Minicraft Kit Reviews?

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A month ago I bought a kit from Minicraft called Flaming Flathead with a copyright date of 2009. It is basically a reissue of their 1/16 Ford Model A sedan but includes hot rod parts and their warmed up flathead. The other feature most noticible is the optional fender to get rid of the spare tire well like they did with their model A roadster. I know this is an English company but why no mention of their kits in hobby publications? Are their kits so bad that they don't merit mention? I've never built a Minicraft kit but the ones I have accumulated look pretty good to me. Accurate, well cast and so on. This includes this sedan/flathead. Is their some deep dark secret I am unaware of concerning their kits. I live in Montana so have little contact with other modelers and with no shows within a reasonable distance from my home. Any comments on this kit or any others from the company. I should say I bought the kit on ebay and it is the only place I have seen it. Are the kit dealers also in on the conspiracy?

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Posted · Report post

I've built a few 1/16 Minicraft kits, they all seemed pretty good to me.

I know that's no "review," but I didn't see any problems with any of them. Maybe you don't see many reviews because they're not that common?

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I had their model A highboy kit back in the 90s which really wasn't a highboy as it had full fenders and I thought it was a fantastic kit. It was well molded and had a beautiful set of whitewall tires and the flathead was period perfect. I would buy and build another one of these kits in a heartbeat.

oldscool

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Posted · Report post

The thought that reissues don't get reviewed doesn't answer the whole question. Obviously, this forum site and a lot of other places are going gaga over reissues of early AMT double kits and other items from Round 2 and other unimaginative producers. The reissue of the Model A sedan at least has the positive of a ton of news parts and options. If you look at the '25 T reissue you will find that it is virtually unchanged from the original. For many that is a good thing because an original is too expensive to build. The idea that the manufacturer might not supply review copies is possible but they would also have to not supply announcements or kits to kit dealers. Seems pretty self defeating. I don't know what's wrong the other replies to this post are all positive about Minicraft models so it can't be a quality issue. Would kit dealers respond to this post please? Thanks

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Posted · Report post

In all honesty, 1/16th scale stuff doesn't appeal to many people, but there's no conspiracy. I've seen the 1/16th Minicraft kits at local hobby shops, so they're out there.

I have the '01 issue of the '31 Ford pickup which contains essentially the same "hot rod" parts as their other kits- hopped up Flatty, Halibrand-type wheels, pie-crust slicks, and skinny front tires. Unfortunatley, the way the slicks were designed makes it impossible to use them with 1/16 scale wheels from any other manufacturer. The rear wheels push into the slicks from the back, and the hole in the backside of the slick is 3/4 the diameter of the slick itself. They're a bit like the wheels and tires in Monogram's 1/24 Boot Hill Express, Orange Hauler, and Lil' Coffin kits in regards to how they fit. I wish they would've made the front tires taller, as they look too small and short on the finished model. The wheels are decent and have tri-bar spinners, but they could be better, or at least more realistic and a bit less toy-like IMHO. The Halibrand wheels in the Revell 1/16 '34 Ford Coupe are far superior and much more realistic.

I've only assembled the bed on this kit, but the fit was good and there was zero flash on any of the parts, so I see no reason to suspect the rest of the kit wouldn't go together easily. The quick change rearend is nicely done as is the flathead engine (especially the chromed headers), and the underside of both the bed and floor board have a realistic woodgrain texture, but the bed bottom is riddled with ejector pin marks.

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The kits can be traced back to the late Sixties. They were originally made by Gakken (Japan) and marketed in the US under the Entex banner. It is my understanding that the hot rod versions include newly tooled parts. The original Gakken/Entex kits never had these parts included. Not too long ago, they were also released in some kind of 'Gangbusters' versions, which I still try to obtain. that series included most of the A-bone variants, the V-16 Caddy Town car and the '28 Lincoln. Also in the original Gakken lineup was a Morgan three-wheeler, a MG TC and a Jaguar SS-100, which haven't seen the light of day in a long time.

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Posted · Report post

I have the V16 Cadillac, it's a fantastic kit... extremely well detailed, opening doors, poseable wheels, etc.

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Ken's right on this - I reviewed a great many of the Minicraft 1/16 scale kits when I was writing for what was then Scale Auto ENTHUSIAST.

Most of these kits started life with a now-defunct Japanese company by the name of Gakken. In the USA, an also now-defunct company known as Entex packaged and sold the Gakken kits under its own name. Minicraft purchased the molds after Gakken folded and had their former partner Academy produce the kits until the two companies parted ways in the late 1990s. Minicraft tooled up hot rod parts for the Model As in that timeframe and that's the last real activity on those kits outside of reboxings.

