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What do model builders overlook that could improve their models?

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That's painting with a pretty broad brush, isn't it? Or even a roller!

If you're building a model kit that has the correct scale ground clearance, lowering it because it "looks better" that way to you is a subjective thing, not a problem with the kit's accuracy. I mean, that's like saying pretty much any model looks better painted metalflake red. Or any model looks better with big aftermarket wheels.

All subjective, nothing to do with the kit's basic accuracy... assuming it is accurate.

I agree with most models siting too high. Lack of scale weight? Maybe a more proper term than "looks better" would be "looks more like the 1:1" or "looks prototypically correct". The positioning of the wheels & tires in the wheel wells usually could be better on most models kits, too.That also adds to the problem of them looking like they are sitting too high.

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Another pet peeve: 90% or more of people who build a Willys leave that raised molded-in edge on the clear windshield clear. That raised lip reperesents a rubber gasket and should be painted flat black. No 1:1 Willys windshield ever had a raised, clear lip molded into the windshield glass!

Took about 15 seconds with a sharpie.....


Edited by Dragfreak
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I'm surprised this one hasn't been mentioned yet: Thin down the exposed edges of panels such as wheel wells, hoods and the body perimeter under the car. You don't need (or want) to thin the entire panel; just the edge, then taper it back to full thickness. Bear in mind that these edges are usually rolled on opening panels such as hoods, or flanged to provide attachment points, as on wheel openings.

Another "reality booster" is underside detail on hoods and trunks, and it's fairly easy to do:



Start by covering the panel with a couple layers of masking tape. Then sketch an appropriate pattern on the tape, peel it off and lay it down on some .005" or .010" styrene sheet and cut around your pattern.

In the example above, I laid .010" sheet over .005" which was cut slightly wider to create the stamped look.

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One thing that many modellers overlook is the accuracy of the kit its self, I can't speak for all kits but I know that many pre 49 kits have flaws in either the body, suspension, wheels or chassis. Take the Revell 41 Willys, The Pro Street Version, Jason mentioned the raised perimeter around the front windscreen that modellers often forget to paint, thats easily remedied with a bit of common sense but there a few other issues around the kit that need addressing. Don't get me wrong there is no doubting its a nice kit, I even own a couple but if you look at the front wheels you will notice that inside wall of the tyre is thicker than the outside wall. What that translates to is the fact that the front wheels are far too small for the kit. If you were to scale those wheels up to 1:1 they would probably only be 11 or 12 inch diameter. Because the front wheels are so small the stance does not look right, it appears to actually sit too high at the front, it doesn't really but the small wheels do not fill out the fender wells properly.

Here is how I remedied that problem. The front wheels are from the AMT 41 Ford Woodie. They are actually more of a match for the rear wheels then the kit versions were.


The Revell 32 Ford Highboy is another example of a nice kit. Its a traditional build with big'n little Halibrands and a multi louvered hood but there are just two problems, and these are in the body. Traditional highboys have shaved doors, no handles and they have stock hinges. The revell kit has the opposite. I can't recall the number of times a builder has gone for a period correct 40's or 50's build sourcing the right wheel tyre combination, suspension, and drivetrain only to over look this important detail. Another area where all the Revell 32's suffer can be found in the chassis. When Revell tooled up this kit they overlooked one major detail, most contemporary street rods do not run with dead stock cross members in the chassis.

The AMT 32 Vicky convertible had no such problem when AMT designed its chassis together if you can of course overlook the lack of fender reveal. The cross members alone make this one of the best street rod kit chassis ever released, there is one mjor problem in this kit as well. Check there track on the front end with that of the Revell 32 version and you will find that is too wide.

Over the years I have found the AMT Kits to be the most lacking when it comes to realistic detail. The only there only ones up to scratch are the 28/29 Model A kits, the 33 Willys Kits, the 36 and 40 Ford Kits and the 37 Chev Kits. The rest are missed opportunities.

A good example of one of their kits that is far from accurate can be found in the AMT 34 5 Window Ford coupe. There are obvious flaws in this kit. The body itself is good if you sand down the way too thick gutter rails, but the hood is way too long for a stock 34. The reason the hood is so long is because the front dip where the the grill sits could not be set back because of the bulky independent front end. Compare the leading edge of the AMT 34 with the leading edge of the Monogram 33 on the left and you will see the difference. You will notice the over hang when the AMT 34 hood side is placed on the Monogram 33, remember the Monogram 33 is a bigger kit than the AMT 34 so the hood sides should actually be shorter than the Monogram 33 engine bay. I also got hood measurements from someone who owns a 1:1 34 so that was when I knew the problem was a real one. If you have the Monogram 33 and AMT 34 kits, compare the pair if you need any further proof.



These are just the ones that spring to mind and I know many modellers are unaware or overlook these design flaws when they are building these kits but ultimately it shows up in the finished model. It does not matter how well detailed it is or how glossy the paint is no amount of high end workmanship will disguise design floors in models if they are not addressed before the kit is put together.

Edited by fractalign
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