Why don't they make a model kit of .....?

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Why isn't there a model kit of the model I'm looking for?

This is a common question, I get emails all the time, almost every day, of people looking for a certain model. There are many reasons on why there isn't a particular model kit available, so I'll cover some points on that here.

Plastic Model Kits

Models made of plastic require an injecton mold. Plastic is heated to a high temperature and then forced into the mold at high pressure. This makes the plastic "trees" that hold the parts, and gives you what you need to build a model.

Here is a mold for a plastic model courtesy of Round2 Models:

 

 

This mold makes JUST ONE of the many parts trees that make up a model, and this is JUST HALF of the mold. You need two for each tree (excluding kits that use slide molds I believe), and some models have many trees, depending on the complexity of the kit.

Don't let the picture fool you. This is one heavy piece of steel. You need a fork lift to get these around and put them in and out of the molding machines, or move them around a warehouse.

So what's involved in getting a mold made? The molds to make a model kit can cost from $ 100,000 to $250,000. Just to make one kind of model. So model companies don't just start popping out new models every day because they feel like it. It's expensive!

There's also a boat load of engineering time, CAD work, and milling work done to even make the mold. It's not a simple task.

 

A reason why there maybe isn't the exact year of the car you want -

 

To use a car model for instance I'll pick the Ford Mustang by Revell.

 

revell 90 mustang drag racer 5.0 mustang model kit

 

You'll note that the box says 1990. However, this (Fox) body style was used from 1987 to 1995. And that body and chassis is based on the first 1979 Mustang. Some people (not familiar with models) may ask why there is no model of a 1989 Mustang, or a 1991?

This is because from 1987 to 1995 the Mustangs were almost all the same (except for cosmetic changes).

There's no reason for a model company to go to the expense to make a kit of every year from 1987 to 1995 when they are all almost identical. Usually a model company will pick a year for a car body's run (maybe the most popular?) and go with that.

So the chances of a Mustang model from Revell coming out that's a 1993 is probably rare. The 1990 is as close as it's going to get. Model companies feel it's up to the individual modeler to make any small modifications to the kit / body to make their specific year car.

Also, some companies make 3D printed and resin conversion kits to turn one style or year model into another, using a kit already on the market.

People may think models of say, a 1952 Crosley Coupe car, would sell like crazy. And maybe it would. But a model company has to be sure before they drop hundreds of thousands of dollars. There are THOUSANDS of cars that have never been in model form, so don't be dismayed if there isn't one available now, or never has been. It's quite common.

Also, when it comes to cars and trucks, I recommend you look for a diecast version, possibly even a toy. If it can be taken apart then you can repaint and modify them, very much like a model kit.

 

Using a ship model as an example -

Let's say someone wants a model of a WWII battleship, the USS Kentucky. Chances are that there is no model of that ship in the scale you want, maybe not at all in any scale. You haven't been able to find one.

But there's a trick to sometimes finding a ship model. You need to know what Class of ship you're looking for. The USS Kentucky battleship was an Iowa class ship. That means you want to look for ship models in that class. Guess what? There are models of the USS Missouri - which is also an Iowa class ship. Granted, ships were slightly different from one to another, especially during war time, but overall, the model kit will be of the same basic ship you want.

Always start by searching for the all the names of the class ship you're looking for. You will have better results, and a much better chance of finding a kit for the ship model you want (Wikipedia is handy for a list of ships made of a certain Class).

Again, just like a car model, a model company isn't going to make a model kit for each the 6 ships in the Iowa class. They will traditionally pick the most popular named ship and do that one. Sometimes they may do more than one example in the class, but that doesn't always happen.

Model companies leave it up to the individual modeler to make the changes needed to represent a specific ship from year to year, or other modifications needed to make a certain ship. That's one of the reasons there are so many aftermarket resin parts and photoetch for ship models.

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