Frequently Asked Questions
Last updated 24 July 2020
Please read these FAQs to avoid sending a question by email that can be answered from the information below. Our FAQs have changed to reflect the move to our new shop.
Is Fighting 15s open during the coronavirus pandemic?
Fighting 15s remains open during the pandemic: we are casting, packing and dispatching orders. To avoid contact with other people, and so protect a shielded individual at home, we have had to change how we work and the delivery services we offer.
All standard orders are being dispatched using Royal Mail’s click and drop service so we can buy postage online and avoid using a post office. No orders are using signed for or tracked delivery, because to use these services we would have to use a post office and queue. We have added courier service as a delivery option because orders sent by this method can be collected from us.
For some worldwide locations, we regret that only courier services are available. Some international post has been taking seven to 10 weeks to arrive, resulting in frustrated or anxious customers.
We have a good stock of boxes and packing materials. We will therefore only close if we run out of packing materials, or if the lockdown becomes more severe, or if postal or courier services stop.
Holy frijoles! Are those really your delivery rates to the USA?
Unfortunately, President Trump picked a fight with the Universal Postal Union. A compromise agreement means that the USA is remaining in the union, but high USPS charges for the last mile of delivery now have to be factored into international postage rates, which rose between 40 and 50% for small parcels on 1 July 2020. Large letters and letters are unaffected.
Because paints can only be sent small parcel rate, Fighting 15s has to use small parcel rates in the cart for virtually all orders. There is a tiny window in the shopping cart of 0 to 30 grammes to allow for a single pack of figures, or several sheets of paper flags to be sent standard airmail, at a low cost.
Standard airmail to the USA, however, is taking anything from 10 days to 10 weeks to arrive, depending on the situation at the international mail centre that it passes through.
Why is a courier service the only option for delivery to my country?
We are sending orders by courier service for some countries as the only viable way of offering tracked delivery during the Covid-19 pandemic. Couriers can pick up from our workshop without the need to have contact, so we do not have to wait in a queue at a post office to send a tracked item. A very simple rates system based on Parcelforce’s Value or Express 48 services has been used in the cart, but for all courier deliveries Fighting 15s will try to get the best rate for a shipment and refund any excess.
For some higher risk countries in the delivery chain, Fighting 15s regrets that no delivery options at all are available during the Covid-19 pandemic.
How old is Fighting 15s?
Fighting 15s trades using the following website addresses: fighting15s.co.uk, fighting15sshop.co.uk, gladiatorminiatures.co.uk, and fighting15s.com. These addresses were registered on 3/9/2001, 16/5/2005, 18/6/2018 and 19/5/2020 respectively, the dates of which can be confirmed independently via a service such as whois.com. Our oldest website address therefore dates back to September 2001, and we have been trading since 1 October 2001, when we launched fighting15s.co.uk.
As we have moved service provider for our shop, or acquired businesses, we have added new domains, the most recent of which is fighting15s.com. In the transition to this address, the older domains will gradually be pointed to the new shop.
In our almost 19 years of trading, we have processed more than 26,000 orders for model soldiers.
What does “in stock”mean?
The Fighting 15s shop uses live stock levels, and items that are available to buy are labelled “in stock” in the detailed description of the product. In stock means that at least three of that item are available: when an item drops to less than that, the label changes to “only x in stock”, where x is either 2 or 1. Items that drop to 0 are labelled “out of stock”.
Note that figures in our own ranges – Gladiator Miniatures, Martian Empires, Fighting 15s – are set to very high stock levels. They are cast to order, so they will not be out of stock in the shop but may still have to be made. They may therefore take seven to 28 days to make depending on workload, although Fighting 15s tries to keep most codes ready to go in small quantities.
Fighting 15s Flags are not yet set up accurately for live stock levels in the new shop, and may go out of stock. We are updating the flags to real stock levels as they are ordered. Flags that are out of stock have to be obtained from our designer, which usually takes only about a week.
