Should FSS go mainstream?

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KOG
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Post by KOG » Fri Nov 19, 2004 11:15 pm

I think recasts are suitable as 'entry level' kits. A lot of the basic recast 1/100 kits cost little more than a large MG kit like the Ex-S, and if you can find a recast 1/144 kit, they don't cost much more than a mid-range MG.

Once a person gets some experience with affordable recasts, he/she can then think about getting some originals.

WayS'Lo' wrote:It looks like either my choice of the word 'Mainstream' was wrong or people have been taking it the wrong way, either one, sorry for the confusion, b ut some ppl seem to have the impression that im thinking that resin kits shd stop altogether and that the companies responsible for making fss kits shd just start to churn out thousands of plastic kits every year ( Bandai stylee). thats not what im saying. TE core of my argument here is that there needs to be more of an entry point for new fans. I am confident that FSS can be more widely regarded overseas and the way the manga is being hadled ( by Nagano anyway, they need a new translator...) is definately a step in the right direction, but for mecha fans, having just ONE (the 1/144 led) entry level kit is not enough. So many people get turned away because of the cost of the resins and the difficulty of the older plastic kits. If, say, Wave, Volks or god forbid BANDAI actually released a, lets say, KOG of a standard similar to the old resins and higher than the GGi ( lets not get dilusional here, plastic kits of a much higher quality to the volks ggi are possible and have been so for a few years now, and not only are the ggi kits held in acceptable regard but they were overpriced for what they were), it might encourage more ppl to give fss a try.
I agree that the temptation is there to make it into another gundam but Nagano has complete control and i dont think hes so weak as to allow anything liek tat to happen. As crazy as i think he is sometimes i have more respect for him than that. Once ppl have been given the opportuinty of a taster thts not gonna cost them an arm and a leg, they might start to look into the manga, and then start to invest in the resins.
I just want to see fss get the recognition it deserves, and it can't attain this the way it is going, it is notoriously difficult to get into.
Thats just my thoughts right now and its nice to see ppl giving out constructive arguments/criticisms :)
And darn i lkike the Whits too. sh** i want one... :(

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Post by KOG » Fri Nov 19, 2004 11:25 pm

I'm not too concerned with fixing up my plastic LED. I've purchased a replacement copy of the kit.Though it's doubtful I'll ever build it... I have it more for collection purposes. I'd rather focus building efforts on my resin LEDs. I still have 4 MM LEDs, 3 different WSC LEDs, and my V3s to work on... and as for my already-built Wave LED... certain of the joints in question would be very hard to access now due to the fact that the kit is already finished. It's just a matter of time before that LED hits the rubbish bin.

Personally, I love the GGI KOGs. Good size, nice bulky interpretation of the proportions, and since they are poseable kits, you can lock them into any number of interesting poses. Other than free pose WSC KOG, no other modern KOG kit will offer this level of flexibility of pose. And though they may not have the same underarmor detail as some resins, they do have a level of outer detail which surpasses some resins. Engravings for the eyes on the shoulders, and sundry other armor embellishments. Good stuff. I AM likely to build THESE plastic kits.. as they will give me an opportunity to perfect gold painting skills before I touch my resins.

WSC is never going to do a plastic kit. Just not feasible when you consider the nature of the company. Volks is a diehard high-end product firm, as can be told from their expensive doll lines, and their tendency lately to produce very costly resins. Since they are at the forefront of MH sculpting today, I'd like to see them keep their efforts focused on resins.

Wave is the only one that might touch the plastic market again. For the simple reason that they tend to do what other companies don't (like 1/144 resins), and because they've done plastic before. But since Wave is not doing it... there must be some reason. I would speculate that Nagano simply does not want a marketplace saturated with cheap plastic kits.
Vincent Valentine wrote:KOG - thanks for the nose-up on the potential floppy problem of the LED Mirage.

