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Could you make a business case for upcoming new kit subjects?

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#261 Tom Geiger

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 02:34 AM



Any idea how casual model sales (Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Target etc) stack up vs sales through specialist hobby shops? Volume not subject matter. 


I've always said to go to Hallmark and buy their car calendar. This is the one that Aunt Bessie will buy for her nephew who likes cars. It will have the most recognizable cars, those that the general public will be familiar with. It will be the usual Camaro, Mustang, Lambo and Ferarri mix.  There certainly won't be any Hudsons or 50s Dodges in it.

#262 Art Anderson

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 10:12 PM


Yup, that's kinda my point, but you have to have SOMETHING other than gut-instinct to base a product-development budget on, eh?

Bill (and others), unlike virtually all "Fortune 500 companies, every model company here in the US is actually rather small potatoes--and thus there really isn't much "wiggle room" in the company budget for anything like really effective market research--would that it were otherwise, but that's pretty much the story of it.


That said, it sure seems to me that the two truly active American model companies right now seem to be doing one heckuva lot pretty right.  Keep in mind that with model car kits, any manufacturer's focus has to be at least two-fold, and simultaneous at that.  There are a great many automotive subjects that would light serious fires among us out here who buy kits (wherever we buy them), but if the wholesale/retail part of the chain doesn't see them in quite that fashion--what's a manufacturer to do, hmmmm?   A prime example that comes up on this and other model car forums would be the legendary duo proposed by AMT/Ertl some 15-16 years ago, the '50 Olds 88, and the Bulletnose Studebaker.  Those excited us as model car kit consumers to no end--BUT, retailers and wholesalers literally "panned" them, for whatever reasons--needless to say, neither went any farther out in Dyersville (although Revell did give us the Olds 88 Club Coupe about a year and a half ago.


I would submit, that being the rather niche market that model car kits go to, it really does take a product manager with some real savvy as to what will fly (figuratively speaking!) out there in Model Car Land.   And further, that "savvy" brand manager does do pretty well at gauging the relative desirability of any one possible model car subject, because if he/she doesn't, at the very least there will be a replacement in that office pretty quickly.  I think, for example that I can now safely say that Moebius' Dave Metzner and Frank Winspur didn't just decide out of the clear blue sky to just go and tool up a '53 Hudson Hornet and a '55 Chrysler C300--rather they asked a relatively small group of knowledgeable model car builders/enthusiasts (who for the most part are pretty well known around the hobby, in one capacity or another) each to come up with a short list of potential subjects, giving along with that their reasons why they felt that "such and such" would be a great subject if kitted.  Apparently that approach worked, given the success of both kits, along with their follow-on versions.  And, of course, they (along with Revell) are, by sheer necessity,  catering to the market as it exists, not as they hope it might become.  If one really thinks about this, isn't that pretty much the case with the vast majority of consumer products?



#263 Robberbaron


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Posted 23 June 2014 - 06:48 PM

Thank you for the insight, Art.

#264 S. Svendsen

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 12:48 AM

I've been learning recently that licensing is playing a major role in what gets tooled also. Some car companies are very stringent in who gets to use their license. There are subjects out there that would probably sell well but either licensing can't be obtained or is cost prohibitive.

#265 sjordan2


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Posted 10 July 2014 - 10:02 AM

Okay, this is a shot in the dark since Revell's Ed Sexton said he doesn't see large-scale kits in Revell's future (that was about the same time as the 1/12 Mustang came out). But here's a thought.


Of interest especially to international modelers, the Ferrari 275 GTB berlinetta is one of the most admired cars of all time. But the 1/12 kit originally tooled by Renwal and later boxed by Revell is one of the biggest model kit jokes of all time (the horror, the horror).


It's time for a new 1/12 tooling with modern technology to make this car, which can be issued in at least 3 separate versions:


• Original 275 GTB berlinetta

• Next-generation 275 GTB/4 competizione with minor body, engine and mechanical adaptations, plus racing livery

• 275 GTB NART spyder, one of the most beautiful roadsters ever made.


A parts kit with a choice of 3 wheels could be offered for all of them:


• Standard Campagnolo alloys

• Borrani wire wheels such as those Revell issued on their 1/12 diecasts of the 250 GTO and Mercedes 300 SLR Uhlenhaut coupe.

• Rudge knockoffs


In the past couple of years, Revell of Germany has been reissuing some 1/16 kits of interest to the international market (Rolls PII Continental, VW Kafer bug), plus a single-store reissue of the 1/8 E-Type Jag, and I think a new 1/12 275 GTB would make a profit.

Edited by sjordan2, 10 July 2014 - 11:03 AM.