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Miniwing 1/144 Aero L-159 Alca (2018)

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MerlinJones
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Re: Miniwing 1/144 Aero L-159 Alca (2018)

#11

Post by MerlinJones »

Conclusion
Normally, I’m a great fan of 1/144 scale and view it as the sensible scale, especially with regards collecting. I’ve grown to appreciate just how far modelling in this scale has come over the years, from the awful Crown and misshapen Gunze kits of old, through to the revelations of the new Revell Tomcats, Hunters and Hawkeyes, to those wonders of the 21[sup]st[/sup] century from Eduard, Platz and so forth.
I’ve also appreciated the resin contribution to the scale and, after all that, I have to say that I was very disappointed by the plastic on offer from Miniwing. Given that this has followed their awful caricature of the Jet Provost and Strikemaster, I have to ask if anything bad is happening to them?
I really do hope not, as I’ve a lot of affection for the brand, based on many, many previously positive modelling experiences.

I'm aware that this kit is based upon the old Attack Albatros, but this still feels like a backward step for Miniwing.
To summarise, I feel that this kit was a let-down because of poor fit and soft detail. Inaccurate and, therefore, unhelpful instructions didn’t help matters and, whilst the decals weren’t those pixelated messes of old, they could’ve been easier to manage. I certainly wouldn’t want to recommend this kit to anyone new to 1/144 scale and even then, I’d suggest some good modelling experience is required to get the best out it.
Moving to plastic from resin was probably a good idea, when trying to keep costs down, but I feel that there’s a point when good value can become cheap and nasty.
Whilst I thank them for the opportunity, I can only ask that Miniwing remember their quality of old and aim to maintain this.
It's my madness that keeps me sane.
The Modelling Man Cave: https://sites.google.com/site/themodellingmancave/home

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smeg1959
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Re: Miniwing 1/144 Aero L-159 Alca (2018)

#12

Post by smeg1959 »

Firstly, welcome back, Merlin. It's been a while again, but I think we all realise your workbench is populated with more than just 1/144 scale builds. A really nice little completion given all the grief you encountered along the way. It is unfortunate that Miniwing haven't hit the spot with this release. The company has bought out some great stuff over the years, so here's hoping this is an aberration. We need all the manufacturers we can get, but the quality of the product needs to tick at least some of the boxes. I think about Zvezda's Battle and the huge amount of work F_IV put in to get an admittedly brilliant rendition of the Fairey light bomber. We expect lots of corrective surgery on kits like the perennial re-issues of Crown moulds by Minicraft. With new issues from companies like Platz and Mark I, and the revamping of the Eduard range, the future is looking bright, but we always need to temper our enthusiasm because the odd kit isn't what it was cracked up to be. And critical reviews like this are invaluable in preparing buyers before they spend their hard-earned on something that could and should have been a lot better.

Now, can we tempt you into a build (or ten) for the current Cold War GB? Nudge, nudge, wink, wink! ;)
OTB ...
GB13 - Late 298 (Aeronavale), Bf109E-3a Strela (Bulgarian AF), Hurricane Mk I (257 Sqn RAF)

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MerlinJones
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Re: Miniwing 1/144 Aero L-159 Alca (2018)

#13

Post by MerlinJones »

Thanks Smeg.
I think that it's because I am so familiar with both the early Attack kits and Miniwing that I was disappointed by this apparent step backwards in all aspects of the kit and build. To be honest, I thought something must be awry with that travesty of a Jet Provost/Strikemaster.
The thing is, I detect a strong element of the Emperor's New Clothes amongst the 1/144 modelling community, with many singing the praises of this kit and attacking anyone who offers a critique. Apparently, having to use large quantities of filler and replacing all fine details with scratched items is considered to be the norm. (Obviously, said nutters haven't experienced Platz, Pit Road, Eduard or even modern Revell kits). Excuses are made for the short-run nature of the beast and I recall the qualities of the earlier resin kits.
Any way, moving ever-so swiftly on...

I'm afraid I won't be participating in the Cold War GB, simply because the theme is way too broad for my tastes and, whilst it might be a GB, it's not a GB as I know it.
It's my madness that keeps me sane.
The Modelling Man Cave: https://sites.google.com/site/themodellingmancave/home

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ajmm
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Re: Miniwing 1/144 Aero L-159 Alca (2018)

#14

Post by ajmm »

Sad that this does indeed look to be a step backwards from the earlier resin and even the previous plastic Miniwing kits. I do agree that their plastic is not as nice as the resin. Still - a great result for your troubles.

If you won’t join the GB I still hope you’ll do and show us more of your 144 builds.

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smeg1959
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Re: Miniwing 1/144 Aero L-159 Alca (2018)

#15

Post by smeg1959 »

My sentiments entirely, Angus. And no need to apologise on the GB front, Merlin. The Cold War is probably one of the most open options imaginable. Secretly, I was hoping for some 1930's action but have found a handful of kits in the stash to cover me in the current build. I suspect the next GBs will be more restrictive in their scope.

