Model Boat Mayhem - Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length.
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 ... 40   Go Down

Author Topic: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.  (Read 189912 times)

nhp651

  • Guest
3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« on: December 12, 2011, 10:16:55 PM »

It has always puzzled and sometimes perplexed me as to what people want and expect from a model kit and one of the reasons that I have defended most kit manufacturers in the past from comments such as overpricing of a kit.
 
Is it value for money, accuracy, built down to a price, top of the range perfectness, or do some just want something for nothing?
 
I worry when people moan at the price of a kit ( not the quality, but the price) knowing what that kit contains, and the pound for pound cost per hour of enjoyment and yes, frustration that they might have to overcome when they buy a model kit and wend their way through the build process to end with a finely built model that they can be proud of.
 
Few people actually out there who build kits (other than those who are involved in the design and development of a model kit) really know of the time and lengths that manufacturers go to, to bring that product to the modelling public, nor the time and costs involved.
 
And so, in this build blog of three classic lifeboats, I hope to enlighten those who think that a model can be produced on a whim, that there is a little more to it than that.
 
I first got into the game of designing kits when I worked preliminarily with the late great Frank Hinchliffe on his two original models for Mountfleet models, the Active Tug and the drifter Danny Boy. Frank taught me the art of centrifugal casting in white metals, for which I am eternally greatful.
 
However, my other skills for producing "kits".i.e. Grp moulding and plans drawing, and instructions writing, come from the profession that I had a career in for 22 years....as a teacher and eventually head of department in CDT ( craft, design and Technology where chronological and discriptive written reports and the art of technical drawing were paramount in that field.
 
After Frank and I went our separate ways in the mid 1990's I set to designing my first kit to go on sale, and that was the model lifeboat kit "Anne Letitia Russell" which is now marketed by Metcalf Mouldings.
 
Since then I have worked on other projects for both full kits and semi kits, and the three that will be the back bone of this build log will also eventually become full kits.
So, what does it take to design a kit from the ground up.......well, stick around, and hopefully I'll be able to show you the process...........a slow one but an enjoyable and rewarding one.
 
Firstly, you have to chose a subject that will not only inspire you to keep up the enthusiasm, but also one that might inspire others to want to buy the available kit once it has been released onto the market.
 
I think that the 3 that I have chosen to build here will both inspire and enthuse people to join our merry band and get involved in model boating.
 
So!! Bring it on!.
 
The three models that I have chosen, and had chosen some years ago were a continuation on a theme...three lifeboats (how did I guess, many will ask), and these have been worked on in small amounts for some six years now, between working on other projects for comissions, charity and some mayhem members!!, and have always had to take a back seat when a build has come along.
 
However as I am now in the final stage of the charity build, 9just waiting for the graphics to arrive ) I can see no more reasons to be interrupted by outside influences and so can get on with the builds with a clear mind.
 
The three subjects that I have chosen, 3 lifeboats are, in order of photographs ( and all built at 1:12 scale ),
 
1)   RNLB  Mary Stanford  (of Ballycotton station,) a 51' Barnett, "Stromness" class lifeboat,
 
2)   RNLB  H F Bailey  (of Cromer station)  a 46' Watson class lifeboat
 
3)   RNLB Field Marshal and Mrs Smuts ( of Beaumarris station) a 46' Watson class, and first boat in the RNLI to have central steering.
Pictures of the first two and sister boat to the third, shown below.
 
So, where does one start?
 
Plans of the boats were obtained either from the original station house that the lifeboat served at or from the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich.
What were needed were both G>A> (general arrangement) and line drawings for all the sections, profiles and plans.
 
And finally before I stop for the night, I'll just fast forward 6 years and put some pics up of the three models as they are in their present state, dusty, timbers curling from being stored in a damp out shed and cobwebbed.....much remedial work will be needed on the timbers but this is all part of the learning curve of modelling and life, lol
Logged

wartsilaone

  • Guest
Re: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2011, 10:50:41 PM »

I shall be sticking around Neil. As a kit producer myself, albeit on a small scale or should I say in a small scale there is always things one can learn from other endeavours in this field. I am in the process of improving my instructions and that's the easy part. It is hard to appreciate how much harder it is to produce commercial kit as opposed to a Kit of parts which you make for a scratch built model.
It's the 'mass production' part that makes all the difference and has given me a few headaches.
I took D&R at school. I would have loved to have been in your class.