That's the history - now about the kits. They are, in general, quite nice, and well detailed. Some kits have very definite fit issues (for example, the Mercedes-Benz 540K), some have minor accuracy issues (for example, the Jaguar SS100), and due to their age, flash issues. Nonetheless, they build up into fine models with the proper amount of care and feeding.

Why we don't hear more about them? Several reasons, in my not so humble opinion. Firstly, as nice as these kits may be, 1/16 scale is an oddity - 1/24 and 1/25 have been the scale norms for car modeling and continue to be so. One would think that with the close approximation to 1/18 scale diecasts there would be more of a market for them - I thought so and wrote one of my editorials accordingly but alas, it was not in the cards. There is also very limited aftermarket support for 1/16 scale stuff, and of what is out there, its mainly for drag racing items. So while the items exist, the support factor is minimal at best.

The niche may be small, but it DOES exist. If you remember, Bandai used to produce a very fine range of 1/16 scale automobile kits also brought into the USA in Entex boxes, including a superb Bugatti Royale and a small but superb range of 1937 Packards. Bandai has not produced these kits in many years except for some very limited special runs, very few if any of those reaching us here in the USA. Perhaps one day we can persuade them to offer these kits again to American modelers.

Hopefully, Minicraft may do some new car projects in the future and if so, I'd be more than happy to review them.

Just my dos centavos, mi amigos.

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Posted · Report post

Ken's right on this - I reviewed a great many of the Minicraft 1/16 scale kits when I was writing for what was then Scale Auto ENTHUSIAST.

Most of these kits started life with a now-defunct Japanese company by the name of Gakken. In the USA, an also now-defunct company known as Entex packaged and sold the Gakken kits under its own name. Minicraft purchased the molds after Gakken folded and had their former partner Academy produce the kits until the two companies parted ways in the late 1990s. Minicraft tooled up hot rod parts for the Model As in that timeframe and that's the last real activity on those kits outside of reboxings.

That's the history - now about the kits. They are, in general, quite nice, and well detailed. Some kits have very definite fit issues (for example, the Mercedes-Benz 540K), some have minor accuracy issues (for example, the Jaguar SS100), and due to their age, flash issues. Nonetheless, they build up into fine models with the proper amount of care and feeding.

Why we don't hear more about them? Several reasons, in my not so humble opinion. Firstly, as nice as these kits may be, 1/16 scale is an oddity - 1/24 and 1/25 have been the scale norms for car modeling and continue to be so. One would think that with the close approximation to 1/18 scale diecasts there would be more of a market for them - I thought so and wrote one of my editorials accordingly but alas, it was not in the cards. There is also very limited aftermarket support for 1/16 scale stuff, and of what is out there, its mainly for drag racing items. So while the items exist, the support factor is minimal at best.

The niche may be small, but it DOES exist. If you remember, Bandai used to produce a very fine range of 1/16 scale automobile kits also brought into the USA in Entex boxes, including a superb Bugatti Royale and a small but superb range of 1937 Packards. Bandai has not produced these kits in many years except for some very limited special runs, very few if any of those reaching us here in the USA. Perhaps one day we can persuade them to offer these kits again to American modelers.

Hopefully, Minicraft may do some new car projects in the future and if so, I'd be more than happy to review them.

Just my dos centavos, mi amigos.

It is a shame that it never caught on all that well I think the rodded flattie would look cool in a Revell 34 Ford!

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Posted · Report post

I have a 1/16 Minicraft kit ordered and was wondering what i could expect from this kit as far as quality and part fitment?

I ordered the 31 Ford roadster "Flatheads Forever" kit and i saw a couple others i liked but since i never built one of these before i'm not sure if i should order anymore before i even get the first one.

Anybody have pics of kits they built?

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Minicraft is probably best-known in the modeling world for military, aircraft and ship models. As mentioned above, a good portion of their automotive output is reboxed, reissued versions initially produced by others, with varying degrees of quality. In general, their 1/16 kits are very good. They have the only Mercedes Gullwing kit with a spaceframe (though there are some detail and minor fit issues). On the other hand, their 1/24 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud (mislabeled on my box as a 1/16 - there never was a 1/16 version) is a reissue of a very bad Hubley promo. It's pretty much a mixed bag for Minicraft cars.

