How do you go about purchasing a model kit? What’s your ritual? Heavy research, check out reviews and builds first? Pull the trigger if it’s cool subject matter on impluse? Sexy box art sells it? Wait for a model contest or show to hit up a vendor? Pre-order? Go direct and order from Japan or China via fleabay or Aliexpress etc? Talk to someone who built the kit first? Scour the internet for information before deciding to take the plunge or pass? Manufacturer good reputation or lack of one? Vist Scalemates to look over the instructions?
What sort of information shifts the decision from purchase to pass?
Recently, the 1/35 Meng IDF Namer had been in and out if my cart a half dozen times. That got me started thinking about what’s the thinking process of when folks buy kits.
If I see something interesting I consider getting it.
Reviews of the kit are helpful when making the decision. Wild inaccuracies may make me pass on a kit but once the faults are known there will probably be some aftermarket “goodies” available in a not too distant future.
The build, or rather salvage, blog about Dragons M103 tank made me decide against buying it.
If someone claims that a kit is totally unbuildable I may decide to get it just to check if the problem is due to the kit or the builder.
I don’t care about the box-art. A sketchy black-n-white drawing on an anonymous grey-brown cardboard box with wobbly corners can be more interesting than a shiny box with fancy box-art. An obscure French railroad cannon in a simple box interests me more than yet another Panzer even if the box is dull as a rainy Tuesday in November.
When I am in doubt I will do some research using all the sources mentioned in the post above.
I bought Dragons Sd.Kfz. 253 with Pz I turret half an hour past midnight (Black Week at Modellbau König) but first I checked that such a conversion actually did exist (real metal and not just a sketch on a paper).
The collector lurking inside me is attracted by the idea of a complete set.
All the Tiger I variants would be manageable but all variants, major or minor, of M113 is a hopeless ambition.
I start with a Top Secret planning meeting, where I lay out a plan of the house showing all escape routes, weak points, and guard posts. Then I add a timetable of patrols from SWMBO, including known frequency of email checking and bank-app examination. Only when the coast is clear will I mobilise…
I do check reviews, and am well-versed in company reputations. If the kit is new I let others jump on the grenade first, only committing once I see the contents posted by them…
If I see a kit that floats my boat, I decide whether I’m going to build it or not. If yes, then I question manufacturer reputation. Some modern makers still put out simplistic, crappy models. If the reputation is good then I go on the price hunt. I check internet price plus shipping. I know that HobbyEasy will have the lowest price on the planet but will also have a $30 shipping fee. I check Ebay for the Chinese vendors with $3 shipping. Then I check the big 3 USA vendors - Spruebrothers, Scalehobbiest, and Andy’s Hobby Headquarters. These 3 can usually get within $0 - $20 of HobbyEasy’s price but only have $10 - $15 shipping. Whichever works out least expensive gets my money. Also, The 3 USA vendors tend to get models in 2 or 3 months after HobbyEasy, but I’m in no rush to have a kit “first”. I’ve got plenty of new stuff to build if a kit takes 2 months to get to me in a container from China. When I get a kit, then I “prep” it by ordering the photo etch, barrel, and tracks for it. Then the kit is ready for the stash or the build pile.
Research the companies accuracy and fit as a general rule. (You go RFM…)
I must be able to stomach the price. Pretty flexible there.
Is it likely to get built considering the other kits in the stash.
All 4 must be a go prior to launch. As an example, RFM’s new M1A2 SEP V3 and their Leo A7 I will not be buying. Neither were out in September when I bought their M1A2 SEP V2 and the LeoA6. Not buying vehicles so similar considering the size of my stash.
I am a pretty genre specific builder, only building modern US armor (specifically us army from 2001 to now). My goal right now is to build everything I’ve driven, worked on, or been around so I’m at a list of about 70 kits. The issue is this group of kits is pretty neglected and I’m stuck building some very crappy kits from some terrible makers.
manufacturers reputation. Some I know are going to be good, others I’ll have to research.
Which leads to:
research online reviews and photos of the sprues.
decals options, more important to me with aircraft. Does it have a finish option that interests or will I have to go aftermarket? And do any of those interest me (factor into the cost).
download and look over instructions. How easy will it be to build or will it be a long slog?
check out builds in the forum’s.
And lastly 7) this is mostly applicable to aircraft, but does it have any interesting stores and weapons I can use on other builds? Some manufacturers include lots of cool stuff while others (Hasegawa I’m looking at you) sometimes don’t include anything.
Number one: subject matter. If I’m not interested in the subject, none of the rest matters. And if I’m really interested in the subject, then I’ll do the work to achieve my own standards for accuracy and detail. Sometimes, there’s only one kit available of a particular subject, and that’s just what you have to go with.
After that, I go by accuracy. A more accurate kit of the subject will always win out over the less accurate kit of the same. Given the choice, I always go with the best fundamental accuracy available.
Detail comes next. A choice between two kits equally accurate, the more detailed kit will win. However, if the choice is between lots of detail or fundamental accuracy, then accuracy will win since I can always add detail.
On the other hand, I don’t care one whit about ease or difficulty of assembly. The idea that some kit could have “too many parts” is not something that even crosses my mind. For me, model building is about the process, not the product. How long it takes to build something is not an issue. If I wasn’t building this one, I’d be building some other one.
I’m loath to say that price doesn’t matter (since that seems like a challenge to the gods), but since I can easily spend the better part of a year building a single model, price is something that I mentally “prorate” over the time I spend with the build. Three “cheap” models in one year or one “expensive” model in that same year. Doesn’t matter to me. Again, it’s all about the process and not the product.
In the end, there are simply too many really good, very accurate and detailed kits available these days to spend a year on a dog of a kit just based on price alone. (Unless that dog is the only kit available of the subject, then… game on.)
I remember my youth when Norwegians came to shop in Arvika, driving rusty little Japanese cars.
Sometimes they asked directions for the local car scrapping facility and we asked ‘Are you selling your car?’.
Then the oil was found.
Now Norwegians come to Sweden to buy houses near the border and drive too fast, the police in Norway is more efficient at catching speeders and the fines are higher. Speeding in Sweden is a low risk offense.
I stick strictly to the speed limit whenever there is a Norwegian car in the rear view mirror
Step 1; Is it within my current field of interest? I tend to prefer older kits for some reason, too.
Step 2; What kind of kit is it? Multimedia; pass. Overly complex or a million+ parts; pass.
Step 3; Is it within my pricerange? Which tends to be toward the lower end of the spectrum. This includes the location of the seller and shippingcosts related.
Step 4; Is the wife nearby?
I got one thing that plays in my favor. My wife supports my hobby so I have a running list of kits that i want and she will randomly order me them as the finances allow. It’s been fun to see her go to war with sellers over prices.