Whats involved in a kit?

Discussion in 'General Modeling' started by trekman1017, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. trekman1017

    trekman1017 Well-Known Member

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    I am curious as to whats involved with making a garage kit, like with royalties and things of that nature.
  2. jedimaster

    jedimaster Sr Member

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    By royalties you mean to film companies?
  3. Nwerke

    Nwerke Master Member

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    Not royalties, for starters. Garage <> mass market.
  4. Commander Max

    Commander Max Sr Member

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    There aren't any, GKer's just do it. While hoping to sell the kits and avoiding any legal matters.

    The reality is the studios could care less. Your average GKer is very poor, and is lucky to see any profit out of kit run(normally they loose money). They are not worth suing. Which is why they send a C&D(cease and desist, or stop making that thing or else note). Which is normally enough to scare the pants off anybody.

    The only people that care are the license holders. They have paid to be able to legally sell a product, and are small enough to be threatened by the GKer. They initiate the serving of a C&D by the property owner.

    I've heard different stories from people when getting a license. Most are very expensive and well beyond the means of the GKer. I've also heard some property owners are very fair, and ask for very little. Others ask for a business/marketing plan and a share of the profits.
  5. TazMan2000

    TazMan2000 Sr Member

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    Commander Max is correct.

    You have to love what you're doing and do the best you can. If you make a GK there will initially be lots of interest...until you decide on the price after determining your costs...lol. If you're going into it thinking you're going to be rich...you're going to be dissappointed.
    That being said...I'm sure everyone here supports you. Especially if you're making a kit that is either out of production, something that hasn't been made before, or something original.

  6. srspicer

    srspicer Active Member

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    We would also need to know your skill level of the various disciplines, design, sculpting, pattern making, mold making, casting. Those are the different ares of the business. The less you know, the more you will have to lay out for expenses. I can make anything into a cast-able pattern, but I do not mold and cast everything I pattern, especially for a kit. It only takes money to make a kit if you cannot do any of the physical work to produce it.

    Lots of research is required so as not to produce something that is already out there, in what scale and how rare it would be. Then find all of the various boards to join, post about it and promote it. Just a little work there. :wacko

    As mentioned above, be ready for great enthusiasm for your kit, until you name a price!:eek ( it is the way of things )

    Good luck, keep us posted!

  7. Dedalus5550

    Dedalus5550 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    As Lando says, "Our operation is small enough not to be noticed."

    Notice how many kits are not called what they are--they're given a sort of code name. One particular SW ship might be called a "cross-wing fighter". Helps keep license holders and others from simply finding out about a kit using the normal, official names. And notice how you rarely, if ever, see the official logo from the movie/TV show. That's probably a good measure to see if something is licensed or not--if royalties are paid or not.

    Some "GK" companies are bigger than others, and can be a threat to the license holders. Anigrand sort of operates like a GK company, but is clearly larger, with more business and more resources than the average GKer. And their SW stuff was a threat to Fine Molds and FM couldn't overlook that. The 144th scale MF seemed to be the thing that got Anigrand's SW stuff shut down, and right before FM announced their own such kit. Adding to the problem was that the Anigrand kit really was just a scaled down version of the 72nd scale FM kit. The Ani kit was twice the price of the eventual FM kit, but in many ways it's better, so there is some undesired competition.

    But for most true GKers, it doesn't really seam like the competition is there. A $300 (and up) SS kit, if it was sitting on the shelf next to the poorly done, very inaccurate, $15 licensed kit--I don't one being a threat to the other. You either care a whole lot about accuracy, or you don't have a lot of money. This probably allows things to go on the way they do. And these things aren't shelves in stores anymore--not like I saw them in the nineties. (Oh, and then, I was a starving college student raising my son alone, so I went with the $15 kit when it was on the shelf next to the GK.)
    Mike Todd
  8. Bizarro Lois

    Bizarro Lois Sr Member

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    So do garage-kit makers create sculpts and cast them for sale, or do they make a sculpt, break it down into pieces, and cast them to make a kit that can be put together like a model you'd buy in stores? I've put together models that I've bought in a store, but wasn't sure exactly what was involved with making a garage kit.
  9. TazMan2000

