Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hostile Takeover

The saga of Wargames Factory continues this week with an open letter posted on TGN by the new owner Wai Kee Hui in response to the open letter from Wargames Factory founder Tony Reidy. While the truth may lie somewhere in between there are various claims made by Mr Hui that don't pass the smell test or at the very least need further examination and or clarification for this to be fully understood. Tony Reidy has taken a good amount of flack for his “less than professional” reaction to the events that transpired (other’s words, not mine) But those people obviously aren’t grasping the personal emotion of what’s going here.

Most of the comments I’ve read about this are two fold. Either people flippantly dismissing this as internet drama, as they could care less about the inner workings of gaming /hobby Companies or Wargames Factory product. Or it is people overly concerned with Tony’s mannerism (aka Angry) posts about whats transpired. Very few people seem genuinely interested is what’s at root here. This important my fellow bloggers because there isn’t one of you out there that wouldn’t like to make money from his blog or see some kind business opportunity transpire from one’s interest in this hobby. Discrepancies in the story aside, what’s gone here is a textbook “Hostile Takeover.” There is no stock involved. but mechanisms are the same none the less.

I’ve run my own small business going on a dozen years now and my own operations are undoubtedly similar to Wargames Factory in the nuts and bolts. (while I don’t sell physical product I sell technical services ) the inner workings are basically the same. Personally I know two business’s that were taken over this exact same way in the last decade here in Chicago. Not by Chinese manufactures but by overly aggressive vendors. Text of Mr Hui’s Letter can be found here. I like to point out the most important parts that in the end, and in his own words, point out exactly what’s transpired here.

I became majority shareholder of Wargames Factory along with all its’ intellectual properties on October 13th, 2010. This acquisition occurred because over the course of the previous 2 years Tony Reidy had run up a bill of more than $250,000 with my manufacturing company in China and had failed to make a single payment on his bill during this time. Despite rumors to the contrary, I am not an immensely wealthy man and this is a huge sum of money to me. When it became evident that Tony was unable and unwilling to pay his debt to me, I had to consider my options. Option 1 was that I cease making product for Tony and call in the debt I was owed, which would effectively put Wargames Factory out of business. Option 2 was that I assume 51% ownership of Wargames Factory in return for the $250,000 I was owed . The intention behind option 2 was that I would gain controlling interest and help manage the company into some sort of financial health, where I might be able to recoup the monies owed me as well as make money for the rest of the shareholders. When both options were presented to Tony Reidy he chose option 2 and signed the paperwork transferring majority ownership to me on October 13th, 2010.”

Whats important here is that most small businesses and especially if they are doing any kind of product manufacturing, spend their formative years in red. (i.e losing money) They exist purely on credit, either that of vendors in the industry operating in good faith and contractual agreements or by will of their Bank. Fortunes have been made and companies sold for billions that never made a profit of one dime, soley based on the company “just being a good idea.” (see the late 1990’s tech bubble for further evidence of that, I remember it quite well)
I don’t know the size of Mr Hui’s manufacturing company but he also states he is “Not a wealthy man” but regardless, No one and I mean, No one lets a client rack up a tab of $250,000 unpaid without an ulterior motive or some kind of plan to seek compensation. Tony spent years building up this company from scratch.I and I am sure some of you watched the whole thing develop from here in cyberspace. To imply Tony just one day told Mr Hui. “Hey Hui thanks for the toy soldiers, I am going to stiff you on 250K” is utter nonsense. And for Mr Hui to claim that, really implies he thinks that we are all idiots.

