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Why aren't all model kits awesome?


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#161 Brett Barrow

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 07:45 AM

TO CASEY: Yes, I understand all of that and always have. I should have clarified by adding one more word: GROSS. How are GROSS dimensional in-accuracies and proportions in any way excusable? I mean like 4 scale inches on some of AMT's and Revell's engines.
 
Case in point: BOTH of these are recently tooled Revell 6.1 Hemi engines. The white one is correct. If I made mistakes of this magnitude, I wouldn't be employed. I'm not talking about subtleties and 1/4 inch mistakes. I'm talking GROSS incompetence.
 
DSCN9228_zps2b08f68a.jpg
 
The transmissions aren't the same either, even though they represent the same trans in the same scale. But you know what? To me, they're close enough. But the engines ?? Give me a break.


What if the project lead told you "make that engine bigger - it needs to fill up the engine bay"?

Aesthetics often trumps accuracy. Measure 15" model wheels against a real 15" wheel, I'll guarantee you the best looking model wheels are bigger. Bigger wheels and bigger tires and lowered ride heights look "right" on a model. Sometimes you have to choose between what IS right and what LOOKS right.

#162 Harry P.

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 08:05 AM

Bigger wheels and bigger tires and lowered ride heights look "right" on a model.

 

But that's your opinion (not that there's anything wrong with it). A model car should be an accurate miniature representation of the real thing. It should be accurate and look like the real thing, not like someone's opinion of how it should look.



#163 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 08:19 AM

The things we build are called "scale-models" last time I looked, not caricatures-of-cars, or kinda-artistic-representations-of-cars, or toys.

 

And one man's opinion of what "looks right" is rarely another's. Who do you think is the most beautiful woman ever? Probably not many of us would agree.

 

Give us reasonably accurate representations of the real thing and leave the creative interpretation to the builder.

 

And give us a correctly-scaled engine that fits a correctly-scaled engine bay. Either that, or just forget about the scale-model concept and call them something else.

 

 

PS: If the Magnum engine and engine bay were correctly scaled and the engine fit the bay the way the real one does (which it would HAVE to if they were correctly scaled), do you really think anyone would go "ewwww, I wish they'd screwed up the scaling so the engine would look bigger" ?


Edited by Ace-Garageguy, 09 March 2013 - 08:27 AM.


#164 Art Anderson

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 08:28 AM

 

Bill, you know exactly how this happens. Say in your shop you and a co-worker are told to copy a Deuce grille shell apron, based on a genuine part on a Deuce in your shop. You can't tell me you both will end up with the exact same piece when you're both finished. How exactly, without any high-tech computerized measuring to you measure and recreate the exact shape of the part? You can take measurements for 24 hours straight, and even share measurements with your co-worker, but the two finished parts will never be identical, and it's simply not realistic to think you can measure every single point on a surface as complex as an apron, or harder yet, a crowned roof on a '56 Chrysler 300. 

 

I get your point and I understand the frustration of seeing about gross errors being missed along the way, but scale model masters (at least at Revell, and it appears Moebius, too) are made by humans, then scaled down (one of the circa 2000 issues of SA had an article with images covering this very topic), and yes, pantographs were still being used for this process. I recall Lindberg's '66 Chevelle SS and Revell's '40 Ford coupe were two of the featured models.

 

Let's say for discussion's sake Revell has the ability and opportunity to 3D scan an original '32 Ford Phaeton in Jay Leno's collection (no idea if he has one, just an example), then your shop is contacted because it also has a gennie '32 Phaeton. Let's say Rad Rides by Troy has a third original '32 Phaeton, which Revell will also 3D scan, so they have three original cars from which they will obtain 3D data. There is NO WAY all three will share the exact same coordinates in the X, Y and Z planes, so which measurements do they use? Car A's LR fender has a 1/4" larger wheel arch radius than Car B's, and Car C's is 1/16" smaller, Car B's cowl's max width is 3/16" wider than Car A's, and Car C's is the same width as Car A's, but has 3/32" less crown, and so on. There HAS to be a human element involved when these models are designed, and that means  interpretation on the designer's/model maker's part. No single "perfect" example of a mass produced car exists in the real world, therefore, there can never be a perfect model, especially when the model is viewed and interpreted by many different people, each of whom sees things differently than the next person.

