Is Merit crazy?

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Is Merit crazy?

Post by Jnewboy » Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:36 pm

I just saw in my email that Bad Cat Toys will have the 1/18 88mm kit for $75. Is anyone actually going to buy this thing? So many small parts I dont really see it being a clear choice for anyone I know that collects 1/18 scale. If it were 1/16 they could make a fortune but I know they just want to make use of the existing molds they have. Im sure a few people may buy it, hell I may be completely wrong but as far as I can tell 1/18 has primarily been a prebuilt - prepainted scale, not allot of model makers in the scale. The nail in the coffin is $80! You can get a used one or even a new one on eBay totally built and painted for that, hell Ive gotten them for much less.

The 109E repaint of ..... the exact same paint scheme that has already been done????

This coupled with the news of this $300 price point for the Harrier?? "Flashing lights"?? who wants flashing lights? I have seen some cool mods where that was done aftermarket on jets like the F-14 but 99% of the buyers out there would rather have no "Flashing lights" and save the money, put it into metal gear instead.

I just worry that Merit may end up going the way of many of its predecessors if these decisions get any worse.

Merit if you are listening, listen up!!

#1 Dont do any more repaints using existing molds if the scheme is not going to change!!! People will not pay $100 for something they already have. They may if they can sell their old one but now eBay is swamped with Galland 109s.

#2 Make new stuff!! invest in well liked stuff and commit to one new modern and one new vintage piece each year. DETAILS ARE GREAT BUT IF THE DETAIL CAUSES THE PRICE POINT TO GO OVER $200 DO NOT DO IT!!!

#3 If you are going to release kits, and you should!! they should sell for no more than 1/2 of what the painted/built sold for or is selling for. For example if the 88mm can be had on average on eBay for $80 to $100 then your kits price point should be $45. If your Harrier is going to really cost $300 ( I really hope not or your sales will be far less than they were with the Dauntless) then you should offer it as a kit for no more than $140.

I really hope that you stick around long enough to make some more good stuff like the FW-190A and others. You did a great job on the Dauntless and your 1/16 T-34/85 was great! keep making those decisions and save the flashy lights for kids toys.

Ok Im done.

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Re: Is Merit crazy?

Post by big_mike » Thu Jul 25, 2013 8:50 pm

Amen. Couldn't have said it better myself.

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Re: Is Merit crazy?

Post by flyboy_fx » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:44 pm

I would have no problems with it if it was a NEW kit.
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Re: Is Merit crazy?

Post by Jnewboy » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:35 pm

flyboy_fx wrote:I would have no problems with it if it was a NEW kit.
Oh hell yes!! I would be buying two! :lol: The 88mm gun is awesome and if it had never been released it would be a hit!

I always thought that 21st Century's price was to low for those. The insane amount of detail made it to good of a deal. I remember back in the day when Bad Cat got those they were $50 each!

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Re: Is Merit crazy?

Post by Jay » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:48 pm

Bad cat has these up for preorder at $49.99 and a list price of $60.
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Re: Is Merit crazy?

Post by Jnewboy » Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:06 am

Jay wrote:Bad cat has these up for preorder at $49.99 and a list price of $60.
That is so strange, Bad Cats email said $76.99 then when you click on it it goes to the page and like you said "$49.99" thats a more realistic price.

I see they are also going to release the Dauntless as a kit? for $149?? seems way to high since you can still get them on eBay built for $170

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Re: Is Merit crazy?

Post by tmanthegreat » Sat Jul 27, 2013 8:44 am

I have a feeling that Merit knows what they are doing... Likely better than 21c. We also have to remember that times have changed drastically from the "Golden Age" when planes were $40 (and often less) at Wal Mart. This is a collector's world plain and simple - not a consumer's world. Really, collecting toy soldiers has always been that way, whether they were the traditional K&C or WM Britains 1/30 items or the really fancy 1:6 items. The Golden Age brought a lot of people into the toy soldier collecting hobby that likely should not have been there given that when prices went back to more realistic levels, they were priced out.

