Suggesting IPMS vacuform aircraft category include limited run kits
March 19 2012 at 10:57 PM
Frank Young (Login franki84) HyperScale Forums from IP address 184.108.40.206
Recently I was pleasantly surprised by the reaction to the article about Gordon Stevens' Rareplanes and the vacuform revolution of the 1970's and 1980's. One of the vacuform revolution by product is the current IPMS vacuform aircraft category in recognition of the difficulties and challenges in making a vacuform model compatible with an injection model. Lately the number of vacuform entries has dropped because vacuforms are being replaced by limited run injection and resin models. I find some of the limited run models take just as much effort and are sometimes more challenging to build than the vacuform counter parts. Some resin kits have wafers of resin parts requiring careful sanding and shaping more challenging than a vacuform kit as well as numerous pinholes, etc. that needs fixing. The better female molded vacuform kits often feature detail finesse better than many limited run injection kits-some of which requires scribing new or better panel lines, etc. Perhaps the vacuform aircraft category can include limited run injection and resin models with instruction diagrams or a description of the difficulties involved in completing a challenging limited run model.
This has been a fairly highly charged subject around the campfire at my IPMS chapter. Frankly, many of the categories are needing revision, desparately!!! The main reason for this is that the nature of what is available and under what label has changed radically in the past 10 years or so. Here are a few points:
-Vac kits are virtually non-existent now and very few build them even when available.
-Limited run kits run a huge range of quality and skill requirements. Generally speaking, they are much better and often are the best kits available.
-Resin casting technology and skills are massivly improved from what they were.
The OOB category is basically useless in it's original form. I can go the store and for a reasonable price buy something that has more AM stuff than you can imagine. I personally have kits that go as far as p/e, WM, vac canopies, etc and a fully riveted airframe. Not bad for $40! Until someone comes up with a better definition of OOB it will be child's play for anyone who wants to to completely violate the intent of the category.
The vac category is going to be lucky to see 2-3 entries in a regional IPMS show, if that. This is not enough to make a viable, competitive category. Even when lumped in with scratchbuilt etc we are lucky to see 5 models entered. Add in a lack of wide availability and you can see where this niche model type is going.
Unless more tightly defined, "limited run" can mean virtually anything. Most of MPM/Azur/SH/Flying Machines/et al would be considered limited run. Classic Airframes is another example. However, they bear little resemblance to such "limited Run" kits as the old Squadron/Ltd kits for example. They had virtually no cockpit or any other details and were truly a challenge. Current LR kits are more like high end kits than the "you get what you get and be happy to have anything at all" type of efforts of the past.
Look at resin now versus a few years back. With all the new resin casting technology with vacuum pumps and centrifugal methods etc, again no comparison. Look at TD stuff of the late 90's and then compare to Fusion/Cutting edge/Aires/etc.
I could add in pre-painted p/e and a few other things as well that have hit the scene in the past few years.
There is a desparate need for IPMS to step up and take some leadership here. I am not sure why they have not done so, but the judging categories are incredibly outdated and do not reflect the kits that are available today.
Frank Young (Login franki84) HyperScale Forums 220.127.116.11
Perhaps a new category for difficult, challenging kits
March 20 2012, 12:50 AM
Technology has made some limited run kits compatible with mainstream injection kits. Just look at gems from Sword, RS, etc. especially the Sword Re 2005. On the other hand there are some mainstream kits that were good for their day, but hopelessly out of date and out of shape by today standards-such as the Italerei 1/72 Do 217 series (great potential for a newly tooled WW 2 subject-hint, hint) that have been made into classic models by good research, replacing parts, revising shape, and good old fashion scratchbuilding techniques. It is a pity that such labor intensive and creative model building of difficult kits lose out sometimes to a well built out of the box model that had near perfect fit, detail, hi-tech parts, etc. right out off the shelf. You bring a very good point, Chris. Hopefully IPMS will change some categories or definitions in the near future.
Vac kits are not rare, there are millions of them tucked away in boxes....
March 20 2012, 2:58 AM
I've got two dozen really, really nice vac kits of planes subsequently released in injection form Really nice kits, worth much less than new. What to do? I'm not going to toss them and yet I know if I build, it will be after I've built all the injection versions of that airplane. And so they languish. Actually, I've gotten a couple started and the satisfaction effect is much, much higher when they start coming together. If I only had the time, alas....
Yes, that invites endless debate about what is "limited run"
March 20 2012, 10:42 AM
At least a vacuform kit is readily identifiable as such. I can only imagine the debates of what defined limited run, from Czech Model kits to Collect-aire to Classic Airframes. IPMS is wise to steer clear of this hornet's nest.
As principal of the Bondo Industries Difficult Kit Division........
March 20 2012, 10:01 AM
gotta say that there's still a world of difference in doing a vac--any vac--vs. a limited run resin/multimedia kit. Fr'nstance I just received from good guy John Wilkes in the U.K. a 1/32 ID-type vac F-94C conversion meant to be used with the recent Czechmodel T-33 release. Just two "softly" detailed (read "none"--male-molded)fuselage halves; no instructions, no new stabs, no new vertical fin, nada; obviously an undertaking for Big Boy modelers well-versed in digging up their own reference material. Really only a slight step above scratchbuilding...and, as one of those Big Boys, I can live with that. Compare this with even the most rudimentary limited run resin kits, and the difference is obvious. Even the older Collect-Aire kits were as a Lexus, compared to the Yugo-like Combat and ID vac releases (I will admit that Taro-san's storied Dynavector offerings are quite a few steps above the average vac hoi polloi). And, the latest C-A resin releases (before they all went OOP) are IMO the equal of many injected offerings...and MUCH more esoteric.
Vac needs to remain a "standalone" IPMS category!
Difficult Kit Division
Your user name and password will give you full posting privileges to all of HyperScale Forums.
Please note the following conditions of posting:
All contributions are welcome but please refrain from political or abusive comments, racially or religiously offensive remarks, swearing (including the thin disguising of swear words with asterisks and other characters), insulting language and crude metaphors. Please do not use Plane Talking as a public platform to complain about retailers or manufacturers (about issues such as broken or missing parts) before you have followed all normal channels to resolve any greivance. Plane Talking is not the place to conduct personal feuds or for posting personal attacks. Please do not post in capital letters only, as this is considered to be shouting and therefore impolite. Also, please do not post in 'texting message' word format. Any posts breaching these guidelines will promptly be removed from the server and the offender may be excluded from further posting to the HyperScale Forums. Off-topic posts may also be removed from the server.
In addition, Plane Talking is not a forum for the public criticism of the models that appear as Galleries or Articles. Please make any suggestions for improvements or criticism direct to the author via the email link at the bottom of the Article.
Finally, please note that this Discussion Group is privately operated and that I reserve the right to delete any post or cancel any registration for any reason whatsoever.