For about two years, I fairly often caught myself shaking my head and wishing I had more guts. I came to realize that I had entertained a small dream — really, a small one — and just assumed it was out of my reach so I didn’t check it out. Several other guys weren’t so afraid, and now they’re living my dream.
My dream was to make a business of manufacturing model kits. Specifically, plastic model kits like the classic monsters, heroes, swashbucklers and the like Aurora used to make and which I loved so much when I was little. Polar Lights, the company whose reissues and repops of Aurora kits enticed me back into the model-building hobby in 2001, had been purchased by Round 2 and was quickly all but shut down. Round 2, it seemed, wasn’t interested in making figure kits because the market for them had gotten so small that they weren’t worth the effort.
I was dismayed. Yeah, OK, so there were only thousands of people building those models instead of millions. Thousands of people wouldn’t pony up enough money to make the effort worthwhile? Sure they would. I knew it, but instead of at least considering whether that was a market I could hope to serve myself, I just accepted that plastic figure kits were pretty much gone.
Then I found out about Monarch and, through emails, got to know its founder, Scott McKillop. Then Frank Winspur let hobbyists know what he was up to with Moebius and started making all kinds of figure kits. A few years later, the Megahobby boys introduced us to Atlantis. Thanks to all of them, plus a revived Polar Lights and more reissues from Revell-Monogram, plastic figure kits are all over the place. And how did it happen? Some people not so different from me, but also not so afraid, checked out a few things and decided to go for it.
Could I have been a “player” in this market? Eh, who knows. It’s expensive to make plastic model kits and there’s a steep learning curve. I just wish I’d at least done a little research.
Roughly a year and a half ago, when I was again shaking my head, I got to thinking about vinyl model kits. Plastic kits are what I built when I was a kid and they’re what drew me back to the hobby as an adult. But in 2001, it took me only a few weeks of involvement to move from mass-produced plastic kits to the less common garage kits.… Read the rest