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Graeme

New Airfix 1/35 armour?

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Surely Airfix must have some plans to release some 1/35 armour at some stage? I was looking at my stash recently and notice that there are kits of most other large-budget military countries equipment, but the Army is actually relatively poorly served by a UK manufacturer

 

I’m not expecting the to be Tamiaya standard but look at how good Revell’s range of Bundeswehr kit is.

 

The old favourite about Trumpeter kits not earning anything for Airfix can be taken both ways, so c’mon Airfix, lets have a new Foxhound, or an M5 Halftrack etc etc etc

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Perhaps some more modern 1/48th subjects?

 

IanJ  

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Airfix have always said in the past they will stay away from 1/35 and 1/32 as there is too much competition and it has not traditionally been a core market for them.

 

They did try 1/48 to go with existing products but I get the feeling it was not succesfull for them.

 

Julien

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Their 1/48 stuff wasn't actually all that good.  A bit crude, lots of inaccuracies, dubious moulding quality and needing a lot of after-market parts to make something decent from them.  I bought the Jackal, Coyote and the Landy twin pack but by the time I'd sourced replacement wheels (not a single one right in any of the kits) and other update and stowage sets they worked out more expensive than the Accurate Armour resin ones in 1/35!  And 1/48 still hasn't really taken off in the same way as its larger and smaller brethren.  Yes, it is catching up.  I think they had their eye on the toy crossover market there.

 

I venture to suggest that 1/35 Jackal and Coyote would have flown off the shelves - as I'm sure we'll see when the promised new plastic ones appear - probably the Snatch Vixen too.  The Warrior and WMIK ground is already well taken.  But they would have needed to be significantly better quality than the 1/48 offerings.

 

The few 1/35 kits Airfix did offer were almost all moulds bought in from the old Max/Peerless company and then sold on to Italeri a few years later.  And they didn't release all the moulds they acquired: the RSO and Dodge ambulance, for example.  All of those kits are still in production somewhere, either as Italeri, Bilek or Zvezda.  So they weren't complete lame ducks.  I'm not sure if their DUKW and Challenger were originals or re-boxes.

 

Airfix's own few 1/32 AFVs weren't half bad: certainly comparable to other brands at the time: we are talking late '70's.  Their M3 Mediums were far better than either the Tamiya or older Monogram offerings, and their 1/32 Multipose figures were always nicely sculpted.  I felt they missed a trick with those.  54mm is still a respected figure scale and is 1/32 rather than 1/35.  OK, no use for dioramas with 1/35 vehicles.  But many people happily model just figures.  If the Multipose range had been kept on and expanded I think they could have been highly successful.  How many people would have queued up for Multipose modern British and US figures with a decent selection of weapons and perhaps more optional arms and heads?  Especially when you look at the price of single resin and white metal figures.  What about some 75 or 90mm versions?

 

Poor old Airfix are about the only people still working in 1/76 now too.  Pretty much everyone else has gone for 1/72.

 

1/35 has never been core for Airfix because they haven't paid it the proper attention.  It wasn't core for Revell in years gone by, but look at them now.  Ok, many of those kits are mould-shares with other brands and some are not great quality.  But 1/35 is probably THE major AFV modelling scale (calm down, Braille-scalers!), so to ignore it seems entirely churlish.  Especially when so much remains un-covered.  Want to stick with a British focus?  Fine.  How many years ago could we have seen the likes of A9, 10, 11, 13 and Valentine kitted?  A11 Matilda 1 in plastic? Queues round the block for that.  Better M3s.  Decent later-Mark Centurions?  Other Chieftains to rival Tamiya's confused offering?  How many decades did we wait for that?  And for 432's.  What about an Abbot - and no-one mention their toy version!  The whole of the CVR(T) family.  Pigs. Saxons. Saracen and Saladin.  And let's not mention post-war Bedfords and other softskins.............  THERE IS SO MUCH 1/35 STUFF THAT AIRFIX COULD HAVE PAID ATTENTION TO DECADES AGO AND STILL COULD NOW!!  Perhaps if they'd done that they might have avoided their eventual sale to whoever owns them now.  Their newer aircraft kits seem to be well-regarded and they seem to be getting some of that mojo back.   The current trend says that if you want good tooling, get it done in China.

