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Just A Heads Up!

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  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Just A Heads Up!
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Tuesday, July 12, 2022 4:00 PM

Hi Ya'll!

        Today, I am going to say something about Vac-U-Form kits of all types! Now before you get your knickers in a twist, Yes! I have done Vac-U-Formed Ships, Boats, Planes, Cars and No Armor. Never seen any Armor done that way! Along the way I have seen many instruction sheets and Boy, do they run the gamut of fair to poor advice. Especially on the Airplane side. Boats running a fast second.

         Sometimes they are even worse than the worst Card(Paper) modeling instructions. Why is it? They ASSUME(You know what that means right?) that many of us remember from art class how to interpret othographic or perspective drawings! This is the first flaw and this is one of the guilty parties in some of the BEST and the WORST instructions out there and what steps come first or last or they just don't tell us!

          Do you know that you MUST always take the part out of the plastic sheet a certain way? Did you also know that You and only You are responsible for making sure the joining edges are as straight as you can make them? That is important in a BIG way, If you are doing, say a D.C.7-C ( my favorite plane and the first I ever flew in.) I know there's bombers and fighters too!

 Anyway what do you do when you find out that you didn't get the engine cowls even and straight as well as the top and bottom Wing edge( The Nacelles usually are molded into the wings.)( There are some that have you cut out and finish those parts to the wing contours to as well). Again, Be careful to read the package before you plunk down yer Bucks. Why? Well, there's a label,(Recommended for Experienced modelers ONLY!) somewhere on that package. Plus! and Get this! There is a sometimes large amount of scratch building with the materials within those kits( Let's see, Landing gear, Cockpits, Bomb-Bays, Missiles etc) and the list goes on.

       Oh ! You think Vac-U-Formed boats and ships are any easier? WRONG! The best example I can give and may the Chief Modeler in Modeling Heaven forgive me. The Large Scale LINDBERG 45' Sport Fisherman Kit! This is a Beautiful Kit! Yes, If it's built right! Plus you have to correct a very glaring flaw in the kit, as rare and expensive as it is! I'd rather duplicate it in wood, honestly!

 The Flaw? Well, most of you know how Vac-U-Formed models are made, If you don't well, here's a quick tutorial. The basics. A Vacuum Device. A Patten or Platten for holding the plastic sheet over a Heating source, with locking frame.( The basic system) and a MOLD. The heart of the system! The molds can be Male(The simplest way) or Female( The hardest and slightly more complicated way) And better have good surface detail on the proper side! In this kit, Which is a fun build overall is the unusual flaw. They put the detail for the exterior of the hull on interior or the male side of the molded unit instead of the female side.

        So you have this gorgeous shape of a 45' offshore fish boat! With the main hull trim and strake detail on the inside of the finished hull, instead of the outside where it belongs. Surprisingly, after a talk with their marketing folks and one of the Board members(They were Model sailing friends of mine). No one in Q.C. or the line inspectors caught this Boo-Boo! If you wanted the boat right you had to remake these parts of the hull from scratch! It's still like that today if you manage to get your hands on one. This surprised me, because I didn't know till I built one for a client about the flaw. I had built oh, maybe six of the Constellation Motor yacht and that was as far as most things then, Spot on! But it had been injection molded.

       I have found mistakes like this in Blow molded and Vac molded products, in Boats, Planes and Yes, even Slot and R.C. stuff! So in closing, If you can Examine the kit carefully and based on your Knowledge and Skill either take the plunge and buy one or excercise the other two options, Scratch build whatever it is, yourself, or wait for Hasegawa or Tamiya or Revell of Germany, or even the rare Old Heller and Airfix items. These Vac Models are not for the squemish or easily daunted builder. BUT! They can be  welcome and challenging builds for those who feel themselves driven to the next level! Oh ! Good Luck on your Build!  

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, July 12, 2022 4:06 PM

This is a very good post, Gary.



 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.


  • Member since
    May 2022
Posted by Eugene Rowe on Tuesday, July 12, 2022 10:20 PM

True they can be tricky but I like building them!

  • Member since
    May 2022
Posted by Eugene Rowe on Tuesday, July 12, 2022 10:22 PM


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