Can't you buy model kits anymore?

Steve Owen

Second Unit
Joined
Jan 7, 1999
Messages
416
Just for grins, when I was in a Toys R Us recently with my 15 month old, I took a look to see if they had any model car kits. You know, the AMT / Revel / etc. kits that came in pieces and needed glue and paint to make a complete car? But I found NOTHING. I figured I might pick up a kit, some supplies, and have a go at building a car (which I haven't done in 8 years or so... I'm 32). I hadn't looked in a while at model rockets either... but there were NONE in the store.
MAN! I stop paying attention for a few years and the things I grew up with are GONE. Model cars and rockets replaced with row after row of pre-built cars and trucks, mostly with some sort of commercial or movie tie-in. Even the Lego section was pretty small (and dominated by "kits" rather than boxes of misc. stuff).
A quick search around the net has revealed that models/rockets/etc are still available, but clearly the market for it way off from what it was a decade or two ago.
Being the father of a small child, this whole thing worries me a bit. Do kids today have the desire to build and create? Or are they truely interested only in pre-packaged instant gratification. I'm not trying to open a can of worms, but I am truly concerned that the current generation of kids doesn't have enough patience of put together a model car.
Am I over reacting, or is there something to worry about here?
-Steve
------------------
Home Theater Gear
 

Wayne Bundrick

Effects Supervisor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 17, 1999
Messages
2,358
I know what you mean. Recently I wanted to buy a model kit of a particular airplane, so I figured I could search for it on the net because any online store that sells model kits would likely have an enormous selection. I couldn't find it and it appears that model kit building in general is in serious decline.
------------------
--Wayne Bundrick
 

NickSo

Cinematographer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2000
Messages
4,260
Real Name
Nick So
I've seen a few of those Monogram/Revell kits at ToysRUs' in my area...
I used to build them, although not very well, it was fun.
IMHO, american made model kits (Monogram, revell) are built rather poorly. The peices dont fit very well together and stuff like that...
Japanese kits from Tamiya however are VERY realistic, rubber tires, and the peices fit perfectly, although their cars are only for looks, and rarely do you have to build the engine/tranny, instaed the hoot dosent open up on these...
------------------
The So Family Home Theater!
http://www.multimania.com/sonick182/ht/index.html
 

Inspector Hammer!

Executive Producer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 15, 1999
Messages
11,063
Location
Houston, Texas
Real Name
John Williamson
You have to go to a Hobby and crafts store to buy models now. A couple of months ago I went to a place in my area called 'Mitchells Hobby and Trains' and bought a 1/350th scale 'Titanic' model from Minicraft, and while I was their I browsed around and saw a great deal of model car, plane, ship, rocketship, you name it, they had it. So it's not impossible.
------------------
"How can I heal, when I can't feel time?"
Leonard from Memento
 

Polo Chavez

Auditioning
Joined
Dec 19, 2000
Messages
11
I am in a model car club here in San Diego, and we are having a hard time when it comes to discussing model car companies that are laying people off due waning sales, and also those who are going out of business. K-Mart has stopped their contract with Revell-Monogram. This in turn will definitely hurt the hobby. Right now, companies are trying their darndest in getting this video game electronic generation to buy kits. Lowrider models are a help in gaining their interest, but still kids are and should be the biggest market. Toys R' Us is disappointing, and yes, the only place where you can get kits are hobby shops and through mail order and the 'net.

C'mon guys, go out there and buy a kit...for you or for a friend!
 

Brian E

Screenwriter
Joined
Aug 12, 2000
Messages
1,636
I know what you mean. Recently I wanted to buy a model kit of a particular airplane, so I figured I could search for it on the net because any online store that sells model kits would likely have an enormous selection. I couldn't find it and it appears that model kit building in general is in serious decline.
What plane were you looking for? Let me know and I can try and help you find it or at least let you know if it's made. Most things can be had unless they are terribly obscure aircraft and even then lots of stuff is generaly available.
The hobby is in general in decline IMO. Due to poor decisions by some manufacturers as well as most model companies now being owned by larger companies. Revell/Monogram for instance is owned by Binney and Smith, the owners of Crayola. These larger companies want a larger bottom line. AMT doesn't even make Star Trek kits anymore, or any of the classic Star Wars stuff for that matter. Granted part of that is because of Viacom and Lucas's licensing costs. There are less and less new kits hitting the street and more and more diecast display type stuff. Most kids don't seem interested in spending the time to build a nice model of something and would rather just have the diecast to display. That gives them more time for video games, etc.
Even in traditional hobby shops stuff leans more towards Radio Control stuff than plastic models and trains. Generally craft stores and Wal Mart will carry a small selection and Toys R Us around here carries a few things, but the selections are getting smaller and smaller. IIRC Revell/Monogram has 4 or 5 kits announced for all of 2001 of which we'll probably see 3 or 4. Everything else will be from molds they've been using for years, some since the sixties.
------------------
-Brian
http://www.brianeberling.com/collection.html
 

Jeff Kleist

Executive Producer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 4, 1999
Messages
11,267
I'd be thankful that AMT is stopping Trek, @$#@$#@$ things never fit right. If I remember correctly, they're supposed to relaunch this year for the 35th anniversery
Which is *gasp* next Saturday! Which is also *gasp* my birthday

Frankly, all I really build these days are Gundam kits (not the easy onese you find in Toys R Us, but the 400 piece Master Grade kits). I got sick of other modelers telling me my paint jobs weren't real, and these are more fun anyway
Jeff Kleist
 

Bill Catherall

Screenwriter
Joined
Aug 1, 1997
Messages
1,560
My dad has been stocking up model car kits so he can put them together when he retires. I guess it is wise of him to stock up now before his the selection dwindles. One of my hobbies is model rocketry. I too have noticed the ever shrinking selection of kits available in toy stores. I can't even find hobby shops any more. I'm really hoping these hobbies make a come back so the companies can stay in business and keep making new and innovative model kits.
------------------
Bill

