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Kittyhawk / Panda just announced on Facebook they are closing down


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22 hours ago, Dave Williams said:


I’d be surprised if any major companies bought the molds unless they got them at a rock bottom price.  It sounds like they are still holding a sizable inventory still to be sold, and once all that’s run through, there may not be that much of a demand left.  Yeah, there will be some who miss out and wish for a repop of kit X, but probably not that many.

 

I could see someone like Italeri or *maybe* Revell buying them to add a bunch of European-interest subjects to their catalogue in one fell swoop.  Someone who isn't afraid to reissue mediocre kits from defunct manufacturers  (thinking of some Esci toolings for Italeri, while Revell still reissue some stinkers).  As long as the offer is more than scrap value, *someone* will pick them up... they just have to be willing to sit on the tooling for a few years before reissuing them; sure, there's excess inventory today, but 5 - 10 years from now, people will probably be desperate for at least a couple of the KH releases.

 

Unfortunately, the list of potential buyers would be pretty small.

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3 hours ago, Mr Matt Foley said:

If Kitty Hawk had a better marketing strategy and manufactured kits that were engineered to fit better with accurate instructions, I am certain this would not be happening today.

I don't know what there marketing strategy was?  Same for any of the model companies.  I am sure they all  advertise in modelling magazines and Facebook.  Outside of that I can't say anyone outside of modelling would have heard of any of these companies except maybe Tamiya since they are into R/C too.

I don't believe accuracy killed them.  There are lots of companies out there producing questionably accurate kits that have been going for decades, (italeri, testors, heller).

So if they are truly gone, it is probably more to do with business practices and financials than their product or marketing.  My $0.02.

 

Geoff M

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My friend John joined us for dinner last night and we were discussing this in my office. He brought up some interesting points and "How cool would it be" / "what iffery". 

 

Song, the drive behind KH, was once part of Trumpeter. He noted that about the time Song left Trumpeter to start KH, was about the same time the 32nd releases from them came to a standstill. Again, this is based on what he vaguely remembers hearing/learning and I am in no way stating they are fact. Even if his memory is correct in what he heard, it still doesn't mean it was true then or now. 

 

As most know, Trumpeter, Hobbyboss and I Love Kit are all related in some form or fashion. John noted that many kits from Gallery and Merit have found their way into the Trump/I Love Kit product lines. His speculation is that we'll eventually see the KH kits released under the I Love Kit brand name.

 

Again, this is not intended to start a rumor and it is in no way based on fact or even on anything heard from another source. This is just his personal take on what he "thinks" could happen based on the known relationship of the above mentioned parties.  It sorta kinda makes sense.

 

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For what it's worth, Gallery and Merit both contracted directly with Trumpeter to produce kits and that showed - even the instructions were classic Trumpeter.

 

I don't get that with Kittyhawk. I suspect it will be more difficult for the molds to wind up with Trumpeter. I hope they wind up with someone who appreciates them (i.e. not melted down for scrap value) and would be OK with being wrong, but it doesn't feel as likely that they would wind up with Trumpeter as with other companies where thay already had the molds in possession.

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11 hours ago, Geoff M said:

 There are lots of companies out there producing questionably accurate kits that have been going for decades, (italeri, testors, heller).

 

So if they are truly gone, it is probably more to do with business practices and financials than their product or marketing.  My $0.02.

 

Geoff M

 

True, but they have much lower prices. KittyHawk failed because they were too expensive for what they offer. Don't get me wrong, I have several of their kits - but almost all of them require a lot of extra work and/or research. They had poor reputation from the start. They had several very problematic kits... MiG-25, Mirage F.1...

their Voodoo is just fine example how poor research they have:

https://www.scalespot.com/reviews/kits/f101b-kh/review.htm

 

They had several fine (still not perfect) helicopter kits... But I think that they invested too much in their Flankers and Seahawk/Blackhawk kits... Flankers were Killed by GWH and 1/32 Helicopters market is just to small to eat all these ?H-60? Kits...

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15 hours ago, Geoff M said:

I don't know what there marketing strategy was?  Same for any of the model companies.  I am sure they all  advertise in modelling magazines and Facebook.  Outside of that I can't say anyone outside of modelling would have heard of any of these companies except maybe Tamiya since they are into R/C too.

I don't believe accuracy killed them.  There are lots of companies out there producing questionably accurate kits that have been going for decades, (italeri, testors, heller).

