North American A-J1 Savage or who’s afraid of the big bad Vacu-form kit?
When you talk to model-builders about vacu-form kits you can see in their reactions a mixture of ignorance and sheer terror. Building a vacu form kit is still something of a mystery to most model-builders. Sure in today’s world of super-uber-quality high tech kits this special kind of kits is something of the past. To be sure I’m not aware of any new vacu-form kit, which came up during the last 10 years on the market and I’m certainly not such a fan to them, that I would prefer something like this against anything more appropriate or should I say more up to date. But just like with all things there are not only bad things but good things too:
And the most important lesson is invaluable: there is not only one thing you can learn by building one of these kits there are several abilities you will sharpen: starting with building without the help of any instructions, which is substantial when trying to scratch build something, detailing and improvising, because of the lack of small parts and just to keep things straight: cursing, because you were dumb enough to build such a thing.
This very kit here is a Rareplane kit which is one of the “a bit better vacu-form kits” and believe me there are or were several of much, much worse quality. Typically for any vacu-form kit you have to cut all the major parts from their main sheets and then the “fun” starts. Fit is something which has absolutely nothing to do with these kind of kits so make sure you have at least half a metric ton of putty handy before starting something like this and sandpaper, all kinds of sanding sticks, lots of ‘em, the more the better add to this an equal amount of elbow grease and let the games begin. For the next weeks or so your one and only duty will be sanding, filling, sanding again, filling again and so on.
Small parts for cockpits, engines, landing gears you name them are something which are either not existent in such kits, or of such horrible quality that if you have at least a tiny fraction of self-esteem you are not going to use them.
Anyhow, go build them yourself, in most cases it is much easier than you might think and the result is worth doing it. By adding several small details to such a kit and a few decals (which are not part of the kit too, just to make sure) the result is a quite good looking model. And for the time until a major injection kit manufacturer releases you can show this little master piece of yours to any interested and amazed modelbuilder and tell him: I did this! (Beware: usually shortly after you have built such a monster kit, just this is going to happen and of course the new kit is not only much better looking its usually even cheaper and most of all way easier to build!) In this case you can always comfort yourself with the knowledge that you have learned a lot of things while building this "thing”
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