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What is kit bashing?


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"Kit bashing" is a loosely defined term in the hobby that simply means that a kit hasn't been built straight out of the box. This could be anything from scratch-building parts to replace the off-the-shelf fittings in a kit, to adding a lot of extra detail to a kit, to substantially reworking a kit to represent a vessel other than the kit subject.

Chris Coyle
Greer, South Carolina

When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
- Tuco

Current builds: Brigantine Phoenix, Speeljacht

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Kit bashing is a very loose term. The common factor is starting with a kit. The "bashing" can mean adding details the kit doesn't provide because of cost factors, correcting inaccuracies in the kit, changing the way it's presented (say with the sails partly furled rather than all on display), or with (say) battle damage (rare) or weathering, or as you're intending, turning it into a different ship. 

 

Bulkheads shouldn't warp after assembly unless you leave it for awhile before adding the planking, decking etc, which adds stiffness and support. If they do warp - or they're already warped when you take them out of the box, contact the manufacturer - the ethical ones will replace the warped parts. If that doesn't work, you can make your own - one of the advantages of working in wood.

 

Steven

Edited by Louie da fly
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When I first read this term, it was in a magazine dedicated to modeling plastic kits.  The negative term bashing fit, because it involved the intermixing of two or more kits of wildly different subjects - aircraft mixed with autos and/or ships or military.

 

Using the verb to bash to describe what is augmentation, improvement, and is semi scratch  or the exploration of scratch hits me as being a bit hyperbolic and self indulgent.  There is no bash involved.  It is a natural progression of improving skills and a result of a deeper knowledge of this field.

NRG member 50 years

 

Current:  

NMS

HMS Ajax 1767 - 74-gun 3rd rate - 1:192 POF exploration - works but too intense -no margin for error

HMS Centurion 1732 - 60-gun 4th rate - POF Navall Timber framing

HMS Beagle 1831 refiit  10-gun brig with a small mizzen - POF Navall (ish) Timber framing

The U.S. Ex. Ex. 1838-1842
Flying Fish 1838  pilot schooner - POF framed - ready for stern timbers
Porpose II  1836  brigantine/brig - POF framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers
Vincennes  1825  Sloop-of-War  - POF timbers assembled, need shaping
Peacock  1828  Sloop-of -War  - POF timbers ready for assembly
Sea Gull  1838  pilot schooner - POF timbers ready for assembly
Relief  1835 packet hull USN ship - POF timbers ready for assembly

Other

Portsmouth  1843  Sloop-of-War  - POF timbers ready for assembly
Le Commerce de Marseilles  1788   118 cannons - POF framed

La Renommee 1744 Frigate - POF framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers

 

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IPMS (International Plastic Modelers Society) has very strict definitions for "out of box" and "scratch".  Pretty much anything that doesn't meet those two categories is considered a "kit bash" or simply "not out of box".  I use IPMS in this conversation because as far as I know they are one of the largest modeling organizations around the world, and wooden ships have been allowed in all of their official competitions for many years now.

 

For a wooden ship model, you could replace rigging line and a couple other very minor bits and still meet the definition of "out of box", but if you've replaced crappy kit wood with anything other than identical type (like to replace a warped piece), for example replacing the kit basswood deck with Holly or Boxwood, you have entered the "not out of box" realm, which is pretty much what I consider to be a kit-bash.


My build of the "Carmen" qualified as out of box by the IPMS judges (but just barely - the replacement blocks were debated as to whether they were part of the rigging or not), while my AVS was clearly in the kit-bash (not out of box) category because I replaced so much of the kit wood and parts.

 

However a 'bash' can go far beyond that.  I could start with the kit for the Pride of Baltimore for example, but modify it in such a way to create a model of the "Californian" and that would not be a scratch model since I used the kit as my basis, it would be a kit-bash.


Where the line is crossed from kit-bash to full scratch has been an item of much debate over the years, so I won't even go into that.  :)

 

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Tis a murky line at best as Gunther points out.  You can scratch build a model using kit plans... so is that a scratch or bashed kit?  I called my Constellation a "bash" since I used the kit as a starter and many parts that were modified.  

 

Here at MSW we use "kit" and "scratch"... if you use the kits keel and bulkheads, it's a kit but then it could be bashed into something else.  

 

Some things are just to nebulous to ponder much.. I think this one of them.  Need an aspirin now.

Mark
"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me

Current Build:                                                                                             
Past Builds:
 La Belle Poule 1765 - French Frigate from ANCRE plans - ON HOLD           Triton Cross-Section   

 NRG Hallf Hull Planking Kit                                                                            HMS Sphinx 1775 - Vanguard Models - 1:64               

 

Non-Ship Model:                                                                                         On hold, maybe forever:           

CH-53 Sikorsky - 1:48 - Revell - Completed                                                   Licorne - 1755 from Hahn Plans (Scratch) Version 2.0 (Abandoned)         

         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

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2 hours ago, ulrich said:

What criteria defines the term "semi scratch" build?

Ulrich

 

As Moltinmark says, it's not really defined other than by people deciding to use that term.  If I build a 'Cheerful' as designed by Chuck, but decide to use all his mini-kits, is it a kit build, or semi-scratch?  It depends on who you ask.  If you look in the build logs you'll find those builds in both the kit section and the scratch section.


