The Kit Picking Conundrum - Your Thoughts?

The Kit Picking Conundrum - Your Thoughts?

Hypothetical Question: Which is my best choice to buy and build? Why?

Assume price is irrelevant. Aftermarket support available for all versions. Subject matter is of the obsessive compulsive nature for modeler.

Factor in modeler greatly dislikes spending time of reference research or building infinitesimally insignificant fiddle bits.

A) Old kit, simple construction, simple instructions, good fit, lacks detail, with PE & aftermarket detail can be raised to “good” but not exceptional level. In 1973 was state of the art kit. Accurancy of kit is looks OK but not correct for any specific time period. Familiar with build sequence having done one before. Within currect skill level. Build time estimate ~150 to 175 hours.

Completed results will be 95% likely to satisfy modeler. Peers will probably view build as waste of time. Peer disapproval 95%

B) Good kit, straight forward construction, good instructions, very good fit, has outstanding detail was state of the art in 2005, has needed PE parts. Accurancy of kit is 99% correct for time period. Within currect skill level. Build time estimate ~225 to 275 hours.

Completed results will be 80% likely to satisfy modeler. Peers will probably view as reasonable. Peer approval 65%

C) Best kit, complex construction, absolutely terrible error filled instructions, excellent fit, has current state of the art detail, has needed PE parts. Accurancy of kit is 99.9% correct for time period. Barely within currect skill level may exceed with tiny PE parts that can be inhaled. Build time estimate ~300 to 350 hours.

Completed results will be 100% likely to satisfy modeler. However, 25% chance project gets beached on the shelf of shame with 15% chance modeler quits hobby for one to five years if project goes badly based on past events. Peer approval 99%

D) Revamp the Old Original 1973 kit and rebuild it with PE Build time estimate ~250 + hours.

Completed results will be 85% likely to satisfy modeler. Peers will view as foolish. Peer approval 0%

Best Build Choice?

  • A - Build new 1973 kit
  • B - Build new 2005 kit
  • C - build newest best state of the art kit
  • D - revamp old 1973 kit

0 voters

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I voted, but to me it definitely depends on the mood. I am probably a couple days away from finishing a Miniart T-54 with full interior.

This kit was way above my skill level, but i am very happy with the result, I learned some things along the way, and I think I am much better for it. I had an absolute blast. However, I am burnt out on tiny fiddly bits, so right now I am leaning heavily towards an old, easy simple build with minimal part count. While I really enjoyed the T-54 not having a finished project for 6 months (yes I am slow) made it hard to grind through at points

Great topic by the way!

I voted to punish you with revamping the old kit only because that seems like a fun challenge and having junked a pile of my old builds years ago it’s something I’ll sadly never be able to do.

I’m very much what I consider to be a “representative” modeller vs a recreationist/rivet counter so those ‘73 vintage Tamiya kits bring me an immense amount of joy, especially for the price.

I do like to mix things up with a real challenge of a build once and a while though to keep me on my toes. I’ve got a Meng Leo 1A3/4 with a Legend upgrade (and probably a new barrel and wheels) taunting me from my stash right now.

Also, not that I don’t love showing off my work, because I do, but I build for my self and my self alone. If 90% of the community don’t like my build, they’re also not invited to come over and gaze upon my display shelf while having a beverage.

You’ve outlined a struggle that is all too familiar to me!

One of the things that you didn’t directly touch on is the nostalgia factor. At least for me, that’s been a big driving force in some of my recent kit and aftermarket purchases. Even with a couple AFV Club M113s in the stash, I’m still buying up old Tamiya M113s and Verlinden conversions for them.

That said, too much nostalgia on an old kit, along with a ton of aftermarket will also land me in the “25% chance project gets beached the shelf of shame.” So I guess that’s why I went with B.

Great post.

For me it’s not necessarily the vintage of the kit but the subject matter and marking options. MiniArt makes just about every conceivable variant of the T-55 with plenty of colorful/unusual paint schemes and or decal options. I’ve built 2-3 but find them to be tedious. Trumpeter and Tamiya also make similar kits which are much less fiddly. Which do I prefer? If I want a challenge and to test my patience MiniArt. For a quick and stress free build Tamiya. Trumpeter falls somewhere in-between but closer to Tamiya than MiniArt.

I appreciate the input everyone. Nostalgia could be a factor as I’ve not touched a ship kit in over 25 years.

A) is the ancient 1/400 Heller/Airfix Scharnhorst, there’s wood decks & PE available. I’ve build one before & know it’s issues and potential issues very well.

B) Trumpeter 1/350 Scharnhorst. Still researching it but it appears to be very good.

C) Dragon 1/350 Scharnhorst. Two versions of kit 1941 and 1944. Every build attempt blasts the instructions. Many build attempts I’ve read about seem to tamper off and stall out.

D) would be fixing up this old survivor. It’s obviously quite a formidable mess.

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Voted B.

As other have said, its all about the mood I am in. I recently finished an old Tamiya Universal Carrier 100% OOB and had a lot of fun with it. I also just finished a multimedia 1/350 ship involving all the latest and greatest 3D printing / PE / Resin etc and had just as much fun.

What seals the deal for me in armour are the tracks. If the kit is 200 parts and the tracks are 800 then I am completely put off. Building tracks suuuucks for me so less is more in my opinion.

