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#21 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 03:59 AM

You want to talk frustration with parts where "you have a little expectation it is diesigned (sic) to sort of fit together" ? Try building a real hot-rod, and spending countless hours re-engineering very expensive parts that were billed as "fitting together", (where the guys manufacturing the junk are making WAY more money than you are) reworking and finishing their stuff so it actiually goes down the road. Every day. Under a deadline.



#22 Blown03SVT

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 04:15 AM

Bill... while I have never built a 1:1 kit car, or a street rod from ground up I have had my frustrations with old camamro's and newer Mustangs. Just because it says it fits, does not always mean it will. I recall an Edelbrock TPI set up that I had to add EGR passages to the TB that should have been there. The car would have never ran right without them, hell no TPI injected car would have ran right without them. Bolt on my butt... Also the term with hi po parts that come to mind is "MADE IN CHINA". Off shore manufacturing at its finest.

#23 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 05:16 AM

Bill... while I have never built a 1:1 kit car, or a street rod from ground up I have had my frustrations with old camamro's and newer Mustangs. Just because it says it fits, does not always mean it will. I recall an Edelbrock TPI set up that I had to add EGR passages to the TB that should have been there. The car would have never ran right without them, hell no TPI injected car would have ran right without them. Bolt on my butt... Also the term with hi po parts that come to mind is "MADE IN CHINA". Off shore manufacturing at its finest.

Yup...but we keep doing it, so we must love it, right? Either that or we're just masochists. Nah...it's love.

 

To the complainers : If problem-solving is part of your definition of 'fun', then building cars, models or 1:1, is sure to be a blast. Besides, all these problem-solving exercises make you SMARTER !!! If you just want a shelf full of pretty toy cars for zero effort, buy die-cast.


Edited by Ace-Garageguy, 23 January 2013 - 05:17 AM.


#24 Blown03SVT

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 05:11 AM

It is love... a little bit of fiddling here and there is expected. In the end you know when you built it with your own two hands it becomes a part of you.

#25 Art Anderson

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:00 PM

 

OMG

Da Big Kahuna speaks.

I just went through this with the AMT/Model King '69 Camaro Funny Car kit.

Granted, the box art that our friend Sean Svendsen did is fantastic, and makes you want to buy and build the kit, but the fit of almost everything in the kit is horrible!

I lost the last two remaining hairs on my head on this one.

The front end caused me so much problems, I ended up sending Sean a note, asking for some more pics and clarifications.

He came through like a champ, and this should help with an article on the build of this very cool kit.

The old AMT instructions don't match up to the kit parts, the kit parts don't fit, and nothing goes together like it should.

Too bad it wasn't re-engineered to today's standards, they would have had an incredible 5-star kit on their hands!

Thanks for the help, Sean!

 

 

 

 

Every model company has had their share of "klinkers" to be sure, but it might be wise to consider that many model kits (not limited to model cars, BTW) are reissues from a day and age when the "science" (if you will) of creating a plastic kit was nowhere what it is today in the 21st Century.  Many of the so-called "iconic" model kits of the 1960's weren't all that good when compared to the newest of tooling from the likes of Revell or Moebius, and for a number of reasons:

 

For starters, if there was ever an "analog" era of model car kit design, the first 20 years or so of plastic model kit design were analog personified.  By that I mean, there was no CAD, there was no CAM back then.  A master modeler back then, termed a "pattern maker", had to carve by hand each and every part of a model kit, from wood!  To facilitate that, those pattern makers (and the early ones were not particularly miniaturists, but rather came out of the die-casting industry, and while they could certainly read a set of drawings and interpret them, they had to do that interpretation in a scale several times larger than the final injection-molded model kit.  Generally with model cars, that meant using say, 1:10 scale wooden masters for a 1:25 scale model car, or 1:12 scale for a 1/24 scale kit, those larger scale sizes being easily "dialed down" numerically to their respective final scale sizes.  Body shells were universally sculpted in wood, SOLID wood blocks, every bit and piece of the engine, chassis (even fairly delicate suspension parts and exhaust systems) fabricated in wood.  These masters were often then pressed into blocks of clay, from which an impression could be made by using rubber molds for pouring resin into, to create further masters for the molds (dies).  Once both halves of a master mold (still in the larger scale in which the wooden master parts were fabricated/carved) were made, the resulting master mold could be clamped together, and some form of liquid resin injected into them, giving hardened resin castings that could then be test fitted, and the master molds "adjusted" to the point that they could get parts to fit as they should.  Once that worked out, the master molds could be transferred to a mechanical 3-axis "pantograph" which had both a "stylus" for following the shapes and contours of the approved master mold, and a rotary milling cutter which would translate those shapes into blocks of steel (or often times, a tooling metal alloy "beryllium copper", all the while reducing the "scale" from say, 1:10 scale down to 1:25 AND making a "female" shape in that steel while following a "male" shape on the larger master mold.

