don't use and then you'll start to learn what is useful and what is not.
6.) CODEX'S, BOOK'S and WHITE DWARF'S - A big one this. Games Workshop games are released in editions, with each edition being a refinement and improvement on the previous, and OLD EDITIONS WILL NOT CONTAIN UP-TO-DATE RULES. I.e. when you see for example "Codex Assassins" for sale, it is an old edition, and the rules are not up-to-date. They old codexs and rulesbooks are great for painting guides, background material and minature lists and I have kept all my old ones for reference, but don't be hoodwinked into thinking that you are buying a "rare" codex. There is no such thing. If you can't buy it from Games Workshop stores then it is not up-to-date. Same with White Dwarf's, they are a wonderful source of background, advice and minatures but the rules will be out of date so when you see "White Dwarf with rules for the Shock Attack Gun" then they will have the rules, but not that you can use. Ask if unsure. My advice is still to buy such publications they are the history of the hobby and are still works of art, but not as rules. The key is reference not rules.
7.) FORGE WORLD - Please see a wonderful guide by ed7965 with guides to Forge World Models, He is da man.
I may seem anti-seller thus far but I assure you I am not. I sell some of my minatures on eBay and have bought some wonderful bargains and rarities. But as a seller you have a certain ammount of responsibility to the community and although you are trying to make some dollars don't do it at the expense of other gamers or the reputation of the products. Some brief advice.
1.) SPELLING - Get your spelling right!! How many times have I seen a rare or expensive minature go for next to nothing because you have spelt it wrong or listed something incorrectly. Once again a bit of research is well worth it, look on the Games Workshop website, or search the listings for similar models. You can ask me, although I cannot assure you I will know the answer. NB. I won't advise on pricing. Thats part of the fun isn't it?
2.) RARE / OOP - Only put this if it is... How infuriating to see a minature that is as common as me, only to see it listed as RARE. This will put off experienced gamers immediately and conning new gamers is not on. Don't cheat the community. True rare minatures are ones which are only availiable from Games Day, were limited edition, released with box sets etc, not because you only have one of them.OOP can often be OOP but put the date when you bought it, or when it was cast. Explain a bit, add a bit of "fluff" just don't go getting a current production minature and add OOP onto it. Grrr.
3.) NON GAMES WORKSHOP - As mentioned above, don't lie about the origins of your minatures. My advice is be honest about the minature but offer possible uses. E.g "Paranoia Sci-Fi minature. Converters dream, could be used as a...." Give the buyer honesty with alternative uses, conversion possibilities etc.
4.) SMALL LOTS OF SAME SYSTEMS - Like you drinks, try not to mix your systems. Warhammer players will really only want warhammer minatures, 40k players will only want 40k minatures etc. Mixing systems will put off buyers as they will be paying for something they don't want. Its better to list one minature with a small postage, than three disparate minatures with a big postage. They just won't sell.
5.) ADMIT YOU DON'T KNOW... - Nothing worse than someone making up a description hoping to con someone.E.G "War Yak with added Frosties Goodness essential for all 40k players" honesty, as always, is the best policy.
6.) WRAP THEM UP WELL - I know its obvious but package your minatures well and post them when you say you will. Put a return address on your package so that if lost there is a chance you can get it back and always ask for a proof of postage from the post office. They are free, and then if you have any doubt then you can prove your honesty and avoid bad feedback.
Thats about it for the moment. Obviously all my advice is based on UK circumstances, and if any overseas players have any information on their postage systems, problems etc then get in touch. If anymore come to me I'll add them and if anyone spots something or has any queries / advice email me via eBay. One final point. The BEST place to get you minatures and stuff from are the independent stockists (eBay shops) and Games Workshop direct. Why? Well various reasons. Firstly invariably the sellers will be old hands like myself and can offer advice on your purchases as well as items for sale. Not all, but most (and certainly all Games Workshop staff) will be veteran gamers, and will be over the moon to chat about the hobby. Secondly they are accountable. You get what you pay for and can complain as is necessary. Thirdly, no man (or women) is an island and in this hobby that is certainly true, and the community is very important to the game, as much as the minatures and the rules.
Finally have fun. eBay is great for that rare minature, beautiful paint job, bargain purchase or complete army, and bidding and winning is almost as fun as gaming and winning.
Abbrevations and Glossary:
40K - Warhammer 40,000
FB - Fantasy Battle
Necro - Necromunda
Mord - Mordheim
OOP - Out of Print
Rare - Deleted, limited editions minatures
Conversion - A non production minature made up of 2 or more minatures.
Games Day - Once year Games Workshop festival of war.
White Dwarf - Monthly Games Workshop Magazine