GW: Testing New 40K “Partworks” Business Model

Games Workshop is trying their hand at the “Partworks” subscription model – will it work?

A few days ago, Games Workshop put out a post for their new Partworks positions that were available. For folks who may not be aware, it’s basically a monthly subscription service where you get shipped items and they allow you to build up your collection over time. They did this with Black Library and that seemed to work out. Well now GW is moving over to a subscription model for, well, models!

via Warhammer 40,000 Conquest

“Develop your own stunning collection of Warhammer 40,000 miniatures week-by-week and lead them into battle with your friends. Every issue of Conquest includes amazing models, brushes or paints, with expert guides to build your own Warhammer 40,000 army – in the grim darkness of the far future there is only war!”

Each issue will come with models, a building guide, a painting guide, and some gaming guides (probably missions designed to handle the models they send you and probably previous sets). Keep in mind the model counts start off pretty small – we’re talking 3 Primaris Marines vs 3 Death Guard. This is very clearly designed for beginners and folks who might have just heard about the hobby.

As far as we can tell, it starts off at £1.99 for the first issue, the second issue is £4.99, and then the following issues are £7.99. The longer you are subscribed, the more “rewards” you get as well:

One other thing we’d also like to point out is that according to their FAQ, this is current only available in the UK.

That does explain why they posted those job openings however…

A New Business Model Moving Forward?

Games Workshop could be experimenting in the UK because it’s positioned to be able to serve the fans there pretty well. Partworks-type business models do require A LOT of packing and shipping costs. This could also be a way for them to move some of the excess inventory as well. Most of those models are already available in other ways – either the new starter box or some of the smaller scale boxed sets. In essence, they are able to re-package those kits and ship them directly to customers in hopes of getting the interested in the broader hobby and game.

Think about it – if you got a box of 3 miniatures, brushes and a couple of pots of paint, wouldn’t you want to at least see what else is out there? You can’t really play a game with just three models – or 6 if you get the next set. Sure, it’s a starting but this is clearly just the tip of the iceberg. If this does well, and depending on the investment, we could see GW want to try this in other markets. And if it doesn’t go well then they can scrap it and stick to their traditional shops and business models they already have.

So what do you think? Are you a UK resident and are you willing to give this a go? If you’re not in the UK, would you be interested in this type of subscription service?

  • Billy Billstoner

    I am not surprised at this as a direction for GW, I can see that they will make rules and codexs a subscription in the future, digital formats for this will be coming soon. … I cant see myself subscribing I can only imagine this will wont be much of a deal.

    • Alienerd the unbannable

      Subscription mags are definitely not new, and this isn’t the first one which GW has licensed out, they are not going to go this direction. It is intended as a product for outsiders to the hobby to get into it rather than the other way round, so if you are an already established hobbyist it is definitely not for you 🙂

      • briandavion

        yeah, for eistablished players this is largely a waste of money

  • Ronin

    Aww. I thought they were going to bring back 40k Conquest the card game that I made so many decks for.

    • LankTank

      Me too! I Now my heart is broken

  • Rafał Pytlak

    Wondering if the pots of paint will be regular 12 ml or those small ones…

    • Marcus Clark

      Odds are small

  • marxlives

    Man are they subscribed to PPs Twitter or something?

  • zeno666

    Pay for a subscription and GW send me crap they feel I should own?

    No thanks! Not going anywhere near that.

    • Pl4gu3 B4st4rd

      Totally this !

    • ZeeLobby

      LOL, yup. That’s basically what this is.

    • Sniddy

      Don’t think it can be summed up better then this

  • Commissar Molotov

    It’s like the panties of the month club, except they only send you pre-worn ones with skidmarks.

    • el_tigre

      You have to pay extra for that

      • Commissar Molotov


  • autonoise

    Often the first few issues of these sort of things are in newsagents, then they are only available to subscribers. Clearly not aimed at established players, but if issue 1 includes 3 easy to build intercessors that is a bargain at £1.99, likewise issue 2 if it includes 3 easy to build death guard for £4.99 is a great price.

