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March 29, 2007


It's been awhile since I've drafted up a new '...Sprue'. I know everyone's been starved waiting for the next one, right!??!

There's a few things going on in our hobby that has me slightly miffed, but first...

Received my copy of Fred DeRuvo's 'From Graves to Caves: Modeling Your Diorama!' the other day and was very impressed with the end results. From Graves to CavesSixty pages of FULL COLOR articles by folks everyone around here are familiar with... Jim Bertges, Dave Bengel, Jim Capone, Fred DeRuvo, Hilber Graf, Wes Hawkins & Mark McGovern.

Personally, I've never scratchbuilt any sort of base for any of my kits. The closest I've come is to kitbash some figures, like converting the Revell Superman into Space Ghost. I had visions of scratchbuilding a giant tree/plant thing with tentacles reaching out and snaring our Space Hero, but never devoted the time to make the vision a reality. With the help of this book as motivation, might get my lazy ass off the TV couch and tackle the project!

My favorite articles were Fred's 'Flying Exit!' which took the Bandai's TUMBLER Batmobile and has it coming straight at you through a waterfall! The end result is not only unique but extremely powerful!

Mark McGovern topped himself with 'Break Out', utilizing Koma's 'The Crusher' busting through a steel door! Just some outstanding work and a great example of what can be done to make a stand-alone figure into something that shouts; "Look At Me!!"

Overall you have eleven detailed articles, with many color photo's showing you step-by-step how to make the most of your kit collection! I can't impress upon you enough to go out and snatch yourself a copy of this book. It's just the thing to get those modeling juices flowing! Stop by Modeler's Resource's website for ordering information!

Have you noticed in the past six to eight months the proliferation of kit producers announcing forthcoming kits LONG before they're ready? You'd think by now they'd learned this lesson of keeping one's mouth SHUT until the kit was... oh, I don't know... actually READY FOR SALE!? And you'd definitely think that folks wouldn't keep jumping at these early announcements, throwing their money out faster than Pacman Jones at the local Strip Club!

But nooooooo...

Case in point is X-Factor's 'Selene' figure, Sinister Design's 'Venom' kit, or Forbidden Zone's 'Power Loader'...(to name a few).

Now I can't really blame these guys... they're bursting with enthusiasm and like a kid who can't wait for Christmas morning, the temptation to blurt the news out is pretty hard to hold in! But then a few compile the situation by asking for funds up front to help pay for the production of the kit and then, suddenly, (and by now, not so freaking unexpectedly) real-life problems raise their ugly heads and all hell breaks loose.

So now a kit that was expected to come out in early Spring, is now a year down the road and no closer to getting done. And what do we, the folks who didn't jump on our checkbooks and rush payment, have to endure now? Twenty-two pages of Forum threads all bemoaning the delay! Threads that start out with simple inquiries, then slowly but surely turn into vindictive anger.

Some of these producers, I think, have attention spans smaller than a two-year old channel surfing between Blue Clues and Sesame Street!! Anyone who thinks Scott 'Capt Carboard' Alexander's kits are going to come out soon and DOESN'T automatically add 36 months to any mention of a production date, deserves to enter a mental institution!! Come on!! Seriously!! Ask the folks who took part in Scott's 'Underwriters Project' if they can remember in what year they sent in their money? Hell, if they put that money in a low-percentage savings account, they could probably pay off their houses with the freaking interest!!

If Scott would ONLY put all his energy into ONE kit, instead of dividing his attention over eight or nine different kits... and then NOT be side tracked with a new idea for ANOTHER cool kit... well, hell, we might even see SOMETHING come out in a reasonable time!

And yet no one learns their lesson. Kit producers continue to announce new thought processes... asks for, oh, twenty or more orders be paid upfront, and guess what? Out comes the wallets/check books/Money Orders as they wait impatiently by their mailboxes for the next two years. Dazzles my brain, it does... no wonder folks only read the 1st message of any thread and then quickly go onto the next one!!

Another problem with 'over announcing' is the worry I have of counting one's chickens before they're hatched. Take 'Moebius Models' for example...

I think Frank's heart is definitely in the right place. My big concern is what happens if Frank doesn't recoup the cost of production? We all know how expensive it is to produce in the styrene market and so far the choices of subject matter doesn't give me a warm & fuzzy.

How many Jekyll's does he have to sell to just recoup production costs?

How many do you think would sell?

I'm thinking 50. Even if you sell 100 (which I'd be very surprised to see), that in no way comes out even.

You think the Capt Action figure will do better? I'm not... mainly because the attraction of that product was not the model kit but the action figure and the ability to purchase different super hero costumes to put on him. (and remember, many of us didn't even BUY the figure. We used our GI Joe's to put the costumes on). The model kit was a failure even for Aurora.

So now, hypothetically, Frank has invested in two kits with a very good possibility of losing money with both. If true... does that end Moebius?

The Seaview. A 39 inch kit is pretty big. How did sales for PL's C57D do? Will folks be put off by the large size? I see sales for this kit in larger quantity, but large enough to recoup the cost of producing it?

If it was me running Moebius, I'd have started out with 'Rommel's Rod' instead. Of all the kits mentioned, I think this one probably could have sold enough to make a 2nd kit possible.

If he loses money on Jekyll, is there a 'next kit'? Should he even be announcing other kits before he see's how Jekyll will go over? I love Frank, but he's worrying the hell outta me!!

Happy Modeling - Buc       Email   Archives