 

Those solid wood body masters (also done in the same larger scale as all the little parts) were cast in a resin material, and then the multiple slide mold cavities pantographed into steel, the mold slides separated where they needed to be, in order to allow a one-piece body shell, and the inside or core mold created in a rather imprecise manner, which is why so few model car kits from 35yrs ago on back had any sort of true engine bay molded into the body shell.

 

All of this not only cost a ton of money, but also meant very long lead times for new model car kits.  In addition, it made really good parts fit, especially if the kit was designed with lots of intricate parts.

 

One last thing here: Plastic model kits were engineered back then for different, harder grades of styrene plastic than are generally used today.  That older plastic was a lot harder, more brittle, yet was far less susceptible to shrink marks with those older, thicker body shells.

 

Art



#26 Art Anderson

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:00 PM

 

OMG

Da Big Kahuna speaks.

I just went through this with the AMT/Model King '69 Camaro Funny Car kit.

Granted, the box art that our friend Sean Svendsen did is fantastic, and makes you want to buy and build the kit, but the fit of almost everything in the kit is horrible!

I lost the last two remaining hairs on my head on this one.

The front end caused me so much problems, I ended up sending Sean a note, asking for some more pics and clarifications.

He came through like a champ, and this should help with an article on the build of this very cool kit.

The old AMT instructions don't match up to the kit parts, the kit parts don't fit, and nothing goes together like it should.

Too bad it wasn't re-engineered to today's standards, they would have had an incredible 5-star kit on their hands!

Thanks for the help, Sean!

 

 

 

 

Every model company has had their share of "klinkers" to be sure, but it might be wise to consider that many model kits (not limited to model cars, BTW) are reissues from a day and age when the "science" (if you will) of creating a plastic kit was nowhere what it is today in the 21st Century.  Many of the so-called "iconic" model kits of the 1960's weren't all that good when compared to the newest of tooling from the likes of Revell or Moebius, and for a number of reasons:

 

For starters, if there was ever an "analog" era of model car kit design, the first 20 years or so of plastic model kit design were analog personified.  By that I mean, there was no CAD, there was no CAM back then.  A master modeler back then, termed a "pattern maker", had to carve by hand each and every part of a model kit, from wood!  To facilitate that, those pattern makers (and the early ones were not particularly miniaturists, but rather came out of the die-casting industry, and while they could certainly read a set of drawings and interpret them, they had to do that interpretation in a scale several times larger than the final injection-molded model kit.  Generally with model cars, that meant using say, 1:10 scale wooden masters for a 1:25 scale model car, or 1:12 scale for a 1/24 scale kit, those larger scale sizes being easily "dialed down" numerically to their respective final scale sizes.  Body shells were universally sculpted in wood, SOLID wood blocks, every bit and piece of the engine, chassis (even fairly delicate suspension parts and exhaust systems) fabricated in wood.  These masters were often then pressed into blocks of clay, from which an impression could be made by using rubber molds for pouring resin into, to create further masters for the molds (dies).  Once both halves of a master mold (still in the larger scale in which the wooden master parts were fabricated/carved) were made, the resulting master mold could be clamped together, and some form of liquid resin injected into them, giving hardened resin castings that could then be test fitted, and the master molds "adjusted" to the point that they could get parts to fit as they should.  Once that worked out, the master molds could be transferred to a mechanical 3-axis "pantograph" which had both a "stylus" for following the shapes and contours of the approved master mold, and a rotary milling cutter which would translate those shapes into blocks of steel (or often times, a tooling metal alloy "beryllium copper", all the while reducing the "scale" from say, 1:10 scale down to 1:25 AND making a "female" shape in that steel while following a "male" shape on the larger master mold.

