Chuck

To help kit developers and kit builders alike-What would you like to see developed for the hobby.

113 posts in this topic

I thought I would start this topic because as a model builder I know what I would like to see developed into a kit.   I am sure all of you have a short list.


 


On the flip side!!!


 


As a developer of commercial kits and projects,  I have no idea what-so-ever what other kit builders would like to see developed.   I am quite certain that this is true for the other kit developers.  Its just a leap of faith based on so many factors.   Including many who are respected sponsors of this site.   Both old and large companies or the newer, smaller Mom and Pop type operations.  We just dont know.  Its a big chance to take without a direct line of communication.


 


Bringing a new project to market is a serious investment in $$ and time.....our worst fears....nobody wants to build it or buy it when its launched.  So please....I urge you all to participate.  It would be a huge ....huge help.  No more Victories or Constitutions...its the last thing the hobby needs right????   Maybe not???  Please tell us.


 


BUT I would kindly ask that all MFG's including myself...and our sponsors...not participate in this discussion other than to say that you are watching and listening or if asked a direct question that warrants a response.  I know you will be listening, just as I am eager to hear from our customers.  This will alleviate any fear that we may be trying to steer the choices or monopolize the voice of all of you kit builders out there.  


 


SO...please do feel free to share your own short lists.  Or even just one.  Consider this your direct line to the kit developers out there.....I know I am listening.  ;)   The others would be at a loss if they dont.  Otherwise, we will just keep developing the same old stuff and hopefully one of them is what you want.


 


BUT here is what we need to know...or at least me as a developer.


 


- Name of ship .....or type


- Country of origin - date


- Material choices and what style...POB or POF or Solid hull ETC


- Price range you would expect to pay...whether realistic or not


-How long do you prefer a build to last from a kit.  Will you want to spend 6 months for a small kit or 6 years for that 100 gun French frigate from 1820?


-Advanced or beginner......something in-between? 


 


You get the picture....It would be interesting to see if we have any HMS Thunderer (74 gun) at 1/4" scale in POF built from Boxwood for under $200....If we hear a lot of that, then its probably time for me to look for a new job...LOL.  I learned as a young boy that if I didnt tell my parents what to get me for Christmas....I would end up with a lot of socks and underwear....LOL


 


 


and I will thank you on behalf of all of our fellow kit developers and MFGs.  This will make it so much easier for our businesses to grow and the hobby itself to grow.


 


Chuck


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Kurt, Dont be shy....my guess is you want a nice shiny new tugboat kit?  Again I am just guessing.   Please everyone.....just dont say its a great topic and you will be listening...or hit the like button....please lay it all out there.  The more that start to participate here, the more people will feel less shy about posting.   Dont be shy.  :D  Who will get the conversation started?

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Great topic.  As I visit the many websites of kit manufacturers and distributors I see an abundance of model of ships with sails.  I would like to see more kits of ships built after the golden age of sails.  The early steam ship era represents a large population of ships that would be interesting as models.  The first monitors, tugs, trawlers, riverboats, etc., would all be very interesting kits to build.

 

I am not a ship historian, but I think that the early steam era would provide some great models.

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I think, as LA Don has said, that the transitional and early steam era is very interesting and would like to see some kits from that time.  Eighteenth century French and British warships are great, but there are plenty of those kits out there.

 

Name of ship .....or type

 

How about the Great Eastern, the steamship Arctic, the Civil War era double-enders like USS Sassacus?  How about some ships with paddlewheels or smokestacks and full sail rigs?  How about ships like the Dutch ram turret warship Schorpioen.  (There were a few US ships similar to Schorpioen...)

 

Country of origin - date:

 

I'm partial to American vessels, but that's not hard-and-fast.

 

Material choices and what style...POB or POF or Solid hull ETC:

 

Not a huge issue for me, but I like plank on bulkhead, wood construction.

 

Price range you would expect to pay...whether realistic or not:

 

I can swing $100 to $200 for a kit.

 

How long do you prefer a build to last from a kit.  Will you want to spend 6 months for a small kit or 6 years for that 100 gun French frigate from 1820?

 

I build slowly.  I see some complex kits -- like USS Syren, which I own -- as a Decade in a Box.  I'll get to it eventually, but it's going to be a while.  I prefer something that can be built in eighteen months to two years.

 

Advanced or beginner......something in-between?

 

Go ahead.  Make it advanced.  I'll figure it out.

