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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently wrote a letter to Scalemotorsport to see if they had anything new for 1/18th. For those that don't know, they make (mostly for 1/24th scale) detail kits, carbon fiber decals, photoetched parts, etc. I've used a few of their products and loved them. Here is the letter and timely response I got from them.


Hi. I talked to a representative of yours about a year or so ago and we discussed briefly the growing interest in diecast 1/18th scale models. I've been a collector of diecast for roughly 10 years now and have jealously watched as the Plastic "side of the house" got all the attention. I was fortunate enough to pick up a detail kit for the '70 Camaro, of course in 1/18th, at the particular show I attended. I asked if there was any possibility of more kits coming out for other subjects in the larger scale but no information was known at the time. I've since found an online forum diecastXchange.com-Diecast Collectors Message Forum and it has people from around the globe interested in diecast model collecting. Not everyone collects 1/18th, but there are a huge number of questions asked as to how to get further detail out of the models and if there are any companies that sell products to help with this. Do you as a valuable company have any interest in 1/18th scale? I hope so. I've said it before, "the diecast collector and customizer is just waiting for the right company to offer the products he/she needs and it will grow in popularity, alot like the plastic world". Alot of common things asked for are brake details, calipers, decals, grills, wheels, engine detail, carbon fiber, just to name a few. I've used your products before and love them. Please contact me or stop by the forum sometime and let us know how you can not only help our members there, but the entire diecast collector/customizer community. Thanks in advance.
Here's the response:
Thanks very much for your email I did spend some time on the diecastXchange.com site this afternoon, the group sounds very involved. I am not sure if you realize this but many of the products we currently have will work very nicely for the 1/18th scale diecast rebuilds that the members are doing. Our carbon fiber decal series 20 or 24 make great surfacing details especially for any race car subjects or high tech sedans. Our Faux Fabrix Textured Spray Paint is fabulous for creating cloth surfaces or textured metal surfaces, it can be painted over with Enamel or water based paint to change the color, in March we will have Faux Fabrix in Red and Black. We have photoetch sets for 1/20th scale racing harness' while its not 1/18th the small percentage in difference would hardly be noticeable. We also have a photoetch fastener set containing over 500 washers, nuts, bolts, nuts and bolts together and Dzus fasteners.

Several years ago we introduced a line we call Diecast Details for people doing 1/18th scale re-builds, we thought this to be an important emerging market. We developed a line of photoetch sets and decals for a number of late 60's and early 70's Camaro's. The Camaro's are the largest selling diecast subject so this would be the best one to start off with to get a sense of how big the market would be, we soon found out unfortunately, the market was very, very small. Initially there was a flurry of interest but it soon died off and we are still sitting on three year old inventory. Now I am sure perhaps we could have approached the marketing of the products differently, hindsight is always 50/50 but to be honest with you I never got the impression, after talking to a number of different people, spending money of inventory and advertising that the market is large enough to invest anymore money in it.

I am always interested in finding new markets, but despite what you might think all the sings I have seen regarding 1/18th scale tell me it is too small for us to invest anymore money in. Please don't get the impression that we are a large company that is not interest in small markets, we are a very, very small home based business whose current product lines serve small market niches. The 1/18th scale market appears to me to be a micro-market, even too small for Scale Motorsport. If you can show me some evidence to contradict what I have seen I would be very interested in pursuing it. However, at this time if builders are that interested in further detailing they could use many of the products we already have. If I know that 1/18th builders are purchasing our products for re-builds we would definitely pursue developing more products. One thing I would be willing to do is to put a question on our web site that asks people what type of project they are purchasing our products for perhaps that would give us some direction.

Thanks again for your feedback I wish my comments could be more positive, but the evidence I have to date shows me the market is not big enough to invest anymore money in.

I realize it may not look that way from your perspective, but the clearest perspective is from seeing how modeling dollars get spent.

Matthew Wells, Scale Motorsport

Live Long....Build'm All!
 
