What other kinds of structures do you want to build?

Discussion in 'Architecture Models' started by Art Decko, Nov 5, 2006.

  1. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    Russell, thanks for your comment! Can I ask: in what scale would you most like to build such a model? And ... what would you consider a fair price for a really nice city hall in a suitable scale (either print or download)?

    I love your idea, SNS. My only concern is how widespread the appeal would be for such a line. I'm sure there are many people who would like to build a cool city hall, but how many (besides Russell:)) would want to build five of them? These are complex, ornate structures, so to be remotely worth the design time, we need to be fairly confident we can sell more than a few dozen. I know I personally would love them - I grew up near a town in Iowa that also had a gorgeous courthouse. I do think that the freshness and novelty of the subject would be an asset which alone would guarantee a certain minimum of interest. Intriguing idea!

    Have you been reading our internal emails? :)

    Murphyaa, I can't tip my hand too far (we are still at least ten months from opening our site), but at this point it appears likely that anyone looking for a firehouse will not be disappointed. ;)

    Wonderwheeler, go for it! Those are all great ideas! Rural American has all sorts of cool structures which, to my knowledge, have been barely explored in the card medium. Personally, I love faded, sagging barns and corn cribs, old-fashioned silos, covered bridges and the like. I bet there are plenty of people who would be interested in such models,, and if they were relatively easy, I think they could find favor well beyond the confines of the traditional card modeling sphere. As with so many great ideas, much depends on marketing.

    If you really are looking for a card model of a quonsett hut, check out the one offered by Clever Models. From the online photos, it looks outstanding.

    Thanks again to all for your ideas!
  2. Amazyah

    Amazyah Senior Member

    Wow, those are actually some very loaded questions with complicated answers. I'll try to keep it simple though.
    Looking at all the photo examples, the buildings all appear to be roughly the same size so I am guessing at a scale between 1:150 and 1:200 would provide a decent size model to allow for the ornamentation without going too overboard on the part count.
    As for the price, that could actually vary greatly depending upon how much detail you want to put into it. You could do the same building with 100 parts or 1,000 so it is really hard to talk about pricing.
    My own opinion, judging by the previous pictures, I think I would not mind paying $20-$25 for a detailed hard copy but for that price I would expect a lot of details, lots of parts, great texture and quality cardstock.
    For the same kit in a download, I think maybe half the cost of a hard copy is fair as I would be paying for the ink and cardstock.
    A lot of the pricing depends on what you the designer wants to put into the model. A lot of any of these buildings details can be done in either 2D or 3D so it all really depends on what you want to put into it.
    The most expensive architectural model I have bought so far is $65 for St Peters Basillica in Rome and that was on sale by the way. The cheapest was a free download, of course.
    Sorry for the wishy-washy answers but I think I've given a basic idea of the ballpark I think your in with these buildings.

  3. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    Those weren't "wishy-washy" answers at all! Level of detail, scale, quality of paper, etc are all very important factors!

    We are finding that pricing is very challenging, especially if you offer the same model in multiple media (download / CD / print) and multiple scales. Throw in some other factors like competition from free products, possible dealer or other distribution channels ... it gets complex. Judging by your answer, I'd say our current thinking is in the right ballpark.

    Thanks for the reply!
  4. SCEtoAux

    SCEtoAux Member

    Here is some observations if you plan on offering the models in gift shops.

    I have noticed that in gift shops at various historical sites the articles that sell the most are in the $5 - $20 range. If you are able to offer a pre-printed model at some of the gift shops in that range they might sell. Probably not like hot cakes, though. A CD with the model files might be attractive to some folks.

    I have also been in gift shops at other venues where the prices seemed a bit inflated, but folks still buy. A $20 - $30 price range might work in some instances.
  5. Sticks-N-Stones

    Sticks-N-Stones New Member

    Specifically regarding the Texas Courthouse potential sales volumes I would look for ranked population statistics and historic society websites to derive an estimate. Of the 250+ locations there are perhaps 40 with sizable tourist traffic. Most societies love to tell you how many visitors they have annually. I'd want at least 4-600 units in the first year (20 orders of 25 units) for the first subject and 800 to 1000 annually thereafter but thats just a guess and doesn't include direct web sales and card model dealers. You can probably develop only one model at a time so choose a courthouse (or whatever) that is beautiful, very famous and that is within a day trip by car from a major population center like Dallas (6 million people) or Houston (5 million people). On a cool sunny weekend Ellis County (near Dallas) and Gonzales County Courthouse (between Houston and San Antonio) are full of tourists. They take a tour of the courthouse, have some barbecue for lunch, then stroll the square shopping for antiques and other unique items before returning home to the suburbs. Some counties in Texas are 800 miles away and nobody goes there!!!....... For more see "Courthouses of Texas: A Guide" by Kelsey/Dyal listed on Amazon.

