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  1. #1

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    Do scale kits have a future?

    Who’s going to replace the scale builders like Reeves, GTM, Arizona and Ziroli ten years from now. I think scale kit builders days are numbered. The build time is becoming intolerable now with the new detailed ARF’s to choose from. One thing is for sure, your scale build from one of these kits may become a collectors item and go up in value. Any thoughts?

  2. #2

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    RE: Do scale kits have a future?

    its called plans, they arent going away and even the arf manufacturers use those same plans...I bet to come up with their product. A better thought or question is are builders days numbered? fun question just the same

  3. #3

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    RE: Do scale kits have a future?

    With the number of designers around and coming along all the time and the kit cutters there are, the number of kits should grow. Mind you there will be the work of finding a plan and then a kit cutter.
    I believe the technology to cut kits is getting simpler and cheaper all the time, so wwe should be ok for a while

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  4. #4
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    RE: Do scale kits have a future?

    With wages increasing in China, it won't be long before the price of an ARF will be too high to afford. The manufacturer will resort to just putting the pieces in the box and get rid of all their assembliers and sell for a cheaper price. I think you will see the covering as well as the supplied hardware disappearing also.

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  5. #5
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    RE: Do scale kits have a future?

    I agree with ram-bro, we'll have scale kits, as long as we have scale builders. No scale builders, no scale kits.

  6. #6
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    RE: Do scale kits have a future?

    We should have more US kit production now and encourage domestic building and design. With laser cutting becoming more affordable to own and more accurate than ever I wish more production was done here with better quality wood than Chinese kits and ARF's.

    I prefer composite planes to wood personally and that would be great to see more composite planes made here as well.

    With Chinese wages increasing what companies are doing is relocating the factories from the costal areas back in into the interior farm towns. This is their attempt to find cheaper labor and longer term employees. Too many workers quit their jobs and move back home so the factories are chasing them. A lot of the production knowledge goes with them and this hurts current production line efficiency and accuracy.
    The next country to pick up the slack and beat Chinese pricing is Vietnam.

    Sooo lets see more domestic design and production!

    Also more to the point, we need less Nintendo and more X-Acto...
    Like a midget in a urinal I knew I had to stay on my toes...

  7. #7
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    RE: Do scale kits have a future?

    Another related question is whether we can expect generation after generation to venerate the same aircraft that many of us do. Are there teens out there who are fascinated with WWI aircraft like I was and like a lot of us were? I don't think so. Will there be another generation in love with Mustangs and Corsairs and B17s? Like many of you, I grew up building plastic models of actual historical objects, from army jeeps, to jets, to rockets. But my own boys played with Spawn, Ninja Turtles, and eventually Nintento. My childhood toys, like toy aircraft carriers, gas stations, cars, GI Joes, were cool to me precisely because they were real. GI Joe's guns were cool because they were just like a "real" gun. With my GI Joe Mercury space capsule I could imagine that I was one of the Mercury astronauts. But the toy industry moved on. Real was no longer cool. Fantasy was cool. Real (aka "scale") was boring.

    On the other hand, modelers have been building and flying SE5s and Fokkers for close to 100 years...so that's cause for optimism.

  8. #8
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    RE: Do scale kits have a future?


    ORIGINAL: Chris Nicastro

    We should have more US kit production now and encourage domestic building and design. With laser cutting becoming more affordable to own and more accurate than ever I wish more production was done here with better quality wood than Chinese kits and ARF's.
    I recent saw an article in MA on http://www.mountainmodels.com/ I didn't know they existed! They are a US kit cutter and have some nice stuff but not much in scale.
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    I bought a reusable kit the other day, it came with it's own large black trash bag!

  9. #9
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    RE: Do scale kits have a future?

    Scale builders will always exist . Scale "kits " will fall victim to the laws of supply and demand . Most of the true scale builders I know usually build from plans or draw their own plans and scratch build .
    \"Aint this great !!\" - Chris
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  10. #10
    abufletcher's Avatar
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    RE: Do scale kits have a future?

    I'd have to disagree with CK1. I'd guess that the vast majority of scale models built are from kits. Sure there's a small hard-core group of builders who cut their own parts from plans...and a even a smaller group who actually design and build their own models (scratch-build), but they are the exception not the rule. And yeah, those hard-core builders will continue to build during their own lifetimes, but will there be a younger wave of builders along to replenish the troops?

    Let's face it, building highly detail scale models is now an "old man's hobby." There was a time, for example, in Mick Reeves' youth where building flying scale models was both cool and debonaire. It showed you were going places...maybe a career in engineering...or a pilot...or an astronaut. Today, it's all about nostalgia for the "classic planes" of "glory days long past."