The root of what's happened here is of course Money! It all boils down to the timing and release of the “Shock Troops” product that generated a ton of response and was going to be the product that pushed Wargames Factory out of the red and into black. Hui’s company was in control of success of this product and Wargames Factory had the preorders in place all they needed was the physical product. It didn’t take Mr Hui long to realize he had Tony by the proverbial “balls”. Especially with employees of Tony’s looking for their own "piece of the action" staging a proverbial “coup d’etat” here at home (either in collusion or not is unverified at this point) All Mr. Hui needed to do was create the product shipping delays to get what he wanted and that he did. This had to have put Tony under impossible pressure to sign any new deal or be forced to agree to any unfriendly terms of any previous deal he already signed . All In order to get the product to market and keep the company from collapsing all around him.. This story in the business world is as old as the world’s oldest profession. (Merchant of Venice rings a bell here too)

Hui continues-

"What occurred next is that Tony Reidy felt he should still be able to continue to manage Wargames Factory as he saw fit, with my only input being to proceed to produce product as before. This was not a scenario I was comfortable with, for obvious reasons. As a point of fact, before I signed the paperwork transferring the 51%, we had a forensic accountant look at the company’s financial health and it was discovered that the company had been running in the red for its’ entire existence under the management of Tony. While Tony is passionate about wargaming and the wargaming community, it was clear that he was completely unsuited to running this business. It was evident that for Wargames Factory to have any chance of financial success it would need to have a new business model."

Clearly, Tony is a great company “front man”, he built the company up from nothing, engaged and got the fans support, kept them motivated interested and made them involved with the brilliant "liberty and Union league. I bought stuff from him because of him even when the product was inferior To others on the market, because you knew with what was going on, it was only going to get better- and it did. I think its completely plausible he’s not particularly suited to run the nuts and bolts, However you get what you pay for Mr Hui. You let his company build up a large debt to you, and just when he’s about to “get over the hump” and starting making a profit, and paying all his creditors off. you put him a position to “Give you a piece” or “Go out of Business”

(This kind of thing goes in Real Estate and Construction too., I am/have been involved in both it goes on all the time.)

Next up is paragraph about Wargames Factory undisclosed debts.

"The agreement that Tony and I signed has a clause that states that he had fully apprised me of all debts the company owed before I became majority stockholder, and that any debts not disclosed were the responsibility of Tony, not Wargames Factory. I will not go into the long list of debts to both vendors and individuals undisclosed by Tony that have come to light over the past five months, but I am going to tell you about one specific debt"

What’s important here Is when you do any kind of legitimate business purchases You have your attorney conduct what is known as “Due Diligence” meaning you find out What all the company debts are- legally, there are no surprises, just like those undisclosed debts “you didn’t know about." When you conduct a “Hostile Takeover” there usually isn’t any “Due Diligence”Because there isn’t any time for it, and/or, not doing so suits your own purposes. Like using the assumed and blatantly obvious- unknown debts, as an excuse to Fire the guy you just took the company from.

"When we told Triangle that we would regrettably be moving our shipping operations elsewhere, they informed us that before we could remove the Wargames Factory merchandise from their facility I would need to pay them the $5,000 that was owed to them for back salaries for their disabled shipping employees. This came as a big surprise to me, especially when I asked for a copy of their bill and discovered that Tony Reidy had not made a payment to the employees of Triangle for almost 2 years. In light of Tony and Howard’s recent posts claiming I cheated Triangle out of their money, I find myself most dishonored by this blatant lie."

Ok this whopper above is what really puts this all into perspective. Maybe its Hui’s translation or unfamiliarity with US business practices. Not sure how Wargames factory Could possibly owe Triangle, its packaging and shipping company for "disablement" pay. If someone at Triangle got hurt on the job coincidentally working with Wargames Factory product, Triangle is require by law to provide Worker’s comp against injuries. Wargames Factory isn’t liable. Now I’m sure Wargames Factory had a balance with Triangle it packaging and shipping company..$5000 doesn’t sound like much as running balance over two years, If WF hadn’t made a payment in two years…Triangle would obviously put a hold on there product. How WF (Tony) directly owed them their back salaries, makes no sense. (edit: apparently Triangle employees are actually disabled persons and amount owed is purely services rendered., doesnt change the facts of no due diligence)

Lets back track a moment here- Remember- Mr Hui lets WF rack up $250K in manufacturing debt, takes over the company and uses the fact he’s owes his packager $5000.00 in undisclosed debt as a result of a Hostile Takeover as his big anecdote on Tonys shoddy business practices?. and that’s somehow a smoking gun? Tony and Howard Whitehouses story surely scream true here.

