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Stirring the Hornet's nest..?!

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  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: United Kingdom / Belgium
Stirring the Hornet's nest..?!
Posted by djmodels1999 on Thursday, October 23, 2003 4:48 AM
Well, I'll put it plainly to you all, dear fellow modelers from all over the world:

Do you really think photo-etched kits are worth the money they're asking for..?

I've had, even bought, a few of those kits and I've always found out that:

1. Many parts, sometimes most do not fit properly 'as advertised';

2. Many parts are actually not used up.

Don't you feel that people are quite happy to spend sometimes two times the amount they paid on the kit on PE kits to improve it a tad? Whatever happened to plastic card, the old ruler, the pencil and the hobby knife..?

Don't get me wrong, I've just bought the stuff to do (well try at least!) my own PE stuff, so I'm not against the medium itself. I'll even go as far as saying that some PE stuff is actually very useful, say for ships' railings, belt buckles, anti-skid surfaces and mesh-type schurtzen. But have you ever checked Eduard's catalogue for instance??? Is all that truly necessary??!?

For that matter, what about all those resin kits and extra bits that are marketed in order to improve your models..? How many times do you see the latest Tamiya model (i.e. big bucks) completed with the Verlinden engine, the ABER transmission, the Jorge Rubio gun,...

I got really annoyed once with an article in Military Modelling, reviewing the then new Italeri's 1/35 Panther. The kit was great, fantastic, really cheap said the reviewer, but he then proceeded to explain how to add a multitude of resin and metal accessories that, certainly, added to the beauty of the plastic kit, but pushed the price up by something like 400%... What was the point of that, I ask?

I know it takes time, (some) patience, and good reference to improve upon the basic kit offered in the box, but isn't that part of the pleasure of modeling??? Experience makes things easier, I know. After a few years designing AFVs patterns, I'm pretty confident about scratching just about anything, and this might not be the case for everyone. But you do not get the experience if you do not practice. 5 years ago, I would not have dared, even thought of scratchbuilding a Simca 5 staff car.

I suppose if I take this further, why don't we all do 100% scratchbuild..? Well, maybe this thread is irrelevant after all... But what do you guys and dolls feel about this???
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, October 23, 2003 5:32 AM
I believe that we all have different strengths & weakness when we build. I know that scratchbuilding is a weakness of mine. I accept that. The only way to improve the weaknesses is by experience. Try as I might, I can never duplicate the detail I find in aftermarket accessories. Therefore, if there is a kit that I like enough to want it detailed to a higher degree than what comes in the box, I'll buy the accessories. I won't be denied a detailed model just because I am unable to construct the fine details myself. I applaud the people that are able to do this, and I realize that I am not one of them. Resin & photo-etch, to me, are just more tools that I can employ in my building.
It probably comes down to the question "is it worth it to you?" Some will say yes, some will say no. I am grateful that we have the choice.
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, October 23, 2003 5:47 AM
Well unfortunately I have only to date built one kit that included PE was a F-117A that included PE grills...I must say. I wasnt overwhelmingly impressed,especially when I realized that those 4 lil metal parts added $15 to the price. When I later saw the same kit w/o the PE parts for you got it $15 less than the one I bought. What was really dissapointing was the PE parts were to be painted black....just like the rest of the bird...No one really knew about the detail or PE parts unless I told them where to look.
If a kit comes with it then fine...I dont see myself going out and buying "Extra's" for everything I do and nearly tripling the price of the kit.
I have my own Hornets nest to stir but I'll have to make that post latter on today.
  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: USA, GA
Posted by erush on Thursday, October 23, 2003 6:57 AM
I guess I also know my limitations and it's all I can do to fold and glue a piece of p/e on a kit, much less build parts that small from scratch. So, if the kit will benefit from the resin or p/e I'll use it if I want the detail on it. Granted a lot of p/e sets have way more stuff than I'll use or need but I guess if someone wants all that...then they've got it.

Hi, I'm Eric and I'm a Modelholic too. I think I have PE poisioning.     "Friendly fire...isn't"
  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Bicester, England
Posted by KJ200 on Thursday, October 23, 2003 7:41 AM
As Erush states, it comes down to skill and depth of pocket.

There are some things I would never consider scratchbuilding, and am therefore grateful that PE components exist, and other perhaps simpler assemblies, such as adding stringers to the inside of cockpits etc that I would consider.

All I would say is that you get an awful lot more PE for your money when it's railway related PE than military. After all for £120 you a complete etched brass locomtive kit, from a top line manufacturer, that will not only sit on your shelf, but trundle up and down your test track as well. Therefore it has to fit together properly!

