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Has the 'toy' market dried up?

Some of the posts on earlier threads talk about how people were introduced to the hobby. It usually happened when they were a child, and they received a box of Airfix or other toy soldiers for a present. It is pretty clear, looking at the figures that were available a generation or more ago, that this toy market was important to the business.

Does this happen any more? Do people give plastic soldiers to their children? I can't remember the last time I saw that. Even the "green army men" seem to be fading from the list of common childhood toys.

The 1/72 market HAS become an old lady

I would tend to agree with you plastic hussar. Airfix are arrogant to think that 40 year old models will sell today.They miss opportunity to hit market with new figures and 3 dimensional and much much better designers and historical accuracy.

For some reason we dont have any modern battlefield forts/fortifications which i believe would help revitalize the hobby especially with better middle age fortresses.

Current 1/72 warShips are miserable for collectors. All we need is waterline models etc .(but Its amazing what a old date or fig box can be converted into)
Again manufacturers dont help enhance the 1/72 figures
with little depth of accessories etc.

Plain one sided ecthed walls on building fort wall models wont match with newer designed figure collectors.The manufacturers need a kick in the pants TO wake up.they are competing agaianst xbox playstation games then they need a complete battlefield scenario released within one year.

lIKE IN MOST BALL GAMES 2 Forts/goals and two balanced opposing sides . Strelets a nd Hat do well to attempt to rejuvenate the market but unfortunately great imbalances and too far wide the time gaps between completing ranges liek attention defuicit persons.Collectors get bored and move on trade in incomplete collections on the ebay.

If they dont prlong life with modernising teh production then teh old ladies will INEVITABLY unfortuantely die.

I think its Political Correctness gone out of hand

It isn't so much that the nanny states in the western world disapprove of toys depicting war and violence. Just one trip to Toys'R'us will dispel that myth. Rather I think those who are so hell bent on saving us all from ourselves are in such a panic a child may choke on something small or cut themselves geting the figure off of the sprue, that it is no longer possible to market the product to children without risk of being litigated into oblivion. I wonder how we all survived our own childhoods.

Re: I think its Political Correctness gone out of hand

YEAH I AGREE with Mr T ,It kills me that SCI-FI seems acceptable with ultra violent games workshop gronks and fembot-marine pro-drug apothecaries and other such promotional pc/ps games seem way FAR more decadent than ww2 ww1 or ancient rome etc.

When you read contemporary history books its full of wording ,then common prases which is not allowed these days in publish.

Re: I think its Political Correctness gone out of hand

Very interesting points.

I think the market have reached a quite stable point, some children still discover and enjoy the toysoldiers but not many as years ago, the same or worst about boys and proper modeling.
But modeling and wargaming have become more popular as adult hobby, and by another side the rolegames, even the computer games, may attract someone, but they're not enough to replace the loss.

We will see what will happend with the digital 3D sculpting.
Even the home hobby at it's top have improved a lot, now there's already the way to actualy "make" yourself new original models and toysoldiers, thanks to the new materials and techniques.

Regard the toysoldiers appeal for the kids nowdays it has too many competitive althernatives to has a single chance to regain the main part it had in the 70's.

Neighter a great and more complete range as the old Atlantic could regain the interest of children, differently from Airfix had also fast assembly kits of tanks, planes, ships, buildings, etc. for all the periods.
Not as good as the Airfix kits, much more suitable as toys rather than models, and not so bad made too.
Infact despite the wide ranges of miniatures no one of the actual productions have so many different accessories, even having more technical resources and experiences no one give a try.

I agree that the actual standard of models have improved so much respect to the old times, but not in all cases, is not rare to see some sets much worst made than the old ones.

Nevertheless I think Airfix (or Hat) do an usefull job keeping all the old series available, first to prevent to spend a fortune to get a rare collection set, many of us may want those sets, may had them years ago but part or all of them have been lost, secondary as more choice there is as better most of us can get what they want.

For example the Atlantic sets and models are become rare and absolutely unaffordable, parform for few the Nexus re-editions that resolve some problems.

Abuot the politicaly correctness I think it's an old thick way to see the all thing. In old times the toysoldiers were (in part) used as brain washing to make all the kids love the war and some deranged ideals of heroism, same as in movies, comics, books etc. Infact the crude aspects of war were always exorcised and censored, somehow an ereditary tendency is still present in the lack of dead and wounded miniatures.

Nowdays the brain washing comes from many other mass media, the toysoldiers and modeling could even get the opposite as little stimulation for the historical interest, artistic and creative education, and hand craft training, all thing extremely missed nowdays.