 

So come on Airfix.  There's a lot of fertile ground in 1/35 still to be covered, and previously-covered ground that can be improved.  Yes, you've let yourselves get left behind but you can catch up.  Do your research, pick your products carefully and find a good toolmaker and there is still success to be had in 1/35.  Everyone else working in that scale can't be wrong!

 

Hobby horse stabled..........................

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For me any manufacturer that would do kits of modern British AFV’s for the home market would cream it in!

As has been said come on Airfix. 😀

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I'd agree, I know Airfix have been about planes more than anything but I think releasing the modern British stuff in 1/48 was a mistake and they missed a real opportunity with not going down the 1/35 road with a fairly accurate kit of anything the U.K. uses today.

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1/35 scale is not and probably never will be of any real interest to Airfix. They are primarily an aircraft model manufacturer. They have dabbled in 1/35 with reboxes of Peerless/Max kits and more recently the Italeri DUKW and Trumpeter Challenger 2, but never developed their own range. Their 1/32 scale kits (Crusader, M3 Lee/Grant, Monty's Humber, Rommel's Greif, 17 Pdr AT Gun which were all very nice kits) never really took off because they were released in the 1970s just at a time when 1/35 was becoming popular.

 

With regards to their 1/48 scale range of vehicles, the Operation Herrick range were released specifically to tie in with the release of Airfix's modern helicopter kits in the same scale - they were not an independent range designed to produce a long term selection of 1/48 scale vehicle kits. The Warrior was the last in the line and will remain so. The same is true of their Bedford and Albion trucks - supporting kits for their Battle of Britain series with no intent to release additional vehicles. In both cases, Airfix spotted a window of opportunity to sell that type of kit to their core (aircraft) audience. It was time-limited and they took advantage of it.

 

Note also that Airfix are seriously reviewing their 1/76 (1/72) range of vehicles with very few remaining in production or slated for re-release. Airfix are quite possibly getting out of the vehicle market entirely and will concentrate on one subject area - in fact there are very few manufucturers who release a broad range of subjects and they tend to be the 'old-timers' with huge back-catalogues that are re-released on a regular basis (Airfix, Revell, Italeri etc - all of whom have struggled to survive in the modern market). Tamiya are a bit of an anomaly in that their main commercial interests are in the radio control market and the plastic kits are a minority part of their business. The new boys on the block are mostly specialists who concentrate on one area. They are also mostly based in China and have more than half an eye on their own rapidly growing domestic market rather than the global market per se.

 

That's simple commercial decision-making. Airfix have long since identified their core market and will concentrate on selling to that (aircraft) market. Also, Airfix have struggled in recent years financially, so their choices need to be 'safe' (with a high degree of confidence that the kit will be profitable). The development costs of any new kit is very high and they cant afford to take large risks. Any major manufacturer will spend a lot of time doing market research to quantify what sells and what doesn't. Modern British armour is high-risk with a limited global audience. If a company isn't confident it can sell an entire production run in a short period of time (recouping their development and production costs and making a profit), they are unlikely to release the kit.

 

The most recent example of that commercial reality is Airfix's decision to release a 1/24 scale Hellcat. Visitors to Scale ModelWorld were largely underwhelmed but that doesn't bother Airfix too much because in the words of their head of marketing, Darrell Burge, 'for every two kits we sell in the UK, we can sell a dozen in the USA'.  They could have dressed the display model up in Fleet Air Arm markings to encourage UK interest, but it's the US markings that will appeal to the larger (non-UK) audience and first impressions count enormously.

 

Regards,

John

 

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A 1/24 Hellcat??  Now that's something I could be interested in!  FAA of course.  I've always liked the chubby little fella, even though I don't model aircraft.  I was toying with getting a 1/32 version.

 

I'm not convinced that the day of the multi-disciplinary kit maker is over.  Tamiya have a very wide range but many of those moulds are very old now.  As a better example I offer Trumpeter and possibly Dragon, Academy and HobbyBoss: maybe even good old Revell.

 

I still firmly believe there is space and scope for commercial success with carefully-chosen 1/35 kits of good quality.  Who knew that softskins from the likes of IBG, MiniArt, ICM, Mirror etc would take off in the way they have.  And the surface of that market has barely been scratched.  Thinking of US sales, look how many of their WW2 softskins remain unkitted or kitted only in resin.  British is a desert, wartime and post-war.  Italian is just starting to appear, as are WW1.

