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Kit Pricing

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I have raised this subject here on a previous occasion and found that in the opinion of many, current kit pricing seems acceptable. A well researched  article in "Constant Scale", the Airfix collectors magazine  reaches the same conclusion as regards the pricing of Airfix kits, saying that if modellers want the level of accuracy and detail provided by today's products then this is the price we must pay. I admit that I am an old age pensioner and my income isn't relative to the workers of today and that my stash is large enough to last several lifetimes but I have always had a lot of pleasure in buying the odd kit, thinking that "I will build it one day". Our local Aviation Museum sells kits in there gift shop and during a recent visit I noticed the latest incarnation of the Airfix  Tiger Moth, featuring incidently an attractive RAAF scheme and being what would have once been a "Series One Kit" represents this manufacturers least expensive product. As I have an example of this kit purchased when it was first released about four years ago for A$ 9.95, imagine my surprise to see the asking price for the new example and in fact all Airfix kits of this size had set a new record at A$29.95. Pricing in  other model shops in our area varied only by a couple of dollars. What the hell is going on, is there a hidden "Middle Man" somewhere taking a fat profit and how is it in that Airfix (and other manufacturers) can hope to sell enough volume, despite the undoubted quality of the product, to stay in business. Remember  that there is still a local hobby shop near by asking A$100. 00 for the S.E.A.C. boxing of the Dakota.

 

   Sorry to sound like Ebeneezer Scrooge,     Trev.

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Is that a 1/72 scale kit? That's the only scale Tiger moth coming up on Airfix's own website and at Squadron in Texas. Both list it at $12.99 USD which current conversion says equals $17.76 AUD today - I'm guessing you are in Australia, from content of post.

 

What kind of import duties, tariffs, and GST are there? What kind of shipping costs from wherever it was manufactured are involved? I have seen posts that they can hit model railway supplies pretty hard.

 

Airfix kit listing on their (Hornby Hobbies) website has text, "BAE SYSTEMS is a registered trade mark of BAE Systems plc." and based on experiences in recently passed years with model railways and model rockets and licensing fees, even from the US military, I have to wonder if there may be costs from that -- except that it should affect the product's price on every other continent too and shouldn't be unique to Australia.

 

And that's the end of my thinking out loud, which is all I can do, it's been since 2006 that I last was actively involved in hobby retail, and retail at all, that being in the US.

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I am also in Australia and was with Trevor when he made the shocking discovery of the price of the 1:72 Airfix Tiger Moth kit at the South Australian Aviation Museum. 

 

We we were discussing the fact that he has a couple of decal sheets for Tiger Moths and at that price, you wouldn’t be buying too many kits to use the decals on. 

 

For a single engine aircraft of that size, the price does seem out of whack big time. 

 

Unfortunately the Australia Tax seems to be a factor. It affects other things as well. 

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Is the kit in question the one that comes with the No12 LASU option? If it is then that is available here in the UK for £8.99 approx AUD $15.60, however earlier releases of the same kit different decals are as low as £4.99, approx AUD $ 9.00.

 

 

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I am interested in the UK prices quoted  which seem to reinforce my suspicion that something is not right with what is being charged here. and yes scotthldr it is the kit with the 12 LASU option. However, it is not just the Tiger Moth price that is the problem but the fact that this is now the asking price for all new Airfix kits of this size, Ever since the arrival of the new tool Red Box series of kits, each new batch has been substantially dearer than the last having risen from around A$10 to nearly A$30 with the larger kits also rising by a similar margin and as I said previously I know of a store asking nearly A$100 for the SEAC boxing of the Dakota, something that must affect the number of sales to those wishing to produce versions of this famous aircraft. Having read of the financial difficulties had at times by Airfix (and others) it is surely in their interests for their products to be retailed at a fair price and if these prices are to become the norm, then in my case it matters not what mouth watering subjects they add to their catalogue they will be beyond my ability to purchase them.

 

 

  Rant Over,  Trev.

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Definitely sounds like something isn't right. Here's a link to the 2018 Airfix catalogue with the UK RRP's usually the kits can be found in model shops for a couple of pounds less.  I would say that the Australian importer is bumping up the prices somewhat.

 

https://www.airfix.com/uk-en/shop/new-for-2018/page/3.html?

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Thanks scotthldr, if that is so I think Airfix and others should look into the profit margins of their importers

 

  Trev.

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It seems to me it might be the museum gift shop that's raising the price to make a few extra bucks, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. 

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Darren. I hear what you are saying and while I don't mind if the museum were doing this as the money would be going to a good cause, however they are not my major source of kits although I have shopped there on occasions, I was using them as an example of having the dearest price for the Tiger Moth. It is available from other sellers but the price varies only by a dollar or so. When I hear of obviously well heeled modellers calling for a new Vulcan or Saunders Roe Princess, I cant help but feel that the hobby has passed me by and I am forced to delve into my stack of crusty old kits that fortunately I do still have and forgo the pleasures of building the wonder kits of the 21st century.

 

 

  

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...saying that if modellers want the level of accuracy and detail provided by today's products then this is the price we must pay.

