Lighthouse Model Art - going out of Business

Discussion in 'General Card Modeling' started by lighthouse, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. Amazyah

    Amazyah Senior Member

    I was shopping there for several hours on the day of the announcement.
    I had about twenty items that were put in my basket and were "in stock" when I did so.
    As I was shopping things in my basket kept getting flagged as "out of stock".
    It was like they were being taken from my basket by other shoppers.
    I lost about half of my order this way. Extremely frustrating, to say the least!
    I had really wanted that Prague Castle and it was the first one to go in my cart. It remained in my cart for about two hours as I shopped and suddenly it was flagged as out of stock. Man, was I P.O.!
    I thought of sending Ralph an e-mail about it, but since he is washing his hands of this business, I figured it would do me no good and would be a waste of his time and mine...

    It is very sad to see him leave the business but I do believe a lot of problems, (certainly not all), were caused by the website itself and the way it was set up. I have tried to buy items there before but the website was so poorly designed. Logging in to purchase all your items just to find your cart empty was one of the reasons I went elsewhere.

    I really don't want to appear that I am bashing his site at his departure so I can say this about the site...The one thing I did love about the site was clicking on a model and getting the specifics like the size of the completed model and the part count.
    Most other sites do not do that and those statistics have swayed my purchasing decisions in the past.

  2. Stev0

    Stev0 Active Member


    Why is this site charging GST and all prices in US dollars???

    edit: just saw the conversion button. I take it the business is located in Canada?
  3. Texman

    Texman Guest

    Yes it is.
  4. Stev0

    Stev0 Active Member

    Well thats a double kick in the ass for the industry. :cry:
  5. GT5500

    GT5500 Member

    Yeah they sold out really quickly, probably people like us that really wanted to buy one but knew they would never build it, but at half price it would make a good paperweight at least. I would actually like to build it but where the heck would you put it?
  6. Stev0

    Stev0 Active Member

    Heh ... I was looking for obscure models. I had the German Coastal battery in my basket and when I went to check out.... out of stock. =P

    Oh well.
  7. Bluenoser

    Bluenoser Member

    This is very sad news indeed.:( I did have problems getting on the web site with AOL, but when I used a different web browser, it worked just fine. I thought the prices the delivery times were actually quite good. As for delivery charges, Canada Post is to blame here. They charge quite exorbitantly for everything.:mad: To reduce the affect of this, it was a good excuse to just get some more models. Then the delivery on a per model basis was more acceptable.
    Anyway, hope you get some build time now Ralf and share your results with us.
  8. swiftsword

    swiftsword Member

    Being a designer myself, and having hoped to distribute my models through both PMI and Lighthouse, I'm pretty shaken by this development.

    However - looking at the number of new kits coming out and the number of new designers on the scene, I highly doubt this development indicates any slowing of the paper model market. It just illustrates that in today's print-to-order market, you cannot maintain a brick-and-mortar store. As Ralf so rightly said, you have to keep a broad inventory to keep your customers interested, and that's what kills the business.

    Now here's something that will work:

    - spend the money on some top-of-the-line printing equipment (it exists - my local alphagraphics churns out beautiful 2400dpi prints)
    - get into distribution agreements with as many designers as possible. Though I can only speak for myself, I'd bet they're willing, cause they would like to make a buck, too.
    - Print and mail to order.

    You'd be able to provide better kits than anybody would be able to print on their own little inkjet printer. Your only fixed cost would be the printing equipment. You might actually be able to turn a profit!

    How about it, girls and boys? Any takers? I'd sign on in a hurry.


  9. GT5500

    GT5500 Member

    Good idea swiftsword but I think a lot of people prefer the digital models as they don't have to pay the delivery charges. On the plus side though it would mean that through communications with the designers colour and fit problems could be resolved quikly as there wouldn't be stockpiles of models to re-print.
  10. swiftsword

    swiftsword Member

    My point exactly. Regarding the self-printing preference: I think that applies mostly to the Internet-savvy, sci-fi or tabletop model crowd. However, there is a large group of card modelers who have no interest in messing with computers and printers and much rather order a printed kit by phone from a nice printed catalog they can peruse in bed or in the crapper...
  11. swiftsword

    swiftsword Member

    My point exactly. Regarding the self-printing preference: I think that applies mostly to the Internet-savvy, sci-fi or tabletop model crowd. However, there is a large group of card modelers who have no interest in messing with computers and printers and much rather order a printed kit by phone from a nice printed catalog they can peruse while lying in bed or sitting on the crapper...
  12. milhistory

    milhistory Member

    Printed or Digital

    I prefer building pre-printed kits. I like the paper and the quality of the print better. I have a nice printer to print digital models, but it does not match the crispness of professionally printed cardmodel kits. Also, I consider printing a model just another step in the way of cutting. That's one of the reasons why I don't scan my printed kits. I like to open the book and start cutting it up.
  13. GT5500