    Note that anyone touring ANY courthouse is also interested in the most famous ones so an Ellis model may sell equally well in Gonzales or Victoria and vice versa. This distribution leverage is what makes the concept so attractive to me. It wouldn't work as well with a model of the Empire State Building being sold at the Statue of Liberty for example.

    Also, you might try getting in touch with the counties historic society for a copy of plans. Many of the structures were recently restored and may have CAD drawings to help you speed development and improve accuracy, reducing devo costs.

    Regarding size/price I personally prefer a model on a base about 20x25 cm with about 300 pieces in the $20 retail price range. Schreiber's Frauenkirsche Dresden and Hamburger Michele are about perfect in my mind, but thats just me. I have a copy of the beautiful 500 piece Rheims Cathedral by L'Instant Durable but hate to start it because its HUGE! Models never started eventually show up in the aftermarket competing with new sales...

    Whatever you decide to do, do it WELL and your reputation will allow you to command higher prices on future subjects (like Tamiya). When your first courthouse (or whatever) is a hit you'll be able to continue with new ones and other courthouse societies may start contacting you for a model of theirs- reducing development costs even further. Of course I'm prattling on like I have courthouses on the brain but hopefully my comments could be applied to famous residences, state governors mansions, the ten tallest skyscrapers or whatever........ Good luck and keep us updated!
  6. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    Thanks to both of you for your comments on gift shop distribution. These are exactly the kinds of alternative distribution channels we are looking closely at. Their are many such types of businesses housed in many kinds of structures that offer possibilities we intend to explore.

    I think this idea applies equally well to other forms of models.

    For example, are models of motorcycles offered in stores that sell motorcycle helmets and accessories? If not, why not?

    To my mind these are perfect places to catch people who are very interested in the subject matter being modeled, and yet have probably have never heard of card modeling. What's more, these are people who came to such a place with the specific intention of spending money on motorcycle-related products. What perfect potential customers!

    For the equipment shop, card models as prints or on CDs take up little storeroom or shelf space, you could stock scores of models in the space used by a single helmet.

    I don't know anything about motorcycles, but I bet there are a smallish number of regional motorcycle equipment wholesalers who supply these shops. The people who run these companies are undoubtedly themselves motorcycle enthusiasts, and are probably always on the lookout for interesting new motorcycle-related products they could offer shops. Wow, seems like such a natural fit!

    I think creative exploration of alternate distribution channels like this could really help expand this wonderful craft.
  7. WonderWheeler

    WonderWheeler New Member

    How about a model of Lucy the Margate Elephant Building, near atlantic city new jersey? Built as a real estate attraction in the 1880's it has been refurbished and is still intact.
  8. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    An intriguing idea! But do you think an elephant-shaped building would have very wide appeal?

    That is an important factor we can't loose sight of when choosing subjects. If we spend hundreds of hours designing a model (research, design, graphics, test building, documentation writing and photography, marketing, web site, etc), the subject should have a broad enough appeal that there is some hope (however remote ;)) that it will be worth our while to develop. Otherwise, we might as well just design models for our own tastes (which in my case would probably be run-down turreted gothic victorians). :)
  9. mellotronage

    mellotronage Member

    Just FYI, the is a plastic kit (HO scale) from Polar Lights of the Bates Mansion- the Psycho House you'd mentioned. This is out of production, but can be found on the auction site with some regularity. The box art for the kit is very good, so spooky you can almost hear Norman beckoning mother...
  10. I would be very interested in building a model of Soloman's temple and the inner and outer courtyards that surrounded it.
  11. builder

    builder New Member

    I need a fire station 1:87 Scale preferably with 4 to 6 bays
  12. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    If you can wait about 8 months, and if you can make due with 3 bays ... I might just have something of interest for you ... ;)
  13. Hot4Darmat

    Hot4Darmat Member

    I know it isn't real, but how about a paper model of the Combine Central Control Tower Base at the centre of City 17 in the game Half Life2. Complete with moving exterior panels to launch gunships and fliers, as well as the deep pit and pile drivers anchoring it to the ground. That and the articulated moving walls that surround it.

    It would be complex, but there's a huge market of PC gamers out there who love the HL2 games.

    Other buildings that might work well in paper: a complete and very realistic rural Ontario farm (house, outbuildings, barn, silos, equipment shed, coop, etc.). Maybe its been done to death, but most of what I've seen is pretty simplistic or cartoony.

    Just my 2 cents.
  14. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    I would love to do a very realistic old-fashioned farm (I grew up in rural Iowa). Our initial focus is on urban structures, but who knows what we'll get into! For now we have to keep our noses to the grindstone to get our initial offerings ready.
  15. Samardza

    Samardza New Member

    How about some of the Antarctic Research Stations, many of the newer ones are quite interesting.

    Also, underwater habitats
  16. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    Samardza, thank you for those are really interesting suggestions, however my team is focusing on classic urban North American architecture (1890s - 1930s).

    I hope other architectural designers are reading this thread, there are so many terrific, original ideas being mentioned here, enough work to keep a stable of designers busy! :)

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