 

I also suspect that economy of scale might still matter when pricing injection-molded products.  If there were more people buying Airfix kits, then Airfix (and a different type and scale of supply chain) could potentially charge a little less per kit to cover costs and make equivalent or more profit.  If this has any validity, then the fact that the market in Europe, North America, Australia, and possibly elsewhere has changed from lots of kids to fewer, mostly middle-aged adults is probably a factor in kit prices going up faster than inflation. 

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Here in London, Ont. it's cheaper to buy the new tool 1/48 P-51D then the 1/72 F.6 Lightning, Sea-king etc.

The 1/72 B-25C/D is $45 to $50 and the C-47 with ground equip. is $75.

 

Other 1/72 prices are high as well 1/72 Phantom is $45 but then some of the newer tool props and jets like the 1/72 P-51D, Hawk T1A , Wildcat, Me-262 etc run from $13 to $20.

 

Don

 

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Don, I sometimes think I'm penny pinching but it looks like you have the same problem in Canada. On a visit to Vancouver several years ago I noticed prices in shops were similar to ours. In this whinge it may seem that I am picking on Airfix but I am only citing them as  an example the same applies to the other manufacturers. I get the impression that producing model kits must be easy way to go broke and I value the efforts of those who do but again speaking of Airfix I would love to build their B-17, Wellington or Shackleton etc. but they are out my price range and I worry that despite their efforts to raise the quality of their products, the company may once again fall on hard times if they can't control the constantly upward spiral of their prices, especially in a time of low inflation and low wages growth.

 

   Trev.

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Trev

 

I was using Airfix as an example to but Tamiya is just as bad here too. The new tool Spitfire is $65 so is the Ki-61 and 109G-6 but you can still get the Corsair's, Mustang's and other Spit's for $35. Hasegawa here is pretty much non existent but you can get Airfix , Italeri and Trumpeter here pretty easy .

 

I made a switch to 1/32 props but Tamiya kits range from $175 to $210 here so went back to 1/48 for awhile.

 

I try to buy at the local shops as much as I can wallet willing. 

 

Don

 

Edited by DONG

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Manufacturers typically aimed to recoup their R&D costs, production costs, mould costs and projected profit margin during the first release of a kit. Thus, assuming that most/all of the first production run of the kit is sold, the manufacturer has achieved a successful outcome. Any subsequent release also incurs production costs, but everything else is already paid for - it's long been claimed that the most significant cost of a re-release is the production of the box.

 

For a kit as old as the Tiger Moth, with multiple re-boxings and re-releases, Airfix will long ago have covered their costs so every new release of the kit generates a much greater profit margin than the original production run. It's a fundamental commercial decision and I'm not knocking Airfix (or any other manufacturer) for doing that if it allows them to develop truly new kits down the line. Perenially popular subjects are re-released regularly to keep the coffers in credit and soften the blow when a genuinely new kit fails to sell as well as predicted. It is also inevitable that the basic cost of the kit will increase over time, even though it is an 'old' kit.

 

You'd be surprised how many casual modellers (the bulk of the model-buying public) have no idea what the true age of many kits is. It's the packaging that sells the product to them, not a knowledge of what's contained inside.

 

Regards,

John

 

 

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1 hour ago, John Tapsell said:

Manufacturers typically aimed to recoup their R&D costs, production costs, mould costs and projected profit margin during the first release of a kit. Thus, assuming that most/all of the first production run of the kit is sold, the manufacturer has achieved a successful outcome. Any subsequent release also incurs production costs, but everything else is already paid for - it's long been claimed that the most significant cost of a re-release is the production of the box.

 

For a kit as old as the Tiger Moth, with multiple re-boxings and re-releases, Airfix will long ago have covered their costs so every new release of the kit generates a much greater profit margin than the original production run. It's a fundamental commercial decision and I'm not knocking Airfix (or any other manufacturer) for doing that if it allows them to develop truly new kits down the line. Perenially popular subjects are re-released regularly to keep the coffers in credit and soften the blow when a genuinely new kit fails to sell as well as predicted. It is also inevitable that the basic cost of the kit will increase over time, even though it is an 'old' kit.

 

You'd be surprised how many casual modellers (the bulk of the model-buying public) have no idea what the true age of many kits is. It's the packaging that sells the product to them, not a knowledge of what's contained inside.

 

Regards,

John

 

 

 

Well said John. You can tell when you have been in the hobby for a long time when someone posts on the forums that they just picked up this snazzy new kit that has never been issued before. My first question normally is I wonder who reboxed that. Then I go look and I have the original release in its original box.

As you say there are some costs to rereleasing a kit and that probably involves new box, decals, instructions and paying to get it injection moulded. But the research and design has already been paid for. The kit manufacturers must have some sort of formula to set the price you would think. Don't want to make it so exorbitant or they would not sell any. Although having said that I have to wonder about the Hasegawa rerelease of their 1/48 Phantom and Tomcat line. Rebox with new box, decals and instructions. Still original kit in the box.