 

Jeff Ulmer

Producer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 23, 1998
Messages
5,584
I haven't built models in two decades, but spent a good deal of time and most of my high school money building. It is too bad that the hobby is on the decline, as it was a good way to keep me off the streets out of trouble, caused me to learn attention to detail and learn to follow instructions. There was always that satisfaction when the kit was finished. I'd agree that Tamiya made the best kits I ever built, mostly military stuff, but the crown in my collection was a Porsche 911 turbo, 1/24 scale, it was pretty big. Never did finish it though, it's upstairs in a box, along with the rest of the kits.
On a similar subject, how is model railroading these days? I also spent a lot of time building models for those. I really should set that up again, though who has the time anymore?
------------------
Zardoz Online | Burt Lancaster is The Swimmer | dOc
[Edited last by Jeff Ulmer on September 04, 2001 at 11:27 AM]
 

Bill Catherall

Screenwriter
Joined
Aug 1, 1997
Messages
1,560
Actually I think model railroading is going strong. Not stronger than ever, but still pretty strong. I went to a model railroading show a few months ago and it was really kind of big and had a lot more people in attendance than I expected. New digital technology is being implemented into some of the trains and controllers keeping it up-to-date and state of the art. You can control your trains and other layout pieces with computers that help add to the simulation and fun of the projects.
My uncle is a consultant for Märklin, a model railway company based in Germany. There was a time a few years ago that if you did a search on the internet for "Catherall" you would hit about 100 Märklin sites that he was a part of. He spends almost all his free time playing with trains and building layouts and has helped Märklin with many research studies. His hobby is very contagious, so I may be a bit biased because model trains are probably more popular in my family than most.
------------------
Bill

 

Jeff Kleist

Executive Producer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 4, 1999
Messages
11,267
My local hobby shop just died
Sigh, there goes another one. I keep wondering how the huge one in the mall stays open given that no one is in there
 

alan halvorson

Effects Supervisor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Oct 2, 1998
Messages
2,009
For Legos in the Twin Cities area, try the Mall of America - big prominent store with huge Lego constructions, a ton of Lego kits plus pails of Lego parts. They also have areas with Lego parts that kids can put together whatever they want.
Hobby stores and the like have just about died out around here. There hasn't been one in my hometown for a couple decades; the last one is now a key shop. Too bad. I'm at the time in my life I'd like to get back into model making.
When I was very young, my parents bought us these balsa wood airplane kits. Although they included plans and the balsa wood, you had to measure, cut, fit, glue and finish the whole thing. Took forever but boy was it fun - I want it again. But it is not too be.
When I first got into audio, I thought to save some bucks by building Heathkits. I started with the monster AA-1640 200 watt/channel power amplifier - not the right choice for a beginner. But I got through it and it worked. Took several hours a day and a month to complete. But with the coming of modern circuit board construction techniques, Heathkit ceased producing kits (does the company still exist?).
I understand kit building is still striving in some areas outside of the USA. Anyone know of any sites to look at?
------------------
They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!
They're coming to take me away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa To the funny farm. Where life is beautiful all the time and I'll be happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats and they're coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!!!!
- Napoleon XIV
[Edited last by alan halvorson on September 07, 2001 at 03:04 AM]
 

Thomas_A

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 2, 2001
Messages
398
At the end of my Model building days... wich were quite few to be had...I was into the 1/8 scale cars... try finding those today. Wallmart still has a small selctiong... and I was told hobby lobby...though I have not checked myslelf. I can see where video game and MTV are putting a pinch on the model companies...but as I remember back then..a lot of the models sucked! The good ones were far an few...I love building the old battleships and war ships from ww2... but atlast...no more that I can find..
ya never know though...
------------------
So far, So good, So what
http://members.cardomain.com/bugers
http://thomas2307.homestead.com/thomasworld.html
 

Wayne Bundrick

Effects Supervisor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 17, 1999
Messages
2,358
A good place to find model kits of military ships & planes is in the gift shops of naval and air museums where the respective historical hardware is on display.
------------------
--Wayne Bundrick
 

Tony G

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Dec 9, 1998
Messages
80
Is it a problem to get the glue that you use to assemble them? Seems I remember some years ago that some of the companies were going to quit making it because of the problem of abuse and potential liability problems.
Tony
 

Brian E

Screenwriter
Joined
Aug 12, 2000
Messages
1,636
When I was very young, my parents bought us these balsa wood airplane kits. Although they included plans and the balsa wood, you had to measure, cut, fit, glue and finish the whole thing. Took forever but boy was it fun - I want it again. But it is not too be.
Alan you can still get those kits fairly easily. Do you make it up to the Twin Cities? There are still a few good shops here. A few real good ones have closed in the past year or two, but Scale Model Supplies (a friend's brothers store) in St. Paul and National Hobby (A friend owns this, I help out there from time to time) ( http://www.nationalhobby.com
 

Tim Markley

Screenwriter
Joined
Jun 12, 1999
Messages
1,279
I built a ton of model cars when I was growing up, mostly 50's, 60's and 70's muscle cars. The most fun for me was buying a stock model car and then souping it up with extra parts that I had. Sometimes I would buy a model car kit just to use the parts on another car. I used to put custom paint jobs on them also using those little aerosol paint cans you could buy. I think that the closet of my old bedroom in my parents house is still full of models. I'm sorry to hear that this hobby is dying. It gave me a lot of enjoyable moments growing up and also taught me a lot about cars.
 

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
344,154
Messages
4,701,875
Members
141,180
Latest member
Roush2fast