I was not going to publish another lamentation of the present state of the business. Furthermore, I will not see it as a phenomenon limited to plastic soldiers. The present state can be seen at the list of new issues at the Plastic Soldier Review site, where it is obvious that the world crisis is hitting very hard now.
Never was there such a selection as today and the quality is going up and up--mostly. In scale modelling, have a look of things done by Tokei-Mura. Here comparing a recent HÄT set to a ten year old one also says the same. Today HÄT can compete with Zvezda who has now concentrated on small pieces, thereby entering another market with competitors like Valdemar and Nikolai. There evidently is an market for these very individualistic sets.
I saw the mail from Donald who writes that he is quite confortable and see no reason to be a missonary for the hobby. OK, that's fine with me. Neither do I--far too old for that. However, if I was 25 I would see if it was possible to create a new system of deliverance, e.g., local hubs to where orders could be sent, and imported for local distribution.
Remember that the big postal companies now-a-days seem much more interested in electronical mails and parcels and seem to consider conventional snail mail a nuissance. How is your local post service today compared for forty years ago (I know that many will not have any idea)? At that time there were two or three rounds a day when a postman would come. Today you might have to travel to get to your things as many local post offices have been closed down.
The opening questions was about the availability of HÄT. Maybe it is time for HÄT to reconsider their restribution politics. In scale modelling there must by now be scores of companies--big and small-that are selling from a home page of their own. Even Hannants can not carry everything.
It is complicated because that would also mean that there must be a central hub in Europe to escape the penalty tax on private import from outside of the EU (or is this only a Scandinavian phenomenon: We risk paying 25£ in extra tax on private import from, say the US or Canada).