NG Models are assisting the new manufacturer, known as Jet Hut, only with distribution channels for which NG will get a small cut. The reason they are willing to do this is because the models are not competing with their own products and can, in fact, be seen as complimentary.
Jet Hut are aiming, not at the same collector market as everyone else, but at entry-level audiences. These would be people without a strong interest in model aircraft or aviation but who would like a model at a cheap price. They are definitely not aiming these at adult model collectors, but I find what they are doing really interesting for a couple of reasons:
There have always been aircraft for sale that are aimed at this market from ERTL to Daron with a hundred other nameless brands in between. These models are usually more toylike, often with poor form and outsized undercarriage. Certainly, they are miles away from standard 400 scale models and even as a child I found many of them rather embarrassing.
Below: Unbranded 'Models' like this 400 scale Brunei 747 are fairly common and very poor.
Jet Hut appear to be doing something relatively new. They are making models that at a distance could be mistaken for standard 400 scale models, but at a massively decreased cost. NG Models have told me that the price level for these Jet Hut models will be something like 1/3 of the cost of an NG version. So, with NG Models 787-9s retailing in the USA at just under $50 you can expect these Jet Hut models to cost $15-20 new. Recently I have seen several other brands from China doing something similar but mainly with plastic models. Jet Hut are full die-cast and their ambition appears to be larger than others.
Below: This YRD Models 787 is recent and not awful but it is plastic
Now obviously with the sale price so low there are going to be corners being cut in terms of quality but even so I still think these models have the potential to be great gateway products to the rest of the scale. Hell, perhaps some might even end up in true collector’s hands if:
I am told that Jet Hut models will probably be sold through standard model retailers but I suspect they will also be available in airport and toy shops. Their first mould is a Boeing 787-9 but NG tell me that they will develop lots of moulds in the future at a much faster rate than NG have been able to.
As you can see from the images above the model sent to me came in very basic packaging of the sort that needs to be damaged to open, however I'm told that they are looking at more traditional box and cradle packaging moving forward.
In the next part I'll take a closer look at what Jet Hut is offering in detail and give the product the once over.
I'm Richard Stretton, an aviation enthusiast and major collector of 400 scale model aircraft. This blog discusses ongoing events in the world of 400 scale.
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