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Source: https://www.facebook.com/Ninetalis/photos/a.288358611331509/1490326114468080/

 

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Some bad news coming from New Zealand. Nothing is final but it seems that WingNut Wings is not coping well with the current situation. As stated on a forum when questions were being raised about rumors of WNW being out of business.
"Richard Alexander, General Manager of Wingnut Wings has responded to the Forum request for an official comment on what is happening with the business right now and the reports it is being closed down permanently.
He says: " Nothing is finalized yet but it looks pretty grim. Very sad. I hope you understand that I have nothing else I can say at this time."
It's understood final decisions on the future of the company will be made in the next week or so."
https://forum.ww1aircraftmodels.com/index.php?topic=10978.msg202360%3Bboardseen#new
If they would go out of business it would a be sad day for the hobby to see one of the best manufacturers out there disappear. 

 

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V.P.

 

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Edited by Homebee
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That’s not what modellers want to hear. Seems like running a modelling business is about as secure as running a football club :(

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We are in unprecedented times. Every company will have to make tough decisions and many will disappear. Nothing is secure at the moment, not model companies, not sports teams; nothing.  But in the greater scheme of things, modelling is of trifling importantance of the least important things. 

Edited by Sundowner14
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I must admit that I've never bought a WNW kit, but this is some very sad news indeed. How many more model-companies will fade away in the storm of the current health and financial crisis? We might be heading for some dark days for our favourite producers....

 

Chris. 

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I have difficulties believing that WNW would be so affected by the lockdown. Maybe they have had troubles with insolvency for a while? The recent flurry of Albatros releases, which are probably less of an investment and expected to be more popular than more espteric subjects, could have been an attempt to quickly improve cash flow?

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I suppose the market trader mantra of “Get ‘em while you can” might apply. 
I have most/all the ones I fancy except perhaps the Fokker DVII 

 

I assume the moulds will have a value and could be an asset preserved or sold on for creditors

 

lets hope however for a new product - the Wingnut Wings Phoenix if the worst is indeed happening 

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I'm not a WNW fan either (wrong scale, wrong era, wrong air forces), but I thought the company was a personal hobby for the uber-wealthy movie mogul Peter Jackson, and therefore immune to financial woes.

 

(And PS - re the coronavirus crisis, from what I read it seems that, if there's any place in the world I'd feel safeish right now, it'd be New Zealand. Apparently the PM, Jacinda Ardern, was majorly aggressive in putting protective measures in place, to good effect, not just "flattening the curve", but crushing it.)

 

John

Edited by John Thompson
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13 minutes ago, John Thompson said:

I'm not a WNW fan either (wrong scale, wrong era, wrong air forces), but I thought the company was a personal hobby for the uber-wealthy movie mogul Peter Jackson, and therefore immune to financial woes.

I always wondered how they could remain alive doing such niche (and not cheap) stuff, and keep having a rather unpleasant conditions for distrubutors.
These links explain a bit:
https://home.nzcity.co.nz/news/article.aspx?id=305872
https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/business/how-nz-taxpayers-forked-out-575-million-for-hollywood-to-film-here/
https://foreignaffairs.co.nz/2020/02/09/mil-osi-new-zealand-media-release-on-41m-annual-subsidy-for-weta-group/

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What a loss to the modelling community if this happens. Glad I finally made the commitment to purchase some of their kits lately.

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1 hour ago, Sundowner14 said:

We are in unprecedented times. Every company will have to make tough decisions and many will disappear. Nothing is secure at the moment, not model companies, not sports teams; nothing.  But in the greater scheme of things, modelling is of trifling importantance of the least important things. 

Everything changed in 2008 but the financial industry and large corporations carried on regardless. 12 years on and the system has no resilience at all, our economies are built on hopes and prayers. When cautious voices are talking of a 30% reduction in most countries economies it's time to take note and prepare like you're a Russian.

1 hour ago, John Thompson said:

(And PS - re the coronavirus crisis, from what I read it seems that, if there's any place in the world I'd feel safeish right now, it'd be New Zealand. Apparently the PM, Jacinda Ardern, was majorly aggressive in putting protective measures in place, to good effect, not just "flattening the curve", but crushing it.)

 

John

Her announcement of the measures to the New Zealand population is, IMHO, THE gold standard of communication. What we will do, why we will do it, how it will affect you, and what the plan is until it's over. Plenty of time for questions, and a string of clued up ministers to cover specifics. Watch it on Youtube and I'm pretty sure it'll be more use than anything local to you.

 

BOT as well as Wingnut Wings he has an aircraft restoration/replica building business, film production company, and much else. Putting a smaller part of his portfolio into suspended animation to concentrate on the larger units is good common sense. I would imagine a mail-order model kit company will be struggling with International shipping anyway.

 

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As mentioned, this may have more to do with funding irregularities/misuse at WETA, as opposed to Wingnut itself. They may just be collateral damage from the scandal. The Coronavirus outbreak may just be bad timing piling on, but does not seem to be the actual cause. Let’s hope for the best. 

