From the announcement (there's a lot to read after the cut, by the way) :
We've been running Foundry since last June. Our plan was to wait at least six months before we made any major changes. We felt it would take that long to get to the bottom of everything. We can't really claim to have actually got to the bottom of quite everything yet.
However, we have now started getting on with those changes!
We have to put our hands up and admit to running a mediocre website: ugly, confusing and sometimes so slow it can make you want to weep uncontrollably with boredom and frustration. Our models look awful in the mean little photos, even though the majority of them are very wonderful castings indeed.
Embarassingly, someone chose to pointlessly change the names of many of our models without any reference to historical accuracy or common sense.
Our website must have lost us many customers over the past few years.
We can only offer our apologies, and our heartfelt thanks to all of you for sticking with us through the slow process of putting your orders together on our uncooperative website.
We have started to build a new website in the format that Kevin Dallimore designed for us back in about 2000: when we were in Guernsey.
That was the one with eight life-size packs of models shown on each page. Clicking on them brought the images up massively in size.
You may recall that our site was previously packed with historical information, articles, painting guides, banners, rules and suchlike jollyness. We will put all that back too. This may turn into a big job. I should be able to do much of the legwork but this may take a month or three.
This is a sample page that I put together so that you can see what we are aiming at:
The new website so far
Removing Substandard and UnFoundrylike Models
From some point after 2005, a number of the new models made at Foundry were of either of a substandard quality or inappropriate in style.
It may seem strange to condemn a model soldier for "inappropriateness": but Foundry was originally founded when Cliff Ansell (my grandfather) took over the manufacturing of early Citadel historical models that would otherwise have been discontinued. Foundry started with a selection of mostly models by Michael and Alan Perry, and various odds and ends from Alistair Morrison and Dave Andrews. Since then Foundry has always stuck to a style that reflects the work of the early Citadel sculptors: Adams, Andrews, Ansell, Bibby, Goodwin, Morrison, Naismith and the Perrys.
Where a model obviously doesn't fit that style, we think that it really should be taken out of the Foundry ranges. We think that our customers have a right to expect us to maintain a consistent general style.
We have already removed the hundreds of packs of Napoleonic models that were made over the last seven years to replace Michael and Alan's ranges. We currently have no plans to put them back in production.
We will shortly start taking down all the models on our website that we regard as "UnFoundrylike".
We will continue to manufacture these models permanently, but will give them their own independent website with a new name. Until we sort a new website out we will put them up on eBay ("THE CASTING ROOM: Budget Wargames Miniatures!"). As they go up on eBay, we will remove them from our main website.
Substandard models are a more serious matter. There is no fun at all in selling models that are not adequate in proportion, finish, detail, pose or historical accuracy.
When we took over Foundry, we found ourselves in a painful situation. Customers were buying models from us that we considered to be substandard. This made us very uncomfortable: our instinct was to just discontinue them, we didn't want to push relatively poor models onto our customers. But we didn't want to be pushy newcomers who went about obstructing established customers buying choices either, or deny customers who have different tastes to us the chance to finish their armies.
In the end, we decided that we couldn't just discontinue ranges that people were still collecting and we stuck with our six month rule.
As it happens, when we looked at the sales figures, it turned out that although we manufacture a number of models that could be described as substandard, they make up only a tiny portion of our overall sales. Shortly we will permanently remove all those models from our site. We may offer them for outright sale (see below).
Pre-2006 Fantasy Models
We have a fairly large number of fantasy models in our ranges. My father had quite a few fantasy models made (well, actually over 300 wonderful Orcs and Ogres and Snorklings and Dwarfs and bits sculpted by Kevin Adams and great Elves and Dwarfs by Kevin, Mark Copplestone, Mike Owen and Shane Hoyle). These models were all made before 2006.
My father must have had them sculpted for old times sake!
We have a vast fantasy range, but we sell hardly any of them: regardless of their quality. I suppose that as we are a company known for military miniatures, fantasy is just not what people expect us to be doing.
Foundry's last management reduced the price of our fantasy packs from £12 to £10 to try and get more sales in: but it made no difference.
We have done a proper costing of the earlier fantasy models.
It seems that for the big models which make up the bulk of the older fantasy ranges, we would have to charge closer to £20 a pack, just to break even.
This being the case, we have decided to withdraw all those fantasy models that date from my father's time from our website while we think about things. However, we don't want to leave anyone in the lurch, so we will still supply any models you need to finish your collection or army over the next couple of months: you just need to ring us up.
More Recent Fantasy Models
Some of the new fantasy stuff made more recently between 2006 and 2012 is pretty good.
There's a lot of it, but it's a bit of a random mishmash. We are going to remove all of them from our website and put them up on eBay. The new eBay site is called "FlytesofFantasy". We haven't put much up yet as we are waiting for eBay to go through their technical machinations to increase our selling allowance.
Foundry's last management left us with surprisingly large numbers of masters of unreleased models. We keep finding more of them.
Some of the masters are rather sad: the underlying structure is fine, but the surface detail is quite poor.
The sculptor must have been taking the piss (as we say here in Nottinghamshire).
We plan to hang on to them and use them as training tools for new sculptors. Eventually they will probably be nicely sorted out and will see actual release.
Others will probably be manufactured and put up on the "FlytesofFantasy" eBay site.
We have some very eccentric Steam Punk Orks that we will most likely put into production eventually.
Others (recently discovered Marlburian pikemen for instance, or power armoured science fiction warriors) are of little interest to us, so will probably be auctioned off on eBay. If we do that, we will sell them complete with the rights to manufacture them. This might be the first time manufacturing rights for model soldiers have been sold on eBay.