AFV Club. I don't get it

I’ll preface this (slightly tongue in cheek piece of sarcasm) by saying i totally respect anyone who has the patience and skill to make an AFV Club kit look good and build up nicely. You are far better men and women than i’ll ever be and I can only applaud your Zen-like dedication to our shared art.

A little background on me - been doing modeling for two years, completed more than thirty kits in that time, stash of over 200 kits, am close to the level where I might be able to exhibit models at shows. Not a noob but not an expert by any means.

I have nine AFV Club kits in the stash and started a Churchill Carpet Layer a couple of weeks ago.

Honestly I hated every minute of it. Everyone raves about them as such great kits and seeing the results others were able to get from AFV Club kits online I didn’t really expect them to be as bafflingly hard as they are.

Why are the instructions so laughably vague? Why no guide pins to show where things are supposed to go? The instructions in many cases introduce you to two pieces of styrene that have not been introduced before and you are supposed to figure out how they go together without any guidance from the pictures, no guide pins etc. It is oddly reminiscent of me losing my virginity when i was 14, only with (slightly) smaller parts; but the total lack of awareness of what goes where and how is very similar. The only way to do it is to skip forward to the later steps and see how the finished part is joined together. Why? Why is it like this?

And why is the plastic so thin and brittle? Granted I have huge meathook hands and the refined touch of your average Hippo but it felt like everything I touched just snapped. It is the first model where you have the oddest feeling that if you tried to crush it in your hands you could, and all that would be left would be jagged small fragments. Or maybe I’ve been building too many Trumpeters, who knows?

And why are the sprue gates straight out the Takom playbook of “we’ll just put it here, who cares?” school of thinking?

And why are the boltheads for the outside (the really characteristic Churchilly ones) only visible under a powerful electron microscope. Is putting pins the size of bacteria into bacteria-sized holes really fun?

And who thought that putting the running gear frames together like that, then glueing them to the bottom on the sponsons whole is a good idea? Especially as they went super vague on how long the (stupidly two piece) frames are supposed to be so if youre a mil out either way the whole model is farked? Having somehow managed to cobble mine together with about half a tube of Vallejo plastic putty and all the swear words on God’s green earth, it seems obvious to me that the frames that the running gear suspension arms go into need to be glued first to the sponsons and the swing arms clipped in so they mate up with the holes on the springs. And they should tell you to check the length of the frames where you glue the two parts together so you don’t screw it up - check they fit the bottom of the sponsons, otherwise you have goosed the whole build. Why is it like this?

Is it just me?

Is this one of those rite of passage things, where all intermediate modelers do an early AFV Club kit to test how committed they are to their hobby and to weed out those easily driven to irrational bouts of savage violence against small styrene miniatures, attempting suicide-by-Bourbon and sitting in the corner rocking gently from side to side, from those of us who will one day make decent modelers?

I thought I was a decent modeler. I tested myself against an AFV Club Churchill and I now realise I am not and if this is the standard, I never will be. I have the patience of a normal person. My eyesight is unable to determine individual bacteria. My hands cannot glue and fit parts that are so tiny that they fire neutrons at them in the CERN laboratory in Geneva. I’ll never be capable of such wonders.

Anyone else struggle with them or is it just me?

I used to hate Miniarts because of the silly parts count and general tedium but i’ll take a Miniarts all day over that hateful green putty streaked, gluey mess on my bench right now.

In other news, anyone want to buy some AFV Club kits off me? I give you an EXCELLENT price. I was going to send them all to Help For Heroes, the charity they give veterans models to, but i’m not going give the poor lads more PTSD to deal with.

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I don’t mind AFV club kits at all. I’ll buy some off you. They can be a tad frustrating but not terrible.

What have you been building so far? They are definitely a step up from tamiya and even miniart IMO. I am working on of their churchills too, and it is definitely a more complicated kit, especially the running gear as you point out

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Sorry for your trouble . I am primarily an aircraft modeler but I do or have done just about all genres.
The only AFV kit I have done is their Matador and aside from a couple of errors on part numbers in the instructions I found it a joy to build . Hate the soft tires but aftermarket resin ones are available.

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I have built several kits from AFV Club at least two 251’s, two leFH18, a Pak40, Pak43, a Sturmtiger… all of them were a joy. They have small details, sometimes excessive part count but always good fit, accuracy and crisp detail so I really trust them as a brand and would not hesitate to get a new kit if I like the subject.
Maybe the Churchill is an exemption, or just that we all have different taste. In fact I for one would not be able to build such detailed kits one after another, and usually build a Tamiya in between for easiness. Or an Italeri, but this is another kind of challenge… I also enjoy Meng, Takom, Bronco…

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^^Ditto^^ I have built lots of AFV Club kits and had no issues with them. I find them some of the best detailed and all-around best kits out there.

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I personally love the AFV-club models and especially the Churchills.
It is true that it is a softer plastic than usual and that there are too many pieces at times, but that is what gives it the bonus of being more detailed than those of Tamiya for example.
They are not beginner models and require a large dose of patience and time, but the results are worth it.
From AFV I have only been dissatisfied with the running gear of the M10 and with some of its Sdkfz 251 to which it is necessary to lengthen the upper part of the chassis.
All modeling brands have their mistakes and in the case of AFV there are more pros than cons.
But this, of course, is my personal opinion and no one should be forced to share it.

