FROG Rovex Tri-ang ltd; 1969/1970
by James Goulding
It is disturbing to note a continuance of inaccuracy in Frog-designed kits, and there is clearly much room for improvement I can list many recent kits in which there are incorrect features of one sort or another—some difficult to correct, and others impossible.
The Ju 87D has several outline errors that are impossible to correct.
The Bf 109F could have been a delightful model, but is spoilt by entirely inaccurate nose contours.
The Mosquito is a disastrous model throughout. The Hurricane has many inaccurate outlines.
The Lysander has a prototype tailplane which bears no resemblance to the production type.
The Beau-fighter is generally a very nice model, but again has some errors, as mentioned in my review in the October issue.
The Blenheim I is a pleasing model, and the only serious inaccuracy, the turret shape, could be excused on the grounds of moulding difficulty—although Frog's earlier, smaller, Blenheim I had a much better shaped turret.
But none of the errors to be found in the other models could be attributed to moulding problems, and could have been avoided if sufficient attention had been paid to detailed shapes.
It seems a pity to spend all the time and effort on producing a kit, which is a long and involved process, only to spoil the resulting model.
It can be doubtless be argued that it does not matter if a model is inaccurate as long as it sells, and it is probably true that the majority of those buying kits are possibly not aware that there is anything wrong with the particular model.
But there are thousands of specialist model makers, all of whom take a great pride in their carefully-built and finished models.
It is for them that accuracy is essential.
It is just as easy to produce a model kit without serious outline and detail errors as it is to produce a bad kit.
There is clearly a need to take a long look at the problem of avoiding errors.
On the other hand, those models which have originated from the Hasegawa team, and issued here under the Frog label, have been superb.
Their standard of outline accuracy, attention to detail, and moulding have been excellent.
Obviously much thought and careful study of the full-sized subject has gone into each kit to obtain such quality, and judging from two new kits that I have recently built their standard is still improving.
Very few serious faults get by their careful scrutiny, and they impress by the way in which difficult shapes to mould are tackled and successfully produced.
Their general attitude seems to be that accuracy comes first, even if the moulding of a shape presents formidable problems.
There does not seem to be any evidence of the usual excuses for inaccuracies—"That shape cannot be moulded" or "if we moulded the correct shape the kit would cost twice as much".
I am sorry if my criticism of the Frog-designed kits sounds harsh, but it is made in a spirit of wishing to see them reach such a standard that we will be able to look forward to each new model without fear that it may be spoilt by some unfortunate and non-correctable error.
If that is achieved, it can only be to the advantage of Frog in the long run.
One item in all Frog kits that deserves the greatest possible praise is the standard of the transfers.
These have reached a quality that places them supreme in the kit field, and it is to be hoped that other manufacturers will try to raise theirs to the same level.
AIRCRAFT Illustrated, December 1969
by James Goulding
So you think today's kits cost a lot of money!
The other day, while browsing through some old magazines, I became interested in a model shop advertisement in the Aeromodeller for December, 1947. Similar in content to the familiar lists of 1 /62nd scale kits seen today, this advertisement, for Frog Penguin plastic kits, was noteworthy for the prices charged. If you are tempted to grumble about prices of today's kits, just compare them with those of 1947. An Airfix Spitfire IX costs 2s 11 d today but in 1 947 a Penguin kit of the Spitfire I or XII cost 6s 9d. A Frog Tempest V today costs 3s, but the 1947 Penguin kit cost 8s 3d. Or perhaps you are a Beaufighter fan ? Today it will cost you 6s 9d, if you buy Frog's excellent multi-version kit, but 23 years ago the Penguin kit would have cost you 13s 9d! Other 1947 prices were a Mustang 6s 9d, a Hellcat at 8s 3d, a Bf 110 at 9s 4d and a Mosquito and P-38 Lightning at 10s 1d.
Consider that the national average wage was probably about £5 per week compared with about £18-£19 of today's figure, and some idea of the cost of kits in those days can be gauged.
Frequently one hears people say that kits today are not as good as "those wonderful old Penguins", but memories are notoriously unreliable and paint legendary pictures of how splendid things were in the "good old days"-—when in fact there is no comparison between kits in those days and the high standard and low prices of the models of today. Penguin kits, especially the pre-war samples, were very remarkable for their day, at a time when most 1 /72nd kits consisted of balsa or other wood parts, which had to be shaped, and die-cast engines, wheels, and other accessories. But some Penguin kits had accurate outlines and others not so good. I have seen several of these models in recent times, and have a number of engines, fins, or other components from them. I also have a post-war Penguin Vampire I which is crude by any standards today, and a number of Skybirds die-cast parts. None of these items stand any comparison with the very high standards of moulding of today's kits, and despite the vastly improved standards, we now pay a mere fraction of the 1947 cost in real terms.
AIRCRAFT Illustrated, May 1970