History Lesson Wanted

Just an idle query ....
There have been several big changes in the hobby between when I
stopped building models as a teenager and when I started again now,
twenty-some years later, but probably the biggest of them is the
proliferation of after-market stuff. Way back then, after-market
decal sheets were just starting to become common, and the biggest
thing in "third-party kits" were vac-formed models. To the best of my
recollection, resin and photo-etched kits and accessories were unheard
of.
So I'm just curious -- when did resin and PE after-market stuff first
appear? What kits were they meant for? When did they start becoming
"mainstream"?
Bruce
Melbourne, Australia
Reply to
Bruce Probst
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Much like anything we enjoy, technology makes its way into our lives to improve it. B/W TV gave way to color. Video tape gave way to DVD. LPs & 8-Track tape gave way to Cassettes which gave way to CDs. In modeling, modelers who had the talent to create accessories and through entrepreneurial endeavors brought them into the mainstream market. Most of this started in the early '90s and escalated from there. I believe that once the Soviet Union fell and the resources toward the communist war machine was no longer needed, engineers found a way to use their talents and skills to produce the PE sets we see today. At first, the items that these cottage industries produced were geared toward items they wanted for their own projects. Today, a whole world of subjects and options are opening up to improve options available to older kits as well as new releases. Today, a new kit is quickly followed by the release of aftermarket items usually in six months to a year.
I too took a ten year furlough from modeling. I was shocked at what had changed and especially what was missing.
Reply to
bluumule
As I remember it, it all got pretty much started big time here:
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Pat
Reply to
Pat Flannery
Photoetch began to appear in the late 1980's, as did the first resin kits, though it took a while before makers settled on a good polyurethane suitable for plastic models (polyester and epoxy resin items were also seen in the beginning). Airwaves was one of the first to offer simple photoetched brass sets, and Eduard offered sets that were double-etched on one side at first. On the Mark Models in the USA was first off the block with brass detail parts double-etched from both sides which could accurately depict lap joints of sheet metal parts (like a Sherman headlight guard). Aber soon matched them, and Eduard had to play catch up in the double etch technology. There are now many manufacturers of PE parts, including Royal Models from Italy (very expensive, though they often include resin parts as well). Part Models has a small but useful line, and there are new Asian makers, Lion Roar and Voyager, who do very nice work. Lion Roar now offers embossed parts for things like cooling slats in truck motor housings, while many Voyager kits include resin parts. Resin largely replaced vacuformed styrene plastic kits and conversions in the 80's. Verlinden was the first to really mass market resin parts and kits, though their quality has not kept pace with current standards for accuracy and detail. Verlinden also offered numerous diorama accessories in plaster of paris or urethane foam. Francois Verlinden partnered with Misters Letterman and Stok to form VLS, but the partnership split up after a few years, so VLS and Verlinden now have separate product lines, and VLS was recently acquired by Squadron Mail Order. Full resin kits are less dominant now, as the styrene companies, who had gone nearly dormant for some years, are now releasing so many new kits that there are few subjects left for garage manufacturers to offer. Still, Accurate Armour and Cromwell are still out there with some very impressive resin models of obscure subjects. Model Kasten started the craze for individual link tracks in the late 80's, and a few companies like Scale Link tried using white metal as a medium, but it wasn't until Friulmodellismo came up with workable hinged metal tracks that that medium really took off. Model Kasten raised the bar with workable plastic tracks. A few companies now offer snap together tracks that don't require pins, though they can be finicky to assemble. WW2 Productions does some nice resin ones, as does Lion Marc, and there a few snap together styrene track sets like the AFV Club aftermarket tracks for their M41 and Centurion kits, and the newer Tristar Panzer IV and 38t kits include snap together links in the box. The newest wrinkle is the metal gun barrel craze, which now include extremely detailed muzzle brakes with drilled and machined parts that basically duplicate the machining of the original full size items. Armour Scale is probably the top maker in terms of accuracy. The newest technology on the horizon is three dimensional printing, in which liquid plastic is hardened in a series of layers building up three-dimensional parts using a CAD program. The uncanny thing is that working parts can be created already assembled! First product out there is a set of LVT tracks for the Italeri amphibian tractors. Cost is around $80 USD, but the product looks amazing. Gerald Owens
Reply to
Gerald Owens
Who makes those? I'd like to check them out on their website.
Pat
Reply to
Pat Flannery
"Pat Flannery" wrote in message
Hard Corps Models.
See:
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Kevin
Reply to
Kevin Carroll
: : Hard Corps Models. : : See: : :
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Okay, I am impressed! I am going to have to get a set of those...
Bruce
Reply to
Bruce Burden
They really do look sharp, don't they?
Pat
Reply to
Pat Flannery
I seem to remember getting my first photo etch in the mid 70's , I was into 1/43rd car kits. which were mainly white metal. the thing that was lacking was suitable spoke wheels so photo etch came to the recue. It soon included lots of extra bits and pieces as time progressed. regards JimboD
Reply to
JDorsett
"Bruce Burden" > wrote in message >
Hey, Bruce.
They are pretty neat, but even Hard Corps acknowledges that, by their very nature, they are rather delicate.
Lots of new technology methods are being employed by Hard Corps and I have read they will be partnering with Squadron on some projects.
Kevin
Reply to
Kevin Carroll
in
Thanks for all the replies, and I agree, this looks very interesting ....
Bruce
Reply to
Bruce Probst
Not to nitpick too much, but the Airmodel conversion kits in the Squadron catalogs from the early to mid-1970s were mostly resin plugs. I have (and made) the different Dorniers and a lot of the Luft '46 that followed in the latter 1970s.
Reply to
The Old Man
In the early 60's there were already detail sets, aftermarket parts/decals and conversion sets. However, they were geared to the car modelers because that is where all the innovative modeling was done at the time.
Art
Reply to
Art Murray
Now that you mention it, I remember the photoetched wheels. How does model railroading figure into all this? They've been doing innovative after-market stuff for just about forever.
Pat
Reply to
Pat Flannery
You're right. I forgot about the railroad detail sets, especially after HO Gauge was introduced.
Reply to
Art Murray
It's odd how model railroaders are somehow considered separate from mainstream modeling (is it because the trains move?) even though they've been doing huge and very detailed scale dioramas for many decades. In fact, when Floquil came out with all its paints that ended up being used on model tanks for rust, mud, and grime, it was for the model railway, not scale military model, market. Even back in the mid-70's the HO Walthers catalog was bulging with thousands of after-market parts - everything from brake wheels to mountains, to today's....flying saucers?:
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anyone wanted to do a 1/72 scale military diorama scene, these would be the boys to go to:
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have 715 different tree sets. These will be perfect to lend scale to your HO scale 1,000 tonne "Ratte" tank diorama:
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Pat
Reply to
Pat Flannery
saucers?:
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If anyone wanted to do a 1/72 scale military diorama scene, these would
diorama:
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I first learned about "weathering" from reading model railroad magazines in the 70s and 80s. Also the first articles about casting using RTV molds (this was with metal castings, but when resin casting came along I already had some experience with the RTV molds. I first tried model railroading in the 50s, but didn't stick with it. As I remember it, there were aftermarket accessories, and even parts for scratch-building, back then. In fact, I believe that short stint into the model railroad world was where I first heard the term "scratch- built."
Reply to
Don Stauffer in Minnesota
Some of the top-notch detailed layouts with scenery they do will take your breath away, photos of the best ones look like actual photos of real towns, forests, mountains, and what-not:
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fact, it might well be to model railroading that we owe the concepts of weathering and wear on models to increase their realistic appearance.
Pat
Reply to
Pat Flannery

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