What Do YOU charge to complete a Commission?

I’ve been tentatively approached by an aquaintance who has suggested that they would like me to do a commission for them, in this case, it would be a British Warrior of some description, in 1/35.

I’m not sure, for me. kit building is a hobby and something i do to relax. I am not sure i’d like the idea that i’d be using my skills, time and patience to do something for someone else.

So, what should I be looking at in terms of T&Cs?

I source, buy and invoice for the kit(s) and sundries needed and charge a commmission on top of that?

How much is reasonable considering it would probably take me around 50 hours or so? (i’m not a fast builder).

Thoughts welcome.


I have done quite a few commissions over the years. As a rule of thumb, I charge about two times what the kit and supplies cost me for a pretty much straight OOB build. If they want something special or all sorts of extra detail work, the price goes up accordingly. There is no set formula for how much to charge. The best bet is to aim high and be willing to negotiate down if it is too much for the buyer. I have found most people are willing to pay a pretty high, but reasonable price for a subject that they hold sentimental value to.


I just completed my first commission build. Aircraft owner wanted an in flight mount and the only kit available of his aircraft was ancient. Like you I had no idea what to charge but he told me he had a budget of $ 400. I had about $ 60 in materials, not including the kit which he supplied . I wound up charging $ 375. which we were both happy with.

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I’ve seen your work. You are an excellent modeler.
I’m an AMPS Advanced Gold level modeler and have won several “Best Of’s”. I consider modeling a talent and an enjoyment. For many personal reasons, I have turned down numerous requests for commissions over the years. However, knowing what well finished pieces go for, if I were you I would charge $500.


Ask for as much as you think the potential patron can pay. If your quote is turned down, the don’t take the commission. In any case, what you ask for will be a pittance of the true value of the work. No one will ever pay you what your work is actually worth unless you’re building models for a corporation that provides that sort of service to other industries.

Scale model making is skilled, precision work that takes talent that has been developed over years of practice. If you spend 40 hours building a largely OOTB kit and charge $400 for the commission, you’re making less money per hour than the kid flipping burgers in your local fast-food joint.

Speaking for myself, I very rarely ever take on commissions. At one time in the past, I considered even being asked a great honor and usually jumped right on any solicitation to do one. However, I quickly learned that: 1. No one was willing to pay anything close to a reasonable wage for the work, and 2. Building models for other people sucked all of the fun out of it. Commissions are WORK, not hobby.

So, since commission builds are work, but no one is willing to pay a fair price for that work, then doing commissions is simply punishing yourself.

Nowadays, if I am solicited for a commission, my only real consideration is MY OWN INTEREST in the proposed build. Unless it is something that I would like to do for my own reasons, I will turn the job down. If, on the other hand, it is a subject that I’m interested in doing, then I’m willing to accept whatever the potential patron will pay. The money becomes absolutely a secondary consideration.

In such cases, I ask for the world but will usually accept much less - as long as I will have ZERO out of pocket costs in the end.

To manage my costs, I also keep track of my expenses and provide the patron an itemized invoice for those costs which is negotiated to be paid separately, over and above the commission rate for the model. If the potential patron will not trust me to be honest with my itemized invoice for materials and consumables and will not agree to pay costs for those OVER the base commission rate, then I will also not accept the job.

Quoting the job is then done in two parts: the base cost for the build + the reimbursement for my actual out of pocket costs (TBD) = total due on delivery.


I refuse to do any of my hobby work as commission work for money. I have done some work as trade for other items that I deemed worth the work. I now only do items for others as gifts or trade. Nobody would be willing to pay what I charge in my time alone.

The last time I was approached in a serious manner about doing commission work for cash was about 15 years ago. I didnt want to do it because of of my comments above.

So, I calculated an estimate with $20 per hour for my time. I knew the person wouldn’t pay anywhere near that amount because they were making substantially less. And they turned me down accordingly.

Now, I would double that, $40 per hour, if somebody asked.

Materials is a minor portion of hobby work, they are paying for a skill and the time required to accomplish the piece.

Charge accordingly, imo! Good luck!


Close friend used to get ~$400 per project plus materials in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s for his commission work. He had several clients and pricing was fairly consistent. Factoring in inflation, $400 would be $1,000 minimum for the average 1/35 AFV model project today. Given that level of AFV build can easily take ~ 50+ hours, $20 an hour is pretty reasonable for “skilled” labor these days, in my opinion.

I observed my friends experience doing commission models, it wasn’t fun and games. Exact specifications were provided with limited leeway, with a deadline for delivery for something he wasn’t particularly interested in building. Specifications like, see enclosed photographs, I want you to build this tank. He’d run them through the IPMS competitions on occasion to develop a pedigree for the model, sometimes that was increased value for certain clients.

As the commissions increased, he didn’t build many things he found interesting. Eventually, he stopped building when the burn out hit for a long time. Ocassionally, he’d build a new model if one of his old clients persisted in asking for it.

Discovered later that some of these models had a second round of contest competition under someone else’s name :flushed: :thinking: :grimacing:

Based on what was observed, I’ve always passed on commission work opportunities. It seems like fast track path to burn out.

More power to those who wish and can do such laborious tasks as researching and building a vehicle that’s uninteresting to them.


I built MLRS kits for Lockheed Martin Missile Division. They were beefed up with brass pins to endure the inevitable playing with them that I knew would occur - they were desk models to be given to big wigs in the military. (not just ours) I also built larger cutaway ATACMS and ATACMS II’s showing the sub munitiions inside. I’ve posted photos of these many times on the archive site, and perhaps on this current one, I’m not sure.

But I digress. It gave me an idea what models can bring from people who really want them.
After going to Shizuoka in '96 (or winning a trip there I should say) I was approached by someone to do commission builds. And through him another contact whom I’ve built for. Mind you, this was the 90’s - I was making four figures for some of these kits. Most were mild conversions, some pretty extensive, and even one, an M1 240mm I also posted photos of back then, was a total scratchbuild. Of course that one commanded quite a bit more.
Something simple like a superdetailed Italeri 155 (without regard to correcting the scale) was good for $500, about twenty times what the kit cost. And took me about two days. No weathering or chipping, just a straight up paint job. And I wasn’t even that good! :rofl:
I certainly never had a book published.

My eyesight was better then, and I had way more patience and time on my hands.
I haven’t done one in a few years now but I’d charge even more. And I’d either get it or I’d walk. No negotiating. My time is too valuable, especially when I factor in how much I make contracting for the Army and Navy.
One day soon I’ll have to recommend a replacement. It’s really not fun. And I don’t do deadlines well.

Just stumbled across this - the only photograph I have of the three Centurions I brought to Shizuoka. The one in the foreground had a completely scratch built interior. You can see where I removed the roof from the turret. What you can’t see is how it sits atop an angle iron structure much like a real turret would sit on. This began to sour me on full interiors - what’s the point if you have to go through artificial means to see them?


Thanks for your input, everybody.

It has been very interesting reading your thoughts. I tend to agree, when the pressure of a commission build is placed upon the modeller, on a subject the modeller might not even really be interested in, then it ceases to become enjoyable and for me, that’s enough to stop me from accepting the request.

The money is nice to have (I certainly am suprised how much could be charged) but on balance, to me it wouldn’t really be worth it.

Thank you all again, I sincerely appreciate all the feedback.


I did a couple 172 kits for a coworker my price was the same kit but in my scale (1/35). He did force a payment as well later in the build.