I don’t need to really go on much further into what’s transpired here, if you have any insight at all to workings of a business, this is plain as the nose on your face. I guess what side of the argument you fall on stems from whether you have an ethical business sense and take actual human beings into consideration or are of the stone cold attitude “business is business” China’s business S.O.P is well documented in the latter. For further reading Go ahead and Google “Chinese Takeover” and read some the articles from"the Economist"

The main point of this commentary are the lessons learned here, even the smallest Hobby company successes can be its own worst enemy, predators will always try to take what someone ( or you) have built up with your own work if you are not careful and protect yourself. I don’t think Mr Hui, was prepared for the customer backlash against his new company And with the company in disarray and with product sales grinding to a halt with the bad press. He’s responded with this open letter which unwittingly speaks to it potential customers, like they are idiots. In an effort to get back the PR back on track. I’m curious to see if it has any impact or if this company continues to just put itself out of business due to whats transpired. The hobby world is really just too small. Once again I’ll say it. In this world we have a choice whom we do business with. This hobby is such small microcosm of life. Whether you buy your Toy soldiers from Wargames Factory or not- is up to you. Its also true that many people just don't care what transpires to get you the product you want in your hands whether its your new Nikes or box of Shock Troops..all you care about is- you want it.

Hopefully Tony rebounds with hard lessons learned here, he’s already started a new company with designs on establishing his own IP that grew legs on the success of the shock troops. You can check it out here.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Project: Recycler- Completed.

Here's my Jungle Board and terrain, the result of my recycling project, that completely re-used old terrain I wasnt using anymore and turning it into something new. There is zero cost here other than, my time and the paint used. This whole setup is coming to Adepticon as a Legend of the High Seas Scenario on Friday and its looks like it might get used for Malifaux later on in the weekend. Pictures here are from Legends of the High Seas, playtesting.

Island Natives are really an official playable faction in LotHS there stats are in the book however and running them as an opposition crew is always fun.

Jade idol looking down at the beach. The beach is recycled place of my original Osgiliath table I started and abandoned years ago, the beach and table top was used for tons of games while the terrain never got completed. However it was damaged when my Basement flooded last summer...I salvaged a 2 foot piece of it and you see it recycled and repainted here.

The boat and palm trees are conversion pieces from the Pressman Games Weapons and Warriors Pirate game from the early 90's, its a Pirate players "go to" bits box, I've talked about it before...if you interested look on turns up regularly - Cheap. While they arent recycled and where made years ago..and the Palm trees are not as realistic and the other foliage I am using, I think it all kind of comes together...Hey the price is right.

Chris and I demoing the actual High Seas scenario.

Can't believe this event is actually happening Friday Night..seems like I have been talking about it for so long, and its finally here. 72 hours from now I will be setting this up.

I'm already thinking about my next "Recycler" Project...take a look around your own Terrainand see if you've got some old unused pieces that could use a New use and a fresh coat of paint!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My Empire's yearly pilgrimage

Oh, the weary legs of the Empire. My Empire makes it 4th return to tables at Adepticon for the WFB championships in just 6 days. My 5th Adepticon and 4th with this army. I've had a woeful lack of updates since 8th edition broke. Started in 2007 just after the release of the current book This army has fought a huge amount of battles. Unfortunately 90% of them were in 7th edition.
While the initial 8th edition look seemed like the Empire got a huge boost, over time other armies adjusting strategies and the change in the overall dynamic of the game, knocked that back a bit. I'm bringing the lowest model army ever this year. because of the demand for more warmachines and the most expensive troops and it being a necessity to drop 300 points on a lone Wizard to stay competitive. Speaking of wizards I do have couple new Wizard models I have done post 8th edition however..(Shadow and Death) however playtesting forces me back to Empires 8th ed. crutch of the Lore of Life. And those new models are staying in the case. After wrestling with the other lores its what works for me and my models..If I had 30 Greatswords, (actually I do- I scored enough old metals ones from a friend to do it, I just never got a build going with them I liked to dictate getting them all built up and painted) or Halberdiers (I have not a one)...I might be able to roll with another Lore but it turns out..I just need the buffs to be able to handle hordes of S4 troops. Point being here is all this army has been hear before other, no new models other that some new flagellants and the Bear (marching with the swordsman) but even that was last summer.

