Modeler Magic: Q & A – Thoughts on Entering the Kit Maker Business

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Modeler Magic frequently receives questions that I feel everyone should know our response about. We therefore have opened another section under NEWS that is entitled Q & A… for important questions asked and our answers given.

Viewer Question

Dear Modeler Magic.

 

I was wondering if you could possibly answer a few questions about model kits and your site or pass this onto someone who may be able to help.

 

I am looking in to the possibility of producing model kits, my main concern is copywrite with models , on your site you appear to advertise individual’s models for sale, does this mean that companies do not bother too much about these models to claim a breach of copywrite?

 

My next question is directed towards the manufacturing process….

 

I am currently looking into additive manufacturing and the cost involved with this process, from what I have found so far is for larger quantities other methods such as injection molding is cheaper, have you any information on the process of fabrications, companies and costs?

 

Lastly, I would like any information on the best way to sell such products, I am only thinking small scale quantities at the moment as I am unsure of how much demand there are for model kits, a loft of your kits advertised are advertised as coming from small companies or individuals with a company like name, would it be advisable to start an official company or just have a name as a front?

 

I would like to thank you for your time and hope to hear from you soon.


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Modeler Magic Answer

Thank you for contacting Modeler’s Miniatures and Magic!

 

Regarding your interest in getting into the kit world…. Modeler Magic really doesn’t get into the selling of kits, or their making. We simply show what is out there for people to utilize if they want. We are promoters of this art form… and that is all.

 

That stated, I can tell you a few things of this art form. There are two types of kit businesses I am aware of. The licensed, and the unlicensed. Those who run with license are legal with what they sell, but are limited to what license materials they can afford to carry. These businesses sell to thousands all over the world. The Garage Kit business is mostly unlicensed, but also specialize in making kits of licensed design that builders are asking for, but that the licensed kit makers simply have no money to pursue license for. This causes those licensed businesses to stick to the mainstream designs for their licensed kits, but leaves the door open for GK businesses to make everything else, albeit illegally. The one huge difference is that the GK market is small. Each GK kit sells about 50 units or less copies of a single kit before it is retired from the molds going bad. While this is illegal, it is why so many GK businesses still have not been shut down. There is simply not enough made to make a stink about. That stated…. MODELER MAGIC, NOR MYSELF, DOES NOT RECOMMEND EVER MAKING ANYTHING THAT IS NOT OWNED BY YOU WITHOUT PROPER PERMISSION AND LICENSE. It is of prime importance that you understand the consequence you would open yourself up to if you did so, not complying with the legalities of the product image you would be using. Most in violation simply receive a Cease and Desist, with condition that they turn over any and all subject matter to the license holder to destroy upon receiving it, along with a statement that you will be prosecuted should you ever do so again. The unlicensed GK business is very risky, and one I do not recommend, but one I support the creative art form of…. if only because of the artist creation involved in making something grand. It truly amazes me what talent is out there in the world. This seems to also be the only way to actually get something that you may want to display that would never otherwise get made. GKer’s walk on the edge of a very sharp blade.

 

One thing that can be stated….. Modeler Magic has been attempting to come up with a way for Garage Kit Makers to actually be able to sell their items with limited license. Something that would be affordable, but limiting the number of kits created to the low number usually made. The problem exists that the actual owners of the material being utilized (that require license) do not believe that amount of money they would receive to be worth their time to even make such a low cost, limited license. They also believe, and they are correct, that in keeping Licensed materials higher in cost keeps anything made of the image they own to be of quality offered. This is a fact of which taking time, money and effort to review would not benefit their time, or bottom line profit in any way. Modeler Magic will continue to think out of the box, however, until we can come up with something that truly works for everyone.

 

I recommend speaking to some of the Garage Kit Makers we have listed in our KIT ALERT areas to ask their thoughts and read their experiences. Then also speak to the owners of a few successful styrene injected licensed kit makers… such as Moebius Models, Tamiya, or Revell. The two worlds are the same to a small extent, but very different after a certain point is reached very much toward the beginning of the entire process.

 

As for materials…. Resin, Sheet Styrene, Fiberglass and Polystone are primarily utilized in the GK markets, while injection styrene is used for the licensed kits in order to push out hundreds of kits each day from the utilized machinery. Some licensed Kit Makers simply have the dye’s made (the metal molds) and send them to factories to have their kits injected. You will find most of this is done in China.

 

With 3D printing technology available, one can now make accurate models of anything they wish to produce. The cost is still a bit high with that technology however.

 

I hope this information helps your decision. I don’t believe I stated anything that was probably not evident already, but at least it painted the picture of the business you are thinking about entering.

 

For Modeler Magic, if a model is made that people will want to purchase, we will show it. The deal is between the Kit Maker and Purchaser exclusively. Modeler Magic makes nothing from any of what we show…..as stated above…. we are about the art form itself…. and the amazing creativeness behind it all…. be it from a professional factory, or from a home garage.

 

Good luck to you!

 

Be Well!

 

Kurt Kuhn
Kuhn Global, Inc.
Modelers, Miniatures & Magic
http://www.modelermagic.com