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Crossiant Oliver

The Weirdest Instructions I've ever seen

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The thing about instructions is that they tend to make perfect sense to the person drafting them up.

 

On one hand, they become more beginner-proof by breaking them down to modern-Lego style instructions where only a few pieces are added per step, but as the modeller becomes more capable and wants to do more (like painting it properly) having the bits inside the fuselage spread out of 4 separate pages and 16 steps makes it increasingly difficult to comprehend and plan for.

 

Something as simple as identifying everything that needs to be sprayed aluminium or some interior green becomes a planning exercise in itself of sifting through pages and pages looking for parts, and even then it's not clear how one part interfaces with another until many steps later.

 

The step-by-step(by-step-by-step-by-step-by-step) instructions are probably easier for true novices just hacking parts of sprues and gluing them together but I find them increasingly annoying when I'm trying to just get on with it and use each interior colour once (and it's not an enamel thing - it's mixing/thinning/loading/spraying/unloading/cleaning that wastes all the time and that applies to all paints).

 

As such, I personally have a (strong) preference for the exploded diagram type of instructions like that B-25 whereby it's immediately obvious how everything relates to everything else.

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Britman    353
14 hours ago, Chris Thomas said:

Airfix ki ts! You were lucky! My character-forming exercise was to carve the X-3, Cutlass, MiG 15 etc out of balsa, using half a broken Gillette razor blade. Scars I bear today ...

 

Instructions!! All we had was a plan and lung problems from breathing dope and talcum powder.  

Ah! Dope and talc what a great combination.

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tempestfan    340
11 hours ago, Nick Millman said:

Gosh, I wish we'd had blunt soup spoons back then. What a luxury. It was always so difficult trying to trim the parts with a flint hand axe.

 

Nick

What did you need the axe for? Any healthy boy has teeth to cope. ..

Maybe it's that I know this kit for some 35 years and have checked countless of them for completeness, and I hope it doesn't sound boasting, but I think I could assemble it without instructions and get it right. The parts are even numbered in the correct sequence of assembly, at least most of it. A lot of e.g. Revell instructions are much worse, being much too cramped  (e.g. New tool 48th Tornado ) or with an odd perspective. Worst I have encountered so far is Heller's 1/16 DS limousine, and especially the step where the rear wheel cases are fitted. Disaster. Though actually there may not be any way of assembly not resulting in serious cursing and almost breaking the body moulding.

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Chris Thomas    260
14 hours ago, JohnT said:

 

Chris

I would suggest you clarify the type of dope you inhaled causing breathing problems.  You know, just in case anyone gets the wrong idea......

I mean the 70's were pretty liberal.

 

I know it was that smelly stuff for model airplanes.....it was, wasn't it !!!

 

I'd like to make it absolutely clear that the "dope" was the product sold in small jars for model aircraft; I bought it from 'Hobbies' in Hull. The talcum powder was more of a problem as my mum was not keen on surrendering hers. Fortunately I found a similar white powder in small silver packets tucked away at the back of the garden shed. When the resultant mix was sanded the model looked fantastic. Just like the real thing and almost as big! Wierd effect ...

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viscount806x    522
20 hours ago, Black Knight said:

Ooh, we used to dream of having balsa wood,

We used to have to go into t'woods and cut a tree down and whittle it down with a blunt soup spoon

Soup spoon! Posh or what? We all had to share the same carved spatula in our home.

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viscount806x    522
6 hours ago, Jessica said:

Instructions? What are those? Everyone knows that real modellers never read the instructions!

 

 

This is true. As a kid and later, teenager I built the Airfix DH Heron twice and both times forgot to include those clips over the retractable maingears, inside the wings. That impenetrable block of text in the instructions told us to do this but did we clock it? Of course not.

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Chuck1945    97
8 hours ago, SovereignHobbies said:

The thing about instructions is that they tend to make perfect sense to the person drafting them up.

...

Gotta agree. Not model related as such, but a few years ago I got an odometer/computer for my bicycle. After attempting to follow the instructions (and it really is a simple process), I decided that as a final test, anyone writing instructions be required to have a Vulcan mind wipe and then install the product according to the written instructions. Applies to models also too, while an exploded view does make it much easier to see where parts go in a general sense, some of those are just too basic, especially when there is a basic absence of locating guides on the parts.

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Nick Millman    1,750

"Locate and cement" has a whole new meaning when it comes to installing MPM/Special Hobby interiors!

