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SQUADRON MODELS CLOSED AFTER 53 YEARS


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That explains why I have been unable to get any white putty, and Hannants have zero Squadron stuff.

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I grew up modelling with Squadron from Green Stuff putty bought from Hannants  and their In Action series and A4 specials to buying kits on trips to the US  a decade ago.

 

Sad news but maybe my buying patterns have been mirrored by others.

 

 

 

 

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Sad news, in the sense that's part of my childhood. During the early 70s it was pretty much the only alternative I had to Matchbox kits from the newsagent, Indeed, while living for a while in  northern Quebec, it was my only source of kits. The Squadron catalogue was a well thumbed, heavily annotated document (left laying around the house coming up to birthdays and Christmas!)

 

To be honest, since returning to modelling I've never used Squadron - nothing on offer that I couldn't get easily and sometimes more cheaply from UK based suppliers. They were no longer the only game in town. So I guess I have played a small part in their demise. 

 

Its a warning though, that if you don't support retailers they won't survive and we need to keep that in mind  particuarly with respect to our local hobby shops.

 

Cheers

 

Colin

 

 

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Also a Squadron customer since the beginning. I mean really the beginning —- when the were a retail hobby shop in Detroit. Drove there fron South Bend, Indiana where I was a college student. My new bride came with me. Took all day. Discovered and acquired much of the early Heller Musee series. I was so excited that I neglected to even buy her dinner on the way home. She forgave but 56 years later she still reminds me occasionally. Last time she accompanied me to a hobby shop.. Probably just as well.

 

Later Squadron had a nationwide retail component. I haunted the shops in Philadelphia and Washington, DC. Worked near Philly and travelled to DC often for business. Every trip included a stop at Squadron. You could find such goodies as DB resins there. I still have several Canberra conversions I plan to use with Mel’s B.2 kits. Philly closed in 1976 and DC around 2004. Trips to DC were never the same.

 

Squadron was clearly in trouble. Their daily new product announcements once rivaled Hannants. That was a long time ago. Recently they had very little. Even being a the original US importer of Trumpeter and Hobby Boss, they were no longer a reliable stocker. About the only thing you could count on them for was ICM. After a lifetime of monthly (or more frequent) orders, I don’t think I’ve been there for two years. The problems were clearly financial. Went through more than one ownership change and each seemed to be a step down.  Times are bad for the LHS but have never been better for mail order suppliers. Don’t think this is an omen for the industry or the hobby. As my Army First Sergeant used to say —- “sounds like a personal problem, soldier.

 


 

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They have been in decline for 20+ years, remember exact catalogue( 1998 ) when their pricing for certain items of my interest ( Hasegawa and Tamiya aircraft in 72 and 48th scales)was almost 30% higher than of their growing competition ( Roll Models etc..)

Starting from late 90's even superb discounts couldn't offset astronomical ( euphemism ) international shipping charges.

Golden years of cca.1982-1997, good pricing, cheap postage,superb packaging, every month some deeply discounted items, big savings on advance orders, highly anticipated montly supplements...I will miss them.

 

Of course time changes everything, but what should definitely be saved are their Squadron Signal book series, even in today's world they present what they always were- source of good and cheap info, their revival in last decade producing truely stellar books for their value.

 

P.S. Someone please save the publishing part.

 

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6 hours ago, ckw said:

Its a warning though, that if you don't support retailers they won't survive and we need to keep that in mind  particuarly with respect to our local hobby shops

Squadron’s demise has far more to do with poor management than lack of customer support. In the 1990’s and early 2000’s Squadron was the biggest player in the mail order market for plastic models and accessories. But, they were slow in adapting to the rise of internet sales and they spent resources in a failed attempt to diversify their product line while neglecting the products of interest to their core customers. They tried selling R/C models but without the line of products or support of the then big players in that business, Hobbico and Horizon Hobbies. They tried die-cast collectibles but, again, never were able to compete with the established sellers in the collectibles market. And, they let their range of plastic models decline. You can’t blame the customers when the store has nothing in stock that they want to buy.

