By Nakamura Takahito of Response emerging media
At the “57th Shizuoka Hobby Show” held at Twin Messe in Shizuoka for the four days from 10th to 13th May, a press conference was held where the leaders of manufacturers gathered.
At the beginning, Shizuoka model teaching cooperative representative, Mr. Shunsaku Tamiya, president of Tamiya model, talked about the current state of the model industry. To my surprise, as far as the plastic model is concerned, Shizuoka Hobby Show is now the most fulfilling show in the world. Previously, the Spielwaren Messe held in Nuremberg, Germany lived being said to be the world’s largest hobby show, but with regard to the plastic model, mainly because of the economic downturn in southern Europe, the spot is lacking in spirit It is said that it is. On the contrary, Shizuoka Hobby Show says that due to the collection of buyers from Southeast Asia, which has shown remarkable growth recently, Twin Messe, which has been held for many years now, is in a state of capacity shortage.
The Asian market including China and Japan seems to be booming now. And it seems that the hobby show is being held in Shanghai and Beijing etc. in China, but many buyers in Southeast Asian countries gather in this Shizuoka because there are distrust of mutual makers and no new products are displayed in the show . That is the driving force to push Shizuoka Hobby Show to the world’s best show.
It is certainly the world’s best trade fair as a plastic model show globally. Also, looking at miniature cars, a number of brands, mainly in China, are entering the Japanese market. However, even if it is a plastic model or a miniature car, there is no doubt that it has come to a corner.
As a big news in the model industry, a company named Hobico, a big North American Distributor, applied for the application of the Corporate Rehabilitation Act in January 2018 and was effectively sold. Along with this, in Japan manufacturer Hasegawa Co., Ltd. has been hit hard by a relationship that had exported plastic models throughout this country through this hobby. Furthermore, the long-established store of Plamoel, which was Hasegawa’s import source to the Japanese market, the level was the relationship which was acquired by Hobico as mentioned above, and this also stopped production in April 2018. The current level says that all dies and molds are being transferred to the German level.
As a result, as a model manufacturer in the US, only a few brands including the AMT under Round 2 survive. It is a situation where you can not see the future how the American level will go.
Incidentally, under the umbrella level, the brand called Monogram which blew the world in Japan in the 1960s was also included. On the other hand, in Europe, there are model makers at the top of the German level, for example, the largest hobby maker in the UK, Hornby (with Plastic model brands, Air Fix under the umbrella) will also be transferred to Phoenix Asset Management Company in 2017 Management has changed with the sale of shares, the management of Elele in France has been changed many times, now the management is continued under the new owner in 2016, the feeling of tapering is extraordinary. There are emerging plastic model makers in China, especially Macao, especially the transponder with mold factory in Macao has made a breakthrough brand and has grown rapidly to threaten Japanese manufacturers.
Even in the Japanese market, Kyosho who swept the market with radio controlled computers worsened management, sold all the shares to Shinsei Bank investment fund, Rembrandt HD, and plan to regenerate. The project itself is continuing.
Tapered hobby demand
Change in the world of miniature cars also stand out. As it used to be, mini cars are no longer being sold, and if you make a mold for production of one model, you are in a situation where it can not be sold enough for its mold cost to be amortized. For this reason, the resin model is making a difference in width, replacing the die casting model that requires a mold.
When comparing die casting and resin, you can not make a gimmick that was possible with die casting such as opening a door or opening a hood, for example with a resin. There is also a fear of deformation due to aged deterioration. However, as it is possible to produce small quantities accordingly, many manufacturers are turning their attention to resin models at present. Especially recently the quality of the resin has dramatically improved, and the production method is also changing due to the appearance of 3D printers. Of course, if it says to the manufacturer, he seems to feel a big appeal to die casting, but at present it seems that there is a fear of breakage of profit and it is impossible to get out at hand.
As you know, the plastic model also needs a mold by injection molding, and it is necessary to make a number more than a certain number for its amortization, but it is difficult to clear it, and when it comes to miniature cars it raises a new mold The fact that the number of plastic models produced is decreasing.
Consumer preferences have also changed. It is certain that few children are interested in making things. Tamiya also admits the fact that consumers in the hobby industry are aging. Even if you look at the hobby show, it is remarkable that many of the end users occupy most middle-aged elderly people. Whether the hobby that makes up things will be lost as it is, I feel like I am having a real turn at this moment. Specialized the talk with the car and attracted the attention stock of this year’s “Hobby Show”. Plastic model is incredible …
Source (in Japanese language): Response emerging media