Author Topic: Why? Where Are All The Good Sci-Fi Kits?  (Read 1254 times)

Offline strikehawk

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Why? Where Are All The Good Sci-Fi Kits?
« on: August 17, 2019, 06:16:30 AM »
Don't know where else to put this but I have to ask this question.

With the success and popularity of the 'studio scale' kits, why has no one tried to get permission to make models of Gerry Anderson's UFO series aircraft?

Why do the decision makers for model manufacturers not see that by flooding the market with repeats of literary toys that are prepainted and snap together they are killing a huge market that had shown its potential in the early '80s the mid to late 90s with kits tied into the RoboTech line, I mean the actual robots  factory modules, and conventional military vehicles and troops, not the convertible fighters that Hasegawa has been so successful with. Not only those but, the kits from the Alien franchise, Lensman OVA, the 1/35th scale GUNPLA kits from Bandaid off of the Gundam line, as well as other kits from lesser known franchises. 

One of the reasons I got into Warhammer 40K gaming was the fact that even though I was close friends with the owner of one of the local hobby shops, I practically lived there, for the longest time it seemed that everybody was doing was pushing out the same P-51, Me/Bf-109, FW-190, F-14/15/16/18 as well as F-117 kits with different markings and calling them 'new'. I don't even want to get into the model car arena as it seemed that the only difference between 'Neck;-Car kits were the markings. Nowadays it's Gundam and Star Wars that fill the shelve and the choice of Star Wars kits is laughable.

Okay, I get that there are differences between each of the makes of X-Wing and Y-Wing fighters as well as the TIE series, but, as much as I love Star Wars when it came out, there is a point of too much of a good thing. The fact that for the most part they are snap kits, no matter the level of detail, they are still snap kits and it doesn't take a lot of skill to put one together. I actually had a long-time friend from my school days who used to make fun of me for building models, used to tell my potential girlfriends about my 'playing with toys, come up and tell me that he was just like me now. He had just put together his first Revell released Star Wars X-Wing and he was very proud of it.

When I took a look at it and mentioned how well it looked and how tight and clean the seem was he told me that it had come already painted and it just snapped together. My first thought was 'How Dare you compare yourself to me and other real modelers.' I mean that's an insult almost as bad as telling a professional military member that you know how hard it was like because of all the hours you've played Call Of Duty. Not the same and that's how I feel about the state of sci-fi kits. There are so many great models out there just waiting to be released but never will because the 'casual' modeler isn't interested in actually learning how to actually build a model kit. To me, casual modeler means too much money and not enough sense in what makes a good kit.

Take my case, I love the Corellian Yards YT1300, the platform the Millenium Falcon is built on. After reading an article in the now defunct Star Wars Journal I realized that they were as ubiquitous and as customizable as commercial vans and pick up trucks. That made me want one even more but what were we stuck with at the time? The MPC/AMT/Kenner Millenium Falcon that is off scale with no easy way to make a conversion. Flash forward about 25 years, what do we have offered to purchase?

Starting with Fine Molds and ending with Revell and Bandai, overpriced kits that started out as glue and paint to later snap together and possibly prepainted kits that still coast more than half of my house or auto payment designed for the lowest common denominator. No offense to those that bought the Fine Molds kits as they do take talent and skill to make but the others? Once again it proves my point that as long as you have money then you don't need skill or talent. I would've liked to have some kind of module system like the fictional prototype to allow the cockpit to be placed in different locations such as in between the loading 'mandibles' as seen in a few drawings in the SW Journals article. Seriously, a snap kit that's asking for over $500? That's my budget for the entire year nowadays and even when I was working full time with overtime at 118 hours every two weeks for ten months I wasn't spending that much. (According to my wife I couldn't spend that much as I was spending more than I should on Anime and Manga books from the bookstores and online.

My point for this long a rant is this, and I'm sorry for it being so long, as I sit watching YouTube as shows like UFO, forgotten anime shows, as well as short shows listing the 'coolest', unusual, or popular vehicles from any kind of sci-fi series, let alone looking over eBay listings for old kits such as the Revell Robo-Tech line it makes me both mad and saddened that the kind of variety we used to enjoy has been reduced to what a person that has probably never built a model with their own hands thinks will sell at the highest price they can get away with.

