Release dates: Lets talk a little bit about release dates. Whenever a new kit or reissue is announced, everyone wants to know when the kit is coming out. Inevitably, this is going to lead someone to be disappointed. Most kits never come out when they are projected to be in stores. Some are off by weeks, sometimes months. Some kits are delayed years. And some models never come out at all. One thing you can bet on — some people are going to be pissed off. And they will bitch and moan all over the internet about it.
Every year each of the model companies plan ahead, project what they want to come out and when they expect them to be in stores. They build budgets, set production schedules, begin promotions, etc. They project ahead 6 months, 1 year, even 18 months and 2 years ahead. And into every plan comes a monkey wrench. Or two or five or sixteen. There are all sorts of things that will cause delays: licensing agreements, preproduction work such as design and sculpting, dissatisfaction with the direction a project is going, delays in the factories, delays in shipping, difficulties getting approvals from licensors, delays in customs. Virtually all the work on these projects is farmed out to third parties: design work, graphics, production, shipping. A lot of this is done half a world away in China.
The logistics can be mind boggling. One project is delayed for art approvals, bumping the production of another kit. The factory has to reschedule production and may not be able to fit it in for another month. All of a sudden, that finely laid out plan has shifted all over the place. This affects every company out there.
So when something slips a month, or two, or six, or a year, there are plenty of reasons it happens. And most of them are unanticipated when that initial schedule is planned out. There’s no evil conspiracy to deny anyone their model kits. All of these companies have plans and those plans are constantly changing. Most of these guys do a pretty good job of sharing information about their projects in some way, shape, or form. Give them a bit of credit for all that they are trying to do and everything that they have accomplished.
Four years ago, it looked like our genre was dead for plastic kits. Now the hobbyshop shelves are being flooded with new kits and re-releases.
And all this leads to a little bit of news… I’m getting lots of questions about some things and I’ll try and address them as best I can.
Lindberg Models: A couple weeks ago I posted that “apparently Lindberg was shutting down.” This was based on some information that had been shared by several people that I consider to be well informed about the hobby. To be more specific, in early April, there was some buzz in some forums that Lindberg may be for sale. In late April, there was more information floating around including one report attributed to “Lindberg’s parent company” that “all production and future projects have been suspended. “ The information that was posted came from several individuals that are well informed and knowledgeable about the hobby. Since that time, several other people have reported that Lindberg reps deny they are shutting down and that they are still in business. Other contacts I have in the hobby have not been able to get any information one way or another. And Lindberg has gone out and announced new releases – the four Lindberg Loonies are being reissued as part of the Weird-Oh’s line from Hawk (owned by the same company as Lindberg)
I guess we are going to have to wait and see what happens.
The 1:350 Classic Enterprise from Round 2/Polar Lights: This is something we all want. It’s something that Round 2 has been talking about for well over a year. The have let everyone know they have started design work on the model. They had hoped to make the kit happen in 2011. A lot of people are disappointed that there has not been any further news or announcements regarding this kit. Rest assured, the people at Round 2 still want to do this. Whether they can pull it off is another story, and if they can, when they can make it happen is still unknown. They have to deal with budgets, production schedules, delays, and everything I talked about at the top of this page. They have to answer the hard questions, such as “do we produce one big expensive kit, or is our limited budget best spent other ways?”
No one has announced their plans for 2011 yet, and it will be much later in the year before they do. We’ll all have to be patient while they make their plans.
Monarch Models, Sinbad, and the Ghost of Castel Mare: Sinbad has shipped from China and is supposed to be in port the first part of June. That’s the good news. It still has to clear customs in Canada, then ship to distributors in the US, passing through US customs. Once the distributors have them, it can still be a week before shops have them. That means I don’t expect to have then until late June at the earliest. More than likely, it could be July.
As for the Ghost, Monarch says it will be coming 60 days after Sinbad. Now, go back and read everything I wrote about delays at the top of the page.
Communication: Communication is not a strength in this hobby. You can go to the Round 2 webpage and see all sorts of release date information. And you can bet that many of these are not accurate. You can’t find any updates straight from Monarch Models on their website. Several people pass along news they get from the owner of Monarch, but you still get conflicting information from different people and a lot of it contradicts stuff I’ve been told directly from Monarch. The most current information from Moebius tends to be posted at. Getting any news from Revell is impossible. You have to count on the distributors to pass along what they are told.
What you don’t know: There are a lot of kits in the pipeline that you haven’t heard about yet. There are some pleasant surprises coming.