Wingnut Wings Closing Down

Started by Nick, April 11, 2020, 02:05:54 AM

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Rumours are abundant on the internet that Wingnut Wings may be in serious financial trouble. With the global virus lockdown, their production line being in China, and the ban on sending post out of NZ Wingnut have had to close their doors temporarily. http://www.wingnutwings.com/ww/news
How long they can survive for without orders is the question. They are also a very very niche market that may be sold out.

An email has emerged from their General Manager, Richard Alexander stating "Nothing is finalized yet but it looks pretty grim. Very sad. I hope you understand that I have nothing else I can say at this time."

Peter Jackson should be able to back it up as he is the founder but he may not wish or be able to following the fraud situation from last year where Vintage Aviator had to shut down following the loss of $645,000. There are already rumblings in NZ about the amount of annual subsidy Peter Jackson's companies get - NZ $41m every year.


It has been announced on social media and various forums that Wingnut Wings and The Vintage Aviator are to close down and end production. This has yet to appear on the company websites.
Vintage Aviator build replica WW1 aircraft and props for movies.

From WW1 Models forum at https://forum.ww1aircraftmodels.com/index.php?topic=11013.0
Sad news from New Zealand today indicates Wingnut Wings has been closed down permanently and its assets are to be sold off.

Details are yet to be publicly disclosed but it's understood staff have been informed they no longer have jobs at Wingnuts, and all assets- the moulds etc- are to be disposed of.

Wingnuts, which was begun by Sir Peter Jackson in 2009, has like many NZ businesses been locked down recently due to the coronavirus shutdowns there.

The business issues affecting the decision to close the business permanently are not yet known but are not thought to be entirely due to the Covid 19 issue.

The Forum contacted Wingnuts' General Manager, Richard Alexander yesterday and sought comment. He responded that an official statement would be forthcoming.

When we approached him today on this matter, the email diverted to a message referring all future Wingnut Wings matters to Clare Olssen and Kate Leppard.

Clare Olssen is Chief Executive Officer of WingNut Films and Kate Leppard is the company's Chief Financial Officer.

We sought official comment from Clare Olssen and Kate Leppard. We asked about the status of the Wingnut Wings business, the employment status of staff and the situation re pending mail orders in their system.

There has been no response from the designated contacts for Wingnut Wings. Significantly Richard's name now no longer appears on replies from his official email address.

Update: late today Richard Alexander confirmed to the Forum that he is no longer at Wingnut Wings. Asked about the situation there he said "I am not able to comment at this time".

The Wingnuts website is still active and accepting online orders however due to the uncertainty about the company's status now, it is suggested Forum members consider whether to place any further orders with their online store until the company officially clarifies the status of its current pending orders.

It's understood there are also major job cuts at the Vintage Aviator (TVAL) too with all aircraft production stopped, most staff made redundant and the company retrenched to a maintenance team for the existing aircraft collection.

Sir Peter Jackson has made no comment on the closure decisions.


All very sad, although not in my modelling area but...........

Why all the secrecy? Situations like this produce the 'commercial confidence' phrase time and again, but what about the confidence of customers, either ones who've paid up, or ones who are about to?
Any aircraft can be improved by fitting longer wings, and/or a longer fuselage

...and I'm not a closeted 'Take That' fan, I'm a REAL fan! :)



Quote from: PR19_Kit on April 16, 2020, 09:43:48 AM
All very sad, although not in my modelling area but...........

Why all the secrecy?

Probably legal issues and the lawyers are almost certainly involved. Also you get situations where the people left to run the business on a day to day basis (and there is stuff that needs doing even in these situations) either don't have the legal authority to answer  questions or don't have the confidence.

Number of times it happened in the Steel Industry and the only way to find out what was going on was to take the people down the pub  :rolleyes: Off the record of course  ;)

Still all very sad and it will be interesting to see where the moulds end up.
Decals my @r$e!


There's stuff floating around purportedly from Wingnut that this is a temporary closure caused by the Covid 19 situation.

To be honest I'll just wait and see, although I'm not starting the two un-built Wingnut kits in the stash (I've another part started) just in case they leap in value  ;)
Decals my @r$e!


1) Partner company The Vintage Aviator was put on a temporary hiatus last year, or the year before,
because of financial irregularities, including an apparent embezzlement and other issues. The aircraft,
and engine, construction and restoration side of TVA operations has been suspended, only the
maintenance of the current aircraft in the collection will continue.

2) Jackson and WingNut Films are under audit/investigation regarding the NZ government film subsidy
monies they received over the years, evidently questions have arisen over how Jackson's company used
the funds.

3) The suspension of overseas postal services due to COVID-19 has left them with no way to fulfill orders.

4) No official statements have been issued by WingNut films as to WW being completely shut-down
and assets to be sold, these claims have all come from an unnamed source.

Interestingly as of 5 February 2020 control of WW was transferred from WingNut Films to the WingNut Group.

I'm left wondering if the virus just served to accelerate events regarding a corporate realignment that were
already in train that are related to the finance investigation.

The current notifications on the WW and TVA sites:

"Conspiracy theory's got to be simple.
Sense doesn't come into it. People are
more scared of how complicated crap
actually is than they ever are about
whatever's supposed to be behind the
-The Peripheral, William Gibson 2014


Those are the notifications I saw Jon, but at the end of the day I'll just wait and see what turns out at the end of all this, whenever that is.
Decals my @r$e!


This popped up on Facebook earlier. The writer has some insider information on Wingnut.



Informative, yes, but I hardly think that '......Wingnut Wings re-defined the global plastic model market.......' They may well have done that to the 1/32 WWI plastic model market, but they had little effect on other areas of the hobby.
Any aircraft can be improved by fitting longer wings, and/or a longer fuselage

...and I'm not a closeted 'Take That' fan, I'm a REAL fan! :)



Quote from: Nick on May 16, 2020, 02:47:25 PM
This popped up on Facebook earlier. The writer has some insider information on Wingnut.


Very dramatic.  There's a movie in that...


- Can't be bothered to do the proper research and get it right.

Another ill conceived, lazily thought out, crudely executed and badly painted piece of half arsed what-if modelling muppetry from zenrat industries.

zenrat industries:  We're everywhere...for your convenience..


To be honest there's nothing in that, that surprises me. It was never set up as a viable business and was never going to be the way it was run. It was always a hobby.

It needed a "sugar daddy" and as long as it had one with deep pockets  :thumbsup: however as soon as it no longer had one, for whatever reason, then it was going to be  :-\.

The management should of handled the situation better, particularly with regard to letting the staff know what was going on, but there was always an inevitability about it.
Decals my @r$e!


Hannants have announced that Meng Model are going to release the Fokker Dr.I.  No mention of the rest of the range.

QuoteThe Wingnut Wings Fokker Dr.1 is going to be released by Meng Models! Fokker Dr.I Triplane flown by Manfred von Richthofen, the "Red Baron" MMQS-002
I don't think it's nice, you laughin'. You see, my mule don't like people laughin'. He gets the crazy idea you're laughin' at him. Now if you apologize, like I know you're going to, I might convince him that you really didn't mean it.


A new model company called Kotare Models has been founded in NZ, with former Wingnuts staff prominent in it's team. No word on model subjects yet.

Website: https://www.kotare-models.com/
"We thank you, but this diversion is not true. Things never happened thus."

"Oh, but it IS true. Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are
the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot."

- Sandman: A Midsummer Night's Dream, by Neil Gaiman


Decals my @r$e!