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  Hobbico (Revell, Estes) bankruptcy, to be sold

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Author Topic:   Hobbico (Revell, Estes) bankruptcy, to be sold
Robert Pearlman

Posts: 39236
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-11-2018 04:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hobbico of Champaign, Illinois, one of the largest hobby product distributors in the U.S., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday (Jan. 10) and is looking for a buyer.
"Despite Hobbico's core strengths, our business has faced a number of challenges in the last few years, and we have taken steps to ensure all available options to restore the stability of the company have been exhausted," said Louis Brownstone, Hobbico's president. "However, while these efforts were taken to rebuild revenue and profitability, they did not sufficiently address our challenges, and we decided to pursue a Chapter 11 reorganization and attempt to attract new capital investment."
Among the brands that Hobbico owns are Estes Rockets, Hasegawa Model Kits and Revell.


Posts: 1683
From: Spring Hill, FL
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 01-11-2018 05:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Give the kids today a model kit of a cell phone and see how fast it sells.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 39236
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-11-2018 06:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think it goes deeper than that. Setting aside the trend towards digital content, there is a growing "maker" movement that encourages scratch building over kits (the scratch including 3D printing, too).

I don't think we'll see the disappearance of Revell or Estes (or the other Hobbico brands). But it may require a fresh approach to re-position them within the hobby market.


Posts: 1145
From: Brandon, Fl
Registered: May 2012

posted 01-15-2018 05:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I doubt we will see a Revell kit of Orion in the future now. Not to mention SLS.


Posts: 579
Registered: Aug 2006

posted 01-15-2018 06:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jimsz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For Estes rockets the problem is is not kids being plugged in or having no interest. I work with boys 6-18 and "Rockets" are always received with enthusiasm.

The problem has become ridiculous costs. A very basic rocket with cardboard fins, cardboard tube without an engine is $17 and up. A medium sized rocked is $30.

The smallest engines are $3/ea. A handheld launcher is $22, launchpad $15.

This past October we had a "Rocket Day" and our cost was hundreds of dollars for each boy to launch his rocket 2 or 3 times.

Kids and families can't afford these hobbies.


Posts: 884
From: Churchton, MD
Registered: Oct 2012

posted 01-15-2018 07:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JBoe   Click Here to Email JBoe     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree about the costs, I think they could be possibly lower. I tend to get as many engines when on sale or use Michaels or AC Moore coupons to save a few bucks.


Posts: 1530
From: Olympia, WA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 01-15-2018 09:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Model rockets were never cheap.

I shot them off in high school, for my Air Force Junior ROTC model rocket badge (looks like a USAF missileer badge, and I still have it), and those things weren't cheap in 1980s bucks back then...

There's also the issue of legality of shooting them. Back when I was a teen, nobody questioned what you were doing and most thought it was a cool (but geeky) way to pass the time. These days, a bunch of teens with a rocket, I bet someone would wanna call the cops thinking you're going to shoot it horizontally.


Posts: 217
From: Dallas TX USA
Registered: Jul 2012

posted 01-26-2018 08:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sev8n     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think Hobbico "owns" Hasegawa. They might own the USA distribution rights, but not the original Japanese company.

I still have an old Estes catalog (circa 1969?) with the photo of a (real) Saturn V launch on the cover.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 39236
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-17-2018 01:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The bankruptcy of Hobbico has led to Revell's assets being bought by the German investment group Blitz, which also bought Hobbico Germany, reports Scale Auto magazine.
All Revell US operations ceased on Friday, April 13. The Illinois offices were closed and 15 people lost their jobs.

Revell Germany will continue to operate as in the past with Blitz being its owner. No word on any layoffs or changes in Germany.

There has been no announcement of a distributor for Revell Germany products that may be sold in the U.S. market. Court documents say the sale included all molds and tooling owned by Revell US, so those now belong to Revell Germany.


Posts: 89
From: Martinsburg, WV 25401, USA
Registered: Dec 2010

posted 04-17-2018 09:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SparkR_13   Click Here to Email SparkR_13     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hmmm, a bit ironic at the end, huh? Much of the rocket and space models there are were essentially the result of us bringing Wernher von Braun to the USA and achieving our successes in space and rockets and now, those Germans get to own all the results!


Posts: 613
From: Syracuse, New York, USA
Registered: Oct 2009

posted 04-17-2018 02:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garyd2831   Click Here to Email garyd2831     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I guess you can kiss those 50th anniversary re-release of vintage Apollo based kits gone. Kids today are busy on book of faces (aka Facebook) and don't care about building models anymore. Sad state of affairs

Hart Sastrowardoyo

Posts: 3309
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 04-18-2018 08:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Originally posted by p51:
Model rockets were never cheap.
If you remember Kay-Bee Toys, you could get a box of model rocket engines at what was (to a junior high school me) an affordable price. Problem was, those engines included powerful C or D, and I usually didn't have the rockets for that — and if I didn't and still used them, well...

Many an allowance literally went up in smoke.

As for legality, it was the other way around. Although my friend and I were never challenged, we always carried in our tackle boxes (which was great for carrying igniters, engines and the like) a copy of something from Estes that said they were not fireworks (which was the biggest concern, and in at least one state, not NY, you needed a license to launch model rockets).

It went so far as my friend and I saying we were "spacemodeling," because "model rockets" sounded a lot like "bottle rockets."


Posts: 454
Registered: Dec 2002

posted 04-18-2018 08:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dsenechal   Click Here to Email dsenechal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It may not be as bleak as we think. For quite a few years, Revell Germany had produced quite a few of the Revell space-related re-issues, so there's no reason to think they may not continue to do so. As far as Estes, I went to their website and their home page says:
Estes-Cox Corp has agreed to sell substantially all of it's assets... to Estes Industries, LLC... We... look forward to a bright future for model rocketry and with Estes Industries LLC."

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