Merit and JSI are not shoving out the volume of products that 21c did at their height and labor costs have also increased in China over the past few years. All that adds up to more expensive models and manufacturers having to do what they can to cut down on costs (such as re-using old toolings or simply sending you the parts so you build the item). I've preordered a Galland Bf-109 if anything because I like the mods they made to the canopy and potentially other parts of the plane. I have the original 21c Galland '109 and the original "White 12" Bf-109, still in its box with $29.99 price tag :wink:
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Re: Is Merit crazy?

Post by Jnewboy » Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:45 pm

tmanthegreat wrote:I have a feeling that Merit knows what they are doing... Likely better than 21c. We also have to remember that times have changed drastically from the "Golden Age" when planes were $40 (and often less) at Wal Mart. This is a collector's world plain and simple - not a consumer's world. Really, collecting toy soldiers has always been that way, whether they were the traditional K&C or WM Britains 1/30 items or the really fancy 1:6 items. The Golden Age brought a lot of people into the toy soldier collecting hobby that likely should not have been there given that when prices went back to more realistic levels, they were priced out.

Merit and JSI are not shoving out the volume of products that 21c did at their height and labor costs have also increased in China over the past few years. All that adds up to more expensive models and manufacturers having to do what they can to cut down on costs (such as re-using old toolings or simply sending you the parts so you build the item). I've preordered a Galland Bf-109 if anything because I like the mods they made to the canopy and potentially other parts of the plane. I have the original 21c Galland '109 and the original "White 12" Bf-109, still in its box with $29.99 price tag :wink:
I totally agree, I have said this for years, large scale models were primarily for the wealthy until this all started like you said. Another reason was simply size, Unless you had large rooms to dedicate to a collection you had to go smaller scale and since usually only the wealthy collectors could afford larger houses to dedicate rooms to a collection, that was until the 21st Century revolution when we said forget it, for this price Ill just hang them all over the house like me. :lol:

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Re: Is Merit crazy?

Post by [CAT]CplSlade » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:07 pm

Speaking from a perspective several of you may also share - when you think about what a plastic kit in 1/18 would likely cost, add in cost of materials to assemble and paint it, and factor in your time to do it and achieve a high level of success in finishing it - you can see why they are asking so much for the new crop of planes.

Even though I bought a Galland when they first came out, my only other 1/18 purchase was the Corsair. I was living in a small NYC apartment with my wife so that was all I could fit. I forgot about the toys after that. Forward to 2006 when I moved near Atlanta, and finally set foot in a Wal-Mart. I hadn't known about the 1/32 line before that, and at those prices I was very tempted, especially when all hell broke loose and the markdowns commenced. I tried to grab a least one of every release and then went for repaints. When Monkey Madness broke out I picked up a few more 1/18 items, but mostly stuck with 1/32. Story shortened, with the demise of 21C and FOV's pullback on production, I ran out of 1/32 armor pretty quickly; there are only so many armor kits out there and most of us probably have them by now. Planes, however, were not a problem, and I have a B-25 waiting for me on a shelf that already has a space dedicated to it marked out on my ceiling. Where is yours', big toy lovers?

But: that B-25 did cost me about $160 for the kit, and I figure $20 for paints (fortunately most of the colors are common to a lot of my kits so I just need enough for the exterior and markings) and probably many hours of time devoted to it, maybe like 1000 or so at my level. I could not even imagine what it would take to wire it all up with working lights and having the pilot say random action phrases and crap. I don't think I could take less than $7500 to build one for somebody. That Harrier sounds like a real bargain.

They should at least consider offering an unlighted version.

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Re: Is Merit crazy?

Post by [CAT]CplSlade » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:27 pm

And also, for you 1/6 guys, do you know of this site?:

http://www.pistolpetechecklist.com/index.html
Last edited by [CAT]CplSlade on Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is Merit crazy?

