As we near the end of 2020 many of us will be more than happy to see the back of it and hope next year will be easier. On a personal level the year started in the worst fashion imagineable with the death of a close family member and lifelong friend. It of course, did not get much better after that for reasons we all know. For those of us fortunate enough to be working in those kinds of business not affected by lockdowns, furloughs and the rest of the worrying impacts left in the wake of the virus, the cloud has had a silver lining. In terms of the business of Starling Models, this has been our most successful year regarding sales, next year is sure to prove more of a challenge. Success this year has come at a price though as related in the previous blog, which will not be repeated here. This leaves us looking at those planned kit releases that were so optimistically laid out just over a year ago to see what remains.
There are of course two strands to our kit production, most obviously those under the Starling Models label, but also the 1/700 Atlantic Models which need a little explanation. These are a mix of kits that have either been released, or were intended for release by White Ensign Models before their closure, which had been inherited by Peter Hall, their former designer who has his own company, Atlantic Models. Peter being very much a 1/350 aficionado wasn't keen to move into 1/700, so very generously passed the kits onto me to be released / re-released under his brand. The new kits, Ark Royal, London, Calcutta, Grey Goose and Swift turned out to be something of a challenge to bring into production, being designed several years ago and in most cases without any list of parts for resin and etch or just the resin parts. Something like trying to work out a jigsaw without the benefit of a box picture. More of future and pending Atlantic kits later.
Of the Starling Models range, intended for released this year and into next, there have obviously been severe limitations on what could be achieved this year so release dates will be extended well into next year at least. The list of planned kits and progress is then as follows.
Glamorgan 1/700 - moving towards production with some elements of the production kit in hand, others will take longer due to difficulties with regular suppliers. The aim is first quarter of 2021 for release.
Bangor class 1/350 - This is planned to be a joint release of the kit as HMS Rhyl / HMCS Blairemore. Although not well advanced this is still intended as a first quarter 2021 release.
HMAS Yarra - Some work completed but much to do, likely for summer 2021.
S-class submarine, Loch class, tug challenge (all 1/350) still in the stage of collecting information, realistically second half of next year and into 2022. River class, Andomeda, Plymouth, one, possibly two for release next year, Plymouth least likely due to the release of the Ostrich Hobby kit, this could be dropped in favour of another kit, depending on how well Glamorgan sells.
Of the Atlantic kits, Amethyst is just waiting on etch and for instructions to be written, this will be ready when we open again in February. Caesar will be hopefully first quarter, Swiftsure when I can face looking at another jigsaw puzzle. Eagle will realistically be 2022 now.
With such a list of kits planned this will of course require some considerable investment. Next year will bring additional challenges with Brexit looming, although at the time of writing, with just over two weeks to go before it happens, it is still, incredibly, unclear as to quite what that will mean. It seems certain that bringing goods in and sending out of the UK will be more expensive, more difficult, take more time to manage and be much slower than before. As a business which has considerable sales outside the UK, this is a worrying time. The equation then is quite a simple one, kits can't be produced without the financial resources to do so. It's going to be another interesting year...