Saturday, October 14, 2017

Shout Out for Fast Delivery

I thought I should give a shout out to NorthStar Figures based on a recent order that I placed with them.  This was the second order I've placed with NorthStar since the end of August and both arrived PDQ, the most recent one week after order.

For someone in the wilds of Saskatchewan that's extremely fast turnaround.  Postal delivery on war-games materials is always an issue for Canadians, as we are almost always ordering from overseas and typically from Britain.  Perry Miniatures have always been excellent on trans-Atlantic orders but it looks like North Star are equally strong.

Many of my blog readers are from the UK, so are used to fast and easy delivery, and I suspect that the American readers will also expect this.  Canadian manufacturers are few and far between and don't really offer what I want which means the perils of ordering from abroad.  There are a few basic rules of thumb in this regard.

  • It is not worth considering ordering figures from the US.  Americans just don't get the rest of the world in posting or in anything else.  Shipping charges are astronomical, delivery is so slow that is must be routed via camel train through the Silk Road.  Moreover, they typical pack things in a box that this about 12 sizes larger than what's required (must be overcompensating for something, like their President) meaning the box won't fit my letter box but also that it invariably attracts the revenue man meaning that I get his with duty and sales tax.
  • Among British Manufacturers there are two types - those that deduct VAT for overseas orders and those that don't.  Perry, NorthStar and Front Rank fall into the first category, most others the second.  There is a middle ground of companies that keep the VAT but don't charge shipping over a reasonable level (like Dixon at the 25 quid level).  Basically deducting the VAT  nets out most of the shipping charges. 
  • Regardless of how good the company is on quick turnaround, the shipping time is essentially a crap shoot - or a multi-layered stochastic probability exercise to use the technical term.  It's very much a matter of when it hits the dock vs when the ship leaves the dock vs when and where the ship docks in Canada.
  • Brits have figured out that small is good - I typically get a small box or bubble envelope that fits easily in my mail box.  Getting hit with duty and sales tax is rare, almost unheard of.
  • Ordering books from overseas is just not worth it.  The cost and time involved are huge - much better to get the PDF or E-book.