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EXCLUSIVE Interview with Dave Johnson, WnW Warehouse Operations Manager


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Here we go again.

An exclusive interview with our very own Dave Johnson, WnW Warehouse Operations Manager. 

This is exclusive and unique interview for WnW Fans/Large Scale Modeller.




What is your role at WNW?


So my official role at Wingnut Wings is Warehouse Operations Manager. My main task is to answer all the incoming emails to our help email account, shipping orders and making sure our warehouse has stock for the outgoing orders. Other tasks are arranging shipping from our Factories overseas when a product run of new kit/s is complete. Also I do a few admin tasks.

In the past I have also have been involved with building Test Shots and writing fit reports on my findings of a said kit during its development. I did enjoy doing this, as it was my opportunity to have some input to the kits development.  These days I don't really have the time to help with Test Reports, as my days are busier compared to earlier days of Wingnut Wings when we only had a few kits in the growing range. Time to time I also build sample display kits for our website.

How many people do you have working for you?


On a day to day basis, It’s just me. I process all the orders that we receive, answer all the emails and handle any issues that may arise in the warehouse. On occasions, we have had helpers in when something is to large for me to handle myself, like unpacking containers full of new kits, or a busy period like a multiple new release.

What’s you normal day involve at WNW?


Normally I will check how many orders we have received overnight and scan through the emails for any changes that may have to be done to an order. After that I normally will check out some of the modelling forums on the internet see what's been happening and any new news and comments. Also forums are great to see if there are any issues that I may of missed, like an email not getting through to us or any shipping issue someone may have.. After that, Orders get packaged prior to our courier arriving and answering all the emails. 


Who invited you to interview for the role? And how it was the invitation? 


I used to work for the Local Land Rover Dealership, as the Parts Brand Manager. Unfortunately the company was going under due to the hard financial times around the world. Richard happened to approached me at this time, as I knew him from the local hobby store and the local IPMS club. He asked what my background was and asked me for my CV as he knew of a role that I may fit into, and it just happened to be at the right time as I was about to lose my job the following day.

How WnW appear in your life?



At my first interview, I had no idea what the role was, but I knew it was something to do with warehousing and collectables. It wasn't till the second interview that I was shown the box for the Junkers J1 and then it became clear what the job was all about.



When you saw the entire project, what did you thought about it? Doable or even crazy?


It wasn't really till my first day on the job that really hit me.. I walked into the Wingnut Wings Studio and saw everything that had been happening to this point. I was pretty much blown away. As a modeller, I never thought something like Wingnut Wings could happen pretty much in my back yard, let alone be a part of it.


BY anytime did Peter Jackson told you or others stuff members what he want for WNW? If so, There`s still much to come? -

We see Peter from time to time in the office, but any input from Peter normally goes through Richard. 

Oh yes, for sure... There is a lot of great things to come!


It`s a dream job?

Ah.. Thats a hard one.. Yes and no to be honest! I do love my job.. I really get a kick seeing all the joy that we give to other modellers around the world when we release something new and unexpected. Also I have met all lot of fantastic people working for Wingnut Wings and made some great friendships around the world. So there is a lot of good stuff! But I do have to admit that it has killed my modelling motivation a couple of times over the last few years. I was able to build 8-10 kits a year easily, but the last couple of years I have been struggling to get to 4 or 5 built!


What`s the worse time of the year in the wharehouse? Xmas time? Or ever single release?

I won't say the worse time, but yes the busiest time of year is normally Xmas. Trying to get orders out prior to NZ Post International cut off dates and our Xmas holidays that we normally close down for, and then a couple of weeks after we return as there is a lot of catching up to do!

Single releases are normally a walk in the park and easy to handle. It’s the multiple releases that normally cause a lot of chaos in the warehouse. We do try to get a few more people in to help out during these times.

The recipes for success: please in your perspective, what make WnW so successful? 

I think the success is due to a couple of things.

 Having a great design team that keeps pushing the boundaries on tooling and keeping the upcoming kits to high standards. Great Customer service/support.