This is all the models for Championship tournament and my half of the Team tournament combined, I wish I could fit all this into 2200 points..but not even close.

I'm starting to seriously miss the MSU capabilities of 7th edition. My Championship list is 4 big block of troops, 4 characters and war machines..not my idea of a well rounded Empire army, but these are the day we find ourselves in.

I know I posted similar photos to these last year..but its become routine every Adepticon and old habits die hard.

Looking forward to seeing some great people and having great time with 4 games on Saturday and 3 on Sunday..Hopefully these guys can give there opponents a run for there money this year but If I am going to keep playing competitive Warhammer, I need to get a new army on the table. wish me luck folks!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Project: Recycler

If you've been in the hobby for a great deal of time, eventually you start accumulating "stuff" whether it be armies or terrain or materials you don't use.So its great idea, like all things in life to recycle. The advent of our new Legend of the High Seas campaign had me thinking what I had around that hadn't been touched in years that could be recycled. I immediately spotted the above photo, Not to mention this:

In advent of one of the new scenarios I have brewing for my pirate friends, I turned the above two photos into this:

Welcome to the Jungle

The original piece was built for my initial Osgiliath table, that project has long since been dead buried...It and bunch of Pegasus Hobbies Gothic Ruins were built with cross purpose in mind in 07-08 to double as Terrain for Lord of the Rings and an occasionally 40K game...since I am no longer invested in 40k at all, and LotR has taken a different terrain turn with GW's Osgiliath kits plus my own Hirst work..all this stuff was essentially "just taking up space" for me and although the piece in question was the one that got used most as a terrain centerpiece and a display piece for my Orcs in a LotR event in 2009, It still wasn't out weighing the potential use I'd get out a set of good jungle skirmish terrain that could be used for various games AND display pieces for my new WFB Lizardmen. With that in mind I went to work and the bulk of it was done Sunday evening. finishing up some last details tonight before photographs. Best part all this cost me ZERO, its all made from existing stuff I had laying around...the bag of Spanish moss is relatively new, but that's it.

I went through a couple version of this there is roof for the temple with some support pillars with skulls in them...For High Seas...since its supposed to represent a Maya ruin in the Mexico in's looks best somewhat plain as it is here. I also have a bunch of those Lizardmen Glyph plates I thought about sticking on it..however something about the pyramids simplicity struck me, with the stairs just going into the I left it..The rest of the stuff is just filler..there are some Scibor ruin bases I accidentally ordered and never sent back because of the shipping costs, I used them as shooting platforms for the terrain.. The Natives were done by my pal Tim who runs Saguaro painting service. I got them from him in a trade...and wouldn't think about touching them as the look perfect. anyway here's a plug for Tim and his painting service should you need one.

The rest of Pegasus Stuff and the those old school GW, ruin corners are going on ebay hopefully to someone who wants some Cities of Death Style terrain..I spent considerable time on that tower hopefully I can get a few bucks for it on ebay...which I will of course recycle into new terrain projects...I think you get the idea.

The challenge for you is this- take something you don't use taking up space and turn into something you do/will use....I'd love to see what you come up with.

A New Campaign Rises

The unedited map for our next campaign for Legends of the High Seas.

There's been a flurry of activity going on in my hobby den of a basement this month. a slow morning here at the office has finally given me a few moments to talk about it.
Adepticon is right around there corner, and even running a small 8 person event, like I am has it logistical challenges. besides making sure people have submitted lists, everything is legal. I need to get all the documents in order and make sure pairings and game aids are in order, playtest the scenarios and paint a handful of models that are used as objectives or loaner models. Outside
of figuring out all that..comes the hard do I get all my stuff there, and get it setup in time etc. Adepticon is beyond huge now, these kinds of logistics become an important focus, some planned scenarios are changing..and using Adepticon props, sight unseen can you wary when your obsessing about every detail. Then of course I still ended up with a handful of models to paint for the two WFB events I am playing in.