Ali.
Logged

Norseman

  • Full Mayhemer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3,484
  • Location: Huyton, Liverpool
Re: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2011, 10:58:36 PM »

Hi Neil

I am truly looking forward to your log. Re your opening question I can only answer as a newbie. Yes I was shocked when I first saw what kits cost - and that was without looking to see what was on offer inside inside the box. For that kind of money I would be always be asking for a recommendation from someone knowledgeable first. The one thing I would really expect is that the components actually fit - which from some posts on Mayhem it seems is not always the case.

Regards Dave
Logged

HS93 (RIP)

  • Full Mayhemer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2,952
  • I cannot spell , tough
  • Location: Rainhill UK
Re: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2011, 11:13:54 PM »

if you want components to fit without trimming,  go airfix part of building a kit is the fitting of parts as long as there there is enough waist to cut of . it's not IKEA. some people expect them to be pre painted, I think everybody has there own view of what is a kit those of us brought up on Aerokits expect to do a lot of work, even the likes of MHB kits you have to do a lot of cutting and fitting but there are a lot of high grade parts. if you want every part to fit you have to pay a lot of money for someone to pre build it , then if you put something in the wrong place nothing else would fit anyway.
my opinion

Peter
Logged

nhp651

  • Guest
Re: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2011, 11:20:12 PM »

you are all right, of course, and I have always equated a model kit to the question of "how many pints of beer could I buy for the same cost",

and then equate that cost and number to the amount of hours......... a) those beers give me when drinking them, ........and b) how many hours the kit gives me in building and then sailing it......

in that way, even a Speedline kit at 1000.00p works out very cheaply for what you get.

No kit is perfect in what it gives, or what it offers, but so long as the manufacturer has gone to the lengths of making it as good as he/she can, then the chances of the model being well received are greatly enhanced.
Logged

Norseman

  • Full Mayhemer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3,484
  • Location: Huyton, Liverpool
Re: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2011, 11:53:13 PM »

Hi Lads

Trimming wouldn't seem a problem but undersize or twist would. I appreciate that you just don't want to assemble something.
But that aside I also feel that 'fit for purpose' is part of any deal. If Neil goes to great pains to produce a good product, then it
is not unreasonable to expect the manufacturer to keep faith with him on quality control. Beyond that if a buyer isn't happy with
the quality of a product be it kit, fridge, or drill he will tell others and that doesn't promote sales.

Re airfix - I built them planes as a little kid and usually blew them up with bangers after a while - happy days - I haven't thought
of that in forty years.  :}

Dave
Logged

HS93 (RIP)

  • Full Mayhemer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2,952
  • I cannot spell , tough
  • Location: Rainhill UK
Re: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2011, 12:06:06 AM »

Hi Lads

Trimming wouldn't seem a problem but undersize or twist would. I appreciate that you just don't want to assemble something.
But that aside I also feel that 'fit for purpose' is part of any deal. If Neil goes to great pains to produce a good product, then it
is not unreasonable to expect the manufacturer to keep faith with him on quality control. Beyond that if a buyer isn't happy with
the quality of a product be it kit, fridge, or drill he will tell others and that doesn't promote sales.

Re airfix - I built them planes as a little kid and usually blew them up with bangers after a while - happy days - I haven't thought
of that in forty years.  :}

Dave
I see you have moved on to industrial fireworks now ;D O0 O0 {-) %%

Peter
Logged

irishcarguy

  • Full Mayhemer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2,366
  • Happiness is running from a grizzly and escaping
  • Location: Calgary N. W. Alberta, Canada
    • Britishcars International. org.
Re: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2011, 09:22:34 AM »

Now this is one of the best reasons that I can think of for being a forum member. I am for free going to get the whole package in one from a guy that knows what he is doing, no BS. I will be watching non stop. I have never felt that good well packaged kits or other items I have purchased were not good value. Where I get upset is the deliberate attempt to defraud me by selling junk in a fancy package. Good on you Neil & thanks for taking the time to do this. Mick B. PS = A member of the Ballycotton crew back in the 30;s to the 50's is probably the most decorated crew member in life boat history, he served for 39 years & saved 115 lives correct me if I am wrong.
Logged
Mick B.

nhp651

  • Guest
Re: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2011, 12:35:24 PM »

you are welcome Mick.Hope we can meet one day.

So what does it take to be able to set up even the basics of a cottage industry in order to build a kit for public market.

A very very tollerant and understanding supportative wife or partner for a start, and then s goodly amount of capital, even for a small start.

I had luckily just had to retire on ill health grounds form my teaching career and had been paid a lump sum and a pension......it was a start.

