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I thought we could start a sort of voting system on peoples thoughts of who they think is the best model manufacturer. Taking into account the quality of the materials, parts etc. Here is a few manufacturers I can think of.




Artesania Latina



Model Shipways




Euro models




So post any thoughts, comments on experiences you may have had with any manufacturer, so we can give other modellers an idea of which kits to look out for, and which ones to avoid.


I'll go first:


I'd say Occre. Of the kits I've built they have the best quality materials, parts. And their rigging plans were easy to follow. Photo instructions aren't the best though.





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Too many variables imo.


1) Different people place different values on different things.

2) Kit quality within a manufacturers range can vary dramatically.

3) Manufacturers and kits often focus on achieving different objectives (beginners, experts, high scratch building content, laser cut and cast parts for everything, simple instructions, complex instructions, scale, fidelity etc).


Perhaps compare similar things together.


Compare frigates, sloops, 1st rates, 3rd rates, galleys, galleons, etc from each manufacturer perhaps instead.



Another thing to discuss and compare would be construction methods and the kits/manufacturers that use them. How many prefer the keel and ram attached to the false keel and how many like it separate? Who prefers single planking and who prefers double? Copper tape, copper tiles, imitation wood, or solid painted copper? Gunports, metal frames, metal inserts, wooden, laser cut, hand cut ? etc.



To begin, I love the way Mamoli kits are structured for the expensive kits (Friesland, HMS Victory, Royal Louis) with lots of bulkheads, and a construction method of putting two 10mm blocks through each bulkhead. Providing a very solid base compared to say the Constructo HMS Prince which was both hard to use a keel clamp with and without such a solid support.


Edited by demonborger
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Greetings Spider...


You may want to include BlueJacket Ship Crafters on your list - Great models, and they are made in the State of Maine, here in the USA. I do agree with the post that said there are too many variables to do a proper comparison. How can you be objective unless you build a similar kit from each manufacturer, and each at the same price point? Suffice to say that you get what you pay for. A BMW and a Holden are both cars, but by virtue of value, which would you you rather have?



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I agree with Demonburger,the problem being is the differences in what each builder may want out of a particular kit.It may be possible to do as marks out of ten for particular categories e.g.instructions,timber,fittings,plans,historical accuracy/actual existence etc but I do think it would be wrong to generalise.


Kind Regards



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Maybe a few things that could apply to a variety of ships from many manufacturers at a variety of skill levels like:

Are all of the wood pieces and fittings there? Missing parts can ruin a Badger builder's day as well as a Victory's

Quality of the wood? Planking material smoothness, grain, flexibility, no knots. Sheet parts solid with few missing plys

Quality of the laser or die cut parts like bulkheads? Warped, twisted, not cut through. Quality of fittings? rough lumps or precise detail.

Completeness of assembly instructions? Step-by-step good photos or just a plan sheet in an unreadable language. Experts won't care as much but a high quality kit might have these even if they are geared towards advanced builders

Clarity of rigging diagrams? Every line or just a rough drawing

Overall appearance of a completed build? Very subjective but you know a model just looks out of proportion or has odd lines even if it is assembled exactly according to instructions

I'm a relative beginner but knowing even those things would help me pick my next project. A manufacturer with lots of low results in areas I care about could be avoided. . Everyone could apply relative scoring weights based on their own interests. Can you tell I'm one of those guys that makes lists?

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I'll another criteria or two.  Is this a real ship?  Does it look like the ship it's supposed to be?  Are all the fittings in scale or did the manufacturer toss in generic parts and call it good?


It seems like many of the manufacturers are guilty of these.  They have kits of ships with fake histories, or worse, it doesn't even look like the ship it's supposed to be.  Wheels and block too big.   Cannons either too big, too small or not even realistic.   I could go on but this can also be criteria.

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hello everyone ... reading this topic , I felt a very strongly need to answer it... for a decade I am working out projects and kit designs ... Certainty, I can say that kits, as well as all other technical goods , obsolete ... The laser technology is rapidly progressing , and also as the programs ( softer ) in which projects are designed ... It is very important the way in which a particular kit is designed : some dedicated kits are made ​​for beginners ( easy to build ) , some of them are made for the experts ( not easy to build ) ... some of them are kits of simplified models , so do not look very realistic , others are highly detailed replicas of the originals ... Third in turn , produced to have an artistic flair ... And all of those kinds of kits can be , as in the practice is the case , offered by a single manufacturer ... With that I think nothing should be taken literally , each kit has its price and it is dedicated made ​​for a specific type of customer ... When I do my work, then I am primarily worried about the precision of the laser cut and design, and take care a lot that the elements can not move during bonding , there must be be enormous precision between the draft , laser cut and sample that  a kit builder creates ... Do always refer to the date of the start of production of each sort of kit , if trying to compare the quality of it ... :) this is my personal view ...

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Absolutely! Two key points here.


Batch numbers vary alot, and that is ontop of kit updates and rereleases. Quite obvious since wood is an organic product and each trees timber can vary quite a lot within a specimen and across specimens of a species. 


And of course the single most important issue for a manufactured kit mentioned by MarisStella.hr, do the wooden false keel, bulkheads and other laser cut wood pieces fit together as they should according to the plans, to common sense and to produce a basis for a beautiful model.


A related point of course is how simple the laser cut design is to put together and stay together, one doesn't want the fit to be too tight, neither does he want it to be too loose, both will have problems that require a great deal of adjustments.


It also poses the question, can processes like fairing the hull be aided by adopting or developing new manufacturing techniques at a reasonable cost? By extension what new techniques can be developed or adopted in kit manufacturing generally? It seems that laser cut parts and photo-etch brass are the most recent developments and both have been around for quite some time. Now most if not all major manufacturers have laser cut parts of some degree or another. Some are yet to adopt photo-etch details (some of the popular Italian manufacturers spring to mind here) but that may require a great deal of reworking.

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A similar poll was created on MSW 1.0. I thought we could start something similar. I didn't want to create something too complicated and get into the technical areas of each manufacturer. I just wanted to get an idea on what peoples favourite manufacturer was, based on kits they are currently building, or have built in the past.


So for example if you have built 3 kits so far, and they were from Artesania, Constructo and Amati. Which would you say is your favourite one? A very basic interpretation in other words.





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It,s a good idea Adam and i  will be glad to join in ,but im sure you have read plenty of build logs and realise that one mans food is anothers mans poision .Everyone has different expectations from a kit , some prefere great instructions ,some demand accuracy, others want first grade timber .I resently read a topic on the perfect kit and why manufactures couldn,t or wouldn,t produce it and i believe the conclusion was that apart from cost you simply cant please every one . possibly a poll of who supplies the best timber and who provides the best beginners instructions or the most authentic build rather than a general opinion could be more usefull for the individual needs .    Only my thoughts in my limited exoerience  and will support what ever you go with ,all help is usefull when deciding on next build .      


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  • 4 weeks later...

I think you are making this too complicated. All these positions and concerns about details are true, but that is why the ratings will be averages. Why not just list the important kit attributes in a column, then show the ratings (1 to 5) on each attribute plus overall. The forum could report either the averages or show the spread. The other alternative is to just give 1 to 5 ratings for each kit by rater like e-tailers do on websites.

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