Archive for the ‘Round2 Models’ Category
Another Wonderfest has come and gone once again. I have to admit that though this year’s show didn’t sneak up on me it seems like the time needed for planning for it gets pinched more and more every year. In such great haste, mistakes are bound to happen. Luckily they were small and no one got hurt. (What is it with me and Star Trek ship name spelling…?)
More than anything else show attendees want to see what we have coming next. In light of recent events (which I’ll get into later) I’ve decided it is best to wait on getting too far ahead of ourselves with product announcements. So, we focused mostly on things that are coming very soon, but we still slipped in a few things that we feel confident enough to talk about.
On the Star Trek front, we had…
The U.S.S. Reliant 1:1000 scale snap kit which will be out very soon. I received production samples the day I returned from the show. This means the kit is about 4-6 weeks from hitting store shelves.
The next new kit on deck is a 3-ship Cadet Series set that focuses on Deep Space 9. It features the U.S.S. Saratoga, U.S.S. Defiant and Galor-class ships. As usual the set will include full decals for all three ships.
New to our 1:1000 scale ship lineup of will be the TOS Romulan Bird-of-Prey. The ship is a personal favorite of mine. We are just getting started on it, but we hope to have it out in about a year.
Also coming in 2015 will be a reissue of the U.S.S. Enterprise Cutaway. We are just now starting to examine the kit to see what changes we might make to it. I wouldn’t expect anything terribly extensive, but we’ll see if there is anything “logical” we should do to improve it from previous releases.
Lastly, though it may not look like much as far as our display goes, we’ve completed the overall plans for the Galileo shuttle kit. So we can now begin the mockup process.
We showcased our new reissue of the Moonbase Alpha kit. It features an all-new four-part vacuform base. I know dealing with the vacuform base in the past was kind of a hassle, so we’ve done what we can to make it as easy as possible to assemble and hide the seams. The new base was necessary to present the entire layout of the base including five all-new launch pads that feature optional docking extensions and new in-scale Eagle transporters. The travel tubes are included as separate pieces where the original release had them embedded as part of the base. New decal artwork rounds out the improvements. These are supplied for the launch pads as well as the computer terminals for the command center interior.
The next development for license is a Deluxe Eagle Transporter. This kit utilizes our existing Eagle kit, but now includes resin parts for the laboratory pod and booster pack.
For the Alien license…
We showed our RP of the resin XO Kane kit which was a little worse for the wear having been sent around the world and back. The #1 question we got at the show was “when will this be available?” We hope to announce a price and release date for the kit soon.
We also showed the CG work done by Angelo Bastianelli on the USS Sulaco. His work has since been approved by the licensor so we’ll be moving to the next step on the ship. I hope to get the kit to market in 9-12 months.
Best of the rest…
We presented our Back to the Future II Time Machine and all-new General Lee snap-together kits along with a reissue of the Hindenburg. All should be out later this summer. We gave a preview of new Lindberg reissue box art that shows our approach to using vintage art and design cues in a fresh way. Everything else on display is available now from your usual hobby retailer.
Along with the compliments on our product, we also fielded questions about a few projects that were conspicuously absent. After “When will Kane be available?”, the next most common question was “So, what happened to the Wicked Witch kit?” Please believe me when I say there isn’t purely one reason, but a pile of reasons that made us reconsider releasing the kit. The final decision was hotly debated here and was a painful one to make. Unfortunately the Witch wasn’t the only kit we have to talk about… Sadly, I had to inform those that asked that the King Kong kit which we’ve shown images will also be cancelled as will the Marvel Comics Thor kit and 1966 Batman & Robin 1:8 scale figures. None of these decisions was taken lightly and I can assure you every one was fought for to continue.
I’m loathed to end a blog post on such a down note, so back to other aspects of the show…
For the past three years Round 2 has presented awards for the “Best Use of a Round 2 Model Kit” in the Wonderfest model contest. This year’s competition had a record number of entries with well over 600. As usual, the level of quality in the buildups was amazing. We present our award for three categories Adult, Teen and Junior. This year’s adult winner was David Lewis who used one of our 1:350 scale TOS Enterprises to build his vision of a TOS-era Miranda-class ship. It was a beautifully built model that featured lights as well as interior details like an arboretum and dual shuttle bays. The junior division winner was Alex Tabor whose diorama presented his vision of the TOS U.S.S. Defiant making waste of a mirror universe Enterprise era ship. Unfortunately, we ran into the same problem we had in the past two years as no buildup was entered in the teen division that had used one of our kits. We’ll have to reconsider next year’s awards and probably do one award for junior/teen. Alex walked away with both junior and teen prizes which featured three 1:1000 scale Star Trek kits (child award) and a pile of kits including the Man In Space rocket set, 1:144 scale C-57D and an Enterprise-E (teen award). David walked away with a $100 coupon for autoworldstore.com. Congrats to the two of you. Also, I want to send a special shout out to Mark McGovern who we have build our own “amazing figure models” who took away the big award for Most Amazing Figure sponsored by Amazing Figure Modeler magazine. His work on the Absorbing Man was truly “amazing.”