Thanks to the Tuesday night gang, I have made great progress in getting scenarios tested and tweaked, including some new ones that I think are great addition to games overall. The result of this is that not only am I sure this will be a great Legend of the High Seas event for those attending but I am also excited to announce that all this Legend of the High Seas activity has sparked player interest among the group and that interest has grown into what has become our next campaign.

I haven't run a Campaign since my 6th Mighty Empires came to an end exactly one year ago this week. Mighty Empires has run its course for me after 6 Campaigns going way back to 2007. With WFB 8th Edition leaving our once robust group of over 10 players..with a semi enthused 3 or begrudgingly 4. Its not really an option anyway. So I can't think a better avenue to take for a new Campaign then the one in the Legend of the High Seas book. Unlike my May 09, day long High Seas event..This one goes thru all the campaign steps in the book over 12 games in a 4 month period. Campaign updates and pics will of course be posted here, logs and player detail over at my High Seas Campaign Blog.

The new scenarios, and my recent terrain frenzy have sparked a whole bunch of stuff that you'll be seeing here soon, Figures, Ships, another 2 x 2 battle board and some new Jungle terrain (which should be up next in a day or so) . Finding time to post up here is almost as hard fitting all this in a my free hobby time, I know its been slow month here but I'll be picking the pace here shortly and there always the yearly 10,000 words about Adepticon posts. Stayed tuned.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Warhammer Forge Release 4

Or OMG!, my poor Wallet! , I was told these handgunners conversions kits were not coming...Well, I guess I really don't "need" to go anywhere for summer vacation. let's not break it to the wife and kids just yet.

Warhammer Forge Newsletter #4


Hi there,
We have more new releases for Empire players in this week’s Warhammer Forge Newsletter in the form of a detailed infantry conversion kit, the Nuln Ironsides, and a towering war machine, the ‘Marienburg’ class Land Ship. We have also updated our Events calendar with a reminder that reservation orders are now being taken for the Forge World Open Day, and finally we’ve got an exclusive preview of our second Event Only miniature for 2011.

Ead Brown
Forge World Customer Service Manager

‘Marienburg’ class Land Ship – The Wonder of the Age
Marienburg Class Land ShipThis towering behemoth is named after, commissioned by, and paid for by the vast coffers of the wealthy burghers of the independent city-state of Marienburg, notorious for having bought its secession from the Empire. The mighty Land Ship is an insane sight upon the field of battle. It is a mobile fortress of oak and iron that crushes enemy troops beneath its wheels and discharges volleys of deadly shot from its deck guns and light cannon. Mighty, that is, if the somewhat experimental boiler doesn’t catch fire, explode, or cause the wheels to fall off!

The Marienburg class Land Ship has been dubbed the ‘Wonder of the Age’ by the Imperial Gunnery School. Its sheer size and bulk makes up for the fact that it is neither as durable or as technologically advanced as the famed Steam Tanks of the Empire, and, despite not being quite as large or devastating a weapon as the worthies of Marienburg actually paid for, its array of deck guns and fearsome prow-mounted culverin add a potent edge of mobile firepower to the Marienburg arsenal.

This massive, superbly detailed, multi-part resin kit, designed by Tim Adcock and Mark Bedford, is supplied with six resin crew figures sculpted by Steve Whitehead: three Deck Gunners, a Captain, an Engineer-Steersman and a Lookout. Experimental rules for this massive, armoured miracle of engineering have been provided from the desk of writer Alan Bligh to allow you to use the Land Ship in any Empire army.

This immense war machine makes an imposing centrepiece and the simply jaw-dropping level of detail that Steve, Mark and Tim have achieved on this mechanical masterpiece and its flamboyant crew are a painter’s dream.

The ‘Marienburg’ class Land Ship is available to pre-order now for despatch in the week commencing 28th of March.

