SPECIAL: A Personal Note on the Future of TMD


I promised that I would explain a little of what has been going on with me the past few months.  Well, here you go — as promised: another of those posts where my closest friends will yell at me for saying too much 🙂

If you follow my posts, you are probably aware that I have been having a bit of a tough time the past few months.  I’m not sure I hid it very well, especially from those of you who know me best, but I have been struggling with some personal decisions.  I have known I have needed to make them for some time, but I have been trying to avoid making them.  But this never works well for me.  The more I push these sort of things off, the more I struggle.  Well, no more.  I can finally tell you that I am past this phase.  I can tell you this with confidence because I have made the decisions I needed to make.  Now I want to share some of what I have decided with you, because you are not just my customer, but also my friend.

This July will mark the 17th anniversary of TMD, in all of its many forms and names.  And while it may not seem like much of a milestone to most people, it will mean that I have been making my living in this business for half my adult life.  For whatever reason, this has struck me in ways that I had not anticipated.  I suppose you could say I have been going through a period of reflection.  The problem is, I have been looking backward, reflecting on mistakes and the loss of close friends, and coming to the realization that I have reached an age where I am going to start losing more and more friends with every year.  What’s more, I have been looking backward for too long.  I need to snap out of this, focus on the friendships I have and the people I serve (namely you) and start looking forward again.  I’ve known this for a while.  I just didn’t know what I wanted to do going forward, so I didn’t know how to do it.  Consequently, I got caught in a self-induced feedback loop.  But no more.  I have made some decisions, sets some new goals, and it is high time I start acting on them.

Now, before I tell you what is coming for me, and for TMD, I need to make some things perfectly clear.  I cannot tell you everything that will be coming.  Many of my decisions are very personal to me, and I don’t care to share that side of myself — especially on the internet.  This means that what follows may seem a little vague to some of you.  For that, I apologize, but it is the way things have to be.

Also, I need you to pay close attention to what I am saying in this post.  To the extent that I can share things with you, I am being totally honest and completely open with you.  I am writing what I mean and I mean what I have written.  Take me at my word!  Do not read anything else into this post.  If I do not say it, then don’t assume it because, frankly, if you do, I can almost guarantee you will be wrong and that will most likely lead to fodder for the rumor mill.  This hobby has enough of that.  I do not want anyone using this post as fuel for that fire — please.  So read closely and carefully, and take me at my word.  I’ve worked hard to make sure this reads the way I want it to, and I’d appreciate you honoring me enough to do this for me.

Next, let get two things out of the way:

First — CHANGES ARE COMING!  They will be significant, but they are a couple years down range.  Still, I am already working toward my new goal, and it may start to show as I get closer to that goal.  I just don’t want you to get alarmed because…

Second — I AM NOT CLOSING TMD!  I don’t think I will EVER ‘close” TMD.  Furthermore, unless someone offers me a LOT of money for it (i.e. at least one year’s gross sales), AND they convince me they will be as dedicated to quality as I have tried to be, I will never sell the company, either.   This pretty much guarantees I will never sell TMD so, as of right now, I am planing to run TMD until it dies a natural death (or I do — whichever comes first).  When that day comes where sales are no longer sufficient to cover the cost of operations, then TMD will just fade away.  But, until that time, I am going to triple my efforts to make the highest quality products I can make, and I will work hard to make sure they are a good value for your hard earned modeling dollar.

OK, now that we have that out of the way, let’s continue.

Like I said, there are some changes coming. First, I am going to move TMD completely in the direction of producing small details that can be used on any manufacturer’s kit.  There will be times where I have to make things for specific kits, but, as much as possible, my focus is going to move to detail items that can be made as ‘generic’ as possible.

At the same time, I am going to find some way to make the changes to the web site I know need to be made.  I have been talking about this for a long time, but now I am going to figure out how to make them happen.  This is because they are integrally linked with the rest of my plans for the future of TMD.  This means I must make them happen — and soon!

After that, I think it is time for me to try my hand at other challenges within the modeling industry.  It may finally be time to see if there is any interest in a “Tell All” book on how I make my molds and pour my resin.  Another idea would be how to make masters for mass production.  It is a very different game from just scratch building.  I’m not sure where I might go here.  I just know that I am interested in perusing the idea of publishing a few model-related books.