 

We also have to consider the effect of proportionately decreasing the measurements, such as when a 3/32" drip molding radius is shrunk down 25 times times to .00375".  :huh:  That type of precision isn't possible at 1/25 scale, neither by injection molding nor 3D printing, so again, there's going to be a compromise. They add enough thickness to allow the detail to appear on the 1/25 scale model, but that scale incorrect drip rail trim may make the roof look flatter to someone's eyes since the model's drip rail trim to roof proportion is no longer true to the real car's.

 

Again, I understand how things should be in an ideal world, and gross errors should not be tolerated, but human involvement can never be eliminated at all points from idea to finished product, so for that reason alone, perfection is not possible.

 

Casey, 

 

Some flaws in your otherwise excellent and quite correct message here:  For starters, in the now-largely departed era of hand-carved tooling masters--before the digital revolution reached the design studio and tool shop, the camera was the researcher's principal tool.  Add to that some very basic hardware store tools: Folding carpenter's rule, a pair of measuring tapes (steel tape where it can be used, and a non-stretching dressmaker's cloth tape measure for stretching across a painted surface (funny how owners of real cars don't want a steel tape on their thousands of dollars paint jobs!), a notebook and ball point pen for making notes about this-and-that.  Even a common stepladder can be handy IF one has a vehicle with room to carry one!  In almost innumerable ways, 3D scanning can take much of the work away from such "analog" methods, but still, anyone researching a real car for creating a miniature is wise to take hundreds upon hundreds of pictures from every angle imaginable (and with high-quality digital cameras, this has become less expensive than a cheap suit!).  Why so many photographs you might ask?  Well the answer is quite simple:  Photo's that show the crown of a roof from all angles go a long way to confirming (or denying) the accuracy of what the digital 3D scanner might see, and can aid in making such small corrections of shape that make the miniature believable to the human eye (bear in mind that our eyes, given their "binocular" vision, with the visual field of each eye overlapping that of its neighbor can make an EXACTLY accurate shape in miniature appear not quite the same as the full-sized 1:1 scale original.  As for such small details as a drip molding, that can be tooled exactly to scale, but it can also become so small as to make it simply disappear under even the thinnest coat of paint (one of my pet peeves has always been scripts and badges engraved so faintly in scale that they simply disappear, when only a slight adjustment in just the depth of those details will make them pop out in a decently done paintjob, even with a rattle can).

 

Now, with measurements:  Never a good idea to rely on equipment to give exact dimensions crack out of the box.  Wherever possible, measuring tools need to be used, to establish firmly what correct height and width should be.  A carpenter's rule (and I have a couple of them!) having every other inch blacked out, and laid across say, the '32 Ford firewall you mention, will give, instantly, in a photo,the width of that panel--and it's pretty easy to figure that down to a fraction of an inch just from the picture (bear in mind, at .040" to the inch in 1/25 scale (or 1mm to the inch--doesn't much matter) a scale quarter of an inch comes down to .010", which is pretty nearly the tolerance any modeler can achieve with a needle file or 400-grit sandpaper.  That same, marked up carpenter's rule, or even a dressmaker's cloth measuring tape, similarly blacked out every other inch, can clearly show the placement of chrome trim, scripts, badges, even door handles and lock cylinders; in addition to confirming the height of say, the windshield, side windows, even the lengths of such.

 

With engines and all the other greasy stuff, it gets more difficult:  While of course, there should be little tolerance for major dimensional errors, simply finding say, a 392cid Hemi OUT of a car isn't always as easy as it may seem.  It would be great if they were just sitting around, on engine stands, just waiting for a model company researcher to come around, measure and photograph it.  Every once in a while, one does find an engine in such a situation: The 308 Twin H-Power engine that Moebius was able to reference IS on display at the Hostetler Hudson Museum in Shipshewanna IN, about 35 miles or so from Dave Metzner's front door (I have a full walkaround photo spread of that engine that I took on Labor Day Weekend in 2011, and it helped immeasurably when I bullt my two Hudsons (and will get the call once again, when I decide to superdetail one!).

 

While I cannot vouch for what happens at Revell, the Moebius tooling mockups are done IN 1/25 scale, not in say, the old-fashioned manner of 1:10 scale which would require pantographing down to 1/25 scale injection molding dies.  That alone removes a huge set of steps in the tooling process.  In addition, they do have the appearance of having been carved out by CAM, with probably some small detailing added by skilled hands, but I won't speculate as to what or which.

