There are about 20 wooden model ship kit manufacturers throughout the world. It can be challenging to determine who's kit will suit the model ship builder the best because of all the variables involved. The idea is to match up the kit manufacturer with the needs and wants of the builder so at the end of the day, the ship model builder has an enjoyable and fulfilling experience.
Cast Your Anchor has been in the model ship supply business for 7 years and been ship modelers for over 30 years. Over this time we have formed opinions on model ship kit manufacturers either through direct experience or from listening to our customers relate their experiences. We have summarized our findings below for 10 of the ship model manufacturers.
We provide the history and background of the manufacturer, location of their factory, the North American distributorship channel, their tendency when it comes to the kit skill level requirements and of course their rating.
The distributorship channel is most important when considering after sales service. Direct contact between the retailer and the manufacturer is usually best but not in all cases. The tendency for manufacturers to build kits aimed at a certain builder skill level is very important when it comes to the instructions that are provided in the kit. Entry level kit instructions generally assume that the model builder will require guidance with ship model building techniques in addition to specific instructions related to the vessel construction.
Rating 1 -10: 1-3 Poor, 3-7 Good, 8-10 Excellent. All categories are considered equally rated because there are alternative options the builder can exercise should there be an issue in any one of the categories.
Skill Level Tendency – Some manufacturers tend to lean towards a specific builder's skill level in their kits. Other manufacturers have a good variety of kits to suit all levels of skills. Skill Level Tendency: E – Entry Level, I – Intermediate Level, A – Ambitious Level.
Availability – Ranges from always in stock to fulfillment within a few weeks or months. Availability can be adversely affected by the distribution network of the manufacturer. If the manufacturer allows for direct buying the availability tends to be quite high.
Types of Vessels Available – The two areas looked at were era of the vessel and the vessel type. Some manufacturers have a limited range while others have offerings in almost all categories. One manufacturer has vessel types that are unique to what other manufacturers have to offer.
Historical Accuracy – The accuracy of a model ranges from barely recognizable to reasonably accurate. Detailed information of many vessels is not available which leaves for a fair bit of interpretation. When it comes to paint colors some manufacturers don't even try to recognize the true colors of the vessel.
Detailing – Some kits are highly detailed while others have minimum deck fittings. The accuracy of the detailing in terms of the era of the ship as well as the materials used …