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Interview with Richard Alexander (WnW Coordinator) - Everything you want to know about WnW


Fran
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As an introduction, First of all I want to thank the patience and attention with Richard has responded over the five years to my emails,

More appreciate all the support that Richard has given me throughout this year , especially in the last two years ( support which always wanted it to be unofficial) . Thank you !

I take also to thank the generous offer I received .. still speechless

 

Here are a few questions that was collecting and reminding me over the last few months that allowed WnW learn more about the history of fans WnW and how and where it is the history of modeling, every day , revolutionizing an industry there are already 6 years.

 

Richard, when Peter Jackson talked to you to be the WnW coordinator, what was the very first thing that cross your mind? When was that?

 

RA: I was approached in mid 2006 and I thought it would be an amazing opportunity to work with highly skilled and motivated professionals as well as being able to incorporate a lot of my ideas about what makes a great model kitset.

 

All of us, modellers, think that you have a dream job? Its really a dream job?

 

I have to agree, it is a very rewarding job. Sometimes frustrating, always educational and always rewarding!

 

How long it took to release in 2009 Easter the first model kits? Since when have you and the staff working on the models?

 

Preliminary R&D work had been underway for a year or so before the project really gained momentum in late 2005 with the arrival of the mould and tool coordinator Umberto ‘Taffy’ Figliola and jumped up another gear after I came on board in mid 2006. So it was about 5 years from inception until the release of our first 4 models in early 2009.

 

What`s is the Peter Jackson vision and goal for WnW? Is WnW there yet?

 

What you see IS Peter Jackson's vision for Wingnut Wings, to produce large scale, high quality and accurate models of First World War aircraft that are suitable for the beginner or expert modeller alike. There are of course still the Special Editions and figures to come and eventually many more interesting and (hopefully) exciting new releases.

 

After 6 years now, how do you resume your work at WnW? The success has been tremendous, rocking the modelling world. I personally said that it’s the best of the best… but how do you see it?

 

I'm very pleased with what our little team from New Zealand have been able to produce to date. The release of every new model is a milestone to celebrate and a very proud moment for everyone concerned. Of course I always want each new model to be just a little bit better than the one before it if at all possible.

 

Much has been said about WnW craziness of the new and most welcome news… but there`s are voices that said that what WnW wants is, as all companies, the profit… I think WnW has been showing that is not true… what do you want to say about this?

 

Well those voices are dead wrong. Wingnut Wings is NOT a profit driven company. I would think that was very clear from our choice of subjects and the attention to detail that we often apply well beyond what most modellers would expect. If we were a profit driven company would make models of Mustangs, Spitfires, Bf 109s, Fw 190s, F-15s and Ferraris etc. Any one of which would almost certainly prove to be more profitable than even the most popular of First World War aircraft.

 

Was WnW company affected somehow by the global financial crisis?

 

Somewhat, and we have had to make some changes Luckily our customers are remarkably loyal and, for the most part, can see how our models represent very good value for money.

 

WnW surprised everyone and make a really big buzzat modelling world with not one but Two Felixstowe`s and one Duellist. Two months later, the longed waited AEG G. IV.

Since 2009, WnW continues to amaze and shake the modelling world several times a year!!

Can we expect WnW to keep doing that for many years to come? It`s becoming harder and harder…

 

Let's hope so. Personally I feel every new large scale model of a First World War aircraft is a triumph and something worth celebrating no matter who the manufacturer is. So long as we can recoup enough from sales to cover our costs Wingnut Wings will continue to release exciting new models.

 

 

WnW has a quite different “release” politics from the rest of the modelling world: since 2010, WnW do not announce any release… WnW simply drop the bomb… it had happen with the DFW (simply send to the winners of the Eindeckers GB WnW fans at Large Scale Modeller, the first two in the world before being on the your website, and fully signed), the W.12 that WnW Fans page was fortune to have a pic of the model and the designer a few minutes before been officially announce and many other…

In the Felixstowe process everything went down as expected or it was announce too early (it appear on the January 2015 Finescale Modeller, in the web edition, and it was share on WnW fans facebook page and for the first time WnW offer a pre-order timeline)??

 

Despite appearances, almost nothing went right with regards to the release schedule of the Felixstowes. The initial plan was to release the Felixstowe F.2a & Hansa-Brandenburg W.29 Duelists set without any warning in mid November (imagine that!) and at the same time preview the Early and Late versions with a release date of late November, just in time for Christmas. At the same time as we released the remaining Felixstowes we were going to add the Hansa-Brandenburg W.12 Early to our website as our special Christmas surprise release. Of course, as it turned out, production delays with the Felixstowes and an electronic copy of Finescale Modeler that was annoyingly sent out 2 weeks early combined to scuttle all those plans. Luckily we were able to adapt in such a way that, outwardly at least, it appeared as if it was still under control!

 

How WnW keeps all the release so well under the radar?

 

That's because we can keep a secret! And so can the very professional external people and companies that we deal with. Having said that, there are models like the Sopwith Camel, Post War Bristol Fighter and DH.9a that we do not keep secret.

 

Can we say that with WnW everything is possible?

 

Perhaps not everything, but given enough time and continued interest anything might be possible.

 

The first interview that I saw online was on Hyperscale back in 2010 and Peter Jackson ends saying that “there’s lots more to come”

Now in 2015, that sentence still applies to nowadays?