Currently on the bench: AZ Models 1/72 Mig 17PF

  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, October 23, 2003 7:47 AM
Now that Ive been using the p/e and resin sets frequently, its hard for em to build one without them. The B-25 Im working on Im doing straight from the box. Its killing me ! Even though its a well made kit, I just keep looking at that interior through the window thinking , "oh man that really needs alot of improvment". If anyone has built the Hasegawa 72nd B-25 J , youll probably know what Im talking about when looking at the nose compartment. It lacks alot. But, Im forcing myself to build a kit straight from the box. I know, Im spoiled now with the aftermarket stuff. But , I think they really do improve a kit, especially when it comes to armor.
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, October 23, 2003 10:18 AM
I am just not into the stuff. I use it once in a while but only a little bit here and there. My main complaint is that I don't want to pay the extra $$$ for something only my friends, family and I will see. I don't enter contests, the most attention my models get is if the spend a day or two in the hobby shop display case. I just can't justify spending the money for something I can usually do with plasticard.

Though I do agree with DJ, PE has its place. Ships railings, radars, car grilles and the like.

  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: Washington State
Posted by leemitcheltree on Thursday, October 23, 2003 11:16 AM
That's a real hard one - what's one persons joy is anothers poison...........
Many p/e sets really do enhance the original kits, but many p/e parts are simply 2 dimensional and look awful. I've used p/e windscreen wipers for 1/24 cars, p/e detail sets in cockpits, and unless they're dressed up or modified they just don't look right.
Regrettably, I'm like Pixilator - OOB makes my brain hurt. I gotta get that resin cockpit/pe set/resin tires etc to dress up the beast and make it unique - a piece of personal artwork.
Tends to make the models end up pretty bloody expensive though. But I've always felt that if you really love a particular subject, the pain of the purchase price of those sets will eventually go away and you'll end up with something special.
Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it...........

Cheers, LeeTree
Remember, Safety Fast!!!

  • Member since
    January 2003
Posted by shermanfreak on Thursday, October 23, 2003 12:27 PM
Just let me get my butt positioned on this fence just right ..... there.

Personally I have my likes and dislikes with just about all AM parts. The thought of scratchbuilding a radial engine or a cast hull that isn't available for one of my Shermans sends shivers up and down my spine, so I am very grateful when I can get one from TW or VLS or one of the other resin manufacturers. Would I order a bunch of resin tarps, bed rolls, or the like .... not a chance when I can do that myself very easily. Would I order crates and boxes .... not in my life time. Structural changes to the model that are well within my skill level, I will certainly carry out myself.

PE on the other hand is one that I have my biggest problem with. Many of the frets are filled with little details that do absolutely nothing to improve the build of the model. I've had and used some of the best frets on the market for "improving" my models. More often than not, I've used maybe 30 - 50% of the fret. Now the only PE sets I will purchase are the Eduard Zoom Sherman Brush Guards, about the only thing that I feel the PE really improves on.

AM tracks are another area of contention with me .... some certainly do improve the model ... others, well, if we took the time with the ones that came in the kit, nobody would know the difference except maybe the builder themself.

IMHO .... use the AM market to improve your model. Try a little scratchbuilding, you may surprise yourself.
Happy Modelling and God Bless Robert
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, October 23, 2003 2:28 PM
There are a few situations that I will gladly use AM kits. There's no way I was going to scratchbuild a 1/32 cockpit for an A-10 2-seater. If I want to really open up an aircraft, PE and resin kits are the only way to go. Some of the kits, if I really want to make them showpieces, will get the full treatment, but I can count on one hand the number of models I've done that way. There are a few that can greatly benefit from updates, but most, with a little creativity and some plasticard, would look great by themselves. It's all a matter of what I want to do to a particular build.

  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Dahlonega, Georgia
Posted by lizardqing on Thursday, October 23, 2003 7:28 PM
Personally I have not tried to use any PE yet and not sure if I will. To me the extra money is another kit that I could get alot more enjoyment out of and so far I have been able to scratch build some items that have enhanced the kit with just a little head scratching and a post or two here. Not only that but the distance for me to travel to get them would burn more in gas than I paid for the kit.
  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Rain USA, Vancouver WA
Posted by tigerman on Thursday, October 23, 2003 8:04 PM
I've just started dabbling in p/e stuff and I won't buy it unless it is going to have a signifcant impact. It also has to be cost effective. I agree with Chris that money spent on p/e or a.m. parts could well buy another kit. Two areas that I really feel improve a tank are p/e grille sets and a.m. tracks. To me, indy tracks are important on tanks that require sag.