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Very nicely written email :cheers

I would love to have some carbon fibre decals. :tongue

Maybe then I could finish my GT2 :happy
 
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I certain agree with what Matt from Scale Motorsport stated (to some degree at least). The 1/18 scale diecast model collecting sector is rather small compares to others. Often in time, people regard to us, the 1:18 scale diecast model collectors as toy collectors. After all, less than a decade ago, 99% of the 1:18 scale diecast models are merely toys with little details. While the 1:18 scale diecast model collector base continue to grow in a fast pace. Most of the scale diecast auto collectors still focus their collection on 1:43s from BBR or 1:24s from one of the Mints.

One of the reason why 1:18 scale diecast model continue to grow in lightspeed has a lot of do with dollar per value. Nowadays, 1:18 scale diecast models are no longer toys. They are as complex, if not more than expensive 1:24s or 1:43s. At the same time, you can get 2+ fairly highly detailed 1:18s with the price of one BBR or 1:24 from Mints. I am certain this market will continue to grow and dominated the sector completely one day. After all, a lot of new players jump into the market and start to crank out high quality 1:18 scale diecast models. Even those (i.e. Jonny Lighting) old automobile collectibles companies with main focus on smaller scale pieces begin to jump on to the bandwagon.

Anyways, as for Matt's comment, I guess we have to understand that his creations (Transkits) are more for the hobbists than we, the collectors. Most of the collectors buy stuffs for their display cases. As for hobbists, they like to build stuffs from gound up. I can see why he stated the market for him in 1:18 is rather small. After all, not many of us are hardcore modifier like Allan. He will probably find more customers if he makes custom kits for 1:24 model builders.

With that said, I really wish I can see some manufacturers to crank out some 1:18 plastic models like Tamiya once did before. I think that would really make some of us who want to be a part-time hobbists really happy.

Sorry for the long post. :)
 

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Here in Brazil at least the 1:18 market is now at least twice the size of any other scale, and there's a HUGE shortage of 1:18 parts for sale. You guys can't imagine the trouble I'm going through to get 1:18 decals for instance... I know, go to Pato's Place and buy online, but at AUS$ 24,00 ONE sheet (~R$ 50,00 - that's half the price of a Maisto here) PLUS S&H it's simply impossible. For parts it's even worse, and I rely on resin-made parts made usually in a "neibourghood scale", so it's not guranteed to be available. And photoetched parts I simply wrote them off, becuase they don't exist here. :crying
 
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If you haven't researched the various scales markets, determining which scale has the largest base is going to be relative to who you ask. Being that I mainly collect 1:18 models, doing research on other scales I fully understand that the 1:43, 1:64 and 1:24 sectors of this hobby has a very involved communtiy of enthusiasts, hobbyist or whatever title you choose to brand them with.

I don't think there is no clear line that separates a hobbyist from a collector. Theres a lot fo collectors who build models from the ground up, only after completely disasssembling a model. That fact is evident by looking at some of the pending and completed projects in the DX Custom Models.

As I'm sure that Matt and company did their homework to determine that the 1;18 market wasn't as prosperus as other scale markets, I wonder if that will change over the course as we see numerous new companies come out with already customized models. As I'm not a psychic, I do try to understand the trends that usually leads to monetary gains in life. I think its only going to be a matter of time before we see the likes of a DubCity/ Import Sports release a line of decals, wheels that are universally compatible to 1:18 models in general. If there is a market, that presents itself as an opportunity for an opportunist whether they be a collector or hobbyist or neither. Its enevitable, if it could be thought of, it will be done...eventually.

This isn't neccessarily an opinion, but a thought in general. :scared
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
A couple of things really gave me some hope in Matt's email. 1. He said he spent some time here at DX, which says he gave an effort to poke around and see what was going on. 2. He said there's a possibility he may do a poll on his site to see just what kind of things there is an interest in. I have to remember to write him back, thank him, and encourage him to come and stay as a full time member.
 
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:iagree :iagree

I've learned that DX is a good source for manufacturers to see what collectors are talking and feeling about the products thats currently on the market. :cheers
 

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Thanks Blitz for writing to Scale Motorsports and sharing with us Matt's response! I must say it is very articulate of his thoughts and analysis of the marketplace.

