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SQUADRON MAY BE DEFUNCT


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Looks like long time mail order and wholesaler Squadron/MMD may be out of business. Nothing confirmed, but reliable sources say warehouse is empty. If I'm wrong, let me know.

Dak

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I'm seeing varying posts, but no definite answer. The last post I saw said "change of ownership"....but who knows what that means, even if it's true?

They had a %70 off sale last week, which is probably why the warehouse is empty. The problem now is how do they start back up IF there is a new owner and wants "Squadron" to continue"? The brand had lost so much of it's shine and reputation over the last 10yrs due to slip-shod service that I'm not sure the name has any value anymore.

There was a time when both their brick&mortar stores and their mail order were THE place to go to if you possibly could. But that was when it was run by the hobbyists who started the business. The "business types" who took over the purely mail order Squadron didn't have a clue as how to satisfy us, and ran it into the bankruptcy of today.

 

It probably IS the end of an era.....but as they taught us in physics....the ONLY constant in the universe IS change!

 

Gil :smiley16:

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Web site now says closed for renovation. Hopefully they do reopen and gain their past glory back. The lady from the Franklin Mint had no clue at all what modelers want

Dave

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I first became aware of Squadron through their ads in the late 1970's in the old Challenge Publications rag "Scale Modeler", and I first ordered from them in 1983.  From 1983 through the mid-1990's, they were my go-to.  Then I started working in a hobby shop (Warrick Custom Hobbies in Plantation, FL) where I could get whatever I wanted by tacking it on to a stock order, and had no use for mail order (or, as became more frequent, online purchasing).  I moved in 2001, and the next time I used Squadron was in 2005--what a marked difference.  Shipping prices were through the roof (not 100% Squadron's fault, to be sure, but...), and their "Specials" were less frequent and could be hit or miss.  After Jerry sold the business, I noted a lot less models on special and a lot more tchotchkes in stock and at a deep discount. 

To be honest, I believe the decline started with the rise of the internet.  Groups like Stevens International (through their MegaHobby arm) and what we now know as Sprue Brothers embraced the technology, while Squadron resisted.  When they did finally acknowledge that that was the future, their first attempt at a website was dismal, at best.  Then Jerry sold the business, and that guy got in over his head.  Then came Gwinne Gorr from Franklin Mint, but by that time the writing was on the wall. 

I recall reading somewhere a few months ago (about the same time Jef V. left and started his venture) that Gwynne, too, was out.  I guess that coincides with a change in ownership...

The funny thing is that MMD never missed a beat--probably because many shops were, up until recently, ordering via phone and fax.  The HobbyTown I worked for only started using electronic ordering after MMD synchronized their system to the HobbyTown SMART software.  Before late 2015 all our orders to MMD were done via phone, simply because it was easier than using their online ordering system.  An added bonus was that you received confirmation of stock as you placed the order...

If they're simply reorganizing, I will be eager to see what changes they've made.  If they're down for the count, it was a long, fun ride...

R

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There are a number of reasons for their problems. Personally, I liked the old web design much better than the latest one. Taking on Eagle Quest instead of continuing to support Scalfest as they did did not help either.

At any rate, I started doing business with them in the old Kalamazoo days. I still have copies of some of the Magazine/Catalog they put out in the old days.

Dal

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The site design they used two or three re-designs before the recent revamp was good, but the most recent site designs sucked rocks.  And the initial attempt at a website was horrid, even in year 2000 terms.

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Their website design was the least of their problems.

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I was an editor at Squadron/Signal Publications from early 1999 to early 2005, when Jerry Campbell dismissed me. I had good memories of Squadron Mail Order and the people who worked there. (While with Squadron/Signal, I helped proofread Mail Order's monthly flyers and annual catalog and helped with their semi-annual inventory.) I even ordered from them now and then. Most recently, I ordered two bottles of Vallejo paint from them last month, which arrived just days later in good order.