  11. #11
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    RE: Do scale kits have a future?


    ORIGINAL: abufletcher

    I'd have to disagree with CK1. I'd guess that the vast majority of scale models built are from kits. Sure there's a small hard-core group of builders who cut their own parts from plans...and a even a smaller group who actually design and build their own models (scratch-build), but they are the exception not the rule. And yeah, those hard-core builders will continue to build during their own lifetimes, but will there be a younger wave of builders along to replenish the troops?

    Let's face it, building highly detail scale models is now an ''old man's hobby.'' There was a time, for example, in Mick Reeves' youth where building flying scale models was both cool and debonaire. It showed you were going places...maybe a career in engineering...or a pilot...or an astronaut. Today, it's all about nostalgia for the ''classic planes'' of ''glory days long past.''
    I do not consider getting the parts cut to a particular plan as building a "kit". To me a kit is one where you have step by step instructions. Building to plans is a whole other level. I actually find building my own designs, easier than scratching to plans, as a lot of my time is spent figuring out the designers engineering.

    I think building will start to increase. Many of the warbird guys are wanting more and more accuracy. I think they will move into building with the cost of the ARf's going up. If you wanna play, you are gonna have to do the work.

    The trick here though, is finding quality kit cutters that you can trust. My first experience was not good. My current build reminds me of an old Sterling kit! lol
    \"let\'\'\'\'s just say, they will be satisfied with less\" Ming the Merciless

  12. #12
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    RE: Do scale kits have a future?

    Spend some time over on RCG and find a whole lot of scale kit mfgs. Most are for electric. The majority are for smaller models, but as electric gains a foothold, they are getting larger.
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  13. #13
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    RE: Do scale kits have a future?

    Well I have heard about a trend as a direct result of the economy which has inreased good old Guillows stick and tissue type kit purchases. The thinking here is low cost family entertainment. So I think as those people have found this segment of the hobby that could lead to more builders as time comes.
    Also another trend in the hobby is returning hobbyists meaning they participate then leave the hobby then come back years later. Weve all done it, life interrupts the hobby, then we get back to it at some point.

    A lot of what your kids will be interested in reflects back on what the parents expose them to. If your grandparents, parents or any family participated in a war or were just alive in that time then you could show them so there is a direct tie to history which might interest your kids. It might spark interest in aviation or other things that can be learned within the hobby.
    Like a midget in a urinal I knew I had to stay on my toes...

  14. #14
    abufletcher's Avatar
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    RE: Do scale kits have a future?

    ORIGINAL: valleyk
    Who’s going to replace the scale builders like Reeves, GTM, Arizona and Ziroli ten years from now. I think scale kit builders days are numbered.
    Going back to the original post, I assume you're talking about kit MANUFACTURERS rather than kit BUILDERS. Kit manufacturing is always going to be a niche market with many small companies going out of business while other hobbyists-turned-businesses enter the market.

    Also I think we're quickly approaching a time when people will be able to do the whole process digitally (and online). For example, you will buy a digital plan and then either download it to your own home "cutting and/or printing" device or you'll send the "plan file" to a service company which will do the (automated) cutting and 3-D printing for you...and then mail you a box of parts. And, yes, the days of balsa models might be numbered.

  15. #15

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    RE: Do scale kits have a future?


    ORIGINAL: countilaw

    With wages increasing in China, it won't be long before the price of an ARF will be too high to afford. The manufacturer will resort to just putting the pieces in the box and get rid of all their assembliers and sell for a cheaper price. I think you will see the covering as well as the supplied hardware disappearing also.

    Frank
    Agreed, noticed hobby king is offering kits now. I glad to see it. But there will always be Scale guys, and plan builders.

  16. #16
    abufletcher's Avatar
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    RE: Do scale kits have a future?

    ORIGINAL: countilaw
    The manufacturer will resort to just putting the pieces in the box and get rid of all their assembliers and sell for a cheaper price.Β*Β*Β*
    Another advantage of this for many buyers is that international shipping on a huge ARF box can be prohibitively expensive. Many companies won't even ship an ARF overseas at all. If I could get an "unassembled ARF" minus the hardware (which is usually junk) and minus the covering (which is usually cheap plastic) for half the price of the ARF, I'd definitely be interested.

  17. #17
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    RE: Do scale kits have a future?

    Scale will live forever! If it isn't scale, it isn't, in my humble opinion.....why have planes that aren't really planes?! That's like having an RC car that is a Christmas tree.....

    just kidding, of course (sort of)....everyone should have some sort of sport plane to help them learn to fly their scale planes better ;-)

    I think that the days of all kits are numbered. Very few builder's anymore. Plans services will see an increase in sales once the kits are gone is what I foresee.
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  18. #18

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    RE: Do scale kits have a future?