So if they are truly gone, it is probably more to do with business practices and financials than their product or marketing.  My $0.02.

 

Geoff M

I agree with you.

 

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Aside from Song having previously worked within Trumpeter, I believe there was a personal relationship between Song and the owner of Trumpeter. It was this that allowed him to start KH with support from Trumpeter. Song had a very aggressive release schedule between KH and Panda. Probably the financial realities caught up with him. Releasing too much too fast.

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16 hours ago, Geoff M said:

I don't know what there marketing strategy was?  Same for any of the model companies.  I am sure they all  advertise in modelling magazines and Facebook.  Outside of that I can't say anyone outside of modelling would have heard of any of these companies except maybe Tamiya since they are into R/C too.

I don't believe accuracy killed them.  There are lots of companies out there producing questionably accurate kits that have been going for decades, (italeri, testors, heller).

So if they are truly gone, it is probably more to do with business practices and financials than their product or marketing.  My $0.02.

 

Geoff M

 

Geoff I agree with where you're going with this, but my intent was directed more at decisions by Kitty Hawk to try to go one on one with GWH and their Flanker family. Additionally, the engineering that went into some of the kits as well as the damn instructions on ever kit was poorly done. I have built the Su-34. The kit is a very doable kit but those instructions are a mess and some of the failures in production of the kit (like one set of rudder pedals) or parts that "have not name or reason" that were included. Heck, even the crew over at The Modeling News couldn't finish it. Yet, it is still the most accurate in shape available. I have Both 1/32 Mirage kits. Probably not much interest in the US for them but in Europe, they were at times hard to find.

 

So, it's sad to see them go and I hope that the molds find new homes elsewhere.

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To be fair, Kitty Hawk released their first Flanker family kits a year before GWH released their first kit, so I think KH may have already committed to making a series of kits before GWH came in and stole their thunder.  That’s just chance in two companies working on the same thing without each other’s knowledge.  Even without the Flankers, KH and Panda made many kits that really didn’t have any competition.  But, as noted, there have been a lot of issues with accuracy, instructions, and decals.

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1 minute ago, Dave Williams said:

To be fair, Kitty Hawk released their first Flanker family kits a year before GWH released their first kit, so I think KH may have already committed to making a series of kits before GWH came in and stole their thunder.  That’s just chance in two companies working on the same thing without each other’s knowledge.  Even without the Flankers, KH and Panda made many kits that really didn’t have any competition.  But, as noted, there have been a lot of issues with accuracy, instructions, and decals.

 

You're right Dave. But they should have learned from the GWH release they were outta their league and focused elsewhere. Just my opinion....except for the Su-34 which I feel is still your best option for an accurate Fullback.

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I think if Kitty Hawk indeed folds, eventually their molds will be assumed by Trumpeter due to the relationship they've had in the past. 

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No one knows why KH/Panda suddenly folded up (or if they do, they aren’t telling), so saying that if they had done this or that, they’d still be in business, is just pure guesswork.  Whatever happened has already happened, and no amount of armchair quarterbacking is going to change that.  Maybe one day we’ll know, maybe we won’t.  As far as Trumpeter picking up the molds, why would they be any more likely than any other company?  The only relationship I’m aware of is that someone used to work for Trumpeter a while ago.  That may not mean much anymore, at least not to the level of wanting to spend the money to buy all of the molds.  Friendship, especially in a business environment, only runs so deep.

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Yeah, let's not speculate on the cause of the accident until the investigation is done and the report is released.  :popcorn:

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On 6/7/2021 at 3:18 PM, Mr Matt Foley said:

 

Geoff I agree with where you're going with this, but my intent was directed more at decisions by Kitty Hawk to try to go one on one with GWH and their Flanker family. Additionally, the engineering that went into some of the kits as well as the damn instructions on ever kit was poorly done. I have built the Su-34. The kit is a very doable kit but those instructions are a mess and some of the failures in production of the kit (like one set of rudder pedals) or parts that "have not name or reason" that were included. Heck, even the crew over at The Modeling News couldn't finish it. Yet, it is still the most accurate in shape available. I have Both 1/32 Mirage kits. Probably not much interest in the US for them but in Europe, they were at times hard to find.

 

So, it's sad to see them go and I hope that the molds find new homes elsewhere.

