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Quality Model Manufacturers

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  • Member since
    November 2005
Quality Model Manufacturers
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, May 29, 2003 9:20 PM
I'm sure most of you have seen some of my other posts (built models as a teen; back after long hiatus, blah, blah, blah). I'll cut to the chase. When I built models in the eighties, I almost always bought either Hasagawa or Tamiya models. I found (at that time) that Monogram, Airfix, and Revell were substandard (in my opinion). Since I've been back, it seems that Revell has produced some quality models. I've heard others bad-mouth Hasagawa (I believe on one response to a post here, someone referred to them as "Hasagagya"). In addition, the fall of the Iron Curtain has resulted in many, many companies from that area of the world reaching our store shelves and Internet modems (i.e. Maquette from Russia, Eduard from Czech Republic).

I would like to hear from the worldwide modeling community about your opinions. What model manufacturers do you suggest? What companies have you found problems with? I'm thinking of such things as accuracy of the model (chin turret on a B-17D), accuracy of scale (wow, my canopy is scaled to be 4 inches thick in real life!), accuracy of decals (no, no, it's red meatball-Japanese; green meatball-Libya). I'm not so much concerned about selection, but after having been out of the hobby for so long, I don't recognize many of these companies. To make matters worse, many of them aren't available on store shelves here in my little slice of heaven; therefore I have to rely on a box top picture on the internet. What companies can I be relatively secure knowing I'll get a quality product from? Thanks for your inputs. I'll shut up now Blush [:I]
  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Panama City, Florida, Hurricane Alley
Posted by berny13 on Thursday, May 29, 2003 9:53 PM
You are bound to get a bad apple from any manufacturer. Monogram, Revell, Hasagawa, and Tamiya are the best in my opinion. I build mainly in 1/48 scale and find their kits to be excellent. Hasagawa and Tamiya are usually more expensive but their kits are usually better quality. Monogram and Revell are less expensive but the detail isn't as good. You have to trade off for price or quality. These are the brands I stick with most. I have some of the Hobbycraft kits and consider them fair. I do not buy any kits from Testors or Italeri as I have found the model in the box does not match the picture on the box. Their kits are rather basic and usually have many mistakes in them. Other good manufacturers are Arifix, Heller and Academy Minicraft.


 Phormer Phantom Phixer

On the bench

TF-102A Delta Dagger, 32nd FIS, 54-1370, 1/48 scale. Monogram Pro Modeler with C&H conversion.  

Revell F-4E Phantom II 33rd TFW, 58th TFS, 69-260, 1/32 scale. 

Tamiya F-4D Phantom II, 13th TFS, 66-8711, 1/32 scale.  F-4 Phantom Group Build. 


  • Member since
    January 2003
Posted by shermanfreak on Thursday, May 29, 2003 10:58 PM
Have to agree with Berny about the bad apples in any and all manufacturers basket. If you pick over any model kit you will find inaccuracies of some form or another. From my experience with armour kits, I find that Tamiya and Dragon have some of the best and most accurate kits on the market. They also have some of the worst. AFV Club has done some great kits and Academy has come a long way with theirs. Italeri just continues to roll along with fairly accurate, reasonably priced kits.

Each individual kit from any of these manufacturers have their good points and their bad points.
Each kit needs to stand on its own merit.
Happy Modelling and God Bless Robert
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, May 29, 2003 11:05 PM
Don't turn your nose up at testers or italeri just yet.
Some of the best armor kits out their are from italeri.
hasagawa kits are still good and still expensive.
The same go's for tamiya as well.
keep an eye on trumpeter.
They are take the industry by storm.
If not in quality than in sheer numbers.
I am sorry but I do not agree with Berny on airfix and heller though.
My opinion of airfix kits is their great if you want to blow them up with firecrackers.
Heller kits are ok.

Have fun........
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: Sunny Florida
Posted by renarts on Thursday, May 29, 2003 11:40 PM
Don't some of the mfr.'s use or buy out molds from other competition? i.e. Revell gets a hold of the old Hasegawa molds and reworks them a bit or just uses them stock?
DML (Dragon) is good
I haven't seen any of the Eastern European countries yet. Some of the older kits look pretty bad but I'm curious as to how they've done now that they have had more exposure to the West.

One of the things I like to do is read the Brit Mags as they seem to have a good cross section of contributing writers. Guys like you or I that have written pretty exposing articles regarding the kit assembly and or problems they've had. By looking at FSM and them I can get a good review as to whats out there. It allows me to make a little better decision when I purchase.

Mike "Imagination is the dye that colors our lives" Marcus Aurellius A good friend will come and bail you out of jail...but, a true friend will be sitting next to you saying, "Damn...that was fun!"
  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Tochigi, Japan
Posted by J-Hulk on Friday, May 30, 2003 1:37 AM
Some of the Eastern European stuff is pretty good. I've seen the new MaquetteT-34/76s, and they're very nice. I've built PST's little 1/76 T-55, and it's a gem, too.
Heard a lot of good things about Eastern Express, too.

Airfix and Heller...hmmmm. Bless their hearts, they certainly deserve a place in history and all of our hearts, but...well, just not up to the standards of quality of the other manufacturers.
Just my opinion!
  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Pominville, NY
Posted by BlackWolf3945 on Friday, May 30, 2003 3:47 AM
These are some of my personal faves. I've listed the types of kits they produce that I personally find to be among the world's finest. (Plastic kits only and I am confining my observations to 1/48 Aircraft, 1/35 Military Vehicles, 1/35 & 1/16 Figures and 1/20 & 1/24 Autos)

Tamiya - Aircraft, Military Vehicles, Figures, Autos

Hasegawa / Fine Molds - Aircraft & some of their Autos

Revellogram - Aircraft kits (Many of their better kits are original molds. However, nowadays they market alotta Hasegawa & Dragon kits under license.)

