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Demand for 100% kit accuracy versus modelling ability


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Reading through the two 1/48 F-4G threads in the Rumourmonger section I saw that there is a problem with the shape of the canopy in the new ZM kit. And apparently only Tamiya with their F-4B kit have ever got it correct.


And there is the usual debate about the failure of the manufacturers to ever get any kit 100% accurate.

 

But after reading some of the discussion again (and the equivalent ARC thread) I thought to myself, what percentage of modellers actually have the ability to take a 100% accurate kit from a manufacturer and not stuff it up to some degree in any part of assembly process and/or painting/weathering/decaling.

 

For all the complaints about subtle failures to capture some aspects of the real thing, there surely aren’t many amongst us that can remove every seam line 100% perfectly and get the demarcation between wheel and tyre perfect etc etc. I know I can’t, by a long way!

 

And yet despite by 100% record in messing up builds somewhere along the line, I can still get deterred from some kits by reading about inaccuracies in shapes that I’d never have seen until I read about them. But I sure as heck can see the modelling errors I’ve made.

 

Oh to be one of the few modellers that are so talented that the only issues with their builds are down to the manufacturers.

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That’s true, and having spent the last 15 minutes in the RFI section, there are plenty of modellers on here who do build to such a high standard.

 

I do think that many that do complain strongly about the manufacturers more subtle mistakes are going to be forever disappointed, because if no producer has got one totally right yet, perhaps they never will.

 

And it is a shame that some of them seem to piddle on others chips by making such a song and dance about slight issues that it’s hard not to be affected by them, even if we’re lucky enough to afford to waste money on an expensive 99% accurate kit and then mess it up with a wonky serial number decal.

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There is always going to be a battle between accuracy and the design/manufacturability/buildability of the kit. Plastic thickness requirements, mouldability and strength all require compromise. Some manufacturers manage this well, together with inherent accuracy in the subject matter. Some don’t. I doubt that there is a fully accurate kit out there. 
 

Whether the latest and greatest kit of your pet subject ticks your boxes or is a massive let down is a personal mindset. If it prevents you from building it, gawd knows what else you are going to do because the hobby normally advances in quality when subjects are revisited.
 

what I have seen over the years in here and other forums is bad kits built exceptionally well, and great kits built exceptionally badly. The interface between the box contents and the finished product is key. 

 

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I think the vast majority of modellers are quite happy with a model that represents the real thing well enough, but aren’t overly concerned about complete accuracy - if such a thing exists. 
 

There will be some who strive for the prefect scale replica and do their utmost to achieve that - and that’s great. They’ll have intimate knowledge of the subject and know it inside out. 
 

Others, and I include myself in this category, will build a kit quite happily despite its ‘flaws’ and enjoy it. 
 

What always puzzles me is those who build and correct a kit to 0.000001mm accuracy and then paint and weather it to something that bares no resemblance to this real thing with dark panel lines and ridiculously over done paint effects. That I can never get my head around!

 

But, the key thing is to enjoy the process and build as you like. Life is too short.

 

Tom

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6 hours ago, tomprobert said:

What always puzzles me is those who build and correct a kit to 0.000001mm accuracy and then paint and weather it to something that bares no resemblance to this real thing with dark panel lines and ridiculously over done paint effects. That I can never get my head around!

 

But, the key thing is to enjoy the process and build as you like. Life is too short.

 

Tom

 

1) You are forgetting the modellers who can tell you exactly what needs to be done to a model and exactly how many microns too long/short/wide/narrow/high/low it is - but curiously never seem to build or complete any models or display them at shows or online.

 

2) Well said on the last point - agree with that sentiment absolutely.

Edited by John Tapsell
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Any model is a simplification of reality and will always be to some degree inaccurate.  I'd make the obvious point that none of the aircraft models I have made have ever flown under their own power, so that's a large inaccuracy to start with!

 

We all have to accept some inaccuracy in the models we produce.  What type and degree of inaccuracy is a personal matter.

 

On my death bed I think I'm unlikely to say: "I wish I'd made that F-4 canopy a bit more bulged."

 

 

Edited by 3DStewart
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I have never built a 100% accurate kit, and I've never finished a model, 100% accurately, but I do try to get somewhere near to it. Correcting inaccuracies are for me, part of the enjoyment that I get out of model building, but there are always going to be compromises. I can accept the odd discrepancy in measurements, but what does annoy me is shoddy research by the model company (looking at you Airfix). I know that some people will say "So what?" when talking about something like the incorrect number of bolt heads on the road wheels of the Cromwell, but there are many people who, like me, enjoy entering their models into competitions. If you don't change the road wheels, you are going to be marked down. If you build Tamiya's Cromwell and use the kit supplied decals, again, you could be marked down as the kit as depicted, is an earlier model. So in both cases, that means laying out more money to buy AM articles, to correct the manufacturers mistakes, and given the way prices have gone over the last year, that's getting very expensive.