    GT5500 Member

    Yes I think Swiftsword was saying that the shops should invest in printshop quality gear, then they wouldn't need to stockpile all the kits.
  14. shoki2000

    shoki2000 Active Member

    And that would require publisher of the model to supply the distributor with the electronic copy of the model.
    Do you really believe they will do that and loose control of the number of kits sold?
  15. rmks2000

    rmks2000 Member

    FG does it that way with PMI.
  16. shoki2000

    shoki2000 Active Member

    GreMir Models works directly with the designers and part of the agreement is the DataViewer system we put in place. This protects they work and every registration message goes to them so they can keep track of what is happening.
    I could of course print those kits sidestepping the protection but that would be against everything I stand for and it would destroy the relationship I have with them.
    Another thing is that digital delivery is the future of card modeling if the hobby wants to survive....
  17. shoki2000

    shoki2000 Active Member

    There is a big difference in complexity of FG models and for example Halinski's...
  18. Fishcarver

    Fishcarver Active Member

    Gang: What this whole thread, sad as it is, causes me to conclude is that we MUST support both the publishers and the retailers in all of our respective nations so as to prevent this from happening any more. Furthermore, we need to be extremely vigilant against model piracy.

    I am really sorry to see Ralf go, especially as he is a Canadian supplier.

  19. goney3

    goney3 Member

    Now I am only 24 years old... and I can tell you right now NONE of my friends even know what a card-model is (let alone where to buy one, etc).

    If anything, I think there needs to be a renewed interest in some form of outreach program. i.e:
    • Volunteer at your local school or after-school program and bring in some models the kids can make.
    • Offer cardmodeling techniques at your local city colege extension program (its free for you and only gets canceled if you don't have enough sign-ups. Its zero risk and 100% gain) plus you are passing on knowledge to future generations. (and you might make some $$$ doing it!)
    • Promote card models and model making with and google video.
    • Set up a booth at a kids fair or event (airshow, etc).
    • Get involved in local groups (boyscouts, civil air patrol, ROTC, etc) letting the kids make models of their favorite plane, tank, rocket, etc.
    • Talk to art teachers at your local high schools and see if you can be a guest speaker (or hold a model making contest).
    • Make a website that is kid-friendly and easy to use and introduces young people to the card modeling hobby.

    Now the reason I say this is that the model industry is litteraly dying out. :(
    If it wasn't for my father being an avid modeler I don't think I would even be here... heck, I went to the hobby shop the other day and I couldn't even believe my eyes. You can't even get a balsa model let alone a paper one! :shock:

    I guess some of the reasons why are as follows:
    • Too complex (materials, time, cost for supplies)
    • Marketing (not towards young people, seems very bland)
    • Lack of selection (we didn't live with the great planes, we want what we have in OUR generation)... speaking of which, I was stoked on seeing a site where you can print your own gaming consols out of paper! Now THAT is awesome!
    • No advertising... they just don't know they exist!

    Some suggestions:
    • Paper models of movie props, tv shows, etc
    • Video game models
    • Anything recent, weapons, cars, planes, gadgets, etc
    • Cute stuff (yes, attract more girls to this "mans" hobby) ;)
    • Sell and market to prisons and institutions, they can go through the regular mail!

    Now while I agree with cracking down on piracy... I don't think we should make the same mistake as the Recording Industry Association of America and MP3's (ie. Threaten everyone and not attract new customers)... meanwhile iTunes makes millions while they're too stubborn to change the business model.

    ...just my $0.02
  20. rmks2000

    rmks2000 Member


    All I implied was that there is a level of trust between FG and PMI, no different than you and your designers. Regardless of complexity, the issue of revenue loss is always possible, but in FG's case, printing is an option that has been successful.


    I don't think that it is just the paper models, I think that it's modeling in general. How many brick and mortar hobby stores have you seen quit due to poor business? There have been three in my area. And that doesn't include internet stores that I know of. The sad truth is that most of the hobbyists are adults who have gotten back into the hobby. The kids simply aren't interested with all the other things to distract them.

    Piracy is also part of the problem. I try to support various suppliers and honor the copyright laws, whether it is card models, CDs, PC games, etc.

    In spite of all this, it seems like we are truly in a golden age of modeling.

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