As the owner of Retro Models, I would now like to provide evidence of how I consider my business as having been a victim of third party malpractice in various forms.
In the second section of the home page, I presented an overview of such suspected malpractice, most notably by Mr. Andrew Klein of AeroClassics and Western Models.
On this webpage I shall expand upon this and I will provide the necessary evidence (view evidence button below) so that I am not accused of misrepresentation. I will then leave the readers to form their own opinions just like I did.
I have already stated on the home page, that the AeroClassics Boeing 720B and Douglas DC-8 moulds in 1:200 scale originated through me. I was the one who conceived this idea.
For the DC-8 mould, which was in priority to the B720B mould, I conducted the initial market research, initial plans, details of airline liveries to be produced, etc. Even though I was in direct discussions with other manufacturers in China, I preferred to collaborate with Mr. Klein who specialised in an identical market, i.e. models of past airliners. After exchanging proposals for the the 1:200 DC-8 and B720B moulds during June 2014, I travelled to Shanghai in China to meet with Mr. Klein. I incurred my own travelling expenses. During my visit to China, Mr. Klein and I agreed to go ahead with the DC-8 mould. We also tentatively agreed on the B720B mould. This was supposed to be a joint venture between us.
Whilst plans were still tentative for the B720B mould, Mr. Klein and I agreed that both businesses would produce 1:200 scale DC-8 models from the mould according to their chosen airline liveries (Please see attached Exhibit 1). The plan was to divide the possible liveries 50:50, where Mr. Klein would earn profits from his chosen liveries, and I would from mine. Once the moulds were complete, the models would then be produced by Mr. Klein's factory in Hangzhou, China. I then left China after these discussions.
Mr. Klein then had a hernia operation, so I waited until 26th August 2014 before sending him an email to determine if he was now in a position to finalise at least the contract for the DC-8 mould, if not for both the DC-8 and the B720B moulds. To my joy, Mr. Klein immediately replied to confirm that both moulds had made brisk progress and that the financial details for the legal document will be forwarded in a week.
After waiting for three weeks, on 17th September 2014, I sent an email to Mr. Klein to enquire about the DC-8 and B720B contract, but I never received a reply. After another email the next day, I stopped sending further emails, suspecting that Mr. Klein would not be keen on the project as his speciality was 1:400 scale models and not 1:200 scale ones.
In November 2014, i.e. after nearly three months of not receiving any emails from Mr. Klein, I learnt from outside sources that Mr. Klein not only had the 1:200 scale DC-8 tooling completed but he also produced its first model, a Pan Am DC-8.
So whilst Mr. Klein kept me waiting for a legal contract for the DC-8, supposedly to buy time, he was producing the DC-8 mould just for himself. Mr. Klein unilaterally decided to abandon plans for a joint venture without notifying me.
Still hoping that Mr. Klein would produce DC-8 models from liveries he wasn't interested in, I maintained good relations with him. On 6th December 2014, I congratulated Mr. Klein on the DC-8 mould and the Pan Am DC-8 model.
On 5th February 2015, having learnt of Mr. Klein's car accident, I sent him an email to show my concern, which he duly appreciated in his immediate reply. Again, Mr. Klein promised to produce 1:200 DC-8 models of aircraft that he was not keen on, especially the UAT DC-8. However, despite pleading with him for a further six years, Mr. Klein never kept his promise.
I have provided evidence of these events in the attached Exhibit 2 which shows the emails between us during the relevant period. I have redacted certain sections of these emails in order to comply with privacy laws.
I have also presented the TAI and UAT DC-8 stories in the section that follows the next one, which is about recent events where Mr. Klein behaved inappropriately. Mr. Klein's behaviour caused me mental health anguish and distress.
This latest episode is what finally led me to realise that Mr. Klein is not the person I should trust.
The events presented below are backed up by evidence.
Please click the view evidence button either above or below.
Feeling deceived, cheated and betrayed by Mr. Klein's dealings of the DC-8 and B720B moulds is one matter but another matter is my own Tupolev TU-104 mould that cost thousands to produce but which has been lying mostly idle for seven years now.
I do not wish to discuss events regarding the TU-104 mould, at least for now, but I will say that finding a suitable manufacturer for models using this mould has been difficult.
In order to revive the TU-104 mould, I again turned to Mr. Klein for his advice and cooperation. Mr. Klein kindly offered to produce models from the mould and then to convert it to a TU-124 mould.
Whilst Mr. Klein kept me waiting for a reply to my private message (sent via a forum), I also sought other alternatives by way of contacting Chinese mould and model manufacturers that advertise on www.alibaba.com and www.made-in-china.com.