I was aware of the problems Squadron has had in recent years, so the news of their apparent closing (temporarily?) really should not come as much of a surprise. I would agree with the comments about their website. They were slow to embrace the Internet and not very efficient when they did.  Plus, I wondered what the point was of the collectables (die-cast models, plaques) they were selling. Not something a real scale modeling retailer would have on offer.

In 2019, while in Liberty, Missouri for IPMS/West Central Missouri's contest, I was invited to visit the Sprue Brothers Models facility, which most impressed me with its efficiency and service. II have ordered from them on occasion (including last month) and would certainly order from them again if the need arose. While touring Sprue Brothers' warehouse, I mentioned to one of the principals there (I can't remember his name) that I had worked at Squadron, and he mentioned to me the problems they were having at the time (stock on hand, credit issues). I filed that note in my memory.

It is sad to see Squadron go, but the same goes for Sears.

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A fellow IPMS member and I met at the Squadron Carrilton location yesterday (Jan 15th) to conduct the sale of some of my models. We both knew the location so we met there. Only one car and a Post Office Truck in the whole lot. Looked closed to me.

Bob Walker #17121

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Lots of rumors, but we have yet to hear any formal information like Chapter II, or a WE ARE OUT OF BUSSINESS. It may be they are trying something we yet don't know about. Without a doubt they have had problems and something is going on. If they are out of business, why no formal announcement? Same with moving or changing owners?

Dak

 

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Former Squadron employee Jef Verswyvel had a Facebook video this evening. Squadron/MMD is dead. Kaput. Finished. Gone. Sleeps with the fishes.

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I wonder what will happen to their AM product lines- the resin and vacuform stuff? And their line of tools?

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12 hours ago, edfifer said:

No no Squadron's not dead, it's, it's restin'!

Nope, not that. Nor is it even pining for the fjords. It's a late business.

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6 hours ago, Stikpusher said:

I wonder what will happen to their AM product lines- the resin and vacuform stuff? And their line of tools?

From what I hear, they are gone as well. Nothing Squadron did will be produced anymore.

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Nothing will be produced UNDER the Squadron name anymore.....BUT, if you need vac canopies, THOSE were always made and supplied to Squadron by Falcon, so look for those to be picked up by someone else, or for Falcon to supply them under their own name to a US supplier (I hope!).

As for the True Details resin stuff....you'd think those molds would be bought by someone and re-released under a new name....but who's to say for sure? There's certainly enough resin competition to perhaps keep someone from doing so, even though many of those sets were still quite popular.

I believe that some of their "products" will be available again.......but not even nailing their name up over the warehouse door will make them look alive!

 

Gil :smiley16:

 

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As posted on HyperScale:
 

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filed.

Court Texas Northern Bankruptcy Court
Case number 3:2021bk30105
Assets $500,001 to $1 million 
Liabilities $10,000,001 to $50 million 
Judge Michelle V. Larson
Chapter 7 Filed Jan 19, 2021
Type voluntary
Updated Jan 20, 2021

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Seen a number of well known hobby business names come and go over the years.

Companies in this fickle world of modelling are always at risk, whether it be hostile takeovers, inept business organisation, bean counters closing unprofitable lines or just not keeping up with trends and technology.

Local hobby shops are a dying breed as well, let's face it.

No good dwelling on it. Nostalgia is all very well but just move on. New companies and products will keep appearing and disappearing, mostly on line these days.I

Buy what you can, when you can!

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I still find it odd that when you go to the web page, it still says closed for renovation.

Dak

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Their IT department was in-house.  When they closed the doors the webmaster left with the only copy of the website password.  
 

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7 hours ago, EFGrune said:

Their IT department was in-house.  When they closed the doors the webmaster left with the only copy of the website password.  
 

I guess Squadron owed them money.

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The trickledown effects from Squadron closing are beginning to be felt.  I have been working on a how-to e-book on the Encore/Squadron 1/48 A-37.  So the question is: Do I complete the e-book and add it to my product list or scrap it and move on to a different subject?

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Well, the kits are still out there. But what potential market does such a book have now?

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