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Is there a market for kits?

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Is there a market for kits?

Old 04-10-2024, 11:55 AM
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Default Is there a market for kits?

With the influx of ARF, even though build quality cannot touch the quality of a kit build, is there still a viable market? The company I work for is looking for ideas to expand on, and I brought up the RC industry. I am sure there are plenty of short kit makers who would like to market through an online marketplace, but a full on kit like Topflight, or Great Planes, if they were to be revived via kit only, would they sell enough for a decent ROI?

Or with the passing of our elders, is kit building pretty much dead, like they are?
Old 04-10-2024, 05:00 PM
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I’m 66 years old and have been building kits since 1966. Mostly pattern and the occasional scale aerobatic model. There are a few current pattern kits available, mostly from Japan and a couple from Central Europe. These are all wood kits. There are also a few composite kits available, but mostly ARFs. There is a surprising selection of classic pattern kits that have become available. There are quite a few scale kits and short kits mostly in the larger scale size range. There are loads of sport and sport scale ARFs in the 40-120 range. I continue to see OOP kits sell on eBay for considerably more than their original sale price. Personally, I have accumulated almost 300 kits almost all of which are no longer in production. I suspect there are quite a few ‘baby boomer’ kit collectors out there.
i think to make an informed decision some serious market research would be required, but, in my humble opinion, the glory days of kit sales are past, sadly.
My 2 cents…
I do try to support the kit industry as much as possible; don’t tell my wife! :-)
Will
Old 04-11-2024, 06:48 AM
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There is a market for kits but it is a smaller part of the hobby than it once was. Those of us who like to build are kind of a minority in the hobby. As to the question, Can it be a viable sideline for a business? A lot of hobby related businesses have been. Or they have been otherwise small operations. I think one important question for the business owners is can you produce a product with the production resources on hand? Will they have to hire and train personnel or ,ideally, can they make better use of someone who would otherwise get laid off. The most viable business model seems to be "cut on demand". It allows you to maintain a good selection without tying up a bunch of inventory. Another option is accessories. Recently True Turn quit making spinners to focus on other contracts.
I wouldn't count on the kit collectors. In large part they are after the nostalgia. I'm not ragging on people like Will who have a hundred or more old kits. That's their thing and power to them but they probably aren't your market. You are looking for what do people want to build today.
Tied closely to this is marketing. Your company may have the resources to create a product but do they have someone who can create a website or other advertising. I have seen that someone is trying to reproduce some of the Topflite kits including the plastic parts and so on so somebody out there thinks there is a market. My local kit cutter retired so I am wishing your the best of luck
Old 04-14-2024, 06:32 PM
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IMO if someone wanted to successfully produce kits of any kind of volume, they need to play into nostalgia and history of the hobby. Reproduce some of the great, timeless kits of the past with some modernization. They would have to be easily built as glow or electric power. You would soon discover I think that the Aeromaster kit listed in the classifieds for $225 is actually a great deal compared to what it would cost to produce today. For now, I’m happy with finding a couple kits a year. Just completed these two that kept me busy over the winter.


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Old 04-16-2024, 03:59 PM
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Wow that Aeromaster brings back so many memories from the 70's. I owned and flew three of them and flew one of them to its retirement because it was just completely worn out. Red in color like yours. So much fun! The second one was flown for a year or so and was sold off for some unknown reason. The third was built from the later Great Planes kit and I think they called it "Super" or something like that. I had a minor prang with the third plane after flying it a few years and gave it to a friend in need and he fixed and flew it for a number of years. It finally met its very sad end in a lipo caused house fire. A very sad day as many other planes perished.I still have a virgin Aeromaster kit that I'll probably never build but I keep it around for the memories.

I enjoyed Andrews designs and scratch build (2) Trainermasters and a Sportmaster. The Sportmaster and one of the Trainermasters still exist and fly today. I'll see if I can find some photos in my archives.

Is the low wing from an Airtronics Kit.

I found a few old photos or Andrews designs I built. The Aeromaster was built sometime in the 90's and I flew it for several years. In the photo it is flown by my friend in the early 2000's. The Sportmaster was built in the mid 90's as a twin to the Aeromaster and the Trainermaster was built in the 80's. The Trainmaster probably had several hundred flights on it when the photo was taken in the 2000's. All of these planes are Monokote covered. Love Andrews designs.






Last edited by Truckracer; 04-17-2024 at 09:31 AM.

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