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 Post subject: Inaccurate box art
PostPosted: Fri 14 Feb 2014 18:17 pm 
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Catalogue and Club Kit arrived yesterday.

What's good about the catalogue - unlike last year, all the kit colour schemes are shown (even if the main photo just shows grey plastic). Very happy with this, especially since the new alternative scheme for the Mk IX Spit is Clostermann's aircraft, accompanied by a particularly nice French option.

Could do better - some of the kits with the D-Day stamp have illustrations with palm trees and desert schemes. Not the biggest issue if the other scheme is D-Day compatible but the Panther at least is only currently available in a desert scheme.

This is only a very minor criticism really, more than happy with the club kits, though I reckon I'll end up doing the Swordfish with the Matchbox decals... we shall see.

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PostPosted: Fri 14 Feb 2014 18:47 pm 
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28vanelli wrote:
Could do better - some of the kits with the D-Day stamp have illustrations with palm trees and desert schemes. Not the biggest issue if the other scheme is D-Day compatible but the Panther at least is only currently available in a desert scheme.

The Panther's markings are non-descript and could be used in any theatre. German tanks were often delivered just painted in the RAL 7028 Dunkelgelb after 1942 and the RAL 8017 Rotbraun – Schokoladenbraun and RAL 6003 Olivgrün) were applied in the field as a disruptive pattern over the top (or not as the case might be) :wink:

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PostPosted: Mon 17 Feb 2014 01:27 am 
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Ratch wrote:
The Panther's markings are non-descript and could be used in any theatre.


But, as depicted in the Airfix kit, almost certainly weren't. :evil:

The Panther never set foot (track?) in North Africa, and to the best of my knowledge, the plain Dunkelgelb scheme (no camouflage scheme) was never used on any Panther in the field that I've seen a photo of. However, I grant that it's theoretically possible, if highly unlikely. Since the Airfix Panther only represents an actual Panther "in theory" (i.e., it's nothing like any actual Panther that ever existed) I guess the combination of completely fictional theoretical elements makes it all acceptable ...?

Airfix are having an even bigger laugh than normal, though, if they're claiming their Panther kit represents a Normandy vehicle. Well, it has the right number of wheels, and that's good enough, I guess!

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PostPosted: Mon 17 Feb 2014 12:45 pm 
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I think you take Airfix box art far too seriously Bruce. When they were first issued these were toys you built yourself to play with, not scale replicas with an educational element to them. Granted, the artwork could/should have been changed (even the plastic issued) over the past 50-odd years, but Airfix have never taken that opportunity :cry: Yes we can dismiss the kit (and artwork) as wholly inaccurate, but should it really be evaluated against modern standards when contemporarily those standards didn't exist :shrug:

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PostPosted: Tue 18 Feb 2014 00:24 am 
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Ratch wrote:
should it really be evaluated against modern standards


Yes, when it's being sold in the same box art style alongside other kits.

Airfix took the time and expense to change the Panther box-art only a year or so ago. They could have done nothing else with the kit but place the (same) not-really-accurate paint scheme and markings in a generic European background, and I'd have made no complaint (I mean, obviously the kit itself would still be awful, but that's a known quantity) but instead they chose to perpetuate a gross mistake. To put it another way, they deliberately made the decision to perpetuate inaccurate information. I cannot think of any circumstance where that is something to be admired. (Well, I suppose it might not have been deliberate; it could have just been gross ignorance, despite decades of experience, which would be even less admirable.) If they tried the same thing with any of their aircraft kits (of any generation) their would have been howls of outrage from all quarters. In fact we have seen that Airfix are taking a great deal of time and trouble to improve the accuracy of the markings on most if not all of their aircraft kits, even the older ones. I don't think anyone has been complaining about that, have they?

To me, it just highlights the contempt that Airfix holds for their military vehicle kits, and the people who buy them. Just because Airfix doesn't care is not a reason for anyone else not to care, is it?

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PostPosted: Tue 18 Feb 2014 00:41 am 
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A number of Airfix artwork have historical or technical inaccuracies, perhaps simply from the lack of expert knowledge on the subject depicted.
Perhaps if the right people are told in the right way the artwork will change when that stock of boxes runs out, or the kit is issued in another way.