A very few items are marked out of stock because new moulds, or worse, new originals, need to be made. It is not possible to buy these items.
How will Brexit affect Fighting 15s?
On the current schedule, even though the UK is now definitely going to leave the EU on 31 January 2020, orders to EU countries will not be affected until the transition period ends, currently due to happen on 31 December 2020. We currently expect no deal to be in place by the end of 2020, and accordingly will temporarily shut the shop to new orders from the EU during December 2020, reopening when we are fully able to cope with the change of tax regime.
How do I contact Fighting 15s?
Phone: Our landline number is +44 (0) 02380 970915, provided by Skype and therefore linked to our Skype account (ianiow). We pick up calls from this number via a mobile handset.
If Fighting 15s cannot be reached by phone then we may be out at the post office, casting figures, or dealing with a family emergency. Sometimes we take holiday or a bathroom break. Sometimes, by chance, that coincides with each and every time that someone calls over a period of days or weeks.
Please leave a message, making sure to leave a contact number: Fighting 15s receives a number of messages from customers who do not leave a contact number, or who leave an incomplete or indistinct number, and unfortunately we are unable to return such calls.
Paid-for orders placed in the online shop receive priority over anything else, and orders placed by phone or email take second place to them.
Please note that in the event of a return phone call being answered by a customer’s spouse who is hostile to the idea of their partner buying toy soldiers, Fighting 15s will no longer return calls to that number.
VoIP (Skype): ianiow
Fax: We do not have a fax number.
Email: Please use the contact form on the shop. I can also receive email at hq at fighting15s dot com (close up the spaces and change the punctuation!).
Paid-for orders placed in the online shop receive priority over anything else, and phone orders and emails take second place to them. None the less, emails are dealt with as quickly as possible, though a reply may be a few days in coming if Fighting 15s is busy with orders.
Please don’t be surprised if Fighting 15s does not answer emails that ask questions that are answered in the FAQs. The FAQs are intended to avoid wasting both your and our time.
In person: Our address is Green Butts, Colwell Road, Freshwater, Isle of Wight, PO40 9SL, United Kingdom. We can receive visitors only by arrangement and at the visitors’ own risk.
Does Fighting 15s accept cheques or postal orders?
No. The local branch of our bank has closed, meaning that the most accessible route for paying in cheques and postal orders has gone.
Which payment methods does Fighting 15s accept?
Fighting 15s accepts payment by PayPal and by credit and debit cards. The site offers three payment gateways: PayPal, for payment by PayPal and by credit or debit card; Stripe, for payment by credit or debit cards, Apple Pay and Google Pay; and Square, for payment by credit or debit card.
The PayPal, Stripe and Square payment gateways are third-party gateways, which means that Fighting 15s never sees customers’ card details for payments taken through them. Payment is taken automatically at the time of ordering. Fighting 15s cannot, therefore, add items to an order paid for using a third-party gateway because we do not have the necessary payment details.
All the card payment gateways should allow payment by Visa or Mastercard.
Is the Fighting 15s site secure?
The whole site should provide a secure https:// connection. This means that all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted and therefore secure. A padlock should show in the browser’s address bar.
Can I vary pack contents?
Can I specify particular variants?
No. Please do not get upset or angry that Fighting 15s will not provide specific variants.
What is Fighting 15s’ priority for dealing with orders?
Fighting 15s’ prioritizes orders as follows:
First, any order placed in the online shop for which payment is taken at the time of ordering by the payment processing gateway (PayPal or card payments). Oldest orders are dealt with first. Orders for which figures must be cast are picked to the extent that it is possible, and put to one side until our casting list is big enough to warrant a casting session. Fighting 15s will in such instances skip such orders and move onto orders that can be picked and packed immediately.
Second, any order placed in the online shop for which a customer provides card payment details by telephone. Payment is taken only at the time of dispatch; and
Third, orders placed by any other means, such as by phone, post or email. Such orders require Fighting 15s manually to create an itemized invoice and manually to take payment, significantly increasing the time required to deal with an order.
