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Reality Check!


Mikester
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This is from a post at LSP by Andreas Beck, who is not a Revell employee but was associated with their 109 project:

 

"Revell´s product manager knows about all our desires and wishes. But the final word about production is felt elsewhere. Our bunch only represent less than 5% of the sales figures and at least Revell is just a normal firm and product decisions are a result of economic reflections."

 

I find this both illuminating and amusing.  Amusing because a certain contingent at another forum (that will remain un-named, but if you've been there you know) seems to think model companies hang on every post that is made there and should base their decisions on what gets posted. 

 

Basically what this means is for every one of us that posts on a forum and voices our likes and dislikes about a kit, there are 19 people who are just going to build it, put it on the shelf and be happy with it.  I'm sure what gets posted is occasionally taken into consideration but we're just a small part of a very big picture.

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I share Matt's curiosity...

 

As to how they have come to this figure, although I cannot dispute it. I hope Revell put more research into their customer demographics than did into the intricacies of the Bf109 cowling.

 

But the real question is... To whom is the Reality Check directed Mike? Let's just say that the 1 in 20 in who's opinion Revell aren't interest in, were going to buy a dozen kits, but chose not to because they cut corners for economic reasons and completely ignored some of the advice given to them by the research team. That 5% suddenly becomes a third of their sales. Perhaps lost.

 

S

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Mmmmhmm, share the curiosities you both have. Judging how many customers were put off by issues in a kit is like picking next weeks tattslotto numbers as it's not just the members of the forum, it's all those who read that forum but are not members or who are told by their mates or modelling buddies. As for their message, well it would have been easier to just write 'suck it up fellas'. What about all the modelling magazines and hobby shop employees people may talk to? If bad publicity means nothing to manufacturers, why do some get so upset when a review is not favourable?

 

An excuse like that also makes it very easy to simply forgive yourself for any failings of your product. Screw something up, pfffft oh well, people will buy it anyway. It's a dangerous business practise and I saw it happen at my old workplace, cost them tens of thousands.

 

You know, even if it does mean I'm pissing in the ocean by hammering a kit when it deserves it, I'm still going to do it.

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Steve,

 

Really not directed in anyone in particular, just found the numbers side of it interesting.  Obviously the more accurate a kit is the the broader your appeal, but to those who don't hold the 109 as near and dear to their heart as we do there's going to be diminishing returns on the money spent.  Of course if you do it right the first time, cost to correct is not an issue, but something always seems to slip between the cracks.

 

I find my own standards vary by passion for a particular aircraft.  A few years back I bought a Trumpy P-51B with a good amount of after-market thrown in because I got a good deal.  I plan on building it OOB and will happy with it but I know a lot of P-51 purists wouldn't touch the kit with a ten foot pole.

 

I don't intend to give Revell a free pass on the mistakes they made and I enjoy the discussions we have regarding what's right and wrong and what could be improved. But speaking for myself I think I sometimes lose sight of the fact that a lot of people build just for fun and really aren't concerned about the subtle, or not so subtle nuances of a particular aircraft.

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And please don't construe what I posted as defending Revell or the production of shoddy kits by anyone for that matter.  Although there are some things I like about the RoG Gustav I'm still firmly in the Hasegawa camp.  Just found it interesting how model companies regard the comments made on forums and how we fit into the big picture.

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While that is true Mike, at what point does this figure become significant? 8%? 10%? If a company thinks people will buy their product despite some flaws and mistakes that are easily noticeable by those with some knowledge on the subject, why not make every reasonable effort to keep those people happy and iron out all the errors before metal is cut and gain more percentage points in sales. I doubt we will ever really know the answers though, unless we get a job in a model company!

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Yeah, I agree to a certain extent Mike...

 

But this kit has been hyped from the get-go, even way back when it was supposed to have full engine detail (remember that?). It has some very innovative features, and some areas of excellent detail, but is let down in other areas that Hasegawa did right a decade ago.