 

John.

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I don't do competitions, but IPMS bases its judgement on modelling skills and ignores accuracy, because of the difficulty in finding enough judges well-informed judges for all their classes),  Just who is going to judge accuracy for a 1945 Fw.190D, where major references disagree?   To name but one example.  However, I do try for my models to look (externally, at least) as close as the manufacturer and I can achieve (or bother to achieve) which often bears little relation to the box art.  In my opinion, modelling is attempting to produce a small replica of a real subject - everything else is playing with toys.  Which is ok, sometimes.

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17 hours ago, John Tapsell said:

 

1) You are forgetting the modellers who can tell you exactly what needs to be done to a model and exactly how many microns too long/short/wide/narrow/high/low it is - but curiously never seem to build or complete any models or display them at shows or online.

 

There’s no obligation to share your results with others. Does that preclude them from sharing their knowledge of a subject? I’d hope not. 

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I'm inconsistent in what I will or won't accept, but largely it's a case of ignorance being bliss I think. I'll tolerate greater sins on worse kits, as psychologically I'm happier taking a saw to something not that good to begin with. 

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As already mentioned, no kit is ever going to be 100% accurate, for a start the thickness of plastic immediately compromises the space available for the cockpit interior, so the seats have to be too narrow, then the pilot has to be too small, and then.....

The same applies to engine bay detail and other parts.

It is frustrating if a manufacturer makes an 'obvious' mistake, however you must bear in mind that many preserved airframes now are bitsa lash-ups, virtually replicas, or painted as something they never were. These are largely the starting point for a model. Assuming a plan is worked to, it may well have its own inaccuracies, even original manufacturer blueprints will vary from reality.

There is also sometimes the need/desire to produce many different variants from one basic tooling. This will often require compromise as to which details are the most 'generic' and  can end up with a starting point which is 'wrong' in some way for any chosen outcome.

As to whether a modeller chooses to or can correct such things, my attitude varies between 'I know its wrong but it looks nice so live with it ' to 'out with the hacksaw'  depending largely on my whim at the time.

It is just as easy, if not easier, to completely stuff up a £100 superkit as  a £10 cheapie. However it is far more satisfying to at least feel that your efforts have improved a kit in some small way.

The debate about whether you shoud need to improve it will probably continue for as long as there are kits to build.

 

Matt

 

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The minimum standard of accuracy I want from a kit is it looks like a good representation of the real thing when viewed from a few feet away on a display shelf. Beyond that point buildability is of far greater importance to me than fine detail.

 

Basically if a manufacturer gets the overall shape of the aircraft right and ensure the parts fit well together with minimal sanding/filling I'm a happy customer.

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Methinks, after some cogitation, that I'm gonna go along with the consensus of "if it looks right, it's ok by me". I never particularly worried about what is usually referred to as "rivet counting". I built what pleased me. It didn't have to convince any judges or any "experts", although after posting on "other" sites prior to coming here, I have encountered them and their rhetoric. I tried to make a replica that "fitted" in either it's time frame or to show off a certain colour scheme that caught my eye. It may have been the wrong "mark" but life's too short to faff with that malarky. I once liked the MERDC (is that correct?) desert scheme, so slapped it on a Bradley that was way too late for it. I liked it, it looked ok on the shelf. Who did it hurt? Occasionally, and in my case, very occasionally, I came across manufacturers' "errors" that just had to be amended. Then I was faced with a choice, does it really have to be done or, more importantly, would my skills allow me to correct it? 

These days I sit and admire other folks' work on here. In the majority of cases I have no reference points to say if it's accurate or not. To me it matters not a jot. The modeller brave enough to publish his hard work should be praised whatever and "advice" offered if its asked for. Criticism I leave for others, elsewhere.

Here endeth my tuppence worth.

 

Regards

Pete

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11 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

I don't do competitions, but IPMS bases its judgement on modelling skills and ignores accuracy, because of the difficulty in finding enough judges well-informed judges for all their classes

Absolutely. A beautiful model of a 1/32nd scale B-17 springs to mind here, built by a well known editor of a well known modelling mag a few years back… which had the whole interior painted Interior Green. 
 

Was that accurate? No. Did the judges know it was wrong? No. Did it still take the prize in its category? Yes. Was it an absolutely stunning model? Yes. Did 99% of those who saw it know it was painted the wrong colour inside? No!

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If a kit manufacturer has made a mistake, I actually like to read/hear about it. I have always enjoyed the debates and never minded red line drawings. I have always found that interesting.  I never liked the personal attacks that sadly seem to come along with this from both camps. Having said that, and the kit is in my view the best example available or the only one I can get my hands on, I'll research and try to correct glaring errors. I do get them finished.

