I had honestly hoped to avoid this if possible but that does not seem to be the case.
I want to absolutely clear that I never wanted this to come to this point but I feel I must defend myself now as I have been accused of throwing people under the bus, not paying my bill, sitting on product for no good reason, lying about quantities received, complicating the production process etc.
What follows is the best explanation I can organize as to my perspective on why the delays have occurred.
I guess I should begin by clarifying my mode of operation with production partners. I have built a reputation in the industry for being very particular about the quality of production of my figures. Ask any firm I have worked with and they will tell you that. I am sure also that they will one and all affirm that I defer to their expertise in every matter of molding and casting.
If a figure needs to be cut to make it work then that is what I do or allow them to do. I have told Ed himself many many times, the production is his job and area of expertise not mine. If there is an issue concerning any part that requires it to be cut, or changed in any way then that is what I do. In fact that is exactly what I have done for the Yrsa, Fenris, Conradt Warp, Ulbrecht, Belegast, and the Horses ( the first molds had the tails as a part of the model ). I have done this at my own expense as well paying for figures to be remolded or even remastered where necessary to make the production process flow as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
If necessary I have the bill to prove that I am being charged for it. to my knowldege Ed has not eaten the expense of any molding through out this process except for shrink molds made at the beginning of the process.
There are only 6 family molds in this project as per Ed's invoice to me for production costs. Those molds include the Torsos for the hordesmen ( 2 torsos per mold ) the hordesmen legs ( 2 sets of legs per mold ) and the Aenglish Watchmen ( 2 bodies per mold ). These parts are perfectly reasonable to mold in family moulds in my opinion due to the size of the parts and the total lack of complexity. Other than that I have paid for individual molds on every other part to make this project flow as efficiently as possible.
Family molds do complicate the sorting of figures but in all honesty I can handle the sorting of those parts without disturbing the flow of the production process at all. But again I ask if family molds are OK in every instance and I never assume that my production partner will take unnecessary risks for the sake of saving the cost of a mold. In fact I tell them not to any time the subject of family molding arises.
I might be too picky or too optimistic or even naively hopeful but I am not dishonest or negligent.
In the case of the horses, it is entirely likely that I may have noticed some minor degree of molding issues ( easily removable mold lines or very minor bubbling ) but I assure you that the first batch was not miscast to the extent that the second batch was. I did not simply pass things through hoping for the best. I appreciate the extra effort that Brian has gone to to help me to get this project wrapped up ( Honestly I do Brian, I do not besmirch your work ethic. ) but quality issues are what they are and must be addressed. Molds slip and deteriorate. I am not a chemist or a mold maker so I cannot say why it happens but it does. Any mold maker / caster will tell you that. I am going to assume that the second batch was prone to the mold plug slipping or not fitting exactly back in to place every time and thus we have seen the result.
My expectations of quality are not unreasonable. I have had enough experience in this business to know what is and is not possible / plausible. The Horses and wolves are a bit of an exception to that as I have never made four legged sculpts before of that nature so I did not know what to expect. But as I told Ed from the word go on this project we will do whatever we need to to make this work smoothly. When the horses came up he informed me that it might be tough but that he could do it. My response to him was that I preferred the horses in one piece but if they could not be done so then we would figure it out. He said he would work on it and see what he could come up with. The result was the mold plug technique.
Those same expectations may create delays in screening for miscasts and correcting production issues but I have been doing this long enough with enough different firms that I generally know what to expect from the process of mold making.
I understand that everyone is just sick to death of waiting and wants their rewards shipped. Believe me when I say that if I could make this any faster I would. I would have done so long ago. The fulfillment awaits the production plain and simple. I cannot ship what I do not have. In the beginning of the process I ordered and paid for 500 of every part in the kickstarter except for the horses and the wolves. I have yet to receive that many of any part with the sole exception of Svetlana ( which I have received 680 copies of to date ) Blutulf ( which I have had to reject a total of 670 castings to date ). And those parts that have come in have straggled in in un-even numbers. Using the Undead as an easy example I have received to date;
( please note that these numbers are the total received not the number after QC. The Undead seem to have come through the production process better than almost everything else in terms of QC. )
Undead a 361
undead b 565
undead c 508
undead d 538
undead e 466
undead f 378
undead g 430
undead h 424
undead i 352
This means I have only had the product ( for the undead at least ) to ship 352 packs of zombies thus far. This also applies to every other " pack item " which includes the hordesmen, the Varp, the Riders, the Gynnade Krigare, the Gynnade War Staff, the Aenglish Watchmen etc. Further the Undead are the item I have received in the highest quantity thus far. Currently orders are awaiting the delivery of the Gynnade Krigare right handed weapons and shields which I put in an order for by phone on ( I think ) either the 4th of March or the 28th of February. It is ( was ) on Ed's voice mail so he can confirm the date. Until I receive the ordered right hand weapons and shields I cannot fulfill any orders with the Gynnade Krigare, or War Staff as they all use the right handed bits sprue.
