Resin kit prices

Tom Madden
 

Resin kit prices are going to rise for a couple of reasons. There's a new breed of pattern maker coming down the pike. 3D CAD design tools and 3D printed patterns aren't free, so this new breed will have invested real dollars in their patterns, in addition to their time and skill, and will want to recover those dollars. Traditional patterns often come to be because the pattern maker wants a particular model, is willing to invest his time and skill, and is content with a few kits as a reward. I'm extremely grateful for those who take this route, but it's not a workable business model for the next generation of more complex but (hopefully) easier to assemble resin kits. 

 

The other reason is more short term. 3D CAD and 3D printing mean you don't need the hands-on modeling skills of a Culotta, Welch, Hodina or Oliver to create decent commercial patterns. That makes for more pattern makers, but the bottleneck right now is casting capacity. As far as I know only Aaron Gjermundsen and I are doing production resin casting for others, and we are part of an informal consortium (with Frank Hodina, Pierre Oliver, Bill Welch and photoetch master Peter Aue) working toward producing and marketing that next generation of resin kits. The number of potential projects this group has in mind, and the potential demand, concerns me.  We don't want to do limited runs because that just feeds speculation. But there's no way Aaron and I could meet the demand for $45 tank car kits and still live a normal life. So we're leaning toward batches of 50 kits at a time, with reruns as demand warrants, but at a higher price. Not to make lots of $, but to manage demand. Not sure how this will sit with you customers.....

 

The way to overcome this is to get more casting capacity into the hobby. In the past I haven't been particularly welcoming when I've been asked to train resin casters. It's not that I can't or won't, but I do need to know that the potential student has some familiarity with the process. As I explained to the others, if I hired someone to join the string section of the New York Philharmonic, I wouldn't expect to start the first orientation session with "This is a violin."  If there's interest I could do an advanced resin casting clinic at Cocoa Beach. It would be intended for modelers who have played with hobby level resin casting kits from MicroMark or the equivalent but are curious to know what it takes to get from there, to the point where you order materials in multi-gallon batches and are surprised if one out of 30 castings has a defect. Maybe some would be inspired to join our casting club and double or quadruple the membership.

 

Tom Madden

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