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 Post subject: Re: Misleading box art
PostPosted: Tue 18 Feb 2014 07:48 am 
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The Avro Anson Mk.I artwork has consistently depicted a Mk.I Early with the sloped windscreen , when the kit has always been a Mk.I Late with an upright windscreen :roll: .

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PostPosted: Tue 18 Feb 2014 12:32 pm 
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BWP wrote:
To me, it just highlights the contempt that Airfix holds for their military vehicle kits, and the people who buy them. Just because Airfix doesn't care is not a reason for anyone else not to care, is it?

Well said

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Last edited by Ratch on Tue 18 Feb 2014 14:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Quote established correctly


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PostPosted: Tue 18 Feb 2014 14:22 pm 
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BWP wrote:
To me, it just highlights the contempt that Airfix holds for their military vehicle kits, and the people who buy them. Just because Airfix doesn't care is not a reason for anyone else not to care, is it?


I am sorry, Bruce, but I must take issue with this statement. Airfix do not hold their military kits in contempt, but are simply making the best use of the old tool bank, which was not updated by the previous Airfix owners. Since the current management have been in place, we have seen that they do value military vehicles as a stock line. Over the last few years we have seen Bedford Trucks, Cromwell Tank, King Tiger Tank, RAF vehicle set, Coyote, Jackal, Land Rovers and Quad bikes. Of course we would all like to see more, but it is in everyone's interest for Airfix to thrive and survive and this means new Spitfies by the bucketload at the expense of new Ships and AFVs, because they sell by the Bucketload.
As for Airfix holding their customers in contempt - Really? You know as well as I do that Airfix offer a very high customer service level and I have never once thought that I was being dealt with contemptuously and I have not read of anyone feeling the same.
I seldom seek to disagree with anybody on the ATF, but on this occassion, I think you have been grossly unfair and your statement needs to be refuted. Consider it done so.

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 Post subject: Re: Misleading box art
PostPosted: Tue 18 Feb 2014 15:57 pm 
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Those of us at Yeovilton who saw the sprues for the new Jeep will agree that Airfix are supporter of military vehicles.
The number of versions possible from that one sprue was impressive. I'm excited and I'm primarily a builder of aircraft.


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 Post subject: Re: Misleading box art
PostPosted: Tue 18 Feb 2014 17:28 pm 
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Having opened the can of worms, my personal solution would be for Mr Tooby to knock up some suitable D-Day / Western European artwork for the Panther etc, and add a D-Day / Western European option for the D Day compatible kits that currently lack it, maybe do an 'a' version like they're doing with the Spit IX (yes, I've mentioned it before, but I love Clostermann's autobiography and that second scheme is real purty too).
I wouldn't go so far as to say customers are being held in contempt, rather an opportunity is being missed (imho) by just putting the D-Day stamp on the pic in the catalogue but not going any further down the road.

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 Post subject: Re: Misleading box art
PostPosted: Tue 18 Feb 2014 19:44 pm 
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I think printing time; called the 'lead time' - when the copy & artwork for the catalogue has to go together, then be printed, then distributed is such that we may likely see different artwork on some of the kits. How many of the new tool kits are still shown in the catalogue as simply grey on white artwork?
I think the title of this thread is wrong; mislead is to deliberately misinform, which I don't think Airfix has ever done. Mistakes in the artwork, they have done.


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 Post subject: Re: Misleading box art
PostPosted: Tue 18 Feb 2014 22:18 pm 
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Not guilty Fred! My comment was split off from another thread.

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 Post subject: Re: Misleading box art
PostPosted: Tue 18 Feb 2014 22:27 pm 
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The misleading aspects of the artwork are, to me, the presentation of classic-tool-kits .

You can't make a Panther, Airacobra or Bristol Fighter OOB to the standard that you can make a fabric-wing Hurricane OOB, but the type of boxing is indistinguishable. There should be a clear note on the box that the kit contains a package of nostalgia, not a modern kit.

