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jenko

Airfix 2019

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To beat any company for delays , I am still waiting for the Dragon Delta Force Fast Attack Vehicle announced in 1992 or the Hobbyboss version announced in 2007 , a month or two delay really isn't a problem.

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.

 

I'm sure that these figures were given further up the thread, but just to put things in perspective, these are gross earnings from Hornby's 2017 annual report :-

 

Model railways ........ (Multiple brands) ... £22m

Slot cars .................. (Scalectrix) ............ £12m

Plastic modelling ..... (Airfix) ..................... £6m

Collectible models .. (Corgi) ..................... £4m

Specialist paints ..... (Humbrol)  ............... £2m

 

Total revenues are £47.4m

 

(The "multiple brands" against Model Railways includes various European brands.)

 

So Airfix is half the size of Scalectrix (although what the relative profitability is, who knows ?)

 

.

 

 

 

 

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14 hours ago, Ratch said:

Paul, do you hold Hornby responsible for all the late deliveries before they owned Airfix? C'mon!

Airfix is a brand name that has been owned by a procession of companies since the original collapse in 1980. Palitoy, Humbrol, Heller and Hornby since 2006. Most of the new tool kits have met the schedule since Hornby started their re-investment in the brand.

Hi Ratch,

to answer your question, NO.

Neither am I trying to apportion 'blame', as in the case mentioned, there was none.

Once the kits were 'at sea', only things that could change were the weather, if the skipper goes faster / slower,

and clearing customs this end.

Airfix and others knew that this kit was going to be late. I had been told by Trevor Snowden in '05, that it would be early '06.

Similar is applicable with the present 'late' release kit's, though avoidable, as the Hurricane / Cyclone seasons change little, year on year.

 

Point I WAS making, and having worked with someone who was directly employed by Airfix mid '60's to mid '70's,

this is information 'from the horses mouth'.

Airfix delivery schedules, (remembering, all of the moulds, at that time, were 'cut' in the U.K.) were so far from real life, they ran a 'book'

on how many years each kit release would be after the advertised date, as I remember the record was three.

Now, and with Airfix giving as much information as they can, all hell breaks loose because the latest Scruggs Vunderplane is delayed by 2 -3 months????

 

My thinking is we are looking too specificaly, the problems (as has already been pointed out) are not just with Airfix, but with Hornby as a whole.

All we can do is support, if possible, and see what the revamped management team do, first moves where made on the

appointment of the new CEO, now all we CAN do is keep a watching brief, and NOT add petrol to a bonfire.

 

As a bye the bye, Palitoy were a subsiduary of General Mills (who decided to stick with core market, food)

Humbrol were part of Hornby Products Group, owned by Borden Inc. who also owned Heller,

so the Airfix brand was never owned by Heller, destruction by, however.........................

 

Paul

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Phil Gollin said:

 

I'm sure that these figures were given further up the thread, but just to put things in perspective, these are gross earnings from Hornby's 2017 annual report :-

 

If you look at the Annual reports going back to 2010 and distill the revenue and profit figures you get a good idea of how Hornby have performed over 7 years. 

 

21374e90-278e-4c6f-8e55-e61582f5f163.jpe

 

I haven’t included the interim numbers for 2018...

 

Interpret those numbers how you will. I don’t think the chart needs a trend line....

 

Its against this backdrop that the Airfix R+D and Marketing guys are working. I’d say they’re doing really really well as it must be a challenging environment especially over the last few years.

 

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Without having the reports to hand, presumably there was some exceptional expenditure or right off in 2016, since revenue seems to have held up (I know, I know, turnover is vanity, profit is sanity).

 

The fact that despite a detour into the red, they managed to pull back towards the black in 2017, is commendable. Against that background the current slim pickings are unsurprising, consolidation being, I would imagine, fiscally essential.

 

However, unless their current backers have deep pockets, one has to assume the status quo will not be allowed to continue for long. 

 

In this scenario, the fact we have evidence of ongoing new tooling (Phantom this month for instance) is positive.

