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Why isnīt anyone following Autoart into plastic?


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#1 OFFLINE   takumiae86

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Posted 17 July 2020 - 02:55 PM

When Autoart anounced that they were going to change all future models to "composite", one of the main reasons why they were doing so was to reduce costs. As much as we collectors dissagreed with this decision, we were seeing a rise in prices from all model manufacturers. Many makers were eliminating their diecast production for closed resin models during this time (BBR, Kyosho, Minichamps, TSM, to name a few). So during that time I was led to believe this was the new norm.

Fast forward a few years untill now, and I have not seen any other manufacturer changing to plastic models because of a rise in production costs. The budget brands like Maisto, Bburago, Welly, etc are still producing opening diecast as always.  Even previous manufacturers that turned their backs to opening diecast are starting to produce them once again, such as BBR and Kyosho. Norev has also showed that relatively cheap opening diecast can be made with somewhat good quality.

Finally new producers are poping making good quality diecast models at acceptabe prices (Almost Real, LCD, SuperA).

So why is no other maker changing to plastic to reduce costs? And most importantly, do you think Autoart will revert back to opening diecast with so much more competition and negativity from customers?


PS: this is not an Autoart bashing thread. Just wanted to get a sense of what other collectors feel the future of Autoart is going towards.

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#2 OFFLINE   Craig

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Posted 17 July 2020 - 04:25 PM

They say that it was to reduce costs, but theirs are some of the most expensive out there. Their profit margin must be the best it has ever been!

I don't know why others haven't followed suit, but I hope they don't. I don't mind AUTOart composite models on whole but doors with no weight to them don't impress me that much. I like a nice well built model.

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#3 OFFLINE   ROBSMC

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Posted 17 July 2020 - 04:43 PM

It is all about more profits for AUTOart, I bought the first few composites like the Gallardo GT3, McLaren 650s GT3, Huracan and a few others, but the latest stuff I bought all had QC issues and I sold them on as they were not worth the price I paid for them. For me in Australia, the new AUTOart cost nearly the same as a better detailed and finished BBR (lets not get into the sealed vs opening argument here) so I doubt I will be buying anymore AUTOart unless they make something I want that no one else will.

#4 ONLINE   slartibartfast229

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Posted 17 July 2020 - 04:43 PM

Are AUTOart trading on past glories, and expecting support from collectors?
I am not a diecast only collector, but I have no composite stuff from AUTOart, I'm not convinced of the longevity of fully opening resin.
If someone has one, can they tell me if there is metal used for the hinges?

Edited by slartibartfast229, 17 July 2020 - 04:43 PM.


#5 OFFLINE   takumiae86

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Posted 17 July 2020 - 05:11 PM

View PostCraig, on 17 July 2020 - 04:25 PM, said:

They say that it was to reduce costs, but theirs are some of the most expensive out there. Their profit margin must be the best it has ever been!

I don't know why others haven't followed suit, but I hope they don't. I don't mind AUTOart composite models on whole but doors with no weight to them don't impress me that much. I like a nice well built model.

Thats the thing Craig. No one has followed them into plastic. I always thought that others would follow since everyone has increasing production costs, but the opposite is happening. More are returning to opening diecast and many more new players are popping with as good (or better quality in some cases) than Autoart.

#6 OFFLINE   takumiae86

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Posted 17 July 2020 - 05:19 PM

View PostROBSMC, on 17 July 2020 - 04:43 PM, said:

It is all about more profits for AUTOart, I bought the first few composites like the Gallardo GT3, McLaren 650s GT3, Huracan and a few others, but the latest stuff I bought all had QC issues and I sold them on as they were not worth the price I paid for them. For me in Australia, the new AUTOart cost nearly the same as a better detailed and finished BBR (lets not get into the sealed vs opening argument here) so I doubt I will be buying anymore AUTOart unless they make something I want that no one else will.

I agree Rob, I also tried and sold all my "composite" Autoarts. I have also seen comparissons between Autoart "composite" vs another brand´s diecast from the same model. Autoarts are almost always the loser. (Mercedes G wagon Autoart vs Almost Real, Mercedes S Class Autoart vs Norev and Almost Real, to name a few) And the Autoart is usually more expensive.