 

 

 

 

Dan

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I'm a big fan of the 17th and early 18th century ships of the line. Fortunately, a lot of the ships I am interested in are already in kit form but, a couple things I would like to see to improve what is out there. The first would be a less of the decorative parts being molded in metal. They rarely look good and are often replaced anyway. I know that to have them already carved in wood would make the kits extremely expensive but could the kits instead come with high quality images of what the decorations look like and then a supply of blank carving blocks to carve them out of. This would obviously be on advanced kits and not beginners but I think that would be a nice change.

 

The other which may be harder to do is to try to uniform scale between the ships. I like to display my models side by side to compare but that can be hard to do when the scales are different. I do not know how hard it would be to try to make series of kits in the same scale so that all my 17th century French ships are all 1:100 scale for example. I know I wish my Constitution and Victory models were the same but at 1:96 and 1:200 respectively, they look odd next to each other. I guess this is more of a pet peeve of mine coming from model railroading where an entire layout is to scale and anything I build fits right in. With my ships, I don't have that luxury.

 

As to other suggestions, like I already said, I like the large man of war ships. Would love to see more of them though I would have to research for name/country suggestions. Price is always a concern but as I am currently saving up the last couple of hundred I need to buy the Sergal Le Soleil Royal which is a $1200 kit, it doesn't worry me. If the quality is good, I will pay for it. I'm a fan of the longer builds as I like to be able to settle in and take my time but it is nice to have a faster build sometimes. 

 

Finally I would like to see more cross section kits. I would love to have one to match both my current build of La Couronne and my next of Le Soleil Royal. I think being able to display a cross section of a ship next to it's whole would be a great addition to any display as well as enriching our community in our education about ships. Cross sections give an extreme level of detail and information about the interior of a ship that a lot of us lack due to primarily modeling the outsides.

 

Thanks, I hope this helps and I look forward to seeing what you all come up with next!

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There is (was?) another thread on this topic.

Overthere I posted that I would love to see a historically accurate kit at a resonable scale (1:96 or 1:192) of a Dutch two or threedecker, like the Gouden Leeuw.

 

I would like: advanced, building time: long, price around 400 euro, (but higher is open for discussion)

I would like a POF, but with the option to build the interior from th lower gundeck upwards.

 

I would prefer serious wood, not the usual kit-stuff

i would prefer historicall accurate

i would prefer non-guilded, resin (?) 'carving'

I would prefer fullguns, and not those silly half-guns. (At 1:192 resin casting is OK with me)

I am not a large fan of an 'assembly kit' in which all parts are lasercut, and only need to put together. (Although the resulting model greatly benefits from those lasercutassembly parts)

 

Scond type of kit iI would be seriously be tempted: navyboard style enlisch first or second rate.

(Again 1:192, seriouslwood, historycally accurate, and all other remarks i madeabove)

 

Jan

post-176-0-73281100-1464898653.jpeg

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I think there is a niche for a solid hull, fairly simple kit, small sized one.  Aimed for total beginners or young builders

The old Artesenia Latina Liberty was a close match to what I am talking about.

The present ones are either just a bit too toylike  or with a POB hull a bit too hard for a young beginner and i would love to start my grandsons on a build - they frequently ask to get down my 30 year old first build of that one.

( PS the AL kit hull was some sort of "fake wood" but it was planked with nice mahogany strip - PREGLUED - peel off backing paper and apply - brilliant !!

The planks are still stuck fast after 30 years!  I wonder what the adhesive was )

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My company's vessels are named to honor vessels in Cook's fleet. Is a fantasy to build an accurate, 1/64ish scale Endeavour, Resolution, etc.

 

POB

 

Price: below $500, including tax and US shipping

 

Build time: a week or two! :) Seriously, my build style has me at the bench pretty consistently for 4-8 weeks, then I take a 4-8 week break while my model brain recharges, or works through how to handle some challenge. Repeat. I've had models built in one "period" (love that Longboat Chuck!). Others, well, I started King of the Mississippi in 2003. As such, can't really answer.

 

I'd lean toward a beginner kit, to remain close to $500, knowing that some modelers would scratch build additional components where they desired.

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Ahoy Mates

 

Subject: Civil War Blockade Runner

 

Scale:  1/48

 

Build Type:  POB or POF doesn't mater  And a Short Kit. Fittings fine in kit,but planking is up to buyer-keeps price down,and buyer can go with either economical wood or other more expensive wood choices.

