Optional Aftermarket Parts – as advertised – are those items, that you can use to elevate the detail and/or accuracy level of your project. As we all know, models are not perfect and most likely – never will be. A good example is Zoukei-Mura’s F-4 Phantom. Almost flawless kit, made with devotion and inches from perfection. But the nozzles included are rather thick and do not correspond to the level of the overall set. Another example are DML armor kits with DS tracks. Mud lovers know from painful experience, that no matter how nice Dragon kits are, with DS tracks they are more often than not – ruined.
Here comes the wide aftermarket market. Apologies for the word repetitiveness. This is a realm, where many people work and some thrive, improving the kit basics we get with whatever medium they can. Those are metal sets, resin parts, 3D printed designs /lately or decal sheets with corrected options. You name it. It can be anything. All described above – “optional”.
Eduard Brassin line is beyond tempting
But do we really have the choice? On a daily basis, we are reminded, that we live in society that was never better and we can be whoever we want to be. Do anything that we want to do, within the boundaries of the law of course. We are free to choose. But let’s look at the aftermarket: are we really? Getting an expensive kit like ZMs F-4 and ending up with such nozzles, how’s that sounds? Or Tamiya’s latest /and one of the greatest ever/ Tomcat kits in 48th scale, for which there is a set improving the optionality /Carrier Launch Set/, costing as much as the kit itself!?
We don’t think so. This works as good as your newest smartphone coming without a charging brick and God forbid this being your only option, because your last one was damaged or you sold it. Good luck with charging your battery! So it is pretty clear to us, that optional aftermarket only features “optional” word to somehow create an illusion for your upcoming decisions. Unfortunately, many companies accepted this approach as the norm, in order to, well…make more money. Rye Field Model, Tamiya, Eduard and many others are giving you better parts, but packed separately and if you don’t get those … you already know the story.
Tamiya’s Metal Gun Barrel for Hummel. Hard to say no to that.
We know, that having good aftermarket parts in your kit is a nice thing. The feeling is great. The abundance creates that pleasant sensation that you did the best you could collecting and organizing the package. And eventually, your attempt to replicate the real thing will be the best you could make. But is there anything else in life, besides trying your best on a daily basis in any area? Let alone for modelers, who, by their mental design are perfectionists? It is a psychological note that many exploit. Because you have no other option, but to go for the most accurate thing, once you already have 80 or 90% of that OOTB.
Some companies seemingly design their kits with intentional flaws. We cannot say that is nasty, but at some point might raise an eyebrow. There are some, where you either get your aftermarket set, or you will bite your lip every time you go to the modeling contest. Yet, model makers do it. On the other hand, they make money off of that, which is good. And before you raise your eyebrow at that statement of ours, let’s look from their perspective – the more money a good company makes, the better the chances are for us to get more products from it and hopefully and eventually – at better quality. Sometimes at better prices, but …rarely. But in order for them to exist, we have to pay them. This is the reality.
Eduard Wildcat Aftermarket Cockpit
So how about that optionality we talked about? Would you get your tank kit with rubber tracks and plastic barrel when you can do better? Or left your plane’s cockpit basic when you can get all the bells and whistles with resin/3D colored parts just for few bucks more? There is no choice here if you ask us. In rare cases, there is – let’s make an example here with aftermarket raised rivets or repetitive PE parts, seemingly thinner and more accurate than the one already inside the box. But not with everything. Not really.
The description speaks for itself
We are stuck in a situation that we cannot easily get out of. Some are out of it, building everything /and only/ OOTB and making the most of it no matter what. And there are masters at that, overshadowing even the most over-stuffed-with-aftermarket kit builders. But the majority takes pride at spicing up their builds. OOTB seems to be a thing from the past. Which is good. But in all our honesty, lately – this seems to be kinda overused. Mostly by model makers. Things must return to their balanced form. It is like getting the latest and greatest smartphone without a charger. You have to spend extra. And there is no way around it. It is a nasty trick. No more, no less.