DML / Dragon / Shanghai Dragon - Figures, Military Vehicles, Aircraft

Minicraft-Academy / Academy - Military Vehicles, Aircraft

Accurate Miniatures - Aircraft, Autos

Eduard / Flashback - Aircraft

Gavia - Aircraft (Small catalog, but they're still fairly new and VERY good kits)

Mirage - Aircraft (Also small and unestablished, but excellent kits)

If I had to pick ONE manufacturer it would be Tamiya. They have a large number of superb kits along my many lines of interest.

For the most interesting and large selection of esoteric types, Classic Airframes is unequalled.

As for the best bang for the buck, perhaps Hobbycrap Hobbycraft should not be overlooked. They make decent kits which are still reasonably priced.

Fade to Black...
  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: Washington State
Posted by leemitcheltree on Friday, May 30, 2003 6:03 AM
I have to agree with the general consensus - Tamiya and Hasegawa are and have been some of the better brands that have been made.
Fujimi make some great cars and planes, Accurate Miniatures are just terriffic kits, Academy make some really nice planes in 1/72 scale (Catalinas in particular), Minicraft make some excellent 1/144 airliners, Italeri CAN make some very nice planes in 1/72 scale - some are awful, Stay away from Poscher unless you love badly detailed big scale kits that have terrible fit problems -
Really, the quality is what you make of it - some people will put up with ordinary quality if it's a subject they love and have no other alternative. I just recently bought Special Hobby's 1/48 X-15A-2 - not a really stellar example of quality, but it's the only game in town (the decals are fantastic).
I'm very lucky to have access to a well stocked hobby shop staffed by friendly enthusiasts - they NEVER say no to anyone wanting to open a sealed box to inspect the contents. It often leads to a sale, and gives the modeler a chance to guage quality before purchase.
I guess the best thing is to get a hold of a really good quality kit with good surface detail and great fit, then compare all other kits to the good quality one, and then make your decision to purchase based on that.
Good Luck

Cheers, LeeTree
Remember, Safety Fast!!!

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Canada / Czech Republic
Posted by upnorth on Saturday, May 31, 2003 12:14 PM
For myself, I'd say every company has a dog or two they should have kept on a chain short enough to keep it from sitting on a hobby shop shelf.

The first thing to say about Eastern European kits is that whatever the subject, whoever makes it, you need to have three things going for you in the modeling department: patience (most require considerable dry fitting and most don't have any parts alignment devices), resourcefulness (as a general rule most are no frills affairs that may see you needing to dig through your spares box), experience (from what I've seen so far, no Eastern European kit could be classified as a beginer's kit, many are of very high quality but it takes experiennced hands to get them looking really good).

Notable companies from Eastern Europe:

Bilek (Czech Republic), Eduard (Czech Republic), PST (Belarus), ICM (Ukraine), KP (Czech Republic), Pavla (Czech Republic).... Thats just to name a few.

I'd say if you've never done an Eastern made kit before and want to give it a go, the Czechs lead the way. The modeling hobby is very strong there and many kits are at or near Western standards straight from the box.

As for Western manufacturers, Revell Monogram is good, Revell Germany is another good one but their best kits are a trick to find in North America. I swore off AMT years ago as much from poor customer service as anything else. Testors and Italeri can be good, but you have to be very careful when purchasing their kits, Italeri has a lot of old Esci originated kits popping up in its catalog and Testors has a lot of older kits from a variety of manufacturers, some molds more than a bit long in the tooth too.

As for Hobbycraft, they cleaned up their act a decade or so ago, they used to be very bad for pirating other companies kits, they still have a few things in their catalog that could be described as questionable, but I'd say if you're looking at one of their kits on a shelf and its less than ten years old, it probably won't be bad.

I haven't built an Asian kit in a long time, so I don't feel right commenting on current products from that part of the world.

Hope that helps
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, May 31, 2003 3:23 PM
I like Revell-Monogram, Acadamey/MRC/Minicraft, and pretty much anything that comes in a box, is plastic, and is marked "scale model kit"!!
  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: UK
Posted by gregers on Saturday, May 31, 2003 6:15 PM
Hi folks I agree with most comments so far but i must say that i have never had a kit by Italeri that i didn't enjoy building the same goes for heller. Airfix was good in its day but so was mohamed ali and if you put him in the ring with one of todays heavyweights the fight would last about 2 seconds lets face it most old kits just can't compete. That is unless no one has done the same subject but then its just a case of being "the only game in town" I would rather have a poor kit as a basis to work on than no kit at all and i am sure most of us have opend up our latest purchase and thought "what a piece of s**t but have persevered and built something which we are justly proud of even if it was only for overcoming the kits shortcomings and i suppose triumphing over adversity in some small way. Anyway i have probably bored you all senseless with my ramblings so happy modeling ...Gregers
Why torture yourself when life will do it for you?
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, June 5, 2003 6:06 AM
Dragon (DML), Revell, Matchbox do good planes, Tamiya
the first (and last) academy kit i bought was proposterous! dodgy faces, backwards feet, 6 fingered hands, flash everywhere, the list goes on!

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