Poor instructions

Have any questions or tips and advice on how to build those bits that don't come ready made.
JohnDisdle
Posts: 91
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:00 pm

Poor instructions

Postby JohnDisdle » Sun Jul 19, 2020 9:09 am

I have just completed the Gaugemaster GM418 crane. It was a Faller kit that I received, and instructions were very poor, and in the form of numbered pictures, which I found confusing as to how parts were to be assembled.
My attempt looks ok, even is it is not exact.
Anyone any comments please, apart from the worst instructions ever!

Dad-1
Posts: 6354
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 8:05 pm
Location: Dorset - A mile from West Bay.

Re: Poor instructions

Postby Dad-1 » Sun Jul 19, 2020 9:46 am

This seems to be a fact of life with railway modelling. Many white metal loco kits were supplied with
an exploded drawing for you to follow. Even then many of the parts needed fettling into a shape that
would fit, all left up to your own imagination and skill. I wonder if it was thought that any builder would
have done research and have plans and books on the subject.

Wagon kits, I have made a few, again vary and it wouldn't be the first time for me to realise I'd got
something wrong and have to disassemble the odd parts. Price of kit doesn't seem to have any influence.
It was a surprise for me coming from aircraft modelling where most instructions were accurate and
complete. A good example of how to do it is with Tamiya kits.

My latest example a £40 '0' gauge wagon clearly shows three components assembled as a scrap drawing.
The drawing was wrong and I made up one evening ready for later, so well stuck by the time I realized,
I then had to make some replacement parts from plasticard.

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=32187 and Another on viewtopic.php?f=22&t=28436&start=60&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

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stuartp
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Re: Poor instructions

Postby stuartp » Sun Jul 19, 2020 12:10 pm

Instructions to the standard of Tamiya and Airfix were produced by a draughtsman or technical illustrator on an hourly rate commensurate with the evident skill needed. Which is fine if you expect to sell a million units globally, the cost is spread over a very large production run. I doubt whether all the injection moulded railway kits ever produced comes close to the total number of Airfix Spitfires sold. If kit manufacturers (a lot of whom are sole traders or fellow enthusiasts doing it for the love of it) have to provide instructions to that standard then kits would either cost a lot more to cover the cost of getting someone in to do it, or simply not be there at all. Personally I'd rather have a wide choice of kits and the occasional duff set of instructions.

Whitemetal and etched kits are even more niche, with sales in hundreds at best, more likely dozens over the life of the kit. If you drop on a manufacturer who is good at writing instructions you are laughing (Brassmasters, Rumney Models), otherwise find a clear photo of whatever it is you are building and follow that.

Kits which just don't fit are a different matter, and I agree there have been some shockers.
Portwilliam - Southwest Scotland in the 1960s, in OO - http://stuart1968.wordpress.com/

Bigmet
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Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:19 pm

Re: Poor instructions

Postby Bigmet » Sun Jul 19, 2020 5:55 pm

Dad-1 wrote:...Wagon kits, I have made a few, again vary and it wouldn't be the first time for me to realise I'd got
something wrong and have to disassemble the odd parts. Price of kit doesn't seem to have any influence.
It was a surprise for me coming from aircraft modelling where most instructions were accurate and
complete. A good example of how to do it is with Tamiya kits...

I have recently seen that the injection moulded (mostly wagon) kits tooled by Roger Chivers and formerly sold as 'Chivers Finelines' are shortly to return to production under the management of one of his sons, branded as 'Five79'. These I feel might please if the former standard is maintained: crisp mouldings that fit, good instructions, assemblies that almost self aligned in the case of the models that suited my interest. Class act in short.

Dad-1
Posts: 6354
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 8:05 pm
Location: Dorset - A mile from West Bay.

Re: Poor instructions

Postby Dad-1 » Sun Jul 19, 2020 10:08 pm

Hi Bigmet,

That sounds promising, I shall look out for these wagon kits.
With over 500 up and running I honestly don't need anymore, but it's rather addictive.
I also get sent to sleep by watching TV and making a model keeps me awake while
working in the kitchen listening to my favourite CDs. Because of my inheritance my
stock of unmade kits has risen.

I need to visit you to run 100 in one train - I don't have that long a line !!

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=32187 and Another on viewtopic.php?f=22&t=28436&start=60&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

Dad-1
Posts: 6354
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 8:05 pm
Location: Dorset - A mile from West Bay.

Re: Poor instructions

Postby Dad-1 » Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:11 am

Sorry to say it stuartp, but while you have a point regarding the costs of
development and tooling you are Wrong, Very Wrong regarding instructions.

Instructions should be written by someone who has actually built the kit. There is absolutely
NO excuse for them being wrong, or incomplete. It shows a severe lack of care.

To have better instructions adds almost NO additional costs. There are hundreds to thousands
of kit makers who would happily write, or re-write improved instructions for free. Is it something
in the British attitude ? There are so many situations where one wonders WHY nothing has been
done to correct short comings. Sometimes the smaller almost 'cottage industry' suppliers are the
best in responding to subtle changes.

Two simple examples, on a very old kit. The header picture on the Dapol 16 ton mineral shows
the tip end white stripe on the fixed end. In addition the decal sheet which has two identical
white stripes, but with tapered ends. They should be handed, but are not. My answer is to cut the
ends off.
As this kit has been around for years the decal sheets are re-prints, of re-prints, of re-prints and
there would be almost no cost in revising before another re-print. As to the header picture, again
they are re-printed quite often - for heavens sake the kit was first issued in the 1960's. I would
happily send a picture, even a finished kit for them to keep, but there is a total lack of corporate
interest - it's just too much trouble !! No wonder British industry has gone down the tubes.

I can also go through corrections needed for the Parkside PS113 '0' gauge kit. Nothing significantly
wrong with the tooling. Why have an un-finished model pictured on the box top ? instructions with
one error and also seem to become vague as you come towards completion as if the writer either
didn't finish the job, or lost interest.

Sorry there is NO valid excuse for these shortcomings. NONE WATSOEVER !!

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
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stuartp
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Re: Poor instructions

Postby stuartp » Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:34 pm

I was specifically addressing the "do it like Tamiya" part of your response. Proper isometric exploded view drawings cost a fortune, which is fine if you're Airfix or Tamiya with illustrators/designers in house and volume sales in the hundreds of thousands.

If you are a volume kit manufacturer (Dapol, Wills, Peco/Parkside/Ratio, etc) then of course the instructions should at least be written by someone who has built the kit, I don't dispute that at all. But the kitbuilding end of this hobby is increasingly low volume and a kit is often in production only because the manufacturer wanted one, in which case I have no issue with getting what I'm given. Some of the specialists produce the best instructions of all (Rumney Models, High Level, Brassmasters), others include no instructions at all and expect that if you're interested enough to want whatever esoteric bit of kit they've produced, you are probably capable of sourcing a drawing and working out how it fits together. That's fine with me too, at least I don't have to scratchbuild whatever 'it' is.
Portwilliam - Southwest Scotland in the 1960s, in OO - http://stuart1968.wordpress.com/


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