Model kit "brands" - help?

Discussion in 'Aircraft & Aviation' started by Wily, Apr 8, 2006.

  1. Wily

    Wily Member

    I'm looking for your opinions on how the various model publishers stack up in terms of quality and finish.

    For example, it's fairly well known in the plastic modeling world that Tamiya and Hasegawa make superlative kits.

    What brands would be Hasegawa and/or Tamiya's equivalent? For pre-prints? For digital downloads?

    Before you post - I ask that your posts be respectful of the various designers and publishers who frequent this board. I am not interested in "who sucks", only what are the best purchases for my money.

    Thank you.
  2. shrike

    shrike Guest

    That's not an easy question to answer because it depends on a lot of variables.

    First, The designer is much more important than the publisher.

    Many of the designers work on a free-lance basis so you will find their work put out by more than one publisher. Paper models are a lot closer to "art" than plastic (NOT gonna enter that debate tho'!) and so an individual designer's approach to colour, weathering, and indication of detail will vary and have a LOTto do with a kit.

    Age of the kit. In general the newer the kit the better.

    Just in the last few years the availability of sophisticated software, both for suface development and for print management have made for a huge leap in overall quality. Some companies have gone through their catalogs and begun redrawding or at least retouchng their older kits. Sometimes without revising their numbers, so you have to pay attention.
    Even the internet and the communication it provides has increased the quality by allowing communication with the designers and printers.
  3. Bowdenja

    Bowdenja Active Member

    Good Answer Shrike...........Good Answer!
  4. cmdrted

    cmdrted Active Member

    I 2nd and 3rd Shrike and John. The best thing to do is visit this site's forums and the sister sites in the links here. Alot of the kits are presented as builds and show you the high and low points of a particular kit. If you want a blanket "can do no wrong" look at Halinski kits. These things are the paper equivalent to Tamiya/Hasegawa/Fujimi with added Verlinden detail parts and accessaries and will end up costing you only 8-15 USD and you don't have to buy tons of Brass etched/resin cast/ vacu detailed down to the nuts and bolts detail parts. The only "downside" is they are mega detailed and alot of beginners to card modeling put them away in frustration.
  5. bfam4t6

    bfam4t6 Member

    I agree with what Shrike said. The newer the model the better no matter what. But let's assume that you are only concerned with new kits.

    Halinski-My personal favorite.....most like a Tamiya or Hasegawa kit in my opinion. Extremely detailed, very realistic weathering, and exceptional fit.

    GPM-Pretty good. This publisher seems to vary from model to model. Some of their models seem pretty good. They have a good amount of detail and some weathering. Usually the weathering is not very convincing up close. Also, my experience with GPM is poor fit. Again, it varies from model to model. Most of their models seem to be pretty good though.

    Maly Modelarz-Again, let's assume that you are only concerned with the new kits (2001-present). Maly Modelarz has progressed to using computers to design their kits, so you can expect really good fit. They also have a good amount of detail. The coloring varies from model to model, but I do not think that any of their models are weathered.

    Fly Model-Good models. They generally design the unique subjects not usually seen. Most of their models are intermediate level. Good coloring, Good fit. Not to hard, not to easy. They do not have weathering and usually the details such as the cockpit are very very simple.

    ModelArt-Great models. They come close to Halinski, but fall a bit short when it comes to detail and weathering. These kits now come preprinted or downloadable.

    There are many others out there that I cannot comment on because I have not built models from them. Also, all of the publishers that I mentioned are preprinted kits (see ModelArt). Like Shrike said though, the publishers vary. Once in awhile they will publish an ugly duckling and then followup with a masterpiece. To answer your question of which compares to the Tamiya or Hasegawa of plastic models, the answer is pretty inarguably Halinski.

    *edit-You might check out Halinski's gallery page
  6. Wily

    Wily Member

    Thank you all.

    So far, I've built kits from

    Fiddlers Green
    Ralph Currell
    Paper Models International (proprietary brand)

    Fiddlers Green carries a few that I "painted" - there's a Dewoitine 510 floating around that bears my artwork, too - so I'm fairly experienced with the simpler kits.

    ModelArt and Ralph Currell kits are - so-far - my favorite.

    I will definitely try a Halinski!!
  7. Bengt F

    Bengt F Active Member

    Publisher Preference

    Hear, hear!

    My experience is limited to airplane and airship models with an odd building now and then and I haven´t been building long enough to have a number 1 favourite.
    However, I´m very much impressed with the Junkers Ju-52/3m airplane model from GPM, which I have just received (this is the 'regular' version, there is also a version with lasercut formers/ribs and wheels). I haven´t begun begun building it, though, so I cannot say much about the fit of the parts but the detailing is astounding - close to 1.500 parts. However, the print is a little dull and grey - it could have had a little more colour depth or blackness to it.
    I would also like to put in a good word for WAK models - I have just started on their new release of "Spirit of St. Louis" and the detailing is very good and the silver print is true to the original silver-coated cloth, as far as I can tell, with no mis-matches along the thin black lines.
    I have built an airship, the "Graf Zeppelin", from Schreiber-Bogen. This is one of my favourites, featuring very good silver print, back side scoring lines and a perfect fit in 1:200 scale. A super-detailed publication. This holds true, to an even greater extent, for the "Hindenburg" in the same scale, also from Schreiber-Bogen, which I have yet to build. There are posters for the walls of the dining salon, chairs, tables and a grand piano. I assume the fit of the parts of this model will be equally good.
    Another example from Schreiber-Bogen, which I have built, is the Fokker Dr. 1 triplane, in 1:20 scale. This model is of moderate detailing (a fine propeller and cockpit interior but it has no engine cylinders, merely a 'block' of card simulating the rotary engine) and the fit is good in most places. As mentioned above, my experience is also that quality sometimes varies within a publisher´s range of models.
    Schreiber-Bogen in Germany was one of the very first publishers of printed card models in the 19th century and today, with the added resource of the AUE Verlag, has a broad range of card models from simple children´s cut-outs to superdetailed airships (e. g. the new "Schwaben" model), airplanes and buildings (e. g. the new Empire State Building model).