    TazMan2000 Sr Member

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    Store bought model kits are made from styrene injection molded into metal molds. GKers almost exclusively use types of RTV to create molds and different types of resin to make copies. Sculpts for sale are rarer in nature...at least on this site. Sculps are almost always figures or busts. Mechanical things are usually modeled with plastic, and detailed with plastic strips or greebles. Greebles are made by scratch, or kitbashed from mainstream plastic model kits of ships, cars, aircraft and especially armored vehicles. The GKer would have to take much the same stance as to decrease the amount of undercuts in the work to allow the casting to come out without ruining the piece or the mold when working with figures or mechanical models. Simply making a model and attempting to cast it into a mold may not work. You may have to create subassemblies or at least disassemble part of your model so that the thing can be cast.
    Top quality materials are necessary and a lot of care, in order to create multiple castings. Any mistake in the original will, of course, be evident on the castings. It's amazing how many errors you see in your work after the first casting has been made.

    Last edited: Nov 25, 2011
  10. Commander Max

    Commander Max Sr Member

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    This method is of no protection at all. There are files on all of the producers(big and small) in the GK world. Changing the name will never protect you, they are looking at what the product is. You may as well use the real name, once you have shown a pic of the model your at risk. Most likely nothing will happen to you, unless you step on the toes of one of the license holders.

    The license holders are just as likely to see offerings that everybody else is.
    Since we are their target audience they are all over the boards. They want to know what we think of their products, what might be a big seller, and what is the competition doing.

    There is nowhere you can hide or keep under the radar. Once it's online it's there for everyone to see.

    And they will see you, there are guys on the boards that monitor what's available. They work for the agencies that police copyrights, trademarks, etc. Plus they are collectors, they love this stuff just as much as the rest of us. Who are they? You'll never know, really there is no way to know who the guy is behind the screen name.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2011
  11. darthviper107

    darthviper107 Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    GK usually don't fit together the way that officially licensed store kits do. Usually store kits are made to fit together easily with minimal cleanup, but GK kits sometimes have difficulty fitting together and often have lots of cleanup. But one advantage of GK's is that they can create fairly complex pieces, since the molds can flex they don't have to worry as much about overhang. The store kits use metal molds which don't allow any flexibility and so the pieces can't have any overhang and that's why some of them have lots of parts to put together.
  12. TZY

    TZY Active Member

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    Getting into the GK business these days isn't that hard any more with the advent of 3D printing. It takes away some of the time sculpting and redoing of parts to make your kit. Designing in a computer allows you the duplicate parts , scale to any size you want , change position or pose of a figure and part up the model with off sets that will give you a professional fit and finish comparable with any mass produced kit on the market.
    The big draw back is the cost of the master depending on the scale. There are companies out there these days that specialize in this kind of business. Shapeways being one of them.
    So the things you need are:
    1. A idea of a kit theme that is popular, not already done or has big connections to major films with in the last year...only because they are usually marketing their own stuff in this time period
    2. A scale... though this is not always necessary
    3. Some one to do your mesh work... there are lots of people out there that do this kind of work... look on the 3D design forum boards
    4. Some one to part up the mesh so it can be cast....this could be done by the same person that dose the design work on your mesh
    5. A company to print your parts... Shapeways being one
    6. A caster. Plenty of companies out there that do this that also have a wide range of different resins available for what you want to produce depending on the level of detail you want in the finished product.
    This also applies for the printing process...the degree of desired detail will cost you more in the final print.
    7. A set of simple instructions, packaging and getting it out to the fans via forums , message boards, conventions and blogs. You could get a web site up also.
    I started doing kits about 7 years ago...got 5 out there and a sixth on the way. You dont make a lot of money doing it and its more for the love of the subject in a lot of cases but you also get a lot of appreciation from the fans that have the same interests you do.
    Ive posted in this blog a few links to some of my kits to show you whats possible ........ hope you enjoy.


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