Go Back  RCU Forums > RC Airplanes > Kit Building > Kit Manufacturer Direct Support Forum
Reload this Page >

Are built up kits still relevant in today's world of ARTF kits🤔

Notices
Kit Manufacturer Direct Support Forum Get support here directly from the manufacturers themselves or their official reps for the kits they manufacture or distribute.

Are built up kits still relevant in today's world of ARTF kits🤔

Old 12-19-2022, 05:03 AM
  #1  
maddoguk
Thread Starter
 
maddoguk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default Are built up kits still relevant in today's world of ARTF kits🤔

A few years ago I was about to release my hammerhead kit but sadly due to ill health I had to put things on hold. Thankfully I am now fully recovered 😃 and was considering picking up from where I left off.
so my question as stated in the title of this thread. Are all built up kits still relevant today?
Old 12-19-2022, 10:41 AM
  #2  
mgnostic
 
mgnostic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kamay, TX
Posts: 1,603
Received 89 Likes on 76 Posts
Default

I would say yes but then I'm a long time hobbyist who still enjoys building. The number of people who build today is markedly smaller than it was in the 1980's when I started flying. At least among the people I fly with, most pilots just want to go fly. I think that back in the day a lot of people built because that was the only way they were going to get to fly, not because they enjoyed the build. That being said, I think that kits are still relevant. You just have to know your market. I'm not familiar with the Hammerhead. Who will it appeal to? Are you competing with a modeling genre that is already pretty saturated with ARFs? Are you looking to spool up for a full on boxed kit with lots of prefabbed parts or just short kits? One option is appealing to a niche market. Balsa USA seems to be doing well with this. Their WWI kits continue to be popular. Another option is cut on demand. If you are looking to monetize a laser cutter that you already have on hand, that might be a way to make kit manufacturing work. If this will be a hobby business or a sideline then go for it but don't bet the house on it. If you are looking to make a full time business of it then you need a well developed business plan that takes into account the market and your competition.
Just a few thoughts,
Best of luck in your endeavors.
Matt
Old 12-23-2022, 06:09 AM
  #3  
maddoguk
Thread Starter
 
maddoguk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default

Hi Matt, thanks for your reply. I suppose the best place to start is with the kit and a little about why I designed it in the first place. The decision to design the Hammerhead came about after a long layoff from aeromodelling.
As I wanted to build something quick to get me airborne asap but not wishing to go the ARTF route. I headed off to my local model shop to make my purchase. Unfortunately the selection on offer left a lot to be desired. As almost all the kits on the shelf were ARTF kits, all from China. Then I spotted an old favorite. The acrowat designed by Chris Foss. I had built and flown several acrowats over the years and thought, this will do.
Only to be told that this too was now made in China.
This news made the decision for me. I had to design and build my own kit, just to show that we Brits still had it in us haha
My original brief to myself was to design a club flier or hack model if you like.

1. It had to be relatively easy enough to build and poses the stability of a good low wing trainer to appeal to the newbie looking to build and fly their first low wing model. Yet be interesting enough for the more experienced modeller to enjoy building and lively enough to carry out most aerobic schedules.

2. It had to be competitively priced to compete with the cheap in port's from China.

3. It had to be robust enough to fly well in the typically blustery flying conditions we often experience up here on the frozen north east coast of England. Yet delicate enough to enjoy on those rare flat calm summer evenings.

Finally after a couple of months and many changes of materials, configurations and sizes of the model, which often had me feeling like I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. I came up with the hammerhead in three sizes. 75" 62" and a baby one at 55 inch wingspan. The first was a 75 inch model which flew very well, as did the smaller versions.
Then came the hard part. How to produce the model in kit form, that is easy to build. For that I decided that self jigging wings and fuselage using a slot together construction method was necessary. Many more months later and I think I've cracked it.
I have sold several pre production test kits in the UK for evaluation and the response from those who have built and flown the hammerhead has been excellent.
I know there is a market for my designs in the UK. I just thought I'd try to see if there was still the same interest in building kits in the USA.
Cheers
Richie

Old 12-23-2022, 09:05 AM
  #4  
mgnostic
 
mgnostic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kamay, TX
Posts: 1,603
Received 89 Likes on 76 Posts
Default

It sounds like the sort of thing that might appeal to people going for their first build. Although I lean more to scale airplanes I generally keep an airplane or two that I can just toss in the car. As for selling in the USA I think the practicalities of shipping and marketing might be a bigger issue than demand for the airplane. My LHS did business for years as Lazerworks. In recent years before he retired the owner mentioned that shipping was getting to be a hassle. He also had difficulty keeping technical help. As soon as someone demonstrated a good skill set with the website and making kit files they would leave for the big city where they could make more money.
Old 12-23-2022, 10:57 AM
  #5  
bolar
My Feedback: (5)
 
bolar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Hobart, IN
Posts: 446
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default

Jeez, I didn't know about Lazerworks. I got a short kit from him a few years ago...nice work.