My personal opinion is that using much beyond a false keel and bulkheads moves it out of scratch, but some people would argue that even using those pieces makes it a 'kit' or at the very least not scratch.

 

Of course in the end, it doesn't really matter unless you are entering it into a competition that has actual rules about that sort of thing.  If you think that doing 90% of the work from scratch is scratch, then it's a scratch build for you.

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Interesting discussion! The term "kit bashing" seems to have evolved over time to convey the meanings others have noted. I'm not sure when it first came into common usage, but the first time I heard it used was in the second half of the seventies. I was living in Marin County at the time and had for many years. We had something of an "influx" of folks moving into my neighborhood who had been recruited by George Lucas, who was setting up his operations there, primarily, at first, Industrial Light and Magic ("ILM") and later Lucasfilm. I remember meeting one guy who moved in a couple of houses down from us telling me when I asked what he did for a living, "I'm a model maker." Of course, my immediate response was, "You mean people can make a living at it?" :D  After that, we were "off to the races." He was the first guy who told me about what they called "kit bashing." My understanding was that the term was commonly used by movie industry model makers to mean using off-the-shelf plastic model kit parts to build entirely different models from what the kits' original subjects represented. The technique was originated by model makers working on the movie 2001 - A Space Odyssey. They built a lot of models from scratch, but when they needed bits and pieces, they'd take them from plastic kits which had nothing to do with the model they were making. They'd often buy large numbers of the same kit just to obtain a sufficient number of a particular part they wanted that was in each kit. These kit parts which the modelers used frequently and in large numbers they called "greeblies," which I think was just a made-up word. It was all quite fascinating and at the time something of a "trade secret." (Lucas even kept the name and address of ILM secret for a long time. It was just a nondescript warehouse in an industrial district on Kerner Street in San Rafael, CA with a sign on the front that simply said "The Kerner Company.")

 

I found this photo online showing ILM's "kit bashing" shop in action building the original Millenium Falcon, Han Solo's space ship in the Star Wars movies.  Note the boxes of kits on the shelves in the background. Note the three rectangular parts with the black holes in their centers in the foreground laying on top of the front of the model. These appear to be tank body decks, the holes being where the turrets would be placed on the tank model. The second picture shows them in the finished model where they became exhaust ports or something like that.

 

The ILM Universal Greeblie - Ken-McConnell.com

 

 

Millennium Falcon (Rise of Skywalker Version) Model Kit by Bandai |  Sideshow Collectibles

 

Below is a yet-to-be weathered section of an ILM spaceship. Some may be able to recognize parts from specific model kits. I'm guessing there are some aircraft carrier parts in there somewhere!

 

The ILM Universal Greeblie - Ken-McConnell.com

 

 

Below is the original "droid strip," the top of the "X-wing fighter" right behind the pilot's seat, flown by Luke Skywalker in the first Star Wars movie with the original model kits from which the parts identified were sourced:

 

X-Wing Master Pattern - nexus-models

 

Close inspection of later Star Wars kits marketed to the public show some differences in the details. I wonder if some details weren't changed in the later model kits to avoid violating the original kit manufacturer's copyrights. I'd certainly hate to think Lucasfilm was authorizing the production of "pirated" kits! :D  Just kidding. I knew the lady who worked for Lucas writing "cease and desist" letters to anybody who so much as thought of violating a Lucasfilm copyright. They were very scrupulous about that.

 

So, I'd say that to be really accurate in the use of the term "kit bashing," it should only apply to building something entirely different from what the kit the parts came from was. Using tank kit parts to depict something different from what they were on the tank kit to portray a part on a ship model is "kit bashing." Using an anchor winch casting from one ship model kit to portray an anchor winch on another ship model isn't "kit bashing." That's just "parts swapping." But, it's really not all that important in the grand scheme of things, is it? 

 

 

Edited by Bob Cleek
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I remember the term back in my plastic car days.  Take a stock auto and cut, glue, fill, reshape into the final appearance. 

Mark
"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me

Current Build:                                                                                             
Past Builds:
 La Belle Poule 1765 - French Frigate from ANCRE plans - ON HOLD           Triton Cross-Section   

 NRG Hallf Hull Planking Kit                                                                            HMS Sphinx 1775 - Vanguard Models - 1:64               

 

Non-Ship Model:                                                                                         On hold, maybe forever:           

CH-53 Sikorsky - 1:48 - Revell - Completed                                                   Licorne - 1755 from Hahn Plans (Scratch) Version 2.0 (Abandoned)         

         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

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The National Model Railroad Association, which has been around for over 80 years, says a model is scratch built if 90% or more of the parts are from common building materials, not commercial/kit parts. Some parts (wheels and trucks) are exempt, due to the requirement of a model being able to operate on track. They don't define kit bashing, but having been a judge for a number of contests, that's about any kit built with added detailing parts. The parts could be commercial purchases or items made by the model maker from basic commercial shapes (strip, shapes, rivets, etc). So, in our situation, if you do any modifying of your kit, it's kit bashing. You're progressing beyond being a pure kit assembler.

Ken

Started: MS Bounty Longboat,

On Hold:  Heinkel USS Choctaw paper

Down the road: Shipyard HMC Alert 1/96 paper, Mamoli Constitution Cross, MS USN Picket Boat #1

Scratchbuild: Echo Cross Section

 

Member Nautical Research Guild

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