Why aren't all model kits awesome?

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Posted · Report post

I'm new to model car building, but I couldn't help but notice: In this day and age when we have such amazing tools like laser scanning and high resolution 3D printing, why is it that model car kits aren't all incredibly detailed and amazing?

I've been poking my nose around car model kit forums lately and see that there are definitely kit brands people prefer over others, whether because they're more accurate models or have crisper lines or whathaveyou.

Are the fancier model kits made with 3D scanning or do they just have better sculptors who are more detail oriented? Is scanning a car (and all or most of its parts by disassembling it I assume) so expensive that it warrants the 4-times-higher pricetag for the model?

Also, why are model kits expensive? For example, LEGO sets are expensive because they require a high degree of precision (that's the reason I read anyway), I imagine car model kits require precision too but I would argue car model kits are manufactured with much less precision than LEGO elements. Model car kits have things like flash and dents and warping, but for the $20 you get a much cleaner product from LEGO as well as a lot more plastic in the box. Are there licensing fees the model companies have to cover so we have to pay 15-20 bucks for a box that's 80% air? haha

Please enlighten me!

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Posted · Report post

The Kits being sold are Not all tooled up recently. Many of these are 30-50+ Years old,

so show the Lack of detail you are describing or looking for.

Examples, The 65 Chevy Malibu wagon was Tooled in 64 as a 64, then modified into a 65 the next year.

It was offered first as a Dealer Promo (ready assembled) Sold through Car dealers.

(Thus all the detail just engraves on the chassis)

The 57 Chyrsler 300, was tooled in 1999, and is better detailed, with all those separate chassis parts.

The 65 GTO was also tooled as a Promo, then Kit in 64 as the Tempest with GTO option, then modified/Updated to the 65.

In the early 70's it was altered into a Dirt-track Racer, and lost most of it's Factory show room parts..

In the 80's it was 'Restored' to Stock, but not completely accurate. It was supposedly worked on again,

at least once, or twice, but many still say it is Not as accurate as an original issue.

The best thing for you to do is list those kits you are having trouble liking and ask here if it is a Modern CNC/3D scanned

master, or an OLD-School Hand drawn one and go from there.

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Posted · Report post

Well the quick and dirty answer is the main demographic of automotive modeling at the moment is old, cranky, and above all else cheap. They hate anything built after 1969 and are still tee'd off at the Germans and Japanese.

Since no CAD data is available for older vehicles and (remember the cheap part) 3-D scanning is too expensive, you wind up with a fair to middling kit that more or less looks mostly like what it is supposed to represent.

If you complain about the above situation you are branded a rivet counter, and told that no one cares about detail, accuracy, value and should be gagged and muzzled before you spook the model companies into all closing their doors and going away forever.

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Posted · Report post

A model kit is a 1000 or more compromises. They result from material properties, casting limitations, design limitations and errors in all of these, not to mention a limit on the funds to create the master based on an expectation of sales.

then there is all the stuff i forgot to mention.....

joe.

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Posted · Report post

Don't forget all of the marketing gibberish that the companies like to spout. They can only make kits of things that will sell. That's probably one of the reasons that the older kits keep getting reissued. Most of the ones that would REALLY sell have been been cast before, so it's cheaper and easier to re-release an older kit than to tool up an all new one. That's also why almost every company makes the 555 Chevy's, any model Corvette, Mustangs, etc., but good luck finding a '41 Dodge or anything unusual.

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Posted · Report post

A lot of kits currently being sold are reissues, which means the molds were engineered and created many years ago, and the model companies are just reusing the old molds to crank out "new" kits to sell. These old kits were originally designed when the largest chunk of model car buyers was kids, who didn't really care all that much about accuracy and detail... they liked lots of chrome parts and decals. So we see a lot of sub-par models on the shelves today that were actually designed ages ago.

We also see brand new model car kits that also leave something to be desired. Sometimes the manufacturer made a mistake, sometimes they cut corners. And some manufacturers just seem to care more about detail and accuracy than others do. It's a real mixed bag out there... you will find model car kits ranging from nearly perfect to barely more than junk. They're all out there.

