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RLFoster

For the First Time, I’m Worried

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While I agree on the general idea of the full quote, this paragraph misses a wider point.

 

Perhaps it would be worthwhile for model companies to produce kits which relate to the current interests of prospective modelers instead. If changing their current interests was a successful pathway, you'd be able to directly interest them in scale modeling as opposed to being interested in scale models of Spitfires.

 

Eric

 

 

OK... I've been sitting back and reading all the very good comments, and so I might as well throw in my two cents worth. The following is edited from a National Director's column I wrote for IPMS Canada's publication, RT about a year ago:

 

...

It was also thought that it would help greatly if the potential modeller could relate to the model that he/she is building. If you have no idea what a Spitfire did or its place in history, it's just a plastic toy – a big Kinder Surprise. There is no emotional investment. Perhaps it might be useful to preface the building of, e.g. a bunch of Spitfire models with a showing of a film like "The Battle of Britain", or at least a brief visually impressive (remember… this is the video generation) history lesson.

...

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Eric:

 

Amen. While us plane guys are well covered as well as cars and tanks, kids may not have the same interest. More diversity would be good. Plus a lower price point. $100 per kit anymore is tough

 

Dave

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After receiving the latest Squadron catalog in the mail yesterday, I just had to resurrect this thread...

 

Did anyone else get their catalog and happen to notice, on the first page or two of armor models, the NEW Dragon 1/35 releases? Specifically, did anyone else notice the absolutely ridiculous (my opinion) MSRP prices? $76.00 PER KIT!!! And we're not talking about fancy builds, loaded with extras, or huge subjects...far from it. One kit is just a Panzer III Ausf. M. Another is a Panzer IV Ausf. D. (all of the kits can also be seen on the Squadron website).

 

I happen to have both of those subjects in older DML releases in my stash. They were purchased less than 3 years ago - for LESS THAN $25 each!!!

 

I will continue to maintain that in the case of DML (and several other armor model companies), they are completely pricing themselves out of the marketplace. Sure, a bunch of diehard, older modelers will pick up some of these kits (I will NOT). However, I don't think any new 12 to 16 year old modeler will ever buy these kits...unless they are in a family that's independently wealthy.

 

Just as an FYI, my 1/35 scale "Loki" from DML was purchased 5 years ago and was only $55.00!!! The Leopold Railway Gun in 1/35 was only $100.00!

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The hobby has changed from when we were kids. IN the 50s, 60s, and 70s, kits were targeted at kids like us and the pricing was such that allowance money could buy them. However, the kits were also very toy like as compared to now.

 

I always point to the mid-80s and the release of the Hasagawa 1/48 Phantoms as the turning point. Kits were already improving, but the pricing point of Revell and Monogram kits was still quite reasonable. The Hasagawa F-4s were priced at $20, as compared to the Monogram and Revell kits that were $5-$8. I thought people would have to be crazy to pay $20 for a kit that was already available and (IMO) didn't offer that much more in quality.

 

I was wrong!

 

Since then, we've rode a wave of rising prices. On the other hand, the quality of the kits has improved greatly, and not just with the "top" manufacturers, but generally across the board.

 

In a way, the manufacturers have stayed with their original target audience: US! We, as adults, are still the target for their sales, not the kids of today. We've proven that we're willing to pay, and pay steeply at times for what we want. They run a business, not a hobby, and they will price themselves according to what their accountants tell them they can get for the expected sales. It may be frustrating, but this is what our "hobby" has morphed into.

 

Personally, I don't think the hobby of building plastic models will die or even fade away. If you look at the number of manufacturers and the number of models being released seems to have held up well, and in some ways has grown. I think model building seems to be an "interest" that has existed for the history of man and will continue on. What will change will be the methods and materials.

 

I think trying to get today's kids interested in plastic modeling is folly. IF it was possible, you would see every manufacturer spending money on advertising their products to them. They do NOT!! Why should IPMSUSA throw money in a direction the model makers deem to be fruitless? Plastic models just cannot compete with the flashy games and the idea of immediate gratification that those games provide. No....we have to wait til they grow up, develop some patience and an interest in subjects that can be modeled. That's what will sustain the future of the hobby, if anything.

 

GIL :smiley16:

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When I first started building models, Aurora famous fighters were 69 cents. My weekly allowance was 50 cents. This taught me a few lessons in practical economics. Today we have detailing, scratchbuilding, and finishing materials to do as detailed a job as we wish. Then it was Testors, Pactra, and imagination. Of course we also had BB guns, firecrackers, and the can of mower gas from the garage. It's been almost 60 years now since mom and I built that Sopwith Camel. I've no doubt that the next six decades of modeling will be just as interesting.

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Gil,

 

I agree with most of your observations, but I still cannot understand, condone, or support a tripling in prices in only 5 years by DML. Even with 10 year tripling, if Hasagawa had followed this formula with the Phantoms you mentioned, they would have been over $60 by 1995 (conservatively), over $180 by 2005, and would now cost well over $500 each...obviously ridiculous prices, no matter how detailed or accurate the model (again, in my opinion).

 

No, model building will NOT die, but some model companies most certainly will...it has happened before and will happen again. Pricing themselves out of the market is a sure way to accelerate this process.

