What is a Good Model? by Doug Chaltry
5 October 2003 email: doug(at)ontheway.us
So, what are the things that make a good model, in your opinion?

Every time we open a box of a new model, we automatically look for several things: such as overall level of detail, complexity of the kit, clean moldings, accuracy etc. But what about specifics? If a model manufacturer asked you for specific examples of model making techniques, or certain features of a "good" model, what would you answer? Here, then, are some of the things that in my opinion (and others), should be seen on all good models.

Of course, many of these suggestions only apply to plastic kits, but to whatever extent they can be applied to metal or resin kits would also be beneficial. Also, these are features of an ideal kit, and I am not implying that kits without these features are poor models.

Anybody with additional suggestions, please send them in, and I'll add them to the list.

  • Hard plastic, link and length tracks. Vinyl or soft plastic tracks are at best undetailed and unrealistic, or at worst, not even useable.
  • Open hatches. All of them, including the engine access hatches.
  • At least some interior detail, beneath the open hatches, and also engines. Extensive interior detail for open-topped vehicles such as halftracks.
  • Crew figures in realistic poses.
  • Scale Accuracy. If the kits says "1/72nd Scale" it should be 1/72nd scale.
  • Sensible placement of ejection pin marks. Most newer models seem to be better at this, but I've seen some older ESCI kits in particular, that have pin marks in the most awful places.
  • Pioneer tools as separate parts, not molded directly onto the hull. This isn't as bad on resin kits, because of the better undercut to the detail that is possible with resin, but the option of whether or not to even attach the tools would be good.
  • Decals that are printed in register!
  • Several decal options. After-market decals for small scale armor are very hard to come by, so why not spend another penny, and add marking options for at least four different vehicles?
  • Optional parts to make vehicle variants. I'm not referring to something like the Sd.Kfz. 251, and including parts for all possible variants of this vehicle, but rather for vehicles which would need only a small number of optional parts. Such as the Revell Panzer III. They could have easily included a few extra parts to make several versions, instead of only the Ausf. M. There are many similar examples. If a company has budgeted for only a certain number of new kits, it would benefit them to encourage modelers to buy more than one of each kit, and the way to do that, is to allow for several versions in a single box (unless, of course, they are marketing all the versions separately, such as PST's KV's).
  • Overall accuracy. Nothing is worse than buying a new kit with the expectation that it accurately represents the vehicle depicted on the box, only to find that it is so inaccurate as to be almost worthless. If you're going to make a model, do it right.
  • Good plans/instructions that enable you to accurately construct the kit without having to refer to other sources. - John Elwen
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