I delivered the last sculpt- the standard for the standard bearer in November. By January 21st the only figures I had not approved were; Guarthagust, Ulbrecht, Yrsa, Fenris, Conradt Warp, the horsemen, and the horses. I received the first horse models on MARCH 4th, I received the 3rd and 4th horse models on March 5th and the 2nd horse on March 15th. I have not had them since December as has been said previously.
Another hitch in the fulfillment is the doubled cost of international postage and the increased rate of US postage ( not quite doubled but more expensive than it was before the January price increase. ) this means that packages are now just too expensive to ship twice so they must be complete and correct.I have no choice in the matter. The length of time that this has taken to resolve has meant that I have had to support my family off of the money for a longer period of time than was originally planned. I still have the money to complete the fulfillment and pay Ed but I need to get this done sooner rather than later to avoid discomfort or debt.
So to address the issue of me sitting on product for no good reason. This is totally false. I hope that my explanation above has answered any questions anyone might have on the matter but please feel free to ask me to clarify anything that may still seem unclear.
This is a matter of honour for me. I have never balked at paying for anything that I have received that was acceptable or had flaws due to my own oversight. I do not feel I should have to pay for items which are flawed due to mistakes in production. The first thing I did when I got the money in the account was to pay Ed for the expected cost of delivering the initial order. That was $13,000.00. I knew that that was not the last I would have to pay as the initial order would only cover about half of the production necessary to final fulfillment and every time Ed has informed me of any change in cost totals I have told him whatever it is I will pay it.
As far as TF not having the information necessary to fulfill beyond this point; the first order has yet to be delivered upon completely so any quantities beyond that are only relevant after the initial order is filled. Any information ever needed for fulfillment was only a phone call away.
As for the bill as it stands right now; I received Ed's invoice for the original order made in August on March 3rd 2013 indicating by their count of items produced that I was $1447.00 over the original amount paid. We are going through the numbers of every item delivered and currently held and every item rejected to make sure that all quantities are accounted for before paying what might be owed. Once this is resolved Ed will be paid any amount currently owed for work delivered. We expect to have that process completed today. I will then also calculate the amount owed for the remainder of the project and pay half of that as well and pay the final amount upon approved delivery of all ordered product. I cannot think of anything more reasonable than that.
Ed and I have been friends for years. I have considered Ed a very good friend and I have always tried to be a good friend to him in turn. Only he can judge whether or not I have been. It has never been my intention to harm Ed's reputation or the reputation of his product or service. Any comments that I have made that may be construed to the contrary are attributable only to what I see as a totally unnecessary and avoidable extent of delay in the delivery of this project. I know that Ed did not intend for this ti develop the way it has and that he wants it to be finished as positively as possible. neither one of us wanted this to descend into a contest of who is right and who is wrong but there is obviously confusion that needs clearing.
I was late with the delivery of a few sculpts ( I delivered the last sculpt- the standard for the standard bearer in November. ) but that does not preclude the other items that were delivered from being fulfilled to the full extent as originally ordered. There have been issues with items needing to be remolded or sculpturally adjusted for easier production but those issues notwithstanding I see no reason why the remaining items could not be delivered upon in full.
I will not speculate as to what the causes for these delays are but RBG has suffered for them as have you the backers. I know that TF have other obligations which must be met and I do not blame them for trying to meet those obligations or their customers for expecting them to, but RBG was the first in line and the first to pay. RBG has not been the first to deliver and the delay has caused direct damage to my reputation, my finances, and my ability to recover from both.
I always deliver on my promises and I will continue to do so come hell to high water. I can longer issue refunds. I am very sorry but the money just does not exist. The only thing I can afford to do now is to deliver the advertised product to you and I will do so. I highly value your support as customers and friends. Your confidence and enthusiasm is what keeps me going through the darkness remember? It breaks my heart to see what was once so promising has now become. I assure you that I have profited nothing from this. It may be hard to believe but it is the truth. By the time all the expenses are deducted and the costs of living in the length of time between pay and delivery are calculated and deducted I have lost money on this project. But please understand my commitment is not beholden to you only in the bloom of spring. Even when the wind is bitter cold and the night grows long and dark and hungry wolves come to bite and rend I will strike stones for fire, take up Spear and Sax and fight with abandon until the wolves are driven away howling and yelping.
Thank you all for your extended patience and understanding with all of us involved.