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31-December-2006

REVIEW OF 2006 

Itís that time of year again when I usually run over the events of the last twelve months and summarise the high and low points in a few short paragraphs. This year I have decided to break with tradition and do something a little bit different, so different in fact that some of you may be shocked by what you are about to read. After five long years of regularly updating the website I have decided to call it a day Ė this is the last piece I will ever write.

Since itís inception way back in September 2001 it was my sole aim to bring you the most impartial and up to date information that I possibly could about Minichamps models and I think I have managed to achieve that, the popularity of any website is of course measured by the number of Ďhitsí and as weíve now had in excess of half a million I think it proves the point. Whilst I have enjoyed producing the website to be perfectly honest with you I think it has now run its course. In addition Iíve now lost the passion I once had and all interest in anything Paulís Model Art has gone completely which Iím sure some of you may have already gathered due to the fact that Iíve been selling off my entire collection on eBay over recent months. 

Why the sudden change of heart you may ask?  It was as far back as last Christmas that I decided to Ďthin outí some of my collection in order that I could concentrate solely on Formula1 however by March it suddenly dawned on me that I wasnít enjoying it any more, there were just too many models being released and most of them looked the same anyway.  Also I realised that a large proportion of my time was spent hunting down so called Ďrareí items, models I was collecting just to keep my collection up to date and not because I liked them which of course has to be the main focus for any collector. 

The rod that finally broke the camels back for me was the announcement of all the ĎSuper Agurií and umpteen Ďthird driverí items, basically models of non-descript teams and drivers produced just to generate even more revenue from people like me. I remember driving home from a swap meet one Sunday afternoon and thinking Ďwhat really is the point?í and felt as though I and everyone else were being had for a mug. If Iím perfectly honest when I looked at my collection Iíd say that 85% of it had never even seen the light of day since it was purchased. The models were photographed; indexed then packed away out of sight; that meant basically I was collecting a list of models rather than doing it for enjoyment. 

Once I sold my first model any emotional attachment had gone and it made my mind up once and for all, I decided it all had to go. Iíd be lying if I said I hadnít enjoyed it but there is a point with anything in life when changes have to be made and if you are not enjoying something you once loved then there is little point in carrying on in my book.  It was a comment my wife made that began me thinking when she said something along the lines of Ďthatís not a collection but an obsessioní and she was perfectly correct as she so often is. Iím sure there are several of you sat there now reading this who can identify with that.  Also the collection had become so large by this point there was never any likelihood of it ever being out on display in its entirety.

As she so often does my wife made another interesting comment that was just the sort of encouragement I needed at this point Ďwhy donít you just collect the special models'. Now as we all know that is easier said than done with the rate that these so called special models are churned out so I decided to break away entirely from everything Paulís Model Art as I felt as though I had been there, done that and worn the tee shirt.  A further conversation with my friend Richard finally made my mind up once and for all, I was now going to collect what I really wanted to collect so from now on my new collection will consist purely of hand built Ferraris of models I actually like - what I should have started to collect from the outset way back in 1998. 

So thatís the basis of the new collection, 1/43 hand built Ferrariís from the 1950ís to the present day whether itís F1, road or race cars from BBR, MR, Make Up or Auto Barn.  The only other criteria being that the new collection will be displayed in its entirety once I get round to it.  Whilst finance has never been an issue with my collecting habits itís hard to believe that now Iím actually spending less buying hand builts than I ever was with the Minichamps which puts things into perspective doesnít it?  If Iím perfectly honest I couldnít be happier as now Iím really enjoying the hobby again doing something totally fresh.  

The one remarkable thing that has always puzzled me ever since I started this venture is the total lack of interest or support from anyone at Aachen, not once has anyone in any official capacity at HQ ever emailed, acknowledged our existence, provided any information or confirmed or denied anything weíve ever reported. Yes I know totally bizarre isnít it, even a thank you would have been nice.  Iíve said this numerous times in the past but the success of the site was all down to you and you alone nobody else.  So to all those readers all over the world who have emailed news items and sent photographs over the last five and a half years thanks guys, something that I mean from the bottom of my heart it really is appreciated even if nobody at the factory does give a toss. 

Since I started I have met literally hundreds of people however a few stand out from the crowd and are worthy of a special mention so Iíd like to take this opportunity to say ĎThank Youí to a few people. The first goes to my old mate ĎTurbo Terryí whoís enthusiasm can only be described as infectious, thanks mate for the input and support over the last few years. The next goes to a real nice guy called Kyle who lives somewhere on the other side of the ocean, thanks for your encouragement and support itís been appreciated. And last but by no means least my old pal ĎBoutsení a guy in the true super collector category if ever there was one and someone who has done it all as far as Minichamps is concerned, your input and help with my collection was invaluable.  The others know who they are so Iíd like to say a big collective ĎThank Youí to you guys too. 

As far as people in the business are concerned a few 'good guys' are worthy of a mention.  The first goes to Sue and Doug at Triple R Models, two of the most decent and honest people Iíve ever met, thanks for your help with my collection that once was! There is also Andy and Brian (or is it Brain?) at ĎOn the Shelfí, Martin at Motorsport Products and Andy Howdle too.  On the other side of the pond thereís Ralph at Grand Prix Miniatures and Derrick at Toronto Motorsports.  And to all the shysters and rip off merchants in the business I'd just like to say I'm a firm believer in the old adage 'what goes around comes around' so some day I hope you get what's coming to you with added interest on top.   

What about the website you may ask?  Unlike some Iíve never been the vindictive type so I wonít be wiping it and wouldnít achieve anything by doing so therefore Iíve decided to keep it for posterity.  So what does the future hold?  Well from reading a number of postings on various message boards over the last twelve months I get the feeling Iím not on my own and more people are feeling the same as me and have grown tired of it all, that is also evident from the lack of emails Iíve been receiving from collectors over the last six months.  The interest is no longer there for a lot of people and I suppose itís become all too predictable now.   

Similarly the heavy-handed tactics employed with the collectors who sold off the odd converted model on eBay left a bad taste in my mouth and should never have happened.  On many occasions Iíve bitten my tongue however as you can gather I donít give a toss any more about what certain people think and if they donít like reading the truth then they know what they can do.  Itís strange that several of you have pointed out there appears to be one rule for one and one rule for everyone else as far as selling converted models on eBay is concerned, live outside of Germany and you receive a nasty letter in the post otherwise itís business as usually Ė stinks doesnít it?  I for one no longer wish to promote or be associated with this Ďbrandí if thatís what you call it or a company who treats its customers and dealers in such a manner so Iím signing off once and for all.  

All I will say is I will now be pursuing new projects and have something in the planning stage at the moment that I hope to get off the ground sometime in 2007.



Minichamps Collectors GB News Archive



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