 

Brad made some pertinent points. In the post you mentioned from LSP by Andreas Beck, he has already stated that Revell know about the gun trough issues, but are choosing not to address it. Presumably, they already know of the other errors as well, as Lynn Ritger has already addressed these (in an abusive post against the OP) on Hyperscale. Brett Green himself has put forward the notion that there will be aftermarket available for these kits (which has already come to fruition). This kit came pre-loaded with excuses for the things that they got wrong. It has now been followed up with confirmation that these issues won't be addressed, due to budgetary constraints and the fact that 95% of their target market won't care.

 

Well, I am their target market. 1/32nd scale WW2 Axis aircraft is virtually all I build. And at this point in time, I'm less bothered by the flaws in the kit, than the attitude displayed by the Manufacturer and it's representatives.

 

S

 

 

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One thing I'd like a definitive answer on, and will probably never get is, is that 5% accurate?  I'd think 5-10% would be fairly close.  I know most of the membership of my last model club was not active in any sort of forum.  Do companies consider us "average modelers" or are we are statistical anomaly that expects a better, more accurate product than John Q. Modeler?

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I don't know Mike...

 

Are we any more serious as a collective, simply because we prefer the larger scales, which inevitably leads to better detail being either present or, if not, expected? Is there the perception that the serious modeller will suffer less detail in a kit if it's under a certain price point? All valid questions I feel, and like this magic 5% number, probably deserves more attention.

 

Revell may be onto something though. I had read that Revell managed to sell over 10,000 units of the 1/32nd scale Ju-88 kit. That's an awful lot of large, expensive kits if the majority were impulse buys. However, at one point Pastor John McIllmurray had only sold 120 or so G-1 and G-6 conversions for this kit to my knowledge. Not very many, considering the quality of the set and the popularity of the later N/F variants. But these conversions were mostly only publicised online. Interesting if taken into consideration with Andreas' comments.

 

S

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Sorry George,

 

Not private, just have a lot of opinions as to Mike's train of thought.

 

The people in charge pulling the purse strings are one thing... But we have been told that Revell have engineered the Bf109G-6 kit in a particular way, to cut costs and provide commonality in the way the kit is moulded. Then, they go and announce that the next kit in the line will be the Erla G-10, which will require a completely different fuselage if done properly.

 

Revell had all the information available to them, but chose not to put all of it to use. This has been confirmed now by two different sources. One wonders why assemble a team of 6 knowledgable people, if you're not going to put them to best use? This is surely a waste of resources...

 

S

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Having spent a couple of decades in sales/marketing, the 5% number quoted makes sense to me, especially since Andreas would appear to have gotten it from the Revell  product marketing manager.  It is that person's job to know that sort of info.  They do marketing research all the time, and I am sure Revell, being a major player for a long time does it as well.

 

Consider the number of members of this, or any other forum.  On a good day there might be 500 different modelers reading any of the multiple forums out there.  Compare that to the number of subscribers to Fine Scale Modeler.

 

Even amongst my local modeling friends, only 1/2 even bother to read a modelling forum, and of those, the many think we (forum posters) are a bunch of nit-picky whiners.  When it comes down to a purchase decision, most modelers, unless they are really, really into 109's and want the most accurate kit available, will buy the newest, and least expensive kit.  Revell and their distributor network know that, so they sell plenty of them.

 

Finally, I didn't read Andreas' post as Revell knowing the info before molds were made and ignoring it.  I read it to mean that having found out about the errors, Revell did an cost/benefit analysis and determined that it was not a good business decision to spend the money to correct or redo the molds to fix the errors.  Clearly, many of posters here (and on other forums) will disagree with that decision, it happens all the time and no company out there is going to spend money on a product if the return is not there.

