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Discussion Starter #1
Anymore news, heart-beat, word-of-the-day, etc from Polar Lights?

I know sometimes no news can be good news but how are Dave and Tom doing?

:)
 

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I don't know if I am stepping on any toes or not and if I am feel free to delete but I did call RC2 last week in Dyersville and talked to one of the managers there and brought up the subject of the Star Trek Line and He said as far as he knew the line is going to continue. So thats some good news slightly I guess.
 

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Oxidation Genius
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Lori's gone, Dave's gone. How can there be any good news?
 

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So why keep posting this?

Here's the last post from Dave the last time this started:
Ok, Lets see now........This is just about enough.
I can still lock this thread ......I really ought to delete it altogether.....

Bat Toys you have done nothing positive with this. All you've done is stir up a hornet's nest and made alot of people upset.
Discussion of weather or not I'm employed by RC-2 has no place here! This is a BB for discussion of modelling Not discussion of business decisions made by the ownership of the company that sponsors it

The company does NOT owe you an explanation of their plans or their staffing decisions.

I will continue to work for RC-2 on several Model Kit projects - current and future.
By the way, thanks to all of you who've expressed concern and support for me, I'm going to be just fine.

Just to offer some reassurance!

Captain America is still on his way.
Tooling should be underway now on the big NCC-1701.
The 1964 GTO is also making good progress.

Now I'm closing this thread! Let's go find a model to build!

Dave
Why not take his advice and go build something.
 

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Anyone else read the "RCS purchases Play Mantis/Polar Lights" news piece in the current issue of Fine Scale Modeler?

Here it is quoted,

RC2, which changed its name from Racing Champions Ertl in early 2003, purchased Polar Lights' parent company, Playing Mantis, in June.

Indiana-based Playing Mantis is best known for its Johnny Lightning line of die-cast vehicles and Polar Lights plastic kits. Net 2003 sales for the privately held company totaled $28.5 million according to an RC2 press release. The purchase price was $17 million plus $2.5 million in common-stock shares and possibly as much as $4 million in cash based on meeting net sales targets for 2004 and 2005.

Playing Mantis was founded by Tom Lowe in 1994. Lowe, company president and sole shareholder, was to recieve all stock in addition to remaining with RC2 as an executive officer. With the change, Playing Mantis will focus on product developent and licensing. Rc2 will assume back-room operations, shipping, and accounting at its Dyersville, Iowa, facility, said Pete Henseler, R2C president.

The sale had an immediate effect on Playing Mantis. A few of its 50 employees were let go immeditately, and Lowe expected that to drop to 15 within 90 days

"The environment has changed in the last 10 years since I started," Lowe said of his decision to sell. "It's a dog-eat-dog world. there has been a consolidation of retailers, rising prices, you have a lot of mass merchandisers that are in major hurt."

"I saw the need. If I'm going grow this company, I'm going to have to merge with a larger company that has greater access to capital and larger distribution channels."

He says hobby retailers shouldn't see much difference in Playing Mantis.

Dealers should expect big things in the Johnny Lightning line, Lowe says.

"[RC2 is] commited to growing Johnny Lightning and Polar Lights. They saw great brand names and quality and fan base and they want to grow it."

Will the company eventually move to the Chicago area? "I hope not," Lowe says. "I don't see any reason for us to move. We will be in this building for another year. I will probably sell this building and then move to a smaller building."

In addition to the Playing Mantis purchase, RC2 recently bought The First Years, which makes products for toddlers.

RC2 plans to break ground for a 400,000-square-foot distribution facility in nearby Rochelle, Ill. The facility, which will create 42 new jobs, will be located next to Union Pacific's Global III Intermodal Facility, which the company says will reduce its shipping costs and improve efficiency.

"[Distribution] should be larger now," Lowe added. "We sold our products to mass and hobby stores and that kind of thing. But with their extensive distribution, you should see more Playing Mantis products out in the marketplace."

