TIM’s EBay Adventure – Part 1 (A Midweek Musings Special)


Several months ago I decided I would, after much deliberation, try to sell some models on Ebay.  The experience of doing so is still very new but nevertheless I thought it might be of some interest to share with you my journey thus far via a post or two.  Like all stories it’s best begun at the beginning and therefore the first thing I should explain is why I decided upon doing so in the first place.


Before I retired She Who Must Be Obeyed rarely if ever questioned the amount of time I spent modelling.  Now fully retired there is an expectation that jobs around the house should be shared, her jobs not mine, I still have mine to do.  Now I love my wife, we’ve been married nearly 37 years (it feels like only yesterday, if it was tomorrow I would cancel it!) but retirement for me was about spending more time modelling (and anything else I wanted to do) not more time working.  I needed a plan, not just any old plan but a cunning plan.  One which would enable me to openly do modelling without the expectation of doing anything else and remove the feeling of guilt for doing so which I often feel is being heaped upon me.  But what?

Then I had an idea – make modelling my job!

Let me say right up front it’s not about making money.  Well that’s not entirely true, it is about making money but not for money’s sake.  Making money is relevant but more as a performance indicator and to justify what I am doing to SWMBO.  There are other reasons too of course.

Before I finally decided to fully retire last September I had spent all my full and part-time working life in UK corporate companies.  I did a job, they paid me.  Simple.  I wouldn’t describe myself as a specialist but I wasn’t a Jack of all trades either so if I had an IT problem I spoke to the IT department, likewise, HR, Legal, Risk, Marketing, etc.  I was never self-employed and I never had to make something to sell in order to live off the proceeds.  As I look back I’m beginning to wonder what it was I actually did do!

Over the years I’ve known several people who have set up their own businesses and I have admired each and every one of them.  They all had two things in common.  They worked extremely hard and they had to become knowledgeable on just about everything, not just what they did.  No corporate security for them, they needed to learn marketing, HR legislation if they employed staff , IT, finance, the list goes on.  I would like to say they were all successful but alas I’m sorry to say most of them failed.  Not because of their own product, work ethic or service but simply because they got swamped by everything else.  Well that’s how it seemed to me.

Although I never had the urge to break away from the corporate world a part of me always wanted to see if I could do my own thing, to sell something with a degree of regularity and generate an income.  My own little business if you like.  With the onset of retirement and the need to keep physically as well as mentally occupied I started to give the matter some further thought.  I wasn’t looking to make a living off of any idea, I just wanted to dabble and to see if I could produce something which people would be interested enough in to buy and to see what I could learn from the experience.  SWMBO and her expectation of sharing domestic chores tipped the balance!  I got started and sold the idea to her.  She bought into it far to quickly which tells me she has got one over on me but so far I’m buggered if I can work out what!

The first question I had to address was what was I going to try to sell?  The second was how was I going to try to sell it?

The second was the easiest to answer.  I had already decided that initially eBay would be the vehicle for selling.  Why reinvent the wheel?  The first was a little more difficult.  Modelling is a passion and what interested me the most but my major concern was who would want to buy vignettes and dioramas and even if they did how on earth could I post them without them arriving in pieces at the other end.  There was another problem too.  Each vignette and diorama is unique, a one-off and as such I didn’t think I could bring myself to part with them, even if many of them do now reside in boxes and are stored away.

What to make and try to sell continued to elude me until the obvious hit me, just paint figures!

The more I thought about it the more this made sense.  The figures, typically one piece castings could be easily posted and packaged to arrive safety (if sold!), could be very simply based and if I really liked a figure and wanted to keep it, unlike the more unique basing of a vignette or diorama, I could do another identical one.

I felt now that the idea was taking off, well in my head at least.  There was more to consider though.  What figures would I paint and try to sell?  What price could I realistically charge?  How would I package them up?  What else did I need to consider?

If I was going to do this then I was going to try to do it as good as I possibly could.  The good thing was I had the time and motivation to do so and more importantly it really didn’t matter a jot if things didn’t work out.  The main thing was to avoid doing any cleaning, cooking and shopping.  Nothing financially rested on success or failure, I didn’t have bills to pay or major overheads to meet, only time spent modelling was at stake.

I was just keen to try it, to see if I could make it work and if it did then great and if not then at least I can say I gave it a go and would just have to lie to SWMBO at how well it was going.  Lie to SWMBO?  Yes, lie.  What’s wrong with that?  Most marriages involve lies at some point don’t they?  OK, so there are good lies and bad lies.  A bad lie is saying “I was out with the lads” when actually I was screwing a hot girl I met in the pub (oh how I wish!).  A good lie is saying you had a good day at work when you just got made redundant and don’t want the little lady worrying needlessly.  One way or another they are all lies.  Besides, wives lie too, just think about all the headaches they have!