#7 OFFLINE   Phatboi101

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Posted 17 July 2020 - 05:26 PM

If history tells us anything is that you need to take AutoArt's PR/Marketing words with a grain of salt. When collectors complained that their diecast models were exponentially and unrealistically increasing in price, they were the ones who said 'c'mon guys! we're making scale models with the level of details and craftsmanship like Swiss made watches for God sake!!'
We then got the spiel of this new composite material which will help reduce costs but still maintain the level of quality that AutoArt has given collectors previously. Neither of this has seemed true.
I dont know if AutoArt think we are all teenagers without any common sense that can't see through their bull$hit.
They know at the end of the day, their models will sell. It's exactly as what the others have said, getting the profit margin up whilst spinning the truth and telling nice stories.
I've only bought 1 composite model recently and I wasn't happy with the product, I'd rather spend that sort of money on other brands.

#8 OFFLINE   Kaiser Technica

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Posted 17 July 2020 - 06:19 PM

I can see Autoart returning to diecast if there's enough market pressure, but I suspect a lot of collectors will just follow the content, of which AUTOart has quite a bit. I'm not too concerned about the feel or weight of a plastic model, so long as it presents well, but I'm looking at my metal Porsche 959, McLaren F1 and LM, even going back to my first issue Bond DB5 and 996 GT3, and I'm just not seeing the advantage. I'd say that the 959 in particular hit the sweet spot for a basic model, and Autoart would have been just fine following that format, occasionally going all out for higher-tier models like the McLaren, or a Pagani or Bugatti. Hell, I miss the Contemporary lineup that they had for a little while. That Corvette Z06 was actually really nice for the money. It was like a more polished UT, without wheels in danger of melting.

The fit and finish along with other detailing mistakes are just too prevalent. I don't think I've ever encountered an error like mismatched front brake discs, which is what happened on my Vanquish S. I think Autoart has bigger things to contend with before we can worry about the material. Going back to metal won't help anything until they tighten up their QC.


View Postslartibartfast229, on 17 July 2020 - 04:43 PM, said:

Are AUTOart trading on past glories, and expecting support from collectors?
I am not a diecast only collector, but I have no composite stuff from AUTOart, I'm not convinced of the longevity of fully opening resin.
If someone has one, can they tell me if there is metal used for the hinges?

Yes, the hinge assemblies themselves are metal and may have metal struts in things like scissor doors. I think it's a little too early to really judge the longevity, since they haven't really been around that long yet.

Edited by Kaiser Technica, 17 July 2020 - 06:20 PM.


#9 OFFLINE   lambo

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Posted 18 July 2020 - 12:56 AM

Maybe the reason nobody follow is because AUTOart got patent: http://autoartmodels...t.com/index.php

Edited by lambo, 18 July 2020 - 12:56 AM.


#10 OFFLINE   ferrariforever

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Posted 18 July 2020 - 02:34 AM

I checked the AUTOart patents. One can circumvent the patents if they want to make the models in a slightly different way than what's claimed in the patents... speaking as a patent attorney.

So I don't think it's because of the patents that nobody follows the AUTOart approach.


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#11 OFFLINE   Phatboi101

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Posted 18 July 2020 - 03:11 AM

View Postferrariforever, on 18 July 2020 - 02:34 AM, said:

I checked the AUTOart patents. One can circumvent the patents if they want to make the models in a slightly different way than what's claimed in the patents... speaking as a patent attorney.

So I don't think it's because of the patents that nobody follows the AUTOart approach.

Would that mean that the exact process/components that make up the 'composite' material used by AUTOart is defined in the patent, but that wouldn't necessarily stop other companies from creating their own unique composite material similar to what AUTOart use?

#12 OFFLINE   T1000

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Posted 18 July 2020 - 05:13 AM

I also suspect that these days the use of plastics isn't all that profitable as it was a few years ago. With the constantly increasing eco norms and the push for sustainable materials, plastics are on their way out. Yes, it's going to take a loooot of time before it happens, but it means a constant increase of passive costs like emissions quotas, factory improvements to lower emissions and so on.

