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Question on old kits - Moved by Moderator


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First: Please excuse if this is posted incorrectly.


I have a 1982 Artesania Latina Swift Pilot Boat 1805 kit.  I have just completed my first boat kit- the Mare Nostrum and enjoyed the building a great deal- although I did not do a great job and am not happy with how it turned out.  I actually own two kits (long story).  The other is the Sanson steam tugboat, but I have been looking at this old kit for my second build.


Question: Are there special considerations regarding this 31 year old kit that I ought to be thinking about?  I'm not very good- is it something I should pass on to someone who is better or more experianced?  I don't know if these kits develop "followings" or anything.


Inside the kit, I see that the forms were cut with what appears to be a router.  Should I expect even lower accuracy? I can see there will be a great deal more work making the pre-cut pieces work.  Anything I'm not seeing?


Thoughts and guidance appreciated.


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You and me together, Popjack!
Mare Nostrum is my first 'go', and although I'm doing my best to make it a decent model I'm making all sorts of mistakes that (I hope) won't be repeated when I start my next build.
And that 'next build' will be an old Panart/Mantua kit of a schooner.  I got it on eBay, and the box is so old and faded I know it must date back to the eighties.  I was expecting laser-cut bulkheard/frames, but no - I'll have to get my old 1950 fretsaw out and do them myself.

Not that I mind.  I'll give the kit my best shot, of course, when the time comes.  But it's put me right off the idea of bidding again on eBay for interesting-looking, 'unused' kits from people who just never got round to building them.  They seem to go for prices so close to brand-new, that it's hardly worth taking the risk.

Apart from the non-laser-cut bits, my own 'old' kit seems OK.  The wood strips look to be in decent condition, the pre-moulded parts look as good as they usually are in kits, and the instructions/plans seem somewhat more helpful than the Mare Nostrum ones.

I'll be interested to see what replies you get here.

Can you post a pic of your Mare Nostrum?  Can't be any worse than mine - see http://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/topic/31-mare-nostrum-by-probablynot-al-wood/

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm not familiar with the Swift, though I have built a range of kits, some of which were new, and some old eBay purchases.  My experience with old kits has generally been quite positive.


I haven't had any more problems with old kits than new ones, provided they were well cared for.  Some old kits are great quality, some new kits... not.  As far as accuracy, I've found that all kits have issues.  That is, new laser cut kits still need to be checked and adjusted.  I always check my bulkheads for symmetry and agreement with the plans, and every kit has needed work there.


I guess my advice would be to find a ship which interests you, and which will teach you new skills without overwhelming you.  Old kits can require more cutting and shaping, so take that into account.  This site is a great place to learn about different possibilities.


Happy modeling!

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Garym: I already have the kit- had it for years.  It is not laser cut, and I guess I was worried about accuracy (like you indicated).  I hadn't thought about "upgrades."   I note the new version has sails- for example- and the one I have does not.


It's a cheap kit- I think the new version is still under $100.   No idea what it cost back in the 80's.   I can't say I'm in love with the boat, but I was thinking about building it to keep learning.  It would be my second build. This is the same boat being built as "Dock side of the Moon." :)

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<<what date is on their plans or if the manufacture has updated their kit since the date on the kit you are looking at.>>   garym.

Thanks for that garym.  It hadn't occurred to me that Panart/Mantua might be able to offer an update.

But oh, I just looked.  The date on the plans for my Panart/Mantua 'La Rose' kit is 1984!  If they do have an update available, I suspect that the cost would make it worthwhile simply to buy a brand new kit and treat the older one as a source of spares!
Incidentally, the 1984 kit comes with a small 18in-square patch of cloth for making my own sails. It's crude, unbleached cotton, about 64 threads per inch.  I've still got thirty yards of the same stuff in my sewing cupboard, from when I used to make & sell dolls' beds!  It's about the cheapest proper fabric you can buy.  I wonder if the newer versions of the kit have better sailcloth?

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I am making a Coral kit that has plans dated 1974 and I bought it in 1975. It is not accurate but makes up in to a nice model and is not that hard to make. This kit is still produced and available. What is apparent from build logs where similar models have been made from later production kits is that some of the problems with my kit have been corrected in later years.


My view is that if you do an "old" design kit it will probably not be as accurate or as easy to make as modern kits. This is due to a variety of things. New kits are laser cut using CAD, so the parts should fit together well (if they don't it is unforgivable) and finer detail can be produced. The old pencil and paper designs and saw cut parts can be more variable.


When pre '90s kits were designed there was no Web so researching was more difficult - it was possible to do the full research then but would have increased the cost due it being labour intensive. Materials available to modelers has improved and new techniques developed which all impact on the quality of a kit.


I guess it is like riding a bike, get an old one whilst learning, then get a new one!


Ian M.

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