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Moderate but correct critics of kits please


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Hello, dear modeler

 

I have found myself, that I am very critical of kits. Even I have often exaggerated the subject in the exuberance of my detailed knowledge and often spoiled the joy of other modeler. It was never intended that way. From today's perspective, I would proceed fundamentally differently. 

 

1) There are kits that just don't fit. These kits have to be made to fit. This is then the job that you may place in the forum with good experiences and ideas.

 

2) On the other end of the flagpole is the perfect kit. Where everything fits and everything is correct. Well, does this perfect kit even exist? With the perfect instructions? From today's perspective, I can say that it is more like that, you think you have the perfect kit, but after the build there is usually a certain disillusionment.

 

3) Of course, there is also the wrong kit. Where variant details are all mixed up, or significant details are simply missing. Basically, the main dimensions should be correct and the shape reasonably correct.

We should make sure that we could keep the joy and even increase the joy. Modeling should be fun.

 

You can badmouth anything, but please consider: What is correct? With all today's tools, whether CAD or CAM, you will not be able to create a correct model of a Bf-109. The math and geometry speak clearly against it. This requires the patience and knowledge of a Leonardo or of a Michelangelo of the 21st century. As model builders, we have to compromise on accuracy. The extent to which the accuracy is compromised is individual.

This also applies to accessories. Many of them that are on the market today do not even deserve this name. A very small range of these companies really produce a quality with which you can upgrade your model exceptionally.

In the criticism, the photos of the original (year of design and construction and version) often do not match what the kit’s manufacturer or the accessory parts promises. Careful research is essential. But, we shouldn't put too many burdens on ourselves. I was often lost in a pile of books about an aircraft type or in 1000 self-made photos of an aircraft.

I have to force myself to take a more relaxed approach to the matter. We can also talk endlessly about colors, nuances of colors.

 

Our goal is to generate joy and we should keep that in mind.

 

Happy modelling

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Sounds like Advanced Modeller Syndrome.

 

Where you end up getting so deeply into specific details of a kit (eg. reading a 200 post debate about the correct green for a cockpit handle) that you spend 6 months on each build and start to lose any enjoyment from it.

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dov

I completely agree.

Its about enjoying the hobby rather than trying to have EVERYTHING right, colour being the main issue for most modellers.

I am soon to start on a 32nd kit, detailing will be where it obviously going to be seen but in the depth of the fuselage I shall relax my approach . . . .

Ian

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Yes, you both are right.

Now I face the challenge on a series of Russian a/c. My Mig-21 models of all main variants counts now 3 and will be soon 6. In this case, I became confronted with lots of details, where I had to stop. Breathing and even thinking a little bit farther on my next ideas, the Mig-23 and Mig-27 and Mig-25 and Mig-31.

Here on the forum yesterday I found a correct but devastating post about the Mig-25 from Kitty Hawk. The kit is really full of errors and uneasy to fit. I have to be grateful for this heavy message. So I took a deep breath and but this kit to the side. Not to touch it, since this kit is a perfect joy killer! I have the ICM kit instead anyway.

I organized many big exhibitions on aviation history in the past. We explained history by our own models beside films and other sources. The accuracy of our models was on our human limit not to lose joy. 3 months per model. Now after decades of experience I want to tell you all, be careful not to get lost. Not to get lost in aftermarket products, not to get lost in new kits (one type of one single a/c from all different kit producers) just to know when to stop.

Happy modelling

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We've all gotten hooked on that small detail that will spoil the whole model for us if we cannot get it right. I seem to be more relaxed about it these days (though not always) and I think we all need to learn to have faith and trust others' judgment. Some of us will not believe that A is painted x if we cannot see photographic proof or have it backed up by at least two other sources, and will drive ourselves mad if we cannot find it. Or, if five out of six servicing panels have white interiors it is reasonable to assume that the sixth will be as well, even if we cannot find a photo of it.

 

Yes, we all want accuracy, but how far do we go? This is meant to be a hobby for enjoyment, to while away our hours when we are not working or involved in any of the hundred or so other things that have to occupy our time, something to relax us and take us away from everyday stress. Research is part of that hobby, and it can be a very enjoyable aspect as well, but how often do we spend our modelling time trying to find an obscure detail about the kit we are about to start, then realise that we have spent all our time researching, which makes the third evening in a row and we have not yet even taken the kit out of the box? And worse, we know deep down that either we will never find the answer, or already know it and desperately need affirmation?

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A few years ago I found myself getting too caught up in trying to get each kit 100% accurate (an impossibility in any case) and it sucked all the enjoyment of the hobby right out of my life. I am much more relaxed about things now and am enjoying the hobby once again. So what if I have used an FS numbered paint on a 1940 era subject, who's life have I ruined by doing that? Build what you want how you want it and leave the stomach ulcers to the rivet counters.