 

Price Range: $150-$300

 

Quality- Must have bulkheads and frames that line UP! That are fair and not being 1/8-1/4" off being fair,or shapes not the same frame to frame. Maker should have a outside builder build and show that they are right.And do it before the kit is being produced and on shelves for sale!

 

After buying kits from 6 manufacturers  over the last 4 years,not one has a kit without this problem. From 2 that have had just a couple problem frames to a majority where 75% of the kits frames-bulkheads were wrong shapes,and had to be corrected.

 

There are other types of kits using laser cut frames and bulkheads that have tapered and other shapes like the ships we build,but they do not have the same problem with their kit's.

 

I have been in production for all my adult life and quality control processes. There just needs to be a raising of standards of all in the kit making community. Some just need to be made aware and have very little to work on. Others will not care or even listen or try.

 

Just think of it this way,if you have a terrible first build and not the skills to deal with uneven shaped bulkheads to start with. Do you expect that person to want to build another kit-or even finish the first kit with problems?

 

It will only help all of us if the standards are raised up to a level that they should be with CAD and laser cut parts. We are not talking of old school steel rule cut kits of the past.

 

Build Time: I like short time builds and long. I lke to vary it. 6 month's to 2 years

 

I frankly think that raising the quality question and problems that we all are subject to is correct if you are talking about new kits and what we want. I want it to be taken in a positive  way not just a ranting way.

 

Keith

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I would like something in the sail-to-steam category

- Name of ship .....or type: USS Kearsage or USS Hartford

- Country of origin - USA

- Material choices and what style...POB or POF or Solid hull: POB

- Price range you would expect to pay...whether realistic or not $200-$300

-How long do you prefer a build to last from a kit.  Will you want to spend 6 months for a small kit or 6 years for that 100 gun French frigate from 1820?

-Advanced or beginner......Intermediate?

 

I also think a double-ended gunboat, such as Sassacus or a sleek, paddle-wheel blockade runner would be interesting builds. 

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I guess I would like to see something developed in the hobby like pre -cut and pre made sails. The best model with the most accurate detail is spoiled because of sails made with oversize stitching and folds.

I don't have any sails on any of my builds because I just can't get them to look right. The Flags are pre made. Why can't the sails instead of giving us a fooled up sheet to make our own? Just my two cents. I hope this s a valid post.

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I would have to go with the transistion from sail to steam along with working craft such as trawlers and freighters.  Unfortunately I have seen most people loking at sails or WW2 vessels such as PT Boats, Destroyers etc.  To keep the costs down decent and accurate plans should be the main component.  The basic materials wil work just fine.

David B

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The 18-gun, flush-decked American ship-corvettes of 1812 are sadly ignored : the Wasp 1806, Hornet 1807, Wasp 1813, Peacock 1813, and Frolick 1813. 

 

Everything is on one deck, the carvings are at a minimum, and they are extremely well documented.

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Large scale working boats from 19th and early 20th century - as a reference the Model Shipways Glad Tidings or Emma Berry. Large scale for adding detail and p.o.f. for interior work....

hamilton

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The 18-gun, flush-decked American ship-corvettes of 1812 are sadly ignored : the Wasp 1806, Hornet 1807, Wasp 1813, Peacock 1813, and Frolick 1813. 

 

Everything is on one deck, the carvings are at a minimum, and they are extremely well documented.

 

Agreed! in 1:64 or 1:48 scale, PoB.

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In general, I'd say that good riverboats are underrepresented. Most of the kits I see look out of proportion and toylike, even if finely crafted, and they all follow the same "gingerbread castle" prototype of a generic lower Mississippi palace boat. Model Shipway's Chaperon is a rare exception. There are a number of fascinating prototypes and possibilities among American riverboats alone, much less international ones.

  • Bertrand, Arabia, and Cairo all have museums dedicated to or featuring them and/or their remains
  • Far West has a fantastic story (the boat that carried Custer's men to and from Little Big Horn)

The golden age of steamboating extended into the photographic era, meaning there are good resources for any number of protoypes. And I'd like to think that plenty of American consumers, at least, would connect to a Mark-Twain era Midwestern steamboat as to a sailing ship.

 

I love sailing ships, but also feel that there are SO. MANY. age of sail models out there already. Branch out!

 

My specific answers to your questions:

 

Name:  Arabia, Bertrand, Cairo, or Far West, as those are readily researchable and can tie into museums and known American history.

