Eduard situation and food for thought

Eduard’s unfortunate situation brought to light an interesting figure, of particular note to those who say that our hobby is ‘dying’. If you read the material that Mr. Sulc released, you’ll find that there were 1,000,000 plastic sprues in that warehouse, enough for about 200,000 kits!! That is a LOT of sprues, a lot of kits, and big money. It gives you an idea of how large a company Eduard is, and when you expand that figure over a number of major manufacturers, the message that I get is that our hobby is quite healthy, thank you, and yes, I’d like MORE new kits for Christmas!!!
Happy holidays to you all.

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I am curious as to the demographics of the kit buyers. My worry is not of the current builders but of the next generation. The head of GM said that if you wanted to start a new car company today and your focus was on gasoline engines, you were doomed to failure because the consumer is moving away from Gas. The cost of kits today is expensive and the average kid can’t afford most of them. I teach 135 6th graders(prime model building age for kids) and a few make Lego kits their parents bought and a couple have built a glue-able kit. I make an effort to find out the hobbies and interests of my students. Times are changing. I Look at the bike rack in front of school and there are two bikes. In my day it was packed. When I was a kid there were quite a few who built models, not like today in my classes. Just a thought.

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I doubt Eduard has kids as their target market. But look at it from another angle: I think most of us adult builders built simple things as kids, gave it up for a while, and came back as adults with different goals and skill sets. From what I’ve seen at hobby shops, most of the younger kids are into Bandai stuff; I do think that many will eventually migrate towards what we’re seeing now.

I think that when any of us consider the demographics of the scale modeling community, we need to look at it from a global, world-wide perspective. Also, the variety of the various modeling sub-communities has to be looked at.

Sure, kids in the US (and perhaps some other countries) might not be buying and building model “cars” or “airplanes” at their local 5 & Dime and “sticking them together” on a Saturday afternoon. However, it would seem that there is still a pretty robust scale model market among younger US consumers.

In particular, I know the Gundam, MaK, Star Wars, and table-top gaming minis and models all but fly off the shelves of our LHS’s. Yea, our local HobbyTown hardly carries any new “mainstream” kit releases, but they stock all the latest Gundam and Star Wars kits.

We have two local shops that cater to table-top gamers and super hero / fantasy figure fans, and those shops must sell a ton of stuff to stay in business. Heck, they’ve become the local “go to” shops now for paints, brushes and diorama materials.

Consider just how many “dads” post up here and on other modeling forums with comments, observations and anecdotes about their sons or daughters being interested in these or those table-top gaming models and figures (while usually lamenting the high costs of those kits and products).

On a global scale, there must be very large markets for models of all scale modeling genres. Just look at how many new anime subject kits get released on a continuous basis. I suspect that there are robust domestic scale model markets in China and South Korea along with what must be very large demand in Japan.

Browse some of the Japanese online “hobby shops” and just look at the variety of different scale modeling related products. Heck, they even have a modeling genre for artificial food products (loosely connected, I believe to their own domestic fast food industry which often uses displays of menu items composed of models of the food items). And none of this even touches on the scale modeling related RC and model RR hobbies.

If some kid is building and customizing, by painting and decaling, an RC model car, is that not modeling? Wouldn’t the same apply to flying drone “models”? What about folks getting into 3D printing? There is a very large and ever growing community of home 3D printers who are printing table-top and large scale gaming, fantasy and super hero figures. Looks like scale modeling heading into yet another less traditional direction.

So, times are definitely changing, but the scale modeling world is changing with them. It’s not going away so much as it’s heading into new directions that cater to more and more varied interests than the traditional cars, planes, ships and tanks…

There are entire new generations of scale modelers growing up, but, for many, their tastes and interests are different. It’s too easy for us “old timers” to put on our own traditional genre-preferential blinders and fail to see the vital, broad, global, and many varied scale modeling world that’s out there.

(BTW, this is one reason why those of us involved in traditional scale modeling clubs and related events need to keep in touch with the changing world of scale modeling if we want to keep our organizations relevant and alive. But that’s a discussion for another time.)

Just my .02 take on it.

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I remember reading various threads in the 90’s and early 2000’s querying if the hobby was ‘dying’ and was the next generation going to be able to afford kits etc. The general opinion at the time was that we were seeing a ‘golden age’ of modeling with Dragon, Tamiya leading the way. New kits of interesting subject matter coming out seemingly weekly, photoetch and aftermarket products for nearly every model released. That was truly a booming time for modelers.
I know that my model purchases have slowed considerably since the period I mentioned above, which is probably the case with many of us who have reached retirement age (stash and all). It would seem like things should be slowing down in the scale model industry but somebody has picked up the slack. Someone is allowing the established model companies to continue research and development of new releases. Someone is funding newer model companies to sprout up on almost a weekly basis. Now there are numerous Companies (Eduard, Meng, Trumpeter, Dragon, Tamiya et al) all competing with new and better releases.
Today could/should probably be considered the ‘golden age’ on modeling/model production.
I think when I was in my peak building models in the 90’s many on this forum were just kids probably not even in high school. You all have continued to support the hobby with purchases and have enabled Companies such as Eduard to spring up and establish themselves in the industry as a premier producer.
Speech over.

Cheers,
C.

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I know in other countries slot car racing and modeling are big. My thoughts are based on personal observations with the students I see each year. Access to kits is another issue. As brick and mortar close, so does the number of places locally buy kits. I live in Tacoma a good medium size city. There is a hobby lobby, a used model railroad shop, a Target, Wall Mart and a Tokyo store in the mall with a Gundam model section. Figures and gaming may be the growth in the US, but I can’t confirm that. My thoughts on the future were about the armor, ships and aircraft focused models.

I know what your saying about kids today building models, I don’t know anyone else my age, or near my age that builds models… although I managed to somewhat interest my friend in HO scale model railroads. The truth is I’d rather be building a model wayyyyyy more then playing video games. ( About all of my friends think I must be crazy…)
I just watched this video of James May trying to interest a bunch of kids in model building lets just say they were all 90% uninterested…

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The size of a stock is not a complete indicator of the health of a manufacturer. You need to know how fast this stock is turning around to draw any conclusions.

Anyway, Eduard delivers quality, and I wish them all the success possible for doing that.

I am planning a short “stock replenishment exercise” early January just to give thema a heads up (which is a beautiful contradiction with another thead on this forum :slight_smile: )

I have to believe that the scale model industry, as a whole, has GOT to be healthy. As mentioned, there seems to be new companies springing up quite often, and new kits seem to be coming a lot as well. I happen to love looking at The Modelling News on line frequently to keep up with new stuff either released or announced, and it seems like there is new stuff all the time. As far as the younger generations being involved, it also seems like the cost of kits and supplies, including aftermarket items, is way too expensive for ‘kids’. I’m extremely fortunate to have the level of disposable income I do in order to be able to afford a lot of modeling related ‘stuff’. I, too, would be interested in the demographics of the modelers out there, but I have to believe that the vast majority of young modelers are outside the US. In any event, the perceived lack of young US modelers has not, apparently, caused the manufacturers to slow down the development of kits and other items. For that, all of us ‘old guys’ should be very thankful!

90% on a full class it’s actually not to bad,in my class in the 80’s me and other 2 was in to modeling on 20~ students

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