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"How do they do it at this price?" Topic


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Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2021 6:08 a.m. PST

I have always been amazed at the quality of diecast models, usually from the Far East, but even more so at the bargain prices.

I called into a newly opened model shop (there are not many of those now) in our local market town and found, amongst other treasures an assembled plastic model of an M4A1 76. It is by Easy Model of Macau, PRC and it cost me £11.99 GBP. I am showing it here with a Trumpeter and two Dragon kits and, in many ways, it rivals them for sharpness of detail. OK the tracks will come off, the lifting rings, light and siren guards will go on, the grouser ventilators are dodgy and all hatches are closed. But, with a bit of easy work and a total repaint, I will have yet another French Sherman.
But how do they do it at this price? I can well imagine staff costs may be a factor, plus it may be a copy of the Trumpeter kit, now assembled. The overlarge return rollers and the overwide commander's hatch are very distinctive and typical of the Trumpeter model, but I think this is remarkable value. ….or it will be when I get around to doing it

picture

picture

Oddball20 Nov 2021 6:38 a.m. PST

Peoples Republic of China?

Slave labor?

Just a guess.

Gotta go get a new pair of Nike's now.

Oddball20 Nov 2021 6:40 a.m. PST

PS:

Great painted Shermans, I really like the blue covers on the tank crew.

Locks down that "Free French" look.

Murvihill20 Nov 2021 6:57 a.m. PST

The real question is how do they get the casting so accurate then give it such a crappy paint job.

HMS Exeter20 Nov 2021 8:10 a.m. PST

Before I used that model in a game I'd want to do a lead test on several surfaces, esp anything metallic.

Just sayin'

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2021 8:28 a.m. PST

The more I look at this, the more I am convinced they have used Trumpeter moulds for many parts. The hull sides have the same curious four circular "dents", largely covered by the suspension. Wait until this is resprayed in Vallejo OD (the present finish is truly awful) with lots of brass added and the dodgy moulded on tools covered with stowed kit, not to mention Braille Strike transfers for French 1st Army.

The pale blue "calots", with a yellow bit in the middle (I forget the name right now) is that of 12th Regt Chasseurs d'Afrique from 2eme DB. Almost more striking are the calots of the Moroccan Spahis, a very bright red. I have just painted four crew for an M3A3, but that is still in its box in the attic right now.

All my attention now is on Cuirassiers (and not 12th RC of 2eme DB, but Boney's gents from 1815) alas.

emckinney20 Nov 2021 3:04 p.m. PST

If it's fully painted, don't worry about lead content unless you file or buff bare metal. Also, don't lick it.

Dn Jackson Supporting Member of TMP21 Nov 2021 5:47 a.m. PST

"But how do they do it at this price?"

Slave labor and, as you noted, they appear to have stolen someone else's intellectual property. So no R&D costs.

TacticalPainter0121 Nov 2021 12:56 p.m. PST

I suspect it's just smart business. Trumpeter already sell or licence several of their kits to third party manufacturers. Smart business by Trumpeter and good business for the third party who don't have to invest in R&D and tooling for injection molds. Manufacturers like Italeri, Airfix and Revell do this regularly.

Kits are assembled and painted with semi skilled labour that can be easily trained to operate an airbrush. Paint job is simple but effective so not a highly skilled task. Labour costs are relatively cheap, it's not slave labour it's just cheaper, but then cost of living is much cheaper when you have subsidised housing, free schooling and medical care.

I bet the jeans you are wearing today and the device you are reading this on were made the same way.

Bill N21 Nov 2021 3:14 p.m. PST

You would probably win the bet on the laptop, but the jeans were made in the U.S. They weren't made in this decade though.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2021 6:58 a.m. PST

When people work all day for a bowl of rice, you can keep costs down.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2021 9:51 a.m. PST

The tale of Trumpeter licencing out their products is interesting and is confirmed by closer exam of this. They have taken the cast hull of what they call a French M4 (it is actually an obscure post war modification) and stuck on a turret from the M4A3 76. The result is an M4A1 76, which Trumpeter do not do and ready assembled.

The kits prove to be only a little more expensive than this was.

TacticalPainter0123 Nov 2021 2:08 p.m. PST

When people work all day for a bowl of rice, you can keep costs down.

You obviously haven't been to China, I have spent some time there and it's not a country of people living on a bowl of rice a day. Riding the slick modern subways of Beijing and Shanghai the passengers are no different from the rest of the world. Everyone has a mobile device and everyone is looking at it. Well dressed business people are going to work, students are off to school and university (which is free) and young mothers are there with their babies and strollers. The spiritual vacuum created by a state rejection of religion has been filled with an ethos that hard work is a worthy goal and life pursuit. Hard work delivers personal wealth and advances the whole society. People buy into that. Try not to judge it by your values and try to see it through theirs. It's not perfect, not by a long shot, but don't think it's a land of impoverished wage slaves either. Pay may be low by our standards but free education, health care, subsidised public transport and housing help take some of the sting out of that.

Dn Jackson Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2021 10:03 p.m. PST

Does it take the sting out of the concentration camps? Or having your ancestor's graves bulldozed?

TacticalPainter0128 Nov 2021 3:04 p.m. PST

Does it take the sting out of the concentration camps? Or having your ancestor's graves bulldozed?

You actually raise a very relevant and interesting point. The official party line is that people would prefer to trade off vastly improved living conditions over certain human rights. I think they are getting some mileage out of that.

Remember this is a country that has passed within living memory from times of mass starvation, civil war and extremes of poverty to a stable country where mass famine and acute poverty no longer exists. You could make a comparison with the Nazis, where the bulk of middle Germany were prepared to turn a blind eye to their excesses in return for political and economic stability and full employment.

In the West it is sometimes incomprehensible to understand the advance that China has made in 50-60 years. While the upward trajectory continues I'm under the impression most are along for the ride, because they only have to ask their grandparents what a return to the old China would look like. I'm no fan of the CCP and I'm certainly not looking to defend it or even justify it, I just felt it worth putting comments like ‘work for a bowl of rice a day' in context.

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