Archive for October, 2010
Another iHobby has come and gone, and as Jamie said, it seemed a little quieter this year in comparison to last year’s all time high attendance record. Although I wasn’t there this year on consumer days, I did see photos of Round 2’s booth stuffed with people checking out all our products. No doubt, the new Auto World John Force Drag Strip Slot Car Set was a huge hit. I finally got a chance to try it myself on the trade days and absolutely loved it. Gotta’ have one myself! Clearly, there was much excitement over all our product lines and we are very happy about that.
A nice selection of die cast and slot car products was on display from the Auto World brand, including a new 1/25 scale slot car chassis we’re developing. We plan to release it in conjunction with plastic bodies from our 1/25 AMT and MPC car and truck kits. We’ll post more information as the project progresses. It’s gonna’ be good!
There were many upcoming 1/64 slot car bodies on display too, including the ’66 TV Batmobile, some awesome funny cars and pro stocks with amazing deco detail and even the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine! Auto World has some very exciting programs coming indeed.
For plastic car and truck kits, we of course showed the mockup of the 1/25 ’66 Snap-Together Batmobile kit and the excitement is just as strong as when the announcement was made that Polar Lights would be doing a 1/25 scale kit in both snap and glue versions.
As always, we showed built up models of some current and upcoming kits. The upcoming 1962 Thunderbird kit with the ‘never before released’ custom and additional parts added was on display – a fabulous build by Mike Wherry. Mike’s box art models of the 1966 Olds 4-4-2 and 1969 GTX were also on display, as well as his build of the upcoming 1/16 scale General Lee. Bruce Pearce built a super cool Depth Charger for us, and a fantastic green chopped ’25 ‘T’. Great stuff to see!
For 2011, we’ve got some great kits cookin’. We’re planning on doing the necessary backdating to reissue the clear-bodied Richard Petty Nascar Charger kit in 1/16 scale. I also hope to fill in the T-top roof of the 70’s AMC Gremlin kit, and potentially backdate it to the 1976 “stock” version it once was. If you want to see this happen, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us!
If all goes well, the Opel GT will be reissued with more of its original parts. I am looking at including real aluminum injector stacks for the drag motor option. We’ll see!
For the MPC Road Runner Rail Rider, Beep ‘T’ and Wile E. Coyote with his Wile E. Willys, these kits are going to all include pre-painted vinyl figures. Warner Bros. would not approve the original snap-together plastic figures originally included in the kits in the 1970s, and we found they didn’t assemble well anyway. The new vinyl figures look amazing and the kits will be great for attracting youngsters to the excellent hobby of building models.
To follow up on the great success of the AMT 1925 ‘T’ “original version” reissue with its chopped body and other restored parts, we’re planning a release of the second “Tall ‘T'” issue with all its related parts for 2011. By the way, if you want to see the ’25 ‘T’ Fruit Wagon and Paddy Wagon versions reissued in the future, email us!
Probably my favorite mockup on display was the ’40 Ford Coupe, for a new program that will be called the “Original Art Series”. Over the past few years we’ve been fortunate to gain access to some original AMT box art paintings from the 1960s and 1970s. We also have a great group of “new-retro” paintings from Brad Leisure. The plan is to use these vintage and yesteryear styled paintings and reissue some of the corresponding kits, in a box size similar to the vintage AMT Elegance Series kits of the 1960s. While we won’t be including any spray paint like the Elegance kits did, we WILL be including special prints inside the kit, printed on the same card stock as the box lids, giving you a robust piece of classic artwork that you can frame or just display as is. This is some of the coolest and memorable automotive artwork ever created and we want to share it with all the modelers who remember it so well.
For the big rig truck fans, a built up by Tim Ahlborn of the upcoming Kenworth K-123 kit was on display, as well as the Fruehauf flatbed trailer, Transtar 4300 Eagle and White Freightliner Dual Drive tractor. We’ve got more great truck and trailer kits planned for 2011 such as the Diamond Reo and White Western Star.
Overall, it was a great show, and I think 2011 is going to be even better than 2010.
Thanks to everyone who came out to give us feedback.
The pedal is to the metal!
