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Polar Lights, AMT and MPC sci-fi model kits… “What to do FIRST?”

posted by JamieH 8:00 AM
Monday, April 13, 2009

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Hi. Thanks for stopping by. I’m Jamie Hood, art director for Round 2. I am part of the team that develops Polar Lights, AMT and MPC model kits. My primary responsibility for our products is coordinating day-to-day development of our Sci-fi/ pop-culture kits. This means I research the subject matter, advise sculptors and outside service providers, spec’ colors, work on artwork, contribute to instruction sheets, check test shots, supervise tooling changes and otherwise try to keep my fingers in as many cool projects as I can manage (and sometimes more). I’ll do my best to share some of the stuff that goes on around Round 2.

The first big hurdle to jump in developing our Polar Lights, AMT and MPC sci-fi model kits isn’t so much “what to do?” but “what to do FIRST?”. There are a ton of factors to consider.

  1. What is in demand?
  2. Does the subject matter have a wide appeal or is it a favorite subject of the devoted few?
  3. Does it require committing to a new license?
  4. Are there enough subjects in the property to make enough profit to pay the guaranty that comes with the licensing agreement?
  5. Is it a property that we are passionate about, know and understand?
  6. Is the license holder interested in having their subject made into a model kit?
  7. If the tool exists, where is it?
  8. Is the tool in good shape and is it the way the fans will want it?
  9. What work will the tool require?
  10. Does it need any repair due to the decay of long term storage?
  11. Will correcting details or other modifications warrant the expense of a tooling adjustment?
  12. What tools are already in place that have enough demand to warrant producing the kit again?

Ultimately it comes down to… What can we do to make a great kit even better?

And… If the tool doesn’t exist, is there enough demand to warrant the huge expense of (re)creating it?

This is just the beginning. We start with the benefit of having a vast tooling bank to pull from but we all want to see the next brand NEW kit. Everything will come with time and success. It’s just a matter of careful planning and attention to every detail along the way. I’ll touch on some of these questions in upcoming entries and also throw in a little bits of progress on projects we have coming down the pipeline.



3 Responses to “Polar Lights, AMT and MPC sci-fi model kits… “What to do FIRST?””

  1. Joshua_Vance_Art says:

    Hi guys, as a lifelong modeler and science fiction fan I want to thank you guys for your enthusiasm and dedication to the modeling community and producing quality products.
    For alot of us old-schoolers it’s really an exciting time for modeling seeing some of these long out of production kits being repopped as well as new subjects in the works. I don’t have to remind anyone the nostalgia involved seeing for example a Mr. Spock kit, or original Enterprise kit sitting on the shelve of a store. It’s like walking through a timewarp, with some of these kits going back 30 years.
    With hopefully a serious resurgence in Trek interest, I think Round 2 is in a good position to ride that tide of popularity. As Dvds and toys fly off the shelves, so to should the models Round 2 produces.
    From a practical standpoint, I agree completely more familiar subjects would be better sellers. The hero Enterprises, (including the new film) and perhaps several “hero” familiar villain ships would be feasible.
    AMT has an extensive backlog of models that can be repopped, and I strongly believe it would be wise to repop ALL of the old 70s small box Trek kits to take advantage of DVD sales and interest in the original show. The Romulan Bird of Prey, K-7 station ,exploration set, Galileo shuttle, the bridge, etc. would be familiar territory as well as bring a nostalgia factor to fans. (The vulcan shuttle was a surprise gem I didn’t see that coming.) All of these kits with subtle retooling to improve accuracy I believe could serve as the cornerstone for Round 2’s Trek kits. For larger scale 1/350 ships the best bet would probably be a 1/350 K’tinga cruiser to compliment the Enterprises in that scale.
    For future subjects, I’ve noticed a popularity in smaller science fiction craft with a figure or two included, particularly the Revell snap pre-painted Star Wars ships.
    Star Trek has a deep well that could be mined for such kits.
    A slighter larger scale Galileo shuttle kit, travel pod, Work-bee, and vulcan shuttle for example including little rubber figures could make excellent dioramas as well as cross over into childrens “play” territory.
    I’m very excited and appreciative and Im looking forward to what you guys come up with and release. So thank you truly from one happy fan.
    Joshua

  2. yoda says:

    How big an issue are past sales? In car models, there’s an entire category of stuff that sat on the shelves when current but is in demand now (mid/late ’70s compacts, station wagons, etc.) Is that true of sci-fi subjects as well (and military, aircraft and real space for that matter)?

    Or is it unique to cars because (to use two kits from the same era that may yet be gathering dust) when nostalgia from the late ’90s comes around, people will think of a Ford Explorer before a Podracer?

  3. k357 says:

    I’ve been building for over 40 yrs, & I’m thankfull to see that classics like the Double Dragster & Double T are being reissued!!!! I build mainly muscle cars & vintage drag racing, & I’m ecstatic!!!! Thanks folks!!!!

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