I haven't always seen eye to eye with Aeroclassics, and its mercurial owner Andrew, but they remain far and away the largest element of my collection - 1134 models to date, which is over 55%. I love their models and nobody, not even NG, produces the range of unusual retro-models that they do. I was concerned last week when I heard of changes in the way their models are distributed, but I am hoping that the changes just announced will secure the future of this bastion of 1:400. Welcome Aeroclassics Direct!
I heard about the new Aeroclassics direction early last week and suffice it to say it has been a controversial change. I don't want to get involved with the politics of it but it has certainly annoyed many of the retailers who will no longer have access to Aeroclassics models.
From now on Aeroclassics will, in North and South America, sell only directly from their new website AeroclassicsDirect.com, which is run by their US distributor Flying Mule and JetCollector, both of whom will also still sell the models too. If you are in Europe or Asia then nothing changes for you.
Here is Andrew's statement on the matter:
During the humble beginnings of AeroClassics in the late 1990s, when our models were made in the U.K.'s west country on spuncast metal, with decals, and a screw in the belly, we were selling all of our own products directly to collectors, either at airliners shows, or from our retail shop in Kent, WA.
Shortly thereafter, ARD in London and BuchairUSA in New York started carrying our products, and from there it grew. Lots of great retailers supporting us, a few bad ones, but it all worked.
This year, we were faced with a new challenge; how to keep the prices for the collectors at a reasonable level amid price rises from China. Eventually there was only one solution that would work, and that was to turn back the clock to our beginnings, and once again sell directly to the collectors.
A few dealers did remain on board, and a few burned some bridges on their way out. We are using the Amazon business model, and our fulfillment center is located in northern California.
So, we would like to introduce the new website;
We are starting simply, and please excuse us if something technical occurs. We'll fix it immediately. Please register on the new site, where some discounts may be available from time to time.
No doubt this change is a result of reacting to challenging times, and presumably falling sales, but if it allows Aeroclassics to keep producing models then it is worth it.
I have signed up to the new site and made my first order. The process was smooth and the site is well built. So far so good, and the shipping costs to New Zealand are very reasonable too.
Check out the March 2020 releases which look like they contain some cracking models like a United Saul Bass 737-200 and a VIASA DC-9. I've picked up four to start with myself. Also pleasingly the prices have stabilised a little at lower than the most recent retailer prices from February. I am told there will also be discounts from time to time for those who sign-up, so get onboard and give it a go.
Here's the list of 1:400 scale March releases:
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of 1/400 scale model aircraft and airports. This blog reports work on my model airport dioramas and discussion of the model manufacturers output.