I've almost finished painting my German Wehrmacht (photos to come) and decided I'd celebrate by buying some more minis. Until now I've bought all my WW2 minis from Black Tree Design. The main reason I buy from Black Tree is the price and in fact I've yet to find any company that can beat their pricing.
This time however I'm getting my miniatures from Artizan Designs. Before I get into why I've decided to buy elsewhere let's compare the products.
On average the price per mini when buying a platoon is 0.92p for Black Tree vs 1.13p for Artizan, not an overly huge difference but it can add up when you're buying a couple platoons at a time. So not suprisingly Black Tree wins here.
Range of Figures
Black Tree really wins here too, they have a larger range troop types and the number of poses for each type is quite impressive (16-24 different poses in most cases). That's not to say that Artizan has missed out on any minis they simply have one British Vickers MMG whereas Black Tree has two, and so on. Black Tree wins here.
Quality of Figures
I'm not going to give a judgement on this point yet as I don't have the Artizan minis here to do a proper comparison. But what I can say is that the photos of the painted minis on the Artizan website really look good, fantastic even. The Black Tree site has photos of unpainted miniatures that look good but they aren't really inspiring.
So two votes to nill for Black Tree, but why am I'm buying Artizan I hear you ask. It's simple: customer service. Both times I've placed orders with Black Tree my order has been listed with a status of "queued". Weeks passed on both orders and the status stayed listed as queued. In both cases part of my order was on back order or the stock was lost on a warehouse somewhere.. or something but my order stayed listed as 'queued'. It took numerous emails to the company to get any response whatsoever from them. Once I had their attention things happened quickly and good started to arrive but it was a lot of work on my behalf.
Artizan on the other hand responded to my email in about 10 minutes and were more than acommodating with answering my questions and even sorting out a custom order for me. It was refreshing and reassuring. I'm still struggling with getting everything I want in the order with my 'allocated funds' but I feel confident that this purchase will be a lot smoother that the previous two.
So the bottom line here is be careful when you buy based on price alone.