 

Duncan B 

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An enjoyable kit / build.

 

1. Fair cost for what you are getting.

2. If it's "state of the art" ie. a new kit all parts should fit.

3. It actually looks like what it says on the box. 

4. Several decal options that are correct.

5. Not over complicated Ie. Why use 30 parts for a cockpit when 18 would suffice.

6. Etch.....why?

7. A feeling of enjoyment from beginning to end.

 

Now that's not tooooo much to ask is it ?

 

New Tamiya kits for me fit this criteria. ( my personal opinion.)

 

Dick 

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If it says Spitfire on the kit box and doesn't look like an F/A-18 at the end of the build.....I'm good. So what if the colour is a little off....weathering, paint from another plant, paint made on Monday, etc.. I build for the sake of building with a modicum of accuracy thrown in. I do like the research part of the aircraft though and as long as I get the markings and paints in the right spot....victory!!!

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3 minutes ago, bentwaters81tfw said:

Go and build a Mach 2 or Unicraft kit, then get back to me. :tmi::wink:

Do I look that daft ????

 

Don't answer that.:tease:

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I think that we should separate two aspects anytime we discuss the merits (or lack of) of a kit and things like accuracy and detail level. This because such a discussion involves two very different sides: the modeller and the product.

Now as a modeller, anyone is entitled to do whatever she/he pleases. This is a hobby afterall, different modellers have their different ideas on how they best enjoy the hobby and if someone's idea of plastic modelling is to glue all parts randomly without caring for the instructions and then throw the result in the air, then this someone should keep doing this.

So if anyone wants to add all possible details, he should do it. If someone is not happy applying all stencils, no problem. More so as often the same modeller will likely be more obsessed with detail or accuracy in one build and much less in another. I guess most of us have "suffered" from AMS at some point, I don't see it as a negative thing, just happens. I know modellers who build at a glacial pace models that are amazingly detailed and modellers who will throw together a model in less than a week just from the box, both are perfectly fine approaches (and I am jelous of both in different ways).

 

Different story however when I have to "assess" a kit as a product. Here I have to look at what the manufacturer is offering me, regardless of what my view of fun with the hobby could be. I may be someone used to building vacforms, for whom using filler is a second nature, but it would be correct to report if there are fit problems, as not all other modellers may be proficient in dealing with bad fit in the same way. Same applies to detail, I may be someone who doesn't care much about detail but if the kit is underdetailed I should report it as others may prefer more detail. And the same with accuracy, if I know of any inaccuracy I believe that it's right to point this out. It will then be up to each modeller to decide what to do with it (correct fully, correct partially, live with it).

 

The problem IMHO is that too many times modellers get upset if aspects that they don't care for are discussed, and I can't agree with this view. I may not care about accuracy or fit but if others do care, then the accuracy or fit should be discussed. If I'm not interested I can just skip a few posts and search for what I really care about. Some like to dissect certain interior details, I may not bother at that level but ehi, better knowing it than not knowing. If I don't care I can just disregard the information. Any bit of information, even those that I care little about, contribute to the increase in collective knowledge. Statements like "it's only a hobby" or "who cares, it's just a bit of plastic" or "no model is really accurate" don't add anything to the collective knowledge. Last but not least, insults to modellers who are interested in aspect of a kit that differ from what we care about should not be tolerated. And yet are very common...

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I think Giorgio is right on point. I would just add one facet to his last paragraph. Along with statements like "it's only a hobby" or "who cares, it's just a bit of plastic," IMHO statements like "this kit is fatally flawed" or "this kit is a worthless piece of junk" or "the manufacturer should be sued" in reaction to perceived inaccuracies or engineering issues similarly add little of value to the knowledge base.

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I agree. @Giorgio N has summed it up very nicely. I don't get upset about anything model related but am happy to admit that my opinion of other people dims rapidly when they try to enforce their own weightings of priorities upon others or act dismissive of things important to others.

 

Don't like the discussion? Scroll on...

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And that is the very reason why I have introduced the what I call "in-betweens". A short little project (tank) pretty much OOTB, just to have fun and change the pace. Not getting hung up on details or dimensions.

And I am now noticing how hard that is! Getting away from the nitpicking, critical, scrutinizing mindset. I have to unlearn it. Can that be done?

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dov,

 

I think you may have been overthinking your hobby at some point my friend.  When it stops being fun it is then known as work.....

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Giorgio raises some good points, and while it might be said that if you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything, it is always an advantage to have some objective viewpoints on a model you may be thinking of parting with money for. Please notice I say objective; if the kit does have a poor fit I want to know.

 

Conversely there is often the point that some reviews will gush praise over a particular model, and when you put it together you end up wondering if the reviewer was talking about the same kit.

 

And Seawinder, spot on. Absolutely nailed it.