If you want to fix yours up, I'd get a bottle of Mr. Mask Sol (original) and paint the fluid on all the male joints and let them dry. I did this to my Junchoon and the joints are now 'rock solid'. Incredible joint technique. It'll work on the LED because of the old style non-ball joint style. To give you an idea of how tough this stuff can make joints.. I did this to my MG Wing Ver Ka, and the ball was stuck so tightly that it broke the rod off the ball joint. (in the end, I knew that I over-did it and removed the rubbery substance altogether)



The GGI KoGs were terribly over-priced. I wouldn't call them affordable - but you're thinking too much about Bandai marketing and quality here. Many modellers buy expensive models that cost easily 60 USD - now these are non-mecha kits. I think that with quantity of units, the GGI-esque kits can come down to maybe ¥6000 - ¥7000 in terms of price. But look at their level of engineering, look at their lack of underdetailing.

I don't think that there is a true mid ground that can be met here. Either Volks and Wave starts to pump out affordable kits with less detailing (as is bound to happen) and neglects the resin line, or resin prevails and no new kits come out in IP.

For sure, I'd like to see some good IP 1/144 kits make that line. Vatshu and Bang Doll are good candidates - and for that level of detailing, I think that they are -possible-, just that WAVE hasn't thought of doing them yet. But sadly, I don't think that it will ever happen.

I mean, who in North America knows FSS? And then we ask who in NA who knows FSS likes building models? Lesser and lesser that number becomes.. it's sad really - but there doesn't seem to be an internet presence of Anglophonic FSS fans at all.. I'm -sure- that there should be more out there.. even the casual fan. Diamond is pumping the books out by the month, after all.. but sometimes, I wonder.. ...

WayS'Lo'

Post by WayS'Lo' » Sat Nov 20, 2004 12:14 am

Saying recasts cost little more than an mg kit and saying its suitable for entry level, then comparing it to the ex-s is a little silly considering that the ex-s is the most expensive mg ever, and that it, along with the Perfect Zeong arn;t likely to be topped in the mg department for a very long time. Unless Bandai pulls an MG dendrobium out of nowhere. The ex-s is considered the final stage before pg amongst most gundam fans, so its hardly entry level either. Plastic technology HAS progressed to the point where seams can be eliminated. Nearly all of the MG line other than the first 5 or so exhibit fewer external seams than can be counted on one hand. I seriously doubt Nagano has resin on his mind when making his designs ( or anything on his mind for that matter... if he has an idea for something that would be impossible for even resin that sure as hell wont stop him making it), and again i wouldn't want to see each and every mh design in resin, as some ppl are making out. Just a few of the core updated to modern tooling. I seem to be repeating that point in every post i make. :oops:
I wouldn;t expect ( or even want) WSC to dabble with plastics, thats something they should definately not touch. Volks probably wont get back to it ( but i would like to see their kogs reissued, mbbe under a more realistic price point like what wave did with their original line), so logically it would fall to wave, but don't rule out other outsider companies. Hasegawa looks like its really looking to expand its robot division at the moment and anyone whos seen their new Temjin ( Virtual on - im a big fan :D ) Knows that they are a capable bunch. And yeh yeh, i knwo the Temjin is a blocky mech but still...

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Post by Sheizzel » Sat Nov 20, 2004 1:15 am

You know, MG or not, it isn't as hard as snapping an HG kit. If you can snap a plastic kit then you can surely deal with a MG kits, there's just more parts to it.

And no, plastic technology has NOT reached the level like you said. Seams and more seams! kits new or old are filled with seams the question is how many? Take MG Wing Ver.Ka for example, nasty seams just on the wings.

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Post by KOG » Sat Nov 20, 2004 4:06 am

Saying recasts cost little more than an mg kit and saying its suitable for entry level, then comparing it to the ex-s is a little silly considering that the ex-s is the most expensive mg ever,
I said 1/100 recasts cost little more than a MG Ex-S. I ALSO said that 1/144 recasts cost little more than a mid-range MG. $40 or $50. And there are a number of nice 1/144 recasts out there. Wave 1/144 Heavy Vatshu is still generally available, 1/144 A Toll Scritti can be found from time to time, the recast of the FAC Last Junchoon should be widely available soon, and I'm sure other 1/144 recasts can be found if one takes time to look.

