Just a simple point, I really miss the days of the dam/e&s days when they really started competing with their figures, it was so great seeing new releases getting posted every week, now it seems to have slowed down to a trickle. Is SS even still relevant? They haven’t released any modern military stuff in awhile and their snow seal doesn’t offer much bashing opportunity. Dam is stuck on some weird thing with every obscure spetznaz unit and chinese special force, atleast e&s has been doing a few western operators, I know my gripe is that of a lot of people though, I just don’t get this move to 1/12 at all, nothing modern has come of it and honestly I doubt I’d buy modern 1/12 to bash, can you imagine trying to do molle on 1/12? It’d either be way to bulky or way to delicate given the size
Welcome first of all. Yes, I am partially with you. I am missing certain units and guns that are still to be made. However, I am quite happy with the release speed of figures at the moment, as this pace suits exactly my wallet.
Soldier Story has been hampered by their US distribution. The former distributor Caltek some critical things wrong and rightfully went out of business. When you don’t want to license products and properties it is a high risk game. Their current (exclusive) US distributor has been more interested in selling DAM and other brands so I’m not surprised Soldier Story has focused almost entirely on products for their domestic market as they probably feel a lack of support outside of China. I think the product seizures that Caltek suffered and the resulting losses for their brand/OEM partners put them off putting all their eggs in the US figure basket.
Since then I don’t think brands have paid enough attention to what their customers are actually looking for and have had many underperforming products as a result. Too many passion products that reflected what a brand wanted to see come to life versus what was actually commercial viable. These products take years to sell through for the brand, distributors, and retailers alike. As a result you now see lots of products coming out which basically just try to get the most out of the same soft goods patterns and reusing existing tooling for the plastic items over multiple figure releases in an attempt to take a more conservative/risk adverse approach. That only perpetuates the downward cycle as the less original a product is the fewer customers it will attract and it also locks releases into a cycle where the same theme goes on for a very long time. You can always tell when it is going to be the year of the SCAR rifle, the year of the HK XXX rifle, etc. That in particular is quite important given the long lead time to get product made. If you are into a certain theme or looking for alternatives you might go a year or two without seeing anything you are interested in. Time to market, and the timeliness of the subject matter is a large hindrance to the hobby.
1/12 seems like a pure cash grab to justify raising prices of everything. Everything cycles through boom and bust cycles and it feels like we have been riding into a bust cycle for some time now as prices and product design have become more cynical. There are still interesting products coming out but it is hard to maintain a level of interest in the current climate. Breaking up the releases schedules with more variety would probably give the hobby a needed shot in the arm. It may not be what is most profitable for a brand, but it certainly would be what it is best for them in the long term. Ultimately you are selling to the same customer base year after year for the most part.
I had always wondered what exactly happened to ss, all I had ever heard was of some issue at their factory of a smaller brand stealing their ideas so they moved to another location and it hasn’t been the same since. Does China just not know about all the interest every where else for other units? I’m sure if someone did a Canadian or Grom depiction or even an Aor2 seal (since seals sell in China) that they would sell out in the preorder period
Caltek initially started licensing the appropriate trademarks for gear then stopped doing so. I don’t recall them ever acquiring a license for the various MIL/LEO units that require licenses. Long and short they had multiple product shipments seized and went bust not long after that, leaving their OEM stuck with a bunch of unpaid Caltek branded product. Soldier Story probably lost a bunch on that as well. During that transition and since with the new distributor Soldier Story product was being imported as loose parts and honestly the quality was awful with plenty of broken parts and retailers expected to sell open box product hat wasn’t even put back in the box properly. This hobby has never matured to the same point as for example the diescast industry were brands regularly acquire the appropriate licenses to be able to import product into the US. That probably reflects a larger market with better margins for the brands.
The Chinese market seems to ride waves of trends. If some picture gets trending on social media you might see a figure, or if one brand does something others follow, etc. Personally I’ve found many figure choices to be a bit left field and in some cases a bit bizarre like the OSN Saturn figure. We’ve had countless Russian figures but nothing that focuses on the current Syrian conflict despite there being plenty of references available and many years later we still don’t have any deceptions of important NATO contributors to the Afghanistan conflict. I find a lot of the product to be off trend but that might reflect the long development and production cycle of bringing out a figure. A lot of the references or nods culturally speaking (like head sculpts for instance) reflect being stuck in the past.
