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New Bandua Preprinted L-Buildings, Radar, and more Holosigns

Bandua continues to hit it out of the park with their new pre-printed line. We have always been huge fans of the Q-Packs and the pre-printed versions are really fantastic. However, the new L-Buildings are even better and an absolute most buy in our opinion for any table. The versatility of the Q and L series is pretty unrivaled in our opinion. They also come unpainted if you prefer that!

A radar dish has also been added to the line and makes a great objective or a large piece of roof cover. Rounding out the new product is a third set of holosigns. There are also great and are easily mounted to the edge of buildings or used as standalone on the street or roof tops.

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Customer Service Matters or Seriously, Buy a Badger Airbrush

At Infinity Harbour, I take customer service extremely seriously. One of the reasons for launching the business was the general dissatisfaction I had with game shops, both brick and mortar and online, and their customer service. There are of course notable exceptions, but in general, good customer service is hard to find anywhere it seems these days. Exceptional customer service is even more rare. Recently, I had an amazing experience with Badger Airbrush that deserves being shared with the gaming community.

Every week, I field a good number of requests from customers about airbrushes. We don’t sell airbrushes at Infinity Harbour so I don’t have any financial motive in my recommendations. I, like many of you, have acquired too many airbrushes over the years and my drawer has multiple samples from Badger, Harder-Steenbeck, Iwata, and even a cheap Chinese eBay one I use for large scenery elements. Given the service I received this week from Badger, it is a bit embarrassing that my “top-end” airbrush from them is the relatively modest Krome. I bounce around a lot with my brushes but when I spray acrylics, I always seem to end up using the Krome at some point. Airbrush preference is extremely subjective but for me, the Krome is rugged, extremely forgiving of air pressure and paint mix. This flexibility, coupled with excellent detail capabilities have made it my go to brush ever since I bought it shortly after its launch in 2011. Lately though, it has seen less use and my Harder-Steenbeck has been in heavy rotation. Nevertheless, this brush has lots of hours logged for me. It is also the brush I recommend unequivocally when people ask me who are starting out what to purchase. It is forgiving enough to learn on but has capabilities and quality that give you tons of room to grow into. If everyone I recommended one to bought one, Badger would sell several a week.

A couple years ago, my Krome suffered some damage. The lower unit came detached and I had to send it back to Badger for service. Badger is in the USA and offers a lifetime warranty so a quick email exchange later, I had instructions on how to send it in. A couple weeks later, it was back, repaired free of charge by Jesus at Badger. Flash forward mid-March. I was having one of those days with my Harder-Steenbeck. It is a stunning piece of machining and screams quality all over. However, I often am frustrated with it when spraying acrylics. I find it extremely fussy about paints and pressure and there are some days that no matter what I do, I just can’t seem to coax it to do what I want. So, I put it away and reached for my Old Faithful the Krome. Hooked it up, pushed the trigger, and … nothing. Nuts. It was behaving exactly like it did when the lower unit shifted so I assumed it needed to go back in again. I sent an email to Badger, and shortly heard back again from Jesus, the same tech who had fixed my brush several years ago. I feel that kind of personnel consistency speaks a lot about a company. I explained my situation and again was directed to send it back in. They turned around the repair extremely quickly and I just got it back yesterday. Here’s where the customer service comes in. As it turns out, my assessment of what was wrong with the brush was incorrect. There was not a mechanical failure in the brush, but instead, my cleaning protocol (especially when spraying lacquer for my scale models) had damaged several seals and seriously gummed up the works. So, it was all on me. Clearly nothing to do with the brush or covered by warrantee.

Badger would have been completely in their rights to send it back or at least charge me for the time to clean and replace the parts that I had damaged with my own actions. Instead, Jesus rebuilt and cleaned the whole unit. He replaced and overhauled parts and took the time to write lengthy instructions on what to avoid and not do when dealing with lacquers and heavy solvents with the brush. Amazing. Further, the Krome is not a particularly top-end brush pricewise from Badger. They can be found online for a little over $100 which given their performance is a steal. They did all of this serving on my airbrush for free – nothing – and they did this for a customer with a 6-year old, mid-range airbrush, that I had damaged myself. Once again, I unequivocally recommend Badger for performance, price, and most importantly astonishingly good customer service. I know now I seriously need to look into their higher end airbrushes for my collection if this is the quality of service I can expect. So, if you are looking for an airbrush, look long and hard at Badger and their competitors and then ask yourself, what will happen when something goes wrong? Badger will have your back, will the others?

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Please consider a donation to Child’s Play

Happy Thanksgiving to all our customers! We are truly grateful for your support the past year. However, we aren’t having a Black Friday sale. Now that we’ve passed Thanksgiving, we enter what should be a time of reflection. In looking back over the past year, we are necessarily drawn even farther back into memories of past years and people who filled them. For those of us who game, many of our best memories are with others like us in the community – the competition and camaraderie of past victories and defeats all shared with someone else across the table. I am always humbled by what a great community gamers are and how many of my best memories are from one side of the table or other.

Instead of giving us your money this Friday, take a moment to remember those we play and have payed with and please consider a donation to http://childsplaycharity.org instead. They purchase board and video games for hospitals around the country so kids receiving care can have a little fun and distraction from what they are facing. You can even select which hospital your donation goes to. I am always humbled by what a great community gamers are so please consider helping out this season.