Post by Axis Nightmare » Sun Jul 28, 2013 7:31 am

[CAT]CplSlade wrote:And also, for you 1/6 guys, do you of this site?:

http://www.pistolpetechecklist.com/index.html
WoW :!:

Where is all this stuff? :shock: I've never seen or even heard of about 2/3 of that stuff. The 21st Century line was way bigger than I thought and I'm just talking WWII. Attending the Ft. Thomas 1/6 event the past 2 years very few of the items were for sale. They really shot themselves in the foot with the 1/48 and smaller stuff. :roll: Never saw the U.S. motorcycle before. Looks quite superior to the GI JOE version. The Steve McQueen looks really good too.
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Re: Is Merit crazy?

Post by Axis Nightmare » Sun Jul 28, 2013 7:49 am

Flashing lights? Well marketing types will always try to reach out to a broader target customer. I guess when you show your Grandkids the model you can dazzle them with the flashing lights. :wink: 21st C always tried to be both a toy and a scale display model to cover a broader age range. Even scale model makers did this for decades with various gimmicks like -- push a button drop a bomb, motorized kits, retractable gear, etc. I would have always prefered 21st C and BBI to have had a detailed and accurate extended snap in gear and a simple retracted set included. This would have eliminated the terrible gear and over thick wings the toylike retracting gear features caused. There are those that will think for that kind of money, it better "do something". Next feature will be a jet sound device. :roll:

It's obvious too that one motivation for the Harrier was the compact size. Less material, smaller packaging.

Can't imagine what an F-15 or Phantom would cost. :shock:
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Re: Is Merit crazy?

Post by Coreyeagle48 » Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:26 pm

Greetings:

I agree with what some of the posters in this thread have said, I do not think the electronics and working lights are warranted or necessary for this model. Our 1/18 birds stand out just fine without these fine features. I personally would rather see the airplane cost a bit less than have this type of features. I do like the idea of some working details on the model like landing gear and opening hatches. And if they can put the time into electronics on the Harrier, they could surely make a pilot for it!

I've watched the Merit releases with great interest and sprung for the Dauntless because it is my favorite airplane. The Dauntless was a well done model and fortunately I had spare pilot figures. Had I not, I would have had to think about buying the model as the cockpits do look empty without pilots on such a large model.

However, these last releases have not been all that inspiring. Except for a few refinements, the F-86, 109 and Huey are the same molds as before. If anyone already has these models in their collection, I think it is hard for them to justify buying the repaints, even with the refinements. Many are surely holding out for the newer models only to find out that now, one of them is going to cost much more than I think many people anticipated.

I'm glad they are doing releases but to me, some of the glaring issues continue to remain. No pilot figures, no metal gear and a lack of new molds (although two are coming). With 1/18 such a big scale, one has to wonder just how long you can hash out repaints and expect people to buy them. I only have 10 1/18 planes anymore and I'm out of room! Any 1/18 purchase by me for the future has to be strongly considered.

For the money these planes are approaching, I'd rather seem them come with the things collectors want. Pilot figures, metal gear maybe a display stand! I think I am passing on everything but maybe the 190. Merit is doing good, but at this point, I think the market as a whole expects a bit better.

Just my opinion.

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Re: Is Merit crazy?

Post by [email protected] » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:42 am

Jnewboy wrote:I just saw in my email that Bad Cat Toys will have the 1/18 88mm kit for $75. Is anyone actually going to buy this thing? So many small parts I dont really see it being a clear choice for anyone I know that collects 1/18 scale. If it were 1/16 they could make a fortune but I know they just want to make use of the existing molds they have. Im sure a few people may buy it, hell I may be completely wrong but as far as I can tell 1/18 has primarily been a prebuilt - prepainted scale, not allot of model makers in the scale. The nail in the coffin is $80! You can get a used one or even a new one on eBay totally built and painted for that, hell Ive gotten them for much less.

The 109E repaint of ..... the exact same paint scheme that has already been done????