While orders of a higher priority exist, orders with a lower priority are put on hold.
Where does Fighting 15s hang out on the internet?
Fighting 15s does not always have time to look at wargames forums on the internet, but nowadays we mainly visit Lead Adventure Forum (http://leadadventureforum.com). Lead Adventure Forum is particularly good if you want to see what other gamers are doing as projects.
Fighting 15s also frequents The Wargames Website (https://www.thewargameswebsite.com/), a UK-based wargames news site.
How accurate are the foreign exchange rates?
All of Fighting 15s’ prices are set using pounds Sterling and all financial transactions are performed using pounds Sterling. For the convenience of customers in the EU, Sweden, Australia and in the USA prices can also be displayed in euros, Swedish kronor, Australian dollars and US dollars: those prices are based on the average exchange rate at the time. By definition the average exchange rate, based on the average of buying and selling rates, will always differ from the actual exchange rate for either buying or selling.
Can you explain VAT on invoices?
Fighting 15s is registered for VAT as of 1 October 2007. Our VAT number is GB 917 3277 15.
Shop prices include VAT at 20%. Although postage is VAT-exempt in the UK, postage is not the same as a delivery charge. Delivery is regarded as a service and therefore attracts VAT at 20%.
The shopping cart shows VAT-inclusive prices, where appropriate. VAT is deducted in the shopping cart for customers where appropriate provided that the correct country is chosen for delivery. The new shop may automatically be able to manage this through its geolocation software.
The VAT due on an order is shown in brackets after the VAT-inclusive total for the order in the shopping cart.
How does Fighting 15s calculate postage?
First off, please note that Fighting 15s has a delivery charge, not a postage charge. In the eyes of the UK tax authority, offering delivery is a service and therefore VAT must be added. The whole therefore becomes not just postage but a delivery charge.
Fighting 15s calculates delivery charges based on the weight of an order and for UK standard delivery uses Royal Mail rates for 1st class mail. In addition, Fighting 15s allows for the following costs: packaging materials (box, bubble wrap, Ziplok bags, packing tape) and the cost of taking orders to the Post Office (fuel and running costs of the Fighting 15s vehicle). Fighting 15s makes no allowance for the time involved in packing an order. In general, however, Fighting 15s allows £0.50 ex VAT (£0.60 inc VAT) towards packing materials and the cost of getting parcels to a Post Office.
Fighting 15s’ policy is that it should on average neither make a profit from nor lose money on delivery over the course of the accounting year.
Fighting 15s’ delivery charges are non-negotiable.
Courier charges are based on typical costs for our standard box sizes using Parcelforce’s Value (worldwide) or Express 48 (UK) services. Fighting 15s endeavours to get the best courier rate for an order at the time of dispatch and will refund excessive differences in charges.
Does Fighting 15s hold sales?
Fighting 15s does not hold sales for the reason that regular, predictable sales (for example, Black Friday, Boxing Day, January sales, sales on the weekends of particular wargames shows) devalue the business.
What happens if I have a problem with an order?
The first thing to do is email using the contact form on the site, or phone us, to resolve the problem by communicating properly and courteously. The contact page of the site provides a form for email contact and our phone number.
All customers are advised that exceptionally long delivery times may arise during the coronavirus pandemic. Delivery times of one to two weeks by first class post are not unknown in some parts of the UK at this time; international delivery times for standard airmail delivery are typically ranging from seven to an extreme of 10 weeks.
Please be patient if your order has not turned up quickly during the pandemic. The situation at different international mail centres may affect how quickly an order arrives, with mail going by one route arriving faster than mail sent by another route, accounting for highly variable delivery times to the same international destination.
Customers that pay by PayPal may choose to file a PayPal dispute. As a courtesy, however, please try to resolve a problem by email or phone first.
Ultimately, within the EU a dispute can be referred to the online dispute resolution service at https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/odr/. Any problems with an order should first be advised by phone or email; the EU’s dispute resolution service is a last resort and NOT the first thing to use.