 

Enough of that.   One thing I learned when doing major body conversions for resin casting was to ALWAYS evaluate shape and countour by studying the body shell during that work by holding it as nearly exactly the same angle as the car in a picture which I was comparing it to.  Additionally, I also closed first one eye, then the other, so I could see the body shell in my hand as close to the manner in which the camera saw it--one-eyed, or monocular.  Given the curvatures of any car body, that's the best and most accurate way of judging shapes of the model that I was ever able to come up with.

 

Economics do necessarily come into play with the development of any product, be that a model car kit or anything else you can think of in our world.  There are definite limits to the money that can be spent, at all stages of product development, and tooling costs are but one factor.  Time constraints also do come into play, just as they do with the real car.

 

Art



#165 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 08:31 AM

IT DOESN'T TAKE ANY LONGER TO MEASURE CORRECTLY THAN IT DOES TO MEASURE WRONG. ECONOMICS IS NOT THE ISSUE. IT'S SLOPPINESS, PURE AND SIMPLE.

 

EXPLAIN TO ME HOW A 4" DISCREPANCY IN THE LENGTH OF AN ENGINE HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH ECONOMICS, OR BINOCULAR VISION.


Edited by Ace-Garageguy, 09 March 2013 - 08:34 AM.


#166 Harry P.

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 08:44 AM

IT DOESN'T TAKE ANY LONGER TO MEASURE CORRECTLY THAN IT DOES TO MEASURE WRONG. ECONOMICS IS NOT THE ISSUE. IT'S SLOPPINESS, PURE AND SIMPLE.

 

EXPLAIN TO ME HOW A 4" DISCREPANCY IN THE LENGTH OF AN ENGINE HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH ECONOMICS, OR BINOCULAR VISION.

 

Some people just don't want to hear that, Bill.



#167 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 09:10 AM

 

Some people just don't want to hear that, Bill.

 

Yeah, the Emperor's New Clothes syndrome, I guess.



#168 Brett Barrow

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 09:17 AM

 
But that's your opinion (not that there's anything wrong with it). A model car should be an accurate miniature representation of the real thing. It should be accurate and look like the real thing, not like someone's opinion of how it should look.


Find me one person who thinks Revell's 06+ Mustangs look "right". They are right. Wheels, tires, and ride height all scale out pretty close. Nobody has ever said they look right. They look awful. A good designer knows when and where to fudge it.

#169 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 09:27 AM

Find me one person who thinks Revell's 06+ Mustangs look "right". They are right. Wheels, tires, and ride height all scale out pretty close. Nobody has ever said they look right. They look awful. A good designer knows when and where to fudge it.

 

How close is "pretty close"? To get the stance I want on my own models, I'll often make adjustments of less than .010". That is 1/4 SCALE INCH. So again, how close is "pretty close"? It makes a difference, ya know??

 

And I'm still waiting for a convincing justification to "fudge" FOUR SCALE INCHES on the Magnum engine.



#170 Guest_Johnny_*

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 09:41 AM

Some people just don't want to hear the unvarnished facts about it as told by someone who knows what they are talking about because they have experienced it Art.

What more can you say other than watch out for the MCM tag teams! :lol:



#171 Casey

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 09:45 AM

EXPLAIN TO ME HOW A 4" DISCREPANCY IN THE LENGTH OF AN ENGINE HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH ECONOMICS, OR BINOCULAR VISION.

 

The silver engine was supposed to be a V-10? That is a good example of an extreme case, though. Which two kits are those engines from?



#172 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 09:56 AM

 

The silver engine was supposed to be a V-10? That is a good example of an extreme case, though. Which two kits are those engines from?

 

Silver engine is from the 2006 1/25 Revell Dodge Magnum SRT8. Can't be a V-10, as it's only got 4 exhaust ports per side and the instructions state it's a "6.1liter Hemi".

 

White engine is from the 2009 1/25 Revell Dodge Challenger. Instructions state it's a "6.1liter Hemi".

 

As far as ECONOMICS goes, it would have been CHEAPER to share the tooling for the engines, plus a lot of the underbody and suspension detail, as the two cars are on the same platform in real-life.

 

The logic of what I'm saying is self-evident, and it's not opinion from someone who doesn't have to be PRECISE, daily. It's "unvarnished fact", about as obvious as it gets.