On a more somber note, the time has come to prepare for the exist of an old friend.  Karl van Sweden is fine, and the docs have him fixed up better than he has been in a long time.  But he’s been working with me for a while and though he has not said so directly, I know he is feeling the pull to go back to modeling for himself.  I don’t know if he remembers, but he and I spoke about this day several years ago: the day when he takes his leave from TMD.  Whether he remembers or not, the point is that I remember.  I love this man, and I owe him more than I can ever tell.  So, I think it is time for me to let him go.  I know he has a few more things he wants to finish — things he has promised several of you.  But I think we should all start getting used to the idea that Karl will not be cranking out masters much longer.

Which leads to my final revelation.  I am not going to be far behind Karl.  I am never going to leave modeling.  And, like I said, I will not close the doors on TMD until and unless you guys do or the Lord calls me home.  But I will not be on my master bench for many more years, myself.  I have set some conditions for when I will stop producing new masters and just start building for me.  Until those conditions are met, I am going to work like a mad man to finish the lines I want to see in the TMD catalogue.  They include all the details you could ever want or need for the Panther, Tiger I, Pzr IV, Stugs and German open tops.  If I have time, I’d like to do some work on the German half-tracks and armored cars, as well.  This will take some time, but the conditions for my own ‘release’ from the master bench will not take that long to meet.  This is a good thing.  It has provided me with something I have been lacking for a while now — motivation!  I am feeling driven again, and I am going to race the clock to finish as much of what I want to do before the conditions for my release are met.

However, on the day that my pre-set conditions are met, I will take my foot of the TMD gas pedal.  No matter where we are in the products I plan to and hope to make, when those conditions are met, I will put away the master hat and go back to being just another modeler.  As I will keep telling you, I WILL KEEP TMD RUNNING!  It just means that, at that point, there will not be many — if any – new masters coming from my bench.

I am not going to tell you what my conditions are.  Nor am I going to say much more about this.  I just felt I owed this much to you guys.  I get emails from you.  I know many of you sense that things are not right with me.  Well, now you can relax.  You know what has been bothering me, how I plan to deal with it, and you have an idea of what it will mean and how long it will all take.  So, until I meet the conditions which will free me to go back to being just another modeler, BE HAPPY!  The next few years are likely to be the most productive years TMD has ever seen!

That, and all of this means I am happy, motivated and looking forward to the future again — for the first time in a while.  So, if you can’t do it for any other reason, be happy for me. Please  🙂









4 responses to “SPECIAL: A Personal Note on the Future of TMD

  1. Cliff Leverette

    Except for the news about Karl this is good news to me! So keep on keeping on, you are a friend to all of us and the only people who are not who buy from you are those who have not taken the time to get to know you, and probably other modelers. To have a friend, you have to be a friend, which you are. I appreciate all of the time I have known you, even the off periods which we can make up for after the Lord calls both of us home. I never got the time to go with you to Benning and see the Tigers for an article that has still not been written for Landmark Scout, but I enjoyed your enthusiasm when I talked to you and it was my fault with work and all, that the trip didn’t happen. I also enjoyed trying to get you to do some interior stuff for the AFV Club Churchill, and like a true artist, you did not do what you didn’t have interest in but it was all my joy in talking to you about it. All that is said because you are a true friend and the “no’s” go with the “yes’s” in a real friendship. I have enjoyed everthing I have bought from you, I still have kits not used YET and some bits from other kits I bought for what I could do with them in general, and not for the intended purpose. Shoot, I even found one interior kit stashed away with the plastic kit that it is intended for that is so old that the old packaging is on the box!

    About Karl, I won’t speculate about him but he has done some fantastic stuff, and I do hope that before he stops doing masters that he will attempt that odd (that is, not seen often in photos) 50 cal. machine gun mount for an antiaircraft infantry stand, the one that Tamiya did such a half way job on. If I need to send the photo again, let me know. But even if it is a no, I still respect Karls masterful work!

    Well, I could go on and on about what a brother-friend you are to me, but I am going to stop now and spend some quality time with my wife and my Border Collie Cait the wonder dog. Like you, they are both Gifts from Jesus!

  2. Okay, sounds great . You must make it work for you. That in turn works for us.
    So, sounds like you have a plan ,attainable goals and that’s the way it needs to go .
    I understand about both you and Karl ;this started as a hobby, became a business and now, slowly returning to the hobby part . I look forward to what’s coming and the old favorites .
    You’re doing the what has to be done.

  3. Good for you Joe. Knowing which fork in the road to take is more than half the battle. I haven’t bought much from you because I am a super slow builder but loved what I have bought. For what it’s worth, TMD is the only production company/seller that I have bookmarked. Looking forward to the panther and hopefully some tiger and sherman stuff. Good luck on whatever journey your path takes you.

  4. Joe, a warrior till the end, whatever that may be. With both a vision and passion, what could go wrong?

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