Not really sure how successful you could be here. Most fly electric foamy ARF's. There are a few of us left that still build. It would be definitely a niche market. What does the Hammerhead 75 look like?
Old 12-23-2022, 01:05 PM
  #6  
mgnostic
 
mgnostic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kamay, TX
Posts: 1,603
Received 89 Likes on 76 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by bolar
Jeez, I didn't know about Lazerworks. I got a short kit from him a few years ago...nice work.

Not really sure how successful you could be here. Most fly electric foamy ARF's. There are a few of us left that still build. It would be definitely a niche market. What does the Hammerhead 75 look like?
Eddie still has his website and his laser. It looks like he isn't cutting airplanes.as a regular part of his business but is still doing engraving. The last time I talked to him it seemed like he was still going to sell whatever hobby stuff he still had on hand but wasn't seeking any new inventory. I built a number of his short kits and was always happy with the product.
The following users liked this post:
bolar (12-24-2022)
Old 12-26-2022, 12:39 AM
  #7  
maddoguk
Thread Starter
 
maddoguk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by mgnostic
It sounds like the sort of thing that might appeal to people going for their first build. Although I lean more to scale airplanes I generally keep an airplane or two that I can just toss in the car. As for selling in the USA I think the practicalities of shipping and marketing might be a bigger issue than demand for the airplane. My LHS did business for years as Lazerworks. In recent years before he retired the owner mentioned that shipping was getting to be a hassle. He also had difficulty keeping technical help. As soon as someone demonstrated a good skill set with the website and making kit files they would leave for the big city where they could make more money.
'A toss in the car model' that perfectly sums up the hammerhead. I also prefer designing and scratch building scale models, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing something you have created yourself, take to the air for the first time. I have built many WW2 scale models FW190, Hawker Typhoon, all the usual suspects and a few aerobic types, zlin 50, Extras etc. For me, it's the design and build part of the hobby that I find more appealing. I see the flying bit of our hobby as a very pleasant byproduct.Yes I have been looking at the shipping issue and all the other costs that can be incurred. And it's a hurdle, quite a high one at that. However, that hurdle comes after this hurdle. Is there a market in the USA for the easy build, self jigging kits I design.If I find there is interest, I can then look at what options are available, to help me to get designs out there. Here's hoping.
Old 12-26-2022, 12:42 AM
  #8  
maddoguk
Thread Starter
 
maddoguk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by bolar
Jeez, I didn't know about Lazerworks. I got a short kit from him a few years ago...nice work.

Not really sure how successful you could be here. Most fly electric foamy ARF's. There are a few of us left that still build. It would be definitely a niche market. What does the Hammerhead 75 look like?
Electric isn't a problem, all of my designs are designed for both electric or gas. With only one exception. My standoff scale/trainer Cessna 152 aerobat is electric only. As for the desire to build the models we fly. Well maybe, and it's a big maybe. If all of the things that can go wrong during a kit build. Things like, fuselage warp, tailplane/fin not square or wing not square etc, were designed out of the kit. Then more people would build kits. But then again, I'm biased and can't imagine why someone would miss out the best part of our hobby haha Sorry I can't post any pics of the hammerhead yet. I haven't completed my 10 posts. But if you type. Hammered 620 sports into YouTube. There is a video of the 62" versions maiden/ test flight. I say test flight but the test only lasted until two clicks of right rudd had it flying straight and level. The rest of the flight was just having fun. To great annoyance of the cameraman, who's brief was, two big circuits, then some gentle maneuvers. The 75" hammered does everything it's little brothers do but it does it with more grace.
Old 12-26-2022, 09:02 AM
  #9  
mgnostic
 
mgnostic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kamay, TX
Posts: 1,603
Received 89 Likes on 76 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by maddoguk
Electric isn't a problem, all of my designs are designed for both electric or gas. With only one exception. My standoff scale/trainer Cessna 152 aerobat is electric only. As for the desire to build the models we fly. Well maybe, and it's a big maybe. If all of the things that can go wrong during a kit build. Things like, fuselage warp, tailplane/fin not square or wing not square etc, were designed out of the kit. Then more people would build kits. But then again, I'm biased and can't imagine why someone would miss out the best part of our hobby haha Sorry I can't post any pics of the hammerhead yet. I haven't completed my 10 posts. But if you type. Hammered 620 sports into YouTube. There is a video of the 62" versions maiden/ test flight. I say test flight but the test only lasted until two clicks of right rudd had it flying straight and level. The rest of the flight was just having fun. To great annoyance of the cameraman, who's brief was, two big circuits, then some gentle maneuvers. The 75" hammered does everything it's little brothers do but it does it with more grace.
It's a good looking airplane. I suppose marketing would be as big an issue as manufacturing. People gripe about the few remaining magazines being nothing but advertising but that was primarily how we learned about new kits and companies. Now you have to maintain a social media presence to get people to look at your website.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.