 

Absolutely, there is lots more to come. So long as there is continued support and we are able to recoup enough from sales to cover our costs, Wingnut Wings will continue to release exciting new models.

 

The WnW models release until now do not have sequencial number…there`s gap between them that takes us to the next question: How many models are in development? Can you gives us any clue about one of them (besides the post war types announce on WnW website and the Camel)?

 

No. Not at this time. That way they will be a nice surprise.

 

And what the part of The Vintage Aviator (TVAL) as in the new projects or in the developed projects?

 

We receive a tremendous amount of support, information and expertise from The Vintage Aviator LTD. Luckily, we are sometimes able to reciprocate a little and help them out too, but usually it's a pretty one way street.

 

In May 2012 , we were faced with a reality that never had thinking of.... a Sold out WnW model kit...

(Only in late 2014, the W.29 has been release in a duellist pack). After that several others has been declared as sold out…

This meant that those models will never be release again with that box and that decals option?

 

Yes that is correct. We have no intention of re-releasing them again in the same boxes and with the same decal options. It should be noted that so far no model has sold out in less than 17 months and most have taken a lot longer than that.

 

 

Those models on Ebay are getting to quite high price… why the option of one run production?

 

It should be noted that no major model kit company keeps all their models in production all the time.

 

This question has been made several times I suppose: The free international shipping. After 5 years, WnW still offer the shipping… Can we count on that for the next 5 years?

 

No. Free shipping is not sustainable and will almost certainly end late this year or early in 2016.

 

For the next question, the last time I asked this I got a simply reply: "yes eventually"

But I will ask again: special editions and resin ground crew and pilots that has been announce in 2010 will come out one day? If so, can you tell us when?

 

Yes...eventually.

 

Does WnW release any model that Peter Jackson doesn`t want?

 

No.

 

Lots of ink has been running on forums and websites about the AEG price tag. Explanation was given by one fellow staff member and post on our LSM review like this:

A direct comparison to the cost of our earlier model 32005 Gotha G.IV (currently priced at just US$149) is inevitable I encourage you to consider these significant differences;

1. AEG G.IV tooling is 1.3x the cost of the Gotha G.IV.

2. AEG G.IV plastic injection moulding is 2.3x the cost of the Gotha G.IV.

3. AEG G.IV decal printing is 2.75x the cost of the Gotha G.IV.

4. The Gotha G.IV is probably priced too low.

It`s obvious, after this, the AEG will be more expensive. But we will not have in the future another two-engine aircraft at Gotha´s price tag and the production cost is higher because the injection production is not in China anymore. Is this statement correct to do?

 

Yes and No.

Yes: It will not be possible to create any new twin engined aircraft models to the same sort of cost as the Gotha G.IV released in 2010. Overall production costs have gone up, models are more detailed & complex (as anyone who has built both the Gotha G.IV and AEG G.IV models can testify) and it is no longer 2010.

 

And...

 

No: As anyone can see by reading the side of the box or rear page of the instructions the AEG G.IV was manufactured in China like most of our other models.

 

Only the first 8 models were injected in China?

 

No. Most models have been tooled and injection moulded in China but some have been done in Korea. You can read where each model was manufactured on the side of every box and back of the instructions.

 

Where do you hope the company will be in 2019 by WnW 10th anniversary?

The release programme is fully booked through to the end of 2019 and beyond?

 

I would hope that we are still around in 2019 and will have released many more new models, special editions and figures, all of which will continue to live up to the high standards we have set ourselves and our supporters have become accustomed to.

 

The Christmas Surprise are now a a trademark for WnW… Can you we expect a Christmas surprise this year and many year after?

 

Hopefully because it's quite fun for everyone... but an expected surprise really isn't a surprise is it?

 

Sometime ago, WnW fans voted for the most Wanted WnW (not a wishlist but the most wanted one).

The poll was made in two websites: Wnw fans on Large Scale Modeller and WnW fans facebook page… on both polls the result was the same: Etrich Taube.

Was for you a surprising result? How do you see it?

 

Not that surprising really once the Sopwith Camels was knocked out of contention because we announced that we were making it. The many various Taube are fascinating aircraft and the Etrich version is probably the most well known. I have to agree that it would certainly make for an impressive model if we were to decide to make it.

 

There`s another part of WnW that, at least we modelers, don’t care about it and it`s almost a WnW dark side: “The little contemptibles”, hand crafted and painted 54mm.

The miniatures are a ended project for WnW, as nothing more was release?

 

There are more Little Contemptibles planned which will no doubt see the light of day once we have our other figures sorted out and available.

 

Today how many people work in WnW HQ? And how many belong, in the world to WnW Staff?

 

There is usually just under a dozen people here in New Zealand at any one time but many more around the world who contribute in their own way, from artists like Ronny Bar and Steve Anderson, aviation historians etc and all the people working at the tooling factories. Additionally I like to think that our many thousands of fantastically loyal and passionate customers are also an integral part of Wingnut Wings.

 

Any special word to all WnW fans worldwide?

 

I would like to thank you all for your continued support and encouragement in sharing our passion. We couldn't continue to do what we do without you. Also, please keep sending in photos of your built Wingnut Wings models to our customer models gallery (mymodel@wingnutwings.com) because all of us really enjoy seeing them.

 

Thanks so much for your time and patience. Please continue to delight us with more and more WnW models kits.

 

Fran

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