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Djtjak

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Reply with quote  #1 
John
As we've discussed before I think there is a real opportunity for you to offer more complicated plans. I recently ordered plans and a parts accessory kit from another company. The plan was for a 1950's tow truck, a complicated plan that came with no assembly instructions, I knew it was complicated , I wanted it to be. It had  illustrations that were just ok,and other than the kit no list of required parts. The plan was $20, the kit was $30, shipping was $11 for a total of $61. In addition I had to go to Staples to get a second set of plans (they are about 2' by 3', not cheap to copy, and that cost $14 for a total cost of $75. If you were to offer this plan with your online copy, better assembly instructions and explained it as well as you currently do I would have no problem paying $40 for it.

My issues with the other supplier is not really with the costs but more with the illustrations and assembly instructions and the need to make additional copies.

I assume there is a decent market for these more complicated plans as the other company offers many of them. (While I have purchased the vast majority of my plans from you, I have purchased a few from the other company and probably will do a few more in the future

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john lewman

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Hi Dennis,
 
Your email is exciting to me this morning and very timely. I have been watching the growth of the detailed-model-building community world-wide. I agree with you that there is a great opportunity for high quality plan sets. I also agree that the present day offerings are falling short of what the model builders want and need. I have been working with the idea of entering the highly detailed plans market for years. The drawback is that even though I have the background (weapons designer and detailer-top secret classification) and a marketing and product design background I have limited time. Cynthia has a design-engineering background also and we are one brain in two bodies. She is a master checker-proofer and reviews all my work and brings it up to a near perfection level after I create the designs. She is the final approval on everything we do and is a master at it. 
 
We haven't been able to find other partners that fit our budget and who have the commitment to that level of quality. We do not have the profit margins needed and just can't afford the salaries to attract those who have the skill ($100-250,000 per year).
 
However there is hope in the air. We are upgrading our production computers and software to the best available. I am learning the ins and outs of the Autodesk Suite of design software including 3DSMAX and Fusion 360. Once I get a professional level of skill with these you will be seeing Disney Star Wars quality designs and plan sets in perfect detail. And that will include high level models for master craftsmen like yourself and also plans for the beginning crafters. The new plan sets will be priced at the same reasonable rates as our existing product line.
 
AES

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Reply with quote  #3 
I have to say I do agree with the principle of what Denis is saying John. I've had a lot to do with plans and kits of various types through the years (as a hobbyist, not a professional) and it's fair to say that unless the product has been produced by a major corporation, plans themselves, and especially building instructions, are often very sadly lacking - poorly drawn, un-clear English, insufficient explanation, etc, etc, yadda, yadda.

Though I've only built a few plans from you John, all those I've seen are a notably high-quality exception - especially praise-worthy because you're only a "two man band" - NO derogatory slight intended please note.

The news that you'll be coming to market with more detailed offerings in the future is very welcome- more power to your (4!!) elbows!  

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Willem

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Reply with quote  #4 
If I may come in here. Don't you think plans that are too complicated might scare off potensial client because not everybody have all the tools to make complicated toys. I have bought a simple plan from John (Ford F150) and by looking on the internet I have detailed it myself.

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AES

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Reply with quote  #5 
Willem, personally I don't think there's too much danger of scaring beginners off with plans that are too complicated, especially if John marks the new plans "Not for Beginners", or "For experienced makers only" or something similar. If special tools are needed (just off the top of my head, say, a router table) then if such requirements were marked I don't think there's be that much of a problem.

That's only my opinion of course, but if you look at John's "track record" with all plans up to now, I'm pretty sure that he'd mark any new "advanced" plans accordingly, so saving any disappointments and misunderstandings amongst less advanced buyers.

Cheers
 
AES

Edit for P.S: I forgot to say, your pick up looks really neat. 

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BadBob

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Reply with quote  #6 
With complex models, your target market is a different set of people. Your not scaring anyone away. Customers that want Play Pals are not going to be looking to buy these. You keep designing the simpler sturdy easy to make toys for them to keep them coming back for more. The complicated toys will attract a different set of buyers; some will be for that current customer base, and the rest will be new customers.

As for tools, I can't think of any toy or model I have ever seen that you could not build with a scroll saw, drill press (or a handheld drill), sandpaper and a few hand tools, complicated or not. A shop full of power tools helps you do it faster, not better.  There are a few people that you could give them a pocket knife, a whetstone, and a tree and they can build you a house full of toys. My grandfather was like that.

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john lewman

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Reply with quote  #7 
Great input BadBob. Thanks!
Djtjak

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Reply with quote  #8 
Here is an example of a "more complicated" project, a tow truck I made from a plan.
Dennis

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john lewman

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Reply with quote  #9 
That is an expert example of craftsmanship. Is this your design? Very nice.
Djtjak

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Thanks for the compliment. It's an adaptation of a Toys and Joys plan.
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Peter V

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Reply with quote  #11 
Hello to you all,

John, when starting 'complicated plans', try to do those in metric also.

looking forward to it, and agreeing with BadBob, there will be another type of customers (I am one of both)



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wwalker47

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Reply with quote  #12 
John-

I think your Idea is great. I like the more complicated plans and I like to make them at 1/2 scale if the originals are too big.

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john lewman

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Reply with quote  #13 
You are skilled at simplification while maintaining detail. I really admire that. Thanks for the post.
john lewman

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Reply with quote  #14 
Willem-I somehow missed seeing your F150. I love the detailing. Very cool.
john lewman

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Reply with quote  #15 
Peter V-thanks to you we are planning to add a metric materials list to the advanced plans. Thanks for the suggestion.
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