Welcome to a new feature over here at 6 Inch Move. There are many purveyors of the particular kind of crack that we enjoy with our hobby, many offering various discounts on the RRP of products in order to entice customers. So, us being the generous kind of chaps we are, we thought we’d provide you with reviews of not only the more traditional bricks and mortar stores but also those online retailers we have used. The plan is to plop one of these up every week and provide our usual unbiased opinion of the various facets of each operation.
So, without further ado our first retailer is one of the largest in the UK… Maelstrom Games!
These guys are a bricks and mortar outfit but also have a formidable web presence. I’ve used the web store on numerous occasions but have never been into the actual building so for the purpose of this review we’ll just be looking into the web store.
Personally I refer to these guys are everyone’s favourite “we’ll ship it when we can be bothered” web store. What keeps me coming back is the fact that not only do they offer a competitive price to start with but there are frequent offers emailed out to their mailing list subscribers. All of this means that you are looking at cheapo deal hunters like myself hitting up the site so that I can get my hands on my models for knockdown prices. So, first of all let’s have a look at the good;
- Good discounts across ranges
- Range of postal options – nothing worse than putting together a whole wad of stuff at 20% to work out you have to re-mortgage your house in order to afford the postage
- Large range of models and accessories available
- Easy to navigate site
- Your goodies are well packaged when sent out
The range of stuff they stock is really quite impressive and if you were to merely look at the good side of things then you can understand how they are one of the larger places that you can buy stuff from, however, from personal experience and also from discussions with Servitob there are some negatives here that really cannot be ignored;
- Despatching is hit and miss (mostly miss)
- Could be simpler to cancel orders
- Order Now!! Status on items doesn’t really tell you that they have no stock of that item
Time to elaborate on some of these. I got to use the Easter discount recently, there are a couple of things I was after, something for Warhammer and Malifaux. I out in an order on a Monday at lunch time, all items were shown as in stock and yet I got the despatch notification over a week later… I am pretty anxious to receive one item in particular from this batch of stuff and waiting isn’t one of my strong points. I know that they have the physical store to look after too but I kind of expect an outfit of their size to be able to despatch in stock items within a day or two. I don’t think this is unreasonable.
Now, this isn’t always the case, sometimes they do send stuff out within their “we usually ship within 2-3 days” I still think that’s a long time but if they put it on the site I can’t complain, however, when it takes 7 days before something ships, well, I get less than impressed. This is my biggest problem with them if I’m honest. Even accounting for the discounts in this latest instance I’d have been happier to go down my local store and pick up a full price copy of what I’m after. The waiting time makes the extra expense worthwhile, especially considering the service I get from the store I go to.
When you contact them they are really quite pleasant but then that is easy on email, maybe if I’d have given them hell over why it can take a week to put stuff in a box and send it in the post I may not have received as civil a response.
So, let’s break down my thoughts and create the areas that we are going to be using to judge our various stores on.
- Price – 9/10 – Not the highest discounts I’ve seen but this is the main reason I’ve ever gone there
- Store itself – 8/10 – the website is not that bad at all really, easy to find what you want
- Customer Service – 4/10 – Not really impressed here at all, reasons given above and that isn’t based off a single incident
- Product Range – 10/10 – These guys stock an awful lot of stuff and most of it is in stock. Pre-orders are available but sometimes you’ll find the latest stuff being out of stock, even though the store isn’t all that clear about that until you get to know it
Overall that gives Maelstrom Games a 31 out of 40 not a bad result. As long as you aren’t eager for your stuff to get to you then feel free to give them a go, there is a money back scheme but it’s hardly worth mentioning unless you are spending serious sums and the hit and miss sending out of your stuff will probably annoy you at some point reducing your chance of coming back and realising the savings you get from the loyalty reward.
Stay tuned for our next review coming next Monday.