Academy Customer Support

I recently received the Academy 1/350 USS Indianapolis kit. Upon opening the box, I found that the main deck part C2 was broken.

There is a paper in the box that says the guarantee is only good if the parts bag is not opened. Mine was still sealed. I sent the photo attached to MRC, as they are the North American distributer for Academy. Debra, from MRC was very quick to reply and she attempted to find a part in their offices but was unsuccessful. I am being told I must spend $14.50 for shipping and handling for a replacement for this factory defective part. Quite upsetting. With so much competition in the marketplace, why would a company like Academy charge anything to replace a clearly factory defective part? Done griping. Just wanted others to better understand Academy’s position.


I had a similar experience with them a decade or so ago. During the construction of their Graf Spee kit, I lost the V shaped part that goes on the deck between the forward turret and the anchors. They wanted a similar price for the piece and shipping. I was planning on scratcbuilding a replacement when the carpet monster was kind and gave back the missing part.
Night and day difference between Academy and Tamiya, Revellogram, or Testors, who I had also dealt with previously in the same era for lost, or short shot parts. All of those companies provided what was needed, at no cost, in a very timely manner.

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Model companies do not keep loads of extra sprues on hand; they try to ship out all they produce and if there is any unsold product or incomplete kits due to sprues being damaged during production they can draw parts from that. However, once they use those up there are no more spares until they do another production run. If you buy kits from companies that do smaller runs, like Special Hobby, you are even less likely to have spares available.

And unfortunately, especially in the current era, shipping charges are now harder to dismiss.

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That’s lousy customer service.
I’ve had good and bad.
Best was from Heller and Polar Lights. I had a Mirage F1CT that was missing a canopy. Emailed Heller who responded that the kit was unfortunately oop and I should try again when it was back in the catalogue. Completely forgot until about a year later, I found a small package from France at the door containing the the entire clear sprue! Polar Lights sent me the decal sheet for the 1/1000 Enterprise free after I accidentally scratched the sheet. I offered to pay shipping but they refused saying it was on them. Fantastic service from both.

Dragon were by far the worst. I had one of their ship kits that had some secondary gun turrets cut from the sprue before being sealed in the bag. They not only denied that this happened (despite my photos as evidence), but pretty much accused me of trying to get parts for free. It was as long time before I bought another Dragon kit.

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I had one good experience with Dragon, but subsequent requests to replace DS parts that had degraded in the box went unanswered.

Polar Lights are good, but they are a U.S. company and hold different values than a Chinese molding plant. Heller remembering your request after such a long time is pretty rare now, I think.

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No one was more surprised than me! The kits may be a bit and miss, but Heller won my loyalty after that. As did Polar Lights.

I’ve heard people have mixed results with Dragon. It must depend on who picks up the email on the day.

My first experience with a kit issue was with a Tamiya Tiger tank way back as a teen in the 80’s. I received the kit with a short shot on one of the tracks. Back then, I was building primarily Tamiya kits. Was in a hobby shop and saw their catalog. Couldn’t get enough. But anyway, I wrote to Tamiiya, yea right…with a pen and paper! The response was not what I expected! I was told that there was no way that could happen with their quality control, sorry. To this day I have a “One legged Tiger” in my stash.

I think HR needed to have a word with someone.

I had a similar issue here in the UK with Tamiya, the wanted to charge almost the same price as an entire new kit for one replacement part/sprue.

thanks to Ezra, who sent me out the replacement part free of charge, so I did not have to pay such a ridiculous fee.