Saturday, 21 March 2015

From Miles - The Challenge Stats, the real reason we paint...

Mr Campbell:

With the close of AHPCV, it’s become time, once again, for me to don my “mathamagician” cap and employ the secret equations to divine the true meaning of this year's Challenge.

Early this morning I began my incantations invoking the powers of the light in the form of addition and subtraction and the powers of the dark in the form of multiplication and division to see what the Gods make of our efforts.  It was grueling work, requiring full minutes of typing out data, fractions of seconds in calculations and pure rote memorization.  Thankfully, I’m careless enough not to bother to recheck results for accuracy so saved a bit of time.
The Basic Facts
Last Year
Total Points
Registered Participants
Submitting Participants
Points per submitting participant

Wow - a total of 65K in points scored is very impressive and a full 8% over last year, which in these days of near 0% interest rates represents a damn decent return.  But wait, there’s more - last year's top 2 finishers Andrew and Kevin contributed 7,366 of 2014 total points and they, sadly, put family before paint and elected not to participate.  I we adjust the 2014 total to remove their contribution, the effective growth rate actually approaches a blazing 23%  Hubada-hubuda-hubuda, thats not bad.

The actual distribution of points per rank segment was remarkably similar across the two years.

Share of Total Points
Last Year
Top 5
Top 10
Top 20
Entire Group
The real story is how a majority of the top 20 finishers this year, who participated last year (12 of ‘em) picked up their game to increase productivity an average of 705 points per person.  the top 5 “Most Improved” participants this year are:
Most Improved
Point Increase Over Last Year
Some Jackass who likes officer furniture gaming
Congratulations to Millsy, my “Arch Spreadsheet Nemisis” for winning the potentially coveted and just made up right now award for "Greatest Improvement in Miniature Productivity” award.  Yes the GIMP award is one of the highest accolades in our hobby and an appropriate momento of this achievement will be winging it’s way to you shortly (once I figure out what it is).  OK everyone lets congratulate Millsy for his great performance with a hearty chant of “Millsy’s a GIMP, Millsy’s a GIMP, Millsy’s a GIMP””  Any similarity to a character in 'Pulp Fiction' is purely intentional.

Unfortunately, it is my somber duty to report that a certain Mr Campbell who was in the top 20 last year has failed to make the cut this year, finishing in 21st place.  I think we should all reflect upon that outcome for a few moments…

Ok - enough chit-chat and onto to the main event.  This years total production of 64,905 points is the equivalent of 12,981 28mm infantry figures - that’s a lot, but what’s the 'so-what' of all that.  In order to understand the impact we need to review the unit economics of a 28mm miniature figure:

Paint Production Cost per Figure:

Miniature Cost: $2.00 (down from last year’s $2.50 to reflect the increased penetration of hard plastic miniatures in the hobby)

Paint / Basing: $0.75 (up $0.20 from last year to reflect the cost in increase environmental scrutiny and the general market movements to “free-range” / natural products which typically have a 20% price mark up because consumers are, in general, gullible)

Painter Time: $8.00 (up $0.50 from last years $7.50 because, frankly, we all need a raise)

Cost per fig: $10.75

Basic Economic Impact: $139,546!!!!!!!


But wait, there’s more, mathamagicians like me love to over complicate - it’s just what we do.  The $139K of value understates the real impact due to demand elasticity (think trickle down economics that actually work).  I know that for every miniature I paint, I but 3 more to take it’s place - and that demand elasticity figure of “3:1” scales relative to the size of the lead pile - the smaller the pile the higher the elasticty figure.  I’ve pretty much exhausted my lead pile so I’m generalizing the same for the rest of you (sometimes it’s just easier to assume than to know) so after exhaustive research and coin flipping, I’m bumping the demand elasticity figure up to 3.583x

The true resulting impact of this year’s challenge is a cool $500,000.00 - a veritable economic juggernaut in the miniature hobby world.  What started out a s a simple contest to paint Napoleonic figures five years ago has now ballooned into a miniature hobbies internet titan of commerce - it’s another Amazon, just in 28mm scale.

Lastly, some assurances - the above has a lot of confusing and complicated mathalogical divinations which may be hard to understand for the layman or Professor of Statistics from a Canadian Institute of higher learning.  Some of you may even go so far as to doubt some of my conclusions.  Let me put those unjustified concerns to rest, once and for all - you can trust me - I’m a financial services executive.

You know, it’s strange, just as I’m about to hit send on this email to Curt, I’ve been overcome with a dread I haven’t felt since 5th grade when I reminded my math teacher she hadn’t assigned the class our homework just before the bell for recess was about to ring.