Rivet Counters vs. OOB

Let me start by saying that I’ve been modeling since I was a wee lad of 7 or 8 and have been at this hobby for nearly 60 years. I consider myself an advanced modeler. Many of you have seen my work on this forum. I fall into the mostly OOB category. Depending on the kit, I will opt for the replacement barrel, AM tracks, and AM stowage. Rarely do I use AM PE as most kits nowadays include what I consider essential i.e. engine deck screens. Nor am I an extensive scratch builder. In my professional life I spent too many hours doing research so I am averse to any kind of extensive research when building a kit. A quick search on the net or a question on this forum is about as far as my research goes.

So that brings me to the point of this post. I have a conflicted relationship with all you rivet counters out there. On the one hand I despise the know it all type who is quick to point out errors or omissions but who never or rarely show his own work. If you’re gonna talk the talk you’d better walk the walk. On the other hand there are currently several builds going on where it is obvious that much research has been done and the project is moving along at a good pace. I suppose I have a grudging admiration for these kind of rivet counters as I admire their desire to get things right, their drive to see the project completed and their overall dedication to what their are obviously very interested in and for which they have an obvious passion that borders on mania. While I may not be able to fathom all the nuances of the tweaks, changes additions, corrections, and or modification I still follow or lurk on these builds with great fascination. So bottom line I guess is where do you stand on this issue? Are you a rivet counter or an OOB guy and why.


I can be/am both. It depends upon what I want, how much time I’m willing to invest in it, or in many cases what a customer wants. Alluding to a thread from last week, some are fine with me basing a build on say - an old Tamiya Centurion. They know what I can do with it and are not concerned much with tiny fiddly details as much as getting one built and painted in a day as opposed to two weeks. Then again some don’t care if it takes me a month. Those folks pay the equivalent of a house payment if I were still paying my mortgage. :smiley:
For my own builds I like to be as detailed as possible regardless of of the base kit’s accuracy.
Within reason.
Some folks concern themselves with the placement of the spoke on a German Panzer, not the number mind you, just the placement. I generally confine myself to what looks right, correcting missing, clunky, or inaccurately shaped details.

If its a vehicle I was on, I will go into it full on for more detail, luckily I dont need the research phase as I know that veh already.
If I see others build said vehicles, I will try and help as needed or asked. This may take the form of a private message so I dont distract from their build thread.
If its a general build for me alone, its normally 90% OOB but with maybe a few basic tweaks for realism. Things like after market tracks I stay away from as I think I can always make a set of kit tracks look presentable. sometimes I will get a set of PE but that usually only gets about a third of it used. As you said, a lot of kits come now so well detailed you dont really need it.


Exactly. Aftermarket goodies are like adding red dots and lasers to pistols. They generally don’t make you better, just poorer. If you have the fundamentals down in any endeavor you’ll usually outperform others no matter what they use.


John and Bravo I am somewhat surprised I guess I labor under the impression that replacing the tracks is de rigueur. If I’m building a vehicle with skirts that hide the upper rung I will stay with the kit supplied tracks. US vehicles get the same treatment. If the tank has exposed sides and there is noticeable sag, as on T55’s I will opt for AM tracks. More and more however I use plastic AM as opposed to metal as there is a significant difference in cost.


If I’m really into the subject AND can find the photo research… I’m a rivet counter. I’ve never competed in model building. I just try to do the best I can do and… am in the mood to do. I don’t go looking to pick apart the work of others but offer technique suggestions… when asked.
Judge not lest ye be judged.


Again, it depends. I’ll use the Cent example again. The old rubber band track was horrible. I used to replace it with Accurate Armour resin track, and then later AFV club separate link track.
More modern Cent offerings have much better OOB track. I have neither the time nor the inclination to replace the track on every AFV I build with Friul tracks. Even rubber band tracks can be made into well sagged tracks on vehicles that call for them - I just run brass rods through the hull and paint them a rusty color. Anyone who notices it really is looking under the skirts a little too hard, and gentlemen should refrain from that.


I guess I’m not always a gentleman…


Vinyl/Rubber will get swapped out if possible (delay the build until AM exists).
Cheaper AM tracks preferred to more expensive sets.
I replace them to make sure they don’t cause problems a few months/years later.
Modern vinyl tracks in most cases look good enough so that is almost never a reason to replace them.
Fragile suspensions and tight rubbers is a bad combination …

As for the general rivet counters vs happy go lucky.
I live my life and let others live theirs (I build my models and they build theirs).
Comments are freely given were I have the knowledge (bricklaying in dioramas is a pet peeve, usually the AM producers fault).

I will try to correct major faults but I couldn’t care less about a missing or surplus rivet, life is too short for that but each to their own vices and preferences.


