Archive for May, 2010
I don’t want to get you too excited, but… we just received our first round of photos for the deco body samples last week – including the Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin bodies! For “first round” samples, they’re looking pretty good. Take a peek. We have a meeting scheduled this week to do an official review and make any adjustments/tweaks to get the bodies looking accurate and sweet as candy. All parts development is just about “there” as well. Only a few minor adjustments left to make, and we’ll have one SNAPPY kit to offer all our great customers. After all, you’re the ones keeping us in business – so making you happy is our number one priority!
We’ve also received final proofs of the packaging from the factory for both Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr.. PLUS, we received a fully loaded sample of each racer’s box (with all parts and instruction sheets included) to analyze and make sure everything fits comfortably into the packaging (no damaged parts allowed here). Decals and stickers are close to being completed as well. With only a few minor tweaks left on the insert pieces of the box, I’m happy to say – we’re close to final approval for both the Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. packaging.
FYI: packaging for the Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin kits have already been designed, approved by the licensors AND shipped off to our factory for production. We should be receiving proofs to review in the weeks ahead.
That’s all for now. Thanks again for all your support!
The show is three days gone and I’m still feeling worn out. It was a great show for us. How can we judge that (since we weren’t actually selling anything)? I’m judging it based on the response we got from you, the modeler. I knew (hoped) some of the stuff we had brewing would be exciting to you guys and the people who stopped by seemed to hop right on board with what we could show so far. I actually didn’t hear any severe criticism (please don’t start now ). At our first year at the show the response was “I thought you guys went out of business” with a look on people’s faces of “and who are you?”. Last year was positive but we were still getting tons of “suggestions” and a few had some legitimate complaints and a few bad reactions to our announcement of the planned new movie Enterprise. That’s not to say that we get everything right. We do honestly try though.
The show went by quickly even though we spent the whole time on our feet. I made a few trips around the dealer room but limited myself so I wouldn’t overspend (I did anyway) and made it over to the guest room for a very quick lap missing a chance to talk to John Eaves again. I was able to look around the contest room for about a minute and a half before they started kicking people out for the awards ceremony. I feel a little incomplete for not having a better chance to look around. I’ve had to look around online but it just isn’t the same and being able to really get up close to a nicely detailed model.
We did a little “social media” experiment on Saturday. I’d been dropping hints around to follow us on Twitter while at the show. We tried to take a cue from comic book artist, Jim Lee. At a recent comic convention in Chicago, he left sketches here and there and “tweeted” their locations. So we took along a few special prizes to try the same thing but we genuinely had no idea how effective it would be. Were modelers on Twitter? If they were, would they pay attention during the show? The answer was “yes”… a little bit. We planted the prize around noon time and started dropping hints here and there. As the afternoon went along, we started to worry that we’d just need to go pick it up the next day unless someone accidentally stumbled across it. Late Saturday afternoon, a gentleman stopped by and a said a little birdy told him to stop by. So, congratulations to… You know I just realized we didn’t get his name. But our heads were about us enough to take a quick photo of him. So, congratulations mystery winner on receiving a 1st edition Enterprise Tin (one of six uncovered in our warehouse. Hopefully Bob and I can take home one of the other five). We had a few more prizes to give away but figured we’d try again next year to see if we had more interaction.
I checked out the Aurora documentary Saturday night. I never took the chance to build them when I was a kid. Even then I didn’t like the sculpts. But after seeing how they were sculpted, I have a much better respect for those old kits. The selling power of James Bama’s illustrations put me in awe. After the show, I helped judge Iron Modeler. I wasn’t sure what to expect, now I’m not sure what to think. The final builds ranged from whacky to meticulous. My hat is off to the participants for taking up the challenge and putting their hard work in.