Incidentally, a very probable upcoming GB will concern space, given the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Stay tuned ...
OTB ...
GB13 - Late 298 (Aeronavale), Bf109E-3a Strela (Bulgarian AF), Hurricane Mk I (257 Sqn RAF)

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JBr-Decals
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Re: Miniwing 1/144 Aero L-159 Alca (2018)

#16

Post by JBr-Decals »

Alca is sort of a guilty pleasure. It was originally to be released by Mark1, but they eventually decided not to do it. Why? Because they feared it wouldn't sell enough even to pay the costs of tooling.

Unlike all the current plastic production and most of the late resins, which had the master patterns made in 3D and milled/printed, the master pattern for Alca is hand made. Radek bought it and decided to release the kit himself, inspite the fact that the kit will never repay itself. Why he did it? Because its a Czech plane and we like it. And if he didn't do the kit of it, no one else would. All the tooling and injection work was done by JaCH, just as in case of previous Attack kits and some of the Mark1 kits too. Still, he'd need to sell more than 1000 Alcas to at least get the costs back (just for comparison purposes -- two years back, the total sales of Eduard MiG-21s were between 4 and 5 thousands kits -- and that's a state of the art injected kit from the steel mould, after 7-8 years in production).

Regarding the pylon position drawing -- this was my mistake and we found it very soon after the release, if you were following Miniwing on Facebook, you would know about it because it was posted on their page and also in multiple 1/144 scale builder groups. Also all the kits packed after that had the corrected instructions included. Unfortunately, about 100-150 kits were sent out with the bad instructions before that.

The small decal sheet is included because some of the decal sheets had defects on two of the decals. Yours seem to be OK, but the smaller sheet is packed in every kit, just in case. And nothing changed in decal production, I use the same company for printing since 2013. Same people, same materials (just the price is higher every few months). The only exception are some of the Miniwing kits that contain the decals printed in China. But that's not the case of Alca.

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MerlinJones
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Re: Miniwing 1/144 Aero L-159 Alca (2018)

#17

Post by MerlinJones »

JBr-Decals wrote:Alca is sort of a guilty pleasure. It was originally to be released by Mark1, but they eventually decided not to do it. Why? Because they feared it wouldn't sell enough even to pay the costs of tooling.

Unlike all the current plastic production and most of the late resins, which had the master patterns made in 3D and milled/printed, the master pattern for Alca is hand made. Radek bought it and decided to release the kit himself, in spite the fact that the kit will never repay itself. Why he did it? Because its a Czech plane and we like it. And if he didn't do the kit of it, no one else would. All the tooling and injection work was done by JaCH, just as in case of previous Attack kits and some of the Mark1 kits too. Still, he'd need to sell more than 1000 Alcas to at least get the costs back (just for comparison purposes -- two years back, the total sales of Eduard MiG-21s were between 4 and 5 thousands kits -- and that's a state of the art injected kit from the steel mould, after 7-8 years in production).

Regarding the pylon position drawing -- this was my mistake and we found it very soon after the release, if you were following Miniwing on Facebook, you would know about it because it was posted on their page and also in multiple 1/144 scale builder groups. Also all the kits packed after that had the corrected instructions included. Unfortunately, about 100-150 kits were sent out with the bad instructions before that.

The small decal sheet is included because some of the decal sheets had defects on two of the decals. Yours seem to be OK, but the smaller sheet is packed in every kit, just in case. And nothing changed in decal production, I use the same company for printing since 2013. Same people, same materials (just the price is higher every few months). The only exception are some of the Miniwing kits that contain the decals printed in China. But that's not the case of Alca.
Thank you so very much for that information and all becomes clear now.
It's a pity that none of this was included with the kit, (I know...there's only so much room), as I would've been so, so much more forgiving in my review.
Please can you allow me to send this new information to the magazine editor, to supplement my review? (Or PM me and I'll give you the email address and you can contact him directly).

To be sure, the info may well have been on Facebook and 'in multiple 1/144 scale builder groups', but no modeller should be expected to wander the internet looking for it. As this was a review kit for a magazine, I was on a deadline and decided to take the kit as I found it.I tend to avoid most* builder groups, because they seem to be inhabited by JMNs, trolls and idiots and I get little joy from them.

*Present company excepted, of course.
It's my madness that keeps me sane.
The Modelling Man Cave: https://sites.google.com/site/themodellingmancave/home

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JBr-Decals
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Re: Miniwing 1/144 Aero L-159 Alca (2018)

#18

Post by JBr-Decals »

Sure, you can use the info for the article (maybe don't quote that Eduard MiG sales number :))

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MerlinJones
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Re: Miniwing 1/144 Aero L-159 Alca (2018)

#19

Post by MerlinJones »

JBr-Decals wrote:Sure, you can use the info for the article (maybe don't quote that Eduard MiG sales number :))
Understood and thanks again.
It's my madness that keeps me sane.
The Modelling Man Cave: https://sites.google.com/site/themodellingmancave/home

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