What happened to...?


#1

I kind of know what happened to Cal-Tek back then and why KGB-Hobby is on a break or even stopped producing.
However, where is Fanspower and D&K?

After D&K released their first and last figure (DK80001 IDF) in 2016, which had reasonable quality and great unique gear, they just disappeared. Only when Flagset supposedly used their Tavor molds without permission in 2018 for the 73017 IDF, they stepped up. They also had plans to release a matching GL for the Tavor. I tried contacting them, but no response.

Same for Fanspower. They released the Maska-1SCH in two variants in 2017 and then just vanished. No store anymore and no replies on my mails as I tried to aquire version B as well. Like D&K the product is unique and I don’t understand that despite huge interest from several forums they didn’t show any attempt in producing a second batch although it was actually announced for July 2018.

KGB-Hobby stopped production due to health issues of the owner or similar as far as I know. No news so far. Last release and display on an Expo was around 2015, I think.

If someone has any insight or news please share.


#2

Donno about D&K, but on another forum I follow we attempted to initiate a group purchase of helmet sets from Fanspower a month or so ago. The creator/artist had even recently previewed a Voin Kiver RSP helmet prototype. Unfortunately, they seem not to have received the initial market support for their Russian helmet line that they had expected and are effectively out of business. They will apparently still produce ZSH/Maska helmet sets, but only in large numbers, and even then at a price of over 100 USD per set.


#3

Probably no market support, eventually falling off the radar. Huge interest does not equate sales. DK and KGB probably went out when DAM flexed its muscles with its russians.


#4

Sales are number 1. Like Sam & Spetz said. These are all OEM, which means that a person or people put up the money, usually thousands of dollars, if not 10s of thousands of dollars to make these products. Plus they would have to get or see the prototypes. Not much profit from these as all the money goes to distributors and OEM.

As far as D&K are concerned, I don’t think they sold many of the IDF sets. Here is Korea, only one figure store carried that and that is because I told him about it. He bought 5 sets. I bought 2 sets…LOL! D&K were very good sets. To bad, I was really looking forward to the next sets.


#5

You could have called me in for this. Sounds like no chance to get them any more, although I would have paid 100 for one.
You actually got any pic of the prototype helmet to post here?


#6

Here’s that Kiver RSP


#7

KGB = One of main partners was seriously ill for a prolonged period of time. 1/6 is not the core business of the partners. They wanted to come back at a future date if health permitted but that was several years ago now. It’s a shame as they had a bunch of really good stuff in queue before the health problems.

D&K = Limited distribution. Most smaller brands get sunk by this more than anything. They announced their product with no plan on how they were going to go to market initially.

Most small brands are from people who are just hobbyists who want to see a product come to life. They spend the money on prototyping, patterns and tooling but fail to figure out the important part, which is building a distribution channel and dealer base.If you can’t reach a dealer channel and get your product out there you will never sell enough units to cover costs. If you go for exclusivity and rely on promises that are based on hope you will never sell enough units. Perphaps Fanspower invested in the molds then didn’t setup a distribution channel and couldn’t sell enough direct to consumer and bombed out. Their product wasn’t carried by either of the main distributors in China. Dealer orders are what make a product feasible or not. A good distribution deal ensures you products get dealer orders. A bad distribution deal will make your product more expensive to dealers and consumers alike and not garner many orders.

Some just get in way over their head or don’t realize how expensive it will be to produce something, like the guy producing the 1/6 RSOV model that investing in all the tooling then figured out he’d have to sell them at some extravagant price just to cover his costs. Go Truck tried to move into making things out of plastic then found out it wouldn’t help them lower their prices as much as they hoped after accounting for all the tooling costs. They haven’t managed to get something seemingly as simple as a gas can to market. Making things is the easy part. Selling them to dealers, then having the dealers be able to sell them to consumers so they will buy the next thing is the tough part.


#8

The only way to obtain this was a Chinese ebay like site only, unfortunately.

Slowly I understand the problems involved here and why really only the big 3 (ES, SS, DAM) are able to create new and nice things on a regular basis.
Just remember Mini Times and how they are using the same foregrip for 3 or 4 figures now.

@AdamC Having a look at your current thread of how molds are produced I get why companies are reusing parts and really admire SS in how they differ every of their releases in parts and gear anyway, although DAM charges always a premium on top.


#9

It’s less risky and more profitable to make product that reuses tooling but also things like existing patterns for the soft gear. The down side is that it is part of the reason sales are slowing which in turn leads to increasing prices. If you look at DAM they may be releasing quite a bit of product but you can see where all the parts are reused, down to the point where they will just make a series of parts for the year then use them on multiple releases, regardless if it is accurate or not. Just change the color and recycle. It is getting to be a lazy approach, hence customers just cherry pick the few new bits that get made rather than shell out $200 for a figure. At that price if you reuse too many things it becomes less attractive to consumers and dealers alike. Many figures just end up feeling like a factory kitbash where overstocked bits and pieces or color variations of things are used to save money. That is fine if the price reflects it, but usually it doesn’t. Remember some of the silly things like Flagset reusing maps from WWII figures on modern figures, aviator tshirts on ground unit figures, etc.

Of the brands Soldier Story does take the best approach to balance things, but you can also see where they’ll plan out a series of figures and spread parts around. It is usually less noticeable as they change up subjects quite often rather than a running a whole theme for a long time. It is unavoidable for some things, but more brands could benefit from changing the timing of when they reuse things. Reusing things isn’t a problem, but how frequently you do so is. The more frequent it is, the fewer customers want to buy the full figure and the retailer ends up charging $50-75 for a loose rifle to make up for it, which is terrible for the hobby and just creates disgruntled customers. There is room for smaller brands to fill that gap a bit, but DAM has a history of creating a copycat figure/accessory whenever something new gets attention. We need more of these smaller brands succeeding to keep the larger brands on their toes.


#10

Seems to me that MSE died as well? Haven’t seen anything really after their XP005 Asia figure somewhere in 2017.


#11

I believe they had a license to work on figures from the Black Powder Red Earth graphic novels. The ZERT series may have run it’s course by now. I would think the BPRE series would do better for them.


#12

Looks like someone is doing that already


#13

That figure is the MSE/ES prototype they were showing earlier this year.


#14

I know that MSE has stalled the tribute figures. Supposedly the Luttrell figure is on hold. For now it looks as if it is in developmental hell. Comments made on Instagram show there is not a ton of information on how far it is in production.

Like Adam said, it seems as if the ZERT has finally run its course. Some cool pieces but the bright red highlights make it a pain to use for other bashes. BPRE would be nice to see. While I find the stories to be very dry and the art super hard to distinguish what is going on. Figures would be better.


#15

This is by MSE / Easy & Simple