Our shows for the year have wrapped up with our attendance at the international iHobby Expo last weekend in Chicago. October has been a busy month for us with our two biggest shows of the year falling within the same month. iHobby covers the entire gamut of the hobby industry and is open for industry days on Thursday and Friday and open to the public on the weekend. For the past few shows, I’ve ended up working on consumer days which suits me because I’d rather talk to the guys building the kits than sitting around a conference table talking to guys with ties on. It turned out that I was assigned to help set up the booth and then return to work the last day of the show and tear it down again. Overall the show seemed less attended than previous years and I was surprised to see many booths close up mid day on Sunday and some had closed up even before consumers even had access. (Shame shame on a couple of our distinguished competitors…)
At the show we announced our plans through mid 2011 and gave a sneak peak at a couple things beyond that. Let me run down the highlights…
Batmobile– With the kits going to tooling, we were able to unveil our packaging plans. All are still subject to licensor final review. Of course we showed off the beautiful Alex Ross painting in support of the kits. Many have asked about prints of the poster. Sorry to say that that is not allowed under our current agreement. We gave a hint at what will be included in the deluxe version of the kit. If you didn’t get a chance to see it, ask your friends who did. (yes, that is a tease)
Star Trek– As usual we had plenty of buildups and box mockups and/or preproduction samples on display. We featured a buildup of the Klingon Bird of Prey sitting comfortably atop its new landing gear as well as other buildups previously on display at Wonderfest. We announced the classic Klingon Battle Cruiser would return this year. We are looking into what little bits of accurizing we can do to the kit. Also announced was a re-release of the classic AMT Enterprise. Sure we brought that one back once already but we have put a nice spin on this one. We are calling it the Tholian Web Commemorative Edition. The kit comes injected in glow in the dark plastic along with the usual decal sheet complete with decal dressing to create the ship as the U.S.S. Defiant. To cap it off, we are including two new Tholian Web Spinners. We showed a buildup of the U.S.S. Enterprise 1701-B and showed a coupld of the revised parts, specifically the lower saucer and rear deck. We had no announcement regarding the 1:350 TOS Enterprise though the kit is still under consideration. Though we did have a prototype of the new movie Enterprise, it could not be displayed due to an error in the output. I’ll be showing that off in my next blog post though and explaining why it couldn’t be displayed.
Marvel Comics- We showed a buildup of our re-release of the Captain America kit. We will also be bringing back Spider-man (actually sooner than Cap) and a few other Marvel surprises later in the year. We will be doing these kits in Comic Scenes style boxes complete with cardboard backdrops and full color comic book instruction sheets. The faces in the Captain America kit will be resculpted. One of the resculpts is shown on the buildup but is subject to licensor approval.
Strange Change- We’ll be bringing back the Vampire and Mummy versions in the first half of 2011. The buildups on display showed how great they look when a great modeler gets ahold of them. The kits function really well (though I had my doubts as I was putting together test shots.) Look for the Time Machine version later in the year probably. And please also note that these kits will be made in the USA.
Dark Shadows- All three kits will return in 2011 with Barnabas Collins leading the way. We had great looking buildups of the figure kits on display. We are planning on reproduction boxes and glue parts just like the good ol’ days and we’ll throw in both soft PVC and styrene sets of arms.
Leif Ericson- When we brought back the UFO kit, most people asked if or when we would bring back the LE. Here it comes complete with reproduction box art, clear engine parts and lights (this time LEDs.) What I would like a little bit of feedback on is would you guys like the engines injected in red or clear so you can paint them whatever color you want? Or maybe a couple different color options. I’m listening for feedback on this.
Man In Space set- This set of historic NASA spacecraft will return with its original packaging art as well as the cardboard gantry that had been included in the first release of the kit. We had a mockup of the gantry on hand but just ran out of room to display it.
KISS and Yellow Submarine- We’ll be bringing back the stars of each band in a series of pre-painted model kits. As you may see in the photo the packaging offers a different twist to appeal to collectors. We’ll be doing the Yellow Sub in a lunchbox tin later in the year and we are exploring the possibility of doing prebuilt models of these subjects as well.
So that’s the plan Stan… or Bobby… or Richard… or Steve… (I’m getting slap happy now after so much planning and work) Thanks to everyone who stopped by and were universally complementary of our display.
I showed images a while back of our Batmobile mockup. Unfortunately my stream of consciousness writing distracted some folks from the real point of the post- showing pictures of the Batmobile mockup.