 

If a model isn't going to be a scale-model, with ALL the parts in the same scale, then say on the damm label on the box "kinda close to 1/25 or so scale, but artistic opinions and understandings of scale vary, so it's, you know, well, most of the parts are in some scale or other so everything will look right".


Edited by Ace-Garageguy, 09 March 2013 - 10:06 AM.


#173 Harry P.

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 10:04 AM

Find me one person who thinks Revell's 06+ Mustangs look "right". They are right. Wheels, tires, and ride height all scale out pretty close. Nobody has ever said they look right. They look awful. A good designer knows when and where to fudge it.

 

If a scale model is an accurate representation of the real thing, it will look like the real thing, only smaller. The ride height will look the same, the wheel diameter will look the same. If a model looks different from the car it represents, that means that there have been mistakes made in the model.

 

A scale model is a scale model. There is no need to "finesse" the sizes or shapes. It's either an accurate copy of the real thing (only smaller) or it's not. If you took a real car and magically shrank it down until it was only 1/25 it's original size, it would still look exactly like the full-size one... without any need for reworking body contours or shapes, or changing wheel sizes or ride height. All dimensions would have been shrunk down to 1/25 their actual size, everything is 25 times smaller. That's the "ideal" scenario for a model. Of course, in engineering a plastic model kit, certain compromises have to be made... certain details on the full size car would almost disappear if they were scaled down 25 times so they are slightly exaggerated on the kit (like wipers, dash details, the thickness of upholstery seams or welting, etc). The thickness of the kit's body can't be correct in scale thickness, etc... but the dimensions, curves, angles and contours should be no different from the 1:1 other than the fact that everything is smaller.

 

If the real car's wheels are 17" in diameter, the model's wheels (assuming 1/25 scale) should be .68" in diameter. Not "sort of" .68", not .75" because it "looks cool." If the space between the street and the sills is 8" on the real car, that space on the model should be .32". Not 1/4" becaue it "looks cooler" if the car sits lower.

 

Like Bill said... make the model dimensionally accurate and leave any changes or alterations to the modeler.



#174 Art Anderson

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 10:07 AM

Bill, I have wondered over the years, why such components as an engine assembly aren't tooled from the same mockup as a previous kit using the same engine.  While of course, it may well not be possible to do that with every car subject using the same engine, given the kit layout engineering that may have to be different one kit to another, but in so many instances (pre-WWII V8 Fords come to mind here, that should not be a problem.  But in any event, it's sad (but not a terminable offense) when an engine (or any other major component) that is used in more than one real car cannot seem to be exactly the same when installed more than one model kit, especially when that is both an accurate installation.

 

Art



#175 Casey

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 10:10 AM

The logic of what I'm saying is self-evident.

 

:lol:  :D

 

I'm still not sure how the whole tooling insert things specifically works, at least in relation to interchangeable inserts which could be swapped into the exact same size cavity in a mold base for a different kit. I agree with your logic/thinking regarding why/how the same 1:1 engine could and should be shared between kits which use the same engine, but there's probably something we aren't aware of which explains why they don't do just that. Maybe the inserts would wear more quickly than the rest of the individual tools, but then why couldn't they cut the exact same insert and use one in each kit? I think we need a guided tour of one of the model companies molding facilities. Who has an "in?"  ^_^



#176 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 10:17 AM

Bill, I have wondered over the years, why such components as an engine assembly aren't tooled from the same mockup as a previous kit using the same engine.  While of course, it may well not be possible to do that with every car subject using the same engine, given the kit layout engineering that may have to be different one kit to another, but in so many instances (pre-WWII V8 Fords come to mind here, that should not be a problem.  But in any event, it's sad (but not a terminable offense) when an engine (or any other major component) that is used in more than one real car cannot seem to be exactly the same when installed more than one model kit, especially when that is both an accurate installation.

 

Art

 

Thanks Art, exactly. And I'm not piling on Revell...they've been GREAT about sharing tooling among related kits. Just compare the chassis and suspension trees out of the various '48 Ford incarnations for an example. And they REALLY got the most life out of the old Model A kits, with much cross-tooling.

 

So a LOT of duplicated effort and un-necessary expense could have been saved by sharing tooling (or at least CAD files) on the Magnum / Challenger.

 

And then there IS the possibility that Revell caught the discrepancy on the Magnum engine before or during the design phase of the Challenger. Who knows.


Edited by Ace-Garageguy, 09 March 2013 - 10:26 AM.