 

Doug

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I, for one, dispute the '5%' figure ... no statistic, on Gods green earth, is that accuate! ... It could be more or less for all we know - or Andreas. I think it was just a throw-away figure to be quite honest ... what is more disturbing to me, as a customer, is the attitude behind it! Even if we are only 5% of the market share, we are (without being arrogant) are an important part of that target market! ... Most of the purchases I make (and I have made quite a few recently!) are made on the back of reviews - which in turn, are completed by members of that illustrious 5% ...

 

One chap posting on the 'other' thread has suggested the the Revell G-10 will be the only example out there ... curious comment, as I have both a Hasegawa G-10 (ST-18) and a G-14 (08157) sitting on my shelf at present?

 

Personally I have no problem with the Revell G-6 at present ... or the Trumpeter ... or the Hasegawa ... having built none and understanding that each is a kit just like any other - that will build reasonably well OOB and can be corrected/detailed with a supply of AM.

 

Steve, though, has a very (very!!) valid point ... in that ... we shouldn't have to, had the manufacturer given a little more time an attention to the details that matter. I wouldn't have minded forking out an extra 20% on the pricing for a more accurate representation.

 

I really do hope they make a better hash of their 'new tooled' Spitfire next year!!

 

Rog :)

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It is a waste of resource... but that is where we are...

 

I'm not privy to the details of how the team worked, but I imagine there was a date set when the drawings had to be 'frozen' and the tools made. After that, only minor changes could be made..?

 

Is that how it works? I know ZM seem to go through multiple iterations of test shots - maybe that's where some of their higher costs come in..? I do wonder if the change from mastering parts from actual real 'substance' to CAD has put the advisers at a disadvantage now, as a model inside a computer must be much harder to spot errors on than a solid chunk of resin or whatever.?

 

I wish one of the model companies would run a feature on the stages of creating a model. All the way through from concept to finished article.... maybe something ZM could be persuaded to do..

 

Rog - the poster was talking about the Erla 109G-10, significantly different around the nose from the 'standard' G-10 that Hasegawa produce.

 

Matt 

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I think it would be very worthwhile to ascertain how much online reviews on the modelling fora influence sales amongst the wider modelling fraternity. I think it probably has a great influence. I think issues over buildability probably outweigh most accuracy issues, but those do play a part if you have a choice of 3 kits of the same type.

 

I no longer buy kits (except WNW) until I have seen one built. The new G50 is one example I cannot find a single completed kit on the web.

 

I think for smaller companies with enthusiastic modelling staff, adverse critique does hurt. The larger companies are happy if they sell X units and any over that is a bonus.

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As I said above, Mike: statistics mean nothing... In practice anyway. The art of composing a set of drawings, and tools, and manufacturing space, and creating the logistics to bring a model to the market ( that's us 100 % ) is in the hands of only a few people who get this done because they WANT IT.

It is the boardroom and the desk-flyers who decide if these artists can do it again..

 

Agreed, it's pretty clear that the head honcho at Revell knew there were issues with the 109G.  I realize that this is a business though and typically that means compromises somewhere along the line.  My concern is that Revell hit home runs with the Ju 88, He 111 and Ar 196 but the He 219 and Bf 109G-6 have been put out there with known issues.  Hopefully they get back on track, at least with the G-10 there won't be any Beule to worry about!

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He also knew the He 219 was seriously flawed, but decided to launch anyway. I know this from a guy who spoke to Revell at Telford last year.

 

It's common-fare to release kits now that the manufacturer knows to be inaccurate.

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I think it would be very worthwhile to ascertain how much online reviews on the modelling fora influence sales amongst the wider modelling fraternity. I think it probably has a great influence. I think issues over buildability probably outweigh most accuracy issues, but those do play a part if you have a choice of 3 kits of the same type.

 

I no longer buy kits (except WNW) until I have seen one built. The new G50 is one example I cannot find a single completed kit on the web.

 

I think for smaller companies with enthusiastic modelling staff, adverse critique does hurt. The larger companies are happy if they sell X units and any over that is a bonus.

 

Speaking for myself, it depends on the reviewer or the review site.  Some people I trust, some I don't.  As of today, we have 12,924 views on the piece that Matt and I did on the Revell G-6.  Some kits I buy purely out of curiosity even though I know they may not be at the top their class.

