This week I have finished the 1965 Bizzarini and I must admit I like it very much. We will have it in the mould in the next few days and in production soon after. It is surprising how many modifications had to be made to make this car from the 64 car.
One the car culling side the MGK3s are to be discontinued as, like a couple of models, the decals are running out. There are a few still in stock and only about six extra decal sheets to be put with kits.
It is good to get a bit of feedback of how we are doing and the direction we are going and maybe I need to think on what direction I should follow. Should my models be more scale or modified slot cars made for racing. At the moment I have been hoping to give a good compromise between the two, they are slot cars after all. First when I make a new prototype from scratch (not one of the modified plastic kits) I try to make a reasonably accurate representation of that car and fairly close to scale (while still being track appropriate). If we take the Chaparral 2D, Bizzarrini, Allard, Ferrari 801 and Maserati 250F, which are the newest of my scratch built models, I hope you would agree they are reasonably accurate representations of the real thing. As I hope is the case with all my prototypes. But here is where things can change, I do take some of my existing models and modify them. Usually in this case there is still a choice between the original model and a modified model. Take the Maserati 300S for instance, this model has been in production for quite a while now. Sales had all but died off so we needed to resurrect it in some way. So we modified it, lightening the body and lowering it slightly, we also saved some wait by giving it a vac formed interior which is faster and cheaper to produce. Also more of the detail was moulded onto the body (the difference in the number of parts for some of the older cars and the newer ones is astonishing). So now we have an updated Maserati 300S that goes much better on the track and in my view looks just as good. The only draw back really is a slightly less detailed interior/ driver. Some of the 300S also have engine detail and a detachable bonnet which looked superb, cant say it sold any better though. It was also bloody hard work to produce.
A couple of my models I have modified a lot more, but again after sales have slumped, but the original unmodified model has been kept in the range. Models such as the MGC, Anglia and McLaren M1A have been cut, widened and lowered so not only have we got the normal models but we have the modified ones as well. This is generally the case but sometimes, if the moulds for the original have died, we will let it rest then come back to it later to see if we can make any improvements with what we have learned in the meantime. If the decals/ moulds are running out, most of the times the cars will have been out for some time in any case.
This brings me on to my modified plastic models. Usually I have taken say a Revell body shell, there is not a lot of point in me keeping it as it is (that product has already been done). So I feel free to change it considerably to make my own product. This usually means cutting it in half and wacking a big lump in the middle and if I can lowering it. Take for example the McLaren M6A, if you want a more scalish model then you can buy the original. If you want a good slot car that also looks brill, buy my one so there is still the choice.
As far as interiors are concerned I tend to use vac forming now as opposed to resin moulded ones, there are various reasons for this. First, to make a pretty resin one takes time, some can take two days or more of full work, that is a lot. Then add the research to figure out what the interior looks like in the first place (lots of pics of the outside of a car, usually considerably less of the inside). On a saloon car I have always used vac forms (interior is not particularly visible), while GP cars always use resin drivers. This only leaves a few open top cars. I dont make many but one or two have gone from being resin to vac formed interiors. The McLarens, for example the M8s, are not great sellers but I do like them. So remaking the mould for the resin interior was not really financially sensible. Inline, open cars will not have much room for detail anyway. Some of the GP cars, like the Auto Union had three different resin drivers, which is not bad eh? The only way we could get to have resin interiors in those that do not would be to charge extra for it, which I am loathe to do.
Now to models coming out over the next few months. The Cougar Fat Cat, as we are going to call it, will be a fun model with a bloody great supercharger sticking out of the bonnet, it will look the dogs nuts. The Corvette will be a scale representation of the real car, as will the Bentley and the Talbot. The Revell Chap 2 has already been widened to fit in with the Mclarens.
So the way things are we have a lot of GP cars that are made as accurate models. Lots of 50s and 60s sports car for inline set ups, most of which are not modified. So that leaves the sports GT cars; Mclarens etc. These are made to fit around a Slot It sidewinder pod or a RM laser cut chassis, making these cars out and out racers if you wish them to be.
With the Saloon cars there is a mix. Some are unmodified and some, like the Anglia and Cortina, are widened to make them competitive against other cars. You can still buy the unwidened Revell or if you are mentally deranged the Scalex Cortina. Just remember as I have said many times before, a lot of RTR cars have been widened. At least I admit to it.
So models in the pipeline: the Chap 2 which started life as a Revell model will be the 1965 Sebring 12 hour race winner, but widened. The Bentley and the Talbot are scale (I hate using that word) so we still have a mix of stuff in the works. Oh yes I have now made a lady co driver for the Allard if anyone is interested. I think her name is Susanne.