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I also find nostalgia/interest plays a roll. I love armor but after 4 in a row with tons of road wheels, and as such a change is welcome. I recently bought a bunch of wings things for a nice mix in once in a while when I just can’t bring myself to paint 20 road wheels. Plus I find the parts count is often lower in aircraft so they are a nice fun change

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@Mead93 definitely where I’m coming from on this. It will be something like 16 or 18 armor kits completed in a row when the two current projects wrap. Both are very close.

I did just realize for D) the superstructure is already broken away from the deck. New PE rails, 3D printed guns, artwox wood deck, brass rod masts would probably go a long way.

Great survey ! Each category has it’s pros & cons. Personally I voted C but could have picked B. SO many good kits coming out now a days from the “new kids on the block” Ryefield, Takom & Meng and Tamiya has really step up their game too.
As Armorsmith wrote about how patience trying a MiniArt kit is. I put my BMR kit back on the shelf recently. MY goal is to bring all those shelf queens across the finished line.
McRunty brought up a 1000 piece tank where 800 parts are the track. Yep, there’s some of those too on the shelf of shame. During the lock down I tackled most of those kits one sprue at a time. I made a good dent in those kits. Some are even ready for paint !
As far as PE goes, I usually just stick with what comes with a kit. I did find a TriStar Pz.IV with a lot of Voyager PE here on Armorama for a good price. I’ve saved some frets to practice soldering on to prep myself for that kit.
Barrels, I TRY to make the kit barrel look good. If I fail and badly flat spot it I’ll go AM and replace it.
Heck, most of my buddies can’t tell a Tiger from a Panther anyways. And the SWAMPS club members will compliment you and give you tips on how to improve for your next project.
Bottom line is go with what makes you happy!

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I did vote, but like a number of the others, the actual choice really depends more on how my modeling muse strikes me than any thing else.

I will say that if the choice is between two kits of different levels of detail and accuracy of the exact same subject, the one that has the better detail and accuracy will always win. Complexity won’t have any influence on the choice.

However, I will often build a kit that’s relatively simple in terms of complexity just for the satisfaction of completing and finishing it. For myself, I call these “decompression” builds, and they usually get done between complex and lengthy projects. They’re rarely totally OOTB. I often do some simple little improvements (better grab handles, tie downs, etc.), but for me they’re about as close as I get to OOTB.

So, sometimes the old Tamiya kit gets the nod just for “giggles and grins,” but, if I’m deeply engaged with the subject, the sky’s the limit in so far as to the starting complexity of the base kit.

I kinda go with what speaks to me at the time. Today’s multi piece tracks drive me crazy but if I want to do some subjects kinda have to bite the bullet and learn new things. Getting into a comfortable spot can be good and bad. I’m finding out modeling with my son I am increasingly having to leave the comfort zone and learn new ways of doing things so I can in turn help him. I’ve started casting stuff for him after years of not bothering to do that sort of thing.

Now he’s getting interested in 3D printing our own subjects which I think is a great idea that will also let me get a nice new loaded alien :alien: laptop :man_technologist: to run the printer from among other things so now I have to save big time for the laptop. Definitely will have to buy stuff to keep my wife happy also. So save save…

I loved Dragon German Armor from around 2006-2010 no matter what I built, Tiger I or II, Panther, Stugs,Jagdpanzer, enjoyed them all,packed boxes, build able, detailed.

I also enjoy newer Tamiya kits,not as complicated or detailed, but still very nice.

The other thing I will say (which kind of aligns with the above) is that armour kits for me tend to get way less extra detailing/after market than my ships do. I can easily build an armour kit OOB and be happy but unless a ship kit comes with ALL the AM included then I will be buying extra and doing extra work. I refuse to spend more for tracks than the tank kit itself but will happily spend 2, 3 or 4 times the kit cost in extra goodies for a ship.

This was a difficult choice for me since I go back and forth from state of the art and bringing the 1973 up to par. I do have a weakness for correcting older kits and as fate would have it most of the state of the art are still lacking

Thank you everyone for the excellent comments. There’s lots of great points made that help with the decision.

Sometimes I lean heavily towards C) Dragon 1/350 Scharnhorst. If the instructions were of good quality this would probably be easy. I need to find a copy of the instructions online and study them carefully to see if they really are as bad as I’ve read.

Often I’m happy with an OOB or nearly OOB build for any sort of kit. Takes a “special interest subject” to get me out of OOB mode. Indulging a 1970’s $7 Italeri Pz IV kit with $125 or so of aftermarket and turning it from a 200 part OOB kit to 1,100+ part build is fun on occasion. Probably the most fun armor modeling I’ve had in the last ten years was working on past their prime decent older kits.

Not sure if that will apply with ship modeling. I’ve always been happy if the ship is basically out of the box as long as it looks fairly decent and reasonably accurate. With that said I had my fill of fifty year old junk ship kits back in the day.

I need to drag that ancient Heller Scharnhorst out again and carefully go over it in detail. Having fond memories of it probably clouds my objective judgement of the kit.

I like a challenge. I’m new to 1/35 scale AFV. As long as fit is good I’m ok with the headaches.

Scans of instructions and photos of sprues

or GO BIG and use this 1/200 card model as templates to build in styrene

(just pulling your leg a little :wink: :innocent: )

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@Uncle-Heavy

Thank you for the link!

Looks like 1/200 is :moneybag:

Big Horst in town

Time to scratchbuild and make $$$
:wink: :grin:

I think the $1500 was for a completed build, the Trumpeter kit can be had for 300 US $ with free shipping from China