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Author Topic: Kit building for beginners!  (Read 720 times)

dreadnought72

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Kit building for beginners!
« on: May 15, 2020, 11:59:23 pm »

I have built model boats for the best part of forty years.  :-))


I had never, until a fortnight ago, tried 'a kit'.  :embarrassed:


And then Portgarth arrived, my 'maintain sanity in lockdown' project. Now I don't know if it's this kit, or this manufacturer, but I think it's worth emphasising to any newbies tempted by a similar project:


1/ The cost of the complete kit is approximately half of the full-build cost. Add in glues, paints, props, batteries, charger, radio, fillers, glassfibre, extras - like a bowthruster, for example - it all adds up. This fella will be knocking on a thousand quid, complete, easy.


2/ In this forum I've seen lists of basic tools required for newcomers to this pastime. While you could, conceivably, build this kit using hand tools, I know I've already saved many, many hours by having a scroll saw, pillar drill, table saw, dremel, belt sander, etc., in reach, in a well-organised shed. Without these? I don't know if my drive would be enough. I need to see progress!


3/ The plans and instructions - I'm using these as a guide to my build. 'Guide' is flexible. I've heeded the words some fettling required and don't trust the templates, and have an innate feel for what I should do first, but I worry that a newcomer would find themselves stuck. Maybe hopelessly?


4/ The accuracy. I stopped tonight's building when I noticed one side of the wheelhouse, going from the deck layout being built into the hull, was liable to be nearly 10mm out compared to the other side. I stopped because I need to think about this, and can now see a solution to square an asymmetric hull up. A newcomer? I dunno!


In conclusion?


Don't get me wrong, I'm loving the exercise ... building a kit is an absolute joy, and I'm really enjoying it: but I know I'll 'tweak' the end result to suit me. I appreciate the manufacturer's dedication to the hobby: putting a model out there requires incredible effort and commitment. But to a newcomer, never having buiit before, perhaps limited in experience, or limited to hand tools and the kitchen table for an hour or so per night? Surely it couldn't end well?


I'm really wondering what percentage of kits like this hit the water, compared to the bin, at the end of the day. Any ideas?!


Final shout out: the builds of this particular kit on Mayhem: there are loads of great ideas here, in a variety of Portgarth threads, highlighting the potential pitfalls, and various ways around 'em. Thanks to you all!


Andy
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RST

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Re: Kit building for beginners!
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2020, 12:55:47 am »

Is Portgarth available as a Kit? -why not Say Mobile Marine Models etc if it was from them?
Presumabbly its the the MMM parts the OP is having issues with?

....OR fair play to criticise but not enough info given to help out here....

Is a MMM portgarth kit considered as a beginners kit?
I've modelled for last 30 years and never found a damned single plan or hull symetrical so far!!!!
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Stan

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Re: Kit building for beginners!
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2020, 07:38:16 am »

Further to comments by RST most kits have build problems or plan problems. In terms of costs yes they can be scary but you do not need to buy all at once. Basic tools like model knife clamps can be found at very good prices. With reference to Portgarth  you will find numerous build threads on Mayhem good luck with your build. Forgot to mention the Portgarth may not be a project for the novice builder but this does mean with guidance it can not be finished.


Stan.
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dreadnought72

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Re: Kit building for beginners!
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2020, 02:24:21 pm »

Is Portgarth available as a Kit? -why not Say Mobile Marine Models etc if it was from them?
Presumabbly its the the MMM parts the OP is having issues with?


Sorry, it is the MMM kit. I should have clarified. And, with experience, I'd use the word 'challenges' rather than 'issues'!


Don't get me wrong, I'm really enjoying the build, and the quality of many of the multimedia parts is really good, but I can sense the potential frustration for a newcomer who could potentially have forked out £500 expecting something a bit more 'Airfix' than 'more-or-less scratching, but with supplied parts', if that makes sense?