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As a litigation lawyer I spend my working life telling clients not to be so stupid and not to do the insanely bonkers thing they want to. There is a way to do it so it does not offend. One can get across concerns one has about a model under review diplomatically and without causing offence to all but the most thin skinned. It’s a skill to be honed and developed. It helps if you point out that perhaps a remedy is available to any perceived issue and that while there might be a problem there are redeeming features. That might balance the deflation that comes with criticism. 

 

 In the final analysis however there are people out there who, as the late great Sir Terry Wogan opined, sit by the radio waiting to be offended. Those one can do nothing about. 
 

Luckily this space is remarkably free of such types and commendably has a large number of gentleman and gentle ladies (and I use those words in their correct sense) members who are ready to apologise fulsomely if they stray outside the site norms. I suppose they have to. If you have seen the Mods in discipline mode you won’t sleep well !  :fight::D And as that doesn’t translate fully in text it’s just humour. We all know Mikes a wee sweetie really :whistle::innocent:  Now point me towards the naughty step

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3 hours ago, JohnT said:

It helps if you point out that perhaps a remedy is available to any perceived issue and that while there might be a problem there are redeeming features. That might balance the deflation that comes with criticism. 

A comment I was just going to make, 

 

A careful explanation of what is at fault,  backed up with data,  and  ways to fix or even just minimise said problem are really helpful, even it it just allows the other party to put said  faults into a perspective where they are happy to ignore them.

 

On 20/08/2020 at 15:08, Seawinder said:

I would just add one facet to his last paragraph. Along with statements like "it's only a hobby" or "who cares, it's just a bit of plastic," IMHO statements like "this kit is fatally flawed" or "this kit is a worthless piece of junk" or "the manufacturer should be sued" in reaction to perceived inaccuracies or engineering issues similarly add little of value to the knowledge base.

 

Indeed, this kind of black/white polar opposite positions are just unhelpful, and do not add to the discussion.   The problem is when the personal position become tangled with the objective discussion seems to underlie a lot of acrimony .... as @JohnT  notes re litigation.

 

As he also notes,  we mostly have good, helpful intelligent discussions here, which in turn, has positive feedback that sets a high standard meaning those are continued, and "aggressive noise" is not, that underlying ethos on the site is the reason that I 'know' so many of the posters in this thread.

 

 

On 19/08/2020 at 08:56, dov said:

We can also talk endlessly about colors, nuances of colors.

 

when discussion on this subject gets out of hand, it's usually when  when a participant end up in either the black/white approach,  or the "I think"  and then gets into a strop when it is explained why the evidence available suggests otherwise. 

 

Again, the lack  of graduation often leads top "but it fades/weathers/etc" and so doesn't matter.  

In one case this has led to the loss of a respected researcher posting on here, but there have been far more very well informed discussions to a very high standard on here over the years,  it can be quite a revelation to re-read an old thread and see the quality of answers provided.

 

 

 

On 19/08/2020 at 08:56, dov said:

What is correct? With all today's tools, whether CAD or CAM, you will not be able to create a correct model of a Bf-109. The math and geometry speak clearly against it. This requires the patience and knowledge of a Leonardo or of a Michelangelo of the 21st century.

Dov, I would be fascinated to see another thread on the reasons behind this statement.   Again, this maybe a question of degree, and considering the Bf109 was optimised for mass production, I find it difficult to see how it has shapes that cannot be rendered in CAD, but that comes from a "I think" position, and as such, would be grateful for further explanation.

 

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Hello

 

Very interesting points of view were expressed. In addition, I would like to point out that each of us probably has a few kits, many or a lot kits at home. With increasing knowledge, you or other friends (also from the club or forum) can judge what is good or bad about your own kits. It is precisely the degree of reason that not every remark is weighed in gold. Many modellers sort out their stock of kits at regular intervals, and the best are left behind. Of course, there are no alternative kits that have only been released by one company to date. And, precisely on the last point, no matter what is said, I tend to stick on my kits. The criticism is important insofar as one has the freedom of choice. I avoid building a really obviously faulty kit, otherwise I lose a lot of joy on the way to completion. No kit is perfect or flawless.

Please, here is my answer concerning Bf-109: The thing is, with today's tools, you need a mathematically consistent and homogeneous function as an area of space. Yesterday's design doesn't do that at all. Today's tools are so limited that you can't even build a truss using real hot rolled profiles like U or L or I. That would result in an overflow of data. Every weld seam poses similar problems. The manufacturers (Takom, ReyField, MiniArt, AFVClub) of the tank models are much smarter here than a/c kit producers. They are simply better at using today's CAD and CAM tools. Every actual engine cowling of an aircraft has the same problem. The most beautiful example of a kit that cannot be designed with today's toos is the Bf-109. Analogous to Bf-108, Bf-110 etc. Here you have to construct every geometric point of the fuselage segments manually!

