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As a result of the close-down of the UK by the British Government last night, we have made all the Buy/Sell areas read-only until we open back up again, so please have a look at the announcement linked here.

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Julien

Wingut Wings is no more?

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It would seem that the potential demise of Wing Nut Wings has hit the news now;

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/121537116/sir-peter-jacksons-wingnut-wings-model-company-shuts?fbclid=IwAR3O7bpKwdzwNplfBLcl4n4X1HNZPs2XeQlXD8jdy0fFqe6EbkEKcgv72_M

 

We at BM have decided it it time for a discussion on it if you want, however we ask that you be respectful, as if they return they are a supporter of the site; and if they do not then the people involved may return to the hobby industry in one form or another.

 

Dont forget at this point we know very little other than they are closed and the website says they will honor any sales already made. 

 

Please refrain from baseless speculation.  Please dont create any more threads on this subject.

 

Thx

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There can be little doubt that the loss of Wingnut Wings will be felt by many given their groundbreaking introduction of so many long neglected subjects from the WWI era in large scale. That said, I think the comment made supporting the view that WNW produced a lot of their range at the whim of their principal benefactor and that this could have contributed to their possible demise probably rings true. Personally, I am not a big fan of World War 1 subjects (although I will admit to having two of Wingnut Wings kits in my collection) and I believe (although I could be proved wrong) that this niche is significantly behind WW II and Post-War subjects in terms of overall popularity and interest with the hobby. Although I am reluctant to subscribe to the notion that the kits were expensive to purchase (especially when one considers their quality and what they included in each kitset) this will have been a factor; there are only so many individuals who will have the interest and financial capacity to purchase vast quantities of these kits.

 

The irony of it is that I suspect Wingnut Wings had already recognised this and that was one of the reasons why they were beginning to branch out into producing WWII subjects. I realise the Avro Lancasters 'Dambusters' variant was probably another of Sir Peter's 'whims' given his investment, both personally and financially, in a major film on the subject but the subsequent announcement of a 'standard' B.Mk.I/III too was probably indicative of where the company wanted to go. I would certainly have invested in a high quality 1:32 scale Avro Lancaster that oozed the same quality, craftsmanship and attention to detail that they have put into their WWI subjects and I suspect quite a few others may have done so too. They could have then moved on to a Hawker Hurricane, Hawker Typhoon and Bristol Beaufighter to name but three !. Who knows ?.....maybe we will be able to see the Lancaster in the future although this will be dependent on how far they were along with the project and whether another manufacturer, in the Post COVID-19 economic environment, will take such a bold step. The presence of the Hong Kong Models kit will not help.

 

I guess we will all have to wait and see what happens - I just hope the former, very talented, employees of WNW are able to take up meaningful employment in the future. They certainly deserve this, given their obvious passion and dedication to the production of such high quality kits, all of which will be sadly missed over time.  

 

 

 

             

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Posted (edited)

I've been reflecting upon their demise over the last few weeks.  Before Wingnut Wings, I had little interest in WW1 aviation other than in a handful of types operated by the RNAS at sea.  I bought my first Wingnut kit in the autumn of  2012, and at that time considered myself late to the party, having just missed the Hansa-Brandenburg W.29.  I found building their kits transformative, as they require mastering several techniques not usually associated with modelling aviation subjects from WW2 and later. The whole process of oil painting, applying decals to large areas, and rigging can be quite addictive. They were not just the producers of very high quality plastic kits. The whole package is an experience. The subjects are well researched, have fantastic instruction manuals and come in boxes with great art work.  I now find myself hooked on WWI subjects, or to be more accurate aircraft with two wings. I haven't built anything other than a biplane for about four years now, and those monoplanes that I have started are languishing on the shelf.  Maybe that will change one day, but for now, I'm truly thankful for the outstanding catalogue of kits produced by the Wingnuts team and sincerely hope they find new employment quickly.

Edited by iang

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According to the apparently well-informed thread on the Large Scale Planes site, all of Wingnut Wings staff were simply told not to return to work over a weekend and this was the entirety of their notice. In other words, they were made redundant via e-mail and served no notice-period whatsoever.

 

This struck me as incredibly callous treatment by the company's new management, if indeed it proves to be accurate. If it is true, then New Zealand employment law needs some serious revision, after allowing for this kind of treatment. I wish all of the staff the best of luck in finding new work. 

 

It's never a good time when a model-manufacturer goes down the tubes. I'm sure that modellers will mourn WNW's passing. Is there any chance of someone using the moulds and producing more WW1 airframes? I guess only time will tell on that one...

