Our way of testing modelling kits

Packaging - 100 points max.
Ideally, the packaging provides best possible protection from damage. Nevertheless, unpacking the parts should not at all be a problem. Apart from that we expect high information content because customers should know as much as possible about the product and its manufacturer. Photos on the package can help you to get a first impression of the goods inside so accordance of the product pictures with the real product should be self-evident.

Parts and materials - 250 points max.
Cleanliness of the parts and materials is essential for good modelling results. Dirt and remnants from the production process might be a hindrance. Furthermore, the manufacturer's quality control has to ensure that the condition of the parts is flawless. Although most companies offer a spare part service for missing items, completeness of the kit is vital for the joy of modelling.

Modelling kits usually cost a tidy sum; so we expect a high fitting accuracy of the parts. Furthermore, you should be able to 'sense' the value you get for your money with your fingers and your eyes. Therefore, we give quality rating points as well. Apart from that, a perfect model should be the exact reproduction of the original with a great wealth of detail even in 1/87 scale. Modern production methods allow copying even tiniest details, and this high-tech manufacturing should result in an amazing fineness of detail.

Construction manual - 150 points max.
Construction manuals should explain step by step how to build a model. In this respect, the most important thing is intelligibility which can easily be achieved by providing plenty of high quality colour pictures. But accordance of pictures and description with the real parts is essential, too, because otherwise the best photographs will not help you much! Especially for beginners the indication of additionally needed tools and materials is helpful and therefore influences the test result as well.

The layout of the manual is less a matter of aesthetic but helps the customer to orient himself and thus get the best possible modelling results. And although paper quality and printing quality are not that crucial, they still contribute to a good overall impression of the construction manual.

Assembly - 300 points max.
Preparing the parts / material should not be a problem at all; especially, it should be easy to cut all parts off the sprue or to unwrap them from additional packaging. Does the kit offer at least a little bit of assembling variability? That would help advanced modellers to put their own ideas into reality. Particularly beginners will appreciate the feasibility of the manufacturer's guidelines; e.g. it should be possible to stick a gutter to the roof exactly the way shown in the construction manual.

Have you ever built the model of a big factory with hundreds of windows? Repeating the same assembling steps again and again? Then you’ll probably know what is meant by 'variety of assembling steps'. Well, although the manufacturer (whose product is just a miniaturised copy of a real thing) hasn’t got much influence on the variety of assembling steps, by evaluating this special attribute of a modelling kit we want to give particularly novices an idea of what to expect. Based on our own experiences we also assess the suitability for beginners and the total time needed for assembly.

Overall impression of the assembled product - 200 points max.
Besides accurate measurement and careful examination the overall appearance of the assembled kit must not be forgotten in this kind of product test. Usually it is the ‘first impression‘ that counts. Especially when an assembled kit is fitted into a diorama very few people will pull out their magnifying glasses at once to explore it carefully. But, after a while, they might do so in order to check the attention to detail. Did the manufacturer reproduce even smallest parts and finest surface structures using high-tech production methods? What about his attitude towards closeness to reality? Do the colours look unnaturally? Last but not least the assembled kit should give the impression of closeness to scale (even when there is no measuring tool available…).

Overall evaluation

overall verdict: outstanding 1000 - 950
overall verdict: very good 949 - 880
overall verdict: good 879 - 810
overall verdict: average 809 - 740
overall verdict: in need of improvement 739 - 670
overall verdict: not worth the money 669 - 600
overall verdict: usable as spare parts only 599 - 0
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