 And most of important.... Having great customers!


Speaking of customers service, what was the worst situation that you have to fix?


We don't get many issues that are hard to solve as most of them are pretty straight forward. But I would have to say the most annoying is the waiting period between Postal Services, when we have to open a case to try to find a missing package. It does get very annoying for myself and our customer.

 The WnW staff members most Have some privileges. Do they get free WnW models kits?

Yes, I think all jobs have privileges these days.. In the past I have been to a couple of Airshows at Omaha and Wanaka in the South Island of New Zealand. I was lucky enough to go to Toyko for the 2009 Hobby Show. Even to pre-release showings of Peters movies. And yes the odd Free Kit does appear on our desks.


You did in fact several models like DH.2 and Roland. Those models are yours or WnW property?

Yes I have built a few kits for the Website. I think I built 14-16 of them now. In the past they have been the property of Wingnut Wings as they commission myself or other modellers to build them. A couple of times its been hard to hand something over to Richard, so now he gives me the option to build it for Wingnut Wings or myself. If I do choose to build it my for myself Wingnut Wings gets to photograph it for the website samples. I have done this a couple of times in the past. Most recently with the Roland C.II, which happens to be in the window at my local hobby store at the moment.

Being a fantastic and very talent modeller what was the most pleasant WnW that you ever build? And the most unpleasant one? And if you already built a WnW just for yourself, with no deadlines?

All the Wingnut Wings kits that I have built so far have been really enjoyable. But the ones that stand out for me would be the Fokker E.1 and the DH.2. Unpleasant one would be the Rumpler Late.. Which was all my fault! I was looking good for the deadline that Richard wanted it for... But in the final stages, I knocked it off the table and it looked like many of the WW1 period photos of shot down aircraft... smashed into many pieces! I had to get a few spares to fix it up and it was about a week after the release it appeared on the website.

Yes I have built a couple for myself with no deadlines, the last one would have been the Fokker E.II/E.III. But that’s going a couple of years back!

Does WNW HQ have a display case for the built models? Is there any Peter Jackson models?

Yes we have a couple of case full of built kits and test shots of upcoming items. I guess you could say they are all Peter's models. But ones that Peter has built personally, unfortunately, no. 


WnW model kits motivate all kinds of feeling even of awe. On 29/8 on ebay.uk, a SE 5a Hisso (in mint condition) was sold for £ 66.50 (around $ 102) Being on sales department explains that the kit that WnW sells for $ 69 to sell for more than $ 100 when it is not OOP?

I think it comes down to what someone is willing to pay these days. It may be easier for the person to pay the extra amount and not have to worry about the international shipping period, the taxes it may occur at their end when it arrives and/or the time they may have to spend clearing the package. Or another case could be, that the buyer doesn't want to deal with ordering internationally and prefers to deal with someone more local to them.


The original oils paints that are fantastic WnW box art are on WnW HQ or with Peter Jackson or with Steven Anderson?

Once Steve is finished, they arrive here and are placed in Peter's collection after we have photographed them for our box tops.

I caught this sentence for a well know forum “And while the "novelty" of WNW may have worn off, it seems to me they have done a pretty good job of maintaining the interest and excitement. For example the WNW Fans FB page has over 3000 members last I looked, with so many new posts every day that I for one cannot keep up with it.”

WnW does not have facebook page… What`s your comment to this?


Yes it’s true that we don't have a Facebook page or any Social Media accounts. We do have a very loyal fan and customer base that does everything for us in the means of Social Media. It’s great to see the chatter on the Wingnut Wings Fans Facebook page and forums on the internet. We only need to send out a Newsletter or post an new item on the website and it gets picked up pretty quickly. A few times in the past Richard and I had been surprised how fast thing get picked up and posted to the internet.


What do you think about the WnW fans FB page and if WnW should have a facebook page like Tamiya, Trumpeter, Meng, HobbyBoss? Or should WnW Fans FB page become an official facebook page?