 

Back on topic, new tool Tucano would be nice. And a Puma, Scout or Gazelle, all in the Gentleman's scale?

 

A boy can dream.

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18 hours ago, Ratch said:

Paul, do you hold Hornby responsible for all the late deliveries before they owned Airfix? C'mon!

Airfix is a brand name that has been owned by a procession of companies since the original collapse in 1980. Palitoy, Humbrol, Heller and Hornby since 2006. Most of the new tool kits have met the schedule since Hornby started their re-investment in the brand.

Heller never owned Airfix. Humbrol owned Heller and then acquired Airfix. The Airfix tooling was shipped to France for production in Heller's facility. Later, Heller was separated from Humbrol but went bust. Unfortunately, all the Airfix tooling was still at the Heller factory and held in limbo while Heller's situation was resolved. This meant Airfix couldn't get any new product from Heller and led to the collapse of Humbrol-Airfix which resulted in the brand's being bought by Hornby.

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4 hours ago, Phil Gollin said:

.

 

I'm sure that these figures were given further up the thread, but just to put things in perspective, these are gross earnings from Hornby's 2017 annual report :-

 

Model railways ........ (Multiple brands) ... £22m

Slot cars .................. (Scalectrix) ............ £12m

Plastic modelling ..... (Airfix) ..................... £6m

Collectible models .. (Corgi) ..................... £4m

Specialist paints ..... (Humbrol)  ............... £2m

 

Total revenues are £47.4m

 

(The "multiple brands" against Model Railways includes various European brands.)

 

So Airfix is half the size of Scalectrix (although what the relative profitability is, who knows ?)

That makes Hornby somewhat larger than Revell Gmbh. I believe I saw revenue figures of $50 million for Revell in one of the discussions about the Hobbico bankruptcy. Hobbico's total revenue, for comparison, is around $230 million with debt of $135 million plus $75 million of debtor-in-possession financing.

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I wouldn't be disappointed if Airfix were to do a new tool A-1 Skyraider in 1/72.

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12 hours ago, Enzo Matrix said:

I wouldn't be disappointed if Airfix were to do a new tool A-1 Skyraider in 1/72.

Me neither, although my preference is for an AD-4N...

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USAF and USN aren’t usually my bag, but if Airfix did this

 

skyraiders.jpg

 

or this

 

220px-A-1J_Skyraider_VA-176_Vietnam_1966

 

I’d crack.

 

It would have to be a single seater though.

 

Trevor

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As a current collector and former retailer can only say that in the future I won't buy single Airfix kit that does not have "Made in UK" logo on the box, quality of plastic, especially transparent parts is

vastly superior to Made in India products. Taking Sea Hurricane, Defiant and Meteor as an example, shows that essentially mediocre ( for 2017 )toolings/ kits can be transformed into

great products using current injection tech and and better quality plastic.

Airfix has the brand, Adam Tooby and great list of subjects, it needs consistency and quality, if they don't improve It will take just another circle of subsidies to Chinese companies and/or

new investment circle in other European brands and very easily it will lose its current place on the market.

 

Got both the new Phantom and Sea Fury and as much as I love Airfix for its history, some more than great kits, beautiful boxarts, great choice of subjects, simply quality in non UK made kits is not there, while many of us will be drawn to flashy boxart, and numerous new options, comparing almost thirty years old Fujimi kit out of the box shows that Airfix kit is definitely not in the same league production quality wise .

 

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18 hours ago, Wez said:

Me neither, although my preference is for an AD-4N...

I don't understand how people can mistype AD-5, the most desirable of all Spads. ;)

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Just an aside.  I think that the apparent philosophy that in some way Airfix could recover its fortunes by the timely release of a single kit in the correct scale is a bit of a red herring.  It's their attitude to warehousing that is the greatest hindrance.  Somewhere along the line (or maybe it was in another failed thread) there was a vague thought that a major supermarket might carry a few Airfix kits, which would help to keep the hobby in the public eye.  The problem to my mind is that the reality of such a situation would be half-a-dozen of the same kit in all the stores.