and that it, along with the Perfect Zeong arn;t likely to be topped in the mg department for a very long time. Unless Bandai pulls an MG dendrobium out of nowhere. The ex-s is considered the final stage before pg amongst most gundam fans, so its hardly entry level either.
A PG is no 'harder' than a MG Ex-S, and the Ex-S is no 'harder' than a MG RX-78, and none of these are any harder than a HGUC. Each and every one of these kits requires the exact same skill set to make it look good. The only difference with a PG or large MG is that there are more parts to deal with. But every assembly requires the same set of skills. Clip, glue, putty, sand, paint, decal, clearcoat... or whatever variation thereof you wish to use. It's all the same, whether you build a HGUC this way, or a PG. Bigger kits just take more time and cost more money. ALL bandai kits these days are engineered to be friendly to even the greenest modeler. Total snap fit, full color moulding, even getting rid of all the seams normally found during construction. If a guy can build a HGUC, he can build a PG. Unless for some reason the more complicated instructions of a PG might.... confuse someone. But I hardly see how that's possible since every step and every part is clearly labeled. You don't even need to read japanese, it's all visual.

Plastic technology HAS progressed to the point where seams can be eliminated. Nearly all of the MG line other than the first 5 or so exhibit fewer external seams than can be counted on one hand.
MGs are gundam related mecha. Gundam related mecha are usually one of 2 things: simple and blocky (like a gundam or GM) or simple and rounded (like a Dom). In either case, eliminating most seams is easy. On most of the more complex FSS designs, I doubt it would be so simple. Just as an example off the top of my head, I see NO way a LED Mirage flame gun could be done without a seam.

I seriously doubt Nagano has resin on his mind when making his designs ( or anything on his mind for that matter... if he has an idea for something that would be impossible for even resin that sure as hell wont stop him making it),
Well, this is what I recall reading: when Nagano was still doing gundam designs, Bandai asked him to simplify his stuff so that it would be easy to animate and easy to turn into toys/kits. Nagano didn't like this at all. He likes complexity and detail. This shines through in his designs. Now does this mean he designs his stuff with the idea in mind that it can only be done in resin? Probably not. But is the need for resin a by-product of his design aesthetic? Often yes. Are some designs simple to do in plastic? Sure. Junchoon as an example. Or Cross Mirage. But I have a hard time seeing other things ever in plastic. V siren Neptune springs to mind.

and again i wouldn't want to see each and every mh design in resin, as some ppl are making out. Just a few of the core updated to modern tooling.
Well see, bottom line is... people have been wishing for a selection of cheap plastic FSS kits for a long time now. And chances are, if there are people abroad who wish for this, there are probably japanese modelers with low disposable income who wish for the very same thing. And I'm sure the firms with FSS licenses MUST know this by now. And yet they are still doing nothing. So you have to figure one of two things: either something is stopping them (i.e. Nagano), or they figure they can't make enough sales to justify large scale plastic kit production. Which is entirely possible. I'm sure the number of dedicated FSS fans out there is much less than the number of gundam, or even macross fans. Resin is the traditional medium for all niche interest stuff. Like Yukikaze for example... only available in 1/72 resin or a small number of pricy 1/100 limited edition kits. Now, would I personally LIKE to see a line of Wave 1/144 plastic MH with the same quality as the LED? Embracing such subjects as the Junchoon, Schpeltor, Auge, A Toll, and other major designs? Sure I would. But for the various reasons already touched upon by myself and other members... I just don't see it happening.

Volks probably wont get back to it ( but i would like to see their kogs reissued, mbbe under a more realistic price point like what wave did with their original line),
I believe the GGIs are priced highly for a reason. I doubt they were ever made in quantities anywhere close to the amounts Bandai produces for each new kit. Low supply, high demand... always equals high cost. Is the actual kit itself WORTH the 7800-9800 yen price tag? Maybe not. Is it comparable in quality to a recent MG of the same price range? Probably not. But 'real' value and 'market' value aren't always the same thing. Many products, not just kits, will carry higher than 'fair' prices because of so many factors. I mean... is it fair for a movie theatre to charge $3 for a small cup of soda? No. But they do charge that much, because they can. To be honest, the 7800-9800 yen price was from the initial release, years ago. If anything, I could see the price going up. Not down.