RC2 also consolidation offices in Chicago and Bolingbrook into its new Oak Brook headquarters.

-- Gregg Voss
Here's my comment: Out of a company of 50 employees they plan to lay off 35 within ninety days? Umm, might not some part of the company's success have come from those employees? Or were they just so much excelsior, that is to be discarded now that RC2 has "opened" the company and pulled out want they wanted?

Who are going to be the 15 employees that will remain? And how much were they involved and responsible for the development of the successful kits that PL has produced over the last two years?

What was Tom Lowe's reason for doing this before the 1/350 Movie era Enterprise was released? Wasn't the 1/1000 TOS Enterprise their single most profitable kit released so far? What percentage of the net 2003 profits were due to the 1/1000 TOS Enterprise? Wouldn't he have been able to get a MUCH better price for the company about 3 to 6 months after the 1/350 Movie Era Enterprise had been burning up the marketplace?
 

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Lecook, thanks for posting that piece from FineScale Modeler, but let's face the facts:


1. Playing Mantis was a privately held company, owned by Tom Lowe. What
part of "privately held" leads you or anyone else to believe they owe
anyone an explanation for anything they do with the company?

2. While we all dearly love Dave Metzner, and the other employees of Playing
Mantis, neither they nor the company have any obligation to tell us
what's going on. In fact, they may have been told not to "fan the flames"
on this issue by their new employers. The harder we push, the more in
jeopardy they are.

Let it go, please! Let's give RC2 a chance to show us what they are going to do.

Larry
 

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Oxidation Genius
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Well, so far they've shown they're gonna lay off 70% of the company.

btw, Dave said he's continuing to work "with" the compnay, not "for" it. careful wording there.

This year's RC2 catalog is 35 pages of die cast and 2 pages of old Ertl car models, with one or two planes thrown in. Ertl's own catalog used to be as big the whole RC2 cat. Can't wait to see next year's, with the additional 5 pages of toddler's toys, and maybe 1/2 page of whatever's left from the PL car stable. And if we're lucky, a Trek kit or two.

Bitter from past burns? yeah.
 

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John P said:
Well, so far they've shown they're gonna lay off 70% of the company.

btw, Dave said he's continuing to work "with" the compnay, not "for" it. careful wording there.

This year's RC2 catalog is 35 pages of die cast and 2 pages of old Ertl car models, with one or two planes thrown in. Ertl's own catalog used to be as big the whole RC2 cat. Can't wait to see next year's, with the additional 5 pages of toddler's toys, and maybe 1/2 page of whatever's left from the PL car stable. And if we're lucky, a Trek kit or two.

Bitter from past burns? yeah.
When it comes down to it, it's a business. Like it or not, it is, and it's a done deal. No ammount of whining is going to help, so get over it. You are not part of the 70% getting laid off, and so you have not been "burned". If you were selling your house you would look to get as much as you could for it. You wouldn't take $10,000 off of your price to be "nice". Why? You want as much out of the sale as you can get. This is the way you (and most people) do business.

What products they decide to produce is THEIR business. Who they decide to keep on staff is THEIR business. If you feel like they are doing this to you personally, then I think you need to rethink the situation.

I love the products that PL puts out, and I like the direction they started to go. I'm not going to sit here and blast anyone for making a business decision, or speculate what is going to become of it.

If Dave got laid off and HE says to stop bringing this up, why do you feel the need to keep doing so? Get a grip man!

Try having patience and wait to see what comes to be. All you're doing now is stirring a pot that has been stirred enough. I like this board, and I like seeing the work people who post here do. I don't want to see it ruined by people speculating or throwing accusations when they don't know if their rants are valid. Everything that has been said so far by RC2 in respect to their future plans has not been negetive. Why try to make it negetive?

You have more than enough kits that need building, so grow up and go build them. I don't think you'll run out no matter what happens.
 

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Oxidation Genius
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Excuse me all to hell for caring what happens within the industry of my primary hobby, as it slowly erodes away from things I like into things I don't.
 
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