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Luc Janssens

The weekend modelers,

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Hi all,
 
The surface of this topic has been touched in several other treads, but would like, with the help of you guys, to define the term "weekend modeler" and what they typically shop for.
 
Now before some of you say, stop this nonsense and build a model, yes please do ?
 
But all kidding aside, if weekend modelers are responsible for up to 90% of model kit sales (that is a lot of buying power), it influences the decisions made by the spin doctors behind those pearly gates ?of model kit Walhalla (industry) on what should be released.
 
Therefore, please let us in a civilized non aggravated way brainstorm on this...
 
So, if you stop by your favorite well-stocked Hobby Lobby, Hobby Town USA, Local Hobby shop, looking for a new addition to your collection or picking up some paint, glue or other model supplies,  do you notice by looking at the shelves or observing / talking with people who buy/sell model kits what the non-lunatic fringe buyer purchases or is interested in?
  • Does it look like they always buy the same (type of) kit, similar subject matter,  emptying the shelves of that product in the store.
  • Do they seem loyal to a specific brand?
  • Do they shop in a certain price bracket?
  • Do they pass on certain (type of) kits?
  • Who is that typical non-lunatic fringe buyer, is it a guy, what age, gearhead or office guy, etc....or is it still a mom buying a present for little Johnny?

Not an easy task to find out, but maybe some of you noticed, the behavior of this special kind of breed of model kit builders, if not get yourself a trench coat, hat, a magnifying glass and find out, Ha!  :D

book3.png
 
Thanks, and for later enjoy the end of the year celebrations!
 
Cheers
Luc
Edited by Luc Janssens
grammar and some editing.

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My nearest local shop looks like this.

-expensive American imported kits

-expensive Japanese imported kits

-minimum car kits

-lots of tanks

-lots of planes

-lots if RC vehicles 

-some trains and boats

-steady rise in Gunpla with affordable prices when everything else is getting more expensive. 

 

That sums up my nearest dedicated hobby shop. 

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I'm not sure I understand what you are saying or asking for.

Are you asking what the weekend modelers buy when we spy them at a local hobby shop?

Are you asking what we (I) buy in my local well stocked hobby shop?

Are you asking what type of models that local hobby shop carries?

Edited by peteski

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39 minutes ago, peteski said:

I'm not sure I understand what you are saying or asking for.

Are you asking what the weekend modelers buy when we spy them at a local hobby shop?

Are you asking what we (I) buy in my local well stocked hobby shop?

Are you asking what type of models that local hobby shop carries?

Thanks for bringing this to my attention, I edited the OP do hope it's better now and if not please say so!

Luc

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Luc, do you have too much time on your hands?  LOL.  

Why not ask those with real data - the buyers for the big-box chains (Hobby Lobby, Michaels, etc.), local hobby shops, and the online distributors (Stevens, Megahobby, Tower, etc.).  They crunch those numbers daily and they KNOW.

Asking consumers who might be in a store for a few minutes a week or a month to analyze what they observe of other consumers doesn't seem likely to produce any useful empirical data.

Not scolding, just wondering. You are usually very methodical and focused. I enjoy reading your threads and the responses you elicit.  But, unless I totally missed it (which is 27.8% possible), this inquiry seems oddly vague and very un-Luc-like.

?? 

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I go to a hobby shop about once every two months, maybe (Hobby Town or B and B Hobbies in Spokane). I go to Hobby Lobby about three times a year. I have actually never seen another person buying a model. Very rarely somebody might be looking at them. They must sell, though; Hobby Lobby devotes a large amount of aisle space for them. 

Maybe I will just hang out in Hobby Lobby and spy on the aisles next time - but I would probably get reported by some Karens and asked to leave the premises.

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Well to start out , I am retired and with this pandemic my weekends are 7 days long. My second point is stop talking about my Mama .

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2 hours ago, Danno said:

Luc, do you have too much time on your hands?  LOL.  

