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AS PROMISED A BRIEF CHAT ON WHY THE GECKO 1/35 AMBULANCE WAS LATE.


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Towards the end of 2021 just after the IPMS Nationals, there were the first indications of legal threats to Gecko models to get them to stop production of the 1/35 Ambulance.

 

Gecko were understandably very worried, but after a while this seemed to go away, but sometime early in 2022 Tiger Hobbies the UK Agent for Gecko received a series of phone calls from a company purporting, to own the rights to the design of the actual Ambulance.  This was followed by a letter forcefully stating they had given the rights to another Hobby Company  (was named).  The calls continued including the threat of legal action and getting Trading Standards to enter our business property to recover any unlicensed goods.  I think they thought Tiger Hobbies were a soft touch and easier meat than trying to have a go at a company in China.

 

Tiger Hobbies is officially a small company under Companies house rules,  Turnover of Less than 6.5 Million ( we turn over £2 million including Vat) less than 50 employees ( we have 7) Balance sheet of less than 3.5 Million we have about £800,000.  Tiger Hobbies spends up to 1% of our turnover on a well respected Commercial Solicitor, even if we are not having to deal with legal action, but all the legal things required to keep your business on the straight and level.

 

So this legal threat was placed immediately into the hands of our appointed solicitor, who wrote a letter stating they (our solicitor) were acting as legal representative for Tiger Hobbies and no further direct contact with Tiger Hobbies or Tiger Hobbies staff should occur, and any communication should be directed to our legal representative, and our legal representative would give Tiger Hobbies legal advice on each communication from your company. 

 

This is very basic legal protocol which were are all entitled, but this was not followed, more officious phone calls were made to Tiger Hobbies, including the statement I don't care about legal protocols or even care about what your solicitors has to say.   If legal protocols had been followed it is likely that the Gecko Ambulance would have not been for sale in the UK market until late 2022 early 2023 as the product would have had to go into legal storage. Well,  protocols were not followed so we decided to import our product, though sales damaged had already been done, but long term modelling folks will see the quality in the Gecko product,

 

These events resulted in the halting for a period of the production of the Gecko Ambulance, also when we did decided to go again shipping problems resulted in even longer delays, so our product only arrived on Monday last week (15th Aug 2022).  We also kept the product promoted at a much lower level, and this has resulted in only 800 UK sales of what is a excellent model for the price.  So perhaps the threat of legal action did its job and kept the Gecko model out of the market place long enough to help the competition run away with it.   This was never going to compete with the competition, but a fantastic product for the serious modeler who wanted much higher levels of detail.  We expected to sell may be 2,000 to 2,500 of this product, as this was an iconic British subject, and in the long term we will.

 

With out talking out of school once you have seen the reviews of this product, a standard Tiger Hobbies trade customer paid only £1.12 pence plus vat extra for the Gecko model over it competition. (Tiger Hobbies give our trade customers much better profit margins to give you a better overall deal. 

 

The competition product weight approx 450 Grams in its box and comes with 146 plastic parts according to youtuber Gary's Stuff RRP £33.99

 

The Gecko version comes with the following  RRP £39.99

 

Weight  in box approx 800 grams

 

Plastic parts 427

clear parts 17

Etch parts 44

plus scale hose pipe

 

As you can see a far more detailed model in parts alone.

 

You will find youtube reviews starting already, and more coming once the bloody penny has finally dropped.

 

 

 

 

   

Edited by TIGER HOBBIESLIMITED
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@TIGER HOBBIESLIMITED  I am amazed by this back story & totally staggered by the actions of these people.

 

I received my Gecko early this week & as I have mentioned elsewhere that I rate it as probably the best money I have spent in a very long time.

 

Anyone who looks at the Gecko kit & compares it to the other injection or indeed resin competition will soon appreciate all the extras you get for a few pence more (or a lot less in the case of the resin).

 

It is my intention to acquire the other new injection kit & compile a "comparison" thread of all 3 kits - side by side.

 

Well done for letting everyone know what has occurred behind the scenes - it would have been so easy to say "just let it go".

 

But - there does come a point when every man must stand his ground.

 

Well done Tiger Hobbies - you have gained a new "loyal" customer.

 

Steve

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Posted (edited)

We took a risk in importing just 1,000 units of the Gecko Ambulance, as this was what we could afford to loose if this went south legally, I would have liked to import about 3,000 if we had used the full amount of publicity and reviews of products.  This should have been ready for import in the late spring 2022 no the late Summer 2022.   Also we were forced in to white lies to when the actual  model was landing, to both trade and retail, so as not to give the opportunity to those organizations wishing to knock our door down for a plastic Ambulance Model.