As in past years, we had a questionnaire to fill out. After some trouble interpreting the “data” last year and having two sheets worth of questions the year before, I’ve learned to simplify and I hope it helped not to take too much out of everyone’s busy show. Some people responded out loud that some of the questions we asked were difficult because they could only choose one option. My response was that we have to answer hard questions like that all the time. As a “reward” we handed out 1:72 scale Robby the Robots complete with a mini box on the back of the header card. We only had a limited amount and ran out around 1:00 on Saturday. We also handed out previews of the mini catalog that we’ve started including in our latest kits and everyone was entered into a drawing for some free kits.
Congratulations to this year’s winners. Your prizes are on their way.
Bob Bleber of Elkhart, IN (my home town oddly enough) won a regular edition Batmobile.
And Kevin Bessey of Omaha, NE won a Batmobile Collector’s Edition Tin
Many have asked if they could fill a questionnaire online and we’ve tried to find a way to allow that without requiring too much time or expense. We finally decided to make it available as a .pdf for you to print off and mail back in to us. Other bigger, less busy companies can incorporate it into their system and keep it completely online. I’m sorry we can’t do that at this time. If you weren’t able to hit the show but want your voice to be heard, this is your chance. Feel free to take a look at some of the pics of our booth and fill out our questionnaire. We’ll add your input to our data from the show. It won’t be an open-ended thing so fill it out and send it back in the next few weeks. Sorry no prizes for this, just a chance to join the crowd.
For those who couldn’t make it this year, feel free to come see us next year. We’ve already booked the same spot. It’ll be a long year until then.
Whew! Wasn’t this year’s Wonderfest a great show? I can’t wait to see you again next time.
Wait… what… I dreamed it all? Well at least it wasn’t a nightmare like Bobby Ewing coming back from the dead. (That was a great Family Guy episode) All right. I was going to tell you about the 1966 Batmobile model kit.
First, we’ll be showing our 1:32 scale 1966 Batmobile. It looks like some retailers at the show will have the basic kit available for sale there. Feel free to ask me about the delays in the kit. It turned into quite an epic story.
We’ll also be displaying our Classic Batmobile™ Collector’s Edition tin version of the kit. I’ve tried describing the kit but any explanation falls short. You truly have to see it to appreciate it. I know not all builders care about anything that says “collectible” on it and I’m not going to try to convince you otherwise. I just know that this product really turned out nicely.
Lastly, if the stars align (and UPS cooperates) We’ll be showing the full mockup of the 1:25 1966 Batmobile glue kit that will be out next spring. A simplified snap version that uses some of the same parts will be out before the end of this year. I’ve really done my due diligence on this model to make sure the details are done right. The mockup is dialed in at about 90% complete. I’ll be reviewing the mockup for the factory to see if there is any work left to be done before proceeding. Stop by and take a look to see what you think.
This week’s previews only touch on some of the high points of the show for us. Feel free to stop by and ask questions about these and other projects like the Star Trek Movie: New Enterprise, Enterprise 1701B and the 1:350 Enterprise (like I need to give you permission to ask…). We’ve got these kits and more in the pipeline.
Today, I’m placing the focus back on Star Trek model kits. Some times we get to a point in our development plan when we have to figure out “is this kit worth doing?”. Or in the case of today’s kits “what could we do to this kit to make it worth doing?”. We have to weigh the expense of course. In the case of today’s first kit, our appetite was originally bigger than our mouth…
U.S.S. Enterprise 1701D 1:1400 scale. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this one before. Essentially the story goes like this. We wanted to eliminate the inaccurate raised detail from the ship, fix up some other details here and there, add a new base and add a set of Aztec decals. What we found out was that the raised details were probably added by the same means that the raised panels were added to the original AMT Enterprise Refit. We were told that the tools could not be modified this intensely and that new tools would be needed. The cost of which could have bought us two or three other entirely new kits. In addition to that, the mechanics of one of the tools was also substantially damaged. In the end, we canceled that iteration of the ship. So we took a step back and said “is there anything we could do with this kit at all?” After all, it is one of the most well known versions of the ship. After some serious thought, we thought about the requests we get for clear versions of various Star Trek ships. We figured, we’d fix the mechanical part, inject it in clear, fix up a couple fit issues here and there and add in our signature decals. So that’s what we’ve done. We’ll have our buildup with prototype decals on it as well as a clear test shot built on display at the show.
