When I was a kid, buying anything mail order was a bit of a crapshoot, unless you were purchasing through the Sears catalog or some other rock-solid American vendor. But ordering a consumer product directly from China or Russia? Pffft. Kiss your American greenbacks goodbye!
Today however, I think Amazon and eBay have made purchasing gaming products from Russia, China or elsewhere a (relatively) safe prospect, as long as the vendor has accumulated enough positive feedback and reviews to counterbalance my lingering qualms about overseas shipping. This was the case when I recently pulled the trigger on $112 of Tehnolog (paid link) wargaming miniatures, vehicles and terrain pieces from an apparently reputable eBay vendor in Russia.
I figured it was an acceptable risk. A couple of years ago I’d ordered several NIB sets of Rackham’s Confrontation Age of Ragnarok figures from a Chinese eBay seller. Not only did the order arrive in a reasonable amount of time, but it was meticulously packed in the thickest cardboard shipping box I’ve ever seen, with everything inside hermetically sealed in shrink wrap and further secured with polyester strapping. Very impressive.
About the same time however, I ordered a set of not inexpensive painted metal miniatures from a well-known American gaming retailer. These pre-owned figures were haphazardly tossed together in a plastic bag, which was then shipped loose in the bottom of a much larger cardboard box. Presumably so the minis would have maximum opportunity to chip and break during transit. (Typically I don’t like to complain, but WTF people.)
Obviously past experiences are no guarantee of future results. When I ordered the Tehnolog plastic miniatures, Robogear (paid link) vehicle kits and a CastleCraft modular castle kit from the Russian seller, I was confident that a package would arrive at some point, but what we’d actually find inside was anyone’s guess.
To watch us unbox our haul of super cheap Tehnolog wargaming miniatures, which includes squads of space pirates, necrozombies, light assault troopers and polar guardsmen, as well as a steampunk cannon and a host of Robogear armored vehicles, just check out the unboxing video at the top of this post.