so logically it would fall to wave, but don't rule out other outsider companies. Hasegawa looks like its really looking to expand its robot division at the moment and anyone whos seen their new Temjin ( Virtual on - im a big fan :D ) Knows that they are a capable bunch. And yeh yeh, i knwo the Temjin is a blocky mech but still...
The number of companies licensed to do FSS products has always been low. Even when Kaiyodo was dropped, no one else filled the void. And considering how tightly controlled the FAC was... I doubt it would be all that simple for a new company to break into the FSS market in a big way. Wave has in fact done a lot more plastic mecha than Hasegawa... and yet Wave still isn't doing much in FSS plastic. I don't know why Hasegawa would be any different, if Wave, with a proven track record and a FSS license under it's belt, isn't doing anything. You also have to look at how hasegawa operates. With both their macross, aircraft, and auto lines... they make a lot of money from variant kits. Change a few parts, add a few decals... new kit, more money. But with FSS, this simply isn't feasible with most designs. Each new kit is a singular investment. Sure, LED and some others have variants. But most don't. This makes things difficult for a company to make plastic kits for an already small audience. If you can't sell many innitial units because the fanbase is small, and then can't make any more money from the mould through variant releases... it's just not a profitable situation. Which again brings us back to resin. Resin doesn't really depend on selling huge numbers.

Just to sum up... I'm not arguing against this because I don't WANT to see any plastic kits made. As I said, a nice line of quality plastics would be fine and dandy if it didn't interfere with the resin market. What I AM saying is that so many factors are stacked against the appearance of many more plastic kits... both from a technical standpoint and from a marketplace standpoint.

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happy hopping
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Re: Should FSS go mainstream?

Post by happy hopping » Sun Nov 21, 2004 7:16 am

WayS'Lo' wrote: This arguement ran in Gundam.com when it was still around and i was wandering what the ppl round here think. We all know that plastic fss is possible and that plastic injection technology now means that plastic models could *easily* reach the same standard as resin.
Yah, I remember KOG & I were chatting about a Pg type MH with internal skeleton in that thread.

But now that VOlks has kits like Mighty Series, they essentially archieve internal skeleton PG style MH w/ exterior armor. So to that end, I'm happy to see that.

It is somewhat hard to create MH in a bandai plastic style PG MH because of the depth and curve of a MH. Gundam surface is flat and IP can reasonably represent that.

Since Toyspress won't give any license to Bandai, this is a moot debate. Unless that situation changes in the future, if so, it would be nice to see a PG style MH in IP .
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when you buy a pet:

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Adopt a pet

WayS'Lo'

Post by WayS'Lo' » Mon Nov 22, 2004 2:46 am

I said 1/100 recasts cost little more than a MG Ex-S. I ALSO said that 1/144 recasts cost little more than a mid-range MG. $40 or $50. And there are a number of nice 1/144 recasts out there. Wave 1/144 Heavy Vatshu is still generally available, 1/144 A Toll Scritti can be found from time to time, the recast of the FAC Last Junchoon should be widely available soon, and I'm sure other 1/144 recasts can be found if one takes time to look.
While i see your point, resins, no matter what form they take, are still pretty hard to come by, not to mention you don't get quite the amount you do with even a plastic ffs kit. This might not be the issue for people like me or you, but when your trying to appeal to new fans this is quite important. This is after all what this is all about and this is something the plastic led does quite well since its priced to compete with the higher end hguc kits and trounces most in terms of quality. I put it's comercial standing (or lack thereof) down to marketing.