I've built Su-34, was pretty ok but had some crappy things:

- instructions, pylons and half of stencils placing omitted;

- decals are very thick, stiff and decal solutions-resistant;

- every part have seamline around, this need to be scraped with knife and sanded which adds many hours to build;

- only 2 pylons per type, had to copy some with Bluestuff/milliput;

- low amount of weaponry doable from the box, big choice of types but i.e. only 2 Fab-250 bombs while 12 needed to hang on MERs, bodies of 2xR-27 + 2xR-27E in box, but fins enough only for 2 missiles;

- some sharp corners not molded correctly which makes them rounded;

- small fitting issues like the inlets in the base of v-stabs where inlet size is different on each half of the stabilitor;

- panel lines and rivets - some are deep, fine and crisp, some are wide, shallow and soapy. Especially on the curved parts, I had to rescribe whole model except of wings and stabs, and still the wide panel lines and deformed rivets made me do the wash 3 times lowering the contrast until it stopped to dominate the view;

- one of attached resin nozzles was smaller in diameter by ca. 1,5mm.

 

 

On 6/7/2021 at 3:32 PM, Mr Matt Foley said:

 

You're right Dave. But they should have learned from the GWH release they were outta their league and focused elsewhere. Just my opinion....except for the Su-34 which I feel is still your best option for an accurate Fullback.

Their su-35 seems to be still selling, when it's around 60% of GWH price it can be an alternative. Newest prices killed the sale as you only need to add like 15-20% more to get GWH which is whole different league.

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Posted (edited)

On Ebay, prices that were reasonable on weekend for KH H-60 series helicopters have moved up significantly. At this speed, they will be beyond reach of us modellers by next week 🙂

Edited by stalal
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33 minutes ago, stalal said:

On Ebay, prices that were reasonable on weekend for KH H-60 series helicopters have moved up significantly. At this speed, they will be beyond reach of us modellers by next week 🙂


Saw their UH-1Y on Amazon for $225 on Thursday or Friday. 

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1 hour ago, stalal said:

On Ebay, prices that were reasonable on weekend for KH H-60 series helicopters have moved up significantly. At this speed, they will be beyond reach of us modellers by next week 🙂

Broke down and bought the MH-60S from Sprue Brothers for the normal price as soon as I heard the news.   Won't be starting the project for quite a while but by then I figured that these kits will either be unavailable or nosebleed expensive.   

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7 hours ago, Tapchan said:

I've built Su-34, was pretty ok but had some crappy things:

- instructions, pylons and half of stencils placing omitted;

- decals are very thick, stiff and decal solutions-resistant;

- every part have seamline around, this need to be scraped with knife and sanded which adds many hours to build;

- only 2 pylons per type, had to copy some with Bluestuff/milliput; but 

- low amount of weaponry doable from the box, big choice of types but i.e. only 2 Fab-250 bombs while 12 needed to hang on MERs, bodies of 2xR-27 + 2xR-27E in box, but fins enough only for 2 missiles;

- some sharp corners not molded correctly which makes them rounded;

- small fitting issues like the inlets in the base of v-stabs where inlet size is different on each half of the stabilitor;

- panel lines and rivets - some are deep, fine and crisp, some are wide, shallow and soapy. Especially on the curved parts, I had to rescribe whole model except of wings and stabs, and still the wide panel lines and deformed rivets made me do the wash 3 times lowering the contrast until it stopped to dominate the view;

- one of attached resin nozzles was smaller in diameter by ca. 1,5mm.

 

Suffice it to say "it has issues" (no doubt) and needs advanced modeling skills and I have discussed some of what you mention here on ARC. I enjoyed my build. I used aftermarket decals, and honestly, in my case I found the panel lines & rivet detail just fine so I can't speak to your thoughts on those. The landing gear is weak and those pylons are crazy. One would hope another manufacturer would try to tool one (GWH.......?).

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14 hours ago, Mr Matt Foley said:

 

(...) in my case I found the panel lines & rivet detail just fine so I can't speak to your thoughts on those. (...)

 

Przechwytywanie.jpg

 

 

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Posted (edited)

After deliberation followed by procrastination, I bit the bullet and order KH MH-60R. I dont know when and if I will build it but I bought it.  

Edited by stalal
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I just hope I don't mess up or lose any parts on the KH kits I have...as there may be no way to get replacements.  Thank goodness I don't have many KH models.  I've been wanting the Su-34 for a long time.  I guess now is the time to buy one...if I want one, huh??

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