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It's a question of---Accuracy?

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  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
It's a question of---Accuracy?
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Monday, October 19, 2020 8:37 AM

Here's one I have waited a long time to say anything about;

     Accuracy, that Big Monster in the room when you choose a kit. First and foremost, How do you know it is accurate? Does the box say so? ( Marketing Ploy) Why? Well think about it for a minute. The model is as accurate as the machines that mill the molds. That is as accurate as the information they( The Manufacturers ) have at the time of creating said molds.

   Now for it to be accurate or claim it is, is okay I guess But, accurate to whose standards? And what Block( In the case of Planes ) was it accurate to? Many time in the past the Companies proclaimed Accurate scale model. ( in 1/64? ) and what Prototype did they scale it too. It's boxscale? Well, lets see, how accurate can that be?

    I know in the Case of REVELL's old Wardog(The U.S.S. Missouri ) this is not true.That model is as accurate as my shoe heel. Revell did a line of models for the boys, girls and adults who were enamored of the " Victory at Sea "T.V. Series in Black and white. Although nice and interesting, none were even in the same scale!

    But that's then. Now we have all these companies out there dropping Planes, Armor and Ships and Cars on us too. Are they Accurate? According to some NO! Why? Well here's another. The Cars we get are all examples of Gross innacuracies. Why? Well in some they add the little fender lights on a body, Say a certain Model Mopar. Then some modeler discovers that year didn't have them. The Gremlin that came out doesn't have the scoop type insets on the quarter panel uppers the real car in that configuration or year has. And so on.

    I was told the upper deck house on the U.S.S. North Carolina was wrong .So I purchased a resin Upgrade. Guess what?According to the Ship Museum, I didn't have too. She is accurate as the ships exists today as a museum. That is straight from the Museum's curator of Displays!

      And this could go on and on. If you must have 100% accuracy then you better do research for the model as you want to present it. Year, Model,Type and color. Do your research for ----ACCURACY ! ! 

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Posted by Bish on Monday, October 19, 2020 9:17 AM

I don't think any of us expect a model to be 100% accurate. I think the question that those of us who like as much accuracy as possable have to ask is how much inaccuarcy can you live with. And when there is an accuracy issue, does the work required to correct it fall within your skills and is it justified.

Earlier this year i was building the Academy Warrior IFV, to me, the most personal build i have ever done or ever will do. As i was converting it to a command vehicle, i already knew there would be some work to do, including one area that the conversion set didn't deal with. But soon after i started it, i came across an issue i was not expecting, the right side of the lower hull was completly wrong as all of the wheel stations were the wrong way round. After giving it some thought i realised the only way to correct it was to completly chop up the hull, and potantial make matters worse. So, as much as i hated doing in, i opted for the armour model builders most tried and trusted way to get out of a problem, cover it with mud.

Yes, it did spoil the build a little bit for me. I doubt anyone else will notice, and when i look at the model the error does not jump out at me, so i can live with that. Now when i look at the finished model, i don't even remember there was a problem.

I am a Norfolk man and i glory in being so

On the bench: Italeri 1/72nd Bell 212/MPM 1/72nd Bf 109G-12

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Monday, October 19, 2020 9:27 AM

Yes, it did spoil the build a little bit for me. I doubt anyone else will notice, and when i look at the model the error does not jump out at me, so i can live with that. Now when i look at the finished model, i don't even remember there was a problem.

Hear hear!

That's one of the most lucid comments I've heard in a long time.


 George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Monday, October 19, 2020 10:50 AM

Accuracy is a snapshot in time. Some items have very long service lives and can change markedly in their appearance during that time span. Others exist only briefly and are much easier to nail down in appearance. 
Some subjects catch the imagination and the desire to nail it to look just so at such and such moment in time at a specific place. Others are just to fill a general gap in the collection, so out of the box as issued by whatever model company will do just fine. And others, like Bish mentioned, have a strong personal connection, and the base material may require far more work than makes sense to do... where do you compromise and draw the line.

