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Old 01-11-2012, 09:12 AM   #1
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Default Phoenix Models workforce question?

A thought has just hit me: It's common knowledge that Phoenix has been plagued by quality control issues the last two years or so, everything from wings being put on skew, engines glued on at funny angles, undercarriages being uneven...

Does anyone know who their workforce is made up of? Now I know virtually NOTHING about the company except what I've seen on here and the fact that the models are put together in China, so I may be wrong in even questioning this, but do they maybe use child labour? Or mentally handicapped workers? I'm really not trying to instigate controversy, but perhaps this is the explanation why the HUMAN aspect of their assembly is so poor, while those aspects that are clearly MECHANISED (like the printing and moulding) are so outstandingly good?

As I said, I may be on completely the wrong track, but I'm just curious
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Old 01-11-2012, 09:48 AM   #2
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Default Re: Phoenix Models workforce question?

Can i add, not just what labour do they employ, but also info like where is the factory, the scale of company, family owned or coporate run, is it a HK company, how/where they source the materials, what is the profit ratio, how much they have to pay to Boeing for each Boeing planes they sell, who are the workforce at higher levels (any ex-real aircraft engineers), where did they get all the blueprints for the models, how they run it .... any good, detail info. on Phoenix

Any insiders, and retailers??
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Old 01-11-2012, 10:36 AM   #3
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Default Re: Phoenix Models workforce question?

You're not going to find answers to any of those questions here. The Chinese factories keep all this stuff very close to their chest! I don't think the quality issues is caused by 'child labour' or 'mentally-handicapped' workers, but simply the lack of skilled workers which have been lost to the Chinese electronics industry that pays more! All the factories are having the same problems as they struggle to keep skilled labour in the diecast factories!
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:00 PM   #4
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Default Re: Phoenix Models workforce question?

But I don't think you need to be skilled in any way to put a model aeroplane's engine on straight.

While I appreciate the loss of workers with higher skill levels to the big electronics manufacturers, I cannot see how even an unskilled person could be unable to do very simple things accurately like glueing on a wing or engine.

Thus my pondering on the use of child labour or cheap unskilled 'mentally challenged' labour? Either that, or just a total lack of motivation on the assembly workers' part, and no QC...?
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:22 PM   #5
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Default Re: Phoenix Models workforce question?

I think the term work-force is not really applicable for any of the diecast manufacturers except Herpa which is a major corporation and perhaps Dragon Wings which also is more diverse. Considering the revenue stream, the "Company" would not be able to support much more than an owner, one or two CAD specialists and a mould maker who all co-share the work. Everything else is likely sub-contracted to third parties. In the case of Chinese factories, they would die-cast anything from toy parts to ball bearings to airplane models. I doubt they would be dedicated to model airplanes if that's the question.
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:40 PM   #6
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Default Re: Phoenix Models workforce question?

I know from a trusted source that Phoenix workforce is entirely composed of workers with two left feet instead of hands. The company offers work to people who have little chance of finding a job due to their deficiency. Plus they get a taxe rebate for their good deeds.
Nasty side is quality control, but why so much nitpicking.
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:02 PM   #7
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Talking Re: Phoenix Models workforce question?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thamesradar View Post
But I don't think you need to be skilled in any way to put a model aeroplane's engine on straight. . .
No, I don't think one would, but understanding the concept of 'straight' . . . well that could be another matter. I also suspect these people are doing horribly mind-sucking repetitive jobs all day long, over and over, for little pay, etc, etc. It's easy to imagine a few of them slipping into a daze around 2:00pm or so, verging on dozing off -- about the same time many of us 'slip downstairs for a quick break and a latte'! No latte for those who build our shelf treasures!

Screwdriver sets, toddlers trikes, or diecast models . . . it's all the same to them. Another shift, and another chance to get fired.


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Last edited by Upkeep; 01-11-2012 at 07:16 PM. Reason: Add secret 'diecast factory' image.
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:55 PM   #8
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Default Re: Phoenix Models workforce question?

