Updated: Aug 11
A well discussed topic these days is the monthly NG releases. Especially the number of models in each release and the amount of duplicate liveries spark some discussion. Some people say NG is "flooding the market", but how much of this is true? How big were the monthly releases from other manufacturers back in the day? And is NG the only brand drowning in old stock (if at all)? In this article I hope to find an answer to those questions.
How big are NG's releases?
In 2021 there were on average 11-12 models every month, but as we all know this was influenced by Covid. In Q1 2022 this number was still very low with 14 models in total, but after that we see the average number increasing every quarter:
Now the average NG release is around 33 models per month. I expect September to be around 35-40 models, which would make the average of Q3 2023 the same as Q2. What NG seems to be doing with recent releases is that they take one large batch and split them in two seperate models with different registrations, when a few years ago this batch probably would have gotten the same registration. This may explain why the releases have grown so much, while the actual production numbers are the same, and why they release so many Pan Am Tristars.
How big are the releases from other brands?
I will look at 3 other main brands in 400 scale: JCwings, GeminiJets and Aeroclassics. I will count how many models the brand released in total in some specific years and then divide by 12. I will start with 2009, because it was the first full year in which JCwings released 1/400 models. The results have been summarized below. Please keep in mind that the numbers may not be 100% accurate, but it gives an idea of how big releases used to be.
GeminiJets has stayed very consistent with their releases. JCwings not so much, but these days it's about 15 models per month. Aeroclassics used to have large releases of more than 20. However, their releases have dropped quite significantly somewhere after 2016, which coincidentally (or not?) is the same time when NG came on the market.
Are NG's releases irresponsible towards retailers?
For this question I will use the stock from a large local store. There are 286 unique NG models available, 138 from JCwings, 294 from Aeroclassics, 204 from GeminiJets and 300 from Phoenix. These numbers do not indicate total stock, as most of the older Aeroclassics only have one or two left in stock, while with NG there are often more than two, so in reality there is more available from NG than Aeroclassics. But what we can't forget is that these Aeroclassics models are sometimes older than NG as a brand, so they had more time to sell. I would rather say JCwings is irresponsible, as out of 309 total items, 159 are pre-orders! Quite a few are still from 2021, meaning people have been waiting over 2 years to get their model!
Now we have the facts, let's look at the questions we had at the start:
Is NG flooding the market?
It is undeniable that NG has by far the largest 1/400 releases, more than the other 3 brands combined. So in some way you could say NG is flooding the market, but that doesn't mean it's negatively affecting us as collectors. In my opinion it's not a bad thing to see such huge releases, but it's frustrating when they re-release models that they made themselves not too long ago. My opinion may have been very different if I owned one of the other brands, but I am a collector so that is not my point of view.
How big were the releases from other manufacturers back in the day?
Most brands had their ups and downs. GeminiJets has stayed very consistent with around 9 models, JC has been all over the place and Aeroclassics used to have quite large releases with over 20 models. But none of them have ever been nearly as large as recent NG releases.
Is only NG drowning in old stock?
The store I used as reference has roughly the same amount of stock left from NG, Aeroclassics and Phoenix, so the answer is no. This has to be taken with a grain of salt, as we don't know from any of the brands how much they have stored in their factory / warehouse. NG's point reward system may be an indication they want to get rid of some unsold inventory though.
To summarize, I don't think NG is doing anything wrong in terms of quantity. The only thing that bothers me so much is that they don't know how to use their moulds. Instead of making the liveries that we as collectors want, we get duplicates, questionable re-releases of liveries and niche hybrids. There are many questions, but let's just say that in this hobby patience is key. Afterall, it wouldn't be much better if there were 10 models from my wishlist released every month.
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