taking advantage of a family trip to Miami for the Spring Break, I decided to tour the Model Expo facility where Model Shipways (and others) kits are manufactured. I called ahead of time and was cordially invited to take a quick tour of the facility. In fact, I ended up seeing pretty much everything and meeting very nice people.
Model Expo is located in a commercial/industrial area of Hollywood Florida. They occupy Suite 106, which is a very long and deep warehouse, surprisingly big for the space occupied by the front wall. The facility welcomes you with a small room equipped with window cases containing the most exquisite models ever made: All their kits (most at least) are present and displayed in their full glory and beauty. We will come back to these at the end of our presentation.
Model Expo employs about 15 people at their Hollywood facility and I got the privilege of meeting John, our gracious host; Frank, the parts Manager; Joseph, the casting specialist and three nice ladies who are at the center of the action, as their main responsibility is to put together all the parts required to make your kit a success. And there are thousands of parts as you will on the pictures. I also saw the gentleman who presents the latest Model Expo kits on YouTube. There were a couple more people working on Graphic Design stations that I did not meet. Judging by the frequency of the phone calls from people ordering kits, parts and tools, this facility was buzzing with activity although it was the Easter Monday.
Behind the offices is the main warehouse that hosts the production facilities (laser cutting, casting), the parts storage, the kits storage sections and the place where the kits are put together. Basswood which is used most exclusively for the kits is procured from North carolina and shipped on pallets to the Hollywood facility:
From there, the wood is resized, cut and smoothed with a couple of special machines:
After that stage, the wood planks are laser cut by three different tables. Since it was a slow week, we did not get a chance to see the laser cutting tables in action. Nevertheless, the smell of wood is everywhere and is very pleasant. They have a very large cuting table and two smaller ones:
Laser cut planks are everywhere, and this is a testimony of the large production of Model Shipways kits. The laser cutting tables normally operates 11 hours per day and produce all the parts that modellers enjoy so much putting together:
That silly editor prevents me to post more pictures within the same post, even though all my pictures are hosted on another server - I appologize for that inconvenience, but this presentation will have to be made in multiple parts....
Edited by yvesvidal, 02 April 2013 - 06:34 PM.