 

I want to hear about which F-4 has the more correct canopy shape or that Spitfire with the correct undersurface gull-wing shape etc. etc. Helps me with the buy or raid the stash decision and besides the research element is fun. It is a strange thing, quite often once you see a shape issue you can't unsee it.

 

I have got good at saying enough is enough. 100% correct? No chance. Improved? Usually. Satisfaction level? Enormous. And, of course, I also do stuff up the "perfect" kit. If it annoys me enough I fix it.

 

My approach is how I enjoy the hobby. Not for everyone. Scale modelling is a broad church. 

 

Ray

 

 

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On 9/19/2022 at 12:01 PM, tomprobert said:

 

Others, and I include myself in this category, will build a kit quite happily despite its ‘flaws’ and enjoy it. 


But, the key thing is to enjoy the process and build as you like. Life is too short.

 

amen to that

 

 

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I don't mind hearing about inaccuracies providing it's not accompanied by gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands, as forewarned is forearmed, so I can either do something about it, or not worry about it, often depending on how I'm feeling on the day.  One thing I do dislike is the unpleasant characters proclaiming a model "unbuildable" due to some piffling inaccuracy, and that perennial phrase "they really screwed the pooch".  A sense of perspective seems to be absent from some folks.  We build models with glazing around 6" scale thickness, fer Pete's sake! :doh:

 

There are plenty of aspects of modelling that I'm not very good at, or disinterested in for the most part.  Things like colour fidelity, and arguing over which colour that shade of grey represents on a black & white photo.  it's the anger and the name-calling that gets me scratching my head.  Again, it's a lack of perspective and this weird need to score points against other modellers.  possibly a sign of an empty life and a feeling of personal inadequacy, but I'm no psychologist. :shrug:

 

In case you didn't know, Meng are bringing out a Phantom in 1:48 soon, so who's going to email them and tell them to make sure the canopy has the correct bulge? :wicked:

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20 hours ago, lasermonkey said:

There’s no obligation to share your results with others. Does that preclude them from sharing their knowledge of a subject? I’d hope not. 

Humans & art/craft are a bit strange in that respect - we tend to be better at improving our art/craftwork when we have an example we can visibly inspect, instead of handling a textbased list of items.  Lists are fine for things that do not involve visual acuity or manual dexterity (like writing, or coding software).

 

So the tendency to say "show me yours, then!" is quite understandable from that perspective.
 

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On 9/20/2022 at 9:43 AM, Bullbasket said:

I know that some people will say "So what?" when talking about something like the incorrect number of bolt heads on the road wheels of the Cromwell, but there are many people who, like me, enjoy entering their models into competitions. If you don't change the road wheels, you are going to be marked down.

I think you'd be unlucky to be marked down for that.  I doubt many armour judges - even at the Nationals - know from memory the correct number of bolt heads on a Cromwell wheel!  No one can be expert on everything. My experience of judges is that they know their subject expertise is quite narrow and are reluctant to apply it to one model when they can't apply it to others. Sure, gross errors will be marked down (e.g., wrong number of propellor blades), but less visible matters will usually be given the benefit of the doubt.

That's not to say that caring about such things is wrong. Research and attempting prototypical faithfulness are just as much part of the hobby as anything else.



 

Edited by 3DStewart
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58 minutes ago, 3DStewart said:

I doubt many armour judges - even at the Nationals - know from memory the correct number of bolt heads on a Cromwell wheel!  No one can be expert on everything

No, but as that mistake by the manufacturer has featured in many discussions on many AFV sites, it would probably be known. A model can be judged in many ways, depending on the knowledge, or lack of, for that particular vehicle/aircraft/whatever. Judges can be fickle. I once had a model of a Mk.1a Spitfire dismissed by a judge because it wasn't clean enough. It was the Airfix kit in which I had opened up many panels, including the engine panel, and scratch built a Merlin (this was pre John Adam white metal offerings). I was supposed to represent an aircraft that had been well used at the height of the B of B, not one ready for a parade.

Just to be clear, I am not a rivet counter, but conversely, I do alter something if it is the wrong, (if I can) as in the number of rivets on the side of Academy's M3 Grant, or change the VVSS units on that kit because they are too shallow. But that is how I approach the hobby. That's how I get enjoyment from this great hobby. If others don't approach it the same way, fine, that's up to them and I wouldn't decry them for it, because it's each to his own. But in these times of rapidly rising prices, I do think that if I'm being asked to pay the best part of £80 in some cases for the latest kit, then I expect it to be reasonably accurate.

 

John.

 

PS. If you really want to see real rivet counters, go to a model railway exhibition!!

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