I’ve been working with paper models for more than 6 months and I still think they’re a really fun and interesting medium to work in, though I have yet to finish one. The kits from Shipyard of Poland, particularly the kits which provide parts already laser cut, are very high quality kits that are quite different than most paper model kits.
Since I started, I picked up a couple lighthouse kits, which provide all parts laser cut. I’ve also picked up a couple things from GPM, another Polish paper model manufacturer and online supplier, including a laser-cut detail set designed specifically for the one of the Shipyard kits. I’ve also picked up a GPM paper model and I’ve noted the big difference between the kits from these two companies.
All in all, I’ve been enjoying playing around with these, and have found one issue that can stop you in your tracks. I can’t say anything about GPM yet because I haven’t tried building one of their kits, I just have one on-hand. But, so far, the kits from Shipyard’s Paper Model series look first rate. The problem I ran into recently was with one of their Laser Cut Model series, specifically, the 1/87-scale North Reef Lighthouse kit.
The kit is a fairly detailed lighthouse kit, but during construction I discovered that mine had a couple flaws. One was very minor in that there were supposed to be a number of holes cut to allow insertion of tabs on other pieces. Oddly enough, all the holes were cut except one. It’s as if someone using a CAD program accidentally deleted the object making the slot. But that wasn’t the only flaw. There were supposed to be 16 triangular supports, and there they were all nicely arranged together on the laser-cut sheet all 15… 15? Where was the 16th? There was a nice triangular spot for it in the grid of parts, but that one was missing too.
Well, those were minor issues. As a ship modeler, I’m used to fabricating parts. And that missing hole was easily dealt with – In this case it was simplest to cut off the unused tab. But then I discovered that there were some parts I was missing. I initially figured I had just misplaced the sheet that the parts were on, so later on, I just took out another kit. This was easy enough to do since I was doing this for an online company that carries their products. But, that kit was missing the same sheet.
Okay, a bad batch is understandable, so I contact Shipyard using the contact form on their website some time in early December. I hadn’t heard back from them about the issues in early January, so I sent them two emails using a company email account. That got no reply. Then, suddenly 2 weeks later, I got an email saying that they would get back to me with a reply in a week. Then nothing. I emailed them again a couple weeks later and they said they would reply in 2-3 days. Then again nothing.
So, it has been 2 months and even to representative of a US seller of their kits, their response is pretty bad. This does not bode well, especially after I pointed out that we weren’t ordering anything until I could make recommendations on what to order, and that depended upon their responses to my emails. So, what to do?
Well, overall their kits are good and I’ve only run into this one, albeit nasty, issue. I’ve since personally ordered a replacement kit, the same 1:87-scale North Reef Lighthouse, and it has everything it’s supposed to have. So, I figure there are definitely bad batches out there. I’ve also worked on a 1:72-scale version with the parts all present, plus a 1:72-scale Alcatraz Island Lighthouse (a simpler kit of a SF Bay Area landmark) that’s all good. So, maybe this is just a fluke. Just be prepared to get poor support from Shipyard if you have a problem.
On the positive side, I’ve ordered direct from them on at least four occasions with no problems whatsoever. The orders take no more than maybe 2 weeks to get and they provide a tracking number that will work with USPS once it gets to the States, so it’s easy to follow your package.
Now regarding GPM, I’ve placed two separate orders. The first one took a few weeks, but did eventually arrive and all was well with that one. The second order I placed I am still waiting for and its been over 5 weeks now. There is no tracking number provided by GPM, so I simply have to wait and see. Like I said, the first one arrived with no issues, so I’m still hopeful.
For those of you who don’t want to worry about shipping, Ages of Sail DOES have a number of the Lighthouses from the Laser Cut Model series, plus many of the ships in the Paper Model series. They’ve been running very low on the popular smaller ships, so give them a call if you’re interested in one of those. Also, a lot of this stuff hasn’t made it to their online shop, so again, check with them if you’re looking for something. Ω