Re: Re[2]: W.W. I Aircraft Kits & Techniques Questions

Bill Shatzer (
Sat, 16 Dec 1995 13:57:57 -0800

Matt typed:

>Ah, yes. I was waiting for one of these "you don't know what bad is
>- I had to walk to school, in the snow, uphill both ways, with no
>shoes" type messages. ;-)
>Seriously, what I was trying to get at was that if companies are able
>to make great strides with WW2 and other eras, then why not WW1?
>That's all. Did I get too winded for the whole conversation? :-)
>Who, me?
>If you sit down and think about it, we're still in the same '70's and
>'80's boat. Where else but the "old" Airfix kit will you find a
>Roland C.II - injected?
Well, the Roland was hardly the P-51 Mustang of WW1 - indeed, who,
save us die-hard WW1 'nuts' has ever even heard of it?

The entire key is customer interest and customer numbers - if
Hasegawa could make fifty kazillion bucks cranking out UFAG C.II's
and F.E.8's, believe me, they'd be doing so. They can't, so they

World War One just isn't in the public eye like the 'Big War'. Go
to your local book seller and examine the shelf space devoted to
books on the two wars - the World War Two space is gonna be maybe
ten or fifteen times as big as the World War One space, maybe even
more. The mass appeal just isn't there with either the folks that
buy books or the folks that buy kits. Moreover, WW1 kits will
always suffer on the mass market just because they are always gonna
be -harder- kits to build than those of later aircraft - they've
got all those 'fiddley bits', lining up and securing that top wing
is always gonna be a problem and then there's all that rigging.
The neophyte modeler is always gonna be somewhat turned off by
WW1 kits for that reason and no 'mass' manufacturer wants to dump
that section of the market.

What we really need is a good WW1 aviation movie! "Those Magnificent
Men in Their Flying Machines" got us the entire line of Inpact/Pyro/
Lifelike pre-WW1 kits. "The Blue Max" and "The Great Waldo Pepper"
gave a lift to the production and marketing of WW1 model kits as well.
Even Snoppy's comic strip adventures with the Red Baron smoked out
a couple Sopwith Camel and Dr.I reissues. But lately, heck, most
people, model builders included, have no interest in WW1 or WW1
aviation. And, until that changes, you are just not going to see
parity between WW1 kits and kits of later, more popular, better
known aircraft.

The cost of tooling is roughly the same for any plastic kit - perhaps
even a little more for WW1 kits with all those 'fiddley bits'.
Now if Revelogram is gonna spend $100,000 to tool up a mold, they'd
rather do it for a kit they've got a shot at selling a half-million
kits world-wide rather than a WW1 kit which might have a market
of 20 or 30 thousand tops. Of course the manufacturers cut corners
on WW1 kits, they have to if they're gonna break even. Call up
Revelogram and offer to buy 100,000 copies of a Martinside Buzzard -
they'll build it for you to any standard you desire if you'll
guarantee the volume and let them set the price. But if you'll
buy just two and won't pay more than say $15 a pop, you'll perhaps
understand why Revelogram is less than excited about your offer.

And, with that, I climb down off of -my- soapbox and attempt to quietly
blend into the crowd before the mental health folks arrive. :-)


Bill Shatzer - -or- -