Evading the Australia Tax: Buying Warhammer from the UK

Postage.optEver since Games Workshop cracked down on independent UK sellers shipping Warhammer products to Australia, I’ve been forced to get my models and books locally at a much increased cost. A few months ago, however, I found a company that can still ship UK products to Australia. And at good prices too. I tried out this company (to see if they were legit!), and what followed was an epic saga of cross-continental postage (with a happy ending)…

Background

Australia has always had much higher prices on a lot of things than the rest of the world, and Warhammer is certainly no exception. As of writing, a standard box of 10 Space Marines costs us AU$62, but only £23 in the UK, which is currently the equivalent of AU$38. That’s a 63% mark up! US prices, it turns out, are comparable to the UK.

In the past it has been possible for Australians to purchase from independent UK suppliers, and ship to Australia under very favourable terms. For example, I bought the Island of Blood set for the equivalent of AU$92 from Firestorm Games, when it was selling in Australia for AU$165: and the shipping was free.

Naturally, Games Workshop didn’t like this, and has launched an embargo. Independent retailers in the UK were banned from shipping Games Workshop products outside the EU. The golden age was over.

Enter Oz Hammer

A small company called Oz Hammer decided to do something about this. Instead of buying directly from Games Workshop, they buy from independent retailers (at, presumably, 20% off retail price as is common). They then sell the products to you for normal UK retail prices, plus shipping. The price disparity is so huge between Australia and the UK, that this actually makes fiscal sense.

So what are the savings? I bought a Tau Empire codex (stupid thing to ship as hardcover books are heavy), and got quoted on that plus a Broadside battlesuit. Based on current prices and exchange rates:

Codex:

  • Aus: $85; at an independent (-20%): $68
  • UK: £30, shipping: £10.50, total in AU$: $67

Codex + Broadside:

  • Aus: $159, at an independent (-20%): $127
  • UK: £60, shipping: £13.50, total in AU$: $121

So… big saving over Games Workshop retail, very minor saving over independent Australian retailers. However, if you’re buying multiple items (and not hardcover books), then the savings do stack up (and the postage becomes relatively less of an issue).

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How long does it take?

It took a couple of days until shipping, and then the package took 3 days to post. So, really very quick!

Sort of.

What do you mean, sort of?

Well… I made a slight… mistake.

What kind of mistake?

Er… incorrect address? I accidentally gave Oz Hammer an address of, basically:

“Level 3 Fake St”

instead of:

“Level 3, 123 Fake St”.

…oops.

Sooo?

After searching frantically searching to see if the package was a post office here, I was told that it was likely returned to sender.

That’s right. Returned to sender. From Australia. To the UK. The mail system is that awesome.

81 days after the package was originally shipped, it ended up back at Oz Hammer in the UK. I paid postage again, and three days after that it was finally in my hands.

I am the proud owner of the most well-posted Tau Empire book in the world.

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And only a tiny dent on the bottom-right! Did I mention that posting hardcover books is a bad idea?

Verdict?

After all that, I can say a few things:

  • Oz Hammer is legit, and provides good service
  • If you’re ordering more than one Warhammer item, and it’s just models or something else light, Oz Hammer is a good choice
  • If you’re ordering only one item, or a heavy item, go for an Australian independent retailer
  • Never buy direct from Australian Games Workshop because you will get massively ripped off
  • If a Space Marine book removed as many pieces of cool equipment as this Tau book did, there would be riots in the streets 🙁
DriveThruRPG.com

About Duncan

Ellisthion's all about 5E D&D at the moment, but has at times has played every edition from 1E AD&D through to 5E, plus Star Wars: Saga Edition, Paranoia, and more. He DMs a lot, and tends to make overly-complicated campaigns and characters.
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