 

Nick

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GordonM    140
20 hours ago, Panzer Vor!!! said:

Better then Dragons

 

Soup Dragons?

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Greenshirt    392

As an IT guy I subscribe to the mantra, "if the user can't figure it out WITHOUT instructions, it's junk."  

 

Ive actually reached the point with models that most can be built without instructions but when the parts count exceeds 25 then some sort of guide is needed. I prefer an exploded view. 

 

What i I liked about the older kits was the parts were labeled functionally. As in empennage, fuselage, radiator, oil cooler, etc. I learned the parts of an airplane via models and always liked to impress pilots with my knowledge when at the airfield as a young lad. It led to me reading "How things work" when I wanted to understand flight...and why I became an engineer. 

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stever219    829
12 hours ago, SovereignHobbies said:

The step-by-step(by-step-by-step-by-step-by-step) instructions are probably easier for true novices just hacking parts of sprues and gluing them together but I find them increasingly annoying when I'm trying to just get on with it and use each interior colour once (and it's not an enamel thing - it's mixing/thinning/loading/spraying/unloading/cleaning that wastes all the time and that applies to all paints).

 

 

I tend to read through the instructions before starting work to see which parts need painting which colour and then hit them all in one go especially if it's a subject that I'm not familiar with.  Likewise I'll be looking for wrinkles in the assembly sequence, for instance Airfix's new 1/72th Typhoon or 1/48th Hurricane.

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VMA131Marine    562
19 hours ago, Crossiant Oliver said:

First of all, thanks for the pictures. If you want to look at them, look at the first reply. 

 

 

But Airfix at least has to redo a 40+ year old kit and instruction sets. What beginner modeler wants to continue the hobby when they see instructions like this! I've built older kits, and some of them in my opinion had better instructions (the monogram wildcat, etc.

 

 

also is the Revell 1/48 dauntless a good beginner kit? I gave a friend who wants to start the hobby it for x-mas

 

These are the type of instructions that those of us who built Airfix in the 1970's and later grew up on. For some, they were a step backward from the previous style, which featured one or more exploded views of the model parts and *written* step-by-step instructions. These were seen as superior because they named most of the parts and so you actually learned something about the parts of the thing you were building, while you were building it. The problem with the style of instructions that came with your B-25 is perhaps that they show where parts go, but don't necessarily tell you what order they should be assembled in. Step 4 in the B-25 instructions could be confusing in that regard. Those of us who have been modeling a while figured out long ago that instructions should be regarded more as suggestions and don't necessarily represent the best or even most logical assembly sequence. The other thing we learned is to dry fit everything before committing glue to a part to make sure we understand how the assembly goes together. I think a downside of the new style of Airfix instructions is that, while they are very clear as to the assembly sequence, they leave very little flexibility to experiment and improve on the suggested method so that it better fits your modeling techniques. Looking at the instructions with a critical eye also will help find mistakes and oddities in the instructions that someone who is wired to follow them by rote won't see. I am currently working on a Classic Airframes 1/48 rag-wing Hurricane, and if you aren't paying attention they will lead you to build a very strange looking model.

 

Oh, the Revell Dauntless is not a good beginner kit. maybe when it was new 56 years ago (yes, first release was 1960) but for a newcomer I suspect it is now more an exercise in frustration. If you are set on getting him a 1/48th scale kit, I would go for a Tamiya Spitfire, Bf109E, P-47D (bubble canopy or razorback), P-51D (or the nice new Meng 1/48 P-51D) or F4F Wildcat; simple assembly, look great when done, you really can't go wrong.

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Work In Progress    1,053

Yes, one of the simpler 1/48 Tamiya kits is ideal. The F4U-1D  is exceptionally idiot-proof -- I should know, mine looks fine -- and has the advantage of offering a basically one-colour paint scheme, always good for a beginner, enlivend by some bold decal possibilities.

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tempestfan    340

While they are not as refined, what speaks against the Airfix legacy 48th kits ? While the Hurricane has some definite fit issues, as far as I can see the Spit, 109 and Mossie are quite detailed,  acceptably accurate, cheap and quite easy to assemble. 

