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Kitty Hawk / Panda Closing


madcat911
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On 6/6/2021 at 3:35 AM, Piotr Mikolajski said:

 

You forgot about money and time. Each project of this type is prepared to give the best possible result from the money invested, and to be completed in the time allowed.

 

Model kits are very rarely time critical amply demonstrated by regular release date slippage. The money invested is implied by the amount of effort put into the design.

 

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At the top of this illustration should be a description of "what modellers demand: detailed and accurate, cheap, easy to build".

 

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That sign is quite common in the UK and completely correct. The issue here IMHO is that the products haven't been good, or cheap, and certainly no faster than others.

 

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It is standard in the industry to reveal most projects with a long delay, which usually means that most / any feedback sent to the company is irrelevant.

 

Kinetic recently announced their Gina G91-Y with nearly complete CAD designs. Lots of people raised red flags about the issue so Kinetic have gone back to redo the project. Most commenting were very familiar with the subject and offered documentation, access to remaining airframes etc. Raymond knows his customer base and that an accurate kit will sell many more items than a poor one, especially when alternatives are already around. The sad fact is that KH take very little notice of any material as evidenced by the 'Reference Materials supplied by Detail & Scale' sticker being removed as they had been ignored (author's comments on other sites inc ARC),

 

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I'm not sure what group of modellers you are referring to as "casual purchasers" or "enthusiasts".

 

Sorry but my passion is economics where they are standard terms. 'Enthusiast' is an informed purchaser with knowledge of the subject and a specific requirement, in this case type modelled, decals, variant offered etc. The are making the purchase as they want that particular product. OTOH 'Casual' purchasers are those who want a model kit, it may be down to a choice between plane/AFV/ship etc. and they may purchase the item in question if it fits that category but the subject isn't a consideration. There is some overlap in our hobby but not much especially compared to areas like computer equipment, TV, and even housing.  

 

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The problem overlooked in this discussion is the interest in particular topics, which translates into model sales....  In this case, it seems that modelers' interest in the products of Kitty Hawk and Panda is not high enough for further production to be noticeably more profitable.

 

I agree completely on all of this only seeing the cause of the problem differently.

 

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Certainly?

 

Even with access to in-house data on the sales of individual kits, order structures, distribution networks and so on, it is impossible to make such clear-cut diagnoses.

 

With respect that isn't true at all. I have worked in the financial sector as part of a team advising potential buyers which business would be the best fit for them, that is the most profitable within the specified timescale. The investigating is always done on a best case/worst case basis. Which one is developed will be determined by evidence from non-financial sources, 'due diligence' virtually mandates this. So let us look at why a particular company is a target. If others in the same geographical area are struggling then we'd look for a regional issue - shortage of raw materials, infrastructure at capacity, a natural disaster, political change or legal, and so on. The next area is the market sector - has the target any unusual methodology (organisation, production techniques, business model, culture), is it producing product to a different standard from other suppliers in the same market audiences, has there been a sudden change in the market overall. And so on and on.

   

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There could be many reasons for the closure of a business, especially for companies operating in China. This is not the first Chinese company to go out of business and it will not be the last.

 

For modellers, this is bad news for a basic reason - any other manufacturer will look at what Kitty Hawk / Panda have been releasing and think very hard about whether to produce these kinds of kits.

All true, however we are told that the company has been over-producing and stockpiling product. This is not something the Chinese usually do and their tax structure penalises those who do. Warehouse space is very expensive compared to other countries to ensure product is shipped (and payment received) promptly. If it sits around that's foreign currency tied up uselessly, which the Chinese government certainly don't approve of. Historically the supply of KH kits has been erratic in most markets, the cause of this is usually production runs that are beyond the ability of the equipment to sustain. Chasing a lower unit cost by tying up equipment for an extended period is foolish especially if it means other items go out of stock in the meantime.

I'd venture that KH sells at least 50 kits to 'enthusiast' purchaser to every one brought as a present or an impulse purchase at a show or other event. Make it accurate and you'll sell the 50 and pick up some of the impulse purchases, how many of these is down to pricing and perceived value (utility in economic speak). However by making kits that offer no improvement to others available or are considered to be of an unacceptable standard then you will lose some of the enthusiast purchases, in this interconnected world you could lose nearly all of them. That means 51 sales projected becomes maybe 5-6, that means trouble.  

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KH never took customer feedback and it showed with their oft repeated mistakes in decals, instructions and parts. So may be end was there anyway. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I’ve read that due to the limitations imposed by the pandemic that Kitty Hawk was suspending operations until they got enough more orders from venders. That doesn’t sound like a “goodbye” to me but rather a hiatus. Is there any confirmation that they’re gone for good? If not I think it best not to say they are, but rather acknowledge that the possibility exists with no certainty that it has happened. 
 

As for Kitty Hawk’s kits, their quality, and answers for them I’ve found them to be like most kit makers whose products I’ve bought to be a mixed bag. Neither universally good nor universally bad. I have some of their kits and have been largely happy with them - especially the recent Fury 2 and just out Fury 3 kits. They’re well worth getting IMHO.

Edited by Tom Zeller
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1 hour ago, Tom Zeller said:

That doesn’t sound like a “goodbye” to me but rather a hiatus. Is there any confirmation that they’re gone for good? If not I think it best not to say they are, but rather acknowledge that the possibility exists with no certainty that it has happened.

 

 

Deleting their pretty popular facebook page looks like goodbye enough to me...

 

in 1/48 I recommend their: Su-34, AH-1Z, UH-1(any version), Su17/22, SH-2 and Jaguar... They have some issues, but they are mostly OK. In the second row - there are F-101, Dauphin/Panther and Gripen.

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On 6/20/2021 at 6:49 PM, dickbarton99 said:

try ebay

 

I bought one off AliExpress which turned up today :)

 

Cheers,

WV908

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On 6/20/2021 at 12:38 PM, 0viking0 said:

 

 

Deleting their pretty popular facebook page looks like goodbye enough to me...

 

in 1/48 I recommend their: Su-34, AH-1Z, UH-1(any version), Su17/22, SH-2 and Jaguar... They have some issues, but they are mostly OK. In the second row - there are F-101, Dauphin/Panther and Gripen.


You’re not going to keep an official page going if the company is on hiatus. Monitoring and answering that page is part of being active not being on hiatus. Besides the public group is very strong with over 4,600 members and most questions that might come up can likely be answered there. I’m not saying they’re not gone for good but neither is there any certainty yet that they are. So far as I’m aware of the only comment from Kitty Hawk themselves is that they are closing production down due to Covid and shipping costs. They didn’t say the company itself was closed. They said they aren’t producing for now.

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  • 2 weeks later...
12 hours ago, bentwaters81tfw said:

I contacted KH for spares last Sunday.

Reply was no spares available.

Make of that what you will.

I am surprised that you got any reply at all, considering circumstances.

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