 

Happy modelling

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I've got drawn into this simply by the quote above from the question I asked.

 

I do like detail to a point and am happy to add the odd bit of extra detail such as belts, ejection seats etc. and love to scratch stuff as well. 

 

The question was basically related to dimensions. I do all my military modelling in 1/48. If a Bf109 is (in 1/1 scale) considerably smaller than a Spitfire then I like to see that reflected in the models and so (to me) overall dimensions are important. So, for example, if a 1/48 Spit is approx 3mm short in the fuselage and a 1/48 Bf109 is 3mm too long, then the  resultant difference is  almost a scale foot, enough to give a completely different perception of comparative size.

 

But that's me.

 

Nick

 

 

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dov, your explanation above is about at the edge of my comprehension, and I have no knowledge of the inner mathematical workings of CAD technology, but I think you might be saying: CAD uses one or more mathematical functions to map a surface. In the case of a prototype (like the Bf 109 cowling) that doesn't conform to such a function or functions, one must make a compromise approximation. That means either breaking the prototype surface into many smaller regions, each of which can be closely approximated, which leads to a large amount of data to be processed, or being content to get fairly close using a larger region, which results in less data but contours that may be visibly "off" to those who really know the subject. Is that anywhere close?

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On 8/19/2020 at 11:26 AM, Tim R-T-C said:

Sounds like Advanced Modeller Syndrome.

Yes...I concur...

 

22 hours ago, PLC1966 said:

you may have been overthinking your hobby

Obsessive Compulsive Modelling...but that's ok!  Who hasn't done that?  

 

3 hours ago, JohnT said:

Luckily this space is remarkably free of such types and commendably has a large number of gentleman and gentle ladies (and I use those words in their correct sense) members who are ready to apologise fulsomely if they stray outside the site norms. I suppose they have to. If you have seen the Mods in discipline mode you won’t sleep well !  :fight::D And as that doesn’t translate fully in text it’s just humour. We all know Mikes a wee sweetie really :whistle::innocent:  Now point me towards the naughty step

Hahahaha!  I agree!

 

This is a good thread and, if only to vent one's frustrations, fills a need.  There certainly are kits I have bought that are just not so great and they seem to be manufacturer based rather than subject.  In fact I have I have box in storage marked "S#&t Kits".  I am about to start a GAZ-51A kit that has so much flash...so much...but I will do it, because I want it to look like a small Soviet truck.  I babble...

 

Thanks for the thread!  😄

 

 

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26 minutes ago, John Masters said:

<snip>

I am about to start a GAZ-51A kit that has so much flash...so much...but I will do it, because I want it to look like a small Soviet truck.  I babble...

 

The 1/72 Military Wheels kit? I have the similar Miltary Wheels Lublin-51 (a Gaz-51 built in Poland) on the workbench, loads of flash certainly but there's a half decent model lurking in the box, it just needs a lot of work to realise it. I'm quite enjoying it, but some would open the box and dismiss the contents, it all depends on what you want from a build I suppose.

 

Interesting thread!

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16 minutes ago, halfwit said:

loads of flash certainly but there's a half decent model lurking in the box,

Thanks Paul.  I imagine it is the same kit with different decals.  Yes...loads of flash. I am posting a WiP here...

 

Yes.  Lots of cleaning, filing, re-drilling.  Worth my while, imho.  It is still a hobby.  Still very fun.

 

 

 

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Hallo

 

  • Yes, the areas of a Bf-109 are actually many mathematically consistent and harmonic correct areas. Hundreds of it! Especially at the cowling you have considerable gaps all over too. To link these areas is a time consuming job. Beside this, you can not use the computer model, to achieve all the comfort you need to continue to make a correct mold. This would be like the job of a jeweler.
  • If we would scale up any model kit to original size, this could show you explicitly all the differences. It is impossible.
  • What I found very often is, that models do not have the correct overall dimensions. In this case I do not understand the kit makers at all.
  • On the other hand, sometimes the dihedral is wrong. For example: Look at any a/c which is airborne, on the other hand one stands on ground. There are some examples, where it is obvious, on others you may neglect it. Take the Fi-156 Storch from Tamiya or any other producer, the dihedral is positive, so it is for an airborne Storch.
  • Another major issue is the air intake of a jet. Seldom you find a kit, which takes this fully in account. (Zukei Mura on the F-4) or you take a seamless intake. Here I tend to FODs, to prevent the skirmish.
  • Another major issue on jets are all sorts of probes. Temperature, AOA, pitot. Here I intend to replace them or to scratch it.
  • Depending on my mood, sometimes I start projects, which are very complicated and time consuming, on other times just easy projects. Sometimes I go more into detail, sometimes less.
  • So, your intention to make a GAZ-51 is fine. It must fit your personal mood.

 

Happy modelling

 

And thanks for all the wonderful thoughts!

 

 

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