Diecast manufacturing is also far from the greenest processes, but the used materials don't fall under the same public scrutiny as plastics do (for now at least). So, you can probably save some of these passive costs as metal is not viewed by the publics as something as bad as plastic is.

Plus AUTOart's plastic models haven't really set the market on fire, nor they have been the touted massive innovation. The big negativity from many collectors, the bad QC and the drop of details and overall quality, probably have put off a lot of manufactures of going down that murky road.

We're also not seeing the actual sales of AUTOart's models. The recent wave of discounted AUTOart models probably means that their prices are way too high for the market. And when that's the case it doesn't matter if they are plastic, metal or from titanium. QC issues or not for the discounted models, it's probably not a nice feeling for many collectors to have spent 300EUR on a model only to see it go for 120EUR in a few years... Or spend 150 EUR and now get the same thing for 60 EUR. That also won't make most collectors happy or eager to buy stuff if they can wait for a few years and have a high chance of getting a massively better deal. And despite all of that, you can still get these models for cheap for months and months, this means severe market oversaturating resulting in unhappy dealers, too.

In the end it seems there's no good reason to go for plastics right now. It's better to have mostly happy customers and dealers and smaller profits but for a long time than to make massive profits for a short amount of time and then alienate your customers and sell off the rest at massive discounts... Unless, of course, you're just looking for the quick buck and then retire, lol.
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#13 ONLINE   slartibartfast229

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Posted 18 July 2020 - 06:46 AM

Those online retailers who managed to hold of heavily discounted older diecast stuff will be in no doubt about where enthusiasts preferences lie.
I bought a Lancia Delta S4 rally car about 2 years ago, plus a #25 and #26 Porsche 911 GT1 recently and was glad for the opportunity.
I guess I was lucky with the GT1 models, my #25 had some pva glue residue which took 2 minutes to remove, and the #26 had no flaws that I could see.
I know that buying heavily discounted stuff isn't what will encourage AUTOart, but I did manage top get hold of one of the recent Nissan silhouette racers at retail price.
I will always try to save money, but will pay the price for a decent model if it's a highly desirable subject to me.

#14 OFFLINE   ferrariforever

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Posted 18 July 2020 - 06:57 AM

View PostPhatboi101, on 18 July 2020 - 03:11 AM, said:

View Postferrariforever, on 18 July 2020 - 02:34 AM, said:

I checked the AUTOart patents. One can circumvent the patents if they want to make the models in a slightly different way than what's claimed in the patents... speaking as a patent attorney.

So I don't think it's because of the patents that nobody follows the AUTOart approach.

Would that mean that the exact process/components that make up the 'composite' material used by AUTOart is defined in the patent, but that wouldn't necessarily stop other companies from creating their own unique composite material similar to what AUTOart use?

AUTOart has several patents. For example this one is claimed as the following:

A car type model comprising
(a) a body formed by a resin to which left and right doors are hingedly attached for opening and closing;
(b) a reinforcing member which is formed of a metal and is detachably attachable to an inside of the body; and
( c) a chassis that is detachably attachable to the reinforcing member;
wherein the body comprises left and right bottom portions disposed under the left and right doors, each of the left and right bottom portions comprising an elongate side surface;
wherein the reinforcing member comprises left and right frame portions with each comprising an elongate side surface;
wherein the respective elongate side surfaces of the left and right bottom portions of the body abut the elongate side surfaces of the left and right frame portions with the reinforcing member detachably attached to the
body;
wherein the respective side surfaces of the elongate left and right frame portions collectively comprise a first set
of screw holes and the elongate left and right bottom portions of the body collectively comprise a second set of screw holes, wherein the first set of screw holes and
the second set of screw holes align with each other when the reinforcing member is detachably attached to the body, and wherein the respective first and second sets of screw holes are configured and arranged such
that, with a plurality of screws screwed through the aligned screw holes in the respective side surfaces of the left and right body portions and the left and right frame portions, the left and right bottom portions are inhibited from flexing when the left and right doors are opened and closed.

There would be only an infringement if the alleged infringer fulfills all of the features above. That is, if a company does all the features above, except not using screws but using some other attaching mechanism, in principle he is not infringing.