These days lots of people turn to Social Media for information. I do, and it’s a great way to keep up to date on news, updates on your favorite sports team and of course anything modelling related. I guess it wouldn't hurt to have an official Wingnut Wings page. But Wingnut Wings Fans does fantastic job already!


Richard said on the last interview that free shipping will be over late this year or early 2016. The end of it will bring any decrease of the model price tag? The free postage is currently hidden in the price, that`s why I ask…


I am not involved in the process of determining kit prices. Free shipping definitely hasn't been included in the price tag in the past. But I can assure everyone that we have been looking at the best options available to us to help keep costs of shipping down to all our customers.


We take the next question: WnW is distinguished from the other big brands like Tamiya / Hasegawa / Dragon / Meng to not carry out any retail sale and not have any distributor by different parts of the world? It was an option that will now end because the end of the free shipping?


From the beginning we were wanting to get our kits into the hands of modellers at the very best price they could purchase them for. But there are quite a few Hobby Stores, Online retailers that still took on our kits at the full retail and added a small margin and sold them successfully within their stores. Only problem is that we still today get people only finding out about us, so by going this route we will hopefully gain more customers that have never heard of us before or not dealt with us because we are based overseas.

That ending of the free shipping is directly connected with the new two and first importers? And if WNW kits went thru the same distribution process, would they become much more expensives?

No its not connected in any way at all to the Wholesalers. They have been on board for a while now. Unfortunately the Free Shipping offer is coming to an end as its not sustainable for us to proceed with it.


Besides you and Richard, is there any one that was already a modeller before entering to WnW Staff?


Few of our 3D Modellers build kits in one way or another. Also Malcolm our Decal Artist has his own decal company that produces New Zealand related aircraft decals called Ventura. He also had a range of kits mainly in 72nd that he produced and sold under Ventura. 


Customer service: i remember that at least 3 times, was post On WNW Fans by modellers that they get wrong Wnw models kits, models that they didn't Order and the models ordered were not in the package. The solution given by WnW (particullary by you) was simply amazing: Sorry. We will send you the correct ones. Keep those models for yourself. 


Indeed, Our helpers and I are only human, so mistakes do happen from time to time. Its indeed a case by case basis... If we can correct a mistake by sending out sprues, decals etc we will. But from time to time a complete kit is sent out.


Other brands don't do this and i EVER was one of the lucky ones. The philosophy of WnW to be a brand that stands out from the others is reflected in customer service. From the beginning there was by the wnw a criterion of being the world's best or simply wanted to deal with designers and customers would like to be treated?

There were no guidelines set in place when Wingnut Wings first started. But I try to handle each enquiry, as I would like to be handled myself if I was the customer. 


Will we see an official WnW stall in Scale Model World (IPMS UK - Telford) one day?

We have looked at it in the past, but it’s a huge operation to go to any international show. Weather we go to sell kits or purely on a display purpose, it involves a lot of time and effort.  So maybe one day, so don't rule it out!


Did you expected the all buzz around WnW still after 6 years?

To be honest I didn't know what to expect... we get a lot of great feedback from customers when they email in. And there is always the excitement when there is something new released. But yes it’s great to see it still going today 6 & 1/2 years after we released our first four kits.

Mainstream manufactures have launch Last Year and this year several WWI AFV. It was only because of the WWI centenary or did WnW show to the world that you can have Fantastic models kits and open minds of others Manufactures?


We have no way of knowing for sure but I think it’s a case of both things. It's a great time to release WW1 related items as the interest is very high at the moment with all the centenary celebrations happening around the world. I do think that Wingnut Wings has helped the WW1 modeling in a big way, as it has opened areas up to modellers that weren't originally interested in this period. I know that for sure, as I am one myself! Prior to Wingnut Wings I had no interested in the First World War or any kits from that era.. Now I find myself building Aircraft and now tanks from this period.


Any special word to all WnW fans worldwide?

Thanks for your support and words when you guys email in. And keep building them as we love seeing the results from our kits.




Thank you Dave for your time, and for your kind words to WnW Fans! 


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