The moderator squeeks

Discussion in 'First Impressions Kit Reviews' started by Darwin, Aug 25, 2004.

  1. Darwin

    Darwin Member

    It is gratifying to see that more members are making a contribution to this forum. Now that we appear to be on a roll, I think it's time to make a few noises like a moderator. First, a general question to the membership. I'm not wanting to make this a formal survey, but some feedback would be useful. Do you find this forum useful to you, and are the reviewers covering the topics you would like information on? Are we trying to cover too much ground in the review, or are there gaps in the coverage you would like to see addressed? I've gotten a little private message info from some of the reviewers wondering if the time spent on composing the reviews is providing good service to the group, or are we just wasting bandwidth. Based on the number of viewings the postings are getting, I think there is a fair amount of interest in the forum, and am hoping that the sparcity of responses indicates you are reasonably satisfied with our efforts to date.

    One aspect I've been thinking might be useful is a way for you to tell us if there is a particular kit you would like some info on before deciding to part with the coin to obtain it. I know there are several of the members who are card model junkies, and have built up a fair-sized stash of both out of print and currently available kits, and would usually be willing to give our opinions if asked. If there is some interest in this, I'll start a "reviews we would like to see" thread.

    A last squeek before retiring for the evening. Another private message asked if there should be emphasis on adhering to the review format that has been established. I've got to admit to having mixed feelings on this one. I don't want to impose a rigid formula for these reviews, as it may have a chilling effect on new voices putting in their opinion on the forum, but do feel that each review should touch on most, if not all, of the general review areas (skill level, qualit of instructions, quality of artwork, level of detail, etc.). While pondering this issue, it occurred to me that just about every publication, hard copy or ezine, having a product reviews section does have an established framework the contributors are expected to adhere to. I don't want the postilngs to look like form letters, but would like to have a consistency in the postings regarding the information the reader expects to find therein.

    Now is your chance.....INPUT. INPUT.....NEED INPUT.
  2. Al hazlet

    Al hazlet Member

    Yes, please keep writing the reviews -- they are the only way I learn about these kits.

    I like that the reviews cover many facets of the model, and often tell me things I wouldn't know (or even think to ask) about the subject and the model.

    Thanks to all the reviewers.
  3. Huey

    Huey Member

    the only thing missing is perhaps the pic of the model being reviewed, otherwise its great. and i do agree with you that perhaps you could start a "wish list" so that the models being reviewed is basically what is somehow on the "purchase wish list" of the majority or at least from an individual planning to buy that particular model. if i may suggest, perhaps a scan of one of the page (just one or even half of a page) of the booklet may also help in the decision making in buying the model or not. some may be put off by the old method of printing, others don't seem to mind them at all. a visual of the model would be greatly appreciated.
  4. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    In the previous post asking for images with the reviews....

    There seems to be a request for 2 kinds of images (correct me if I'm wrong):

    1. An overall picture of the model - this is usually found in many of the modern kits.

    2. A partial or complete parts page so the reader can judge what the print quality is like.

    I can certainly do this with the appropriate attribution and could probably retrofit some of my existing reviews with images - with the moderator's cooperation.


  5. Peter H

    Peter H Member


    I don't know about anyone else but I'm wasting money or I would go balsa or plastic if I had to buy preprinted models. Electronic models are my bread and butter and when someone comes up with locking the colours on what is printed with what they should be, can't come quicker.

    As for reviews, I hate the written ones because,

    1) Even a simple design takes effort to make and I have too much respect for someone providing or selling a design to write anything negative. Hence if thats the case then I would write a biased review and so if I can't write a review then I wouldn't ask anyone else to do it. Besides I'm tired of reading, "this model is accurate and has good fit"

    2) I love a stack of photos of all the nooks and crannies of a model, I call them technical photos because I'm trying to convey an experience and feel for a model. Things like "how would I do that bit", and "yeah I can see that would be tricky", are the issues that are vital to me.

    3) I'm a male which generally means I interested in sensual issues (ie. shape, proportion, texture, shape to purpose). So piccies do that for me. I love peering around the aircraft fossils in the museums and building something similar of that era used by some gutsy pilots. Photos just extend and provide more input for this type of curiousity. Hehe...better than porn and you don't get into trouble.