Anyway, I figured I’d give an update. The step after the physical model is for the factory to scan the mockup into the computer. The files generated are then used to cut the steel tooling for the kit. Sometimes the digital model is done first as was the case of the Enterprise Refit. In the case of that model, the physical mockup was made from the files. I’m guessing the choice to make a physical mockup of the Batmobile was due to the way I delivered my instruction. Looking back, I supplied the details of the car as best I could but in the end it was kind of piece meal… or at least I think it might have been perceived that way. (either that or it was just information overload)
Once I saw the digital file, I figured that some more tweaking could still be done and be done easier than if I had asked them to change the mockup by hand. I had some edges rounded such as the window frames. This stage also showed a bit of misunderstanding about the track width. Oddly enough, the distance between the tires on the snap kit was accurate but for some reason, the glue kit’s tires had become separated too widely. This was an easy enough correction make though. Things like correcting the turn signals on the dash were a breeze. Probably the most significant last minute catch was the front wheel openings being way too wide. I’m not sure how that had been missed before. The front wheel opening on the real car is significantly wider than the rear but I felt this went way overboard. It was easy to spot in the computer-generated images because they were almost orthographic views. I was able to tighten the opening up a little bit. I also made the tires a touch bigger to fill the wheel wells according to the look of the ’66 period. One cool thing they showed me was a cutaway of the car. I knew how the parts went together but it was still cool to see so I figured I’d give a peak at it. Btw, pay no attention to some of the spoilers shown of some parts to be included in the deluxe version of the kit later next year. I’ve got just a few more elements of that kit to finish then the whole Batmobile project will be buttoned up. The tooling for the snap and glue kits is being cut right now.
One of the muscle cars that bridged the gap between the true early muscle cars and the “tape stripe muscle car” era was the ’73-’74 Plymouth Roadrunner. Governmental regulations were putting a damper on horsepower, and the manufacturers were still getting a handle on how to deal with all of the new rules and still build in some excitement. The basic hardware was still there under all the hoses and wires for anyone who was able to do a few sub rosa “workarounds” in order to find it. And the styling was still quite good, even behind those “five mile per hour” bumpers.
Starting with the 1971 models, MPC was handling all of the scale promotional model business for the Plymouth Division of Chrysler. They had produced the Barracuda promo models starting in 1968, but now had the midsize Plymouth too. As in most instances, what was offered as a promo usually made it into kit form, and the Roadrunner was no exception. The Roadrunner was pretty typical of the MPC promo-turned-kit in those days: accurate body styling, good engraving, and standard interior and chassis detail including the molded-to-the-chassis exhaust system. The ‘Runner had been reissued a couple of times before Round 2 Models entered the picture, but some of the details weren’t quite right. Some parts were altered for use in later kits and not backdated to correct ’73-’74 spec for the reissues.
Until now! The box might read “Dukes of Hazzard“, but what’s inside is 100% stock Roadrunner, with stock stripe decals in three colors so you can lay the body color of your choice over the white plastic. There are even extra air cleaner decals in case you want to do some parts swapping and use a different Mopar engine from some other kit. For the first time since 1974, you get not only a chassis pan with dual exhaust detail, but also the correct instrument panel. So, if you aren’t a Dukes fan, you can still add this generation of Mopar muscle to your collection!
Here at Round 2 Models, it’s almost show time once again. We have just gotten over the hump of preparation for the Dallas Toy Preview and next we’ll be getting ready for iHobby.
Part of that preparation actually started months ago when we got the ball rolling on buildups for the show. We’ve always been thrilled with the results Jim Small has been bringing us with all of our spacecraft and we’ve recently added Mark McGovern and John Lemons to our stable of buildup experts to help us out with some figural stuff. John is still hard at work but I just received a package today from Mark whose work is phenomenal. I couldn’t wait to show them off to everyone…
…but then that would be letting a cat out of the bag. Come see us at the show to witness a few old friends coming back together.
The 1:25 scale 1966 Batmobile was one of our biggest new kit announcements last year. We were thrilled to sign the license and motivated to get started on it right away. We brainstormed ideas on how to get the most out of the subject and put our plan into motion to put out a kit that would give the subject its due. It was a kit most people thought could never be done… but we were up to the challenge.
It seems like the only thing we can depend on around here is that a project will take longer than expected or hoped. The nature of the problem is simple, we are working with partners overseas who are on the opposite side of the clock form us, (most) don’t speak the same language and were not brought up on American pop-culture. How does that cause a delay?
Time difference- means little direct communication. It takes a full day to turn around an answer to any question from either side.
Language barrier- though the CS reps we email to write English very well but if I word something strangely or if I’m not giving direction clearly enough, there is a breakdown in our game of telephone. I tell them, they tell someone else who does the work.
Pop-culture- anyone familiar with our products knows of them inside and out. They grew up looking at books, magazines and TV shows. The people working on our projects overseas have never seen or heard of the Batmobile let alone a Bat-ram. (The CS girls took great delight seeing for the first time how Batman handles being dipped in the ocean on a rope ladder with a shark biting his leg when I showed them the DVD on my trip in earlier this year)
After tons of emails, pictures of the mockup, hair lost and weight gained, we end up with something that looks like something we know and here we are rolling out the Batmobile. Originally, we hoped to have it out last Spring. Then it got pushed back to Christmas time. And here we are pushing it back to early 2011. It should hit stores in February now. But I’m betting no one cares about the long sob story and you just want to see the pictures. Well, here ya go…