Of the manufacturers that I shortlisted and contacted, there was one manufacturer with whom my communication resulted in a sad episode of misunderstanding and false accusations by Mr. Klein. That manufacturer goes by the name of Hangzhou Xingcheng Airplane Model Products Co. Ltd, and it advertises on www.alibaba.com. Their website is: https://hzxingcheng.en.alibaba.com
On 14th June 2021, through Alibaba's chat feature, I had a conversation with Ms. Ada Wu, the sales manager for Hangzhou Xincheng Airplane Model Products ('HXAMP'). The HXAMP website showed (and still does show) many aircraft models that were available in 1:200 and 1:400 scales that could be customised into any airline livery.
According from what I learnt, HXAMP also deal in aircraft mould manufacturing and modification. Over the next three days I chatted with Ms. Wu with a view to placing an order for her company's own 1:400 scale models. I also asked Ms. Wu if her company could have models produced for me from my own TU-104 model, and then to have the mould modified into a TU-124 mould.
Ms. Wu agreed to produce customised 1:400 scale models for me, and she asked me which liveries I wanted these in. On 16th June 2021, I sent Ms. Wu an email with my chosen liveries, and these included a Cathay Pacific B707 in 1:400 scale. By a coincidence, the next morning I learnt that AeroClassics had just announced the same model, so I requested Ms. Wu to cancel my request for this model. At that time I had no idea that Ms. Wu would be aware of the Cathay Pacific B707 announcement, and that she herself would turn out to be Mr. Klein's own factory manager!
During my chat with Ms. Wu on 17th June 2021, I asked her whether she had produced any models for AeroClassics as almost all models advertised on her website seemed to be past and present AeroClassics models. If Ms. Wu would have answered 'yes' to this question, then I would not gone ahead with my planned order, because I did not want any conflicts with AeroClassics.
If Ms. Wu had answered 'no' to my question, then that would have been a different matter. Ms. Wu actually dodged my questions by not answering them.
Before embarking on aircraft model production I was warned that in China there was a risk of limited edition models being overproduced without the knowledge of the customer and then those excess models would be sold on eBay and Alibaba. I have seen this happen with my own 1:200 scale models.
I have also seen limited edition products being "sold" on Alibaba in large quantities. Examples of these are rare sold out Lego sets which are never really in stock.
I suspected that Ms. Wu's company was advertising models that were not in stock. Indeed they are mostly AeroClassics models, some of which are totally sold out for years, and so selling something not in stock and receiving money for it would be fraud. The 1:400 scale BOAC VC-10 was one such example of a limited edition model that was long sold out, yet available in bulk quantities on this website. There are many other similar "sold out" models that are available in huge quantities. I have attached screenshots of the HXAMP website and photos of these aircraft models in Exhibit 3. I hope that HXAMP will be honest enough not to take down these parts of their website after they read this webpage.
If was wrong to suspect Ms. Wu's company in offering products that were not in stock, and that her company did genuinely have in stock or were able to reproduce the AeroClassics models, and that too in huge quantities, then that would be a matter of even greater concern, i.e. the likelihood of these potentially mass produced models being open to reproduction. The question would then be whether such models should be marketed as limited edition models or at least perceived to be as such.
On 17th June 2021, I sent a private message to Mr. Klein via one of the forums to warn him that someone was apparently selling AeroClassics models that either didn't exist or were unauthorised clones of AeroClassics models. I then sent another similar warning message to Mr. Klein but he still did not reply.
On 19th June 2021, in order to alert Mr. Klein and model collectors, I posted my suspicions on a model collectors forum. Within a few hours my post was deleted; and when I queried this with the forum moderator, he informed me that he did so because of a potential lawsuit.
It was only then did I suspect Mr. Klein to be involved with Ms. Wu. I then sent Mr. Klein a private message to express my disbelief and disgust at Mr. Klein's reaction. That evening Mr. Klein replied to confirm that Ms. Wu was indeed his factory manager. Instead of thanking me for alerting him, Mr. Klein accused me of trying to bypass himself by contacting his factory manager directly in order to secure a lower quote for my TU-104 mould modification. This was very heartbreaking and I sought to clarify the misunderstanding, but Mr. Klein never replied to my further private messages that also contained my apologies for any misunderstanding (Please see Exhibit 4). Mr. Klein should have been apologising, but instead I was the one apologising for no fault of mine.
I have attached these private messages as Exhibit 5 for evidence. It is in public interest that I disclose these private messages. In any case, these messages are private only for the purpose of the aircraft model forum, and not otherwise.