 

Those solid wood body masters (also done in the same larger scale as all the little parts) were cast in a resin material, and then the multiple slide mold cavities pantographed into steel, the mold slides separated where they needed to be, in order to allow a one-piece body shell, and the inside or core mold created in a rather imprecise manner, which is why so few model car kits from 35yrs ago on back had any sort of true engine bay molded into the body shell.

 

All of this not only cost a ton of money, but also meant very long lead times for new model car kits.  In addition, it made really good parts fit, especially if the kit was designed with lots of intricate parts.

 

One last thing here: Plastic model kits were engineered back then for different, harder grades of styrene plastic than are generally used today.  That older plastic was a lot harder, more brittle, yet was far less susceptible to shrink marks with those older, thicker body shells.

 

Art



#27 Blown03SVT

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 03:51 PM

sort of off topic for a moment... but I'm a Navy bubble head (submarner). I never knew anyone else used the term "klinker". We use the term for the expended O2 candles. Back to topic, I never fully knew the process to making a model until now. Sounds like alot of experience and research. Thank you for making me a bit smarter



#28 Art Anderson

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 06:41 AM

I meant to say, above, that all that hand-work meant, many times, for rather ill-fitting parts.  About 10 years ago, while working at Playing Mantis, Tom Lowe asked me to build up the old MPC "Tognotti's King T".  Now that is a kit that has intrigued me for decades, but I'd never built mine.  Frankly, I found the parts fit to be not just difficult, but downright lousy, particularly in the area of the suspension parts.  A few small parts, seemingly indifferently tooled, almost defied assembly, frankly.  A lot of Revell kits from back in the 60's suffered at least to some degree, pretty poor parts fit--still others very delicate indeed (the front axle assembly of their '29 and '31 Model A Fords stick out as prime examples of this), even though Revell tended to do a very masterful job of making those parts extremely accurate (having owned and restored a couple of real Model A Fords back in those days, I was--and still am--pretty conversant with how they go together, and what the various parts should look like.

 

Enter the 1970's:  By 1970, the popularity of promotional model kits of real cars declined rapidly, with the coming of ever-larger new car dealerships, whose "floor plans" allowed for inventories including just about every trim level and body style, and of course, other forms of advertising.  That lead to a drop in the variety, and the sales, of new "annual series" model kits, the decline of customizing at the time taking away a lot of the reasons for true 3in1 Customizing kits.  This all translated into a slide in sales for companies such as AMT, MPC, and certainly JoHan of such kits.  In addition, recurrent recessions accompanied by rather serious inflation ate into development and tooling dollars, and it showed.  Monogram tended to really stand out, especially given their widely diverse line of model kit subjects, so they were not nearly as affected.  By the end of the 70's, AMT had been folded into Lesney, as a subsidiary, JoHan was limping along with reissuing old promo tooling, and such kits from the 60's and early 70's as they could scrape together the tooling, Revell (once the King Kong of plastic model kits) was owned by a French toy company of questionable sustainability.  IMC, Hawk, Aurora were all gone from the scene except for such tooling as the likes of Testors and Monogram chose to reissue.  A further complication was the concept of "price points", artificial price levels that the burgeoning "big box" retailers (KMart was the big dog in the litter then) dictating to their vendors, model companies included, the MSRP of kits they had to meet or lose shelf space.  Radio control was the big buzz-word in the hobby industry by 1980, and electronic games entered the fray which took consumer dollars away from more traditional hobbies.  All this meant cost-cutting wherever possible. 

 

All that conspired, I think, to push model companies into more and more a "reissue mode", which meant dusting off old tooling, and using those tools with new, less expensive blends of styrene (meaning softer, more flexible, but less breakage) as petroleum prices continued their inexorable rise.  The situation vis a vis mass retailers continued throughout the 80's, into the 90's and into the decade now just past, until the Big Box retailers pretty much pushed model kits off their shelves in favor of other merchandise which could be sold much faster, and in greater quantities compared to the in-store "real estate" needed.

 

That leads us to today:  The cost of developing new kits today, while expensive, is nowhere what it was, relative to say 40-50 years ago, and the introduction of computerized design, tooling and such has truly made a difference--just take a look at any of the truly new kits from Revell and Moebius this past year:  They are light years ahead of anything tooled up even 20 years ago.  But the problem still remains how to explain to younger (and by that I mean under the age of say, 45yrs old) that so many of the kits out there on store shelves are from tooling cut decades in the past, were created when a computer took up an entire building (or certainly a very large room!) and operated by teams of engineers who were depicted in cartoons wearing white lab coats, peering through thick glasses, with bald heads and beards.  Times have changed, model kit wise, vastly for the better--let's hope this is a trend that will continue.