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I suspect you'll see it eventually.  Even if WNW went under, the molds and CAD/CAM designs are worth money...and a WNW-quality Dr.1 would be a red-hot seller.

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Sad news indeed. Brands are not established easily and they should not fade away like this, after all the effort and money put in. However, I tend to think it is more related to governmental and fiscal issues rather than the pandemic. They are expensive, I had the courage to buy a few of them, but the quality definitely deserves the price. Still, I believe like others that they may reincarnate in some other form.

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4 hours ago, SleeperService said:

 

Her announcement of the measures to the New Zealand population is, IMHO, THE gold standard of communication. What we will do, why we will do it, how it will affect you, and what the plan is until it's over. Plenty of time for questions, and a string of clued up ministers to cover specifics. Watch it on Youtube and I'm pretty sure it'll be more use than anything local to you.

 

Yes, we have been in full lockdown for just over a fortnight now - no-one out and about bar food shopping/medical needs, and essential services. We have just had our second death / 4 million people. Early days really in the crisis, but it does seem to have flattened the curve.....fingers crossed. Lots of modelling time at the moment is a small benefit of the strict lockdown measures :)

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6 hours ago, Sundowner14 said:

But in the greater scheme of things, modelling is of trifling importantance of the least important things. 

Maybe to the modeller but obviously if you're in the business and make a living from it, it's quite important.

 

A lot of companies are suffering at the moment, with a few doing just as well as before or better. No one wants to see this model company fail, not just for the quality they bring to the industry but also for the time and effort they have put into the company and of course we don't want to see the staff out of work.

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Aside from Peter Jackson's financial backing, I don't know financial background and possible woes of WNW, but has there been any model kit company that has kept most of the revenues and to itself-its WNW, if they are closing I doubt its due to Corona. In fact below is most likely reason for possible closing.

3 hours ago, Asmodai said:

As mentioned, this may have more to do with funding irregularities/misuse at WETA, as opposed to Wingnut itself. They may just be collateral damage from the scandal. The Coronavirus outbreak may just be bad timing piling on, but does not seem to be the actual cause. Let’s hope for the best. 

 

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I probably should have summed up a bit more clearly. There is currently a good deal of controversy in New Zealand over a substantial amount of public money that has been given over to promoting film production and companies in NZ. Peter Jackson’s WETA Group, of which Wingnut  is a tiny part, has received a lot of that, including a substantial annual subsidy from taxpayers. There has been a lot of questions recently about how this public money has been spent, as it seems to have generated very little positive benefit to the public at large. Shocking, I know 🙄
 

Among other things, it is insinuated that some of the money was used on other ventures, which could have included Wingnut. We’ll avoid the over arching discussion, but I think even most modelers would agree that taxpayers supporting a private plastic model company is probably not the best use of public funds. This is how WETA has come to be under a lot of fire 🔥 recently, and if it was only by public funds, their cutting off could be the demise of things like Wingnut, as perhaps it never was financially viable, or could even have existed without someone else’s money. 
 

It doesn’t appear that the coronavirus has anything to do with Wingnut’s possible demise, or is only a very minor factor. The main thing is there are serious questions about how WETA has spent the money it got. 
 

 

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They had sent out an email about a month ago about delays due to their injection moulding being on hold due to the effects of the virus in China (the moulding is done in China). This may have an impact on things, as well as the effect of the lockdown here in NZ.

 

One of Sir Peter's other companies, The Vintage Aviator Limited has been in trouble for some time after an issue with fraud by one of its managers. I saw an article in the last few weeks (but can't locate it now) about it shutting down much of its work.

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I hope this is a temporary blip! From what I can gather from the very few people I know ‘in the trade’ the lockdown has meant lots more online sales of....model kits and accessories! People wanting a pastime... an old fashioned expression but one that is highly accurate.

 

My understanding is that the WNW markup is pretty good for retailers (my Dad who was in the toy trade for 50 years used a rule of thumb of 10% manufacturing cost vs RRP 40% wholesale - 60% to retailer with 100% being RRP)

 

Ref WNW the De Marco fiasco wasn’t great PR for TVAL either...

 

 

TT

 

TT

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Modern tooling sets for a detailed large scale model kit costs over about 200k USD, at least. I'm pretty sure it is even double for a project like the Lancaster. A manufacturer will have to sell about 25-30k copies just to have such an investment return. I doubt Wingnut product line would ever achieve these numbers in a short time so the business might be already bleeding out and given the public reaction against the group they are a part of, maybe someone has considered it a best time for a stop-loss.

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2 minutes ago, TEXANTOMCAT said:

From what I can gather from the very few people I know ‘in the trade’ the lockdown has meant lots more online sales of....model kits and accessories!

Not in NZ unfortunately, no one is allowed to go to work unless they are an essential worker, so the staff who would normally process orders are at home.

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