Kit reviews are broken.
Most of the time, they just scratch the surface. Sprues are pawed through, a few ejector pins are noted, and the kit is pronounced “highly recommended”.
Sometimes they go further. Test fits of major airframe components can reveal some insights into how a kit builds. But only some. Details and nuances can be lost.
And then there’s bias. Even if a reviewer intends to approach a kit objectively, if it’s provided by the good graces of a manufacturer, distributor or publication there’s still a leaning to “see the good” in things. Hell – even if a reviewer is purchasing a kit with their own money, there’s the innate desire that that money not be wasted. See, for example, my Italeri Mirage IIIE review (LINK). There’s a lot of good stuff in that kit, but the engineering is a dog’s breakfast, and I feel like I glossed over it.
So I’m proposing to shake things up. Not to escape bias, because that’s impossible. Instead, I propose to redirect that bias not to manufacturers or publications, or even to myself, but to you, those who follow my page and read my blog and even watch my condescending videos.
How? By crowdfunding reviews. Similar to the public radio model. Listener-supported, bracingly honest kit reviews.
How This Mad Scheme Would Work
Through GoFundMe or a similar crowdfunding site, you and a (hopefully large) number of other followers would contribute small amounts toward a Review Fund, that would in turn be used to purchase kits for review.
The kits to be reviewed would be chosen through online polls. In essence, you would be telling me what you want to see reviewed. How often and how many would be determined by the size of the Review Fund.
The kit would then be subjected to the following hell:
- An in-box review examining the sprues for detail, quality, and accuracy within reason
- A full review build, completely naked (the kit, not me). No paint. No primer. Just plastic and glue. This full build approach would focus on engineering and fit, and offer close looks through photos and video at how the thing actually goes together, warts and all.
- A decal test, on painted surfaces. Kit decals will be subjected to various decal solutions (Mircosol, Solvaset, Mr. Mark Softer, AK Decal Adapter) to determine how well or poorly they perform and give you advance warning on any chemistry insights.
Everything would be published to my blog and Facebook page for easy access, perusal, comments and mockery.
But first, I need to know if there’s even enough interest to make something like this viable. So register your opinion in the handy poll. If the interest is there, I’ll get this effort spinning up!