Just over six years ago I started Starling Models with the intention of producing some etched parts that were no longer available after the demise of White Ensign Models. At the time I was still in full time employment and this was only intended to be a sideline which could be managed alongside the day job. At the Telford show that year I spoke to Jacques Druel, the previous owner of L'Arsenal who suggested to me that since I had a website, why not sell some of their products as they were no longer available from a UK supplier. That year had to that point been a difficult one, I have a chronic illness that was making full time employment difficult to manage to the extent that I had by the time of the Telford show applied for and been granted an early severance package and had left work just a few days before. This seemed like very good timing and the opportunity to fill some of the demand for model ship kits and parts in the UK led to some of the money being invested into an expanded business.
Over the last few years the number of small and large companies producing ship models has exploded, largely on the back of advances in 3d printing which make designing kits a much easier proposition than the previously hand made patterns. It was a fortunate time to start a company specialising in ship kits and accessories and within a couple of years Starling Models released the first kit of a range of resin models. Alongside this the range of companies stocked greatly expanded as the business grew far beyond the expectations of April 2015. It has been far more successful than I ever anticipated. but this has now come at a cost.
Running a small business is a time consuming occupation, recent changes have added to this and there are more on the way. At some point we all need time away to do other things but this has become increasingly difficult over the last year to the point where it is now severely impacting on my health. A few months ago I announced that all the kits under the Starling Models label would be limited edition only, at the time this seemed like a reasonable way to try and reduce the workload a little. After a break of a few weeks and time to think more clearly about the future direction, with discussion with an accounting professional and some reference to sales figures and stocking, I have decided on another direction.
The current situation of stocking almost 50 brands is not sustainable for a business of this size and I have no capacity or indeed will to take on staff to help. Additionally the business has grown to the point where some legal and financial changes are required and these can be summarised as follows -
1) Starling Models ceased trading on 6th April and a new business, Starling Models Limited came into operation on April 8th.
2) The business is now VAT registered and all prices include 20% VAT for UK customers only. For non-UK customers this will not be charged.
3) As the UK is no longer a member of the EU customs charges and import taxes may apply to any orders you make. There is no flat rate on these charges so please be aware that they may differ between countries. As of 1st July the EU will introduce legislation so that VAT is payable to the buyer's country, not the sellers. This requires registration into a system to ensure payment to each individual country, this will create more work and expense, I will need to review the full impact of this and decide on the cost / benefit of sales to EU countries after this date.
4) The brands currently stocked will be reduced to those most popular, which will include Starling Models, Atlantic Models, Flyhawk and associates, Combrig, Black Cat, Master, Niko, Orange Hobby, Pitroad, Tom's Modelworks, Veteran and White Ensign Models will be the core of the retail side with a few others. The remainder will not be restocked after stocks have been exhausted.
5) Those brands not to be restocked will be reduced by 20% in price until cleared.
The main aim of these changes is to create more time to develop the Starling Models range of kits and accessories, which has been slower to develop than anticipated due to time constraints. Additionally stocks of those brands retained will hopefully be increased in time.
As ever I will look forward to bringing you the best in small scale ship kits and accessories following this 'reboot', not as many as before but I hope you can appreciate and understand the need for these changes and continue to help us let you enjoy this wonderful hobby.