Edited by ferrariforever, 18 July 2020 - 07:04 AM.

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#15 OFFLINE   MerkurKing16

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Posted 18 July 2020 - 07:41 AM

I haven’t bought an Autoart in yeeeears. And the composite prices don’t help. I collect racers so I may add the Aston GT3 eventually but it’s really hard to spend around the same as a much better Spark model. If Autoart’s price point for composites was $100-110 it would make more sense. I guess I’ll wait for clearance sales.

#16 OFFLINE   takumiae86

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Posted 18 July 2020 - 01:30 PM

My last Autoart was the Nissan R390 GT1 model and the one before was the Super Silhouette (both diecast, excelent models BTW). I used to buy multiple Autoarts per year, now I buy one every 2 years. And in the future if everything is "composite" I do not know if I will buy any.

I wonder if this "composite" patent is a good thing or a bad thing for Autoart. If Autoart is the only one making plastic models at high prices, when many other makers are making diecast at similar or lower prices, I just do not see any justification for buying an Autoart. I actually think that if other makers would follow them and make plastic models it would be a better for Autoart (marketing wise).

But I am actually EXTREMELY glad no other maker is making plastic models.

#17 OFFLINE   Arnage

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Posted 18 July 2020 - 07:17 PM

View Postferrariforever, on 18 July 2020 - 06:57 AM, said:

View PostPhatboi101, on 18 July 2020 - 03:11 AM, said:

View Postferrariforever, on 18 July 2020 - 02:34 AM, said:

I checked the AUTOart patents. One can circumvent the patents if they want to make the models in a slightly different way than what's claimed in the patents... speaking as a patent attorney.

So I don't think it's because of the patents that nobody follows the AUTOart approach.

Would that mean that the exact process/components that make up the 'composite' material used by AUTOart is defined in the patent, but that wouldn't necessarily stop other companies from creating their own unique composite material similar to what AUTOart use?

AUTOart has several patents. For example this one is claimed as the following:

A car type model comprising
(a) a body formed by a resin to which left and right doors are hingedly attached for opening and closing;
(b) a reinforcing member which is formed of a metal and is detachably attachable to an inside of the body; and
( c) a chassis that is detachably attachable to the reinforcing member;
wherein the body comprises left and right bottom portions disposed under the left and right doors, each of the left and right bottom portions comprising an elongate side surface;
wherein the reinforcing member comprises left and right frame portions with each comprising an elongate side surface;
wherein the respective elongate side surfaces of the left and right bottom portions of the body abut the elongate side surfaces of the left and right frame portions with the reinforcing member detachably attached to the
body;
wherein the respective side surfaces of the elongate left and right frame portions collectively comprise a first set
of screw holes and the elongate left and right bottom portions of the body collectively comprise a second set of screw holes, wherein the first set of screw holes and
the second set of screw holes align with each other when the reinforcing member is detachably attached to the body, and wherein the respective first and second sets of screw holes are configured and arranged such
that, with a plurality of screws screwed through the aligned screw holes in the respective side surfaces of the left and right body portions and the left and right frame portions, the left and right bottom portions are inhibited from flexing when the left and right doors are opened and closed.

There would be only an infringement if the alleged infringer fulfills all of the features above. That is, if a company does all the features above, except not using screws but using some other attaching mechanism, in principle he is not infringing.

Very interesting, thanks for sharing this. I have not access to all their patents but I am thinking that if someone comes up with a reinforcing member partially made of a composite material instead of metal (a real composite material not what Autoart falsely claims to be composite) that would possibly not infringe the patent. And in the same spirit, killing two birds with one stone the new product could  be called composite ***** (something) since the product would indisputably contain the material. Effectively circumventing the patent in a pretty vicious way.
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#18 OFFLINE   will1066

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Posted 19 July 2020 - 11:36 AM

Yeah maybe other companies didn't follow into making composites because they read. As in reading the room and reading the discontent on Autoart's social media.

View PostArnage, on 18 July 2020 - 07:17 PM, said:

View Postferrariforever, on 18 July 2020 - 06:57 AM, said:

View PostPhatboi101, on 18 July 2020 - 03:11 AM, said:

View Postferrariforever, on 18 July 2020 - 02:34 AM, said:

I checked the AUTOart patents. One can circumvent the patents if they want to make the models in a slightly different way than what's claimed in the patents... speaking as a patent attorney.