My Alibaba chats (see attached Exhibit 6) with Ms. Wu serve as evidence that Mr. Klein was falsely accusing me, perhaps in order to cover himself from being exposed in what I consider as various unethical business practices. One such practice would be to produce or to reproduce "limited edition" items in bulk quantities and having these marketed through the 'back door'. I may be wrong in my observation, but this is the way I interpret this.
Returning to the possibility of mass produced and reproduced aircraft models, I wish to point out my observations of the HXAMP website. Some of my most noteworthy observations were as follows:
These observations, especially the last one (Air New Zealand DC-8) warrant an investigation, because if what appears through the observations is true, then the collector who has paid US $584.11 for a mass produced model would have been conned.
If the advertised AeroClassics models, branded as unlicensed XC or XingCheng models, are sold by their thousands, as the case appears to be, then airlines and aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing stand to lose huge amounts through lost licensing fees.
Mr. Klein and his factory manager Ms. Wu may well have genuine reasons for producing and advertising models in such a way through the HXAMP website, but I am very suspicious. I shall leave this to the readers to reach their own conclusions.
My obsession with the TAI and UAT DC-8 models has led me to become my own victim.
The TAI DC-8-30 was the first airliner that I ever flew in, whereas the UAT DC-8 was flown frequently by my late grandfather on his business trips between France and Africa.
As a model collector, and especially for sentimental reasons I have been begging Mr. Klein for these two models, especially in 1:200 scale. My DC-8 mould idea was also motivated by the prospect of having these two models finally produced.
For seven years now, I have been pleading with Mr. Klein for these two models. This is despite the fact that my DC-8 joint venture with Mr. Klein was abandoned unilaterally by Mr. Klein. Even after Mr. Klein secretly decided to go his own way with the DC-8 mould, he assured me that he would produce not just the TAI and UAT DC-8 models (the latter in both 1:400 and 1:200 scale) but also other airline liveries from the DC-8 mould that he was not interested in nor were being commissioned by others. These promises were made from time to time but for unknown reasons, Mr. Klein never produced those two models, not for my Retro Models brand, not for his own AeroClassics 200 brand and not for any other third party.
I fail to understand why in seven long years of possessing the DC-8 mould, Mr. Klein has not produced the TAI and UAT DC-8 models in 1:200 scale. In fact, the UAT DC-8 has not been produced in either 1:400 or 1:200 scale.
I have offered Mr. Klein retail prices for large wholesale quantities of the TAI and UAT DC-8 models but despite guaranteed profitability Mr. Klein has turned a blind eye.
At the same time, Mr. Klein has produced three airliners from his 1:200 DC-8 moulds for a Dutch retailer by the name of Aviation Megastore. The three Aviation Megastore models include the KLM DC-8, the Martinair DC-8 (in two liveries) and a relatively unknown Belgian airline called Pomair.
If a Pomair DC-8 deserves to be produced and offered to nostalgic collectors, then why don't the TAI and UAT DC-8 models deserve the same treatment? It was these two airlines that merged to form UTA which was then acquired by the French giant airline, Air France. Mr. Klein has produced several UTA and Air France models in both the 1:400 and 1:200 scales but no UAT models at all.
Whether Mr. Klein produces 1:200 TAI and 1:200 and 1:400 scale UAT DC-8 models is his wish, although these two models should have been part of my joint venture.
The conclusion I have reached is that Mr. Klein enjoys playing with other people's emotions, and the feeling of power, control and superiority that he receives through this, provide him great pleasure. I may well be wrong, but this is the way I see it.
Mr. Klein's apparent conduct has hurt me mentally. I am taking anti-depressants and I feel hurt at the allegations Mr. Klein made against me. I am contemplating legal action against Mr. Klein for personal injury, as well as for depriving me of income from the DC-8 and B720B projects that he took on without consulting with me.
Mr. Klein also owes me an apology in an open public forum, particularly in view of his allegations regarding my communication with Ms. Wu, who to my disbelief turned out to be Mr. Klein's own factory manager.
We shall not continue to let this model collecting hobby nor any potential future manufacturers nor any collectors such as myself to suffer anymore.
We shall lobby with the relevant authorities, the airlines, the aircraft manufacturers and those in charge of distributing aircraft models produced through unfair, unethical and illegal means to put a halt to such activities.
We are also considering other actions such as 'whistle blowing' of unethical and illegal activties as well as other wrongdoings that we do not yet wish to fully disclose.
Our aim is to clean this aircraft model producing industry from unfair, unethical and illegal activities so that the present honest manufacturers and future entrants to this industry are all able to compete on an even playing field.