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Monday
Jan032011

The year in review

Wow, I have a lot of unfinished kits. It’s been my intention to slow down and author fewer but better kits. We’ll see how that goes.

This coming year at least, will still see a lot of kits to offer as I clear the decks. Some will have more priority than others as we keep trying to understand what folks want. The trains were a decided hit so there will deffinitly be more along those lines. I am also designing a set of models that are not aimed at model railroaders but at the crafting crowd and I want to see if I can make some sense of all the scifi gaming stuff that I did but never released. We are making a sincere effort to make Clever Models a stable, going business. Not an easy task in this economy. On the other side of the curtain, my animation business has taken a big hit. Ordinarily, I would have extra funds to pump into CM (clever models) when needed. Instead I’ve been forced on occasions to pull funds out. That’s not good for a small business but we are holding on. To say we are thankful for all of your support is an understatement. I’m not talking about what you have purchased but about all the good words you have spread. It’s no surprise to anyone that modeling in paper is an underdog position, but we are slowly winning the battle. Hardly a month goes by that you won’t see an article in the magazines about what you can do with paper and isn’t that amazing. Well, it is amazing but it shouldn’t be surprising. You all are ambassadors of paper models. Every time you build something your proud of and show it off, it takes a brick out of the wall and helps us grow stronger.

With the apparent demise of Paper Creek, there is a real shortage of quality paper models. Even though there are more players, the quality is pretty sad. We don’t fear competition. We do what we do to the best of our ability. I want other paper companies to be successful as long as their product moves the genera forward. Why do companies who put out an inferior product  (boy I’d like to name names) apparently out sell us. I don’t know this for a fact but based on their ad budget they are either selling or going broke.

Advertising is likely a key issue and we just can’t afford it right now. Your word of mouth support is more valuable then ever.  I don’t want to sound too negative. We are surviving and our kits are evolving, getting better all the time. However, we didn’t grow last year. Sales were flat even though we dropped prices and added quality.

I am optimistic going into this year. Some how we will get advertising going and we have a few promotional ideas to try out.

I have a lot more to say about this but even I get tired of reading my ranting, so I’ll sign off for now, but let me say this.

I intend to be on this blog a lot more. One of the highlights here are the pictures of your builds. Please keep sending them and most of all thank you for “getting it and spreading the word.”

 

Peace out. (my daughter says that)



Tuesday
Dec282010

That was fun. Back to work.

Ok the faux news flash was fun but lets get back to work.  Twice in the last week the inferiority of some embossed texture papers has come up.  Brother bought me some MicroMark bricks for Xmas.  Well besides the laugh, I was astonished to see just how bad they looked.  The embossing is little more then some random bumpyness.  Very uncrisp.  I do think the paper would have looked better without it.  It was distracting and made the texture look undefined.  The printed image itself was booring and unrealistic. Then today, I had to respond to a post at the MRR forums.  A gent there is scratch building a very nice grainery.  I made a comment earlier in the thread about how much i liked it.  I have been watching and thinking how much better it would look using our textures but kept my tongue silent.

Just yesterday he covered the foundation in MicroMark embossed stone paper. I was unimpressed and so were lots of others.  The negative coments about paper were flying. well I couldn’t sit still for that, so I did a bit of retouching on the posted pic.  Obviousty it’s real low resolution, but I tried to make the retouched pic as fair a representation as possible.

Here are the results.

MicroMark’s.  Notice that the patern repeats 4X across the wall.

Our’s.  Notice no obvious repitition of pattern. (It does repeat, just not obviously.)

Next post, I’ll talk about embossing and how you can do it yourself. (if you must)

Sunday
Dec262010

NEWS FLASH Clever Models LLC to buy Model Railroader magazine

Dateline, Dec. 26th. 2010, Clever Models LLC, a recognized world leader in Cardstock model kits for model railroad enthusiasts is poised to buy Model Railroader magazine. This bold move brought about by an unexpected inflow of cash from unnamed benefactors.
The company plans to purchase the magazine later this week as soon as a trip to the local hobby shop can be arrainged.
Clever Models future plans for the magazine are undecided at this time but likely will be determined by the health needs of the family’s aging dachshund.

Monday
Dec132010

Happy holiday's 2

 I know we said it would be retired forever but Forever is a long time. We decided to put our build contest model up in the freebies section just until December 25th. happy holidays to all of our friends.