I got the following message from Marc Frattasio on January 7, 1997. Please pay attention and do as he says!
Hello again: I've now got a contact at Revell-Monogram who works in their new product development organization. I called them today to ask about the situation with the Selected Subjects Program. I learned quite a bit from this guy about what's going on with the SSP space kits. Here is the story about what's going on with Revell-Monogram as far as the Selected Subjects Program (SSP) is concerned. Bear in mind that all this is from a telephone call I made to Revell-Monogram less than an hour ago and you are not hearing this from a third party (as in the case of the e-mail messages that I forwarded to you from Fred Becker). First of all, overall demand for the SSP kits is in decline. Dean Milano told me that they do not know why this is happening but it is a fact. Basically, more recent SSP releases are doing worse than the earlier ones and if the situation does not reverse, SSP could simply go away. As part of a general winding-down process, Revell-Monogram is cutting back Selected Subjects Program issues from 12 kits down to 8 kits per batch and batches will be released three per year instead of four per year. The SSP kits may go away soon no matter what happens with the demand as Dean tells me that the pool of kits that they can reissue is drying up. Many molds no longer exist and Revell-Monogram does not have the licenses anymore to produce some things too. Although all the Selected Subjects Program kits are selling worse than Revell-Monogram hoped, the space kits seem to be doing much worse. Dean mentioned that pre-subscription orders for the Revell Convair Space Shuttlecraft were extremely dissapointing for them. However, Dean told me that this fact may not completely doom additional space kits from being reissued in the future. Dean Milano told me that they would like to continue reissuing additional old space kits as part of the Selected Subjects Program, even though there will be no space kits included in the next release (due sometime in March 1997). In particular, they would like to continue with the Willy Ley kits (they have the molds for the TV Orbiter and the Orbital Rocket and these molds would not require any significant rework). Dean also told me that the molds for other old space kits exist (like for the Revell XSL-01 Manned Space Ship and the Revell Space Station) but these kits would require some degree of mold rework or in some cases new molds would have to be made to replace missing parts. I informed Dean of a company located in Massachusetts that has a special proprietary process for making inexpensive limited run injection molds for styrene and other plastics that cost a small fraction of what a 'normal' mold costs. I used to work for these people when I was in college and I actually made tools used to produce things like computer housings and shoe soles so I know what I am talking about. Anyway, Dean promised to pass the information I gave him about this company on to his superiors and they will check it out. Dean told me that the key to ensuring that Revell-Monogram continues to reissue the old space kits is demand for the products. For this purpose, letters from potential consumers to Revell-Monogram are very important. Such letters should be sent to: Ed Sexton Revell Monogram 8601 Waukegan Road Morton Grove, IL 60053 I urge you to write to Revell-Monogram and tell your friends. It may interest you to know that a 5,000 to 10,000 kit order would be enough to ensure that a particular kit gets reissued. Dean told me, for example, that if I were to personally order 5,000 Willy Ley TV Orbiter rocket kits that it would probably get done (the kits might be packed in bags for that price or perhaps the boxes would be provided too). The point of this is that a company like Comet Miniatures, a club, or even an individual could do a private limited edition reissue! Anyway, I wanted you guys to get the facts about what's going on with the Revell-Monogram SSP. Marc
I can't stress the importance of this enough. Who would have thought that we'd get the opportunity to actually get AND BUILD the old Willy Ley and the great Revell space kits without spending a fortune for each kit? The SSP program has brought back some wonderful stuff that hasn't been available for years (unless you paid Big Bux to a dealer/collector). Many is the time that I have regretted building the kits as a kid, only to blow them up with firecrackers a couple of days later. With the SSP program, we can get the kits again at a decent price. And this time I promise not to blow them up!