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Big issues with T-55A from Takom
PatriotaModels
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Bayern, Germany
Joined: October 25, 2011
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Posted: Sunday, January 01, 2017 - 06:19 PM UTC
Hello guys,

I haven´t been on this forum for a long time. But now, I think, is the right time to become active again, because there are some serious problems and issues with TAKOM´s new T-55A tank.

I´m building a Czechoslovak made T-55A that was in service with the Yugoslav Army. These tanks are identical to East German T-55A tanks bought from Czechoslovakia (turret configuration and attachments).

Here´s a link to an East German T-55AM (Czech made):
http://www.primeportal.net/apc/jussen/t-55a.htm

I have tried to contact TAKOM, pointing on all issues, but unfortunately until now there´s no response.

The biggest issue for sure are the track links and the sprocket wheel. Standard track links have to be OMsh-type instead of RMsh-type delivered with the kit. Second issue for this release is the drive sprocket. It has to be a 13 teeth sprocket wheel instead of the 14 teeth sprocket wheel. 14 teeth sprocket wheels are very rare and hard to find on T-55A tanks. They became standard on modernized T-55 tanks of the AM and AM2B series, also as M5 series. Usually they are standard for T-72 tanks.
So, if you want to build a standard Russian, Polish or Czechoslovak T-55A you will have to use only OMsh track links with 13 teeth sprocket wheel. In this case, you will have to buy new track links, for example Trumpeter 06622. We have been lucky and TAKOM is also offering the correct sprocket wheel that hasn´t been mentioned in the assembly instruction.





Other problems are wrong dimensions of all four turret fixing hooks, their position, wrong position of the front left box, wrong position of the rear turret box, wrong positions/ aligment of all turret handles, wrong part number for rear holder/rod with clamp under gunners hatch. I´ve been lucky to have some spare parts left from Tamiya´s T-55 Enigma. So I decided to use their four turret fixing hooks.











Wierdy
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Ukraine / Україна
Joined: January 26, 2010
KitMaker: 570 posts
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Posted: Sunday, January 01, 2017 - 06:50 PM UTC
I'd always known their kits were far from being perfect, but this...Their strategy of using a chassis to maximum simply doesn't work well with this kind of aproach to the subjects they choose. It is true for the T-55 family just as much as for their King Tigers. Sometimes differences are too numerous, but not that evident and easy to spot if you're not a fan. It may work with some obscure, esoteric and less documented vehicles, though. Let's hope they're open for constructive criticism.
Spartak
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Croatia Hrvatska
Joined: May 26, 2013
KitMaker: 130 posts
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Posted: Sunday, January 01, 2017 - 07:17 PM UTC
If you want to build croatian T-55 Marina engine deck is wrong.

Decals are only to thrown away.
Wrong letters in the inscription Marina, wrong Croatian emblem ...

jfeenstra
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Alberta, Canada
Joined: April 24, 2014
KitMaker: 341 posts
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Posted: Sunday, January 01, 2017 - 08:19 PM UTC
Hi Nenad,

I appreciate your comments and they should help everyone with building the kit.

However, I would definitely not consider these "big issues". The tracks are annoying for sure, and modellers should not be forced to buy something additional over and above the kit in order to build a correct model, but the correct tracks are readily available from numerous aftermarket producers, in virtually all price ranges and materials (plastic, resin, white metal) so this is an easy problem to solve. Would you complain if they included the correct tracks, but in one piece flexible vinyl/plastic?

As for the other issues noted, moving a stowage box and grab handles should be well within the capabilities of every modeller. And modifying or rebuilding the lift hooks is pretty simple as well. Definitely should not be considered big issues.

I've been building kits for 25 years and if these are the types of things we've found to complain about, then I'll take it compared to what we had even 10 years ago. If you or anyone else can point me in the direction of the perfect model, please tell me because I'd like to get one.

And as for incorrect decals and engine, well, every manufacturer out there has included wrong decals or decals for versions that couldn't be built from the kit, so again, not a major issue from my perspective.

I'm not making excuses for Takom, but are we modellers, or simply assemblers? Model companies have to find the balance between accuracy, cost, schedule and everything else, just like any business. And I can guarantee you that for every model manufacturer, 90% is good enough, because to reach 100% would require too much time and money, in which case we would complain about the cost and the delays, instead of the minor problems of the kit that was produced.

Just my 2 cents....