    4) I love "Oh Wow" photos but I think everyone should take into account that there is a spectrum of constructors out there and that not everone's aim or expectation at construction can't be perfection. To me a hobby is about relaxation and pastime, not screwing up 5 parts and getting stressed or "zoning out" because I can't get part XYZ looking 100%. Granted modelling to everyone has different meanings *but* latitude should be given about what is the average ?? Don't forget the fun and "near enough" of some of us in the group. With this said I would love to see anyone having a go at something, even partial assembly means a lot to me. This could be a good reason for introducing categories of partial, scale, fine-scale, hyperscale so everyone doesn't get liumped together. People can be sensitive, I am at times and while it might be taken as being a "sook" .... stuff it, I'm entitled to how I undertake my modelling since it is personal to me.

    I like your idea Darwin of calling for certain reviews. Maybe also acting as coordination so two people can gain a positive outcome if they plan or create the same review.

    A balance of "paid for" and "freeby" models would also be appreciated. I'm somewhat discreet about showing off my purchased models.

    Hope this helps,

    Peter H
  6. Huey

    Huey Member


    No disrespect and I respect your opinion. The reason why I proposed in an earlier thread for a review section is that a lot of us are buying "blindly" paper models. Giving a review and perhaps "constructive criticism" will not only aide the buyer in making his purchase but also help the designer/distributor in improving his product. Yes, it can be a "biased opinion" (thats why its called an opinion - ) but it doesn't mean that you don't respect the designer if you point out a flaw. I know a designer from FG who encourgae me to do that exactly, find "faults" in his models. In the end, everybody wins, modeler gets a good model and the designer improves his design a notch up. Its not different from reading a car review, and those companies poured millions of dollars in the research and development of a particular car model. If its branded as a "lemon" they just go back to the drawing board and redesign it. No disrespect to the car company on the part of the consumer group who took part in reviewing the car.
    I'm with you regarding buying "soft copies" of paper models, guys like DeWayne, NOBI to name a few, deserves to be recognized and supported for doing us a great favor of bringing models in "soft copies." Hey, one time or another, the booklet that was bought somehow tasted the "bright warm light" of the scanner before being introduced to a cutting blade.

    But you know, I've been "here" too long, maybe my nerves is all shot up so myaybe my two afghani worth is not worth anything :)
  7. jrts

    jrts Active Member

    Hi all

    They way I look at it this thread is to give some insight in to the kits out there print ,paper and fit just as an example.
    If I buy something washing machine, car or what ever I expect it to do the job I bought it for. If it does not do this then it goes back with a cry in the vendors ear.

    The same for card models, how meany of us when we first started card modeling bought a kit model and when it arrived it was way over your head. I have and destroyed it in the build ooops money gone!!

    I have also bought kits that when you get them they don't fit and the print looks as if my kids did it.

    As a result Iam a CD man now and only just getting back in to the kit side of things. I read all the posts on this thread with great intrest for new members this is a great start point as to which one to buy. If you buy a kit and its not what you thought you my never buy one again as a result!!

    As for free models realy the only thing that can be said about them is the skill required to build as the designer has gone to the trouble of doing his/her work and then gave it away. Negative things with regard to free models I think would be a bit off.

    Just my two cents worth

    Darwin GREAT thread and I like the idea of a wish list

    Ready for the ear battering

  8. nebeltex

    nebeltex Member

    response to jrts...

    ...when you mentioned negative review content for free models being a bit much.....and then mentioned your "two cents", i thought it may be a press release from the ministry of funny walks. (activate laughing box) actually, there are so many free models out there, some objectivity is due. some are released by traditionally free offering designers. others, by new designers, cutting their teeth so to speak. a balanced review not only enables a good designer to get better, it points the way to the next generation of creativity. a proper review benefits the hobby overall....c.b.
  9. Huey

    Huey Member

    I agree, "freebies" or "free download" shouldn't even be considered in the review section for the simple reason, no money was involved. The designer gave it for free so the least that can be done is to respect him for his goodwill. There's no point in criticising the designer's free model, don't bite the hand that feeds you.

    But with regards to purchased models, thats a different story. We should be able to have access to all information regarding a particular model and the guys doing the reviews are doing a great job and favor to us. It just need additional info like pics of finished model and a page of the booklet or if its a "soft copy" a half page of the pdf file.