Why not ask those with real data - the buyers for the big-box chains (Hobby Lobby, Michaels, etc.), local hobby shops, and the online distributors (Stevens, Megahobby, Tower, etc.).  They crunch those numbers daily and they KNOW.

Asking consumers who might be in a store for a few minutes a week or a month to analyze what they observe of other consumers doesn't seem likely to produce any useful empirical data.

Not scolding, just wondering. You are usually very methodical and focused. I enjoy reading your threads and the responses you elicit.  But, unless I totally missed it (which is 27.8% possible), this inquiry seems oddly vague and very un-Luc-like.

?? 

Yes and no.

Yes I'm having a week off, no I'm working the honey do list, but in the past a few guys who are/were in retail posted here, so kinda hoping they will chip in.

And yes I'm not in top condition, too many worries, 2020 was a year to forget on too many levels and '21 doesn't look to bright either, but how unlikely it may seem for some, this board keeps me sane, my escape.

?

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8 hours ago, Luc Janssens said:
Who is that typical non-lunatic fringe buyer, is it a guy, what age, gearhead or office guy, etc....or is it still a mom buying a present for little Johnny?

Very cool subject. I'll play along.

My model club meets at a local Hobby Town USA. And yes it is rather like having the AA meeting at Joe's Pub. But it's given me a lot of time to talk to customers in the aisles, which I have always enjoyed where ever I shopped for kits. 

I have found that 80% of fringe buyers are age 40+ that built as kids and have had some sort of life change (health issue, divorce, unemployed, retired, empty nester, etc.) that are now looking to fill the time with something that brought them happiness in the past. If you seem to be involved in the hobby, they usually have lots of questions. I enjoy this part. They usually remember the good kits and the garbage kits, so they might pass on a Revell kit if they built a Revel tri-five as a kid. So they are usually looking for opinions on the kits they are interested in. They aren't all that concerrned with a $30 price tag. They buy the cars they remember from the past in 1:1 or 1/24 form. They want dads old daily driver or their first ride. 

I haven't seen very many parents trying to get their kid involved. If they are, it isn't car models. If you're wondering if I'm that chatty guy from your hobby store, yeah, I probably am. ?

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A lot of us here laugh at a reissue kit like the AMT '63 Corvette, but Hobby Lobby is still moving a lot of them.  Someone is buying them!  Probably the longest run of any of the Round 2 items, it's one of their early ones and it's still going strong.  I don't agree with a lot of peoples' assessment of that kit, I think it's pretty good if on the simple side.

One guy who I used to know who owned and operated a hobby shop told me his big seller was the AMT '64 Impala.  This was back in the Nineties.  He said that no matter how many he ordered, he'd always get only about half as many as he wanted (even if he ordered three times as many as he really wanted!).  He'd put them on the shelf, and within a couple of days they were gone.  He knew some people had bought several copies of that kit, though not more than one at a time.  It was just a popular kit.  The AMT '66 Mustang coupe was another one.  I know a guy who used to buy collections from casual builders.  There were a handful of kits he could count on getting at least one of in any collection...the Impala, the Mustang coupe, the Monogram flip-front '66 Chevelle, Monogram '29 Ford roadster pickup, and a couple of others.

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I used to be a "weekend modeler", but I thought I was doing alright at the time! I could go to WalMart, get a kit for $10 and a can of Boyd's paint, tube of glue, and off I'd go. As long as the kit was easy to build and my paint turned out okay, I was happy. I didn't know anything about the history of any of the brands, or the difference between a good kit and an AMT one..... (that's a joke! :D). When I discovered this forum, however, I quickly learned that I needed to forget most of what I thought I knew. I started over learning to build........

I bet that most of the weekend builders don't even know about this forum and the wealth of knowledge it is... maybe next time one of you are chatting with folks at the hobby store, you should tell them about MCM's site! I know that I wish there was a modeling forum back then, my builds would have been so much better than they were.......