A PG is no 'harder' than a MG Ex-S, and the Ex-S is no 'harder' than a MG RX-78, and none of these are any harder than a HGUC. Each and every one of these kits requires the exact same skill set to make it look good. The only difference with a PG or large MG is that there are more parts to deal with. But every assembly requires the same set of skills.
Like i said above its not relaly to do with skill its to do with price. When a new fan gets a model kit of a design he likes, he wants to make sure that he buys one that is appropriate to his skill, if hes new to gundam and he buys a pg and messes it up thats a very costly error. The same with fss, resins for newbies are somtimes far too threatening cause they know that if its messed up theyve just lost alot of money. Again, gogo wave led, unfortunately tho, it provides the new fan with a choice of... 1. and a half. maybe.
MGs are gundam related mecha. Gundam related mecha are usually one of 2 things: simple and blocky (like a gundam or GM) or simple and rounded (like a Dom). In either case, eliminating most seams is easy. On most of the more complex FSS designs, I doubt it would be so simple. Just as an example off the top of my head, I see NO way a LED Mirage flame gun could be done without a seam.
Which is why a flame cannon probably wouldn't be a major candidate for plastic conversion. Like i said some fss stuff just wont ever even be considered for plastic, not even by me!:shock: But there are plenty, especially the older designs like Junchoon and Bang that could. And about shapes, and baring in mind i do not own the actual thing so i don;t know how different the pictures make it out to be, but Bandai has produced MG and HG Dunbine kits and most of those designs are seamless as well. Like i said i do not know how different they are to the box pics and believe me id like tp find out ( preferably without buying one, Dunbine aint really my thing...)
Well, this is what I recall reading: when Nagano was still doing gundam designs, Bandai asked him to simplify his stuff so that it would be easy to animate and easy to turn into toys/kits. Nagano didn't like this at all. He likes complexity and detail. This shines through in his designs. Now does this mean he designs his stuff with the idea in mind that it can only be done in resin? Probably not. But is the need for resin a by-product of his design aesthetic?

I remember him being peeved about LGiam but if that had been the case, he would not have come back for gundam Zeta, then again for ZZ then AGAIN for Stardust. Not to mention, his designs for Zeta and DZeta are imo some of his best. I love the Quebeley and theres indication that he does too. And look at the Quebeley. it has nearly zero surface detail and i dare say it doesnt lose anything from it.
Well see, bottom line is... people have been wishing for a selection of cheap plastic FSS kits for a long time now. And chances are, if there are people abroad who wish for this, there are probably japanese modelers with low disposable income who wish for the very same thing. And I'm sure the firms with FSS licenses MUST know this by now. And yet they are still doing nothing. So you have to figure one of two things: either something is stopping them (i.e. Nagano), or they figure they can't make enough sales to justify large scale plastic kit production. Which is entirely possible. I'm sure the number of dedicated FSS fans out there is much less than the number of gundam, or even macross fans. Resin is the traditional medium for all niche interest stuff. Like Yukikaze for example... only available in 1/72 resin or a small number of pricy 1/100 limited edition kits.
Im pretty sure FSS has more fans than Yukikaze, and id be playing with fire if i said that it has a comparable fan base to macross INSIDE JAPAN, but Macross fanbase outside japan is enourmous and i guess thats where it wins out. FSS hasnt faltered in nearly 20 years but before Zero, when was the last Macross series? Macross actually has alot to thank Yamato for in recnet times. I do actually think Nagano is deliberately stopping more widespread recognition.... u only have to look at why he fell out with Kaiyodo for proof of that. But the guys mind is ever changing so heres hoping.

I believe the GGIs are priced highly for a reason. I doubt they were ever made in quantities anywhere close to the amounts Bandai produces for each new kit. Low supply, high demand... always equals high cost. Is the actual kit itself WORTH the 7800-9800 yen price tag? Maybe not. Is it comparable in quality to a recent MG of the same price range? Probably not. But 'real' value and 'market' value aren't always the same thing. Many products, not just kits, will carry higher than 'fair' prices because of so many factors. I mean... is it fair for a movie theatre to charge $3 for a small cup of soda? No. But they do charge that much, because they can. To be honest, the 7800-9800 yen price was from the initial release, years ago. If anything, I could see the price going up. Not down.
Only cause it doesn't look like they will ever reissue them. The wave kits came down in price cause they were rereleased en masse. Despite their flaws they originally retailed at 12000 yen, more than both the kogs, and if they hadn't been reissued they would probably be considered collectors items now, much like u are suggesting with the GGI kogs.