This coupled with the news of this $300 price point for the Harrier?? "Flashing lights"?? who wants flashing lights? I have seen some cool mods where that was done aftermarket on jets like the F-14 but 99% of the buyers out there would rather have no "Flashing lights" and save the money, put it into metal gear instead.

I just worry that Merit may end up going the way of many of its predecessors if these decisions get any worse.

Merit if you are listening, listen up!!

#1 Dont do any more repaints using existing molds if the scheme is not going to change!!! People will not pay $100 for something they already have. They may if they can sell their old one but now eBay is swamped with Galland 109s.

#2 Make new stuff!! invest in well liked stuff and commit to one new modern and one new vintage piece each year. DETAILS ARE GREAT BUT IF THE DETAIL CAUSES THE PRICE POINT TO GO OVER $200 DO NOT DO IT!!!

#3 If you are going to release kits, and you should!! they should sell for no more than 1/2 of what the painted/built sold for or is selling for. For example if the 88mm can be had on average on eBay for $80 to $100 then your kits price point should be $45. If your Harrier is going to really cost $300 ( I really hope not or your sales will be far less than they were with the Dauntless) then you should offer it as a kit for no more than $140.

I really hope that you stick around long enough to make some more good stuff like the FW-190A and others. You did a great job on the Dauntless and your 1/16 T-34/85 was great! keep making those decisions and save the flashy lights for kids toys.

Ok Im done.
Don't know how Badcat came up with that price. The MSRP set by Merit is $49.98 for the Flak 88. perhaps you have to ask Badcat about this particular point.

Your opinion is well received and following are brief input for your points:

1. We understand your opinion about his marking is request by Europe and Japan. Both JSI and Merit felt Mr. Galland deserves a Bf-109 with a more correct canopy. :wink:

2. That is exactly what we are thinking, one modern and one WWII every 18 months or so. Perhaps with the support from more collectors, your suggestion can be realized.

3. The kits are strictly to help out to pay much higher tooling cost. The kits also serve as a bridge to bring in scale modelers into the PBnP collectible market and to facilitate those who likes to customize.

As for the lights, some collectors love it but of course, there are others who care less too.
In this case at no extra cost to the AV8B.

To clarify the myth that planes are more expensive with light:

1. VF-84 with lights was more expensive MSRP because the lights were added by modifying existing parts and adding of wire, switch, battery pack and LED. It was "Show Exclusive" created in last minute to support a show that JSI and Merit was a sponsor.

2. VF-154 had the same MSRP as the lighted version of the VF-84 because of the additional of all the new tooling of GBU Bombs and the LANTRN Pod. The lights was basically free of charge. Since MSRP were the same, thus creating a illusion that it is more expensive because of the lights.

Hope this is helpful

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Re: Is Merit crazy?

Post by normandy » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:45 am

Thanks for the reply Jim!
Will Merit ever produce new 1:18 armor or just the 1:16 stuff?

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Re: Is Merit crazy?

Post by [email protected] » Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:50 pm

normandy wrote:Thanks for the reply Jim!
Will Merit ever produce new 1:18 armor or just the 1:16 stuff?
:D

For now, we already have two 1/16 Model Kits announced:

1. 1/16 U.S. M198 155mm Medium Towed Howitzer
2. 1/16 WWII German s.F.H. 18 15cm Howitzer

They are both good size, simple to build model. Yes, we are crazy and will turn them into PBnP release down the road.

We fully understand the fact about 1/16 being a model kit scale and 1/18, PBnP scale,.... however we must find a way to bridge the two groups so we have a larger combined customers base to warrant new tool investment. Likewise, the same applies to 1/18 scale subjects as well.

Yes, one may say Merit is a little CooCoo about our vision,... with your support, I am sure it can be done and It is O.K. to be crazy once in a while.

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Re: Is Merit crazy?

Post by normandy » Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:46 pm

Well hopefully the future will be productive for all.
Once again, Thank You for your reply Jim.
Normandy.

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Re: Is Merit crazy?