 

But if they take ages to develop and are of mediocre quality, then there is little point.  The products have to turn a profit.  Harvard Business School would suggest that you only enter into a market to offer premium products unmatched by current sellers or equivalent products at better value for money.  And a new product into a new market is the hardest thing to pull off: 1/35 would have to be considered as a new market for Airfix now.

 

As for 1/76, it's a redundant scale except in British railway modelling and was arrived-at by an entirely unscientific process.  The closest to HO (1/87) that British model railway companies could get very many years ago with their bulkier mechanisms.  4mm to the foot?  Who mixes Imperial and metric??  1/72 was at least a direct Imperial fraction at 3/16" to the foot.  It's time to call "time" on 1/76 for military models.  1/72 is a healthy scale, and again I firmly believe there is scope for Airfix to play in this game.

 

But we can speculate and discuss all we like: it isn't up to us.  We all know Airfix: they're like an old family friend.  But while we would, I'm sure, all like to see them continue and thrive and produce products we want to buy, none of us have any vested interest and do we really care what they do?

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I think it is highly unlikely given the state of the company to see Airfix make a move into the 1/35 market. While I wouldn't mind seeing some of these vehicles, I still think the market for modern British equipment other than MBTs is going to be a fairly niche at best. Airfix needs to be more careful with what resources they can get out of Hornby these days. I would agree it is time for 1/76 armour to die; if there is going to be any going forward in small scale, it should be 1/72. That is similar to the small, but very vocal group demanding more 1/600 ships from Airfix. The scale is dead, dead, dead, dead. Get over it. If Airfix introduces any new ships in the future, it needs to be in 1/350 or 1/700. Sometimes, I think people want the company to fail with some of these ideas to 'save' it....

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lots of 35th scale tanks on their website - I reckon they must be reboxings of Italeri? Academy? someone else?? 

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The consensus in the now-locked Airfix 2019 thread seemed to lean toward Academy as most likely.

 

Mike.

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The tractor must be the Thunder VAI.  The rest are certainly all Academy: no-one else's product range matches.  So Academy are in bed with both Italeri and Airfix.

 

So this move might get 1/35 kits into the many places that stock Airfix and little or nothing else.  Largely toy shops selling the wider Hornby product range.  But it kinda misses the point completely.  There is so much more that a little imagination and investment could do.  Re-boxing other people's products is little more than a cash cow, assuming the mark-up is good, and it didn't work out too well last time around.  But the product range is better this time: tanks sell.

 

BTW, did anyone else see that Bronco are going into 1/32 armour with a T-34/85?  How's that for some role reversal?

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On 11/25/2018 at 9:09 PM, Das Abteilung said:

4mm to the foot?  Who mixes Imperial and metric??

Actually the Germans started it !! - Marklin introduced 'O' gauge in the early 1900's to use 32 mm wide track or 7 mm to the foot scales @ 1:43.5 Hence HO , or Half O, which scales at 1:87 (3.5 mm to foot) expanded to 4mm to foot to allow models of British locomotives to be motorised using the motors available in the 1920/30's.

 

Suspect that Airfix at the time were looking to satisfy both the railway and military modeller but by using both 1:76.2 & 1:72 they never got it right and agree that 1:76.2 should be dropped if they plan any more small scale military vehicles in the future.

 

As for the use of other companies molds it has to be a good thing surely, a quick way to test the market with a reasonably sized range and, if successful, follow on with new tools of your choice.  What chance Ferret's, Foxes & Saracens for 2020?

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39 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

I remain unconvinced that the Pz38 is going to be a cash cow.

An odd choice, agreed.  Likewise the relatively unknown M36B1.  Who knows if part of the deal involved taking a less popular product.  But for the uninitiated who might only shop for Airfix in a toy shop they're all tanks.  This is product placement for a different market, not for serious entry into the 1/35 AFV arena.

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I must admit I find the move of Airfix dabbling in 35th again a bit odd. Unless ....