We’ll also have a prototype buildup of our new release of the U.S.S. Reliant. Again, we’ve invested in some key revisions in this kit. We have thickened the saucer, eliminated the inaccurate lines around the edge of the saucer as well as the “window” pock marks on the forward bulkhead and lastly, added ridge detail around the bridge dome that had been missing for unknown reasons. On top of all that, we are adding a new base which is essentially a bigger version of the one included in our 1:1000 scale Refit. To keep the price of the kit reasonable, we have decided to leave out the Aztec decals from this release and offer them as a separate item. The kit still includes all of the expected markings, etc. We’ve done our best to make this kit, if not 100% accurate, at least more appealing.
I’ve said before that The Reliant is probably my favorite Star Trek ship but of the enemy vessels, one has always really appealed to me. That is the Klingon Bird of Prey. I like it for the polar opposite reasons why I like its Romulan ancestor. The Klingon ship show conveys the aggression that is synonymous with its people. We’ve added some new and significant parts to this little birdie. First, we have adjusted the baffle angles to match the stance in Star trek III: The Search For Spock. In cruising mode, the wings raise above horizontal and as much as I like the aggressive attack stance, the original kit took it a touch to far. On top of that, we’ve decided to include a brand new “pose” for the kit- a “landed” pose. For the first time, the kit will include all of the parts to show the ship in its landed stance as seen in ST3 complete with ramp and a third set of wing baffles. We’ll add a little bit of real estate onto the decal sheet to finish it off. We will have a buildup of the adjusted wing angles and mockup parts of the landing gear to show off.
One of the cool things about working for a “legacy” model kit brand is discovering and bringing back all of the obscure stuff that hasn’t been out in a while. The topic of today’s Wonderfest preview focuses on a couple MPC model kits. As far as MPC sci-fi kits go, most of the well-known efforts were Star Wars subjects. We’ve uncovered a few cool kits that many folks, even seasoned modelers, may not have known about.
First is the Pilgrim Observer. This is a highly detailed kit of a “real” space station concept. At least it could have become real in the eyes of her engineers. The kit includes a booklet explaining the science behind the concept. The kit itself is really cool. It comes with a lot of parts in white, chrome and clear parts and builds into a nice size model. It ends up with moving pieces and it can be shown in flight mode, like a rocket, and in orbit mode with all of its pods and antennae extended. As great as it builds, it will also be a kit-bashers delight with all of the non-descript yet definitely sci-fi/ space influenced parts. The kit also comes with a few added goodies just like its first release. Of all of the kits we are offering, this is one of my favorites.
Speaking of the Pilgrim Observer, we are still trying to decide how we would like to package it. We liked the original box but our buildup expert, Jim Small, did a great little digital composite sing the buildup that we really like too. If you are at the show, stop by and fill out one of our questionnaires and let us know which one you think is better. As usual, the show questionnaire has a few meaty questions on it we’d like feedback on. As usual, once filled out, it becomes your entry into our show drawing for some great model kits. Be sure to stop and fill one out while you are at the show. We really appreciate the feedback.
Ok, back on track… Secondly is our upcoming release of the Haunted Glo Heads which come in four styles- Werewolf, Vampire, Mummy and Ape Man. These are fun little snap together kits that feature the head and hands of each creature. The have cool detail to paint or build them unpainted for glow in the dark fun. They are simple little kits, perfect for young modelers. I think they have a lot of appeal to advanced modelers too.
Okay. More tomorrow focusing back on Star Trek.
