Thursday, April 10, 2014

Squadron's new flyer

By now you've probably heard that Squadron is moving to a paid subscription for their monthly flyer, and you've also probably heard -- and contributed to -- the subsequent chatter about the value of the flyer. Is it worth $10 per year?

I just received my first issue (received unexpectedly, without having subscribed) and thought I'd do a quick review of sorts, for those of you who haven't received one, and offer my thoughts on its value.

At first glance it looks like Squadron's old flyer, with 64 pages, all color. It differs in several respects:

  • A three page feature by Jef Verswyvel show's his build of the Encore 1/32 Blue Max Pfalz. It's a very good article, as good as anything you'd see in FineScale Modeler, and includes 16 in-progress photos and three of the completed model.

  • A one-page Customer Showcase gives us five pages of Diego Quijano's Eduard 1/48 MiG-21. You may have seen it on one of the forums or directly on Diego's blog, DQ Scaleworks. If I were inclined to worship multiple dieties, Diego would come in at number two!

  • Magazines are now prominently featured right inside the flyer, which makes sense given that magazines generally contain time-sensitive information. Well, such as it is with the internet at our fingertips. A wise move, though, because many of us still buy magazines despite daily visits to Hyperscale, Armorama, etc.

  • There are several prominent, full-page ads that feature new or upcoming releases, presumably to entice us and drive future purchases. This April edition includes these types of ads for Meng's upcoming 1/24 Ford F-350, ICM's 1/35 ZiL-131, and several of Trumpeter's newest 1/35 releases.

  • Six pages feature new aircraft releases using photos that are about twice as large as what we're used to seeing. Other new releases, accessories, and sale items are featured using the regular-sized images and descriptions.

  • Ditto for armor, but with only three pages featuring the larger images. New ship releases are featured on two pages (Hobby Boss 1/350 Kursk!) One page is used for cars and one for space/sci-fi. The remainder of the flyer shows books and supplies using the old format.

  • The flyer closes with a one-page feature showing Squadron's very first flyer, though oddly the editor doesn't give us a date.

At the end of the day (to use an annoying cliche) is Squadron's new flyer worth it? It's hard for me to be objective because I've been a customer for nearly 30 years and I'm fond of the company. Squadron is a leader in the industry and many years ago set a standard that other mail order shops have sought to meet and exceed (and some would argue that others have done that). Would I pay 84 cents for the flyer? Probably not, but I don't think we'll have to. I have a feeling that Squadron will continue to send it to those who order regularly from them. The gods know my money has played a significant role in the Carrollton, Texas economy for quite a long time!

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