Wednesday, 16 April 2014


I was rather interested to see a discussion on TMP regarding samples. Essentially it was around whether manufacturers still gave out free samples of their figures to prospective clients - some said yes, some said no but most seemed to agree that, despite the risk, it was a good idea. In the grand scheme of thngs it doesn't cost much and was an effective loss leader.

But it made me think about how to approach this subject when I get requests for commissions. After all, an unpainted casting is one thing, a fully painted figure is quite another. I should stress that I am not in the high end £20 plus category but I think that what I do is pretty good and so to turn out a sample is quite a commitment in terms of time. Nevertheless if I was buying painted figures I would certainly want to see the work in the flesh.

I well recall the pre-internet days when painting services hawked their wares in the back pages of Wargames Illustrated and offered samples at £2 a go (or thereabouts). I once wrote to a certain service asking for a sample whilst offering a substantial (and genuine) order and was somewhat peeved to receive a reply stating that I hadn't included a token sum of money. Fair enough but it seemed somewhat short sighted. I know, I was the one who had not followed instructions and how was the guy to know. But still.....

These days the internet allows one's work to be sumptuously displayed at next to no cost. Should one therefore expect potential buyers to take this as evidence enough? Personally I dont think so. Models are one thing, skill with cameras and photoshop are quite another. If I can, I'll send out a sample at my own risk - I suppose I have the luxury of not being inundated with requests but it seems like the enterprising thing to do.

But if I do it would be nice to receive feedback. The worst thing is the resounding silence once a sample has been dispatched. If I'm going to take the time to do it it does not seem unreasonable to expect a response saying 'I've decided I'm not going to use you because....' But that's part of the game I suppose. Surprisingly I've offered samples and not been taken up on them but that's another story.

I should mention that apart from a couple of eBay stingings I have never been ripped off by someone over commission work. Envelopes have been pushed but there is no problem with that. C'est la vie.


  1. I would happily pay for a sample at whatever the going rate is for the service I was interested in. I don't work for free and don't expect anyone to work for free just because they are painting a miniature. I have a love hate relationship with Ebay, some sales are great others are dismal but I have only ever had one bad transaction in all the time I have used it.

    1. Without dwelling on the eBay/paypal thing I've found that to be a good way of getting samples out there (albeit paid for samples) I've had quite a few repeat orders as a result of eBay sales.