On a forum for Maine war gamers, there was a question posed that asked if you can make money selling painted miniatures on E-bay or similar auction sites. I maintained that one could make money but probably not with a large profit. Of course, this also brings to mind if one can make money painting on commission and, if so, how much per hour?
I never really timed myself during a project to see how much I actually do make per figure. So I decided to make a project of doing so. I will take a project, from beginning to end and log it here. This is a personal project and does not belong to anyone but me.
For this experiment I've chosen to paint up a DBA army. A 15mm Carthaginian army made by Essex miniatures, specifically. DBA (De Bellis Antiquitatus) is an ancient/medieval rule set for fighting out battles on a small scale. Armies are limited to 12 elements (or units) with very small figures required. This army is an army pack that Essex offers and is something I picked up years ago.
There are 57 figures in this pack. That includes horses and elephants (always charge separately for them). To purchase it, new, from Essex would cost you $37.23. Add to that $10.98 shipping to the US and I have already put $48.21 into just figures. If I was to paint this army on commission I would charge $171.00 to paint. Add in a bit for bases and I am hoping, at the end of this project, to make $230.00. How much per hour this will translate to will remain to be seen. I would like my time to come out to about $15.00 per hour but we will see. Without further ado, lets begin.....
I cleaned and organized all the figures. Essex miniatures are getting a bit long in the tooth, so to speak so there was a bit more flash and seam lines than one would see from new moulds. But, they use a softer alloy in their castings so cleanup isn't too bad. There was some assembly that needed to be done with the elephants and with a few shields that needed to be glued on. Additionally, I glued all riders to horses. Normally I save this after painting is done but the amount of time spent is still the same. Also, I didn't have to but I filled in the seams on the elephant's backs. I felt it would help in photographs later on.
Here is my running totals on time and money spent....
Time spent up till now : 2 hours, 30 minutes
Money spent $48.26 (I figured about 0.5 cents in glue and filler. Hidden costs one must worry about)
Next time...primer and paint!