As always, it is great to see everyone at the show. We always walk away with the clear message received that we are doing all right by everyone there. I personally have to say that it is my pleasure to be there. I always leave with a sense of renewed vigor for the tasks awaiting me when I return to the office.
The popularity of mainstay pop-culture characters can be tracked back to the earliest instances of licensed merchandise. Superman debuted in the comics in 1938 and less than a year later, the first merchandise was offered to the burgeoning crowd of fans. The Supermen of America Club supplied members with a button and official membership card. Supermen of America rings were offered to new members in 1940 and over time have become one of the most sought-after collectibles ever. In the early years, trading cards were introduced. They were followed by nearly anything that could have a Superman logo applied to it from lunchboxes to puzzles, books and records, action figures and of course… today’s Superman model kit.
Characters like Superman change with the times, but still resonate with every generation. As sensibilities evolve so do the characters and the various interpretations of them. Technology allows our look at the characters to become more defined. In the comics, the original interpretations offered on pulpy page stock by his creators Joe Seigel and Jerry Shuster gave way to the visions of Mort Wiesinger and Curt Swan (among many others) to the more contemporary renderings by Neal Adams and John Byrne to the version offered on today’s glossy page stock or the subtle glow of a tablet. The big and small screen offered a range of interpretations from the shorts created by the famous Fleischer Studios which put still images into stunning motion in a series of cartoons to the live-action serials starring Kirk Alyn to the TV series starring George Reeves to the most fondly remembered depiction supplied by Christopher Reeve in four films to last summer’s blockbuster film.
Every time we see a character depicted in a new way, we are biased (whole-heartedly or in part) by the previous interpretations of him. Some people are die-hard fans of the old stuff, the stuff they grew up with as kids and have loved ever since. Some people are coming to the party late and they latch on to the version being offered at that time. Some are into it for a while and eventually let it go. Others are life-long fans.
For sci-fi and pop culture modelers, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. You know if you like Star Trek better than Star Wars. You know if you like STAR TREK: The Original Series better than STAR TREK: The Next Generation. You know if you like the Curt Swan interpretation of Superman better than Jim Lee’s. Classic TV show Batmobile or the Tim Burton version?
Our recent Superman and Wolverine super-hero kits were created with the mindset of appealing to the widest audience possible. The Wolverine kit offers optional heads to appeal to guys that want something a step closer to the recent movie versions. We chose the costume to depict his iconic early appearance, but it was engineered to allow easy modification to create other later versions. Superman depicts one of his most iconic comic book covers, but with a little adapting he can look more like any of his various incarnations.
So, my question to you, the modeling public, is what do you like? (Please don’t misinterpret the question as “what do you want?”) Did you like the Man of Steel movie? Did you like The Wolverine? Do you like what Marvel Comics is doing right now or do you like DC better? Are you into the Arrow TV show or are you more excited about STAR TREK: TNG being remastered to be released on bluray? While you are at it, let us know what you think of our recent figural model kit releases. Feel free to let us know by responding here on the blog or on our Facebook repost.
To commemorate the return of the Space 1999 Eagle 1 (MPC791) in 1:72 scale and the Space:1999 The Alien (MPC 795) in 1:25 scale MPC (R) is randomly inserting 100 autographed mini prints into these model kits. Space: 1999 which originally aired in 1975, featured the crew of the Moon Base Alpha as they found themselves stranded on the moon when a nuclear disaster knocked it from the Earth’s orbit. Modelers have the chance to find 1 of 100 mini prints signed by Nick Tate (Alan Carter, pilot of the Eagle-1) or Catherine Schell (the alien Maya) in boxes that showcase the contributions of these two actors made to the show.
Recently I have had some inquiries about resin. I do not have a lot of experience with resin as a medium so I asked one of our advanced designers for some feedback. His response is as follows.
As a material, resin is not as forgiving as plastic. It is more brittle, and if made solid, the end model is much heavier than a plastic one. Most modelers’ experience with resin kits are building “garage kits”, which means a guy or group making an unlicensed kit of their own in their basement or garage and selling them to whoever is interested. By the nature of that market, quality is very spotty. A lot of the product being sold at a show like Wonderfest is this kind of stuff. A lot of what you see in Amazing Figure Modeler is this kind of product. If we or Moebius didn’t make a kit you see in there, somebody made it themselves and they are selling them.