 

Revell is big enough that they're going to be able to shrug off some negative reviews (although I certainly wouldn't rate our review of the kit as an overall negative) and let's face it, they're going to sell a lot of these based on the price alone.

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Sorry George,

 

Not private, just have a lot of opinions as to Mike's train of thought.

 

The people in charge pulling the purse strings are one thing... But we have been told that Revell have engineered the Bf109G-6 kit in a particular way, to cut costs and provide commonality in the way the kit is moulded. Then, they go and announce that the next kit in the line will be the Erla G-10, which will require a completely different fuselage if done properly.

 

Revell had all the information available to them, but chose not to put all of it to use. This has been confirmed now by two different sources. One wonders why assemble a team of 6 knowledgable people, if you're not going to put them to best use? This is surely a waste of resources...

 

S

 

I'm guessing they'll engineer the Type 110 cowl to fit on to the existing fuselage.  They seemed to go to great lengths to accomodate multiple variants, I'm thinking it will have new cowl sections with the fairings that extend back, a new upper cowl/gun trough area and the new oil cooler.  Now if they plan on doing a WNF or Regensburg G-10 you'd have the problem of the cheek bulges on the forward lower cowl (unless these would be add on parts).  I guess the question is will this G-10 be Erla only or a kit that will be able to represent all the variants.

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I'm guessing they'll engineer the Type 110 cowl to fit on to the existing fuselage.

That will require changes to every panel forward of the firewall, plus the gun cowl and the two side panels immediately behind the firewall position. Not to mention completely different oil cooler and compressor intake, plus the addition of the second M/W50 oval panel on the starboard fuselage side.

 

Oh, and offset cowl scoops please. Try and find an Erla G-10 photo with the scoops in-line.

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It might pay to re-read the entire thread then Doug...

 

Finally, I didn't read Andreas' post as Revell knowing the info before molds were made and ignoring it.  I read it to mean that having found out about the errors, Revell did an cost/benefit analysis and determined that it was not a good business decision to spend the money to correct or redo the molds to fix the errors.  Clearly, many of posters here (and on other forums) will disagree with that decision, it happens all the time and no company out there is going to spend money on a product if the return is not there.

Especially Andreas' next post, where he says, and I quote:

 

"During the design phase of the kit nearly all major issues were addressed in time - and simply ignored. Frustrating for all who accompanied the design phase. And these were throughout knowledgeable people!

 

With the distance of a year now: it was nearly deliberate sabotage."

 

His words, not mine. Sure looks like he felt he was being ignored. As does Lynn Ritger's comments in this Hyperscale post:

http://www.network54.com/Forum/149674/message/1380722323/You+are+being+disingenuous+and+deliberately+misleading%2C+Darren.

With comments such as "none of us were thrilled with the engineering decision to mold (sic) the spinner how it came out" and "not enough radius on the kit part, despite an awful lot of back-and-forth on it."

 

Given some of the details that slipped through, I'm now not surprised at all.

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Rog - the poster was talking about the Erla 109G-10, significantly different around the nose from the 'standard' G-10 that Hasegawa produce.

 

Ahhhh!!! Matt ... Thanks VERY much for clearing that up!! ... I was wondering about that post I read (and how the individual could have missed the Hasegawa kits!!) ... 2 different factories producing the same variant in 2 different ways! ... You learn something new every day! :D ...

 

However ... knowing Revells rather carefree approach to detail, as it stands, we will probably end up with an Erla boxing and a 'standard' G-10 kit (tongue firmly in cheek!) ...

 

Rog :)

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Reviews and "influencer opinion" carry a significant amount of weight. 

 

Just look at the aircraft that get savaged in online reviews. Then look at the aircraft that regularly show up in various online specials with crazy deep discounts. The overlap is tremendous. Because retailers are trying to move stock because people aren't buying the kits. 