So I don't think it's because of the patents that nobody follows the AUTOart approach.

Would that mean that the exact process/components that make up the 'composite' material used by AUTOart is defined in the patent, but that wouldn't necessarily stop other companies from creating their own unique composite material similar to what AUTOart use?

AUTOart has several patents. For example this one is claimed as the following:

A car type model comprising
(a) a body formed by a resin to which left and right doors are hingedly attached for opening and closing;
(b) a reinforcing member which is formed of a metal and is detachably attachable to an inside of the body; and
( c) a chassis that is detachably attachable to the reinforcing member;
wherein the body comprises left and right bottom portions disposed under the left and right doors, each of the left and right bottom portions comprising an elongate side surface;
wherein the reinforcing member comprises left and right frame portions with each comprising an elongate side surface;
wherein the respective elongate side surfaces of the left and right bottom portions of the body abut the elongate side surfaces of the left and right frame portions with the reinforcing member detachably attached to the
body;
wherein the respective side surfaces of the elongate left and right frame portions collectively comprise a first set
of screw holes and the elongate left and right bottom portions of the body collectively comprise a second set of screw holes, wherein the first set of screw holes and
the second set of screw holes align with each other when the reinforcing member is detachably attached to the body, and wherein the respective first and second sets of screw holes are configured and arranged such
that, with a plurality of screws screwed through the aligned screw holes in the respective side surfaces of the left and right body portions and the left and right frame portions, the left and right bottom portions are inhibited from flexing when the left and right doors are opened and closed.

There would be only an infringement if the alleged infringer fulfills all of the features above. That is, if a company does all the features above, except not using screws but using some other attaching mechanism, in principle he is not infringing.

Very interesting, thanks for sharing this. I have not access to all their patents but I am thinking that if someone comes up with a reinforcing member partially made of a composite material instead of metal (a real composite material not what Autoart falsely claims to be composite) that would possibly not infringe the patent. And in the same spirit, killing two birds with one stone the new product could  be called composite ***** (something) since the product would indisputably contain the material. Effectively circumventing the patent in a pretty vicious way.

Use of actual, real composite materials would send prices skyrocketing over what they already are now.

#19 OFFLINE   Arnage

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Posted 19 July 2020 - 03:55 PM

Check on Alibaba the price of carbon fiber parts CNC cut (for drones or other applications). You will be surprised how cheap it has become.

Edited by Craig, 19 July 2020 - 04:11 PM.
- excessive quoting removed.

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#20 OFFLINE   takumiae86

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Posted 19 July 2020 - 05:13 PM

I dont think the cost of carbon fiber is what concern manufacturers, but the molding process costs and other aspects of their manufacturing. AFAIK, for carbon fiber you have to put the fabrics in molds, vacuum seal them and put them in an autoclave. It is a very labor intensive process as compared to machine molds for diecast.

#21 OFFLINE   Arnage

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Posted 19 July 2020 - 07:34 PM

View Posttakumiae86, on 19 July 2020 - 05:13 PM, said:

I dont think the cost of carbon fiber is what concern manufacturers, but the molding process costs and other aspects of their manufacturing. AFAIK, for carbon fiber you have to put the fabrics in molds, vacuum seal them and put them in an autoclave. It is a very labor intensive process as compared to machine molds for diecast.

Sure the cost of molding carbon fiber is prohibitive so this would be clearly out of question. But carbon fiber plates CNC machined are relatively cheap and could be used to make a great reinforcing member replacing or partially replacing the diecast metal reinforcement used by Autoart. My point here is not to design new type of composite-plastic models but to illustrate that this is one of many design ideas that could be used by another manufacturer to do follow Autoart into plastic despite their existing patent. Not that I am interested by more plastic models for that matter.
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#22 OFFLINE   will1066

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Posted 19 July 2020 - 09:04 PM

View PostArnage, on 19 July 2020 - 07:34 PM, said:

View Posttakumiae86, on 19 July 2020 - 05:13 PM, said:

I dont think the cost of carbon fiber is what concern manufacturers, but the molding process costs and other aspects of their manufacturing. AFAIK, for carbon fiber you have to put the fabrics in molds, vacuum seal them and put them in an autoclave. It is a very labor intensive process as compared to machine molds for diecast.

