January 6, 2009

Retailer Review

Maelstrom Games

W: http://www.maelstromgames.co.uk/
P: Maelstrom Games Ltd 116 Newgate Lane Mansfield Nottinghamshire NG18 2QB, England
T: +44 01623 629 424

The Stores homepage

About the Store
I discovered these guys through a friend who had used them for purchasing Warmachine figures. While they are a UK based store they offer some distinct advantages over other shopping options (1) Free postage worldwide (2) Discounted products, and did I mention free postage worldwide.

What do they sell
They stock an impressive list of items for Warhammer, Warhammer 40k, Warmachine, Hordes, LotR, and Flames of War. The stock list includes units, figures, characters, books, and additional gaming resources like dice, templates etc. You can also purchase specialist items from suppliers such as GaleForce 9 (e.g., Warmachine warcaster tokens), the Black Library, and a range of other manufacturers and suppliers. Every item is discounted with regular specials offered to registered customers.

Shopping at Maelstrom
Like most sites you have to register, a process which with Maelstrom is particularly easy and only takes a few minutes. For me three things stand out about using Maelstroms online shopping system:

  • The ease with which you can locate items and the level of info provided for them.
  • They let you know how many of each item is in stock, and whether youll have to wait.
  • The range of payment options.

First up, the layout of the website is very professional. Others that I have used such as Vagabond and TheWarstore are Ok but still take some trawling to find what you want and then they tend to assume that you know what it is you are buying. Here full details are given on every item.

WHFB main page

More importantly for Warhammer fans the faction menus are easy to follow, and the selections are broken down in Characters, Core Units, Special etc to make it even easier to find what you want.

Faction homepage (Dwarfs)

Again each item is clearly priced as is the availability of that item. Full details on what you get are also provided.

Item homepage (DW Warriors)

The payment options are also great. While other stores are set up for Credit Card payments only, Maelstrom provide a slightly wider range of options including 'PayPal' which is far easier and far more secure - at least in my experience.

Payment options

Moving through the various screens and onto the checkout doesnt take long, and your order is emailed to you within minutes with a clear description of what you want etc.

My Shopping Experience
So far I've spent more than I should have at Maelstrom, purchasing both Warmachine items for my Protectorate army and Warhammer Fantasy items for my Vampire Counts through them. In each case the items arrived within 7 days of the order being placed. This included one order that I placed on the 17th December that arrived on Christmas Eve, absolutely amazing stuff given the hassles anyone with relatives in the UK like myself has experienced when sending parcels between the UK and NZ. Maelstrom also combine orders for ease of shipment, let you know asap if an item is going to be delayed etc and allow you to track your order progress etc. Items arrive well packaged and clearly labelled.

**Price Comparisons with NZ Stores**
With the free postage you can make substantial savings on ordering through Maelstrom on every game system. The Warstore in the US offers similar discounts, but the postage cuts into any savings you would make (you still make them though). As a example of the savings you get, heres a list of what I paid for my recently ordered Vampire Counts army stuff in NZ$:

  • VC Battalion Box -$95 (Normal retail $170-180)
  • VC Grave Guard Unit - $30 (Normal retail $45-55)
  • VC Dire Wolves Unit Box - $23 (Normal retail $45-55)

Overall cost in NZ$148 from Maelstrom vs. cost if I had purchased from local stores of NZ$260-290, an almost 50% saving.

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