    • Graham Bartram

      So if your newsagents supply of issue 1 is gone within 10 minutes of being on the shelves, we know why.

      • autonoise

        I think issue 1 might be a hot commodity all over the country!

      • Nicholas Turner

        I have been seeing in several Facebook groups people getting two or three copies as the paint is regular sized pots and comes with a paintbrush. The minis are considered an added extra for just under two pound. Even the second issue is pretty good value, but the price ramps up pretty quickly, making any purchase after about issue three being full price. Sure, if you subscribe you get bonus stuff every so often, but it is the same as the novel series they did about a year ago, first issue was cheap, but the cost went up fast and none of the bonus gifts were of interest to me. And I still haven’t finished reading the first book, hence why I didn’t bother picking up the second issue.

        It may be intended as a doorway/taster for miniatures, but most hobbyists see it as a bargain paintbrush and paint combo, and get multiple copies. Because we can always do with a few extra good brushes and extra paint!

  • dynath

    My only issue with this is that partworks work differently. Generally a partwork has a coherency to it. Alternating between armies lacks coherency and won’t spur people to collect a particular army. If I subscribed I’d just end up with half the stuff not being things i’m interested in.

    • Graham Bartram

      Individual army partworks? Death Korps of Krieg partwork?
      ….I’m sad now. I want a Death Korps partwork. 🙁

      • dynath

        Yeah there is a lot of good armies that would work pretty well in the patchwork concept. Especially if they bothered to tie it to a novelization from black library.

  • ellobouk

    I mean, it’s obviously not aimed at established players, or at the crowd who know what 40k’s about and know they don’t want to play it.

    It’s a little subscription mag aimed at getting younger people to engage with the hobby (and will cast a wider net by getting mini’s into newsagents most likely), some easy build models and small paints to get the started, over a few months they build up a couple of small skirmish forces and start playing, then hopefully they’re engaged enough to look at buying into the hobby fully, and come in knowing at least some of the basics. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it works in so far as 6 months in they see an uptick in starter set sales.

  • Thedinosaur

    It’s incredible how many comments are negative already when this is clearly not aimed at you.
    This is the subscription you get for a child to get them interested, not an easy way to get cheap figs… the age of entitlement continues.

    12 year old me would have been all about this.

  • PP

    Look at that pricing again

    They send out 4 issues at once, each at £7,99 (once the first couple are out of the way), so that’s £32 a month that you’re paying out

    The first 4 sets published are effectively the £25 set, plus a £10 paint set, so you’re saving a little bit

    But, to get the free gifts, and to get any real value out of this, you’ve got to keep subscribing, and I can imagine future publications being one sprue at a time per issue to build up the bigger models.

    You get no choice on whether or not you actually want the miniatures so unless you’re brand new to the hobby, this is a bad idea.

    Let’s not forget that the people running it are absolute arseholes to boot, who got hauled in front of the ASA after the last debacle with Warhammer 40k Legends due to their blatant misadvertising of availability.

    • Trevor White

      I’ve posted elsewhere that I enjoy building & painting a variety of things, so the first 4 issues are appealing to me. I actually already picked up the easy to build Intercessors & Death Guard, but this is a cheap way for me to get some more of em to try out different colour schemes. The Reavers are a bit meh pose wise, but the pox walkers look like they’ll be fun to experiment with.

      It seems you can return issues you don’t want for a refund, but it’d be better if they let subscribers specify which issues they wanted before shipping.

      I’m curious to see what’s next after the first 4 issues, and if the models get a bit more complex instead of the easy to build range. Personally I’d be quite content with some of the Death Guard and Primaris from the Dark Imperium box.

  • HeadHunter

    They already do a “part-work” business model. Look at Necromunda. Every 3 months, they sell you part of the game, that once all came in a single book.

    • marxlives

      Doing this sort of PP style minicrate would make more sense with their specialist lines like Necromunda, rather than 40k and AoS where you build an army 3 models at a time month to month.

    • zeno666

      Got to catch them all 😉

  • Atogrim

    So. finally, the dream of my 14 year old past self comes true and they aren’t shipping to continental europe? T Y V M…