To me, it wasn't that long ago that it seemed like Bburago was the only 1:18 diecast models I saw in physical "bricks and mortar" stores. I recall of the days when they used to go for C$50 which was a lot of money back then (~10-12 years back). In contrast to today, many department stores sell quite a variety of 1:18 diecasts. I now frequently see cars by the likes of Ertl/Maisto/Hot Wheels/Bburago all over the place. I can only surmise that the 1:18 market has picked up significantly over the years in the Canadian arena. I'm sure the same is true in the U.S. Unfortunately, I have no insights for the other continents.
 

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Thanks for sharing. While I'm sure a lot of us here at Diecast X would love detail kits for our 1:18 I imagine the vast majority of collectors would never invest the time or money it would take to install them. I would love to see a few parts though. Like Racing wheels etc. His idea of using 1:20 etched pars is pretty good too. Those nuts and bolts wouldn't be too far off.
 
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Dean O said:
Thanks for sharing. While I'm sure a lot of us here at Diecast X would love detail kits for our 1:18 I imagine the vast majority of collectors would never invest the time or money it would take to install them. I would love to see a few parts though. Like Racing wheels etc. His idea of using 1:20 etched pars is pretty good too. Those nuts and bolts wouldn't be too far off.
I don't know if I'm in full agreement. We don't have many customizers on Dx, but we do have many...and most of them are pretty good too. :cheers With 400 members, DX is only a fraction of a tenth of all the collectors as well as customizers out there that would like to have a better resource for decals and parts.

I'm sure having access to decals and parts would also spark a motivation from others who are not into modding to possibly try a project or two. we have some members who haven't customized a car and they have posted their first custom in the Customs Forum. This may be just the thing for them to continue customizing their models.

i would agree that the customizers are a small percent when relatively comparing them to the entire diecast community. But there is no disputing the fact that there is a market for it. Just ask all the customizers who sell their creations on eBAY to non customizers.

Personally, I would love to see more parts, accessories and decals at my disposal. :cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Where do you go when you have ideas like these? I've tried "jump starting" an interest of new ideas to different companies, but Scale Motorsports seems to be the only company to give me a response (which was a good one), other than one other, "WE DON'T OFFER THIS SERVICE". I would probably customize every street car I owned if there was a resource for it. Unfortunately there's not a centralized major source for it and that makes things a bit discouraging and buying a complete car just for 1 or 2 pieces has gotten expensive. I'm determined to find Someone or Someway to get this ball rolling. True, it may not be a billion dollar a year industry like the 1:1 aftermarket world, but you've got your "bread and butter" which consists of your largest profit bearing products and then your higher end products, which MAY be more sought after or desired, but they don't yield such a large profit margin. Maybe I'm ranting a bit, but as many low end, unusable products we see for other scales or textures (plastic), we've seen almost Nothing for 1/18th diecast.
 
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Blitz said:
Where do you go when you have ideas like these? I've tried "jump starting" an interest of new ideas to different companies, but Scale Motorsports seems to be the only company to give me a response (which was a good one), other than one other, "WE DON'T OFFER THIS SERVICE". I would probably customize every street car I owned if there was a resource for it. Unfortunately there's not a centralized major source for it and that makes things a bit discouraging and buying a complete car just for 1 or 2 pieces has gotten expensive. I'm determined to find Someone or Someway to get this ball rolling. True, it may not be a billion dollar a year industry like the 1:1 aftermarket world, but you've got your "bread and butter" which consists of your largest profit bearing products and then your higher end products, which MAY be more sought after or desired, but they don't yield such a large profit margin. Maybe I'm ranting a bit, but as many low end, unusable products we see for other scales or textures (plastic), we've seen almost Nothing for 1/18th diecast.
Why go to anyone, why not just do it yourself. I've always went through life with the idea of "if it can be thought of, it can be done". You don't need anyone to manufacturer your hopes and dreams for you.

If your interested enough to pursue this, come up with a plan and stick to it. Even if you have to manufacturer your own parts, its a start.

Not sure what type of monetary rewards your looking for, but that would be the worst reason for starting up a venture, never start a business to make money...ever.

Ooops, got carried away there for a moment :giggle Must've had a flashback of some sort. :giggle
 
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