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Alert! Is HOBBICO Next? Hobbico files for bankruptcy

Discussion in 'Giant Scale News' started by Xtreme_Power_RCS, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. konrad

    konrad 30cc

    This is indeed sad news. Not only for the ESOP employees put also for us the retail consumer. Horizon and now Hobbico are in tight financial straight.

    I always thought Hobbico was late to embrace the electric movement. And on the consumer (as apposed to the hobbyist) they have stagnated with little in the way of EPO foam junk, sorry volume sales.

    In the 80's we lost great service companies to Great Planes when Indy R/C gave up on the engine sales, Futaba of America handed over sales and service to Great Planes. I can say that as a result of pricing and service I stayed away from brands that were handled exclusively by Great Planes / Hobbico.

    In the early 80’s when I worked in the industry we avoided Great Planes distribution. I learned that it got so bad that around 2005 the employees had to buy (ESOP) Hobbico if they hoped to have their jobs survive. Now I do think it was a mistake to keep the tarnished company names after the ESOP.

    So what is left of the "big box" hobby distributors? Sig is a shadow of themselves, Horizon Hobbies is a shadow of themselves and now Hobbico didn't make it as an ESOP, and has filled Chapter 11. It looks like we might be going back to the good old days when we built our own equipment, radios, servos, and planes.

    I will say that as of late I’ve been quite happy with the customer support from all the Hobbico subsidiaries.

    I'm seeing that we will be nickel and dime to death with S&H charges as we are forced to go direct to suppliers.

    On the upside, we might see a resurgence of cottage industry suppliers. Great Planes/Hobbico tended to throttle innovators as Great Planes was the retail outlet. That is if they saw sales number getting large they ripped of the product idea and made their own Hobbico version, often of lower quality or performance.

    A silver lining to this black cloud might be that we are finally free of OS Engines in North America. This really is having to look deep for a silver lining.

    Friends don't let friends fly Nickel,
  2. Snoopy1

    Snoopy1 640cc Uber Pimp

    A silver lining to this black cloud might be that we are finally free of OS Engines in North America. This really is having to look deep for a silver lining.

    I do not understand what you mean by this statement.
  3. konrad

    konrad 30cc

    I'm sorry I thought all knew OS engines were junk when looked at as a high performance engine option. For sport flying their low compression ratios and loose fits make them adequate engines for beginners and sport fliers.

    It is hoped that with the collapse of Hobbico these will no longer be imported or distributed into North America.

    Not the intent of my post but I'll go into it superficial.

    OS Engines are poor engines as far as construction (machining, materials and design). Also they were despicable for their marketing trying to get folks to think that their ABN plating in their ringless aluminum piston designs were even on par with the true chrome plating of genuine ABC construction with their marketing term "ABC type" engine. An ABN/ABL engine performs nothing like a true high performance ABC engine. About the only commonality is that they both have ringless aluminum piston. It was this fraudulent marketing by OS and her agent Great Planes that undermined the sales of great ABC engines like Rossi, Webra , CMB. OPS, Picco, Irvine and a host of other providers to truly high performance engines. To be clear this has nothing to do with peeling problem of the sport FX series of engine.

    Then there was the warranty issue. OS/Great Planes would refuse warranty for the poor construction claiming that do to the high performance nature of the engine the 2 year warranty didn't apply.

    I'll try to post an example of this. The photo is showing an OS 90 Ducted Fan engine rear drum housing. Note that the machining is leaving a sharp corner. In high vibration areas sharp corners cause cracks. This engine is prone to cracking allowing the bridge to break away FODing (destroying the engine). Note this is a later model housing the first production run engine used a bearing insert making this bridge even weaker.

    The K&B housing has all the machined corners radiused and maintained the best bearing material for the high RPM environment of a ducted fan engine. OS Rear Drum housing.jpg KB Rear drum housing.jpg KB rear housing Top.jpg

    Attached Files:

  4. It is to me, where I get most of my enjoyment is from crafting miniature aircraft from plans and kits. I rarely purchase an ARF type aircraft. I do have several but they are the really traditional types sold by E Flite and are balsa and ply, essentially what I would build myself. Getting young people involved is critical. I think there is a latent desire among youngsters for more substantial activities not centered around "smart devices" and social media. I take a small balsa u control to the park thru out the summer and it always draws a crowd of urchins, I show them how the little motor runs (Cox 049) and start working on them to try their hand. After I get a taker then usually they all start lining up, I always try and get a dad or a mom on the handle too. Try it I guarantee if you have a little patience you will really have a satisfying experience.
  5. konrad

    konrad 30cc

    An argument can be made that Great Planes started the demise by under cutting the LHS with direct and discounted sales via Tower Hobbies. The destruction of the LHS is a long term factor in the financial difficulties of distributors.

    SIG & ACE were distributor but they (In the 70's & 80's) did not undercut the LHS, unlike Great Planes.

    I too use the EPO trainer as an enticement for anybody that shows interest in the hobby.
    pawnshopmike and Balsaboy like this.
    konrad likes this.
  7. Very valid point.
  8. AKNick

    AKNick 100cc

    To say OS engines are junk is a persons opinion, every company has a lesser/superior model engine. But bashing them while they are down.... come on
    I think OS made some freakin awesome nitro engines, but yea they had some bad ones/lemons too just like almost every company. We call this competition.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Snoopy1, Luchnia and Balsaboy like this.
  9. konrad

    konrad 30cc

    But the other OEMs had piped and high nitro engines that would out last any OS in the same environment.

    I was showing that OS had chosen poor machining practices in the making of the engine.

    I happy you were satisfied with the product you received from OS.

    I think objectively if you were to put the engine from OS on a dyno or even in an engine dominated contest you would have found that just about any of the Italian Stallions I mentioned would out perform the OS in both power and durability.

    My beaf with OS and Great planes was in the marketing and warranty of the product. I never expected an OS engine to be a fire breather (well not after I learned what was what in P&L design).

    I loved my OS Surpass 70 as a fine sport engine.

    OS/Great Planes had a very effective marking strategy. My hat is off to them for having the sales they did. Unfortunately I think it was as a result of dissipative, if not down right dishonest, marketing.
  10. konrad

    konrad 30cc

    That is true, but I tried to support my stance with an example. Any engine man who actually made engine in the time frame of the 2 stroke 70's through 90's can show where OS make piles and piles of junk. Yes, we owe OS a debt in bringing the Wankel and the four cycle to market. But as a provider of "high performance 2 strokes engines" not so much.

    To show that my "opinion" in made with more knowledge than most (not all), I made the engines that won the 89 NATS for FAI F3D Pylon. Probably the r/c class that puts the most demands on an RC engine.

    I did say I had to dig deep to find this silver lining. OS engines, heck the 2 stroke glow engine, is all but dead at the R/C field (market place). I used OS as an example of Great Planes disfranchising its customers by over selling (hype) a product and not supporting it by its warranty policies. Please not this was pre ESOP (2005). Great Planes (Hobbico) has made huge strides with regard to customer support and satisfaction.

    Sorry I tried to quote your post but it failed to post.

    All the best,
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018

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