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Upcoming New release kits & question

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I work at a small hobby shop in iowa and we are starting to see a real growth in car modeling recently and I'm just wondering if you guys could take a second and give me some feedback on what models you are excited to see coming out so we can possibly stock them. We carry mainly Revell and AMT but also have some polar lights and moebius kits. Wondering if there is some other manufacturers kits you really like that might not be one of these more we'll known brands.


My other question is that we are also getting into some detailed parts and accessories. Pin stripping tape, a few photo etched detailing parts, some flocking, and a few other things like fuzzy dice etc. I'm just wondering what detailed parts you guys use the most and if there are certain brands that you prefer over others.


We have 2 modeling clubs that now meet in our shop as well so I'll be interested to see what your feedback is compared to their feedback on these questions. Most of the guys are interested in car modeling but we do have some aircraft and armor guys as well. It's harder to stock all the accessories for those categories so mainly focusing on car detail stuff.


Thanks for your feedback. It's a real help.

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Model cars go through phases. I'd suggest you stock a car model magazine (Scale Auto or Model Car) and browse them to see what kits people are building and talking about. There are also a lot of online forums - both magazines I mentioned have them - where you can take the pulse of the hobby.


Subjects that are almost always "in" are:

  • 60s-70s muscle cars (the new Revell 70 Cuda kit should be hot)
  • classic hot rods (32 Fords, 50s Mercurys and Oldsmobiles).
  • any Corvette, Mustang or Camaro

Right now nostalgia kits are big: Tom Daniels show-rods and Deal's Wheels cartoon cars


Beyond Revell/AMT, you want to look at Tamiya and Fujimi. Subjects that are always popular:

  • any Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini
  • F1 racing cars

I'd suggest you concentrate on new releases; once a kit is out for a while it gets into the discounted kit channels and no one will want to pay retail prices when they can get it for 30% off from their favorite vendor at a model show - you want to catch buyers when the kit first comes out and there is lots of excitement around it.


My 2 cents...


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Don's points are good. I'd like to add a few more, and possibly an idea or two that the OP didn't request in his original post.


The one kit(s) that has more than a few modelers abuzz is the Ford Pickup trucks that will be released by Moebius this year.




There will reportedly be five versions (eventually) with the Model King distributing one of the five. The test shots look really good.


Obviously any "brick and mortar" store is going to have a tough go against the interweb.


I would highly suggest you consider offering building classes. The store you work for has to offer a service you can't receive on the internet: hands-on training.


Offer it for adults and especially kids. There has to be a few experienced modelers in your area. Approach them and see if they would be interested in a offering a Saturday seminar.


The most important push would be getting the kids interested. Unfortunately, the majority of the car kits being released only appeal to those 35 and up in age. Affordable current kits are few and far between.


I don't know of many kids that want to build a '36 Ford. I believe the kids would identify more with the cars they might race in the video games like Gran Turismo, etc.


On the subject of detailing parts: you are really going to have a tough go on that one as most of those are "cottage businesses" and they have their own web sales. Most won't give you that great of a discount to make it worthwhile to bring their product in.


Scratchbuilding supplies, weathering pigments, washes and various paints would be a solid choice.


Maybe an airbrushing seminar would be good too. Big difference between finishing a Sherman Tank and a 2013 Mustang.


I hope your shop can make a go of it...



Edited by kptucker
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Thanks for the feedback guys. Yea we have been open since 1954 so we've been around a long time. Plastic modeling used to be one of the biggest sellers and then it just sort of tailed off once video games came along but lately it seems all the 35-55 year old guys that use to build are all of the sudden getting back into the hobby. It's great really.


We do have those magazines mentioned so I'll make sure to check em out to see what's hot.

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Hi Matt,


I have a bit more time to think and type - I'm sitting here waiting for the snow to stop before I pull out the snow blower :(


Like I said, new releases and re-releases of kits that have been out of production for a long time are where the excitement is. Kits from the 1970s are popular with us old-timers who remember building them when we were kids.


One thing that makes a kit popular is high parts count; a 1/25 car kit with 100+ parts is usually a sign that the kit maker went all out on designing the kit. Some of the old kits with lots of parts like the Johan Turbine car and the IMC Ford GT cars and Fujimi Enthusiast Porsches are still sought after. When it comes to foreign made kits, kits with engines tend to be more popular than those without (for a lot of car modelers building the engine is their favorite part).


I think there are differences between the modelers who buy American kits/subjects vs. foreign kits/subjects; those with a focus on American kits tend to buy a lot of kits of different subjects and knock them out pretty quickly, while the guys buying foreign kits are more like collectors: they focus on a particular brand, era, racing-series, etc. and want to have one of everything in that subject area. Of course that's not 100% accurate, but something to think about.


Since you have clubs meeting in your store, I was thinking you might want to offer them a discount for pre-ordering (and pre-paying) for new kits - both to build up a good relationship with the club and to get an idea of what people are interested in. For newly released kits, maybe you could open one up and keep it behind the counter so customers could check out the parts before they buy one.


My IPMS club has had a few build-sessions in a hobby-store during store hours; over a Saturday afternoon about 10 people would stop by to see what we were doing; I don't think we ever got any new members that way, but maybe we encouraged a few people to buy a kit and give it a try.


As far as detailing parts - probably the most useful, general purpose thing would be various sizes and types of wire - for sparkplug wires, brake lines, hoses, etc. Detail Master and Model Car Garage are probably the two biggest photoetch makers; Both have generic stuff (seat belt buckles, radiator fans, header flanges, bolt heads), MCG does a lot of detail sets for specific kits. I don't know how popular these would be; retail cost is $10-20 for a fret of PE, and they're not super popular with builders.


Also paints - no one wants to wait for mail order when they discover a bottle of paint is empty/dried-up. In addition to the standard Testors and Tamiya paints, I'd suggest you stock some of the Alclad metalizer paints; they're becoming popular for painting things that are supposed to be chrome (if done well it looks a lot better than the plated parts in the kits).


Oh well, looks like its time to clean the driveway...

I'd be interested to hear what other opinions you get - Good luck!



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Don, thanks so much for the advice again. We got in some of the most popular Detail Master and Model Car Garage photo etch parts and wire sets and detailing tape. Its been getting great responses. Selling alot more wire sets and stuff. We use to just special order for certain guys and now we have found other guys buying it that were getting it online in the past.


As far as the paints go we have Vallejo, Model Masters, and Tamiya paints. We did get some of the Alclad paints in about 3 months abgo but I think alot of the guys are scared to use them. We did have a guy paint 2 models for us to show how it looks when its done. It looks really good but he said it is a bear to work with. He prefers model masters metalizers it sounds like.


Thanks again

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