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Greg Myers

So what's the real story on "Reverse Engineering" ?

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Every day .

As a model car kit , now that's a good question.

They say in the history of airplanes some of the early kits were copies.

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reverse engineering is what the soviets did with a B29 superfortress, they disassembled it then copied each part and made their own version.

That's what I always think of when I hear the term. Joke was on the Ruskies though. By the time they got it all sorted out and copies built, they were obsolete in the fast changing post war world of aircraft. (Nelson Muntz anybody?)

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The Chinese are masters at "reverse engineering". Everything from soup to nuts. We design it and engineer it, they copy it, mass produce it, export it back to the US and sell if for cheaper and put the original guy out of business.

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Simple. You start with a finished production piece, and use it to create a new production line. In the context of model kits, let's say a mold has been lost or irreversibly damaged and the original masters can't be found, but company X wants to make that kit again. They go on eBay and find a mint un-built example, then use it to create a new mold from that. Or it could work with parts, too. Find an original kit with the parts and use it as the master for new ones, instead of finding the original molds or masters.

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Take a look at the Lindberg (ex-Palmer) '40 Ford coupe, then take a look at the AMT '40 Coupe. Looks like the Palmer folks re-engineered their kit from AMT's. In fact, if I recall correctly, quite a few parts actually interchange between the two, even though every part is different between the two kits.

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  • The lady across the cul de sac is from India. Her father is a gazillionare. Made his fortune reverse engineering and then producing auto parts. They're not ashamed of it.

  • Some resin casters are reverse engineers.
Edited by wisdonm

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For a better example of RE look at the Dave Burkett i.e. AMT/ Model King 1959 Chrysler Imperial. The body molds were found, but no chrome molds. Burkett paid to reverse engineer the new mold from an original issue chrome tree. One reason the curb-side kits were so expensive.

I wonder if this wasn't done for the AMT '25 T Double kit because I'd heard for years that some molds were lost.

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I recently read that spherical bearings (rod ends) were first invented by the Germans and used on Messerschmidts during WWII. When the Allies shot one down and disassembled it, they were amazed at the technology and quickly copied it. Of course, that technology made it's way into Indy cars shortly after the war.

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Reverse engineering can also be used to aid in the design of all new model kits.

We all know that there are newly tooled kits on the market, of vintage subjects which were ones available as Promo's and annual kits.

And while the underpinnings of those new tooled kits, are state of the art, some of the times the body fails (grossly) in the accuracy department when compared to the 1/1 subject and even to the old annual/promo of which the tooling was altered or scrapped a long time ago.

I think most of us here have seen the Moebius Ford Pickup Tooling models in the Truck kit section, of this forum,(http://www.modelcarsmag.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=64836&p=906721 ) which were generated from CAD files ( http://www.modelcarsmag.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=64836&p=910019 ), so IMHO the good parts of "accurate" classic kits can be used, scanned and morphed with all the newly generated data into the CAD design process, along the way updating it, adding panel lines and other details like clear headlamp lenses, features old annuals often lacked.

Thats why I keep yelling off rooftops that IMHO the tooling from Jo-Han can be scrapped, but that the rights to the name and past designs are only of value,To get hold of those rights, is probably a legal nighmare, but it sure would be nice to bring back to life some of the interesting and economic viable albeit updated subjects they had in their catalog, like their '70 Roadrunner or '70 Deville (modified into i a convert to replicate Boss Hog's ride ;^)

Edited by Luc Janssens

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The Chinese are masters at "reverse engineering". Everything from soup to nuts. We design it and engineer it, they copy it, mass produce it, export it back to the US and sell if for cheaper and put the original guy out of business.

Copying is easy when the original guy has provided you with all the blueprints and specs so that he can have you make the stuff so he can sack his American workers...

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"Reverse Engineering" as applied to model kits is actually very simple: Find a mint, original kit, use that as the pattern for cutting new tooling.

Art

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"Reverse Engineering" , I get it,but has it ever been used to reproduce a model kit that's no longer available ? :o

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Only the big boys know that Greg .

They would have to admit to something, they do not want us to know.

Edited by 1930fordpickup

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Revell's recently retooled Rommel's Rod was reportedly reverse engineered. Man, that was some serious alliteration right there.

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"Reverse Engineering" , I get it,but has it ever been used to reproduce a model kit that's no longer available ? :o

Yes. That's how Polar Lights started, they reverse engineered some of the iconic horror kits.

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Yes. That's how Polar Lights started, they reverse engineered some of the iconic horror kits.

I heard that, too, but I still wonder if some of the original molds exist. I'm not saying Polar Lights (now in the Round2 family) has access to them, and they most likely do not from what I recall hearing when PL first announced the former(?) Aurora Monster kits, but if they don't they sure chose some odd kits to reverse engineer.

I was reading/researching the various stories and history of the fabled Aurora molds a few weeks ago, and there was an interesting comment by Tom Graham (I'm 99.9% sure he's the "docplastic" who made the below statement) who stated not all the Aurora molds were sold to Monogram:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ScaleModelingNostalgia/message/3844

"The Aurora molds that are generally conceded to have been damaged beyond repair in the train wreck are:

Aero Jet Commander (85)

Halberstadt CL II (136)

Breguet 14 (141)

Albatross C-3 (142)

Cessna Skymaster (279)

Aurora had destroyed some molds before the sale to Monogram and more were destroyed for their scrap metal value once they arrived at Monogram's plant in Morton Grove. The Seaview is said to be one of those destroyed at that time. All this is in my book "Aurora Model Kits."

However, when I interviewed Bob Reder, co-founder of Monogram, for my in-progress book on Monogram, he said that Monogram did not buy all of Aurora's molds. He did not have any detailed recollection beyond that. So this holds out the slim but intriguing possibility that some molds were neither destroyed or sold to Monogram. Could they be in a warehouse somewhere? Slim chance. But we did find an Ivory Bill Woodpecker recently, so who knows.

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As much as I would love to see them, they didn't sell then and they would not sell now.

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By "reverse engineering," I assume you mean taking a kit for which the molds no longer exist, and creating all-new molds that more or less duplicate the originals?

I'm trying to think of such a case. No joy so far.

If someone wanted to do this, JoHan tooling MIGHT be a good place to start. Would be interesting to know what if any tooling still exists, which of those might be good sellers, and what would be necessary to complete them. I'd think, just for a couple examples, that the '69 Road Runner and '69 AMX might justify some investment/expediture in new tooling, if they have 50% or more of the molds to start with. Hmmmmm.....

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Yes "Snake" that's what i had in mind. :) With all the computer copying , drawing, 3d printing we should be able to resurrect some of those old long lost kits. Now to the naysayers, yeah, it will cost to do it, everything does. :blink:

Nick I have a freind too, that has a bunch of those kits, maybe one day we'll get together, $$$. :lol:

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