Sure the cost of molding carbon fiber is prohibitive so this would be clearly out of question. But carbon fiber plates CNC machined are relatively cheap and could be used to make a great reinforcing member replacing or partially replacing the diecast metal reinforcement used by Autoart. My point here is not to design new type of composite-plastic models but to illustrate that this is one of many design ideas that could be used by another manufacturer to do follow Autoart into plastic despite their existing patent. Not that I am interested by more plastic models for that matter.

But why? They're toys, not real cars. Carbon fiber reinforced interior members for model cars?

#23 OFFLINE   Mike K

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Posted 20 July 2020 - 02:11 AM

It's simple - they're not selling enough, and many collectors are not happy with them.  Another company can look at AutoArt and see how well their diecasts used to sell, and how much they've appreciated, and then see now how that's not happening with the composites.  For instance, it seems like Norev's opening diecasts are currently selling much better than AutoArt's composites.  Most resins are, too... I myself would rather keep buying resin models, even with shipping costs from Europe, than AutoArt's composites.
Revell started making plastic/composite/whatever models in 1:18, sometime around 2010... the Artega GT and maybe some others.  It didn't work out for them either.  So these companies can clearly see making plastic models as a risk.

#24 OFFLINE   Guiddy

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Posted 20 July 2020 - 02:22 AM

View PostMike K, on 20 July 2020 - 02:11 AM, said:

It's simple - they're not selling enough, and many collectors are not happy with them.  Another company can look at AutoArt and see how well their diecasts used to sell, and how much they've appreciated, and then see now how that's not happening with the composites.  For instance, it seems like Norev's opening diecasts are currently selling much better than AutoArt's composites.  Most resins are, too... I myself would rather keep buying resin models, even with shipping costs from Europe, than AutoArt's composites.
Revell started making plastic/composite/whatever models in 1:18, sometime around 2010... the Artega GT and maybe some others.  It didn't work out for them either.  So these companies can clearly see making plastic models as a risk.

Is this fact Mike or just opinion? I saw the first batch of One:1s sell out for example?

#25 OFFLINE   Mike K

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Posted 20 July 2020 - 03:14 AM

View PostGuiddy, on 20 July 2020 - 02:22 AM, said:

View PostMike K, on 20 July 2020 - 02:11 AM, said:

It's simple - they're not selling enough, and many collectors are not happy with them.  Another company can look at AutoArt and see how well their diecasts used to sell, and how much they've appreciated, and then see now how that's not happening with the composites.  For instance, it seems like Norev's opening diecasts are currently selling much better than AutoArt's composites.  Most resins are, too... I myself would rather keep buying resin models, even with shipping costs from Europe, than AutoArt's composites.
Revell started making plastic/composite/whatever models in 1:18, sometime around 2010... the Artega GT and maybe some others.  It didn't work out for them either.  So these companies can clearly see making plastic models as a risk.

Is this fact Mike or just opinion? I saw the first batch of One:1s sell out for example?

I'll admit that I'm just taking an educated guess, as far as sales.  For sure though, companies have noticed how much negative reaction AutoArt gets for the plastic models, and take note.  Just in this topic, we have several collectors saying that they're not satisfying.  And DX isn't the only place that these companies can read collectors' feedback.
AutoArt's Koenigseggs have always sold like crazy, Koenigseggs are easy money for any model maker.  A better gauge would be something like the Lotus Exige, something that could go either way.  The opening diecast Exige S2 that AutoArt made back in the day has sold out and appreciated, whereas the composite Exige S3 hasn't gone anywhere.  So now they have to ride on subject matter, which looks to be getting narrower.  Diecast allowed them to make a much wider range of cars, and sell to collectors who are now buying more Norevs, resins, etc.  So they're losing a considerable share of the market, and to recoup it, they have to overprice the composites, and not take any chances as far as what cars to make.




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