Like I heard said in the Army, there's a fine line between hard and stupid.


F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton



  • Member since
    August 2019
  • From: Central Oregon
Posted by HooYah Deep Sea on Monday, October 19, 2020 10:52 AM

Then, there is the beloved box art .  .  .! My shining example is the classic, Revell USS Arizona. Shown at anchor at the bow, yet tied to the dock at the stern, main battery firing (at airplanes, yeah, thats effective!), in a mixed 1930's configuration, during the Pearl Harbor attack in '41; Wow.

So, as modelers, we do what we do, as best we can, and hope to be happy with it. For as they say, it's not the destination, it's the journey.

"Why do I do this? Because the money's good, the scenery changes and they let me use explosives, okay?"

  • Member since
    March 2007
  • From: Northeast WA State
Posted by armornut on Monday, October 19, 2020 10:58 AM

   I have held back on buying a kit,(Kinetic 1/48scale EA-6B), because the intake trunks are WAY to short. As Bish pointed out skill verse pleasure of having my beautiful Skypig kept me from yet buying one. The skill required to "fix" far outweighs the "I can live with it". 

    I usually say if it looks like a ****, smells like a **** it is a ****. Unless your intimately familiar with the subject....or RESEARCHED every detail for a true snapshot in time, the folks who look probably would never know the difference.

     Sky is the limit, thats what makes and keeps this hobby fun for all.

   Wow Stik, we are thinking along the same waves, I promise I didn't plagiarize your post.Yes

we're modelers it's what we do

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, October 19, 2020 12:52 PM

Nostalgic side note.

When we were kids, the marketing often was "scaled from official US Navy blueprints", or similar.



  • Member since
    March 2015
  • From: Close to Chicago
Posted by JohnnyK on Monday, October 19, 2020 1:19 PM

As a retired architect, I used to build models of buildings. Did I try to build a 100% accurate model of a building? Hell no!!! That would have been impossible. All I did was build a  representation of the building.

Same with car, airplane, tank and ship models. Attempting to build a 100% accurate model is not possible. I am now working on a 1967 Camaro. The carburetor is inaccurate, the front suspension of the model does not include springs, not even molded, plastic  springs. Am I going to add fuel lines and brake lines? No. Do I care? No. Am I going to obsess about it? No. All that I am trying to do is to build a representation of the actual car that makes me smile.

  • Member since
    June 2018
  • From: Ohio (USA)
Posted by DRUMS01 on Monday, October 19, 2020 2:34 PM

I recently completed the 1/350 Banner kit of the USS Arizona as part of a group build. Normally I like to build my models as close as possible to the genuine article (based on my limited skills of course). Little did I know when opening the box what I was getting into, specifically..... 

The accuracy or detail the kit versus the popularity of it. In my case the popularity, passion, and material around the USS Arizona, along with the number of experts is quite staggering. Combine that with the below average fit, detail, and accuracy of the kit and you have to determine if it will be worth the effort regarding accuracy (this is a personal and individual question for anyone on any build). 

Another consideration regarding accuracy and detail is the amount of corrections needed versus the availability of after-market suppliers to fill those needs. Even if there are options for other parts you still have to determine:

- do I have the money for these after-market pieces?

- do I have the ability to use those pieces?

- is it worth it to me and my level of enjoyment to use them?

- do I have the committment to follow through and finish the model with these pieces?

There is also an issue regarding the time period or variant of the model. As previously said, this can apply to any subject like ships, armor, cars/trucks, aircraft, etc. The answer is not simply to buy anything and everything to put on a model, but rather asking yourself what time period or variant am I striving to accurize and then research, research, research... 

So with all this said, can I build the model out of the box and enjoy it? I believe that is up to the individual builder but one can answer YES as easily as NO.