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On 18/01/2021 at 19:22, VMA131Marine said:

Squadron’s demise has far more to do with poor management than lack of customer support. In the 1990’s and early 2000’s Squadron was the biggest player in the mail order market for plastic models and accessories. But, they were slow in adapting to the rise of internet sales and they spent resources in a failed attempt to diversify their product line while neglecting the products of interest to their core customers. They tried selling R/C models but without the line of products or support of the then big players in that business, Hobbico and Horizon Hobbies. They tried die-cast collectibles but, again, never were able to compete with the established sellers in the collectibles market. And, they let their range of plastic models decline. You can’t blame the customers when the store has nothing in stock that they want to buy.

It is of course regretable to hear that they are closing down. Looking at their homepage in the past few years they already were only a mere shadow of what they used to be let´s say some 15 years ago, so it is hardly a suprise that they closed for good. In my view, they had a pretty solid online presence at around 2005 with a huge range of products online. Given that they initially adapted quite well to the internet. But they obvouisly failed to keep it up and were constantly shrinking their product range in what used to be their core business. I quite agree with your assement that their efforts to diversify were probably the reason that Squadron got eventually disbanded.

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I hadn’t noticed this topic when I posted earlier on the VAT import topic about Squadron. I stopped buying from them when US Mail costs went through the roof. Sorry to see them go 

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27 minutes ago, Nocoolname said:

Is this the same Squadron Models that produced the large Haunebu II flying saucer? 

Yes

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Sad indeed...  I grew up in Detroit Michigan and we had a Squadron Shop hobby shop, I frequented it in the 1970's.  It was fantastic, and the kit selection was unbelievable.

 

I recall you could get surplus shots and kits in plastic bags (without the usual box) for really inexpensive...

 

I learned to be a decent modeller with help from the people who worked there...  Many fond memories of the original Squadron...

 

Bob

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2 hours ago, Trenton guy said:

Yes

Squadron was also responsible for the Encore and CzechModel brands, TrueDetails resin parts, Squadron canopies (although some of these were also available from Falcon in New Zealand who manufactured them).

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It's sad...I was buying from Squadron in the 1970s.  But other mail-order houses stepped up and had more in stock...not to mention the breakthrough that Scott Hards made with HLJ - I started buying from them in 1997.

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Sad indeed.

 

But, it has indeed been heading this way for a while. Too much was just out-of-stock for a long time. No clue why they were still wasting money on dead-tree catalogs.

Lately, whenever I needed a vac-formed canopy, I had to find the stock number via Google--browsing and searching via Squadron's own site always failed. :shrug:

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On 1/19/2021 at 1:32 AM, VMA131Marine said:

Squadron canopies

Doe it mean, that also Squadron canopies will vanish soon from market? It is a lost...

J-W

 

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Not completely as loss, They are still available in the Clear Vax sets of Falcon which is good value for money and there is a very good alternative for many of them in the Rob Taurus range from Czech Republic. These are of comparable quality and much! cheaper than Squadron was laterly. I have seen the prices of Squadron's canopies en True detail sets double in a few years time. Sign on the wall?

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Comes as a surprise for me to be honest. But probably because I did loose them out of sight the past few years. As others mentioned I was ordering quite a lot of american kits and their own-brand products like True Detail, Czech Models (anyone a Skyknight? Just 100 Bitcoins :-D) and Squadron canopies in the nineties from them. That was before surface shipping was ended after 2001 and mailing costs went up. Last time I tried to order from them they had Aeromaster decals for 1 USD per sheet - but the shipping was 60 USD IIRC..

I think their own brands were very good back then but it seemed to me they just ended to develop these further. Whenever I bought a new kit I checked if True Details had something to add. But 10 years later their range was not so much bigger and others had better items. Today there are much better alternatives when it comes to resin wheels and such (although some sets may still be the only game in town). Maybe someone will buy the molds - Lone Star for example...

Anyway: Sad news.

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It would be helpful if Falcon could package some of the canopies in the Squadron and Rob Taurus fashion as single sets or two-in-a-pack packages rather than as complete sheets covering several different types,

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23 minutes ago, Work In Progress said:

It would be helpful if Falcon could package some of the canopies in the Squadron and Rob Taurus fashion as single sets or two-in-a-pack packages rather than as complete sheets covering several different types,

Agreed! Especially some of the ones from 1/72 set No.24, USSR WWII aircraft. Others may have their own preferences...  ;)

 

John

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They will be missed. I loved the shop in Wheaten, Maryland. I played hookey during a cousins nearby wedding reception.  Will never forget that I was buying resin scale bits in a tux. 

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