I imagine that p/e and a.m. kits help both novice and pros from expending time scratchbuilding.

"It is well that war is so terrible, lest we grow too fond of it."-R.E.Lee


  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Philippines
Posted by Dwight Ta-ala on Friday, October 24, 2003 4:33 AM
I believe that modelers go through different stages in their modeling lives. And these stages somehow have great influence on the way they treat AM parts. This is my concept:

At an early stage modelers are more interested in just doing the model out of the box and just for the satisfaction of having done or completed one and move on the next kit. It is pretty basic and simple. The goal is to do and complete nothing more. And more often than not, modelers build for themselves. I believe that in this stage modelers would rarely go into AM parts. It is more on the most basic value of completing a kit than anything else.

When modelers reach the next level however, they tend to go beyond the box. They start to model not for themselves but for others. They try to compete. So, they become more meticulous with the details of the kit and try reflect everything from the real thing. It is probably in this stage that modelers become so attached to AM parts in their quest to weed out the inaccuracies of the kit and to have the true representation of the model. Possibly, it is also the stage where modelers start to scratchbuild. While the value of aesthetics have been better appreciated it is the technical side of modeling that really stands out in this stage. Accuracy is key factor.

In the later stage of the modelers' life modelers learn to play within the bounds of the two earlier stages, between the the basic enjoyment of completing and the aesthetic/technical, between the out of the box and the AM/Scratchbuilding, between building for themselves and for competition. For some reasons, modelers in this stage can contently build out of the box without losing sleep over it and at the same time could skillfully handle AM parts to come out with stunning results. It is in these stage that modelers go beyond the complexities and technicalities of the hobby. It is when modelers are wise enough to decide whether AM parts are necessary or not to be able to produce a good work.

Basically, I feel that I am still wandering within the first stage. Building out of the box and mainly for myself. I don't yet feel the urge of plunging myself into AM although I have started to try my luck in scratchbuilding. The cost of AM parts is also a big factor. Novice modelers like me still doesn't see the reason (or need) of spending more than what was paid for the actual kit for something that you will just add on it. If my attitude towards AM parts will remain is pretty much a question. But if my concept is correct and I step into the next level in the years to come, I may find myself going crazy over accuracy and yes...AM parts.

But as for now, I will keep myself contended within the small domain of the box and whatever comes in it.

  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Tochigi, Japan
Posted by J-Hulk on Friday, October 24, 2003 5:52 AM
In my opinion, PE and resin parts are just extensions for the kits we buy in the first place. More or better parts to make a better, more accurate and complete model. Personally, I'd rather get the PE or resin bits I need, rather than scratchbuild. If I can't find what I need, I'll make it myself as best I can. It all depends on how far I want to take it. Sometimes I'm happy building right out of the box, and sometimes I want to pull out all the stops and put as much effort as I can in making the most accurate and complete model I can. That depends mainly on the subject. Something I really like gets the special treatment, while other subjects get the appropriate amount of attention that my interest warrants. That's why I don't enter many contests!

As far as pricing and practicality goes, well, it's the same for kits, I reckon. You have to check out the product as best you can before you buy and decide if it's what you want, and selling for a price you are willing to pay. I have tons of frets of unused PE (thanks, Aber!) that I consider just as valuable as my boxes of spare plastic parts. I always find a few bits every build from old frets that I can use on the new one. Nothing goes to waste, eventually!

Anyway, again, I feel the PE and resin parts are just there for the people who want to use them. Easy enough!Big Smile [:D]
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, October 24, 2003 7:19 AM
"Evolution" in modeling! I think is basically what Dwight is saying . So far sounds like your in the cromag stage? :) Thats basically where Im at in aircraft modeling. But armor , Im not sure what stage it is. Certainly not at the intergalactic stage lol , if there is one.
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, October 24, 2003 8:23 AM
I have used photo etched so far on a couple of occasions. due to the small scale 1/72, true it doesnt show although things such as seat velt bucles are nicelly done. In large scales however resin and PE certainly add up as well as scratchbuilt improvements of course....It depends how happy you are. A friend of mine counts even the number of rivets, or belt holes, while my young cousin is as happy to paint a f16 pink with daisies. I try to improve i get pissed off when i do not do something right but not lose that much sleep if the plane is missing an antenna or doesnt have all the linkage rods and landing gear is a bit thick with a left over mold line....(does not mean that i dont try to eliminate it but occasionaly i do bypass (oversight) it.....does this mean i am a bad modeller...maybe i am but at least i get fun from what i do.
if we start thinking about costs to everything we do what the heck...Dont go and spend all your cash for a PE

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