Who's Making that kit?

Jimsky

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I dont see MDF in the Asian & Russian kits
In the past it definitely the case, Paul. Now days, Russian manufactures do utilize MDF at some degree. For example. Master Korabel use MDF as the base for all the bulkheads (bulkheads are plywood). Falkonet uses MDF as base and formers (lately the formers are removed). MDF have very limited use and only as structural.
 

zoly99sask

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In the past it definitely the case, Paul. Now days, Russian manufactures do utilize MDF at some degree. For example. Master Korabel use MDF as the base for all the bulkheads (bulkheads are plywood). Falkonet uses MDF as base and formers (lately the formers are removed). MDF have very limited use and only as structural.
I think Vanguard is using Mdf for the keel
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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Does Mdf warp like plywood? If not it would make a great choice for keels and bulkheads.
I use MDF for the framing jigs in the Hahn model timbering sets because it is a throw away after the model is built. Yes it does warp the MFD i use is 5mm 1/4 thick
as a structural material it is not good at all.
what happens is the thin stanchions above the deck are weak and will crumble and break off. Bulkheads 25 to 29 would not hold up with MDF board they have to be plywood even soft core ply is a bit weak you need good aircraft ply.
its is being used because it is cheap, it has crossed my mind to use it in two kits i make and changed my mind. I think one of the reasons for MDF board is the China companies are coming on the market with high quality kits at a reasonable price, that is hard competition to beat.


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what happens is the thin stanchions above the deck are weak and will crumble and break off
And if these weaker parts get wet they will crumble even easier. MDF can be sanded and shaped fairly well if you are careful. However, other disadvantages make its overall uses dubious at best. Ok, for building jigs and such. Just be careful. Personally, I would not use it for structural elements in a kit. Especially, a high-end kit.
 

zoly99sask

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And if these weaker parts get wet they will crumble even easier. MDF can be sanded and shaped fairly well if you are careful. However, other disadvantages make its overall uses dubious at best. Ok, for building jigs and such. Just be careful. Personally, I would not use it for structural elements in a kit. Especially, a high-end kit.
Just a question,how much money you really can save using Mdf instead of plywood for the keel?
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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As the model ship market becomes global the competition becomes harder. Those ranting on that "those kits made in China are all cheap junk" well the tables are turning and those kits are becoming the high standards and quality materials while the rest of the market struggles to compete by using cheaper materials and cutting corners.
 
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ust a question,how much money you really can save using Mdf instead of plywood for the keel?
To answer your question.... if only building a single model, there would not be much difference in price. However, for mass production by a manufacturer to produce a few thousand kits that small savings adds up to a lot over time.

Economies of scale.

This is why larger volume manufacturers have a hard time and really cannot produce the kind of quality modelers want to see. The reason the quality continues to go up on kits from China is 1) They have a 1.4 billion person domestic market, 2) they have lower labor costs, and 3) they carry lower profit margins than companies in the west. It adds up over time.
 
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Just a question,how much money you really can save using Mdf instead of plywood for the keel?
Fair question Zoly! In my opinion, the use of MDF for frames and the build jig is a false economy. These are critical components in the build, and skimping on quality will compromise the success of the build. Even if the plywood adds $50 to the cost (it’s really way less) , it’s worth it. What would you rather have? A $475 kit the goes together flawlessly or. $425 kit that can’t be successfully built?
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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To answer your question.... if only building a single model, there would not be much difference in price. However, for mass production by a manufacturer to produce a few thousand kits that small savings adds up to a lot over time.

doing a production run of 1,000 kits you will save $20,000.00 using a cheap material like MDF board rather than quality plywood.
 

zoly99sask

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doing a production run of 1,000 kits you will save $20,000.00 using a cheap material like MDF board rather than quality plywood.

and maybe you are losing $20000 worth of customers using cheap material
 
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Let me try to explain it in another way that might make more sense to everyone. Macro-economics. Forbes estimates there are about 2.2 million model builders in the world. Their estimation does not include China as Forbes cannot collect these statistics from China. So, let us say for argument, the "west" has a model market of about 2.2 million people. As far as I know, the majority of model companies in the west (I will not list them) do not market nor sell their products in China. So, western model companies are selling to a total market of 2.2 million people. Model companies in China however (such as ZHL) are selling to the 2.2 million western market of model builders AND the percentage of model builders that make up the Chinese market of 1.4 BILLION people. The relatively few models that are sold in the western market by ZHL pales in comparison to what it sells on the domestic Chinese market. Not even a drop in the bucket.

Make sense?
 

zoly99sask

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Let me try to explain it in another way that might make more sense to everyone. Macro-economics. Forbes estimates there are about 2.2 million model builders in the world. Their estimation does not include China as Forbes cannot collect these statistics from China. So, let us say for argument, the "west" has a model market of about 2.2 million people. As far as I know, the majority of model companies in the west (I will not list them) do not market nor sell their products in China. So, western model companies are selling to a total market of 2.2 million people. Model companies in China however (such as ZHL) are selling to the 2.2 million western market of model builders AND the percentage of model builders that make up the Chinese market of 1.4 BILLION people. The relatively few models that are sold in the western market by ZHL pales in comparison to what it sells on the domestic Chinese market. Not even a drop in the bucket.

Make sense?
Also in China, they have a reversed ship modeling community, young people build mostly
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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if a model ship kit that contains MDF board as a building material I would think twice

Toxic chemicals are one of the major health risks of MDF. The chemical of most concern is formaldehyde, which can aggravate asthma and other lung conditions, irritate mucous membranes, and cause contact dermatitis. Studies on this chemical also suggest that it is a likely carcinogen, and it should be generally avoided. During the manufacturing process, personnel should protect themselves with respirators and adequate clothing. When cutting or working with MDF, nose, mouth, and eye protection should be worn. Finished products may also offgas, raising concerns about its use in the home. Fiberboard should never be burned, except in adequately ventilated facilities.

it is just a bad idea to use the stuff as a material in a model where you handle it, cut it or sand it.

imaging a warning on the box of your model kit this product can cause cancer build at your own risk.
 
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To me even plywood is not eye candy when used in visible places. Even if weneered it is impossible to hide that it is weneered. I'm hopelessly in love with ZHL's Royal Caroline but I can't help wondering, how much extra would it cost to make the visible part of keel and stem in solid wood instead of plywood? If I were to spend as much as 1,500$ on a kit I would not care if the if the price was 100$ more or less.
 
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I had a good friend get mad at me in PM for all these comments regarding MDF versus wood.

I beg everyone to please understand, the comments being made here are just the opinions of experienced model builders. Nobody is forcing you to do anything. Nobody is telling you not to use MDF. Nobody is trying to discourage you from buying a model that contains MDF. We are simply trying to inform you of the differences in material. Just like wood... there are different grades of MDF... some better, some worse. In general, some of us don't regard it as the best material for model building. I have cut plenty of the stuff both CNC and laser and did not enjoy it. But that is just my opinion.

Buy what you want, use what you want, build what you want....

Sail on!!
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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Does Mdf warp like plywood? If not it would make a great choice for keels and bulkheads.

I was in the shop yesterday I found these 2 pieces of MDF board. What I do is lay them flat with a weight on top to prevent them from warping. these 2 sheets were sitting by themselves. Once this stuff warps you can not unwarp it because they are effected by humidity. Plywood you can wet it and use weight to straighten it out, you can not do that with MDF board.
The pipe is straight so you can judge the amount of warp.
Personally i would not use this stuff for structural parts in a kit.


warp 2.jpgwarp 3.jpgwarp1.jpg
 
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