It is unfortunate with the older spetznaz stuff I agree, there are so many awesome pics of them coming out of Syria, Larry vickers video of when he went to russia was awesome, I loved the alpha ak rifle, I know dam has put out 1 modern alpha guy but I wish they’d do more, also really digging the e&s french figures, the Central Europe camo is pretty cool. I’d also definitely like to see more variety in opfor stuff though I’m sure it’s a marketing nightmare for companies to try and put those products out, they could do uniform sets and leave it to the customer what hs and body they’re gonna put in it, honestly I don’t see why they don’t just do more uniform sets separately, I remember being a little kid and being just as happy to get a 21c carded set than a figure , that’d keep costs down so all one brand had to focus on is kit and not tooling bodies and I’m sure it’d keep shipping costs low
Tho products of their time, and looking their age now, DML’s post-9/11 modern figures were a pretty good example of staying current with the RL images. Even so, they covered predominantly US and UK figures, with some outliers such as early GSG9 figures. So much has changed since then, including DML all but abandoning 1:6, as well as shifts in the fortunes of other brands.
Early on, I hoped Russian/Soviet subjects, and particularly modern ones, would surface, and in the latter case, they have, with a vengeance. Unfortunately, the market for cold war Soviets missed the bus, with a few exceptions, like 21C’s Afghanistan Soviets. Their virtual shutdown, as well as bbi, Armoury and ReloadAction ceasing their offerings, meant no more non-US/“foreign” modern stuff enrichening the range of choices. ACE, after delivering a fine, modern French legionnaire, and a few modern specops sets (including cooperative ventures with RA), has settled for Vietnam figures - which sell, and will continue to do so.
I for one, still am interested in modern Russians, but would like to see DAM continue on the path that led to the RAID figure, but (and I’m stretching it here) to look at long-overdue Canadians, Poles, and ANZACs.
What sells on the mainland (Asia, and probably, specifically China), effects the rest of the 1:6 world, whether subject matter, or availability. In some cases, it would appear that local feelings can counter corporate planning - the rumored (and understandable) resistance to making IJA figures for instance. Still some are done, and quite well. On the other hand, popular Sino-Japanese and Sino-Vietnamese figures have, and are being done, but become difficult to get, here in CONUS.
To my mind, much of the current hobby has become what the loose parts/bashing process became. Long, determined, scouting, tracking, and intercooperation with fellow hobbyists. The hunt is more of the experience, than the “capture”.
Which I guess, is the long-winded observation that the hobby remains a fun, but a bit insane, activity.
I’d like to see this as well as prices have gotten to the point where we assume customers can shell out $500+ a month on the hobby. My feeling is it is more profitable for a brand to sell a figure generally. Bodies have a very cheap amortized cost once the tooling has been recouped over several thousand figure sales but they still carry a certain perceived value, same with heads. If you are going to sell 500 accessory sets versus 500 figure costs, they ultimately make more by virtue of the higher selling price as well.
The other complicating factor is logistics. With sea shipments you need to book a minimum cubing, meaning a given volume of space. With figures you can reasonably hit that cubing (although sometimes several may be required), but with small items that isn’t necessarily the case and air shipping them in isn’t cheap. This is the main reason why products take so long to reach other countries.Nothing to do with shipment waves and the other reasons you generally see. Add in distributor margins if they get involved and you end up in a scenario where that accessory set may end up with a selling price that may not make sense.
Personally I’d like to see some brands just ditch the bodies and heads and sell a near complete accessory set like SuperMCToys (and others before them) had done with their Russian sets. Cutting those out cuts a good chunk off logistics costs going to the retailer and then on to the customer and allows for a reasonable retail price. In the end a body adds more costs to shipping then it’s actual value.
For that to work brands are going to need to wrap their heads around not pricing them like loose parts, which are priced the way they are for a reason given the inherent risk. I have a feeling we’ll see 1/11, 1/10, 1/9, 1/8, and 1/7 scales before that happens though. The main point is there needs to be more accessible product price wise available more frequently if brands hope to sustain the interest level of customers and keep retailer’s doors open.