Archive for June 16th, 2010

Round 2 Models: Random Thoughts

posted by JamieH 9:50 AM
Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It’s been too long and I’ve got nothing real specific to go on about so let’s see what’s rattling around inside my head.

I’ve been trying to get to those posts about my China trip I promised… wow… two months ago. I’ve run into a snag in getting my video transferred so I can pull images from it and post a little bit of video I took. I haven’t forgotten.

Recently, I’ve been finishing up some of the most complicated decals and instructions we’ll probably ever do for the Enterprise D re-release. I’m not about to count them all but with all of the aztecs and lifeboats, there are well over 200 decals. Diagramming them and making sure I had every one accounted for was mind bending. Now it is onto getting quote requests for 2011 product and sales information for the end of 2010 out there.

The 1:25 Batmobile mockup is nearly finished. There is plenty of refining I would have liked to have done, but time has run out. We’re sticking to a Christmas release date for the snap version. If all goes well, we’ll be showing the first detailed look at the car in our Round 2 Models newsletter that comes out at the end of the month. If you haven’t already, sign-up for the Round 2 Models newsletter on our contact page, so you don’t miss out on this first look.

The new movie Enterprise has hit a delay, but we are trying desperately to get it finished by the end of the year as well. The delay comes from our desire to see the kit engineered from the original CG file from the production company. It turns out, after mountains and valleys, that you can’t get where we wanted to be from where we started (it’s complicated). So, we’re nearing completion on a digital model generated from the CG file that will let us “grow” a rapid prototype of the ship to send to our factory in China. They’ll need to scan it into their computer and add the attachment pins, etc. to create tooling. It had been originally hoped that they would be able to use a digital file from us to cut the tooling from. We still have the benefit of the kit looking as close to 100% accurate as injected plastic will allow us to be.

Hmmm… Did I ever tell you what’s up with the whole Enteprise B/ Excelsior tooling? If I did I probably wasn’t definitive because some people keep asking about it. Basically, the factory tells us the tool they have is solid as in no inserts for parts specific to one ship or the other, just the Enterprise B. Without photographic evidence (which they never seem to have the time to supply) I have to believe the tool was permanently altered to create the B from the Exclesior. So that is how we are proceeding. At some point in the future, we will have to retool parts to bring back the U.S.S. Excelsior kit. We should have the B out by the end of the year though.

UPDATE: (6/18/2010)

I’ve been reviewing my test shot of the Enterprise B. I had noticed it was missing the small frame of clear parts so I asked the factory for photos of the tooling (again). The buggers met me 2/3 of the way and supplied a photo of a full sprue shot of the majority of the kits which tells me nothing about how the tool may have been altered. It is interesting to note that according to our tooling list, the Excelsior only calls for two tools while the B requires three. The third tool is the base. This means the Excelsior base should have been included with all of the other parts on the big sprue. This would make sense that all opaque parts for the kit are all on one tool shot. But where would it have fit in the layout…? I’ll be taking another look again soon. Even though the photo of the full sprue isn’t as conclusive as a photo of the tool, it still offers some clues. I just need to find a minute more to compare…

I transferred my China video to DVD last night. I’ve tried it on three computers and it looks like there may be a formatting issue. Hopefully i can resolve it next week.

UPDATE: (6/22/2010)

And so the last piece of the puzzle has been placed. I received the photo of the parts tool this morning that clarifies things. Though the tool shows that it is no longer a solid piece of steel, the sections are also not removable inserts. So as feared, the original tool was indeed changed forever. I received a message the other day from Steve Iverson of culttvman.com…

“I finally got a hold of Bruce Byerly, who worked at AMT/Ertl the last few years they were around. He did a lot of design work there, including the Enterprise C and Galor kits. Asked him about the Excelsior and Enterprise B. This is what he said.

‘As far as the B, from what I can remember we did make permanent changes to the mold. Might have been Brylium inserts but I doubt it. They kinda decided the Excelsior had run its course.’ ”

So there we have it. No happy ending this time…

But, there can always be a sequel if the first release is a success…

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