The old asbestos garage was taken down and a new concrete garage, 12' x 22' was built in it's place in 1994.It was lined with timber battens, fibre glass insulation between walls and insulation boarding and the ceiling treated with the same. It was professionally wired with trip boxes, emergency stop switches and countless plug sockets, and once all done, the perimeter benches were all made by yours truly. 2800 was spent on the bare workshop before tools.

Then came the expenditure of tools, A Myford laithe, second hand, 750, a band saw, 450, pillar drill, scroll saw and sander/linisher ..250 and the coupe' de gras was a visit to Alex Tiranti in Reading where I blew 1500 quid on a centifugal caster and all the plates rings and ancilliaries. Then the multiple hand power tools added another 500 before I even started building a model boat..........it's amazing what few tools you use when building on a kitchen or bedroom table before you realise that you need them for ease..

It didn't stop there........I needed a large drawing board so bought a "Double Elephant" sized piece of block board ( so that it wouldn't warp in the cold atmosphere when I shut shop down in an evening) and then bought a parallel slide "square" plus french curves, set squares, Rotring pens and draughting paper ( the none rip kind.......).....another 400 quid blown.

Then it was time to start planning the build.......I would need large boxes, small boxes, materials and oh of course screen prints for the printed wooden matter...those alone cost me 300 to have made by a professional.

All the above materials would have to be bought in bulk........a hundred boxes at a time, 400 quid, thin and thicker ply woods in bulk ( 30 sheets minimum of each thickness and there were 3 thicknesses on the Ann Letitia Russell, brass tubing by 50' a time when the boat used about 6" altogether, chain and white metal for casting......dowels by the 100' to get decent prices, obeche block wood for bits and pieces and plugs, and then as I thought at the time not capable of producing an industrial strength set of moulding( which I found when I was forced to work on a remould) after the "professional" moulds started falling apart and they cost me 400quid to have made for the original mouldings, it added up to another 1000.00.........and this was all before I had even started building a model let alone sell it.

Even after selling the original masters to Metcalf Mouldings and what little I recouped from the few that I originally sold, minus costs including a donation from each sale to the RNLI for them allowing me to use their charity number and logo on my boxes, I reckopn that to this day, I am still no where near ever recouping anywhere near the amount initially laid out, but that is the chance you take.

This also does not take into a ccount the hundreds and hundreds of hours taken in developing the model, writing the instructions as you go, having them proof read and then re typed, plus the initial drawings, draughts and re draws pefore you feel that the plans are suitable for puplication, and finally the costs of photocopying amultiple sets of plans and anything up to 40+ pages of instructions and binding them.......all of which costs money.

I still keep the reciepts just to show what a folley it can be and So it isn't for the faint hearted.

That is why I defend to the hilt almost anyone who tries to do the same, against those who think that it is a piece of cake putting a model kit together as though it's a snap decision, lol....they make me cry rather than angry, as those just don't have a clue.

I haven't bothered to add the total up as it would frighten me, but just imagine the outlay that such as Model Slipway and Metcalf Mouldings have to set just to keep their prices as low as they can....it is frightening, and I was doing it on a shoe string.

the garage conversion and shed for storage

My band saw and other main tools

Now you see it, now you don't..the drawing board is hinged and folds up to the ceiling when not in use, giving extra very usefull space behind.

and finally the most important part of my workshop..my tv and digi box, lol

And now I've got that age old gripe off my chest and displayed to those none believers that kit suppliers are some how ripping off the public with high prices.....please think again.

I can now get on with the build process.

thanks
Logged

furball

  • Guest
Re: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2011, 02:04:37 PM »


Aaaaarrrrrgggggghhhhh!   I want one on each!! Now!!!  {-)  %%


Dribble....



Lance
Logged

Liverbudgie

  • Full Mayhemer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 979
  • Model Boat Mayhem is the Best!
Re: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2011, 02:10:46 PM »

And I thought I was untidy.................

LB
Logged

nhp651

  • Guest
Re: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2011, 06:28:27 PM »

And I thought I was untidy.................

LB
WOT YOO MEAN?????............I tidied it up for the photo {-) {-) {-) {-) {-) {-)
Logged

Norseman

  • Full Mayhemer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3,484
  • Location: Huyton, Liverpool
Re: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2011, 08:39:37 PM »

Neil - are your nostrils fitted with micro filters mate?
Top tip - all that workshop dust is fully disposable.  O0

Re reading post - I never really thought about all the original set up costs.

