FineScale Modeler

Where are the modern F1 cars?


I look forward to your magazine and the online videos are great! My interest is in race cars and military aircraft.

Why are there so few new Formula One kits on the market? Tamiya no longer releases a series of kits like they did a long time ago. How about someone releasing kits that represent the latest F1 cars? After all, it is becoming a spec series like NASCAR. – Wade Middleton Highlands Ranch, Colo.

Ed.: It does appear that if you are looking to model recent Formula One cars, Revell Germany is the only option. Maybe other model companies will read your letter and put some others into the starting grid. – Aaron Skinner

About HMS Victory and Testors

I’m a long time subscriber to FSM and I have two questions that I would like your thoughts on.

First, I would love to see an in-depth article by someone who has built or is currently building Heller’s 1/100 scale HMS

Victory. I’m actually going to be starting this build soon, so it would be great to read something from someone who has built this. I know and understand that this kit is a huge challenge to build. I realize it might be hard to find someone who could submit a detailed article or do a multipart series on how they did it. Maybe FSM has done this in the past and I just missed it. If that’s the case, if you could direct me to it that would be terrific. But I would love to read a good article about it.

My second question is in regards to Testors [paints]. I remember using them back in the early to mid-’70s. I’ve been getting back into more serious modeling, albeit slowly, in the past 10 years, and I support Testors products. They are all I use.

But it has been disappoint­ing to see what has happened to them over the years since being bought by RPM, the parent company of Rust-Oleum. The discontinu­ation of the Model Master line was a poor business decision, even though the company stated the market was changing. I don’t agree.

I support Testors, in part, because they are a 93-year-old American company. They were the leader in the model hobby industry for years. I hate to see that history lost as well as the jobs. But when I go into my local hobby shop now I see Testors in one little section and huge new sections of paints by Vallejo, Revell, Tamiya, etc.

It appears that Testors is just dying on the vine. It’s sad to see. But I understand it’s a business. I actually looked up some financial info on them because I was curious about their revenue for last year. I saw a figure of $18 million. But I don’t know how accurate that number is. But if that’s accurate, that is not a great revenue number. I don’t know what other companies like Revell or Tamiya are bringing in, but I’m sure it’s a lot more than that.

I learned recently that Testors saw a significan­t price increase; one YouTube video indicated a 48% price increase as of May 16. I also saw it firsthand yesterday when I purchased a good amount of paint. Part of my reason for purchasing some is I’m storing up Testors paints for the two big sailing ship kits I will build. I believe (and I hope I’m very wrong) that Testors may not be around all that much longer. I’m kind of hearing that from some people online as well as people I know at the hobby shop I go to.

My question for you is what is your perspectiv­e on Testors and what do you see happening? What are you hearing about them and where they might be headed? What are the industry insiders saying that you know about what has happened with Testors?

Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response to these two questions and getting your insights. – Mark Blankenbur­g via email

Ed.: Thank you for writing. First, yes, an article about the Heller HMS Victory would be great. That said, stories about ships are difficult to write effectivel­y and publish adequately. If one were ever to come our way we would be more than happy to evaluate the submission.

Second, we don’t have an official opinion about RPM and Testors. FSM covered the purchase at the time it happened, and we have reported about the changes in the brand over the years. (I’ve written about the it for both B2B and consumer magazines). The hobby brand is a very small segment of the overall operation and the message I’ve always received from those in the know is that the executive team is focused on maximizing profitabil­ity. The hobby paint market, particular­ly in the last 10 years, has become increasing­ly more competitiv­e with paints easier to use than enamels or lacquers with growing color availabili­ty. Combine that with growing weathering and detailing products from these same companies and excellent outreach to veteran and new modelers, they are positioned well for growth.

In comparison, Testors is a legacy brand that has a dedicated but shrinking market. It would require a reinventio­n of the brand to reverse the tide. Does that mean it will close at some point in the future? Without being inside the executive committee meetings and brand manager meetings at RPM, there’s no way to know for sure.

The good news is that similar paints do exist with a wide range of excellent colors from other brands, like MCW and Tru-North and veteran makers like Humbrol and Revell. And with companies like Vallejo, AK Interactiv­e, Splash, and many more, there are a lot of options beyond Testors. – Tim Kidwell

Nice editorial, Tim!

Dear Mr. Kidwell,

I was very intrigued by your editorial in the July/August 2020 FSM.

I started building models in the mid’50s. I haven’t been at as long as some, but have been at it longer than others. I began with cars — during this time, who didn’t? — from AMT and Monogram. Later, I began building armor from Aurora, Monogram, and Revell.

Today, my vision and my shakes limit what I can do, but I still enjoy reading what others can produce. Truth be told, I still sit at the work table and, well, enjoy myself. I am happy to say I have every issue of

FSM except one. And I may never acquire that one; sometimes the fun is in the search more than the acquisitio­n.

This letter is to congratula­te you on promoting the positives in the modeling field. Although I started with Car Model and

Model Car Science, I have to say the publishing part of the hobby has never been better represente­d than it is today. The fact is, the modeling hobby has never been more interestin­g.

Like many, I am frustrated by the cost — but, then again, buying gas or groceries isn’t much fun either.

Keep up the great work! – John C. Hopkins Lexington, S.C.

Ed.: Thank you so much for your kind words and for supporting FSM over the years. The scale model hobby has come a long way since our first issue, and we are working to show readers like you how vibrant the hobby continues to be. – T.K.

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