    Actually I am encouraged by the current state of kit manufacturing. Laser cutting has meant that a huge number of scale designs make it to market. Look at AerodromeRC or Manzano Laser among others. Granted, these have tended to be small aircraft but they are getting larger. Both these manufacturers have 1/6 scale models now. (Back 20 or 30 years ago, 1/6 scale WAS the norm.) Many modellers have moved to 1/4 and 1/3 scale, but that is fairly new.

    It's harder to find particular models but the selection is much better. Ask the FreeFlight crowd about that! Yes, you may have to go on line but that's our world anyway. I think the era of stacks of Guillows and Sterling models at the local hobby shop and corner store has long gone.

    Small laser models will be "complete" but larger ones are more often going to be short kits. Of course there will be BUSA and GTM kits for more money, (and pretty good value for what you are getting).

    Martin

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    RE: Do scale kits have a future?

    I think they will be around for years to come. There are considerably less now than when I started years ago but they are still out there. I think the biggest problem is the guys hoarding all the best discontinued kits that they will never in their lifetime get to build and it will sit in a basement or garage and someone will throw them away when they pass. Quite sad really.

  20. #20

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    RE: Do scale kits have a future?

    here's an angle you guys didn't cover:

    As a kid, I tried to build a couple of .049 sized gullows kits (SE5, P26, and a Stearman) but never got them to fly (age/skill/lack of parental help/money). Fast forward 30 years and I started buying arfs, and then some really high quality arfs (FSK).. that then led me to modifying my arfs to get flaps, retracts etc, and as my skills started to grow, kit bashing (made a fairly scale F-82 which started out with a couple P-51 kits, but ended up using little of those kits) and now I'm getting closer to scratch building. I'm also building very scale fully functional landing gear/retracts... Without arfs drawing me back in, I'd have never got here. As people go through the cycle, some will drift off to other fads, and others like me will go deeper - that's where your next gen is coming from; folks who got hooked from ARFs, but want more than ARFs can deliver.
    "Luftcrazy"

  21. #21
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    RE: Do scale kits have a future?

    After pondering this topic some more, I feel that this is a false dilemma. There are tons of kits available now, and I have not heard of anyone going away. Most of the kits that have gone by the way side are the old 40-60 sized stuff we had in the 80's. With the popularity of the warbird, there will be many kits available for these anyway, and they tend to be scale models. How much detail and how accurate you want them is up to you.
    \"let\'\'\'\'s just say, they will be satisfied with less\" Ming the Merciless

  22. #22
    TLH101's Avatar
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    RE: Do scale kits have a future?

    Used to be, when I came on RCU, there was about a page and a half of new posts in the ARF forum, and only half dozen or so in the Kit forums. Now there seems to be, a dozen or less new posts in the ARF forum and the same or more in the Kit forum. Kits are coming back and those who are building sport models will, in most cases graduate to scale models.
    I remember in the '70s and '80s, when there were no arfs, the only scale models you saw very often, were Cubs, and the occasional Mustang, everybody else flew ugly sticks or trainers.
    I think there is a definite future for scale kits.
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  23. #23
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    RE: Do scale kits have a future?

    ORIGINAL: vertical grimmace
    After pondering this topic some more, I feel that this is a false dilemma.
    I'm with VG and Nieuport Nut. Sure some great kits and great kit companies have disappeared. But others are springing up all the time. As far as the kit hoarders, they mostly seem to be hoarding fun scale kits from what I read on this forum.

    http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_11329561/tm.htm

  24. #24

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    RE: Do scale kits have a future?

    Mick Reeves just introduced a new one! Scale at that! Go to website to find out.

  25. #25
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    RE: Do scale kits have a future?

    I think we'll also end up with a lot more choice in terms of just want parts of a kit was want to order. It's already like this for the Mick Reeves WWI kits. You can order an entire kit or order all the different parts a la carte. For some models, I might only want a set of wing ribs. For another maybe I want the ribs and the formers. For the most part, I'm not really interesting in the "hardware" as that tends to be stuff I don't end up using or come up with my own engineering solution.

    BTW, I was able to "condense" the CDScaleDesigns SE5a kit down into a box about 12" x 10" x 5" for easy transport. (I hand-carried it from Germany to Japan). Smaller boxes for cheaper international shipping would be very helpful. I've got ARF version of a Douglas Skyraider that I won in a raffle and it's contained in a coffin-sized box. So it's probably never going to go anywhere, and I'm definitely not going to use it.


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