Friday, February 19, 2010

Interview with John Pisani of Models56

When you have your own model company, you can model your personal car - John Pisani's FC Station Wagon.

John Pisani – Models56.

When did you start Models56?

In 2006 because no one built models I liked, we started with the XB Falcon Coupe Diecast street machine in 1/24th but Oz is a 1/18 town of box collectors.

You started out with caricatured Falcon Coupes in diecast, why the shift to resin for the current range? 

The cost of tooling is lower.

I note that although they are resin, they are made in China - what are the reasons for this?

China is the only place available; if we were to build the cars here they would be around $250.00 per car. Resin has the advantage of very low production costs as no tooling just patterns

The GTR-X sold out quickly. did you think before you commenced that project that the response would be so good ?

Yes, it was a world first as are most of our cars. Feedback was 10/10.

The Armco models range has focused on 'niche interest' models such as 70's touring cars and super sedans. What was the decision making process that led to these particular models?

No one would produce them in diecast, meaning they would probably never be made.

The FC Holden Station wagon is a beautiful representation of that car. Did you use any particular car as a reference?

Yes – mine!

Occasionally when making a scale model you have to make a decision between human perspective of a car, and accuracy. Were there any compromises on the FC Holden Station Wagon or McCormack Charger? 

Yes sometimes accuracy gives way to appearance. The smaller the car the harder to get the shape right so yes we agonise over this point.

Are you likely to do recolours of the Holden wagon in the mode of Trax, Biante and Classic Carlectable ?

There is very little chance of that, and if so it would be several years away, and we would also add accessories to keep the models unique.

The presentation when you open the box is first class. Is that a conscious decision to ensure that people view these as high quality collector models? 

Yes only 500 people in the world will own a set of our cars so the presentation has to suit the rarity of the product.

Your range is lower in volume and higher in cost than other Australian 1/43 models. Do you think that your volume will grow to match those of the big three?

No, 500 is where we are staying we want exclusivity not volume. 

Do you make the castings yourself or contract that out? Who else is involved with designing the castings? 

We have several pattern makers here and abroad but will not disclose names.

Can you explain the process involved in getting a resin car built?

There is lots of correspondence from owners and drivers and reference material consulted on paint and trim colours etc (for each car). Then a pattern is hand shaped from resin. This is sent to china and they do a master, then we do all the corrections, send it back to China to have another master made and then correct again, if required, then go into production.

Recently Trax had a problem with their Chinese manufacturer leading to collector complaints about cars arriving with parts adrift. Have you had similar problems?

No problems at all. We have very stringent mandatory QC checks that we have initiated before they can proceed to the next step, and this is easier with small volume runs.

Do you find customers just buying one particular car, or are your customers buying cars on your reputation now?

Yes the repeat business is very strong regardless of subject. Owning one of 500 in the world has appeal.

You sell the 1:24 Falcons in retail shops, but I haven’t seen the Armco Range. Are they only available from you directly?

Yes the Armco range is only available from we do not want to retail to shops.

What have you got planned for the future?

I would have to kill you but seriously we are going to stay on the same path but several new lines will appear this year that will get tongues wagging. At present the Gardner Corvair and Thomson VW are in production.

Is there a car you would like to make but cant justify financially? 

63 Studebaker GT Hawk, but I will do it.

What does John McCormack think of the Charger model? 

John loved the car.

Thanks to John Pisani for answering my questions. You can buy Armco models from the Models56 website. Tell them you read about them here!

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