 

There's some sort of marketing deal in the pipeline with World of Tanks or similar. Not sure how successful Italeri's tie-in with WoT has been, maybe Airfix has been tempted to join in as it connects with a younger market

 

I don't play WoT but the kit list probably covers tanks in WoT, although the tractor is a bit of an aberation. I doubt that would figure in WoT, but you never know nowadays :)

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Posted (edited)

This may not be as mad a move business wise, as posters states many of the offering seem to been from the Academy range which is distributed in the UK by Pocket Bond/Bachmann.

 

Airfix is a very powerful brand name in the UK with a lot of stores that will not look at any other brand plastic wise (take it from one who knows the cry we only stock Airfix, Revell if you are lucky)

 

We are not taking specialist Model shops, but General Toy Shops and general hobby shops, the amount of these we come across that have never seen or heard of Zoukei Mura, Rye Field, Amusing Hobby, Platz, Modelcollect, Hobbyboss, Masterbox, and others is surprising.

 

So stick someone else's kits in a Airfix box and sales will be a lot more than an Academy Kit of the same type.

Edited by TIGER HOBBIESLIMITED

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Posted (edited)

Reboxing makes sense. It costs far less to do that than produce a single tool. It gets you a reasonably sizeable range off the bat and the a lot of kits they have chosen give them an in on the most popular segment of 1/35 market ‘German Armour’.

 

Plus if it’s an on starter sales wise you haven’t made any tooling investment.

 

Seems like a shrewd move.

 

as an aside...

 

If the tractor is the thunder models kit then the Uk distributor for thunder models is Bachmann........

Edited by Plasto

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Note, the 1/35th, much of it in the release page mention "Battle of the Bulge" and most of it is D-Day relevant,  and 2019 is the 75th anniversary of both,   plus they will have the benefit of shiny red boxes, and getting places Academy won't.  

6 hours ago, TIGER HOBBIESLIMITED said:

Airfix is a very powerful brand name in the UK with a lot of stores that will not look at any other brand plastic wise (take it from one who knows the cry we only stock Airfix, Revell if you are lucky)

 

Shame they didn't work more in the 1/48th vehicle area,  there are certainly more airfield vehicles that would sell, eg Bedford refueller, Airfield bomb tractor  and trolleys etc,  and there is specifically British used armour that is unavailable in a mainstream form,  say a M4A4 and M3 halftrack. (which would have made a great D-Day set) 

 

 

 

 

 

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On ‎11‎/‎24‎/‎2018 at 1:21 AM, Das Abteilung said:

Poor old Airfix are about the only people still working in 1/76 now too. 

Starting slightly OT for a moment I agree that the answer is below

21 hours ago, Circloy said:

Suspect that Airfix at the time were looking to satisfy both the railway and military modeller but by using both 1:76.2 & 1:72 they never got it right and agree that 1:76.2 should be dropped if they plan any more small scale military vehicles in the future.

But there is still a market for 1:76 out there to cater for the large number of modelers who are using 4mm to the foot. Luckily Oxford die-cast are in that market and Hornby have re-entered it this year with the reissue of some of their die-cast  vehicles. Fortunately  the difference between 1:72 and 1:76 is not too great and thanks to Aldi I have a number of 1:72 jeeps about to make an appearance on my model railway alongside

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53 minutes ago, Paul821 said:

But there is still a market for 1:76 out there to cater for the large number of modelers who are using 4mm to the foot. Luckily Oxford die-cast are in that market and Hornby have re-entered it this year with the reissue of some of their die-cast  vehicles.

True but the market has swung to die-cast.  When Airfix introduced these kits there was little if any suitably scaled die-cast available for railway modellers. Matchbox, and others, were a fit the box scale. the only consistent option was to use civilian conversions of military vehicles. The market is now swamped with suitably scaled die-cast of all types of vehicles. At similar RRP's and without the need to invest time and other monies (for glue/paint) I suspect that Oxford have sold more AEC Matadors in the last 5 years that Airfix have in the last 20. I can only see investment from Airfix/Oxford being in die-cast and not kits.

 

54 minutes ago, Paul821 said:

Fortunately  the difference between 1:72 and 1:76 is not too great

The numbers are deceptive, the difference overall is 5.5% which whilst it doesn't sound a lot put two similar size objects (e.g. buses) side by side and the difference between 1:72 & 1:76 becomes very noticeable. Don't worry about the jeeps though as they'll probably be alongside dissimilar items they'll not stand out, just keep them away from any Oxford variants.

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