As far as why kits are so "expensive," that's a matter of personal opinion. I don't find the average car model kit to be all that expensive ($20-40). Some people might think that a model kit should still cost 5 bucks, but model kits, like everything else, have gone up in price over the years. For some reason, there are a lot of model car builders who are incredibly cheap and complain about price. Maybe those guys are today's adults that remember building model cars when they were kids, when the kits cost just a buck or two... and they can't understand why a model kit doesn't still cost only a buck or two. After all, the basics of manufacturing a kit haven't changed... you still need to cut the tooling, you still need injection molding machines, you still need packaging and distribution... if they could make kits for two bucks back then, why can't they do it today?

But the fact is, nothing that sold in 1962 still sells for the 1962 price in 2013. People today make 2013 wages, not 1962 wages, and all related business costs have also risen accordingly. It would be unrealistic to expect a new refrigerator or a new car to cost what it did 40-50 years ago, and model kits are no different.

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Posted · Report post

I have been disappointed with the model companies over the years with their issuing, re-issuing and re-re-issuing kits over and over again. Raising the prices a little more each time but constantly putting out the same kit over and over with no regard to us modelers who wish to see re-tooled versions of kits.

You would think that in trying to keep our interest in the hobby more,m they would put out better, re-tooled versions and a better variety. Just don't get the model companies business philosphy. Someone please enlighten me!

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Posted · Report post

I have been disappointed with the model companies over the years with their issuing, re-issuing and re-re-issuing kits over and over again. Raising the prices a little more each time but constantly putting out the same kit over and over with no regard to us modelers who wish to see re-tooled versions of kits.

You would think that in trying to keep our interest in the hobby more,m they would put out better, re-tooled versions and a better variety. Just don't get the model companies business philosphy. Someone please enlighten me!

They keep re-issuing and re-re-issuing and re-re-re-re-issuing kits for two simple reasons. One, they're cheap to do. The tooling was paid for long ago, so the cost to put out a reissued kit is far less than to tool up a new kit. And two... people keep buying them! It's our own fault. If model kit buyers would stop buying the old reissues, the kit makers would stop reissuing them and put more effort into creating new kits. But as long as people keep buying all the old kits being cranked out, the model companies have less incentive to invest in new kits. By continuing to buy all of these old, lousy kits, we are causing the problem of the never-ending parade of old kits in new boxes.

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Posted · Report post

They keep re-issuing and re-re-issuing and re-re-re-re-issuing kits for two simple reasons. One, they're cheap to do. The tooling was paid for long ago, so the cost to put out a reissued kit is far less than to tool up a new kit. And two... people keep buying them! It's our own fault. If model kit buyers would stop buying the old reissues, the kit makers would stop reissuing them and put more effort into creating new kits. But as long as people keep buying all the old kits being cranked out, the model companies have less incentive to invest in new kits. By continuing to buy all of these old, lousy kits, we are causing the problem of the never-ending parade of old kits in new boxes.

I get that. People keep buying them and build them differently. Or people like me who have been out of the hobby a while will re-buy them because it's what's out there. I would love to see some different stuff offered though. Some of the stuff on the BOP thread would be nice...lol.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Harry's right. We modelers do tend to keep the problematic kits available for psychological reasons- buying a re-issue of the same kit that one bought and built 40 or more years ago is like taking a step back to a time when things were fun and life was more simple. We almost expect to be able to buy one and build it in a weekend, just as we did when we were much younger. And, we shouldn't be shocked at the current cost of kits. Very few things do come down in price over time and when they do, it's due to obsolescence as a result of newer, better technology- think "consumer electronics". But sticker shock is getting to be a factor among us older modelers as more of us approach or are already in the days of living on limited incomes; conversely, how can younger modelers afford to buy some kits at current prices? Mowing lawns?