The same can be said if asked; will I spend hundreds of hours in the build and hundreds in research, along with hundreds of dollars in materials to make it accurate? Well that depends on the anwers to the questions above, but again anyone could answer YES or NO depending on what they like or enjoy in the modeling process. 

There were more than 45 errors on my Arizona build, based on the time line I was replicating. For me I enjoyed the research and challenge during the build, others may not not like that part. And remember that you can analyze a kit build to the point of paralyzing it. Just know that regardless of the research and build for accuracy, there is always something more than can be done. Know when to call a model done, after all it is a scale replica, not the original.

I can say that I really enjoy watching modelers add staggering amounts of detail, but I also like following OOB kits built up in many cases just as well. So, who is better, the OOB modeler or the detail oriented scratch builder.... I would firmly say neither or both. Model building is a personal, recreational, and relaxing hobby unless you are one of a few professionals building for somebody else.

BOTTOM LINE: Build what you like, and like what you build (detailed or not).


I am a Veteran; to all other Veterans thank you for your service. Retired now and living well


- 1/350 USS Alabama (GB) - DONE

- 1/16 1910 Thomas Flyer - DONE

- 1/78 AC-119 Stinger Gunship (GB-Pending)




  • Member since
    October 2004
  • From: Orlando, Florida
Posted by ikar01 on Monday, October 19, 2020 2:49 PM

Scaled from......scaled from....let me see.

Oh yeah, now I ewmwmber that old military saying,  measure it with a micrometer, mark it with chalk, and cut it with an axe.

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Monday, October 19, 2020 3:03 PM

Hi " G " 

      Yeah, you got that! Scaled from Official Matson Blueprints( The Hawaiian Pilot) comes to mind.

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Denver
Posted by tankboy51 on Monday, October 19, 2020 3:10 PM

I've been involved in this discussion for decades.   I've heard all the arguments about some kits being good and bad.  I've had some IPMS friends who were obsessed with accuracy and some who didn't.  I used worry about such things.  I especially remember a 1/48 Hellcat F-6, by Monogram compared to one, the company I dont remember,  where the area aft of the cockpit look much bigger than the other.  I had no references ( it was in the 60's sometime),  so there was no computer or any books,  but I liked the Monogram model better. 

I do mostly tanks, all eras, all nations now.  I don't obsess over details.  I never served in any, all I use are photos of them in service for inspiration.  My non modeling friends seem to enjoy the stories I tell them about  other modelers and their obession over the tiniest details.  Espcialy nut and bolts, and now on some web sites, colors, or rather colours, of 75 years  or older, tanks in black and white.   I recall asking my dad about the color of his ship in WW 2, all he rembered was that contractors repainted when they came in for refit and they were on leave.  (They did lots of painting of chips and such, with cans ).  Well he was 20 years old.  He put the model of his ship on his office desk I built for him, so he must of approved.

Now I don't build for competition any more.  I just build for myself.  So I can do it any way I want.  

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Monday, October 19, 2020 3:24 PM

A good estimate of the accuracy needed is mixing parts on a 1:24 vs 1:25 scale car.  The difference in scales is 4%.  I know there are folks who can tell the difference.  They can convince me, but I find it hard to tell.  Thus, if I am scratch building, kit bashing, or whatever, I shoot for about 4 %.  When I am using stock material, styrene sheet, wood sheet, brass rod or tubing, I evaluate how close stock materials come. In a case like that I will go with 5%.

I think it is hard to tell looking at a model what certain linear dimensions are.  I doubt if I can tell a 4% error in a linear dimension (say, wingspan) by eye.  However, I think most of us are quite sensitive to contours. I find for instance, the contours on some kits (and even expensive die casts) are quite bad, corners more rounded than they should be, arcs that should be part of an ellipse, or parabola etc.

I find aspect ratios need to be close too.  I can remember a Lindberg biplane where the fuselage cross section was just too big for the length.