I'm not asking for prices that don't allow for a profit, I used to make material handling systems back in my younger days so I know that profit is important to the health of a company. I am asking however for a pricing system that lets a person actually purchase their product, not sit and dream of a what might have been. I'm asking for the variety we used to have, not the three flavors it seems to be the way things are offered these days. This is especially true in the big chain stores now that the local mom and pop hobby shops are going away. The attitude by these corporate buyers is that the plastic hobby kits are viewed as 'toys'. This was the actual term out of my brother-in-law's sister's mouth when I asked her how come the Micheal's store near my house had stopped carrying all but the car kits. Her answer to me was that "Toys weren't selling well in that store." Everyone in the room froze up at her words, including her brother, as mine and my father's love for models was well known. Him for his trains and me for my love of 1/72 and 1/48 scale kits.

It's that attitude and the fact that we allow the prices being charged that have allowed the Sci-Fi arena to get so small and limited and I want to know why we, as modelers as a whole, have allowed it? Isn't it bad enough that we have allowed Testors and others to start selling pre-painted toys that all a person has to do is screw them together to be sold as models? True, they could technically be called a model as they have to be screwed together, but that's not the point. The point is that they take no skill to put together or paint should be seen as an insult to all serious modelers. If you think I'm joking take a look next time you're in a big box with a 'hobby section' and you'll see that I'm right. Now, I've taken to much space but I hope that I was able to get my point across about no longer having a choice, the lowering of the bar and the raising of the cost of a kit.

Take care and I'm going to go back into my corner and sulk.
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Offline ChernayaAkula

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Re: Why? Where Are All The Good Sci-Fi Kits?
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2019, 08:18:59 AM »
<...> Isn't it bad enough that we have allowed Testors and others to start selling pre-painted toys that all a person has to do is screw them together to be sold as models? True, they could technically be called a model as they have to be screwed together, but that's not the point. The point is that they take no skill to put together or paint should be seen as an insult to all serious modelers. <...>

No, it's not bad enough. Who cares what somebody else is thinking when they're screwing together a pre-painted toy? If it makes them happy, more power to them. If they liked something from Star Wars and now have a scaled representation of the original (the broadest, yet entirely functional definition of a "model") on their shelf and they feel good about it, good for them.  :smiley: And if they think of themselves as modellers, why would I care?

Should be seen as an insult? Just... why? Why would I as a "serious modeller" be insulted by somebody else being happy with their pre-painted snap-fit "toy"?
And where does it end? Should I be insulted when somebody else builds a kit out of the box, while I use PE parts an aftermarket decals? Should I be insulted when somebody uses a "pre-made plastic kit", while I scratch-build mine from sheet styrene?

<...> Why do the decision makers for model manufacturers not see that by flooding the market with repeats of literary toys that are prepainted and snap together they are killing a huge market that had shown its potential in the early '80s the mid to late 90s with kits tied into the RoboTech line, <...>

What market are they killing? And how is it being killed by pre-painted snap-together toys?
And wouldn't Bandai, Fine Molds, Hasegawa, Kotobukiya and so on notice that they're killing their own market?

I'd wager the Bandai Star Wars snap-fit kits get more people into "proper" modelling these days than the oft-applauded umpteenth re-pop of ancient crappy, ill-fitting Airfix/Revell/whathaveyou WWII fighter kits that are supposedly good starter kits for kids. Probably even the Star Wars kits by Revell (mostly not as nice as Bandai's) get more people into modelling than their re-pops of old kits.

<...> With the success and popularity of the 'studio scale' kits, why has no one tried to get permission to make models of Gerry Anderson's UFO series aircraft? <...>

How do you know nobody tried that? Maybe they did and the licence holder quoted too big a price for them to go ahead with the kits.
Cheers,
Moritz

"The appropriate response to reality is to go insane!"

Offline Alvis 3.1

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Re: Why? Where Are All The Good Sci-Fi Kits?
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2019, 12:42:46 AM »
The simple answer is money.
Licensing fees and a noticeable lack of sales (sci-fi models tend to be a small share of the market, regardless of how popular the show is/was)


And I'm old enough to remember when "real" modellers didn't buy "kits" that had pre shaped pieces of plastic you'd just stick together. That wasn't modelling. It was assembling. "Real" modelling involved plans, blocks of wood, tools and a decade of build time.

Offline jcf

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Re: Why? Where Are All The Good Sci-Fi Kits?
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2019, 03:55:14 AM »
Looking down your nose at snap-kits, especially in the context of Bandai for Christ's sake, as things anybody can do
and they are therefore lesser - the kits and the people, just demonstrates that you have an elevated opinion of yourself.
 :-X :-\

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