 

A few that spring immediately to mind:

- Revell He 219, which Squadron was selling for like $25 recently-ish

- Hobby Boss Spitfire Mk.Vb, a general beauty of a kit with some missteps that saw it dismissed

- Trumpeter Bf 109s. The G-6 is a pretty solid kit, but even it doesn't escape the discount gutter the Emils drove the Trumpeter 109 lineup into.

 

This is why the 5% makes me so curious. What does the 5% entail? Forum members? Forum readers? The "serious modeling enthusiast" in general? What % of Revell's sales come from dedicated modeling retailers like Sprue Brothers or Hannants or the LHSes of the world versus a lot of the more general outlets their distribution network gives them access to. Because judging by how fast and how hard the He 219 came down in price, I'd say from the outside that it's been a bomb for them.

 

Matt ... This is why I believe that this rather random looking figure of '5%' is a throw-away ... false data, to back up a false arguement (well ... partly false at least) ... and more to the point - given the later comments by Andreas (quoted by Steve, above) - one than he doesn't really support in any case!!

 

The Trumpeter kits get 'over-bashed' I think ... but their G-2 is their best effort (as far as I read in the reviews, at any rate) ... nevertheless you are right ... and I really believe that ZM's He219 had a significant sales boost because of the mud flung on the Revell 'rushed' attempt ... another ZM example being the Ta-152 - apparently the PCM kit doesn't get the best reviews either??

 

Thanks to reviews I've read (most significantly Iain's list of inaccuracies and ongoing He219 'corrections' thread) I initially balked at buying the Revell kit (I cannot remember the initial release price) as it wasn't exactly in line with the subject matter I'm into ... and just recently bought TWO ZM kits instead (shove that up your marketing department Revell ... lol :D !!). I only grabbed it because I was getting a ZM kit as a present for someone else and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about (now that is real word of mouth marketing for you!!) ... after opening up the first one and thinking "W-O-W" - I grabbed several others ... including a couple of P51-D's (refer below)

 

I did ... however ... buy a Hobby Boss Mk.Vb Spit, just recently, and am currently awaiting it's arrival ... The only competitor out there is a Hasegawa old tool atm ... and reading reviews on both - I decided that the Hobby Boss was probably better engineered and detailed OOB (AKA Trumpeter) and it's flaws easier for me to live with. If Tamiya had continued with it's Spitfire run - back to Mk.V's, II's and I's ... The Hobby Boss kit wouldn't have even been looked at ... and neither would Revells' 2014 offering, come to think of it! 

 

For those of us who have made purchasing errors before ... trying to buy stuff 'on the cheap' ... a hard lesson learned, produces a more cautious buyer!

 

Don't forget the Dragon 1/32 P-51D, that one can barely be given away by shops as I see it at ridiculous prices, but still not selling.

 

... and this was my mistake!! ... having grabbed the Hasegawa kit and realising my skill set wasn't up to scratch yet ... and having bought several Dragon kits in 1/35 (being rather pleased with them) ... I jumped on the P-51D ... uh oops!? ... It's now, sprues still in plastic bags, in the 'disposal' pile!!

 

_________________

 

The '5 Percent' DO matter ... most significantly ... as they will influence the sales to a good percentage of the rest of the market! ... Not sure? ... ok ...

I have (at last count) 16 budding young modelers within a sphere of influence (aged between 6 and 16 and of both sexes) - those that I introduced to the hobby and who come to me for advice. I am absolutely NO expert on much of anything ... BUT I do have a ready set of online references ... besides books, websites etc ... I have people like you guys! :D ...

 

So ... when young Craig comes to me and asks who makes the best Abrams 1/35 ... I go to Google and type "Abrams 1/35 reviews" ... you'd be amazed at how quickly I can come up with an answer for him - third hand! ... and that's not even 'word of mouth' type gossip - which is an even more removed influence.

 

No ... wrong attitude entirely Revell ... sorry!!

 

Rog :)

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