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 Post subject: Re: Misleading box art
PostPosted: Tue 18 Feb 2014 22:48 pm 
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My Grandfather, my father (many of my family) and I worked for a company called Mettoy. It was founded by two ex-German Jews, Arthur Katz and Henry Ullman, in the 1930s; much in the same way that Nicholas Cove founded Airfix about the same time. There are strong parallels between the two companies; both started in different places but ended up in the toy trade. Mettoy made metal toys, clockwork train sets and cars (the cars became Corgi, part of the current Hornby Group), then rotationally moulded footballs and spacehoppers. From the late 50s and early 60s Airfix concentrated on injection moulded kits. Mettoy distributed Aurora kits under licence. These kits were regarded as toys that kids could assemble and play with; hence the working features and probably why tanks and figures were made in the railway scale, to play with their train sets. Neither company did this for altruistic reasons. This was the Toy Trade and they did it to make money. If people wanted to buy some bits of plastic that might vaguely resemble something in real life (or historical) then that’s all it needed to do – SELL. The need for accuracy was barely a consideration. I can remember going to Toy Fairs (Earls Court, N.E.C. and Harrogate) where you weren’t allowed on the Airfix stand unless you were a buyer. This wasn’t just Airfix but all traders – if you weren’t buying you were preventing someone else buying. It was all about getting orders and making money.

It was only through employees like Trevor Snowden, who took pride in their work and had a specialist interest that raised the bar in certain areas. Competition from the Far East also pushed the bar upwards, although some companies (Frog, Matchbox and even Mettoy) fell by the wayside. Airfix have managed to keep going albeit through the Palitoy and Humbrol takeovers. During this time I’ll wager that the ethos remained in the “squeeze the last penny from the unsuspecting customer” corner. I believe that Hornby have raised the game through sheer hard work and a steep learning curve. Remember that when Hornby rescued the Airfix name, Trevor was about the only person who’d previously worked for the company. Everyone else was new to the brand. R&D continue to learn about each subject as they research it for future release. Not everyone knows everything about specific subjects. New facts and information continue to turn up periodically. Airfix seem to have adopted the approach that new tools will be based on existing examples. Not fool-proof; remember how they got the Tiger and Puma wrong copying the museum errors. But they do seem to be listening to the customer base while continuing to make money. Rome wasn’t built in a day and while old (inaccurate) tools continue turning a profit they will continue to be sold.

Likewise the box-art. As wonderful as Adam is as an artist, I suspect he works to a brief, and if neither he nor the person setting the brief has specialist knowledge on the subject then errors will continue to be made or perpetuated. The artwork itself has gone full circle with the classic Roy Cross type of action pictures being mirrored by Adam following the tepid Type 8 and ensuing politically correct, non-violent designs. The dilemma comes from our continual revision of our expectations, what was acceptable at one time falls out of favour at a later date, but the reason why it was accepted in the first instance is forgotten. Maybe our opinions of today’s kits will be revised downwards in the future.

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 Post subject: Re: Misleading box art
PostPosted: Tue 18 Feb 2014 22:56 pm 
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No argument. However, back to my point, this is an example of how an old kit is repackaged unambiguously.

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 Post subject: Re: Misleading box art
PostPosted: Tue 18 Feb 2014 23:03 pm 
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Agreed Bruce, but which kits would you put in which packaging :juggle:

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 Post subject: Re: Misleading box art
PostPosted: Wed 19 Feb 2014 00:54 am 
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Ratch wrote:
Agreed Bruce, but which kits would you put in which packaging :juggle:

I think Aifix could be fairly pragmatic about it. An old kit, for which a limited run is to be produced for a particular catalog year, could be marked as "Limited Edition Classic Kit" or similar wording.

Anything pre-1990 would be a "Classic Kit" IMHO. A new tool, newly issued, could have the word "NEW" emblazoned on it, like they did in the '70s. this would help avoid certain confusing issues.

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 Post subject: Re: Misleading box art
PostPosted: Wed 19 Feb 2014 01:35 am 
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However Revell also regularly put old kits into their standard blue packaging (case in point their 1950s WWI fighters). This surely leads to more confusion as due to the Classic Kit sub brand they have established may would assume only new kits go into the blue boxes. However this is not true both old and new go into the blue despite the established old kits in silver boxes brand so you still have no certainty the same as the Airfix kits.

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 Post subject: Re: Misleading box art
PostPosted: Wed 19 Feb 2014 03:33 am 
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I would refer you to my previous comment, Arpie, rather than focussing on what Revell does to muddy the waters. You're quite correct about their ambiguity - it's as bad as, or worse, than other brands. However, I feel that there is an opportunity to provide a clear unambiguous message on the boxes of the various kits to provide meaningful clues as to the contents.

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