 

Airfix had such an allure back in the golden age because of the vast range of different subjects they would provide.  Every week we kids could toddle along to Woollies with our two-bobs in our sweaty hands, rummage through the racks and buy something different.  If I understand it correctly Airfix simply could not provide "a major supermarket" with any sort of range of kits to provide the variety as they have adopted a "biscuit factory" approach where the kits are produced, packed and shipped to leave a clear floor before the next project comes along.

 

I am not suggesting this thought has any weight, but in the off-chance it does I do not know how Airfix might recover the situation.  I am sure though that this has to be a long game and cannot be won by some sort of "Grand Slam" strategy.

 

 

Just my :2c:

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To be honest, I'm not really sure that trying to sell kits, regardless of manufacturer, in a supermarket environment is workable. From my own knowledge everything in that branch of retail is predicated on as fast a turnover of stock as possible with quarterly range reviews to refresh the product on sale. The store where I work briefly carried a few starter sets but they just didn't shift, in my own personal view, for two reasons:

 

1. A three pound markup on what Airfix sold them for.

 

2. The clientel profile didn't match the bracket that would buy plastic kits.

 

As a broad generalisation, the typical supermarket shopper tends to be female, with or without kids in tow. Certainly that's what my own employers internal surveys and reviews indicate. There might be a degree of pester power if the child sees a shiny red box with an attractive picture on the front, but it's mum/auntie/grandma that's going to be paying for it and in many cases the kid will need a hand building it which the male of the family (assumimg there is one) may not be able to provide.

 

The Lego style easy-kits are another kettle of fish - much more suited to that particular bracket as the child can build it by themselves and no glue or paint required. Relatively cheap as well, though it would depend on the degree of markup slapped on!

 

Mike.:hmmm:

Edited by MikeR

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6 hours ago, MikeR said:

To be honest,`(deleted for space)

 

As a broad generalisation, the typical supermarket shopper tends to be female, with or without kids in tow. (Deleted for space)

Regrettably I think every word you write is true, but "if only . . ." :hobbyhorse:

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Plus Airfix needs to rebuild their relationship with their retailers...who were majorly hacked off with their slash and burn sales of recent years leaving them with stock they paid more for wholesale. I had an interesting chat with one yesterday who simply refuses to purchase from Hornby directly. Amazingly he buys in from Europe, circumvents the Uk completely and can buy in cheaper that way and still make a profit! So that’s stuff being made in India, sent to Uk, shipped to Europe and shipped back to Uk at a price point cheaper than buying it direct from the uk manufacturer. Bonkers. 

 

As as previous poster says, they have the brand, the name, the social media presence, the goodwill and the artwork. They have 90% of the product- 1/24 Tiffie, 1/48 Walri etc- but crap trade relations, cash flow and apparent management and logistics...? 

 

For what it’s worth I love the Sea Fury kit and will enjoy building it! 

 

TT

 

 

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10 hours ago, MikeR said:

To be honest, I'm not really sure that trying to sell kits, regardless of manufacturer, in a supermarket environment is workable. From my own knowledge everything in that branch of retail is predicated on as fast a turnover of stock as possible with quarterly range reviews to refresh the product on sale. The store where I work briefly carried a few starter sets but they just didn't shift, in my own personal view, for two reasons:

 

1. A three pound markup on what Airfix sold them for.

 

2. The clientel profile didn't match the bracket that would buy plastic kits.

 

As a broad generalisation, the typical supermarket shopper tends to be female, with or without kids in tow. Certainly that's what my own employers internal surveys and reviews indicate. There might be a degree of pester power if the child sees a shiny red box with an attractive picture on the front, but it's mum/auntie/grandma that's going to be paying for it and in many cases the kid will need a hand building it which the male of the family (assumimg there is one) may not be able to provide.