 

Art



#29 hvymtl

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 07:20 AM

. ( But the problem still remains how to explain to younger (and by that I mean under the age of say, 45yrs old) that so many of the kits out there on store shelves are from tooling cut decades in the past) Wow i will be 45 soon enough but remember all the kits from the 70's and I am the one helping people out at hobby shops when they look confused at some of the kits . And knowing more than most of the employees at some . But i have seen a few real Klinkers also mostly the ones mentioned. And Art thanks for the history lesson on the mold process, very informative and never tire hearing that stuff . preserve the past i guess Michael

#30 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 07:22 AM

I think we should all appreciate the time Art Anderson takes to share the benefit of his long involvement in the hobby by explaining the 'whys' of how many things in the industry work. More understanding of the processes and economics involved make us more informed modelers, which can only help to further establish a meaningful dialog between the modeling community and the manufacturers.



#31 Nick Notarangelo

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 10:14 AM

Lindberg's 1940 ford that came in the dodge semi and flat bed kit,Haven worked with injection molding machines in my life I knew just by looking at it they didn't let the mold close all the way cause everything was a 1/16th to a 1/8th inch to thick,so I bought another cause I really liked the kit of the car it self so I figured give it another try and its never a good thing when you gotta break out a palm sander to help with the seams.



#32 Art Anderson

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 01:12 PM

. ( But the problem still remains how to explain to younger (and by that I mean under the age of say, 45yrs old) that so many of the kits out there on store shelves are from tooling cut decades in the past) Wow i will be 45 soon enough but remember all the kits from the 70's and I am the one helping people out at hobby shops when they look confused at some of the kits . And knowing more than most of the employees at some . But i have seen a few real Klinkers also mostly the ones mentioned. And Art thanks for the history lesson on the mold process, very informative and never tire hearing that stuff . preserve the past i guess Michael

Michael, that's a very good question!  Back 50-55 yrs ago, when I'd stop into the hobby shop, cruise through the model car kits on their shelves, EVERY one of them, for the most part (Premier/Palmer being a prime exception) was "state of the art" for that time, so in most ways, I along with my peers pretty much knew what we were getting into.  However, now, in 2013, that is not quite as simple.   Nowadays, walk into a hobby shop (or shop online) for a plastic model kit, unless one has been around the hobby for at least a couple of decades or so, it can be pretty near impossible to always determine if that  '62 Buick Electra 225 is a modern 21st Century level kit, or something straight out of 1962 (it is the latter, of course!).  In far too many hobby shops today, expertise among the staff tends largely to be limited to the highly technical RC models and/or model railroading--I don't remember when the last time was that I stopped into a hobby shop anywhere and actually found somebody who really knew much about the plastic kits on their shelves.  So, in that regard, the Latin warning "Caveat Emptor" (buyer beware) does come into play.  That's one of the really great things about web-based message boards such as this one--anyone can ask the questions, and more often than not, get an answer about such things.  That said, model companies aren't going to stop reissuing old kits--they are part of the mix that helps provide capital (hopefully) for tooling new products.

 

Some older kits out there weren't truly all that great when they were first introduced, not by a long shot:  For example, AMT Corporation built up a pretty wide variety of 1/25 scale model kits of heavy duty trucks between 1970 and 1977, but many of them were highly problematic as to parts fitting as they really should have, particularly their frames and suspension systems--some of them took a fair amount of care in assembly, taking the time to make sure that the frame assembled flat, true and square.  Compared to the likes of the newest kits from Revell (notably their '50 Olds, which is on my bench as we speak) and the Moebius Hudson and Chrysler 300 kits, parts fit is generally VERY precise, in fact precise enough so as to require careful reading and study of the instruction sheets to ensure that the kit goes together as advertised (omit this, and you may not get the thing together at all correctly!), but that's a matter of complexity, not of real or perceived poor quality.  We as adults have come to demand ever-increasing accuracy, more and more parts count, all of that.

 

Back in the 1950's, Lindberg was one of the fledgling companies in the field of plastic model kits, and their instruction sheets had (even with the arguably very simple aircraft kits they produced back then) a warning in bold type:  "Please, before you try to build this your way, try it our way!"  which when I look back at that (I'm getting pretty close to 70 years old these days) it was, and still is, good advice.