Edited by sjordan2

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Posted · Report post

i have the stock pick version and i have to say its not a bad kit at all, very well detailed and so on. The only problem i have with this kit is the 2 peice cab that attaches

at the belt line of the cowl being a bit odd. When its assebled it looks a bit strange and i found i needed to putty in around that area to soften the lines so they more resembled

a full size model A. I think they molded it this way to save space in the box but they would have been far smarter to have done it the way revell did it with their 30 tudor release

and kept the cowl as a single unit !

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I really like Minicraft. I have assembled their MG and yes it was challenging, but if we can,t have a challenge how are we to learn. I have a Model A sedan and delivery waiting. The quality is very good. I will admit I do like odd scales in addition to 1/24,1/25. Their kits are great for an experienced modeler. A beginner may be challenged to finish the model.My source for the models was Megahobby.com. Megahobby was great! No problems with service and no problem shipping to an APO. I was stationed in Bosnia on deployment and got my models in excellent time.

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Anyone ever build any models made by Minicraft and if so what were they like to build?

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I've built quite a few. Very nice models, no complaints from me.

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Minicraft has very few molds of their own. They lease rent barrow molds from other manufactures. Thus the kits run from great to only fair.....all depends on the kit.

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Same with Minicraft as it is for any other manufacturers- some good kits, some not-so-good kits. Any particular Minicraft kit you are thinking of getting?

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Hi gents the Minicraft model I'm thinking of getting is the 1/24 scale 58 triumph tr-3a any good?

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That is a re-pop of an old (I believe Hubley) kit. I have built it. Simple, (yes basic) somewhat heavy handed, not the fault of Minicraft, just inherent in the old tooling. It is similar in feel to the Rolls Royce, ...clunky.

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The TR-3 is pretty basic kit. Looks good enough - curbside.

Here:

http://www.percongrp.com/pelikan/autos/tr3a-1_ms.htm

That is a re-pop of an old (I believe Hubley) kit. I have built it. Simple, (yes basic) somewhat heavy handed, not the fault of Minicraft, just inherent in the old tooling. It is similar in feel to the Rolls Royce, ...clunky.

What they said. It can be made into a decent looking model with a little work, though.

Edited by Michigan Madman

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I have the 1:24th TR-3 and RR, and one big scale Minicraft in my stash--a 1:16th scale '50s Mercedes 300SL gullwing coupe...looks pretty nice, haven't built it though. Does that kit originate w/ Gakken also? I'm not much into 1:16th but 300SLs always caught my attention over the years...

Edited by Rob Hall

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Minicraft has very few molds of their own. They lease rent barrow molds from other manufactures. Thus the kits run from great to only fair.....all depends on the kit.

Much the same as lindbergh, depending on the kit it can be great to fair. As with many companies thier airplane kits are superior to most of thier car kits. IIRC I once had a minicraft Mercedes Gullwing kit, that was decently detailed but a tad fussy getting it together so the doors worked. I remember the drivers door never worked right so I displayed it passenger side out. :D

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I have the 1:24th TR-3 and RR, and one big scale Minicraft in my stash--a 1:16th scale '50s Mercedes 300SL gullwing coupe...looks pretty nice, haven't built it though. Does that kit originate w/ Gakken also? I'm not much into 1:16th but 300SLs always caught my attention over the years...

It's an original Gakken, also boxed by Entex, et al. It's kind of a toss-up between this one and the different 1/16 Italeri Gullwing, but mashed together you've got the best Gullwing available. Like every Gullwing kit ever issued at any scale, you have to be careful about getting proper door fit. Italeri has a complete array of chrome pieces for windows, etc, and Minicraft requires foiling or Alclad on window surrounds, etc., and uses decals instead of chrome for scripts and other trim. But it's the only one that has a complete spaceframe, and it has the best wheels and tires. Italeri has a more complete interior, and requires putty for the joining of the upper and lower body valances -- Minicraft has a more accurate body, produced in one molding, with no need for that. Italeri has somewhat crisper and more detailed engine molding. Unlike Italeri, you'll need to sand away the back of the Minicraft grille to put real mesh behind it. I'm told that joining the body to the spaceframe on the Minicraft can be tricky. Check the site of the late Martin Swire for build information...

http://www.freewebs.com/martsmodels/1955merc300sl.htm

Edited by sjordan2

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PS: Clark Gable's 1955 Gullwing just went UNSOLD a few minutes ago at Barrett-Jackson for $1,900,000. They typically go for around $750,000.

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