Country/date: USA, 1850s-1860s.

Material/style: Any hull form could work. Solid hull is likely a good choice for steamboats with their flat-bottomed, low-slung hulls, though an open-framed steamboat looks pretty good too. I assume solid would keep the price down? Wood could be relatively simple, as most boats would be painted and weathered.

Price: I'd say $250-$400. Scale is an interesting question. My 1:87 Bertrand ended up about 2 feet long, I don't think you'd want it to be too much larger than that.
Time: I can't envision tackling a project much over two years right now. Scratchbuilding Bertrand took me about a year, including lots of R&D. A kit would speed that up, but I also put a lot of time into it. Still,I have to imagine that more people would buy (and commit to) a kit that could reasonably take them a year or so. Much beyond that and life is just too uncertain unless you're a REALLY dedicated builder. For me, at least, I'd rather enjoy a number of different projects over time than one all-consuming one.

Level: Beginner to moderate. A small steamboat could easily be a beginner kit, there's less planking and rigging than a sailing vessel, but enough interesting superstructure detail to keep it interesting. A moderate kit would include more detail, better castings maybe, or interior?

 

Above all, a really good steamboat kit with well-presented historical background and context seems to me like a very different offering to the model market, and one that could capture the imagination of many Americans who don't have much connection to the ocean anymore, but do to their rivers and their history. Don't know how they'd sell outside the US, but only so many Americans care about British or foreign ships either.

 

I'm being selfish here, but as a history buff and freelance writer, it sounds like great fun to help a kit designer develop a backstory and interpretive materials for an American steamboat model. Anyone interested?

 

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Merchant vessels, mid 19th century through the early 20th century, smaller vessels in larger scales with plenty of detail. Having researched such vessels from the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I can tell you that there are plans out there and large untapped archival sources to supplement plans and builder's models from all parts of the US coastline. The material is there and such vessels would be good in POB for beginner to intermediate skilled modelers.

 

Russ

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Please consider printing on both sides of wood. On some models they print suggested areas to taper or shape but do not flip the wood over print it on the other side and transferring these lines is sometimes not successful.

 

On paper plans provide drawings of what the planks should look like. These drawings could be copied and attached to planks for accurate shaping and installation.

 

Hope this makes sense, dealing with 5 year old granddaughter

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I would like to see the amount of documentation in the kits greatly expanded. Of course I would like a lot of full scale plan sheets but there could be a lot more information in each kit. I could imagine a thick well produced booklet containing detailed drawings of specific areas of the rig done in perspective drawings - much like the excellent G F Campbell drawings found in Longridge's Anatomy of Nelson's Ships. Illustrations that are well done and show every detail in the context of where it will be on the ship.- this is not rocket science this is simply a mater of paying a good illustrator. It will add to the cost of the kit but it would remove a lot of the frustration from the project while at the same time adding to the value of the kit. Since you are printing a booklet you may as well hire a historian to write a decent history and illustrate that too, with whatever contemporary prints paintings or drawings which can be obtained. Yes this adds a lot to the production cost but it also lends credibility to the project. Too many kits of the past made do with minimal plan sheets with lousy drawing and poor printing. Note that little of this makes sense unless the money is spent to create a quality product. Putting together a ho-hum booklet with lousy drawings is just going to make your product line look bad.

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Frankie, I've considered pitching that service to kit makers before, having had the same thoughts as yourself. No idea if it's a sensible plan or not.

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Now here's a question with a million answers  :)

 

Consistent scale. I'd personally prefer 1/48th but that can get large really quickly.

 

Smaller ships. No larger than 30 inches. Less than 24 would be better. Bigger may seem better but how many more incomplete Victory's do we need?

 

Period: Sail to Steam would be an interesting period. For me 1750-1900's.

 

Nationality: Don't care

 

Building method: POB or POF. POF preferred if laser cut. Not solid.

 

Materials: Wood  ;). Top-quality wood can get very expensive - no clue how to solve that one.

 

Cost: < $500. $200 would be better but it would have to be small to be that cheap.

 

I would also like to see some opportunity for customization. I would assume there are ships where a number of them were built to the same basic plan but then had variations that could allow the building of a specific vessel.  

 

Richard.

 

 

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How about a series devoted to Australian exploratory ships.

HM Brig Lady Nelson, top sail schooner Enterprize, HM Cutter Mermaid (slightly more accurate version) all come to mind.