    Another variable that is somewhat beyond the quality of the publisher´s printed sheets:
    An experienced card modeller can perform wonders with a relatively simple and straightforward card model, ranging anywhere from 'enhancing' single parts with paint or coloured pencils to scratchbuilding new parts to improve realism.
    A good example of this, in my opinion, is Lukasz/"Swinger´s" work on the Fokker E. III aeroplane from Kartonowy Swiat:

    The gallery page at Halinski makes you very humble - the caterpillar threads and wheels on the armoured tank, the canopy interiors and sanded-down 'rubber' tires of the airplane models are all amazing examples of the art of card modelling (and card model publication) at it´s best. Great care and superb craftsmanship.

    This is an interesting thread subject - thanks Wily for bringing it up!
    I hope this discussion will continue for a long while yet . . .


    (edited in): Wily, Ralph Currell is also a favourite of mine - very high quality and free of charge!
  8. Tirta

    Tirta Member

    Are you sure with the Halinski kits?
    Some people say the fitting of the parts is not that good and some parts simply does not fit at all for halinski Su27 and F16c.

    Is this true?


  9. alfadoc

    alfadoc Member

    I can't personally say anything about those kits as I have not built them, but I can say that Halinski may have fit problems only because the kits are so fanatically precise. If you build one, be sure to laminate the formers to exactly the thickness of card stock the instructions recommend, because a small variation can compound into a problem with skins not fitting exactly right. For parts marked **, I laminate three layers of 110# cardstock, and for parts marked *, two layers.

    Happy building,

  10. Bengt F

    Bengt F Active Member

    Superb Model Kit 'Brand' - Not Only "The Red Baron" . . .

    Hi all card model kit builders,

    In the haste to write my first post to this thread, I overlooked mentioning one publisher which I hold in very high esteem:
    Herr Roman Seißler, of Düren, Germany, and

    A must for the serious WW I aeroplane builder - especially those concerned with historically correct representations of, and faithfully color-rendered, Fokker Dr. 1 "dreideckers" (triplanes).

    I have recently received a model from this publisher, the Fokker FI 103/17, of Ltn. Werner Voss, of Jasta 10 (Jagdstaffeln - Fighter squadron), Jagdgeschwader 1 (Fighter wing 1).
    I haven´t begun building it yet, but I have scanned (and enlarged) it and the quality of the print is supreme. I haven´t heard anybody complain about bad fit of these models so far . . .
    The version I ordered is pre-printed (offset four-colour), but there are also digital pre-printed sheets and digital downloads available.
    The catalogue is extensive, to say the least, and Herr Seißler is currently preparing versions of the Fokker D. VII and planning versions of the Albatross D. V, for example the 'preferred' plane of Manfred von Richthoven.
    To aid the construction of the Dr. I models, Roman Seißler has an excellent, seven-page "Assembly help" construction manual set (offered as free download), in English (and German) and he also offers a range of other free downloads, for example a Daimler DIIIa engine card model for the Fokker D. VII and Albatross D. V, or a WW I (revised) hangar tent (with pdf-sheets for back side printing!) and several panoramic landscape scenery backgrounds/ dioramas.
    Added to this, for those who want to experience 'real' dreidecker action, Sero-paperwarbirds also offers free downloads of two historically faithful Fokker Dr Is for the Microsoft 2002 Flight Simulator! -this is one of Werner Voss´ triplanes, an early type (FI) before it went into regular production (Dr. I). Werner Voss was chosen, by the way, to test the first V4 and V5 prototypes, which were constructed by Fokker Schwerin after examining the Sopwith triplane construction.

    For a historically correct rendering of the "Balkenkreuz" ('Beam' cross national insignia) of the famous Rittmeister Manfred Freiherr von Richthoven ("Red Baron") triplane (one of the TEN that he used!), designation nr 425/17, of Jasta 11, with which he scored his last two victories (nr 79 and 80), refer to this page:

    Compare this with the Fokker DR I on Schreiber-Bogen´s home page, under "Aeroplanes": (click on the little green dot to the right of the picture) This plane has the incorrect "Eisern Kreuz" rendering ('Iron' cross on white square background) as national insignia, which was NOT used on the plane Manfred von Richthofen flew in air combat . . .

    Roman Seißler has added a comment to this wide-spread mis-conception (in German).
    (My 'direct' translation): "Dr. I 425/17 was not in operational use in March." /1918, my comment/ "Defect? This machine documents the transfer from Iron cross to 'Beam' cross. The order to implement this was issued on the 17th of March and executed in practice in the beginning of April, shortly before the transfer to Cappy."

    In short, without having even begun building this detailed model (with two versions, easy and difficult, of the Le Rhone rotary engine), I can whole-heartedly recommend the publisher. . !

    Zündung Auf - Kontakt!

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