I'm wondering what you guys think of their kits. I want to build a model of the Samuel B. Roberts, DE-413. They don't make a kit of that ship but do make the U.S.S. Rudderow. It's the same as the Butler class but has a different propulsion plant.
Have any of you built the USS Rudderow kit? If so, what do you think of it? And what about IS kits in general? I've never built an all resin kit or even a ship kit so should I just steer clear of this kit because of lack of experience? (I've been strictly an armor modeler since getting back into the hobby a few years ago.)
Iron Shipway kits are terrific! I have built the USS Texas (1945) and it went together wonderfully. Parts fit was flawless, the level of detail is very impressive, and the service is outstanding. I received the HMS Norfolk as a gift, and I have noticed the same observations with dry-fitting. I am very impressed.
Resin kits are easier than plastic in many ways. There are generally fewer parts, they tend to fit better, and they are usually cast much finer. There is a better selection of kits available than plastic kits, though that gap is narrowing. The main differences lie in the fact that you have to wash the resin parts in a detergent and water to remove any molding residue oils, and you have to use cyanoacrylate glues.
As for price, resin kits often come with all the photoetch parts you would otherwise have to buy when building plastic kits. The actual cost works out to be nearly the same as with plastic.
I would recommend trying the kit.
Let me echo Bill's sentiments above and add a few caveats.
A resin kit is not a plastic kit. There are some differences in the medium which you may need to address. Resin may warp. This may be fixed by putting the part in simmering (not boiling) water for a few minutes. Remove from the water and straighten the part, Allow to cool and proceed.
Second you may find surface bubbles. There are several approaches toward fixing them Large bubbles may need to be cut away to good material then build the piece back with some strip styrene, Bondo, and/or superglue. Small bubbles can often be fixed with a dab of Bondo or superglue.
The instructions in some of the early ISW kits were rather poor, often not much more than an exploded diagram. Later kits have much improved instructions. However a secondary reference may be required for some assembly & detail sequences.
ISW has an excellent customer relation philosophy. They want you to be satisfied. If there is something wrong with the kit when you receive it, contact them and they will replace the parts (even a whole hull). Youre building the kit, something doesn't fit, you break a piece, drill through a part or sand too much. Contact them and tell them what you did and they will fix it. I have heard stories of a cat knocking a model off the shelf years after completion. The modeler contacted ISW and they supplied replacement parts. Buy with confidence.
Full disclosure, I have worked the ISW booth in the past at IPMS conventions and I have made several of their masters.
Thanks for the input. I think I'll go ahead and get the kit. I really love the story of this little ship and her brave captain and crew. I wish that someone would come out with a plastic kit in a scale larger than 1/350. Oh well. I guess I'll be picking up a new and stronger pair of reading glases for this build.
Their customer service is good because there is no way they would still be in business if not.
Their earlier kits are not a good first resin kit unless you like jumping into the deep end feet first with lead weights on. I purchased their APD Roper kit and it arrived with a banana-shaped hull, air bubbles in the vents and other top-side details that destroyed their usefulness - since they're integral with the hull, you have to saw and replace them with scratch-built pieces yourself. Guns were all resin and flash - mostly unusable. This is where their good customer service comes in. Just contact them and they'll keep sending replacements out until you have enough good ones.
Note that this is an experience based on a kit roughly ten years ago, and I've heard things have improved with their NEWER kits - the Sammy B is one of the older releases, I think.
The customer service is outstandig. They sent me the wrong hull of a DDG it turn out to be a DD. I was mad as hell,but they sent me the correct hull with no charge and told me to keep the DD hull. How's that for service. I've bought 3 other kits from them. Again what everybody esle had said. You will not go wrong.
I got the kit the other day and have to say I'm pretty impressed with the quality. I'm not impressed with the instructions though. They leave quite a bit to the imagination. Thankfully there's plenty of reference material available on the net that I'll be able to use.