 

So, when you or anyone else has a question about some kit that you aren't sure about it's derivation, or how many years ago it may have been designed and tooled, please ask here, or on the Spotlight Hobbies Message Board--between these two forums, there are literally centuries of experience, and a ton of knowledge, and I'm certainly not the ultimate repository of that.

 

Art



#33 Harry P.

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 02:56 PM

I think we should all appreciate the time Art Anderson takes to share the benefit of his long involvement in the hobby by explaining the 'whys' of how many things in the industry work. More understanding of the processes and economics involved make us more informed modelers, which can only help to further establish a meaningful dialog between the modeling community and the manufacturers.

 

Exactly. You can never have too much knowledge. And arguing your position based on knowledge rather than emotion is always a good thing!



#34 midnightprowler

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 01:47 AM

Art, a big thank you from me for the modeling history lessons you share here, they are fascinating and informative.  I never tire of them.



#35 bill_rules

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 03:43 AM

Art, a big thank you from me for the modeling history lessons you share here, they are fascinating and informative.  I never tire of them.

What Lee said. It's a most welcome contrast to some of the opinionated hot air that sometimes blows around here.



#36 farmer1

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 04:41 AM

Art, a big thank you from me for the modeling history lessons you share here, they are fascinating and informative.  I never tire of them.

I agree too, Thanks Art

What you said about the old AMT trucks is true but that is part of what keeps drawing me back to them, I really enjoy working with them to get it "just right" and without some challenges and careful thought and planning I can get bored with a kit very quickly. I think that's why one of my next projects is a Pocher Fiat, you hear a lot of problems with the Pochers and it just makes me want to try one for myself !

Randy



#37 jas1957

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:23 AM

Thank you Art,   you answered a couple questions I had.   I'm working on a glue bomb '61 Valiant,   the plastic seems much harder than what we are used to.  I was wondering if that was the aging of the plastic or the way it was new.   Also some of the engraving & parts fit is to be kind  not so hot.


Edited by jas1957, 29 January 2013 - 01:40 AM.


#38 Tom Geiger

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 06:27 AM

 I'm working on a glue bomb '61 Valient,   the plastic seems much harder that we are used to.  I was wondering if that was the aging of the plastic or the way it was new.   Also some of the engraving & parts fit is to be kind is not so hot.

 

I collect old Valiant kits and can say that the plastic was harder and thicker than modern kits. It will also shatter if you try to bend to break on a scribed line.  I have a small battery power drill I use to work on models.  No problem on modern kits, but on the old Valiant kit, the plastic would melt and clog up the drill bit.  I learned to seriously respect the builders who cut these up and customized them using knives and razor blades back in the day!



#39 Tom Geiger

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 06:41 AM

Art wrote:  "I don't remember when the last time was that I stopped into a hobby shop anywhere and actually found somebody who really knew much about the plastic kits on their shelves."

 

Many years ago I was at the local hobby shop on a busy Saturday morning right before Christmas.  This is a fairly large store that tries to touch on the basics for a lot of different hobbies and has a lot of craft items as well. And of course a large RC department at the back of the store manned by typical young RC geeks.  Other than that, and the older couple who own the place (they're like retailers instead of hobbyists) the store is manned by young girls.

 

So I'm at the model car shelves and a lady asks one of the young girl sales clerks for a Porsche. She timidly scans the shelves and tells the lady they don't have any.  I look and there's a nice Tamiya Porsche 911 staring at me. So I jump in and hand it to the lady. She tells me her son is into Porsches and she thought it would be good to have him build a model.  She doesn't flinch at the $40 kit price, so I walk her over to the paint and glue rack and start handing her paints and things her son will need. She's happy and spends something like $80.  The sales girl walks off in  a huff.

 

A guy with his kid asks me about kits that his young son could build.  I'm helping him when I notice the sales girl return with the owner (that's the guy who's talking to OUR customers). I keep talking and sell the guy a snap kit and some supplies.  The owner looks at me and asks me if I want a job!  We chat a bit and I politely decline since I have a good 9-5 job and didn't want to give up my weekends.But it was fun helping people.



#40 Gramps2u

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:01 AM

Thank You Art!  Very Informative, Professional & Greatly Appreciated !