Edited by TIGER HOBBIESLIMITED
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Posted (edited)

Reviews of the Gecko K2/Y Ambulance are starting to appear on Youtube including some side by side comparisons.

 

The Gecko version was never going to compete with the AIrfix version as far as sales and brand awareness (Airfix is a massive brand in the UK), but a specialist version for the serious modeler.

 

The Airfix version which we have stock now is a nice kit for the money and ideal for an modeler new to 1/35 and even etch, with my modeling skills I would build the Airfix version, it will go together well in reasonable time.

 

The modeler with higher skill set, the Gecko is the version to have, a far more challenging build with 3 time the parts.

 

Price, when the Airfix one was originally released it retailed at £27.99, and the Gecko one at £39.00 and the price difference was reasonable for what you get in each box, but price rise's have put the Airfix version up to £33.99 and the Gecko one remained the same at £39.99.  Future issue of the Gecko version both 35GM0070 and the new issue 35GM0068 will be £45.99 so again back to a reasonable price difference.

 

One or two of the reviews got the wrong end of the stick, when it came to price, earlier in my thread I stated the difference was £1.12 plus vat, but this was the price difference for a standard Tiger Hobbies trade customer ( hobby shop) have paid for the Gecko version over the AIrfix version, but the RRP is 33.99 for Airfix and £39.99 for Gecko.  The reason there is some difference in Gecko RRP around the bazars, is Tiger Hobbies believe in free market and our traders have a higher profit margin to play with so can afford if they please to do a little discount, hence there are some sales of the Airfix and Gecko almost the same, 

 

Tiger Hobbies sell the Gecko version at full RRP as we are the agent and do not want to undercut our trade sellers, but the Airfix version we buy at retailer terms hence free to sell as we please, hence our retail on the Airfix is £27.99 plus postage £2.95) 

Edited by TIGER HOBBIESLIMITED
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Posted (edited)

I have nothing against the Airfix kit, a different model for different folks, but if you want great detail then you need to go for the Gecko version for not much more money,

 

My gripe is the fact the Gecko was not given a chance on release due to the shenanigan's with the threat of legal action and the delay to what should have landed months ago, 

 

I will state when the Airfix version was originally priced at RRP £27.99 it was the right money, but price rise's put it within about 15% of the Gecko price, which is too close when you consider what you get in the Gecko box.

 

I would still recommend the Airfix version to a less experienced modeler, no matter what the price, but if you are an experienced modeler and you have purchased the Airfix kit, you will be disappointed, when you mates got the Gecko version.  If you take into consideration the discount offered by some of our retailers, the Airfix will not be far off the same price as the Gecko.  

Edited by TIGER HOBBIESLIMITED
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  • 3 weeks later...

Very interesting. I wonder if this or something similar explains the late arrival of the Gecko ambulance in Australia? To my knowledge, the kit still hasn't made it to our retailers. Mind you, the competition's version isn't available here yet, either. In August 2021, I pre-ordered a copy of the competition's kit. By March 2022, I was tired of waiting for it so I cancelled my pre-order. I soon became aware of the Gecko kit, which seemed to better suit my tastes. Tired of waiting for either to become available within our shores, I ordered one from an overseas supplier this week. Apologies, not from Tiger Hobbies. I will keep schtum about which manufacturer I chose. All's fair in love, war and model making it seems 🤓

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I find this idea of the rival model being "officially-licensed" an interesting one. I've seen the official licensing-logos on Italeri aircraft boxes in recent years, but didn't realize this concept had been extended to other areas of our hobby.    

 

I wish Tiger Hobbies the best of luck in selling these new kits.

 

Chris.

 

PS: The obstacles put in the way of model-importers seem to be manifold. I remember Mel Bromley (RIP) telling me a few years ago that he had imported some 1/114th Hercules kits in to the UK. They were seized by HM Customs, on the grounds that they were "dangerous" products (very obviously, a load of nonsense). What really rubbed salt into the wound... they charged him a £500 a day "storage fee" and then released them, without further explanation. He was a lot more philosophical about the situation than I would have been...    

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The problem with the license is the Name Austin they may have or may not have the rights to have license fee for using the name, the actual vehicles which designed to a war office specification in 1937, is basically out of copy right.

 

But they did not follow legal procedures when trying to hit us with legal action, so my Solicitor told them where to get off ( those that thought they could license the Vehicle) chancers basically.

 

We sold all 1,000 imported in 2 weeks, try buying one, buy the Airfix one like buying carrots.

 

 

 

 

Edited by TIGER HOBBIESLIMITED
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