I’m with you Armorsmith. I’ve been sticking plastic together since 1956. When I was younger I dabbled in scratch-conversion, and super-detailing. Now, time is at a premium, and the average kit is much more complex than they were, with many more tiny parts, and can take up to a couple of months to complete - and that’s OOB. I can only hope to finish half my stash before my stash finishes me! :skull_and_crossbones: :grin:
:grinning: :canada:


I count rivets if they happen to drop Out Of Box. :mailbox_with_no_mail: :thinking:


OOB,I will add figures,stowage,PE screens,and AM tracks sometimes.Why,because thats what works for me and my enjoyment.I will not alter or modify a kit to make it “correct”.If it looks like a Tiger I’m happy.If I post a build,its usualiy completed,if someone points out some technique or process issue,or some suggestion.I will correct it if I can,if not I will put it in my pocket for next time.I do fill sesms and try my best to build correctly.

If a rivet counter criticizes in some snarky way about camo patterns or markings or the like,fine I can ignore them or tell them to takexa hike,but i build for me and for my enjoyment.

That being said I do appreciate a magnificently built model with all the bells and whistles,its just not me.


I’ve probably fell into both categories, although I do find myself becoming more and more OOB these days.

For me it depends on the subject and kit.
If it’s a high quality kit (and usually expensive) of a subject I like, I will try my absolute best to be as accurate as I can. These builds frequently bog down though and don’t have a high completion rate. Usually because of more time spent researching than actual building!
I’m in awe of the guys here that work to such high standards, especially some of warship’s covered in etch railings and radar. I wish I had that kind of patience and skill to work with etch like that.

Now, OOB I usually reserve for when I just want to add something to the collection. Something to work on at weekends while I watch TV. Looking at my stash, this seems to be the best strategy! I also find it a good way to get my mojo back and it can be quite fun.
And of course there are those times when the kit itself is rather old and poor. A case in point being the old Airfix Val I’m doing for the Rising Sun campaign. There’s only so much I’ll be able to do with it, so getting a neat build is priority. It’s lack of detail I can live with. It’s very much going to be a guinea pig for paint and testing a set of Printscales decals, which seem to have a reputation for being difficult to apply.

These days I find myself taking the opinion of model what you want, how you want. If you’re happy and proud of the result, learned a new technique and had fun doing it, then great! It’s just a hobby after all.


I know that feeling! It’s difficult to prioritise what to build as the stash tends to comprise one-time dreams that are now receding beyond reach. That’s the scale modeling stuff, pretty much all of my wargaming stash has already been abandoned except as a possible source for a vignette/diorama.
If I build today (!) it is pretty much OOB, and if I am converting/scratch building I can only hope for a standard similar to OOB rather than super detailed.




Started gluing bits together around 1960. So I’ve made my share of mistakes.
I start with a goal. A representation in my mind. Sometimes thats OOB. Othertimes a few extras or some serious cutting. But at the end of the day it has to be fun. More often than not “near enough” is good enough for me.
BUT I always remember to remember that everyone is different.

FWIW on Youtube there’s A4 Garage. I shake my head when I see him make a 1/24 scale hose clamp for a radiator. Or working carburetor linkages for a 1/24 Mini. He’s certifiably nuts. But I’m jealous. Take a look at episode 5 of his Mercedes. Watch him make working door handles. A fuel pump, etc etc. While I admire him and try to learn from his videos I dont aspire to be like jim. I acept my limits.
My point is that we are all in this hobby for our own reason. We have to accept that other maynot be like us.


I figure it like watching Eric Clapton. I can either enjoy his mastery and continue playing at my own level… or be hopelessly jealous and sell my guitars.


Oh no. You mentioned guitars in a model related thread. Bad ju ju. :open_mouth:


I don’t necessarily see myself as a rivet counter, but I rarely build OOB. As others have said, it depends on how well I know the subject or how interested in it I am as to how much work I will put into it. I may fix just a few inaccuracies of the kit, or go for a full blown scratch/conversion. I too usually get “close enough” and don’t worry about every miniscule detail. Lastly, I do like adding interior details, even though most of it will not really be seen. I know it is there though.

Bottom line, build as you like. You should be building for yourself and not really care what others think about it.


But… I didn’t play Stairway to Heaven at Guitar Center…

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Thanks for all the replies so far guys. Was curious as to what motivated how you build. Nice to hear that just about all of you mentioned the fun factor and that you build for your own satisfaction. I do know guys that build specifically for contest, not just categories, but they agonize over every aspect of the built from start to finish. To me they never seem to be happy about how any of their builds turn out. My feeling is that you build better when you are relaxed and feel good about what you are doing and not constantly looking over your shoulder so to speak worrying about what some “expert” or judge might see or not see. Some of my best builds are the one’s I’ve had the most enjoyment building and it’s surprising how many of those found hardware at contest. Build on Garth.