    I don't like to burn my money on a model that I would regret buying later on once I open it. For the softcopy, well there are models out there being sold without showing the actual pic. I've bought a lot of softcopy and so far, there's only a few I regret buying simply because I had no idea what it would look like as the distributor did not have a pic of the actual model. But in most cases I was happy with the soft copy models I bought. The only downside of "soft copies" is that you can't return it if you don't like it.
  10. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 Member

    My main thought is that if you're going to take the time to post a "first impressions" posting, then please try and do a follow up when you've actually built the thing. For instance. I thought that those IAF kits looked pretty decent, and at first glance, they looked like they might fit. However, when I actually started construction, it was a whole 'nother story... When doing a first impressions review, stick to known facts such as print quality, paper quality, graphics quality, etc.

  11. cmdrted

    cmdrted Active Member

    Being a relatively "New Guy" on the list my perspective is this; It is a bit intimidating to post any type of review, seeing the tracers in the air when one of the aspects of a kit is left out. Some of us are not that computer savvy, I just learned how to get a digital pic Into my computer let alone figured out how to post it. I agree that the buyer should have a consumer reports writeup, some of these lits are expensive and there still are alot of awful kits out there that waste not only money but the TIME it takes to build it. Which brings us to the freebie kits, I believe they should be included in reviews for some of the reasons stated, the designers need the feedback if done tactfully. And incidently the freebies do cost us in paper, ink and once again TIME that could've been spent on something more rewarding.
  12. Peter H

    Peter H Member

    If you will perservere with me on the subject of truthful/negative reviews I would like to extend my original post on the this matter. I love what been said so far...a passionate thread that gets to the bones of things.

    First I'd like to emphasize a life skill paradox,

    "Knowledge of preventing problems is mostly gained from the experience of making them"

    And I've made many....

    The first is I'm not advocating anything of the sort about letting the overall quality of models drop because of no one is afraid to put out an indifferent/negative review with good intentions. If there are challenges that outweighs the cost of the model then take it up directly with the designer. Why ??

    1) With a public forum review you in fact take any right away from the designer to address the problems in terms of time and reputation.
    2) What about the long term reputation of the designer ? Facts and opinions getting mixed up by 3rd parties are one of the things I really dread happening around me and for a designer a few models down the passage of time could still be haunted by a negative review. Honestly, once it is written and stored it doen't go away.
    3) What does the review do for you. Great....your've made a mark for honesty and integrity and doing your best at the cost of a designer but what in the eyes of other modellors do you get in return. Want a label as a "rivet counter" and a modellor to "stear clear of" then go ahead. To me and a lot of others, the priority of modelling is about a community and not someone trying to "tell it like it is".

    As for comparing a modelling designer to a car company I don't think the comparison holds up. Cars have a zillion times more in cost/average wage ratio, not only have to fit well but be inherently safe because of their purpose. It's quite fair to say quality and safety are close knit variables so it's in everyone's interest to allow public forum/comment whether good or bad.

    As for making free designs fair game...please don't. The general domain is full of free models by people who do it out of a labour of love and that generally means many, if not most models are very "close" to that person. If you start being a critic of this work then it is so easily misinterpreted that your actually critising the person and not simply a PDF file. Sure you see it as a PDF file but you weren't the person that put in X hours then gave it away.....we start doing reviews along this line then all the encouragement many modellors have tried to pursue goes out the window. Gee.........we don't give much for X hours of designing a free model, lets give them something. If something isn't right, send them an email of do like I do on many occasions and have fun "tweaking" it.

    Anyway I've said my bit, if you have got to here, many thanks.

    Peter H
  13. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    I prefer to know how well the kit goes together, it may well look fabulous on the screen or the paper, but unless it goes together properly, it is just a pretty picture. The investment in time IS far more valuable than the financial price of these products. So I would prefer to wait a bit and read a fuller build report, than just a parts count and print quality assessment.

    My too-pee'sworth

    Tim P

    PS Cars inherently safe??!!! Only up to the point a human being gets into them!!! I know! I'm a biker!!
  14. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Here, here,

    Tim is absolutely right. I'd rather read a review from someone who's had to confront actual problems in the contstruction of a specific kit. The moniker that they put on kit construction is always a good laugh; difficult, very difficult, extremely difficult and "I stood on my head and still couldn't figure it out difficult. ...,

    Best, Gil
  15. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    As one of the reviewers I'd like to add my 2c worth ....