 

The Lego style easy-kits are another kettle of fish - much more suited to that particular bracket as the child can build it by themselves and no glue or paint required. Relatively cheap as well, though it would depend on the degree of markup slapped on!

 

Mike.:hmmm:

Exactly, there's barely interest in 1 or 2 kits let alone a range and it has to be the latest, trendiest toys that is stocked and that's the reason to 2 range reviews/2 refreshes a year (which makes my life harder as I have to do them, really don't like grafting if I can help it lol) it's the same for Scalextric and the rest of the Hornby Range.

Maybe, just maybe is if Hornby "persuaded" the supermarkets with a good enough deal so that a whole promotion end (plinth) is promoted (similar to what Aldi/Lidl do with their special buys) then awareness and sales may come along, maybe........

Edited by Toe

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Wake up guys. Times have changed. Woolies went under. The Pound shops that replaced them won't be selling Airfix because Airfix would be lunatics to try to produce anything that will sell for a pound. Things move on.

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Sorry Ratch, you seem to be confusing the marketplace with Darwinian evolution.  Industries (even tiny ones like Airfix) can make decisions to try and control their destiny, they do not have to behave like leaves swept along in the currents of life, completely at the mercy of factors beyond their control. 

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16 hours ago, Ratch said:

Wake up guys. Times have changed. Woolies went under. The Pound shops that replaced them won't be selling Airfix because Airfix would be lunatics to try to produce anything that will sell for a pound. Things move on.

Ratch, Airfix / Hornby would never get 'into bed' with any of the 'pound shops'.

 

Go back to the beginning,

Airfix was approached by F.W.Woolworth to see if there was a way the two companies could work together.

Long story short, there was.

 

F.W.Woolworth were the company that then severed the ties, eventually changing their business model

in the U.K; concentrating on CDs and DVD's, childrens clothing and 'Pick and Mix' :blink: remembering

when they first opened in this country, they sold "Everything from a pin to an Elephant".

 

If I was in 'sales' or National Accounts at Airfix, my eyes would look in the direction of the

one company I would class as a successor to Woolworth's, Wilkinsons / Wilkos,

and another possible, B&M, IF that's the direction Hornby wish to take? with the Airfix brand.

Regarding the direction the business is taking, simply put.............WE DON'T KNOW!

 

Paul

 

 

 

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If memory serves I think wilkos sold a few airfix starter sets a couple of years ago.

 

Another question is what happened to all the dog fight doubles ? 2016 they released 3, 2017 only 1, 2018 none, did these not sell very well ?

 

Phil

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Phil, my guess would be, better margins with two individual kits than paired in a single box.............:shrug:

 

Paul

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21 hours ago, TEXANTOMCAT said:

Plus Airfix needs to rebuild their relationship with their retailers...who were majorly hacked off with their slash and burn sales of recent years leaving them with stock they paid more for wholesale. I had an interesting chat with one yesterday.......

 

I echo TT's point. I recently had a conversation with a model shop owner who isn't at all happy with Airfix selling new releases direct to the end purchaser before dispatching stock to retailers, so that people who would otherwise have bought the kits from him have got hold of them before he's able to put them on the shelf.

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Hornby operate a direct sale to customer B2C model across all of its major brands. So you can buy a model train, corgi die cast or scaletrix car all direct from them.

 

They do so because they get a better margin on those sales than a sale to a retailer. It’s worth noting that they have operated this sales model for a few years now. 

 

I guess it it depends on who a retailer is selling to in terms of customer profile if it bothers them or not.

 

It will be interesting to see given the new direction from management to manage relationships with independent retailers more pro activity if they change the B2C model at all...

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I live in Salisbury, Wilts. There are two model shops stocking Airfix and the other brands. 

I buy from them, but I also buy the new releases from Airfix I want, because I know when I'll get them. 

A pre-order is confirmed and when it is ready to ship I get an e-mail. 

I can't do that with either model shop, they never seem to know when anything is going to arrive. 

 

So, the 1/48 Blenheim is ordered and I hope I'll get it ready for Christmas this year....!!

 

 

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