This is a moving target and today’s answers can only be based on today’s results.
What do you thing the best armor kit company is today?
New companies pop up and their quality improves as their catalog increases. What was OK can be great. What was great can be OK today. Now some will talk apples and oranges based on accuracy, fit, complexity and cost. What I am saying, based on what the companies are putting out today, If all the companies announced they were making kit XYZ next month, what would your expectations of best to worst kit be?
I ask this because The companies are making kits and improving their quality faster than I can build them and a company I thought was OK (Zeveda), I am now hearing is now doing great work. Help bring me up to speed!!!
This is a moving target and today’s answers can only be based on today’s results.
To be honest, this is a pointless question.
It really doesn’t matter - or mean anything - who is the best company. All have their stinkers. The only question that has meaning or value is one about a specific kit from company X or which kit of subject Y is the best. Even then, the answers will be diluted by those who had an experience with a completely different kit, don’t like company X because they use green plastic, or think company Z’s kits are too fiddly.
The biggest wild card is the definition of “best”.
Apparently I need 10 characters
I understand, and we are working with generalities however if Meng and Academy announced the same kit, I would, as of today, expect Meng to be the better kit. It is no guarantee that is true, just based on What I currently see as of this spring.
Like you I have not built a Zeveda kit as initially they had a bad reputation. Newer kits are much better apparently but I have already built kits of their newer releases from other companies. I think tight now Takom has the most interesting variety of kits and their recent releases of the M60 series are really nice. I also feel they are reasonably priced, not overloaded with fiddly parts or PE, have good instructions and good fit and give you a fair number of marking options… I think Meng and RFM are right up their as well but they tend to be more expensive, higher parts count, much more fiddly in plastic and PE. I find nothing wrong with Tamiya’s recent releases. Not much to complain about as far as buildability but usually not as detailed as some of the other manufacturers. I really like that they include figures and their newer figures are in my opinion some of the pest plastic figures out there. On the down side they are not too generous with their marking options. Lastly, MiniArt. While I really like their subject matter(T54/T-55 family), I find their builds very tedious. While I commend them for trying to make parts to scale this results in too many fiddly and fragile pieces. I do like that in their T54/T55 series they usually have plenty of painting and marking options.
This is of course a review of what I think these these companies do in a general sense. In terms of which company produces or would produce, the best XYZ so much depends on ones personal preferences and tolerance to deal with what ever level of detail there happens to be, fit issues, high parts count, etc.
Tamiya, I would say the best of all time. They are not necessarily best for any topic but with Tamiya you seldom go wrong.
Dragon use to be the second best, but since their price went skyrocket high, I now go other manufacturer if possible.
I am all over the board on the manufacturers of the kits I own. I tend to wait until the reviews are out and then get a kit. However I recently purchased the Zukie Mora F4E and the Meng F18E Super Hornet and They are Fantastic. I Preordered them before any reviews were out, based solely on the quality of their latest releases and I was not disappointed.
That’s exactly the situation I gave as an example of what could be compared, but I don’t think anyone would say either of those two is the best company today - which is the question you asked. Would you be happy with a 25 x 25 matrix of head-to-head comparisons? Comparing three companies, in general, head-to-head, will be iffy. Trying that with four companies will be worthless.
On top of that, two releases from now any company’s reputation could take a 180. Even if you had what you considered to be a perfect comparison, there’s a good chance it will be about 25% wrong come Christmas, half wrong by this time next year.
You are better off waiting to ask about specific situations.
There I fit Tamiya in 10 characters.
I like Tamiya also. It is a safe bet. For the most part you know what your getting ahead of time. It fits, is reasonably accurate and you can add aftermarket if you wish. About 20 % of my stash is Tamiya.
I see Border and Rye field sending notices of new kits. I ordered Borders Crusader Mark III and it should be this week. It is my first Border kit so I will be able to see where they stand. I still do not have any Rye Field kits yet. As of late I have bought more Meng than other manufacturers.
T90A, T72B3, Merkava IV, F18E and King Tiger. I have bought two Dragon, three Miniarts, one Takom, one Tamiya and one Trumpeter.
If it is purely Soviet/Russian subjects for me it would be …
5 AFV Club
I have some experience with Rye Field and Border.
They are general good, if you are not pursuing accurate details. The fitments are good, details are good, although some many not be accurate. For example I recently got a Border T-34/76. The weld line in the cast turret (suppose to be factory 112 product) is completely missing. I have to say the 112 factory T-34/76 is very common one. All of them, including the Tamiya 1990’s kit has those weld line.
The Ryefiled’s are not very stable. Even the same product some are better quality than the others. I think it is the mold issue.
The main reason I say Tamiya isn’t so much accuracy or engineering or even fit quality. It’s fun. I myself think of modelling as a hobby where the main goal is to enjoy oneself, just like any other pursuit. If I’m not having fun, then it sorta defeats the purpose. Now of course I’ve had fun building all sorts of other manufacturer’s kits, but Tamiya is the only company whose kits persistently deliver a happy experience.
I too would say Tamiya not because they are always the absolute best but because they are rarely poor, especially the new ones. The detail is usually good enough and they go together well.
Though it does depend on my mood, if I am in the mood for a challenge I like the Miniart interior kits. I hope to try an RFM kit soon
Wow, there is no one answer to this.For WWII German armor,Dragon is hands down the best in my opinion,but their modern not so much,but I really like Meng for modern stuff.I have also enjoyed Tamiya kits,although a little less detailed but very build able.
However,it is all subjective to everyone’s opinion,if a subject is released that interests me,no matter the company,I look for build reviews not first looks to help my decision.
But ,really it’s hard to wrong with Tamiya especially the last decade new tool stuff.
In 1/72 I would nominate Flyhawk, and Vespid. Flyhawk is fairly new, and Vespid is very new, but they are both making excellent kits in this scale - much better than either Revell or Trumpeter, and better even than Dragon (used to). Very tight fit tolerance (absolutely no gaps), and sharp, crisp detail molding. Plenty of slide-molding to reduce the overall parts count, and link and length tracks. Both companies also include (variously) turned brass barrels, and PE. Instructions, from both companies, are easy to follow, and so far, error-free.
For armor? Tamiya has the most consistently well-engineered models and they have a good balance between buildability and detail. Also, they seldom have a bad kit. Their newer car and motorcycle models are absolutely spectacular, and their massive kits like the Dragon Wagon and FAMO are still tours de force to this day. Dragon gave us the M1 series in some great models, but then their Black Label kits were very bad. Trumpeter pumps out a LOT of subjects and some are good and large. Meng and Rye Field seem to be pretty good up and comers - the RFM M-ATV is a very nice kit. I own one Panda (also the M-ATV) and it’s junk. I won’t mourn their failure though their sister Kitty Hawk did pump out a bunch of 'Hawk helicopters before expiring.
I personally prefer Tamiya as a general rule. They mold in one or two parts what takes Dragon four or five plus, and the visual comparison is “close enough” to please me. Takom is rapidly gaining on Tamiya, and in my opinion has certainly passed Dragon. Rye Field and Border are improving but not totally “there” yet.
Panda is hit or miss, AFV Club is very detailed, but, very fiddly.
First with me is subject matter…then availability next. Following closely is how much complexity am I willing to tackle. A smidgen of aftermarket availability can be a tie breaker as well. Kit reviews can be a factor, and can alter any decision made previously to any of my “personal” standards. Modeling for 50 years had provided lots of parameters that didn’t exist even 20 years ago. Technology has created another golden age of modeling that gives us these better choices.