I don't know why Hasegawa would be any different, if Wave, with a proven track record and a FSS license under it's belt, isn't doing anything. You also have to look at how hasegawa operates. With both their macross, aircraft, and auto lines... they make a lot of money from variant kits. Change a few parts, add a few decals... new kit, more money. But with FSS, this simply isn't feasible with most designs. Each new kit is a singular investment. Sure, LED and some others have variants. But most don't.
With hindsight you are right about Hasegawa. But they are only just starting to delve into the robot theatre and while at the moment, they are following the pattenr you described i will give them a little more time to prove themselves. Like how they handle their Virtual on license, yes they just released a varient of the first VR but there arnt anywhere near as many VR variants as there are Valks. Besides if Hasegawa ever did a Booray theyd be set for at least a year.
Just to sum up... I'm not arguing against this because I don't WANT to see any plastic kits made. As I said, a nice line of quality plastics would be fine and dandy if it didn't interfere with the resin market. What I AM saying is that so many factors are stacked against the appearance of many more plastic kits... both from a technical standpoint and from a marketplace standpoint.
Technically, ruling out all the recent MH designs with the exception of perhaps the Engages, and of course ruling out the Jagd as well, i can see how MH would work in plastic. The Wave three look very nice if built properly now, and they were made waaaaay back in the day, so it's not impossible. But Toyspress marketing strategy really baffles me sometimes. It appears as though they want to spread the word of fss, comiccon is a good example of that. But then when Kaiyodo release their affordable action figures to try and extend fss feasibility toys press go mad. I dunno. It would seem that Nagano wants people to like Fss for what it really is and not for the appearance of its mecha design. Having seen all too many Gundam fans take that approach i guess i have to respect that point of view.

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Post by Rubel Colus » Mon Nov 22, 2004 7:08 pm

1/100 Whits Mirage up for auction in jp.

http://page12.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/p7767712

20,500 Yen now, less than 2 days left for auction, 16 bids 8)

So it seems this limited kit is from 15yrs ago... :D
Looking for:
- FSS Eng Vol 1(Black cover)

Image

WayS'Lo'

Post by WayS'Lo' » Mon Nov 22, 2004 7:19 pm

Rubel Colus wrote:
20,500 Yen now, less than 2 days left for auction, 16 bids 8)
LOL
I hope a recatser wins the auction and spreads the joy.

Edit: haha, i just realised 20,500 isnt even that much for an original 1/100 silly me :P

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Post by John F. Moscato » Tue Nov 23, 2004 5:13 am

Well the bootleggers will have one less manufacturer to defile: official word from the GK company I make kits for in Japan tells me that VOLKS is out of the FSS business; they're not renewing their liscence, and they seem to be halting production of GKs alltogether, prefering to concentrate on their more profitable Dollfie line almost exclusively.

The FSS kit circle gets ever smaller... :(
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Post by Sheizzel » Tue Nov 23, 2004 5:50 am

What the? How could they be stopping? They are the most successful FSS kit producer in the business...

I thought Volks just/is having a massive re-issue of their older kits? Could this be the sign of what John's talking about? I most certainly hope not. Also, it's weird that Volks has gone this long without producing a kit which made me worry that this might somehow be true?

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Post by Vincent Valentine » Tue Nov 23, 2004 6:10 am

For me, re-issueing means that they still have hopes of releasing some new FSS. They're still interested in the market, no?

I don't know.. I'm inclined not to believe this. I'll wait for something more solid before I cast myself into a funeral pyre in grief.

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Post by John F. Moscato » Tue Nov 23, 2004 6:34 am

Hi Sheizzel.

If they're doing a series of reissues, it's probably just to get the most out of their FSS liscence until it expires; notice that they're just re-releasing old sculpts that they already have, but absolutely nothing new has been/is slated for release.

The owner of Samurai Monkey models actually does a lot of business with Volks, and deals with them on a weekly basis ( they are also a distributor btw, not just a GK company) and he'd have absolutely no reason to mislead me on something like that; quite the contrary, he gets his info directly from Volks so if he tells me something like that, I tend to believe it, however depressing it may be. :|
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Post by junchoon » Tue Nov 23, 2004 6:52 am

oh my!!! r u sure that Volks will be out of FSS for good? :(

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Post by Vincent Valentine » Tue Nov 23, 2004 7:56 am

John seems to be as sure as sure can be.



Well.. I'll keep calm about it.. but this is a big hit for all FSS fans - especially those who like Volks detailing, proportions and style.

Perhaps some of the Volks FSS sculptors will now join other companies, or perhaps we'll have to settle for unsatisifactory sculpts from Ikushima and the fellow of Silicon Tribe.

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