#177 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 10:23 AM

 

:lol:  :D

 

I'm still not sure how the whole tooling insert things specifically works, at least in relation to interchangeable inserts which could be swapped into the exact same size cavity in a mold base for a different kit. I agree with your logic/thinking regarding why/how the same 1:1 engine could and should be shared between kits which use the same engine, but there's probably something we aren't aware of which explains why they don't do just that. Maybe the inserts would wear more quickly than the rest of the individual tools, but then why couldn't they cut the exact same insert and use one in each kit? I think we need a guided tour of one of the model companies molding facilities. Who has an "in?"  ^_^

 

Your point is well taken, but speaking as someone who has actual experience designing various types of production tooling, I know that the CNC files, instructions for cutting the engine tool, need not be re-written for every model. A tree can be re-arranged without having to go back and re-measure an engine and change everything from the word 'go', and a new tool can be designed using the original CAD data. It's just like cut-and-paste in Word. You don't have to re-write an entire sentence or paragraph, letter by letter, to move it in the body of the work.


Edited by Ace-Garageguy, 09 March 2013 - 10:24 AM.


#178 Brett Barrow

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 10:35 AM

 
How close is "pretty close"? To get the stance I want on my own models, I'll often make adjustments of less than .010". That is 1/4 SCALE INCH. So again, how close is "pretty close"? It makes a difference, ya know??
 
And I'm still waiting for a convincing justification to "fudge" FOUR SCALE INCHES on the Magnum engine.


Here's how it works. They hire a designer, who makes a set of drawings. Those drawings are used to produce a pattern. That pattern is used to create the mold. If nothing looks odd along the way, there's no need to go back and double check or "proof" what the other individuals did along the way. You hire professionals to do the work and you trust those professionals to do the job. You don't go looking for problems, because you're sure to find a few and make a bunch of extra work for yourself. If they miss something, they miss something. If something's off they have to weigh the options of going back and fixing it. Will the mistake hurt sales? Would the fix help sales? They make a business decision.

Put a little skin in the game. Think you can do better? Get some investors and start a model company. Make 100% dead-nuts accurate replicas. I'll help distribute them for you. Lindberg's up for sale, there you go, brand recognition right off the bat. See how your 100% dead-nuts accurate models do on the open market. I know some people in the biz, I can make a few calls. $250,000 is probably about all it would take. Put some skin in the game.

#179 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 10:55 AM

Here's how it works. They hire a designer, who makes a set of drawings. Those drawings are used to produce a pattern. That pattern is used to create the mold. If nothing looks odd along the way, there's no need to go back and double check or "proof" what the other individuals did along the way. You hire professionals to do the work and you trust those professionals to do the job. You don't go looking for problems, because you're sure to find a few and make a bunch of extra work for yourself. If they miss something, they miss something. If something's off they have to weigh the options of going back and fixing it. Will the mistake hurt sales? Would the fix help sales? They make a business decision.

Put a little skin in the game. Think you can do better? Get some investors and start a model company. Make 100% dead-nuts accurate replicas. I'll help distribute them for you. Lindberg's up for sale, there you go, brand recognition right off the bat. See how your 100% dead-nuts accurate models do on the open market. I know some people in the biz, I can make a few calls. $250,000 is probably about all it would take. Put some skin in the game.

 

Where did I say "100% dead-nuts-accurate replicas" ?? Your phrase, not mine. I said I'm okay with the two supposedly identical transmissions in the two kits I referenced being different, remember? Go back and actually read WHAT I said.

 

A FOUR SCALE-INCH DISCREPANCY in an ENGINE is too much. Is that the kind of quality you produce in YOUR profession? It sure as hell won't cut it in mine.

 

Lots of "professionals" who can't measure, apparently.

 

And no wonder American manufacturing is a thing of the past, with "business" attitudes like "You don't go looking for problems, because you're sure to find a few and make a bunch of extra work for yourself." Yeah, right. Might cut into the web-surfing time, huh?


Edited by Ace-Garageguy, 09 March 2013 - 11:02 AM.


#180 Brett Barrow

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 11:19 AM

 
If a model isn't going to be a scale-model, with ALL the parts in the same scale, then say on the damm label on the box "kinda close to 1/25 or so scale, but artistic opinions and understandings of scale vary, so it's, you know, well, most of the parts are in some scale or other so everything will look right".



Sorry, but what percentage is "ALL"? Last time I checked it was 100%.