Post by tko211 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:00 pm

Until there is support / a home at mass retail for 1:18 scale military collector items the costs of ownership will continue to increase. I have said it many times before that, the relationship with WalMart (however good or bad you choose to see it) WAS the ONLY reason that 21st was able to offer models at such a low cost of 40$ for a WWII size fighter plane. It's all a numbers game and so long as there is no distributor willing to make purchase orders in the 10's of thousands per sku... well, unfortunately we will simply have to be content to see models eek out at 1-2 new molds every 3-4 years and the price points to be roughly 10 times more.

I am not the slightest bit surprised that the Harrier is expected to be 299 or so. Frankly, I more surprised that there is going to be a harrier at all! Neat plane, unique... I never would have picked it as a subject myself simply due to the fact that there is so few paint schemes to keep it interesting over time. This problem is compounded by the limitations of the cost of the plane for the above mentioned reasons.

But there you go- my 2 cents! I will happily pay the 300 or so for one example. I might get 2 but that would be about it for this plane.

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Re: Is Merit crazy?

Post by CW4USARMY » Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:51 pm

Jim, Thanks for coming on here and sharing the news and listening to our rants, and for not being easily offended. Its easy for us to think we know what's best for Merit when we don't have any skin in the game. I trust you/Merit are doing what you can to keep the 1:18 scale aircraft alive and make enough profit to keep it and Merit going. You're the only game in town that I see is making an effort and willing to share the progress. I'm really excited for the Harrier and the Fw-190 (but especially the Harrier) and even have a few friends who are going to get the Harrier (and are not 1:18 collectors) just because of its role in CODMW, and for just being a damn cool VTOL! :-D. The pics of the prototype look great. Im down for a couple ;-).
Wish you, Merit, and the hobby much success! :-D

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Not to me

Post by ATL_Matt » Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:09 pm

Bit of a lurker here because I'm primarily a collector of model ships in larger scales but I also have a modest display of 1/18 aircraft and always check back to see what Merit is doing in the field.

Image

I recognize that I'm probably not a typical customer as the the value of the models your discussing seem like they are off the charts to me. My point of comparison is different though. I don't think of these as a $40 toys for children at Walmart after having paid many times that for custom built models. My point is that value is in the eye of the customer and I hope there are enough of them/us to keep Jim and Merit moving forward.

After 20+ years of collecting large scale display models, it's apparent to me that we as collectors and hobbyists need to do what we can to support any artist or company that is dedicated to producing well detailed and innovative scale models. I commission ship models out of Latvia and I know I'm a small part of the reason that 7-8 craftsmen still are working in this field. Ultimately, this is a cottage industry for all intents and purposes - supported by collectors like us.

Jim, for what it's worth I added a Midway Dauntless to my collection and it was truly outstanding - a value at almost any price. Truly appreciate what you're doing to try and support this hobby.

Cheers

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Re: Is Merit crazy?

Post by CW4USARMY » Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:15 pm

Beautiful display ATL_Matt. 8)

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Re: Is Merit crazy?

Post by tmanthegreat » Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:20 pm

That has to be one of the most beautifully-presented collection displays I've ever seen, ATL_Matt! It looks fantastic :D

If only I had a bigger house :wink:
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Re: Is Merit crazy?

Post by [CAT]CplSlade » Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:45 pm

I could just about see that as a side room in a smaller naval history museum; you know, a city-funded rather than Fed-funded.

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Re: Is Merit crazy?

Post by Jnewboy » Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:20 pm

ALT MAT, I love large boats also and am looking to start a Yamato. I think I recognize that you have one there in the center of the room? Is that the 1/200 kit or is that 1/350? Love the room, very nice, not to cluttered, perfect!

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Re: Is Merit crazy?

Post by normandy » Wed Jul 31, 2013 4:31 am

ATL_Matt,
Thats a fantastic collection and beautifully displayed, museum quality for certain.
No matter what scale one collects, a model is a model; and I for one could spend hours just looking at all the detail.
Thanks for showing us this wonderful collection of yours and please join in the forum more often.
Normandy.

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