 

Chris. 

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We shall have to wait and see what happens next but Wingnut Wings' keep all their affairs very close to their chests so we might never know what has happened to the moulds (unless they start reappearing of course). As they have not gone Bankrupt there is no urgent requirement for the assets to be sold off. 

 

Duncan B

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Well yes I am a WW1 aviation fan who for years was hooked on 1/72 scale. This is why I joined IPMS IN 1978 to get advice on rigging models. The rest is history. Anyway last December I decided to add to my 1 WNW's kit, a box damaged Rumpler and WHAT a good move it was. These kits are b.....y marvellous and invite great care and attention.

Oh yes  I saw this coming but it still hurts so I sincerely hope something good will emerge.

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It was certainly an unconventional business model and perhaps a precarious one not well suited to the turbulence of commercial realities. Given their ambition to be a non profit organisation you must have external funding as normal commercial sources will not be open to you. There will be no bank overdraft or borrowing if you are not showing a profit that can pay it back. In turn it means that if the alternative funding sources are also under pressures the inevitable result is that the business will founder on the rocks. 
Any collapse may only have been apparent to a few and to outsiders. 
The moulds (presumably now in China or elsewhere) will be held by the factory under a lien for any monies due or to become due under contracts. They may be sold on to realise any debt there. 
The intellectual property such as cad design sets are in New Zealand and might have a value to another company 

How it will all pan out remains to be seen and will depend on the amount of planning time allowed to the old owners. It’s possible if the closure was structured then we might yet see WNW mk2 coming from the ashes. 
Only time will tell. We did not hear much regarding their problems pre closure. That’s normal. Companies in trouble don’t usually shout about it if they are trying to weather the storm and plan or trade  a way out  Once it become public creditors dive in and demand immediate payment while new contracts with suppliers don’t happen. 
A great pity and I hope that we have not seen the last of those great models. They leave a pretty big hole behind. 

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1 hour ago, JohnT said:

 
The moulds (presumably now in China or elsewhere) will be held by the factory under a lien for any monies due or to become due under contracts. They may be sold on to realise any debt there. 

My understanding is that Wingnut Wings owned the moulding Factory in China and the current tooling. 

 

Duncan B

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I find it interesting that Hannants have been featuring 3 WNW kits in their adverts in the May issues of a couple of modelling magazines.

 

Clearing stock perhaps?

 

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36 minutes ago, Duncan B said:

My understanding is that Wingnut Wings owned the moulding Factory in China and the current tooling. 

 

Duncan B

From an insolvency perspective that's interesting.  Makes it a lot easier to pheonix the whole shebang if you are so minded and re-finance or a backer can be found.  I am guessing the IT is the most "mobile" so it could well end up with a new company producing from the same moulds from the same factory in China.  Or possibly that's a drowning man grasping at straws.

 

 

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Wow!  Hadn't heard of this until I saw this thread.

 

Hope they can get going again after the world has returned to a bit more like normal.  Be a bit of shame if they can't.

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shame to see this company potentially existing no longer. At Telford last year they still seemed to be displaying a range of kits, no sign of any troubled waters, and i always thought they looked exceptionally well detailed. There was however always the niggling thought............ how big a market can they be selling to?  

Obviously Jacksons own personal preferences pushed them towards WW1 stuff but i was surprised they didn't go towards some of the smaller WW2 craft and jumped straight to the 4 engined Lanc - especially with HK models going down the same path and being further in development. I couldnt see how you would ever sell enough of those to recoup the large tooling and design costs.

 

Then there was always the scale issue. 1/32 isnt the most common of scales, and i think most of the 'wartime' modellers on here probably stick to or jump between mainly 1/72 and 1/48. creating an entire lineup that doesnt sit in scale with other builds is fine when your working on virgin territory (WW1 high quality models) but means that your going to be a bit of an outlier when you look at taking on more 'traditional' subjects.

 

I was surprised they never went for any Interwar designs. They could have still appealed to the 'fabrics and biplane' groups, with things like the Hawker Hart, but also shown the transition to single wings, closed cockpits and the like....... but then again we never really got a feel for a product roadmap/company direction. There are still a wide range of designs and aircraft variants that have yet to be done in high quality injection moulding, so they could have still carved out that 'only available from us' unique selling point.


Hopefully, in the wake of this Coronavirus pandemic, there may be extra financial assistance to businesses in NZ and that might be the lifeline they need to get up and running, but it seems clear that whats needed if they do get going again is a bit more cross communication (within the business) but also with their target market, to make sure they are actually creating kits that will sell well. 

 

 

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