Whatever the final outcome would turn out to be the fact was I was nearing the launch pad but far from ready for take off.  I needed to do more research.

To be continued …




18 thoughts on “TIM’s EBay Adventure – Part 1 (A Midweek Musings Special)

  1. You really will go to any means to avoid that housework eh? Let me guess, in your idea of hell Lucifer isn’t holding a trident, he’s handing you a mop… 😀 I may have suggested this before but better hope SWMBO never discovers the existence of this blog! Well, best of luck with this, I’ll be looking forward to the next chapter.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. See, now I’m just on tenterhooks waiting for the next instalment! I notice you made this decision last September, when I’d already painted most of my Paraguayan army, otherwise you could have had some of them to paint for me. I’d pay you using a similar method to the one SWMBO no doubt uses i.e. you could paint them all for nowt or you could get a clip round the lug for each one you paint. If she hasn’t clipped you round the lug, based on the content of your blog for the last year, it’s long overdue! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. As I just replied to Wundegust, if SWMBO is letting me do this then trust me she has a far more devilish plan than I do. I know there is a catch, I just don’t know what it is yet! We both know I’m the eventual loser! For all my bravado I know my place. 😉

      Liked by 3 people

  3. SWMBO “Great news, honey! There is this lad down the block who says he has an army of Space Marines to paint, and I told him you would be interested! He’s offered 10p a mini, but at a 1,000 minis, you will make a decent sum and can save away for that necklace I want!”

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Believe it or not I know a chap (old friend from school but we are definitely not friends any longer) who, to avoid having to work and to get himself on a pension decided to get as high as a kite and shoot his own leg off with a twelve gauge shotgun. He claimed he was the victim of a burglary gone wrong but then the police found the shotgun under his caravan hahaha. Dickhead. SO, instead of selling miniatures, which let’s face it my half blind dog could do a better job of, just shoot your legs off to avoid doing any work around the house!

    Nah, your minis are spectacular! I think you’ll be surprised by how many collectors there are out there who’d be willing to spend the money. I especially think your notable characters would sell well. So instead of just a cowboy try and sell Doc Holiday or the True Grit fellow. Those would sell well and at a good price because they’re iconic. Despite the world being careful with money and the cost of living always on the up there’s plenty of passionate people out there who will spend the dollars or pounds for something they love that is of good quality. I also think you could do something like commission dioramas/vignettes. Just advertise and put up some of the dioramas you’ve already made. Therefore someone could suggest “hey can you please build a diorama showing the dude from Falling Down losing his shit in McDonalds?” Haha. Things like that.

    If I ever meet SWMBO I’m going to give her a big hug and apologise to her on your behalf for the last 37 years. Haha.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Great story about the shotgun! I won’t comment too much on the eBay adventure as it will spoil the other post on the subject that I have lined up but I will say that I think you are right with what you say. There are people out there who are collector’s and people who cannot paint who will pay. As for SWMBO there are some, OK not many, OK just me who would say I’m the victim of this relationship! 😉

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Great one mate ! I had the idea when I started doing my dio’s that I would sell them ,Only problem was I’m not a sales person and never will be (lazy ) and I did no research into the market for large dust collecting articles that would take up valuable space in ones home ! ,since then I have done this research and bugger me ,surprise ,surprise no one in Australia has any desire to purchase ( something that I love )and thus clutter there already crowded abode with my shit , not now or in the future . Just to put in perspective ,she who checks my out going ‘s has just told me that in the six years I have been running this business ,I have outlaid near on … Bugger me ,more than I spent on our last trip to the UK .!! ,And incoming’s zilch ! . So I wish you success Dave, you are lucky yours are smaller and more appealing and would be a feature piece ,whilst mine would be every housewives nightmare ,unless you and other husbands were to take to take up the cudgel and do more cleaning duties !! .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Like you I don’t think there is much of a market for vignettes and dioramas but there is for just figures. Whether or not there will be an interest in the ones I do remains largely to be seen but the real objective is to get out of the house work!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Yeah mate ,unfortunately I can’t skip on the housework as I work the nine day fortnight and use that day for cleaning ! ,I certainly get brownie points so that’s great and I always expand a bit ,bu….t ,sorry a lot on how much I did before setting down to the hobby ! . Figures yeah ,I once read an article about a Dutchy who would paint you figures for you and post them back , but I would prefer to see you test the water on your vignettes ,I feel you might be surprised.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Great post, on congrats on the “new” job and your “new” manager. She’ll be cracking the whip in you once she sees the upside. Yes, there are some folks who will pay for painted minis, and I think commission work is a good way to go and your work is good enough to command a good price. And your new boss will appreciate it and positively note that on your annual performance review Dave!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Haha, hadn’t thought about my new boss, perhaps that’s the catch! Time will tell how successful or otherwise it turns out to be but a couple of people, yourself included, suggested I should give it a go so in the end I decided I would. @

      Liked by 1 person

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