Dihedral is something else that has to be close on, except for modern wings that flex a lot.  However, with things like modern airliners, they look funny sitting on their landing gear with flight dihedral (wow, what a windy day!).

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 8:59 AM

For Halloween I just watched all five of the Universal 'Invisible Man' movies. Beyond the first one there's a pretty vague connection to the original H.G. Wells story. 

I love as they state in the credits 'Suggested by the story 'The Invisible Man' by H.G. Wells. 

I'd say some of the kits I built were - 'Suggested by the original blueprints...'


"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen


  • Member since
    July 2019
  • From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posted by Bobstamp on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 5:40 PM

I am reminded of an exchange between my son, Paul, when he was about 10, and my friend Dann, who was building a sunroom addition on our house. Dann was laying out and nailing 2X4s for a wall and explaining the process to Paul. 

"It's really important to make sure everything is square," he said as he eyed everything professionally. "It's not quite square yet, so we have to adjust it." At that, he gave one of the corners a solid kick. "There," he said, "now it's square!"


On the bench: 1/500 Revell S.S. Hope, being built as the hospital ship U.S.S. Repose; Academy 1/72 F-86F Sabre, and a diorama to illustrate the crash of a Beech T-34B Mentor which I survived in 1962 (I'm using Minicraft's 1/48 model of the Mentor). 

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 5:58 PM

As a retired architect, I used to build models of buildings. Did I try to build a 100% accurate model of a building? Hell no!!! That would have been impossible. All I did was build a  representation of the building.

Me too!

Way way pre-3D printing. A skill I learned from that is to make  the repetitive parts exactly the same. Consistently 1% or 2% big beats various lengths every day.

We used to build these big models of a downtown business district, into which we could stick the building. Those usually have an exaggerated vertical scale of 150 to 200%. Otherwise it just looks flat.


ps. I just learned something. When adding a quote to a post, highlight what you want to repeat, click the "add quote" button; and it plugs in only that part of the post.



  • Member since
    July 2019
  • From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posted by Bobstamp on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 6:24 PM

There is also an issue regarding the time period or variant of the model. As previously said, this can apply to any subject like ships, armor, cars/trucks, aircraft, etc.


I recently completed my Italeri 1/72 model of a UH-34D Seahorse helicopter, like the ones flown by Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 363, the Lucky Red Lions, as it ferried me and my fellow Marines around South Vietnam. I wanted to make it as close to the "real thing" as I could, despite my limited experience as an adult scale modeller. 


Finescale member Paweł created a drawing of the squadron’s logo for nose art, which I transferred to a decal.I added a few additional items based on the few photographs I took in Vietnam and on photos I found on-line — a tall radio antenna mounted on the tail, a vent on the tail boom, markings like the ones on the particular helicopter that ferried my squad into battle in Operation Utah, and a stretcher in the cabin.


Despite many mistakes, quite a few of which look like purposeful weathering, I’m pleased with the result. From a little distance, you can almost hear the rotors speeding up for take-off. But does it really look realistic? Probably not.




For one thing, the landing gear as supplied in the kit is an earlier version than the ones that I saw in use in Vietnam. Also, I could not determine the registration number of the helicopter I was modelling. The canopy got fogged a bit by crazy glue, and I messed up the nose light so I had to make one from scratch. But here’s the thing: I could not find pictures of any two Vietnam-era Seahorses that looked the same. Every single photo showed details that were different from photos of every other Seahorse of that period. But I have no doubt that any former Marine who served in Vietnam would have no difficulty recognizing my model as one that more or less accurately represents the Seahorses that operated in Vietnam.



On the bench: 1/500 Revell S.S. Hope, being built as the hospital ship U.S.S. Repose; Academy 1/72 F-86F Sabre, and a diorama to illustrate the crash of a Beech T-34B Mentor which I survived in 1962 (I'm using Minicraft's 1/48 model of the Mentor). 

