It's no secret that the plastic model hobby has been dying off in America for a while now. Part of that is because modern technology has created so many new distractions for people who don't want to put time into building something. Another problem is the complete lack of innovation in the model kits being sold in America. I just want to warn you advance that while this article is about Star Wars merchandising I will be going off the path for a few paragraphs to set the situation up.
In Japan plastic models are a thriving industry with amazing technological advancements that allow builders to make amazing kits out of the box. Many of these model kids rival American toys. The crown jewel of the Japanese Plastic Model industry is the Mobile Suit Gundam kits from Bandai.
Gundam kits are so popular that they have their own term GunPlaMo which stands for Gundam Plastic Model. The kits are all snap together so they don't require paint and they have amazing pose-ability and sculpting. The kits are so well designed that an average person with no knowledge of the Japanese language can make an outstanding model easily in a handful of hours. Bandai started selling Gundam models in American toy stores in the mid 00's but weren't able to get a secure foothold because Gundam was not a household name in America like it was in Japan. They eventually gave up the American Dream.
Let's flash forward to 2014 when Lucasfilm granted Bandai the license to start using their innovative modeling technology to create model kits for Star Wars. They created a bunch of prototypes, and actual production kits, of everyone's favorite Star Wars characters and ships to be sold in Japan.
There are a lot of web companies, like HLJ.com, whose sole business model is to sell these amazing Japanese kits to people around the world who don't live in Japan. They had sold excellent, but more traditional, glue together Star Wars kits from companies like Fine Molds for over a decade. Once Bandai took over the license they started selling these amazing kits to people around the globe and they sold like candy. Until now.
Disney has decided to enforce a licensing model that means these kits can only be bought and sold retail in Japan. If you are in America and you want to buy one you are going to have to go to scalpers and probably pay through the nose.
I am not sure if Disney is doing this to protect Revell who sell their own line of inferior kits or to protect Hasbro who has been selling increasingly inferior toys. Honestly I think they would be smarter to dump Revell and market the Bandai kits globally. There isn't a big market for the Revell kits because they are rightfully seen as the inferior junk they are. If Disney started pushing these amazing model kits from a very well known American franchise to American retailers they could very likely revive the whole plastic model market in America. They could also make a LOT more money for the license they they are likely to get from Revell.
But for some stupid reason Disney is deciding they know what American Star Wars fans want to buy more than the actual American Star Wars fans. So they flood us with a bunch of mediocre junk and then stand shocked when people aren't rushing to buy it. That in itself is bad enough but then to prevent us from buying stuff we do want to buy by not making enough of the items (action figures), or not letting us buy them at all like these models, is just asinine.
Disney. PLEASE do yourself, and us, a favor and beg George to show you how to sell Star Wars stuff to fans.