Frequently Asked Questions
Last updated 10 August 2022
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 and during UK lockdowns: we are casting, packing and dispatching orders. To avoid contact with other people, and so protect a vulnerable individual at home, we changed how we work and the delivery services we offer. None the less we have now all had Covid once, resulting in a three-week shutdown.
We have a good stock of boxes and packing materials. We will therefore only close if we run out of packing materials, or lockdown rules become more severe, if we ourselves are ill, or if postal or courier services stop.
I can’t complete a payment transaction in the cart. How may I place my order?
The commonest reason for any customer being unable to complete a payment in the shop is security software on the user’s computer. We’ve had reports that AdBlock may stop PayPal from completing, for example, and one version of Chrome came out that inconveniently blocked payments owing to a security feature. If payment is blocked in checkout, keep an eye out for small alert notices in the browser or toolbar of your computer. Sometimes the links to card issuers or payment processors may simply be down.
If you have repeated problems, or the whole technology thing is beyond you, please place your order using the Telephone Payment option in the shopping cart. This will log your order in the system. You can then email to have a PayPal request sent, or a Stripe link sent to pay by credit card, or even just telephone with your payment details.
I’ve been a customer for years. Why can’t I log in with my account details?
The Fighting 15s shop moved to a new ecommerce provider – both software and host – in June 2020. No account details were carried over, so it is not possible to log in with details from the old shop. Although we appreciate that this is an inconvenience, it did allow us to clear the shop database of a number of customers who bought ranges that we used to represent but no longer sell.
Holy frijoles! Are those really your delivery rates to the USA?
Unfortunately, Donald 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 from 40 to 50% for small parcels on 1 July 2020. Large letters and letters are unaffected. The rise has nothing to do with Brexit, or the UK’s or the EU’s new customs systems: it was purely caused by the actions of the former US president.
Fighting 15s has to use small parcel rates in the cart for virtually all orders. However, we have set paint and larger figures to be bulky items as a shipping class, and this allows smaller orders of figures to be sent using the far more reasonable large letter rates to the USA. Small orders of flags are sent by letter rate mail.
Why is the shop telling me that my email address is invalid?
The most likely reason is that your email address has been rightly or wrongly associated with spam. Our shop security software blocks such addresses, and they become invalid for the purposes of the shop. Most of the time, owners of email addresses will be completely unaware that their email addresses are associated with spam. This may happen through spoofing. A customer’s email address may also have been subject to a data breach: check at haveibeenpwned.com. You may need to look at changing the password for an affected email account.
If you cannot order or set up an account, please contact us to place an order and we will sort it out manually.
Why haven’t I received emails about my order or enquiry?
The Fighting 15s shop automatically sends out a confirmatory email when an order is placed, and an email when an order is marked as completed. There are two reasons why these may not be received:
First, a customer has made a mistake in typing their email address. This happens quite often. Sometimes we are able to rectify this in the shop if another version of the email is shown in, say, confirmation from PayPal about the order.
Second, emails from the shop are blocked by a customer’s internet service provider (ISP) or email program. Unfortunately, a number of commercially important emails are simply blocked by spam filters. We have particular issues with sending email to customers who use AOL, Hotmail, or T-Online: these issues will also affect a customer’s ability to reset a password, because doing so relies on an automatic email from the shop being accepted by the ISP.
Fighting 15s receives a lot of emails each day. Sometimes it takes a day or so to get around to dealing with each and every enquiry we receive, and sometimes we will accidentally overlook one, especially if the weekend, holiday or illness has intervened. If we have been really ill, which has happened twice in 2022, we may not catch up with each and every email. Our priority as always is fulfilling paid-for orders from customers above everything else: emails come second.
Sometimes, of course, our replies to emails are bounced as spam by a customer’s ISP or email program.
How old is Fighting 15s?
Fighting 15s trades using the following website addresses: fighting15s.co.uk, fighting15sshop.co.uk, gladiatorminiatures.co.uk, martianempires.com and fighting15s.com. These addresses were registered on 3/9/2001, 16/5/2005, 18/6/2018, 25/8/2004 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 20 years of trading, we have processed more than 27,000 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. E-commerce law by default only requires distance sellers to provide the goods within 28 days.
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 flag codes 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.
What are the effects of Brexit and EU customs law?
On 1 January 2021, the UK introduced a new customs regime for incoming parcels that completely eliminates the £15 low-value consignment relief, and therefore all incoming shipments to the UK will be charged VAT. The EU introduced a similar scheme on 1 July 2021, having postponed its introduction from 1 January 2021 because of the pandemic, and removed the 22 euro threshold for tax relief on imports.
VAT is now deducted in the Fighting 15s shop for EU customers, once the customer’s country is entered in the estimated shipping section of the cart. Additionally, geolocation software in the shop may automatically identify a customer’s country without this being necessary.