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I have a Hobby Lobby in my town of Salem and a local hobby store probably within a 5 miles of it. I hit them at least every other week. For awhile, price hindered my purchases. Now that I finally have disposable income, if I like the subject, I buy it. When I frequented the Portland area, I swung by Tammie's Hobbies every chance I got. Fortunately, I am at the point where I have 95% of the subjects I want to build. The remaining 5% are original issues that are $50 and up. With more kits than time, it is hard to justify it. When I am at HL there usually one other grayhair perusing the kits. When I am at the LHS there are usually 2-3 other customers but they are there for something else. At HL the shelves are usually well stocked, when they have kits on sale, about every other slot is empty. The LHS is well stocked with a good variety. I have learned to overlook the markup because it is still cheaper than adding shipping to any mail order place. Plus I like to support my local community. Where I am, kits are obviously selling.

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On 12/30/2020 at 5:36 AM, Luc Janssens said:
 
 
 
So, if you stop by your favorite well-stocked Hobby Lobby, Hobby Town USA, Local Hobby shop, looking for a new addition to your collection or picking up some paint, glue or other model supplies,  do you notice by looking at the shelves or observing / talking with people who buy/sell model kits what the non-lunatic fringe buyer purchases or is interested in?
  • Does it look like they always buy the same (type of) kit, similar subject matter,  emptying the shelves of that product in the store.
  • Do they seem loyal to a specific brand?
  • Do they shop in a certain price bracket?
  • Do they pass on certain (type of) kits?
  • Who is that typical non-lunatic fringe buyer, is it a guy, what age, gearhead or office guy, etc....or is it still a mom buying a present for little Johnny?

This town lost its only real hobby shop late in 2019,and all that's left is the Michael's store, which has little in the way of plastic kits. The next nearest real store is an hour away.

I was a fairly regular visitor to the real shop, perhaps 8-10 visits a year, sometimes many more, sometimes less. I talked to anyone and everyone while there (have to say, that is something that doesn't happen much at the bigger hobby shops, in my experience).

The shop owner became a friend, and he was very up-to-date on what sells, what piques interest and where the current trends were, in this town at least.

He carried a LOT of military, maybe because that was his own primary interest, and the shelves always seemed to be rotated as far as stock goes. I never asked how these guys felt about prices, but based on his shelves, it wasn't a big issue for him.

American cars sold ok for him, and he did tell me a few times that those buyers were pretty much all in my category - gearheads, car guys, and nostalgia buyers. Most of them were budget shoppers, in his opinion, and would go somewhere else to save a buck or two. I genuinely felt embarrassed when he told me this... I know a lot of those guys.

Import cars did ok for him, too, as did dedicated race cars like Rally, or F1, but he didn't stock a lot of those, due to stocking costs. He was quick to tell you that he could order in just about anything and those buyers seemed happy with that. A MUCH smaller group, those buyers. Price didn't seem to be much of an issue. A younger group than the domestic buyers.

He told me that most domestic car kit buyers stuck mainly to domestics, but a few like me at least would look at imports. Most of his import and race car buyers stuck to that genre only. Military buyers, he said, just walked past cars and trucks. They did spend time in his electric train section, but most didn't buy.

The trains sold VERY well, but to  much smaller group, and they didn't seem to care anything about price. I'm thinking a much more affluent buyer, probably in the close-to-retirement age.

Sci-Fi and related sold well for him, but I never paid much attention to what he carried. That aisle always seemed to have someone in it whenever I visited.

He said many times that the Sci-Fi buyers usually started as young kids with their parents. Some were still coming back well into their adult lives.

His shop was off the beaten path, and that may have been a factor in most of the above.

At one time, I was seriously considering buying him out when he retired, and quizzed him  on his business model, but it just seemed to hit-or-miss to me... :(

 

 

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I think the term casual modeler would be more descriptive.

Don't think much can be observed in the stores because hobby shops are nearly gone. And hobby lobby is closest to a true hobby shop. The last time I was in micheals that had gotten rid of their kits,

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