  • Member since
    June 2017
Posted by Chemteacher on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 7:40 PM
I build for fun, to relax, for enjoyment, and I like reading/researching about the subject. I’m really just a big history buff. While I try to be as accurate as I can(paint schemes, colors, variants, etc..), I build for me. If I were building for competition, I guess I would stress more but I’m nowhere near that level. I guess it’s why I enjoy viewing all the fine builds on this site-very inspirational and I’ve certainly learned so much here.

On the bench: Revell-USS Arizona; Airfix 1/72 P-40B

  • Member since
    December 2015
  • From: providence ,r.i.
Posted by templar1099 on Wednesday, October 21, 2020 5:31 AM

If the vast majority of the public can say " nice tank, or car,or plane" etc, I'm good to go. If the rest can say " nice Tiger II, or 67 Vette, or P-51", even better.

"le plaisir delicieux et toujours nouveau d'une occupation inutile"

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Wednesday, October 21, 2020 7:58 AM

Something I noticed recently while doing the on-line portion of my research for my upcoming Su-25 build, is that there is a lot of buzz on some of the internet forums that seems to be tainted by just not liking a particular manufacturer.  I saw one post complaining about how the manufacturer "PUT RIVETS ALL OVER THIS ONE TOO!!!", when the real-world aircraft has lots and lots of very visible rivets all over it.

I try to do the highest quality job possible with what I have available to me, and that my current skill level will allow.  That being said, I don't really get into worrying about this or that being "the wrong shape", wrong angles...and so on.  Not a rivet counter.  Over the years I've seen so many rivet counter builds that spend an inordinate amount of time "correcting" this or that...only to finish the project with a paint job full of dirt, fuzz, and overspray.  To me, that just defeats the purpose of all of the other effort which very few people can really see anyway.  

I think one post I saw during my forum research summed it up really well.  It said something along the lines of "As long as it looks reasonably like an Su-25, then I'm good."  I'm going to add a lot of aftermarket details to it, but mostly just to give things a little extra pop.  I don't think I'll be doing much sawing and "correcting" of things.  Just want it to have a good finish at the end.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    January 2014
Posted by Silver on Tuesday, October 27, 2020 1:44 PM

Accuracy:Plastic modeling has come a long way.Plastic model kits to detail sets in modern times.Model contest has changed the modeling world.Buildig the model as close as possible to the real thing.Thats the expected goal.I myself have flown the F-100, and when I see a model of the aircraft I see many items missing for exact accuracy.Do the best you can and enjoy the art of plastic modeling.NOTE:99% of modeling judges never flew aircraft or have been on a tank.

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Colorado Springs
Posted by mawright20 on Tuesday, October 27, 2020 3:07 PM
We’ll said!!!
  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, October 28, 2020 1:23 PM

Thank you for your service, Silver.

Flying/ driving/ sailing the model subject however in itself does not make anyone an expert so go easy on the judges.

In the case of the Air Force I'd be more apt to rely on the enlisted.




  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Wednesday, October 28, 2020 1:46 PM

Right On !

      Many planes are closely associated with Non Rated crew. They polish it, Arm It and Maintain it. They know where all that stuff goes. If their Air Crew breaks or crashes it there will be some very upset Airmen and Specialists. It's the same way in the other services. 

      Our Damage control group, Five third class Petty Officers and twelve Firemen and firemen Apprentices. Knew our ship inside out and upside down! Don't you mess her Up!

    Yeah, even in civilian life there's that. The Company I contracted to for Falcon 20 mods were surprised at all the rivets. They were expecting welds! 500 Rivets in a two square foot area near the radio supports inside !!

   The outside, Fuggedaboud it ! Although old hat now, the Falcon series were indeed a work of aircraft art by Dassault Aviation! But, The one available model I found is not that accurate, Believable though! And although, If you wanted you could count the rivets on a "Virgin" ( Unpainted,Unmarked bird) Don't ! There's just to many for any Model judge!



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