It’s Only A Drawing – Not The Last Word

And maybe next time that you see a commentator use one of these drawings to criticise a manufacturer for perceived errors, you’ll take a step back and think that maybe, just maybe, that’s not how the kit will look once it hits your workbench…

Compare and contrast: early computer renders and actual kit parts…

UntitledThese days it is not uncommon for a kit manufacturer to release early computer renders of a new kit, to show modellers what they can expect when the kit arrives on the model shop shelves. Often, these drawings are described  — spuriously — as CAD renders, and so the detail, shape and other features are taken as gospel. The drawings are there to examine, so that’s what the kit will be like, right? Wrong.

These drawings are often released very early on in the development of a kit, 3D images that only ever include the basic features; odd panel lines, blocked out internals and often missing details are the norm and yet they are seen as the last word by the world’s modelling intelligence, who then pick apart the missing nuances. Add to the party an expert on the subject and you have the basis of a firestorm that often rumbles on to the kit’s eventual release – irrespective of whether, as is often the case, the plastic is almost completely different.

This is currently happening with the soon-to-be-released Airfix 1:48 P-40B. Initial drawings were released, test shots dropped, changes made and then the drawings released once more in unmodified form, to discuss — via the Airfix Blog — the kit’s colour schemes and options.

And then the carping began, anew.

Details that were missing from the drawings, are now assumed to be missing from the kit. Those corrections that the rest of us seem to be aware of, have been glossed over and so so this new kit is being carpeted before it’s even boxed up. Why the hell do modellers do this?! It’s almost as if there are certain individuals who really want this kit to fail and will do anything to ensure that it does. Fiction becomes fact; opinion becomes set in stone; dissenters are accused of being no more than fanboy apologists happy to accept any old crap, just because it’s Airfix.

It’s all nonsense. Of course it is.

So to help balance out this argument, here is a comparison showing the early drawing and thanks to Brett Green, the actual plastic. Not really the same are they? No, or course they are not – but then anyone who has even the most basic knowledge of how this marketing trick works, would know that they were never going to be! Only the most wilfully obtuse would try and pass off the drawing on the left as a finished, accurate depiction of a completed model, months before the actual CAD files had been completed.

So take a look at the image and decide for yourself. And maybe next time that you see a commentator use one of these drawings to criticise a manufacturer for perceived errors, you’ll take a step back and think that maybe, just maybe, that’s not how the kit will look once it hits your workbench…

Airfix Blog,RYOY,22ZV28,1YHN7,1


9 thoughts on “It’s Only A Drawing – Not The Last Word

  1. Michael Douglas Scott June 3, 2016 / 9:45 pm

    I think the key phrase here is, “Only the most willfully obtuse…” We don’t know why certain people do this. Perhaps they have some issue with the manufacturer and will jump on anything to go negative. In my experience these kinds of people are very similar to those pushing an ideology. Reason, facts, evidence. None of these things makes the slightest difference. It is like they care what you think, not how you think. Not much different than many of the social media storms that rage on the internet.

    That kind of behavior is why I seldom visit modeling forums any longer. I do occasionally get active on a certain WWI air forum which is unique not so much for its subject matter but in the polite and reasonable way most everyone conducts business there.

    Thanks for your insight and acknowledgment of this unfortunate tendency.

    I’m enjoying and learning from your posts and videos and look forward to new content.

  2. Len Thomson June 3, 2016 / 10:11 pm

    I think this is a great piece, and tells it how it is. I am in full agreement.

    I also think that the manufacturers are slightly to blame for releasing the CAD images in the first place. Do they release them because of peer pressure?

    If you release them, people will come. And they will criticise. It’s the nature of the game as everyone on the internet has a voice.

  3. Roy Baker June 3, 2016 / 10:24 pm

    Whatever happened to the box top art work??!! That would have been enough to get even the least erudite salivating in the good old days (say pre CAD anyways) …great article, thanks for keeping it real!

  4. Rob Anderson June 4, 2016 / 4:33 am

    I have just recently started following your blog, but really enjoy your perspective. This one is spot on. I built the Trumpeter HU-16 Albatross, unbuildable!!! Man I loved that kit, fixed some stuff left the rest alone. One of the best kits I ever made. Model building is a fun hobby, if it becomes an seek therapy 🙂

  5. Tony Dill June 4, 2016 / 4:08 pm

    So very true. Nothing ever seems to be good enough when a new kit is released or announced. Witness the similar storm that recently erupted over Tamiya’s announcement of a new 1/48th F-14A

  6. Dave Allison June 7, 2016 / 11:21 am

    It’s rather like the Kittyhawk in the desert isn’t it? So many “experts” “proved” that it was just a photoshopped image or a cleverly built model. They believed what they wanted to believe and invented proof to support their opinions. Never let the facts get in the way of a good story!

  7. Hoppie June 7, 2016 / 10:38 pm

    I think this is a rather difficult subject. Sometimes people critisize stuff that would have been added and corrected without the mournfull cries, sometimes things might get corrected because of the mournfull cries.

    I think most of the time people have good intentions. They might just make a rukkus out of fear that the manufacturer might not have that information. It has happened before.

    However, with renders, kits in development I do think that the most sensible course of action would be to document the findings and simply send them to the manufacturer. There is already enough drama on the internet. And quite honestly, I am baffled how much of it takes place in modelers forums.

    Very fine blog by the way, I very much enjoy it, thank you so much.

  8. Russell Niles June 29, 2016 / 10:23 pm


    Just joined up, and enjoying watching your videos as well as reading your blog.

    Quick question, in the video I see a smart white drawer cabinet behind you. From where does that come? It looks like Ikea, but I can not find anything like it in their catalog.

    Thanks and keep up the great work.

    Russ Niles
    Sacramento Ca USA

  9. Matt Whiting February 13, 2017 / 9:04 pm

    There’s a flip side to this, and anyone who “knows who I am” will appreciate I’m talking from experience here- that maybe these CAD pre-release images are put out there to generate exactly this sort of discussion, so that the errors are spotted before the steel is cut….so nit-pick away!

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