Andy
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gt6uk

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Re: Kit building for beginners!
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2020, 10:07:29 am »

I can empathize with your experience, for many years i built mainly Tamiya models with no problems.About 20 years ago i built my first boat, a Billings Nordkap which had reasonable instructions but i also had help from a more experienced friend. Three years ago i decided to get back into the hobby and bought a Mountfleet Ben Ain. I realised immediately that with virtually non existent instructions i was totally out of my depth. The answer for me was to buy a Mobile Marine Lady Wooes which had slightly better build instructions.With only living 20 miles away from MMM i payed numerous calls for advice and to photograph their example. They were so helpful and i learned so much that i then finished the Ben Ain and the Mountfleet Highlander. I now enjoy the challenge of these kits but without living so near to Mobile Marine Models and with all their help i don,t think i would be building this type of kit.
Steve. 
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edinsteve

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Re: Kit building for beginners!
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2020, 10:48:18 am »

Not having a dedicated workshop and the array of specialist tools I’m afraid a kit where many parts are pre-cut and supplied remains the best option for me. Even so I find many issues such as pre-drilled parts that have to be drilled out to the correct size or access for motor, battery etc. completely inadequate and modification needed. Also instruction vary enormously between kit manufacturers with some being comprehensive and almost step by step whereas others seem to omit critical steps altogether and you only discover this much later and have to try and dismantle parts to rectify - perhaps the most annoying thing of all.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Kit building for beginners!
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2020, 12:52:52 pm »

Comparing Tamiya products with traditional model boat kits is a bit like comparing apples with pears.

A company like Tamiya will sell probably hundreds of thousands of plastic kits worldwide and have in house engineering teams to design them and vastly expensive injection moulding machines to produce them.

By comparison, model boat kit manufacturers are a cottage industry, many are small family firms and might not sell even a hundred kits of a particular model and then only over a number of years. Even the 'big' names have tiny production volumes compared with the plastic kit people.

Plastic kit manufacturers use only one main material - plastic - with perhaps some etched brass embellishments and transfers. Making the kit is an assembly process and usually pretty easy because the parts are very accurately made, the hard work comes in the painting process. Few tools are needed and mainly just polystyrene adhesive to fix the components together.

A model boat kit might typically contain a GRP hull (often outsourced to another cottage industry producer) plastic sheet, a variety of woods, white metal and resin fittings and metal running gear (the latter often needing to be purchased separately along with the motor.) It's a given that you don't purely assemble them as much as build them using a variety of tools and matching adhesives to the materials being joined. That is what the hobby is about.

So it's a different ball game altogether.

It is certainly true that the quality of model boat kits varies between manufacturers although CAD designs and laser and router cutting have levelled up standards in recent years. Quality control also varies both in terms of the design and instructions and in quality control.

And of course some model boat kits are hugely more complex than others with something like a plank on frame HMS Victory being at the top end and differing skill levels are needed depending on the nature of the model. Some kits are recommended for beginners, some are most definitely not! A frequent mistake is to take on a project that is beyond current skills and capabilities when starting off with something simpler is actually more satisfying as you are more likely to finish it and gather skills needed to tackle something more complex along the way.

Model Boating forums like this are a great place to seek preliminary advice which is freely given and based on years of experience.

Colin
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justboatonic

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Re: Kit building for beginners!
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2020, 02:07:12 pm »

Horses for courses, methinks. Ive known plenty of build issues with plastic kits, Airfix, Tamiya, Revell, you name them, you'll always find them when you start the build. IMHO, modelling in any discipline is a compromise. Planes, helis, cars, boats, trains, all claim to be 'scale' but in some ways, they wont be and you'll always have some parts that will need fettling or not look right.

You'll only ever get close to real scale if you build from scratch. I have neither the skill nor all the tools to build from scratch never mind the inclination. Most beginners wouldnt leap into a highly intensive build although some will. Most of the time, they wouldnt notice any inaccuracies, it's only as we get more experienced we start to be more demanding.
The days of 'cheap' modelling went years ago if they ever existed. Even back in the late 70s, buying 'scale' back then cost a fortune relative to the standard produced never mind people's disposable income.
Got much admiration for people who do build scratch though.
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dreadnought72

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Re: Kit building for beginners!
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2020, 06:42:59 pm »

Oo! I'm liking my searchlight: one butchered LED to fit, and tinier soldering than I'm comfortable with!
Andy




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ballastanksian

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Re: Kit building for beginners!
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2020, 07:08:17 pm »


But, you are doing it mate! It's small soldering, but you did it and it works!


How ever you do it (from smiling to chest bumping the cat) Celebrate, as you have met a challenge and seen it into history as a job well done.



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