Re: Re: I think its Political Correctness gone out of hand

They took the toy soldiers off the shelves, just to replace them with lead-painted killer-toys made in China and computer games that will teach your toddler how to do really bad things.

I'd love to get toy soldiers at the supermarket. I'd probably buy a box or two a day.

Re: Re: Re: I think its Political Correctness gone out of hand

HaT has done a survey of collectors ages.

I think it shows one fact that repeats all generations; we collect as kids; out-grow it while playing sports, graduating from school, chasing girls, getting married, beginning a career, having kids, then come back to the hobby when life settles more into a routine again in 30's.

Used to be we had one fixed phone at home, and we all shared it. So if I called my friends and they were all not home, I'd go to my room and get out my collection to enjoy my time.

Today's kids have music i-pods, cameras, cell phones, e-mail, computers, my space, Yahoo - many more active (not passive) ways to "hook-up" with their friends. No wasted down-time, and no extra money to spend on 1/72 ... priorities.

And today's T.V. shows and movies don't support encouraging kids to buy sets to relive the action scenes in the movies. No more (great classics) Zulu, Waterloo, Alamo, Fort Apache, Crimean War ...

Kids today now face fierce school and sports competitions at such young ages, they really don't get a chance to grow into sports, etc. And the money encourages Dad's to push their kids. "Don't waste your time playing with toy soldiers!"

So, there are fewer and fewer reasons for kids to discover the pleasures of this hobby.

Today's largest customer-group are those who re-took it up, or discovered it later, esp who enjoy quiet hobbies like painting, but can still socialize like wargaming, and have fond memories from childhood.

But like old soldiers, we'll never die; we're just going to quietly fade away, and so will the hobby.

Hope I'm wrong!

Anyway, if you read this far, here is the link for the Survey Link:

Re: Re: I think its Political Correctness gone out of hand

Speaking as someone who has kids at the toy soldier age and who has purchased toy soldiers for the kid...

I don't think increased alternatives alone account for the lack of children playing with toy soldiers. There are several issues that combine to decrease the likelihood of kids accumulating and playing with toy soldiers. First is that toy soldiers are no longer as available as they were for those of us growing up in the 1950s through early 1970s. It seemed like every town had at least one hobby or toy shop in those days, all stocking toy soldiers, and in addition other stores would carry some, although not necessarily the 1/72 type. Today there are far fewer outlets that carry them, and quite often you cannot find them even in toy or hobby shops.

Second problem is price. $10 for a single box is not that much, but to outfit a kid with two armies of infantry, horse and artillery requires a $60 investment. This is no longer impulse money for many people.

Third problem is time. Those of us who grew up without being in daycare would have entire afternoons to set up our soldiers, fight out battles and put (at least most of) them away before dinner. Kids in daycare today don't have that time on weekday afternoons, and quite often their evenings and weekends have other activities. It is hard to play with toy soldiers while running erands, but it is easy to play a hand held computer game while riding in the car, or while waiting for your sister to finish ballet.

Fourth is that with fewer kids playing with toy soldiers there are fewer opportunities for kids to introduce their friends to toy soldiers. When you go over to see a friend who has 200 toy soldiers set up having a battle you will want to get toy soldiers. When you go over to see a friend who has a new computer game, you will want that game.

Fifth is a cuture change. War and history were depicted on TV and the movies. They were also taught in schools, and chances were very good that you had a close relative who had fought and maybe dies or was wounded in a recent war. Todays kids do get still get some exposure to war through TV and movies. However history, when it is taught, places less emphasis on wars now, and for a far greater number there is less of a personal connection with wars.

Sixth is marketing. I'm guessing the entire toy soldier industry spends less on marketing than is spent on marketing many computer games, and it seems that most of that marketing is directed towards adult collectors. Advertizing in the Obscure History Journal is unlikely to get much exposure to kids, but a little product placement on some kid oriented TV show might.

You summed it up nicely bill

The first one who yells " PC" loses

Oh, come on. PC has something to do with the lack of interest in toy soldiers? You can't be serious. Basically, toy soldiers are boring. You can't do anything with them. They don't move, turn into anything, shoot lazers, fly around the room, or come in any color beside grey, tan, or blue. There are likely 100 times more toy soldier companies out there now than there were 40 years ago. You don't believe me, just check on the metal painted figure side. They are also about 50 times more expensive than they used to be. And, there aren't any cartoon(ish) shows to license toy soldiers to. But "PC"? Oh, please.

Re: The first one who yells " PC" loses

Remember all the advertisements in comic books in the 1970's for toy soldiers and war games? perhaps that might be a good starting point for the hobby today.