Okay, I was in a hurry yesterday and went with an inspired thought and released news I had hoped to save for later in the week. Oh well. Here’s what I should have led with yesterday. (More Trek stuff later this week)
Some of the stuff we’ll be showing off at this weekend’s Wonderfest show will be more improved Polar Lights Model Kits re-releases. Among them are…
The Munsters Living Room. We are offering this kit in a square format glow style box just like last year’s Witch release. If we have a glow style box, that must mean the kit will come with optional glow in the dark parts. Actually, there are so many optional parts that we had trouble getting everything to fit. Some parts fit issues and wide seams have been improved for this release as well. This is kit is a great companion to our upcoming Munster Koach and Drag-U-La collectors tin release which we will also be showing off. The tin itself is a great piece of work but it also comes with a booklet with images of the cars as well as other gruesome goodies.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Not to be confused with his cousin the Bellringer, this release will also be given the glow treatment. Another added touch is new nameplate for the kit.
The Guillotine. This is one of Tom Lowe’s favorite kits. Just like the Munsters and Hunchback, this kit will also feature a glow box with optional glow parts. In addition to that feature, we’re making a couple minor tweaks to the tool and including some magnets so the kit can function like the real thing. Watch you fingers…
Bigfoot. Not the truck (yeah, we’re bringing that one out too) but the “real” creature. This is a classic AMT kit that was available in the mid seventies. It features snap together assembly and just like the original version includes glow in the dark parts. The box will be the square glow style. (do you detect a theme going on here?)
So those are our planned figural kits for the rest of the year. Stop by at the show to see our buildups and check out the new packaging.
Ok. I’m crammed for time but I promised so I want to deliver. We’ll be setting up our booth once again at Wonderfest and we will be showing off some plans for upcoming Star Trek Model Kits. Today, I’m going to give a quick review of our plans for bringing back some classic AMT kits.
First, we’ll be showing off our buildup of the K-7 Space station. (Don’t mind the kitty cat induced battle damage- feel to ask me about it) Jim Small went through the added step of adding lights to this great little build. We’ll be posting a how-to article on the Round 2 models website to coincide with the kit’s release. The kit is basically a pressing of the old jalopy from AMT. It reminds us of the K-7 but don’t get too picky about the accuracy. The new release includes our standard dome style stand and a small sheet of decals that includes some alternate numerals so you can make it any space station you wish.
Next, we’ve got the Romulan Bird of Prey. Again, this is a re-release of the vintage AMT kit. We’ll be including the stand as well as optional parts to add the weapon on front and adding nacelle domes. This is personally one of my favorite TOS ships. Many have requested it and we’ve listened. You could have one of your very own by the end of the year.
Both the K-7 and Romulan Bird of Prey will be released in their standard retro-style packaging. The K-7 gets a new illustration while the Bird of Prey will get its classic box illustration. And both will also be released in collector’s tin editions to go along with the others we’ve already brought out. The K-7 will come with a bonus Tribble while the Bird of Prey will get a print of the box art.
Speaking of tins, we have special plans for a couple 2011 releases of the AMT Enterprise. Come see me at Wonderfest and we can talk about them…
We will be attending Wonderfest showing off all of our brands of Round 2 Models. We hope to see everyone there. The show is always great fun. It gives us a chance to meet our fans and builders first hand to answer questions, take suggestions and just say “hi”. I’m proud to be part of the Iron Modeler competition this year as a judge. I thought about joining a team myself this year but I’m not as experienced as you guys are and with limited room, I decided to let the die-hard modelers get all of the “real” fun.
As usual we’ll have some nice giveaways, show off lots of our product and reveal some of our upcoming plans. I want to take a minute to invite you to follow us on Twitter. It may pay you some dividends at the show…
I’ll be making some teases here leading up to the show. More soon…
Hey all. It is here. The classic 1966 Batmobile model kit has landed in our warehouse. After many unfortunate delays, the kits will be going right back out to distributors today. We have ordered it in heavily but it looks like all of our current orders have sold through. So if you want one right away, pick it up as soon as you see it. We have more coming but it may be another month or so before they arrive.
I thought the Classic Batmobile Collector’s Edition Tins would still be another month or so before arriving but they are coming hot on the heels of the standard edition and are due to arrive in the next couple weeks. The product looks great and I think they are worth the wait.