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I totally agree with you Robert! I've learned to stay away from Italeri in general because they re-release other people's molds at 2-3 times the price of the same kit in an earlier molding. Their recent 1/32 F-104 Starfighter is a great example of this!

 

However, world economics has a bit to do with this, and often what we deemed overpriced here (say, by DML) due to import costs and the rising price of "business" (transport, distributor costs, shipping costs, etc.) does not reflect that their own domestic price (in Asia) is very reasonable. Monogram/Revell kits are much more expensive in Japan than here in the states.

 

They also seem to have adopted the auto industry's pricing methods, as in setting a ridiculous retail price that is then ignored and/or cut by many outlets, offering you "perceived savings" on a "supposedly new" (but not necessarily so) item. That $175 kit can be gotten for $135, and you greedily snap it up for the $40 savings on a kit that could be had in the old manufacturer's box for $75!

 

I know that you feel there is "gouging" taking place, and to a point, you're probably right. But, as I mentioned above, as long as WE show we'll buy their product at THEIR prices; they'll continue to set those prices. The good thing is that this is a hobby, and we're spending disposable income; which is always our own choice!

 

GIL :smiley16:

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I think trying to get today's kids interested in plastic modeling is folly. IF it was possible, you would see every manufacturer spending money on advertising their products to them. They do NOT!! Why should IPMSUSA throw money in a direction the model makers deem to be fruitless?

GIL :smiley16:

 

GIL, I think you're conflating two different issues. You're right that IPMS is unlikely to convince kids (teenagers) to take up modeling the way we did in the 50s and 60s. We can do basic outreach just to plant the seeds, but we're not going to displace computer games and Facebook, and we shouldn't invest too much time and money there.

 

What we should be doing is trying to reach today's 30-somethings and pull them into the hobby and into IPMS, just like we were. I think there are signs of interest there - you can see it out on the social networks - but the complication is that those 30-somethings grew up with more distractions than we had, so they were never as obsessed with modeling as we were as kids. Getting their attention is going to take new ideas and more work than it has in the past.

 

Don

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You can't compare Current Dragon Releases to any you bought in the past! Unless it is the exact same kit. I cannot guess on what kit you have because you did not post it. But lets compare kits I do know. Dragon's M51. There were two releases. The kits were 3529(1997) and 3539(2007). Massive differences and you end up having to pay for the differences( DS track, redesigned and improved HVSS, redesigned barrel and muzzle brake, retextured turret and hull, 5x the PE). when you talk comparisons, you need to make sure what you are comparing. Huge difference in cost??? Yes, but what they did to the kit warrants it.

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We will have to agree to disagree, Mark.

 

I do think it's fair to compare older releases to the new ones and I do not believe the changes to the kits warrant the price they are asking. Let's just look at the Panzer IV Ausf D...

 

DML 6265, a 3-in-1 kit, came out in late 2006. I got it in 2007 for $29.95 - expensive for the time, but here's what I got:

 

1) A turned metal gun barrel, metal tow cable, metal grab handles, and other metal parts (about 20 total)

2) Magic Track individual track links

3) 2 LARGE PE Frets containing something like 40 parts

4) 2 different versions of both fenders - one with holes for those who used the molded tools and one without for those who used PE tool clamps

5) 2 versions of every onboard tool - with and without molded on tool clamps

6) Clear parts for all the periscopes and lenses

7) A detailed turret basket

 

Everything a modeler needed to build an "excellent" Ausf D was in the box! (My opinion)

 

Now, comes the new kit - DML 6736, list price of $75.95, here's what I believe you get (based on what the box art appears to show):

 

1) Slide molded parts including a 1-piece gun barrel

2) DS Tracks (no individual links)

3) 1 SMALL PE fret (less than 10 parts (if there is more, the box art does not show it)

4) A detailed turret basket

5) NO metal parts (no tow cables, handles, ammo, etc.)

 

For me, this means that before anything gets built, I would need to go out and buy individual track links from somewhere (or acquire them). In my opinion, DS tracks cannot accurately depict "dead" WWII German tracks. Additionally, if I want "accurate" tool clamps, I would need to pick up at least a small aftermarket PE set - unless the art is incomplete and there are more PE parts in the box.

 

Is this a highly accurate, quality model kit of the subject? Yes, it is. Will it produce a good model of the subject? Yes, it will. Is it worth spending up to $75.95 (before taxes, shipping)? For me, the answer is a resounding, NO! It comes down to individual taste and perception of "value". I personally see everything that has been taken out and simply can't reconcile it with the increase in price. Sure you get "redesigned" parts and "new" tooling, but does that mean the new kit will ultimately produce a "better" model? To me, that's the bottom line. Had DML left in the Magic Tracks, the large PE frets, the tool opinions, and everything else, I "might" begin to understand the new price point. As it is, I simply cannot.

Edited by RLFoster

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You may be right. I know nothing about German armour which is why I used the M51. Looking over the "stuff", I see a newly designed upper and lower hull and barrel turret option. You are correct in your assessment that it is up to the individual. I say yes. The additions to the M51 kit warranted a cost increase and I had no problem paying for the two I bought immediately and the 5 or 6 I have picked up since it's release.

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