Nuln Ironsides Handgunner Conversion Kit
Nuln Ironsides HandgunnerThe ‘Ironsides’ are drawn from the guards and apprentices of the renowned Imperial Gunnery School. Clad in heavy armour and armed with master-wrought firearms, the Nuln Ironsides are one of the most widely respected and well equipped Handgunner regiments in the Empire.

The Nuln Ironsides Handgunner Conversion Kit, sculpted by Keith Robertson, contains ten resin Handgunner figures wearing heavy armour and is designed to be used with the plastic Empire Handgunner weapons. This is ideal for Detachments, as it allows modellers to build twenty missile troops (ten Crossbowmen and ten fully armoured Nuln Ironsides) using a single plastic kit and this finely detailed resin conversion kit.

The Nuln Ironsides conversion kit is available to pre-order now for despatch in the week commencing 28th of March. Again, Alan Bligh has provided this set of experimental rules for fielding this renowned unit in any Empire army.

Warhammer Forge at Forge World Events

Forge World Open Day – April 3rd 2011
Sunday 3rd of April sees the Warhammer Forge team occupying Warhammer World here in Nottingham as part of the annual Forge World Open Day. The event runs from 10am until 4pm and it is free to attend.

The Warhammer Forge Studio team will have their own area in the Gaming Hall this year, showcasing their current work and recent releases – details of which we can now begin to reveal:

Edgar Skomorowski and Steve Whitehead have been hard at work on Chaos Dwarf miniatures in recent weeks, and their desks are strewn with concept sketches, armour and weapons reference, and brutal-looking work-in-progress models. Oddly, there's also a series of anatomical diagrams that detail bovine musculature on Steve's desk...

Keith Robertson is currently tinkering with giants; that is giants equipped with armour, huge grappling claws and some suspiciously mutated details! Meanwhile Mark Bedford’s current project is a very large monster, and rather more dedicated to the Horned Rat...

The team will be available throughout the event to answer your questions, hint about future plans for the Warhammer Forge range and shed some light on their design process.

The Sales stand will be packed with the full range of Forge World and Warhammer Forge resin kits, as well as modelling supplies and Imperial Armour books. We are now taking reservation orders for collection at the Open Day, and this is the best way of ensuring that we have exactly the models you’re after.

To place a reservation, please contact the Forge World Customer Service team by telephone on 0115 916 8177. We are taking payment in advance for reservations at this year’s event, so we’ll need your name and contact details, the list of kits you’d like to reserve, and you’ll need your payment details to hand as well. We’ll then provide you with an order number, and shortly before the Open Day you’ll receive an e-mail confirming your reservation. You must bring this with you when you collect your order.

Chaos Dwarf Hellsmith Show figureYou may have spied a photo just to the left of this text. This is our second Show Only figure for 2011, and will be on sale for the very first time this year at the Forge World Open Day. As for what it is? Well, more details will follow in a future newsletter, but the name of ‘Azgorh’ has been whispered in hushed tones by writer Alan Bligh, who is currently putting the finishing touches to Tamurkhan: The Throne of Chaos.

The Warhammer World facilities will be available throughout the Open Day, which runs from 10am until 4pm on Sunday the 3rd of April. The venue facilities range from the full range of Citadel products in the store itself to refreshments in Bugmans Bar, and if you are travelling here on Saturday, the Gaming Hall is open until 10pm and Bugman’s Bar serves food until 8pm; perfect for pre-Open Day gaming before Sunday morning dawns.
More details about the Warhammer World venue can be found

AdeptiCon – 1st to 3rd April 2011
If you’re attending the annual AdeptiCon event on 1st – 3rd of April, at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Centre in Chicago, IL, then a visit to the Forge World stand in the Vendor Hall will allow you to purchase both Forge World kits and the growing range of Warhammer Forge miniatures. We’ll also have a selection of display models for you to admire and Forge World Graphic Artist Kenton Mills, one of our crack AdeptiCon team, will be happy to sign your copies of The Badab War.

We also hope to have limited quantities of both of our Event Only miniatures for 2011, so stay tuned to future newsletters for more details.

If you’ve got any queries about the AdeptiCon event, please e-mail the Customer Service team at, who will be happy to answer your questions.


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