Dave
Logged

nhp651

  • Guest
Re: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2011, 10:13:07 PM »

it's a good job I didn't photograph the floor then %% %% %% %%
Logged

Shipmate60

  • Global Moderator
  • Full Mayhemer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4,993
  • You bark - I will bite!!!
  • Location: Fareham
Re: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2011, 10:32:36 PM »

Neil,
Such a pity you spent all that money on equipment and there was none left for a dustpan and brush!!!    :} :}

Bob
Logged
PFC, down but not out

nhp651

  • Guest
Re: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2011, 10:58:37 PM »

Neil,
Such a pity you spent all that money on equipment and there was none left for a dustpan and brush!!!    :} :}

Bob
{-) {-) {-) {-) {-) {-) {-) {-) {-) {-).even my young daughter won't do it for me, and she loves housework.......... <:( <:( <:( <:(

beginning to think this build log was a bad idea,  {-) {-) {-) {-) {-)
Logged

Colin Bishop

  • Full Mayhemer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 8,975
  • Location: SW Surrey, UK
Re: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2011, 11:14:20 PM »

Those pictures remind me of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt Neil - except there's not a Mummy in sight, let alone a Daughter....

Colin
Logged

Talisman

  • Guest
Re: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2011, 11:29:42 PM »

Neil,
Carry on I don't think any of us are beyond learning so I look forward to the rest of your thread!

One thing i might pull you up on is your costings .. are they not somewhat conservative / or / 1994 prices ? If my bank manager got wind of your start up costs i might be answering some uncomfortable questions! ..

Having said that i hope there is no charge in pinching your drawing board idea ... I like it!

Keep going!
Regards,
Kim
Logged

HS93 (RIP)

  • Full Mayhemer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2,952
  • I cannot spell , tough
  • Location: Rainhill UK
Re: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2011, 01:08:10 AM »

Keep going Neil it is a warning to others to think first before going down the same route it is also a shame that it didn't pan out after seeing some of your builds now I see the amount of effort you put in to projects,it shows you need a lot of luck as well.

Peter
Logged

irishcarguy

  • Full Mayhemer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2,366
  • Happiness is running from a grizzly and escaping
  • Location: Calgary N. W. Alberta, Canada
    • Britishcars International. org.
Re: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2011, 07:18:01 AM »

Hi Neil if you don't clean up that shop you might be meeting me sooner than you think. I will be arriving with a garbage can ( notice the American influence here) & a big broom & the dust will surely fly. HOW do you build such beautiful boats in that rats nest, & just think what you could do if you could actually move about.Then again may be not good to think too much. I rest my case, the prosecution has spoken. Mick B. PS = I bet the wife stays a long way away. LOL.
Logged
Mick B.

nhp651

  • Guest
Re: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« Reply #20 on: December 14, 2011, 07:57:48 AM »

Those pictures remind me of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt Neil - except there's not a Mummy in sight, let alone a Daughter....

Colin
in a stressfull pre school break up for christmas where the kids are running around like headless chucks.that quote colin, has had me in tears with laughter......thankyou......... {-) {-) {-) {-) {-) {-) {-) {-) {-)
daren't show it the misses though..she's been threatening to go in there for a spring clean for years......gawd....I'd never find anything again............HELP!!!!!

only joking about bad idea to post, lol
Logged

stubbsy

  • Guest
Re: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« Reply #21 on: December 14, 2011, 08:29:44 AM »

daren't show it the misses though..she's been threatening to go in there for a spring clean for years......gawd....I'd never find anything again............HELP!!!!

thats why it took a while to find the severn  {-)

looks like another great project on the go neil, keep up the good work and we look forward to your word of wisdom and guidance :-))
stubbsy :-)
Logged

CJ1

  • Guest
Re: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« Reply #22 on: December 14, 2011, 09:48:33 AM »

I notice you are very Safety conscious though, with a lifejacket on the lathe in case you feel you are going under!
keep up the good work,
Chris
Logged

irishcarguy

  • Full Mayhemer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2,366
  • Happiness is running from a grizzly and escaping
  • Location: Calgary N. W. Alberta, Canada
    • Britishcars International. org.
Re: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« Reply #23 on: December 14, 2011, 10:21:24 AM »

I just love the adjusting bag FITTED to the cross feed on the lathe, obviously a new design feature. LOL. Mick B.
Logged
Mick B.

nhp651

  • Guest
Re: 3 Lifeboat builds, What goes into a model kit.
« Reply #24 on: December 14, 2011, 10:27:39 AM »

and I thought you lot were my friends..been thrown off worse sites you know..........I only ever get this abuse from my kids and my mates down the pub.............
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 ... 40   Go Up