As most of the Western world goes off on its Christmas holidays and then in to the new year its time to look forward and make improvements as we go into 2018.
It’s my firm belief nothing is forever. Never stand still, always look for better, stagnation is the enemy of all things, but change for the sake of change – disruption – as the tech people would call it, isn’t always the best way forward.
I considered a change to the layout of 1400reviews.com, but statistics tell me that would be a mistake.
So while I’d been planning changes, all the stats, and there are many more, say don’t do it. Readers like what they like, they know how it works, and, at the end of the day, nobody is moaning about it.
So the blog layout format isn’t going to change for the forseeable future, certainly not 2018.
However, the one thing that is going to change is scoring. To try to keep this short (incase you’ve not noticed brevity isn’t my forté), there is I have felt, a dissonance, a disturbance in the force, the way models are presented as a score is no longer entirely adequate – an overall score is needed as now, but is in itself, not enough.
I have a list of score points that makes up different levels of what gets subtracted for different failures. That isn’t enough any more.
The feeling I have garnered from looking at collectors views of models, their reasoning, is that there is an accuracy issue, and a quality issue each mkes up the whole, but its impossible to judge them all fairly unless we accept certain baselines. In the past the tendency is very much to look at the model as a whole and say this and that is wrong with it.
What those scores never did is take into account what was missing from acceptable levels of production. Aerials, domes, small detail, if the fan colour was correct – I might comment on that but rarely was it scored unless it badly affected the model and became a quality issue in itself.
So that is about to change. The manufacturers make them, you and I buy them. We decided to buy better detailed models when they were presented to us – manufacturers responded moving from gimmicks with aerials and domes to them becoming an expected feature.
It’s true that some people do them better than others, but when has that never been true?
I’ve been thinking how to do this for a long time. Andrerw Klein of Aeroclassics has made his decision that the brand will never adopt what he described as gimmicks. I understand his point that they are often not the correct scale and can be badly done.
They can also be really well done as JC Wings has absoloutely demonstrated this year, along with Panda, even Gemini and Phoenix have gotten far better. Rather than saying no to them, because you can, how about saying yes and doing them better? How about rising to the challenge of your competitors and besting them? That mantra by the way applies to any business, I’m a firm believer that qualititive improvements drive competition and success.
So, I’d written most of this article when the Eurowings A320 review was published, which stirred the above and my subsequent partial re-write.
The vast dome on that Eurowings aircraft – its huge by any standards, is totally missing from the model. These domes are going to become a routine install over the next five years, and hopefully they’ll shrink a little as technology improves, but they still fundamentally change the appearance of the aircraft. Younger model buyers are going to sit and wonder why they’re missing, they’re growing up in an age where these things are just the minimum accepted of an airline. Their models need to reflect fact, not wishful thinking.
This isn’t aimed at any one manufacturer, it’s aimed at ALL of them, there’s no discrimination here. All of them vary the level of detail they place on their models and it isn’t consistent. Newer models get domes, older ones get print-on lines, if that.
That’s the manufacturers legacy of older moulds, and their choice, it might not be what you or I want, but they know they have to try harder and slowly, slowly most of them are.
They expect us to pay a great deal of money for what amounts to a lump of painted metal if you’re being super-harsh. To many that money is hard come by, and they need to remember that you have a choice. If you don’t buy their models, what happens next?
So from now on scoring will be done like this to better represent the quality on one hand and the physical accuracy on the other:
1.The models “Stand Alone Quality” score
Model build, quality, presentation will represent up to 50 points. Everything you can see on this individual model, its “stand alone” quality, no matter what might be missing. Provided the build quality and detail is not subject to manufacturing defects, it should score well. This is the way most people look at their models. Provided something hasn’t fallen off or broken, or there isn’t some big mistake, as a model on its own, not in consideration with others of its type, or airline.
2.The models “Accuracy Score”
Accuracy: anything that is missing and has no excuse to not be there, anything that is the wrong colour – and that means engine fans especially, any aerial, dome, or graphic missing that should for price point be there, but more importantly, is available on other brands in the same scale, that’s going to get scored down if it’s missing.
This is about simply accuracy, colour, aerials, graphics that may be well made and produced, but are actually the wrong colour, font or print for example. And I might add that will also mean the quality of those arials and domes will be heavily scrutinized. Their simply being there isn’t enough.
Many models are a mix of the two, some are great at everything, others can be partly or wholly accurate but appallingly built.
It should provide a more representative overall score. That will be displayed under Section 8 of the reviews called “Score & Conclusions” which won’t change.
It will be represented in two parts, each a score out of 50 and an overall score achieved out of 100.
Anything below 80% will remain a fail in my eyes, but you as a buyer will have a clearer idea as to its quality and its accuracy – and they’re not the same thing.
So nothing too major, unless you’re a manufacturer. They ignore what critics think unless it suits them – I’ve seen my posts put up on their pages when they do well so I know they read this, even if some of them hate me for it.
You do though like to read bad news! The biggest readership is either for a model that has done really well – but is always beaten by models that have done really badly! Bad models ‘sell’ from a readership perspective. I hasten to add that isn’t why I write them!
I’ll be away in San Francisco now through to 2nd January. 5 new Phoenix models, a new Gemini and a used Gemini have arrived this morning…plenty to start January with!
Enjoy the holidays wherever you are in the world! Thankyou for continuing to support 1400Reviews.com
So that’s about it except of course for the 2017 Model & Brand of the Year Awards 2017 released next Friday, 29th December at 1200UTC. The article is always the most read of the year, it’s the hardest to write and takes a lot of time to put together, so please, enjoy the results. It’s not going to be what you’d expect….
Have a great Christmas holiday period, wherever you are, and if you’re not on holiday, thanks for your support and here’s to 2018!