Jon
RobinNilsson
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Stockholm, Sweden
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Posted: Sunday, January 01, 2017 - 08:43 PM UTC
Am I a lucky guy or what ?
I needed some RMsh tracks for another project, now I just need to swap out the tracks from the Takom kit

/ Robin
SaxonTheShiba
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United States
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Posted: Sunday, January 01, 2017 - 08:45 PM UTC
I got the Takom T-55 Croatian variant for Christmas and had anticipated building that version at some point. What is the issue with the engine deck, for future reference?

Best wishes,

Ian
PatriotaModels
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Bayern, Germany
Joined: October 25, 2011
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Posted: Sunday, January 01, 2017 - 08:52 PM UTC
Hi Jon,

it isn´t a question of someone´s skills or available aftermarket accessoires. The fact is:

TAKOM declares a T-55A tank in his release. So if you they are a serious company every modeler expects some accuracy, because the kit costs more than 45 Euro. When they chose to put seperate track links inside the box, why not the correct one? Why is the assembly instruction incorrect in so many points like sprocket wheels, attachment points and holders with clamp. Sure you can buy new track links for some more 15 Euro, but is this the point and solution of all problems? Let me compare it with following example:

If I want to buy a VW Passat with a 2.0 engine and automatic climate system and pay for it some 35.000 Euro I do expect a 2.0 engine and not a 1.9 engine with manual air conditioning. Or do I have to go for an aftermarket 2.0 engine.

Well Jon, I hope you´ll gonna understand my point of view. I think none of us modelers has found the money on the street, falling down like leafes in autumn waiting to be picked up. Their official distributor, also as some popular sellers here in Germany are very concerned and angry about TAKOM´s behaviour and "production mistake". I do also have their ZSU-57-2 and this will be for sure the last kit I have ever bought from this company.

Tomorrow I will show you some more serious problems with this kit. It is about their road wheels. I think you can´t even imagine how serious it is ...
okievit
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Cadiz, Spain / España
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Posted: Sunday, January 01, 2017 - 09:20 PM UTC
Hey guys,

I'm with Jon on this one. No matter how much we'd like, these companies are in it for the money, so good enough will do for them. Most people buying these kits won't know the difference to start with, and those that do, can fix it. I have yet to find a perfect kit, whether due to level of detail, basics, location of detail, version mixups, etc.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't point out the problems - thanks for that - but it's also not the end of the world. If they did strive for perfection, our wallets wouldn't be able to afford them either.

Cheers,

Olaf
Ranchhand
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Texas, United States
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Posted: Sunday, January 01, 2017 - 09:48 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Hey guys,

I'm with Jon on this one. No matter how much we'd like, these companies are in it for the money, so good enough will do for them. Most people buying these kits won't know the difference to start with, and those that do, can fix it. I have yet to find a perfect kit, whether due to level of detail, basics, location of detail, version mixups, etc.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't point out the problems - thanks for that - but it's also not the end of the world. If they did strive for perfection, our wallets wouldn't be able to afford them either.

Cheers,

Olaf



while no one wants a kit full of errors, i will give takom credit for fixing issues brought up by the modelling community. they do listen. they fixed the lower tub after community feedback.
alanmac
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United Kingdom
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Posted: Sunday, January 01, 2017 - 09:56 PM UTC
Hi

I have to agree with Jon's points regarding the "perfect model" From what you've describe so far could be applied to any number of kits on the market, including those at the same price level.


But then again the thread starter could do Takom buyers a big favour and produce the required parts to fix this kit You are after all a manufacturer of aftermarket parts are you not?

No offence intended but maybe you should have clarified that before describing the kit in such a damming way otherwise people may think you have an ulterior motive
Wierdy
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Ukraine / Україна
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Posted: Sunday, January 01, 2017 - 09:57 PM UTC
Expecting the kit would be accurate due to its price is somewhat naive. Most resin kits are more expensive, but it doesn't make them any better (well, not all of them), let alone bubbles, warpage and stressfull assembly, both because of the nature of resin and vague instructions.
Spartak
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Croatia Hrvatska
Joined: May 26, 2013
KitMaker: 130 posts
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Posted: Sunday, January 01, 2017 - 10:05 PM UTC

Quoted Text

I got the Takom T-55 Croatian variant for Christmas and had anticipated building that version at some point. What is the issue with the engine deck, for future reference?

Best wishes,

Ian




Engine deck



And Marina had four croatian emblems. One is behind on the tank turret. Big mistake is that emblem must start with the upper left red cube.