We all welcome new kits that have been produced via the use of new technology such as new molding techniques and CAD-CAM, but not all of us want kits with zillions of itty-bitty parts that are difficult for older eyes to see and older fingers to manipulate (did you know that there are 1/35 scale tank kits that have over 1,100 parts?) And kits like that can be intimidating to a less-experienced modeler of any age. There are times when I can really appreciate a quality curbside kit such as those produced by Tamiya, Aoshima or even some of Revell's snap kits. Not a lot of parts, but boy, they do look good when they're completed.

But one thing never fails to amaze me- why has the price of Hot Wheels cars remained so low for so long? Current prices are maybe two or three times what they cost back in '67... but look at the cost of a small, square bottle of Testors enamel over that same time period... :)

Edited by johnbuzzed

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Posted · Report post

When model kits cost $2 you could buy a new 1:1 car for $2,000. Now model kits cost $20 and new cars cost $20,000. It's all about the zeroes!

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When model kits cost $2 you could buy a new 1:1 car for $2,000. Now model kits cost $20 and new cars cost $20,000. It's all about the zeroes!

That's 100% true. My grandpa told me that he got have bought a new corvette in the 50's for about $2,000.

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Posted · Report post

Simply $$$$$$$$$

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If you want new tooled kits, that have good detail, maybe some engine detail, but most of the time are kerbside, then buy Japanese kits from Tamiya/Aoshima/Fujimi, and if you buy from the right places , the cost is about the same for any current kit being sold by AMT/Revell

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Why aren't all REAL cars awesome? Sometimes the smaller companies outshine the larger ones. Same with models.

Tamiya/Aoshima/Fujimi don't manufacture the subjects I like. I see many of them at model swap meets, mostly going much cheaper than retail.

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Posted · Report post

I am confused. I think all model kits are awesome.

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It's interesting that it was mentioned that 50 years ago the main market for model cars was kids and today it's old cranky guys. Well guess what - it's the same bunch of people! It's us Baby Boomers. It's me! Back then we didn't have much money, and didn't care about fine details. We just wanted to build them quick and easy. Now we're retired and many of us don't have a big income, so those nostalgic old kits are once again appealing to us, so we buy them. What's better now is that we do have many new generation kits made from new, improved tooling with great detail, so we have a choice. Eventually we, and those old tool kits will be gone, and all the future kits will be the best that modern technology allows. Also injection molding technology has made great strides in 50 years. The detail we see in new kits simply was not possible in the 1960's.

Sam

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Why aren't all REAL cars awesome? Sometimes the smaller companies outshine the larger ones. Same with models.

Tamiya/Aoshima/Fujimi don't manufacture the subjects I like. I see many of them at model swap meets, mostly going much cheaper than retail.

But you do get what you paid for, meaning full price, and even better if you can get them at less the MSRP

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Well Moebius Models really stepped up to the plate with their "53 Hudsons and '55 Chrysler offerings.I recently built the Chrysler and it was the most trouble free and nicely detailed kit I have made since the Revell '56 Nomad.

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Well Moebius Models really stepped up to the plate with their "53 Hudsons and '55 Chrysler offerings.I recently built the Chrysler and it was the most trouble free and nicely detailed kit I have made since the Revell '56 Nomad.

Not to mention their LoneStar kit, and the I am sure the ProStar will be just as nice as the LoneStar

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I am hesitant to add my thoughts but, here goes. I do agree, many a kit owes it's beings to old molds done with, old technology. The fact that they still sell in great quantities eludes me. Yes Tamiya and Aoshima are superior but they are pricey. Moebius is ahead of the pack with their offerings and may get a bigger share, but the limited selection is the downside. Unless the major makers start retooling for a more savy group, those kids that they marketed to back in the day are grown up now and want more, we can still expect the same old kits being, as bad as they ever were, to continue to hit the shelves. Todays kids have gaming consoles and don't know how to work their hands, so why buy something that you have to put together, and then not play with it. Just my two cents.

Edited by raildogg

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Posted · Report post

Unless they upgrade the chassis,engine and interior parts while using the older body if the proportions are good.

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Posted · Report post

I am confused. I think all model kits are awesome.

I like your point of view! Just think if we didn't have them at all!

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Posted · Report post

I like your point of view! Just think if we didn't have them at all!

We'd all be scrapbooking... :lol:

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