Ship model manufactures

GaryM

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When chosing a kit to purchase, a lot of questions come up. How do you chose a kit and know what it will require to complete. How does the manufacturer compare to others. What inacurracies are their design. Etc.

The following web sites provide some help:
http://ezinearticles.com/?Rating-of-Wooden-Model-Ship-Kit-Manufacturers&id=4463448
http://site.nature-crafts.com/skill_level.htm

Most complete line of ship models: http://www.agesofsail.com/ecommerce/
 
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Very interesting read, Gary. For the most part, seems to be spot on as far as the kit manufacturers I've experienced so far. Thanks for the article.
 

GaryM

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Glad you all enjoyed it. The industry has improved the kits over time and many have been upgrade with the advent of lasers, lost wax castings, etc. Some of the older kits had numerous design flaws that were corrected when the companies switched and some bad kits were scraped. These technics have made our models stronger and more acurrate. However, being a kit, they still have a lot of design errors and research is still needed to build a correct model. The manufactures retooled, but most did update their research to correct design flaws.
The one I am working on has many and is an example of retooling only.
 

GaryM

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When you look at skill levels, you have to know that it is only true for that manufacturer. Each uses only three skill classes. What is expert by one might be intermediate for another. The instruction, plans and design have a big affect on true skill level between companies. Another that has a large effect is the intended customer base the company is trying to capture.
Let me use Mantua as a example since I have built several of their models. Their intended customer base is the advanced modeler. They have their entry models but some of them should be considered advanced beginner because their instructions are limited. Their intermediate models cover another large area to fill in the gap before getting to their advanced models. Some of these I believe would considered advanced by some other companies. For example, their paddlewheeler, does not belong with their other intermediates, but when you look at rtheir advanced kits, it does not qualify for this class.
Using the "Le Soleil Royal" by Mantua that I am working on, their plans are decent enough to build the model, but they have inconsistancies between views and you have to figure out which dimension is correct by going to the ship and determining which is probably right. To decide what the end product of a part should be built like sometimes involves finding various components on three views and trying to determine what the intended outcome is supposed to be. Their instructions are ridiculous and can not be done in order described. The research was sketchy and there are way too many design flaws for a model of this level and cost. This and the "Soverign of the Seas", my next build, I feel, should be classified as Master level along with their "Vasa". However, when you finish one of their kits, it is exceptionally beautiful and well worth the effort and time involved.
 
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Gary,

Thank you for assembling these links. I've found that prices for the same model can vary based on the distributor. On eBay I've found Model Shipways kits for substantially less than the prices found on the Model Expo home site. If you have tips on purchasing at the best possible price, please share them.

Bill
 

GaryM

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If you are buying an American made model, ebay is fine. Lately, foreign models from Europe manufactures are not wanting to service products that have a a broken part or your broke and want to replace, even if you pay for it. Thus, buying from a supplier here that has a relationship with these companies makes sense. Sometimes, you might find sales on some items. Otherwise, it is best to decided on purchasing several at one time and try to work a deal with the supplier.
The ship manufactures are usually small companies in Europe and thus want to have limited dealers to handle their products. I know that for Roger at Ages of Sail, Amati would only let him carry their products if he carried everything in their catalogue, including all the replacent items, such as wood, figures, ladder, etc.
I have had to have several items replaced and he was the only person here that could get the replacement pieces for my Mantua Soleil Royal when I made a mistake.
 
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GaryM,

Excellent advice. I found two Model Shipways kits on eBay recently that were almost 50% below the Model Expo prices. Of course, after I purchased them the folks at Model Expo dropped their prices for their "Christmas In July" special--I could have waited. Model Expo has filled my orders quickly and accurately, so I have nothing but good things to say about them. Always looking to spend my money as wisely as possible.

Bill
 
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Instead of moving, how about trading residences during vacation times? That way you could keep your Internet access, all your friends, and still have the luxury of travel? My house doesn't have much to offer, but I'm sure some of the folks on SOS have wonderful homes and would love to travel to the Netherlands.
 

GaryM

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If you come to see me, we can drive over to Ages of Sail and see everything he has on his http://www.agesofsail.com/ecommerce/ web site. I have been over to his business twice and we talk on the phone regularly. I know I am very fortunate to have a place so close and I do take advantage of it. I am sure you would be like a kid in a candy store.
 
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