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Infinity Harbour – Year 1 in Review

While sitting here checking in another restock from Micro Arts Studio, Facebook reminds me that one year ago, I was doing the exact same thing with our very first shipment of inventory – also from Micro Art Studio. Looking over the shelves here now and seeing all the great products from our overseas partners, it is amazing to me how much has changed in our first year. It seems like the perfect time to look back over the year and see where we have been and where we are going. This means talking about our successes as well as some rough spots and what have done and are doing to improve on them.

Infinity Harbour started because I was frustrated with the lack of availability of products in the USA. Several online retailers listed carrying products but would be out for months and months at a time. My initial thought was that I would place a direct order with Micro Art Studio and Bandua, negotiate a discount, and sell half of it to cover my personal table. Seemed like a great way to get a gaming table paid for myself. I clearly had underestimated the pent up demand because as soon as I started putting feelers out into the forums, I was inundated with requests from people wanting these products. I was also surprised to find that the manufacturers were equally enthusiastic about getting their products into the USA with more consistent availability. Thus, with some great partners in place and customers excited to have product, we launched with a large shipment from Micro Art Studio (Poland) and Bandua (Spain). We didn’t even carry the Corvus Belli (Spain) Infinity figures at that point. Soon we added Plast Craft (Spain), Antenocitis Workshop (UK), CNC Workshop (Australia) and very recently Deepcut Studios (Lithuania) as direct partners. These direct partnerships have been key to providing you with high availability of these product lines and we have been delighted with the relationships we have built with these companies. We also brought in Corvus Belli and Customeeple (Spain) from distributors. I was so nervous paying for those initial orders. Would this stuff sell? What had I gotten myself into? Anxiety was running high to be sure but so was my belief that it would work out and that there was a demand for a niche Infinity retailer. Now, it seems funny to look back at how concerned I was at the size of those initial orders as we restock that same amount regularly now. We were never going to be the largest seller online and that was fine. We wanted to make sure we had the best products available and the best in customer service and I like to think that we have largely succeeded on those points.

Besides selling product, we wanted to play an active role in supporting the game and growing the community of players in the US. To that end, we have supplied lots of clubs and groups with ITS packs and supported some great events around the country. We provided prize support to the Twin Cities Infinity League, Twinfinity Tournament, Kingdom Con, Operation Space Bunny, and Battle for the Bayou to name a few. We are already committed to several events in the next year and will continue to play an active role in supporting events large and small.

Now, in interest of full disclosure, there were certainly some growing pains. Some of these I think have been resolved and some we are still working on. Initially, it was really daunting and beyond our financial resources to stock the entire Corvus Belli line. We had to pick and choose carefully and gradually increase our stock. We initially did a combination of focused purchases based on the most popular factions and products as well as drop shipping orders on demand. This meant that there were times it might take almost a week from when an order was placed until we received your Infinity figures from our distributors. It also meant that we pretty much had to manually update stock availability on a daily basis to reflect what was available to us. In order to try and have as much availability as possible, we worked with multiple distributors in multiple locations. This meant higher availability of inventory, but required an enormous amount of manual labor for us. Luckily, after about 6 months of grinding away with this manual process, we were able to make a large inventory purchase so that we no longer had to drop ship any product. We started carrying the whole Corvus Belli line and carrying it deep enough to handle demand. We now restock weekly and availability is generally really good across the entire line.

When we launched, our website and our accounting system did not talk to each other. This meant we had to manage customers and orders in two places and manually enter everything twice. The main problem in this for you, was that there were times when a product may have been sold locally and before we could update the website, you placed an order for the same item. This led to a fairly frequent situation where we would have to refund parts of orders and was frustrating for you and for us. This clearly was not a good formula for customer satisfaction or particular efficient for us. Consequently, we invested in some software integration to link our ecommerce site and our accounting systems so that your orders and our inventory items would stay in sync. This system has been in place about six months now and has overall been working great and inventory sync issues have been completely eliminated.

This brings us to shipping. Shipping product out in a timely manner has always been our biggest hurdle. It took us a couple months just to figure out what size boxes and how many of each kind we needed to stock. We tried several carriers and eventually settled on USPS Priority as the best combination of price, speed in delivery, and quality of parcel delivery. As of right now, USPS has damaged less than 1 in 1,000 packages we have sent which is really good for everyone. Now, some of our customers have complained about slow ship times. Other customers have come to our defense (which we appreciate). However, both sides of the argument are correct. Some of our customers have been fortunate and gotten things quickly, but it is also true that some customers have not had their orders processed as quickly as they or we would like. Again, most of the problem here lies in manual processes and those which require double manual entry in multiple systems. In order to address this complaint from customers and to improve our shipping, just in the past month we have invested in some new shipping solutions which we hope will improve things for everybody. This includes software integration to eliminate manual entry of shipping information and things like dedicated postage label printers that are also integrated into the shipping solution to speed things along. We have also made improvements in our pick list generation and order handling methods to shorten the time from order placement to order shipment.

In conclusion, I would like to let all of you know, we are grateful for the opportunity to have served your Infinity needs the past year and thank you for going on this journey with us. There have been growing pains and lessons learned but there has also been fun and camaraderie as well. We have lots planned in the next year – new products, events, and more. We look forward to working with you in the next year and those to follow.