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
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
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.
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.
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
"Bruce Burden" > wrote in message >
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.
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.
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.
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?:
anyone wanted to do a 1/72 scale military diorama scene, these would
be the boys to go to:
have 715 different tree sets.
These will be perfect to lend scale to your HO scale 1,000 tonne "Ratte"
If anyone wanted to do a 1/72 scale military diorama scene, these would
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-