One might expect that as Kelvin says with a certain producer you know what to expect certainly for detail and accuracy, but lately perhaps not so for the standard of paintwork. The German manufacturers are renowned for their quality and in the area of warship models the likes of Neptun, Trident, Argos and Albatros are some that I have come to respect for all of the attributes one expects of a reasonably high priced model. So on my desk, as one is due to be sold soon, are two models of the post-war version of the US Navy Battleship USS NEW JERSEY. One is a model by Neptun (from their post-war range) which I purchased from Antics many years ago for about £60. The other is the Trident Alpha model which has been upgraded paint wise by Slavi and which I purchased at a Theale meeting just before Covid for £60. The photo does not lie, both are of the ship in post-war guise complete with cruise missiles etc and both are in my opinion of similar quality and one would expect accuracy.
Well put both together and surprise surprise!!! Yes they are DIFFERENT and just for the purpose of this report I did actually MEASURE them. One is 21.7cm long and the other is 21.4cm, and measured at the same point abeam the forward funnel one is 3cm wide and the other is 2.7cm wide. At the bow where it is very distinctive for the class, there is a difference of 2.5mm in the width. SO WHICH ONE IS CORRECT quite frankly I do not care!! One of these is going to go for sale pretty soon and I give no prizes for anyone guessing which one I am keeping.
Now I am not into counting rivets, or guns, or radars etc never have been interested in whether it is two twins or four singles etc, but when it comes to ACCURACY well I measured the diameter of the main gun barrels on the large turrets on these models (18 inch guns yes?) diameter at scale 1mm thus about 4 feet in real terms well there goes your accuracy out of the window straight away.
Both these models have all their guns fitted, including secondary guns one has guns fore & aft and other pointing outboard which is more ACCURATE. However for me BOTH are MISSING an important feature of this class of battleship as depicted at this time in their service. However if you Put them each on the table view them from about 2 feet away and do they look right YES of course they do.
Another example is models from the SAME producer. The next photo is of two models (kits) of the USS Whidbey Island by Mountford. Pretty much same dimensions, some changes in the detail, but essentially the same. I have four of these kits in my stash, two will be for sale soon. Are they ACCURATE who knows I have not measured them totally but it may be discerned that one is slightly wider than the other at the stern. The difference is 2mm but who cares ?? And then a photo of one version completed. It fills the gap, but sadly Albatros are about to produce this model. It will be around £80 four times the kit price, maybe more accurate, probably more detailed, will have paint everywhere and the flight deck markings will be crap. So for a more ACCURATE model 4 times the cost and crap finish NO THANK YOU.
There is something to be said for does it look right as a deciding factor on buying a model from whoever as most producers do NOT give details of measurements of models so that we can decide whether it is too fat or too thin etc,. So again a photo of an example of a model of a US Navy ship from two producers at different ends of the market. One is by Mountford and the other by Argos. There are OBVIOUS differences in proportions, placement of main features etc. Again which is MORE ACCURATE you might expect one of course, but I suggest you read again the section on the NEW JERSEY above!!. Who knows I dont and I dont really worry about it.
And finally my pet hate. The following model is by a well-known and respected producer Trident from Austria and just at it happens now hard to find so not even reasonably priced any more. It is USS WABASH a US Navy tanker and I purchased this model from Anchorage models to partly replace the rather tatty one I had in my stash. It is as standard just grey all over, decks not painted, no flight deck markings, no pennant numbers and looks rather plain. It is MISSING loads of bits however it may be the correct length etc etc, but WHERE ARE THE FUEL HOSES. ? Would you buy a warship with no gun barrels ? No of course not.
So when you see what a coat of paint can do, let alone ADDING all the bits that were missing from the model in the first place, one can achieve a lot. Then of course one can modify the hangar to suit them in later service, and I say this as I know Kelvin has done it.
So in short ACCURACY I am not going to MEASURE any of my models to check however if they LOOK RIGHT THAT WILL DO FOR ME. And I am not going to pay out loads of money for a MORE ACCURATE model if the paint job is CRAP.
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