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Seems like you have more of an issue with the local importer/retailers. As noted above the price of the kit is quite reasonable at most places online and here in Canada. If it is that out of reach at the current price do what the rest of us do. Wait for a sale,  check out a local swap meet or hunt ebay/facebook/forums and I'm sure you'll run across one eventually at an acceptable price

 

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I think that there may be some misunderstanding as to the Tiger Moth kit I used as an example. This is not the original 1960s effort but the roughly 5 year old retooled and very beautiful example. Likewise although I was rather selfishly bemoaning the fact that I could no longer afford the price of new kits, there is a bigger problem for modellers and the hobby in general in that unless the trade can find a way to rein in prices, more and more will be in my position resulting in lower and lower sales and therefor manufactures turning their factories to producing more cost effective kitchen utensils leaving only the cottage industry to turn out better but more expensive products for the few that can afford them.

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It’s not just Airfix, I can no longer justify the expense of Fujimi kits, their prices went through the roof several years ago. 

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8 hours ago, Gerhard said:

Seems to be the going rate. Its AUD 21 at BNA model world, which translates to about  ZAR 215. Nothing wrong with that. 

 

https://www.bnamodelworld.com/model-planes-airfix-models-ax02106-1:72-de-havilland-tiger-moth

That works out at £12.00 GBP, I personally find that expensive for a 1/72 Tiger Moth containing only 42 parts , maybe I’m out of touch?

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That was my original point, the Tiger and others in this series are entry level kits. Their accuracy and levels of detail are mostly beyond question but I hope we are not subsidising those who upon closing up the fuselage only to have most of it disappear forever and then say "but I know it's in there ". I used the Moth kit as an example of most modellers having a number of types that form small sub groups in their collections with several examples of a certain  type illustrating its design evolution or merely displaying various colours that it has worn. For example I have on my shelves a single example of an all yellow wartime RAAF Tiger and another four in the stash plus decals for Military, Civil and RAAF machines. At today's prices it would cost A$ 150.00 just to buy the kits. I would think that building such a collection  would not be too unusual behaviour among modellers but consider if you wanted a similar group of Dakotas, in this country 5 could cost A$ 500.00 and judging by the amount of detail sets, decal sheets and conversion sets out there a lot of people are hoping you will do just that. I suppose I could always get a second mortgage.

 

  Trev.

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I used to buy Wingnuts kits until they priced themselves out of my wallet.  Not only have the prices shot up a lot but, now shipping isn't included. 

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You can't compare the price of a kit produced in the UK to it being sold in Australia, there are shipping costs, brokerage fees, duties maybe. The price Airfix  lists is for the UK market nowhere else and it is MSRP the s stands for SUGGESTED a retailer can sell it for higher or lower. Airfix SELLS  the kits to the importer who then sets a wholesale price to cover their costs plus profit it is then SOLD to a retailer who sets their price . You also can't use one to one currency exchange they don't do it for free add about 3%. And lastly a gift shop is probably the worst place to get a model they will get so many visitors who aren't modellers who have no idea of what the price should be.

 

Cheers

Ken

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Ken, I understand the on costs involved and don't expect to buy a kit for the UK retail price, but we do not pay the UK vat. and deliveries to hobby shops is usually by surface mail, so relatively cheap. Do you think that there is a problem with the wholesaler skimming too much off the top ? and if so should not the kit manufacturer not have some input here as the last thing he needs is poor sales caused by someone else profiting from his efforts ? I suppose if you put aside the reasons for the high prices for the moment, the simple question is are most modellers happy to pay  the equivalent of A$30.00 for a Tiger and  A$100.00 for a Dak. If so I have no argument but I'm afraid that the golden egg laying goose may be killed by this process and I will never see that 1/72 scale Fairy Albacore, at least not at an affordable price. 

 

        Trev.

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1 hour ago, vh-bob said:

Ken, I understand the on costs involved and don't expect to buy a kit for the UK retail price, but we do not pay the UK vat. and deliveries to hobby shops is usually by surface mail, so relatively cheap. Do you think that there is a problem with the wholesaler skimming too much off the top ? and if so should not the kit manufacturer not have some input here as the last thing he needs is poor sales caused by someone else profiting from his efforts ? I suppose if you put aside the reasons for the high prices for the moment, the simple question is are most modellers happy to pay  the equivalent of A$30.00 for a Tiger and  A$100.00 for a Dak. If so I have no argument but I'm afraid that the golden egg laying goose may be killed by this process and I will never see that 1/72 scale Fairy Albacore, at least not at an affordable price. 

 

        Trev.

Well the kit is 8.33 Pounds no vat at Hannants shipping 11.99 so 20.32 so roughly A $36 it's not the shipping to the hobby shop it's the shipping to the distributor that's the killer, it's a long way to Australia. As far as the manufacturer is concerned once the kit is sold to the distributor it's sold. As far as poor sales go it's hard to say, things are a crapshoot  certain subjects go in and out of popularity sell better in some places than others  you can always tell what's a good seller because the kit is generally always available. As to prices it's what the market will bear every shop owner realizes can't price it too high ( won't sell ) too low ( can't keep the lights on )  as for the two kits you describe in Winnipeg would be about  $22 for the Tiger Moth and $65 for the Dak in the SEAC scheme  with ground equipment. there's a price to pay for living in paradise mate.

Cheers

Ken   

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