VAT, however, is now due on entry of an order into an EU country and according to our Ts&Cs the customer agrees to pay it and any associated handling charge and extra duties to the delivery service before receiving their order. Please note that customers would ordinarily pay VAT on items from Fighting 15s, it’s just the point at which it is charged and paid has changed. Customers may choose to refuse the order, but will become liable for the delivery charge as stated in Fighting 15s Ts&Cs.
Since we switched to using Royal Mail’s Click and Drop service, all non-UK parcels have had barcoded customs information on them as part of the labelling process.
Please note that for orders outside the UK, including the EU from 1 January 2021, we will only be able to deduct tax if we are able to get proof of posting confirmation for an order (it’s a legal requirement from HMRC).
Some EU countries’ mail services charge excessively high VAT collection fees – as high as 24 euros a parcel for The Netherlands, for example. This makes orders from those countries pretty much unviable. The mechanism to avoid tax payment on delivery, the EU’s IOSS (Import One-Stop Shop) for payment of VAT at the point of sale is, unfortunately, not financially viable because of its requirement for non-EU businesses to appoint an EU-based fiscal representative, the cost of which is typically £2,000 a year. Even the cheapest option available to us would add £20 to each and every order to the EU. In effect the new tax rules have shut small businesses out of EU countries that have high VAT collection fees, Other EU countries, including Germany, Sweden and Finland, have mail services that charge low or modest VAT collection fees of around 7 euros or less, and we are happy to supply them.
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 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. We can also receive email via the email link in the top blue bar of the shop, visible in desktop browsers.
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. Sometimes our replies to emails are blocked by the customer’s ISP’s spam filters.
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. Our business account does not have the facility to scan cheques to pay them in.
Which payment methods does Fighting 15s accept?
Fighting 15s accepts payment by PayPal and by credit and debit cards. The site offers two payment gateways: PayPal, for payment by PayPal and by credit or debit card; and Stripe, for payment by credit or debit cards, Apple Pay and Google Pay. We disabled the Square payment option in the shop on 8 November 2021: it causes real accountancy headaches in the way fees are charged, paid and reconciled.
PayPal and Stripe are third-party payment 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 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.
Fighting 15s regrets that potential customers who live outside the UK and do not have a payment card (credit or debit) or PayPal cannot order from us. UK customers may always, by prior arrangement, send cash (pounds Sterling) in an envelope at their own risk – but cash is almost useless to us nowadays. Delivery and total order costs may be estimated using the shopping cart. We will not accept direct bank transfers because of the potential cost of receiving one if the customer does not pay the associated charges in full.
Do you have paper lists of your products?
Fighting 15s has not produced paper lists of its ranges since 2012: the volume of work we had as agent for AB and Eureka Miniatures meant it was not possible to keep paper lists up to date or to deal with traditional mail order. However, since downscaling to Gladiator Miniatures and the Fighting 15s ranges, it is now possible to produce these lists again, and we are working on making our entire catalogue available as traditional paper lists.
The following lists are currently available:
Gladiator Miniatures 15mm: https://fighting15s.com/product/gladiator-miniatures-15mm-product-list/?v=79cba1185463
Although it is possible to order by post using the lists, please note that Fighting 15s cannot take payment by cheque or postal order: we can only take payment by card. Please phone through payment details after mailing your order.
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. Most moulds are not set up to produce specific variants in quantity.
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 and bulk of an order and for UK standard delivery uses current Royal Mail rates. Fighting 15s does not charge delivery based on percentages of order value: this is a very unfair approach that unduly penalises customers.
In addition, Fighting 15s allows for the following costs: packaging materials (box, bubble wrap, gripseal bags, packing tape), label printing (stamps and addresses), fixed financial charges, and either the collection charge from Royal Mail or the cost of taking a parcel to a post office or post box (business vehicle running costs). Fighting 15s makes no allowance for the time involved in packing an order. Our fixed costs per order are currently set at £2.
The delivery charges for light, non-bulky orders up to 199g are calculated using Royal Mail’s large letter rates; the delivery charges for heavier or bulky orders, including paints and bigger wargames figures, are calculated using Royal Mail’s small parcel rates. Paint will not fit in large letter-sized packaging: it must be sent using small parcel packaging.
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.
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.
Does Fighting 15s offer discounts?
At present, Fighting 15s has no discount codes or coupons available. We have plenty of work and orders, our products are reasonably priced, and we feel no need to offer discounts.
Please be aware that there are a number of voucher sites on the internet that purport to offer discount codes for Fighting 15s. They are entirely fraudulent or at best misleading. If we do provide a discount code, it is a unique code given by us to the customer: it will never be widely available on the internet.
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.
Customers are reminded that according to our Ts&Cs, and in line with UK and EU ecommerce laws, they have to pay all the costs associated with returning an unwanted order or part of that order: those costs include all postage charges and, for customers outside the UK, customs fees.