Yes, resin kits are much more expensive, but we are trying to find sources that will make them for a reasonable price and with more consistent quality than those found in the aftermarket. Garage kits usually go for no less than $125 and could be anywhere above that. Take a look at the product review pages of AFM.
Why are we doing kits in resin rather than styrene?
Our public answer is that we want these to be super detailed kits. Because of the injection molding process, detailed textures get minimized on the sides of plastic parts. They almost always have to be smooth to keep the part form being trapped in the tool. It would be easier to show you an example than to explain it in writing. Anyway, with kits like Kane or King Kong, a lot of the great detail would get compromised.
What are your thoughts on resin as a medium?
Before you lay your head down Christmas Eve and visions of new model kits start dancing through your heads, let’s finish up our rundown of projects in the hopper here at Polar Lights models. I hope you have enjoyed the looks the progress on Kane, the U.S.S. Reliant and King Kong kits.
We announced acquiring the Alien/Aliens license at Wonderfest. Here is a look at something we have talked much about yet, the Alien Queen! This is the digital sculpt as rendered by Bill Wieger, the same sculptor we used on the Kane kit. The model offers a dynamic look at the creature. We are still nailing down the details on the final scale and release date. We’ll announce more when we know more.
Well, that wraps up a great 2013! Please have happy and safe holidays. We’ll see you next year!
Santa’s coming soon and in the spirit of giving, we are presenting inside-looks at some of the projects we have in the works here at Polar Lights models. By now you should have seen our updates on Kane and the U.S.S. Reliant. We had given inside looks at earlier stages of both of those earlier in the year. This month we give the unveiling of something new.
Feast you eyes on the 8th wonder of the world, King Kong. This fabulous sculpt was done by Gabriel Marquez. I’ve kept him in mind for this project ever since he contacted me about it when we first go into the model kit biz. The sculpt is currently being reviewed by the licensor. Look for it in 2014. More details when they become available.
Next week… the Queen!
Continuing weekly Polar Lights Model Kit updates for the month of December, here is a look at the U.S.S. Reliant mockup that was reviewed recently. This is a much anticipated addition to our Star Trek line of 1:1000 scale kits. This is a new source and the prototype had a few unexpected flaws (like the wavy saucer) as well as the usual amount of fix up we find that is required. A slight mishap resulted in broken Starboard phasers.
Other than that the ship isn’t in too bad of shape overall, but as anyone reading this blog will know that the devil is in the details. Most notably are the grid lines on the top of the ship, not just the saucer section, but the rear end as well. We’ll get that fixed up as well as the other 20-odd points of interest pointed we out to the factory.
Next week… Kong!
My blog writing has been rather erratic this year. All I can say is that the day-to-day business of developing Polar Lights model kits is easy to get caught up. There is rarely a lull in our breakneck working pace. In an effort to make up for some of my lapses, I have weekly blogs scheduled for the month of December… or at least leading up to Christmas…
Let’s kick off the month with a check in on our upcoming Alien Executive Officer Kane resin figure kit. Right now we are looking into a production source. Once that is settled, we’ll be able to finalize its release date. Here are some pics of the rapid prototype that arrived recently.
Next week… Reliant!
We are so pleased to recieve so many great reviews from the modeling community. Here is another one from the IPMS. The 1967 Shelby GT-350 Mustang was not your average Mustang. It was powered by the Ford High Performance 289 engine and many special improvements. However, since this version was intended to be a production car and to be purchased by the general public, it included the Deluxe Mustang Interior, power brakes, power steering, optional air-conditioning, and optional automatic transmission.
Even so, its performance was superior for its time:
- 0 to 60 in 7.1 seconds
- Ran the ¼-mile at 91 mph in 15.3 seconds
- Top Speed of 129 mph
The kit comes with a basic engine that has optional valve covers and can be dressed up to the builder’s desires. The interior is rather Spartan, and I guess that, for the time frame, even a Deluxe Mustang Interior would not be all that elaborate. The painting instructions for the interior are skimpy, at best. The online references and photos of existing examples mostly show an all-black interior with very little extras.
To read the entire review please visit http://web.ipmsusa3.org/content/1967-shelby-gt-350-mustang
From time to time I get posts about fan favorites. This recent message from Sheila. My favourite memory was when I found out that AMT had re-released the 1976 AMC Gremlin X, I was so excited that when the kit was released, I bought seven of them! I own a 1975 Gremlin, so I thought a ’76 would be good enough, but then AMT re-released the 1975 AMC Gremlin X! I am now working on a model of my real car! Also, quite recently, I found out that MPC was re-releasing the 1978 AMC Pacer X, and when it gets released, I’ll have to buy some of those too!
What are some of your own favorite modeling memories?