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I was also thinking of getting him the academy 1/72 hellcat, it was a fun kit to build for me, but the decals were really bad quality. There's the transparent part of the decal that sticks out when I put the wing checkermarks. I would get aftermarket decals, but can't afford them (I'm 14 in high school)

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5 hours ago, Crossiant Oliver said:

I was also thinking of getting him the academy 1/72 hellcat, it was a fun kit to build for me, but the decals were really bad quality. There's the transparent part of the decal that sticks out when I put the wing checkermarks. I would get aftermarket decals, but can't afford them (I'm 14 in high school)

 

Do you use any decal setting solutions? A bottle of Microset and Microsol will last you for ages and Microsol is excellent at gently dissolving decal carrier film down - even if there's still clear carrier film sticking out beyond the trailing edge once dried, these solutions will adhere the decal down so well that you can trim off any excess carrier film with a knife without the decal just flaking off.

 

You could probably do without Microset just now, but I'd definitely advise budgeting for a bottle of Microsol for your next build :)

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Aeronut    735
16 hours ago, Greenshirt said:

What i I liked about the older kits was the parts were labeled functionally. As in empennage, fuselage, radiator, oil cooler, etc. I learned the parts of an airplane via models and always liked to impress pilots with my knowledge when at the airfield as a young lad. It led to me reading "How things work" when I wanted to understand flight...and why I became an engineer. 

Likewise, I've said it before, but I'm convinced that using the 'locate and cement' type of instructions is how I learnt to read, and that by the age of nine I knew that aircraft had a pitot. However I was fourteen and in the Air Cadets before I knew what it actually did and that it was pronounced pea-toe and not pit-ot.

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Work In Progress    1,053
14 hours ago, tempestfan said:

While they are not as refined, what speaks against the Airfix legacy 48th kits ? While the Hurricane has some definite fit issues, as far as I can see the Spit, 109 and Mossie are quite detailed,  acceptably accurate, cheap and quite easy to assemble. 

 

Only that the single engined ones are no longer available new, and that the current iteration of the Mosquito doesn't seem cheap at £25.

 

But for those who are prepared to root around the second hand boxes at shows they are excellent value, and I've bought many over the years to pass on to newcomers, especially the 109F, Hurricane and Stuka, which I like a lot and can still be bought second-hand in the £5 to £6 range if you keep your eyes open, You do normally have to think about after-market decals for old Airfix kits, though of course lots of us have spare options we can snip out and give away. There are also Monogram 1/48 kits that I like a lot, especially the P-47D Razorback, though I note that those have now stopped being cheap (I blame the forthcoming MM group build!)

 

And Otaki / ARII Hellcats and Corsairs are excellent low-cost practice pieces too.

Edited by Work In Progress

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AlsoFi

9 hours ago, SovereignHobbies said:

 

Do you use any decal setting solutions? A bottle of Microset and Microsol will last you for ages and Microsol is excellent at gently dissolving decal carrier film down - even if there's still clear carrier film sticking out beyond the trailing edge once dried, these solutions will adhere the decal down so well that you can trim off any excess carrier film with a knife without the decal just flaking off.

 

You could probably do without Microset just now, but I'd definitely advise budgeting for a bottle of Microsol for your next build :)

Yes, I used the micro scale system, I think the decals looked bad because I didn't put a good gloss coat. 

 

 

Also, I'm about to start the airfix Spitfire XIc and it looks like a good kit, besides from little cockpit detail. Does anyone have any tips 

problems they had before I start the model?

 

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bzn20    2,069

I think those instructions are fine apart from them missing out the Albatross fittings, doesn't mention wafers either.

 

Does it come with wafers?

 

 

Gannet Ripples don't.

 

 

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Work In Progress    1,053
1 hour ago, Crossiant Oliver said:

I think the decals looked bad because I didn't put a good gloss coat. 

 

 

they were Academy decals and in every Academy kit I've built the decals looked fine on the sheet but were stiff, unresponsive and brittle.

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Speaking of terrible kits, the worst kit I've ever got was the Revell P-40B tiger shark. It's from 1964, and the mold shows it needs a replacement. There's a lot a flash, the kit barely fits, and there are raised surfaces. The only good thing are the decals, which can be made into 3 different planes (lucky for me, Revell accidentally gave me 2 decal sheets! Good thing I got the airfix 1/48 version, it's amazing!

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Greenshirt    392
4 hours ago, Crossiant Oliver said:

Also, I'm about to start the airfix Spitfire XIc and it looks like a good kit, besides from little cockpit detail. Does anyone have any tips 

problems they had before I start the model?

 

 

Ive done a few of these and no vices. Even used it as the basis for a some conversions, too. 

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