What is the skinny on model molding?

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Last night as I was at the hobby shop looking at all the kits on the wall and noticing that half or more seemed to be re-issues a question came to mind. When for instance Revell ramped up to mold the 50 Oldmobubble:o) what do they do to research and decide which car they will make? The number one question that came to mind though is do model companies expect to recover their money from the first run of kits? Is this why I see so many re-issues because the kit hasn't paid it's self off so to speak? I'm sure there are kits on the wall that are so successful that they get re-issued just because they are so popular. can ya'll please shedd some light on this subject for me

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Posted · Report post

Last night as I was at the hobby shop looking at all the kits on the wall and noticing that half or more seemed to be re-issues a question came to mind. When for instance Revell ramped up to mold the 50 Oldmobubble:o) what do they do to research and decide which car they will make? The number one question that came to mind though is do model companies expect to recover their money from the first run of kits?

Ideally, Yes.

Is this why I see so many re-issues because the kit hasn't paid it's self off so to speak?

Yes, for many kits, but there is also demand to consider...

I'm sure there are kits on the wall that are so successful that they get re-issued just because they are so popular.

...which you just mentioned. Kits like the Dukes of Hazzard '69 Charger will sell forever, no matter how many times it's reissued, even though the kit itself is rather poor (I'm being kind here).

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Well, speaking about the 50 Oldsmobile in particular it was mainly because the late Bill Lastovich at Revell pushed for it for at least 10 years! It was his pet project.

I really don't know what it takes to amortize the cost of new tooling these days. But you're more likely to see a reissue of a kit that's sold well than you are of one that didn't pan out and hasn't amortized its cost yet. You can't get blood from a stone. Use the popular reissues to make the money, which is then invested into new tooling. If you bring out a dud, you chalk it up to experience, try to learn some lessons from it, and move on. As to who makes the decision as to what to make, it really comes down to whoever is the CC&BW at the company. The other employees pitch their ideas and they have meetings on potential subjects, but it ends up being one man's (or woman's) decision, and that's whoever holds the purse strings...

Edited by Brett Barrow

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Posted (edited) · Report post

And what Brett Barrow said holds true for the manufacturing business in general, whether it's model cars, dinnerware or 1:1 flathead engine parts.

Which reminds me, as the whole nostalgia thing gets into the picture, a kit that didn't do particularly well the first time out might be a hit now...in which case it's almost like found money, as there's no development and tooling cost to pony-up.

Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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That's a great question. I really love to know the answer to both questions.

Every year there are new releases that I am thrilled about, and others that have me scratching ,my head.

I have to say that the 50 Olds wes a head scratcher for me personally. The Mustang notchback ? Well I've always thought that was a major gap and I was thrilled.

Though I have to believe that it takes a few released to get the return on investment on a new tooling, especially now in the day of huge licensing fees.

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And what Brett Barrow said holds true for the manufacturing business in general, whether it's model cars, dinnerware or 1:1 flathead engine parts.

Which reminds me, as the whole nostalgia thing gets into the picture, a kit that didn't do particularly well the first time out might be a hit now...in which case it's almost like found money, as there's no development and tooling cost to pony-up.

Bill, in more cases than one might imagine, the reissue of an older tool which didn't do particularly well when first released has, upon latter day reissues,generated some very nice sales. Two such kits that come to mind are the AMT '53 Studebaker Commander, and the Studebaker Avanti. I was doing the plastic model kit buying for a very large(for the times) hobby shop here when both of those kits hit the shelves. Both sold only so-so in the 1960's (I was told that by a now-deceased exec at AMT Corporation in the late 70's), and did poorly in their 1970's reissues--enough so that he questioned whether either one would ever be produced again. Of course, both kits came out at the point in time where Studebaker was very much like an old horse, wandering around, looking for a comfortable place to lay down and die. That didn't help things back when it was kids from perhaps 10 or 11 to perhaps 16 or so who were the primary market for model car kits. They were much more enamored with anything Bowtie, certainly GTO's, Mustangs, Corvettes and the like then. Strange as it may seem, even Mopar subjects tended to gather a bit of dust on store shelves, compared to their Ford and GM competition, and AMC's--fuggedaboudit back in the 60's. Some of us were there, working at some level of the hobby industry, we saw it happen.

Fast forward to today--both of these subjects likely have surpassed, finally, the numbers necessary to have paid back the tooling costs (I would bet that AMT wrote both sets of tooling off at a loss, for tax purposes years ago--but had the wisdom to pump some cosmoline into the tooling to preserve it).

Reissues of older kits probably are not cash cows, given that production runs of older tooling as reissues almost never generate anywhere the number of sales as a highly anticipated, new-to-the-marketplace subject. But, I have been told that the costs to reissue an older kit are but a fraction of the upfront costs for a new model kit. More than likely at least a bit of tooling rehabilitation, and of course, the requisite setup costs incurred whenever a set of tools gets reloaded back into the injection molder. I would be fairly certain, for example, that such is part of the business plan at Round2, and likewise, to a lesser percentage at Revell, even the European and Japanese brands. With that in mind, I have to wonder just what reissues will some of the companies with hundreds, if not thousands of old model kit tooling in their "libraries" spring on us these next few years.

Art

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Posted · Report post

Black mold is bad.

Wear a mask when cleaning.

LOL, sorry couldn't resist.

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Wow, another fasinating read Art. I bought BOTH the Auroura and the AMT Studebaker Avanti kits back when both were almost new on the shelves . Then too, I also bought the 53 Studebaker as well. I've always admired the "sprit " at Bonneville every year and Studebaker cars were MAJOR players in the sport . I do remember going back and buying a second 1953 Studebaker to do a stock version as I wanted to have both versions . The Avanti soon beame a 1964 ( Late production ) as I wanted the squared headlamps . The Auroura was much more shall we say "fidly" in it's construction and the AMT went together far better .

As for other Re-issues that I've not seen in several years , I'm curious as to weither the tooling even still exists . One such example is the old Annual/ Craftsman 1959 Mercury Montclair convertable . I know this kit saw a re- issue in the middle 1970's and then, poof , gone .

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