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You guys are heroes - I don’t know how you do it!

Its weird, my favourite OEMs are Meng, Border and Tiger. None of them are simple, I love RFM as well and they aren’t the easiest, I also have a weird thing for the massive Trumpeter kits with a gazillion parts that I always really enjoy (am building their Topol-M as we speak actually) and Iove every minute of those, but the experience for me is so different for AFV Club.

The Churchill hull, sponsons and running gear attached, is sat on my bench and I have a stubborn sense I am going to finish it just because, to see if they really do build up nicely. The putty and glue marks I think won’t matter when I get the primer on, and i know once I get to the painting stage I’ll do a really good job, no worries. I’m confident with that.

I’m just curious why I don’t enjoy their kits (and I love Meng, Tiger, Tamiya, RFM, some Takoms, HB and Trumpeter etc) when others do?

I mean, lots of you guys really like them, so maybe it is an experience thing? Or a mentality thing?

Or maybe I just need to box that sucker up and go back to it in a year or so with a full mojo and an open mind?

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It’s supposed to be a hobby and fun. If you have to delay the build that might be best.

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I have not built one of their Churchills, so I’ve never had to experience the asspain that you described. However, I’ve been dozens of their kits over the years including a slew of various Centurion makes. I think the first was the M102 howitzer.
I can only recall two things that were mildly annoying. The first was how they used rubber on the road wheels for the Centurions to capture the inner detail on the wheels. They used rubber so the parts would pop out of the molds. As the parts represented both the rubber and part of the road wheel itself, a lot of folks did not care for this feature. I simply masked them and moved on. Takom solved this my using multi part wheels on their Chieftain, which uses very similar wheels.
The other thing I found odd was on the same kits - the sprue gate on the rear deck handles was right on the center of the parts. That makes for some fun cleaning those tiny parts. Why they didn’t simply put the gate on the end of the part is a mystery to me.
Other than that, nothing in over two decades of building these kits really sticks out in my mind. But again, I have not built the same kits that you have.
I will say that sometimes any kit with a high part count can seem to take forever. That’s when I bust out an old Tamiya Centurion, an old Monogram Patton, or any one of some very enjoyable Italeri kits. Two hours later you get your endorphin rush.

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100% hear you on the sprue gates. Takom do it as well. Never understood it.

one of the things i do is have a look on YouTube for people who have built the same kit you are about to start and see how they get on, this can be really useful to avoid issues you might come across.

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great advice!

I guess i can say that I have had problems with kits that others have breezed thru,everyones experience is unique.I have built one of AFV’s Strykers which went together with no problems,I do have their Mammoth and M113 in my stash,so we’ll see how those go.But just about everyone has one of “those” kits.

Just my two cents worth. I live the Churchill kit .
Im on my 5th one in a row

I’ve built a few AFV kits and some of them can be challenging or frustrating at times. The worst one was their M5 Light Tank with several separate sections to assemble the rear engine deck (they’re old school). If just one of the pieces was slightly misaligned, then the whole assembly became crooked and wouldn’t fit properly. Just tear the assembly apart, clean up the joints, and start again with more patience and care.
:grin: :canada:

Any plans to do a dieppe one Chris? I am getting back to mine after I finish my next two campaign builds. Have the lower hull interior scratched. Need to work on the turret!

They do require a lot more work than a Tamiya kit, but I do like their choice of subjects. I have yet to finish one (out of 3 started). My worst experience was deciding to join 3 campaigns with their Sd. Kfz. 251 3-in-1 kit, which packed 3 kits in a box (only 5000 were made). I started the first (the Stuka zu Fuss) and was shocked by the workload right off the bat. The hull sides had 3 tabs which fit into 3 slots on the floor. Some of the slots were flashed over and none of the tabs fit! And that was just the beginning. I quickly decided I wasn’t going to have any of that, so I quit all the campaigns and left them for another time.

I also had a problem with their sIG-33, but I finally figured out where things should go, Someday, I will get back to that one.

Like varanusk, I have only built their German items (several Sdkfz 251s, LFH18 etc). They were more demanding than say, Tamiya. But I didn’t find them too bad, certainly not experienced the difficulties listed, but then I haven’t tried one of their Churchills and I have been modelling for about 60 years(!). I found the Tamiya Honda 6 pushed me near my limits recently, my eyesight isn’t what it was. Really small parts do annoy me, I lost the fuel filler plug from the Ryefield Panzer IV while trying to clean it after removing from the sprue so small parts that make up small assemblies that could have been moulded in one piece are annoying. I can’t see how making this item as multiple parts helps the accuracy, particularly since it is currently somewhere in a corner of the garage rather than on the (otherwise completed) kit. The Tamiya kits have it moulded onto the back plate - perfectly acceptable as once completed it’s virtually invisible (which made it easier to accept that it wasn’t there in my case). Like others here, I tend to want a “quick fix” after one of these major projects, so there are some Tamya kits and even old Italaeri in the stash. Part of the difficulty is that my standards have risen over the years and I am not satisfied with my previous output. I want each model to come out better than the one before!

Gary, I have that very kit, the 3-in-1. It’s been sitting in my stash for years! I haven’t done the SIG33, but I did the Dragon one and it has several “issues of accuracy” which I understand aren’t present in the AFV Club one.

@Mead93 . I have toyed with the idea and it may be coming soon.