Actually I don't think age or physical ability (or disability) has anything to do with it and its rather much more simple. Observe the rate and speed at which PHX releases new models. Almost simultaneously as the 1:1 a/c rolls out of the assembly plant/paint hangar and enters service with the airline, PHX announces the model as a future release and next month its on the shelves. Its a race to beat the other manufacturers to get their product out first on the market. As SIA and ANA did with their 'we fly first' A380 and 787, PHX is aggressively pursuing their 'we make first' policy, hence their models (although still very good) will show signs of slap dash assembly.
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Old 01-11-2012, 11:09 PM   #9
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Angry Re: Phoenix Models workforce question?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thamesradar View Post
A thought has just hit me: It's common knowledge that Phoenix has been plagued by quality control issues the last two years or so
Quality control issues happens everywhere, not only with PHX models... This month I received models (a DC-4 and a 777-200) from two other great manufacturers with serious issues: both with one of its wings dettached from fuselage (on one of these models, the fuselage painting cracked when the wing felt down).
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Old 01-12-2012, 04:16 AM   #10
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Default Re: Phoenix Models workforce question?

But then there is always the possibility the wings got detached because of rough handling during shipping.

Its not the same really as if an engine is glued on skew in the factory/ lean-to/ shed where they are manufactured. Or if the undercarriage has been fitted so that the model leans 20 degrees to one side, or if the horizontal stabs are both at such different angles that they look like ailerons...

I understand completely that most manufacturers suffer fron QC issues,so I know what you mean, goodness knows, GJ have had their fair share too...

You'd never guess it ( ) but I'm actually a great fan of PHX's models,the detail is unparallelled in 1:400, it just frustrates me that so many of them are shoddily put together.

I was just pondering what the roof cause of the issues is. I think Upkeep has the answer there, mind numbing repetitive work and (probably) very little financial incentive to do a decent job of your assigned task.

Last edited by thamesradar; 01-12-2012 at 04:22 AM.
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:45 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thamesradar View Post
But then there is always the possibility the wings got detached because of rough handling during shipping.

Its not the same really as if an engine is glued on skew in the factory/ lean-to/ shed where they are manufactured. Or if the undercarriage has been fitted so that the model leans 20 degrees to one side, or if the horizontal stabs are both at such different angles that they look like ailerons...

I understand completely that most manufacturers suffer fron QC issues,so I know what you mean, goodness knows, GJ have had their fair share too...

You'd never guess it ( ) but I'm actually a great fan of PHX's models,the detail is unparallelled in 1:400, it just frustrates me that so many of them are shoddily put together.

I was just pondering what the roof cause of the issues is. I think Upkeep has the answer there, mind numbing repetitive work and (probably) very little financial incentive to do a decent job of your assigned task.
Aside from the mind-sucking job, many of these assembly people have probably never seen an aircraft, let alone have any interest in them. Certainly NONE of them have the interest level that we have.

As you mentioned, the kind of things that can be messed up can also be attributed to things like the hole where the wing goes into has left over manufacturing junk in it so it doesn't fit quite right and there is NO time to sort it, the landing gear strut that was just picked up in haste was already bent from exit from a machine and was missed and the quota of assembled units is being stressed by the minute, wheel assemblies rushed due to daily quota reinforcement -- again -- basically all sorts of human issues. Then there is the Q/C guy or gal half-numbed from seeing the same thing for hours on end. Frankly, I'm surprised we get as good as we get.

I don't envy these poor sods doing this sort of work, especially when there is a high chance of a straw-boss breathing down their necks issuing threats of being sacked constantly.

I'd say, some modelling skills are required for post-production fixes. Lord knows I've had to do enough minor fix-ups on various models in my collection.

My last major purchase was my Gemini 1:200 AF 777. On that model I needed to fix:
Major wing gap on starboard side
• 'Double' print window on port side by micro-surgical removal
• Straighten near-every wheel assembly pair and bogies
• Re-align fan blades and cone in starboard engine
• Micro paint touch-ups around the foreward edge of engine opening on port engine.
Although most of the 'fixes' were touch ups, looking at the model on display, nobody would know I did anything to it. (Sometimes I think I should have been a Fine Art Restorer ) I feel very sorry for the collector unable to do these, as the situation must seem infinitely more frustrating for them.
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:37 AM   #12
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Default Re: Phoenix Models workforce question?

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But then there is always the possibility the wings got detached because of rough handling during shipping.
NOPE! Both sellers always send me models in hard and well protected boxes, and in the case of DC-4, propellers or landing gears could be broken, too. I think manufacturers are using less glue than needed to fix the wings.

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Old 01-12-2012, 11:44 AM   #13
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Default Re: Phoenix Models workforce question?

More likely the cause is bad management, bad training, removing QC inspections in the name of cost reduction. Any factory regardless of location can make poor products if they're affected by the reasons listed.
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