Scale at 1:48

Price range $200.00 ~ $350.00 

 

With the number of Aussies on this forum alone I'm sure there's a market for models celebrating our history in addition to those "First Fleet" vessels already available.

 

Rick

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Keeping in mind that I already have 2 projects started and 4 kits on the shelf, so this would be 'far future' sort of a build for me...

 

I would like to see a west coast counterpart to the Pride of Baltimore II - specifically the Californian (or the C.W. Lawrence which it is a replica of, if you prefer to build it w/o power).  Maybe make it buildable either way, no idea if that would be feasible.

 

1:48 scale (yes, it would be fairly largish).

 

It's from the US.  :)

 

I have not done POF, but that would be interesting.  POB would be fine too, but would need to be short spaced bulkheads like the Cheerful or AVS, not like far too many kits where fillers are almost a requirement.

 

Price - would depend on materials.  Given how much of a kit I replace with other wood anyway, and how long kits take me to build, it wouldn't bother me to pay well over $500 if the kit was well made, with good plans, and included quality wood that I didn't need to replace, including stock for masting (i.e. no dowels).

 

Build time is going to vary hugely from person to person I believe.  Lets call is 1200-1500 hours, rather than trying to say 1 year or whatever.

 

Difficulty?  Intermediate to advanced by the time I could get this one onto my bench.\

 

-----------------------------

 

In more generalities - I enjoy, and would be interested in building ships from the mid 1700's up through the early transitional steam stuff like the Alabama or Kearsarge, but I have little to no interest in the earlier era ships like the Mayflower.  For a completely different style, I eventually want to build a 1940's era Chriscraft speedboat, as I think they are quite beautiful.

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I really like the late-18th to early 20th century sailing vessels. They can be square sails (brigs, brigantines) or fore-and-aft (sloops, cutters, schooners). The old model of the Newsboy was a beauty; but Model Expo no longer offers it. It would be great as a POF kit.

 

I would like to see more planked models, especially plank on frame. I'm just finishing my first planked model, the Emma C. Berry. I've made many mistakes with it and would be tempted to do it again, but my wife would kick me out if i did. But if i had a new plank on frame. . . ?? (I might get away with it  :( ).

 

I need larger scale. At my age, my steady hand, keen eye, and nerves of steel are starting to fade. i can deal easily with 1:48; larger would be better. For example, i finished the solid hull Phantom from Model Expo but at 1:96 it was difficult. I would really like to see the Phantom as a 1:32 POF kit. It's a beautiful ship. But a good POB model would also be fun and challenging.

 

The kit must have quality materials and very good plans; the Berry is a good example--a great kit). Chuck's POB model of the Cheerful Is a good example of a very nice set of plans. (I hope he finishes his practicum).

 

II don;t mind spending a year or two to make a good model. I don't mind spending $200 - $300 for a good kit (even $350 for a really nice model).

 

I hope these comments help. I'd like to see some new, really nice kits come on the market.

 

Walt

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With respect to scale: the current market seems to ask for large scale models, to give the opportunity for detailing. Although i understand that wish, for me this is the reson not to go for a kit next. I am (still) strugling with the rigging of a Corel kit of Prins Willem, but another kit resulting in a 90centimeter model is a nogo area: i simply don't have the space to get another one in. Next model is restricted to 40 cm max, either a relatively small ship at 1:50/1:96, or a slightly largership at 1:96/1:192

There used to be a Dutch firm that did some small ships, at 1:100. Resulting models about 25 centimets (that's 10 inch for you non-metrics:))
Rather basic kits, solid hull, partly precut, basic rigging, but great starter-kits, with quite a lot of detailing-options. Firm went backrupt, and no one else continued the range. Price of these kits was relatively low, which made them perfect starters for younger builders (toy shops where the main outlet for the firm).
I did them all (one still unfinished after 25 years....)
This is what i mean: my third kit, at age 16, 30 years outside a glass case :)

Jan

post-176-0-00623400-1464941154.jpg

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Small to medium size work boats and merchant vessels.  Preferably POF.  something that has not been done to death already.  Fishing boats from anywhere, small sail and steam merchantmen that worked the small ports rather than the big ocean freighters like clippers and downeasters.  The work a day steam boats that far out numbered the big show boats.

 

Better plans and documentation, better quality wood, cast fittings that are well made, no plastic unless there is no other way to do the job, models of boats that were real or at least conform to what a real boat of the type and time would look like.

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