    I guess one of the areas of contention I've seen so far is "why do first impression reviews anyway". The first impression review process is not cheap - each one costs me at least 1-2 hours work to research and write - but it's an order of magnitude cheaper than a full build review. That is, we can get much wider coverage from first impression reviews compared to build reviews. This can be verified by counting the review types at

    Another area of contention seems to be related to what people want to get from first impression reviews. From my perspective first impression reviews have a number of purposes:

    1. Simple information about the kits available.
    2. An analysis of a kit - the purpose here is (imho) to check whether a kit looks likely to build into the stated model. If a build is likely to be successful what sort of outcome can be expected from a kit for the "average" modeller.
    3. Objective reporting of inaccuracies or deficiencies.
    4. Opinions on overall quality, etc can be made without setting off pointless flame wars.

    The issue of free download reviewing is a fraught one. While I can sympathise with the view that designers of free kits have more claim to protection from criticism my view is that if the review is conducted fairly and objectively it's probably acceptable to review free kits. I think I've reviewed 3 free downloads and have tried to stick to the "fair and objective" review principle and (to date) no-one has bucketed me for unfair or biased reviewing.

    It should always be acceptable to "review the reviewer" - if you don't agree or think the reviewer has made a "dog's breakfast" out of the process then complain in the forums. The reviews are in the ultimate analysis just opinions which are also subject to review.


  16. Darwin

    Darwin Member

    I'll grant that reviews of an actual build are more interesting to read and provide the perspective that the proof of the pudding is in the tasting. However, as evident from the disparity of contributions between the two review forums, it verifies the truth that far more kits are bought than are built. One of the problems encountered in posting photos is that pesky 45 Kb limit on attachments. By the time I got through attempting to reduce the size of my jpg file, the quality of the page I was trying to illustrate a chunk of became a moot point compared to the minimal quality of the jpg. Pictures are great if we can overcome the limitations of the forum programming. At least the mention of displaying depictions of the covers and portions of the actual kit pages haven't instigated a flame from the copyright police....perhaps because use of such copies for the purpose of illustrating product reviews is permitted by all the copyright laws that I have managed to get a copy of.

    I lean toward any model offered up for public consumption (gratis or otherwise) being fair game for public commentary, but obviously there need to be different sets of comparison standards for amateur (read free download) versus professional (pay for download) models, just as there are different judging standards for amateur and professional athletes, artists, etc. It may be more appropriate to post commentary on amateur offerings in the internet finds forum, though...invoking some practical psychobabble, keeping them separated from the reviews of those kits vieing to part us from our money may remove the temptation to hold them up to professonal standards.

    Charlie's comments are well taken. I have yet to see a posting on the forum that has taken on a flavor of personal vendette rather than objective evaluation....and the member response (or more truthfully, relative lack of response) appears to hold up that opinion.....this crew is not bashful about being vocal when it appears toes may have been stepped on.

    My take on the responses so far is that the majority of the members are satisfied with the forums and, aside from more photos, the content. Insofar as private feedback to the designers and avoidance of negative public commentary, my take is that the purpose of these, and any other, product reviews is to inform the consumer, not the producer.
  17. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    Just to expand slightly on my previous post, I have yet to buy a model as a result of one of the 'Quick Reviews', but I have bought several, Gremir Savage, Mareks Pfalz III for example, as a direct result of seeing the rolling built-up reports. I am sure several other purchases have been made following other similar reports.

    Of course these threads take much longer to prepare, although they are usually done alongside a model build, but they do tell me what I really need to know if I am considering a purchase; does it go together, or is it a pigs ear? And if it is a pigs ear, can it be rectified?

    I wonder how many Bismarks have been sold as a result of Scorpio's thread?

    I realise these articles are NOT adverts for the kit producers, but a service to the forum members, to inform, advise, recommend and warn. I don't think you can do all of that in a couple of paragraphs, especially without cutting it out and sticking it together.

    Tim P
  18. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    There is an obvious problem with build reports which appears to be ignored in this discussion - the competence of the builder. For example, a ship model done by Scorpio would probably come out looking great almost regardless of the quality of the kit. I get the impression there were fit problems with his latest opus which he obviously found a way around to produce an excellent result. If a less talented builder attempted the same kit the outcomes might (would probably) be quite different.

    I do take slight umbrage at the "couple of paragraphs" comment - I write more paragraphs than that.


  19. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    Charlie, my apologies for appearing dismissive, that wasn't the intention at all! I just meant the depth of a report based on building the model was bound to result in a more substantial document, and that I would personally find that more useful than a shorter pre-build report. I usually end up reading anything and everything, and I do appreciate anyone taking the time to contribute in any way to the forum.

    Am I forgiven?

    Tim P
  20. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    Of course - or in the English dialect I speak "no worries mate".



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