You can find Marina on: https://tenkisti.com/ratne-fotografije-omp-karlovac

jfeenstra
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Alberta, Canada
Joined: April 24, 2014
KitMaker: 341 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Monday, January 02, 2017 - 02:01 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Hi Jon,

it isn´t a question of someone´s skills or available aftermarket accessoires. The fact is:

TAKOM declares a T-55A tank in his release. So if you they are a serious company every modeler expects some accuracy, because the kit costs more than 45 Euro. When they chose to put seperate track links inside the box, why not the correct one? Why is the assembly instruction incorrect in so many points like sprocket wheels, attachment points and holders with clamp. Sure you can buy new track links for some more 15 Euro, but is this the point and solution of all problems? Let me compare it with following example:

If I want to buy a VW Passat with a 2.0 engine and automatic climate system and pay for it some 35.000 Euro I do expect a 2.0 engine and not a 1.9 engine with manual air conditioning. Or do I have to go for an aftermarket 2.0 engine.

Well Jon, I hope you´ll gonna understand my point of view. I think none of us modelers has found the money on the street, falling down like leafes in autumn waiting to be picked up. Their official distributor, also as some popular sellers here in Germany are very concerned and angry about TAKOM´s behaviour and "production mistake". I do also have their ZSU-57-2 and this will be for sure the last kit I have ever bought from this company.

Tomorrow I will show you some more serious problems with this kit. It is about their road wheels. I think you can´t even imagine how serious it is ...



By your logic, that would mean that EVERY model company could not be considered a "serious" company, since all of them have made the types of mistakes and omissions that you mention. Why didn't they include the correct tracks? Probably because it would have cost them more money and time. And for every modeller such as yourself that says they will no longer buy Takom kits, there are 50 that will buy them and of those 50, 40 won't care too much about the incorrect tracks or turret bins being out 2mm. They know that those modellers that really do care will buy the aftermarket upgrades as necessary, and they still have your money.

You don't seem to understand that Takom, Tamiya, Bronco, Italeri, AFV Club, Dragon, etc. are in this for the money. They will produce what they feel will sell and within the limits of their business model that will dictate what they can spend to get it at the price point they need it to be so they get a return on their investment. End of story.

And when one of these companies does produce the perfect kit that is 100% accurate, with error free instructions, metal barrel, the perfect amount of photoetch, workable preassembled tracks, 18 markings version in the box with decals accurate and in perfect register with no visible film, etc. modellers will still complain that it costs too much, is too hard to build, has too many or not enough parts, it isn't the version that I want, the plastic is too hard or too soft or not the right color to show the detail, it doesn't have the markings I want, etc. It really is a no-win situation for them so why even listen to modellers?

And if Takom didn't release a T-55A, you wouldn't have anything to complain about since I don't think any other companies currently have one available. Have you considered that just having a kit that appears pretty decent (compared to kits from say 10 or 20 years ago) with things that are easily fixable with time, effort and perhaps a bit more money should just make us happy?

I'm not suggesting that Takom is right or wrong with their decision to include tracks that are not the standard version and that we shouldn't call them out on it. But at the same time, calling the things you mention big mistakes is not, in my opinion, an accurate description.
hugohuertas
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Buenos Aires, Argentina
Joined: January 26, 2007
KitMaker: 1,024 posts
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Posted: Monday, January 02, 2017 - 03:56 AM UTC
Being the issues big or small is just a matter of points of view...
I'm partially with Nenad about that we should expect the same levels of quality in kits manufacturers than in any other market.
I cannot care less about most people not being able to notice these shortcomings in a given kit. I care for what I notice, and what I think is worth my money.
If someone asks me to spend the same money than a Redbreast 21-year for a so-so whisky, I'll not care about other people not being able to tell the difference. I can, and will surely not take that "deal" -I don't know why I usually end using liquor's examples-

I don't either buy the widely used argument of us "being modelers, not assemblers".
If I'm asked to spend 60 or 70 bucks for a kit, I expect certain levels of accuracy and quality, no matter what I might be able to do with a piece of plastic.
Manufacturers ignore my abilities, so they should not be thrown into the equation.

On the other hand, while the tracks issue doesn't seem minor to my eyes, the other issues already described are quite easily fixed.
Perhaps the most demanding one should be fixing the engine deck for a Croatian version.
The decal's mess is also questionable, no matter if other manufacturers do the same.

I really appreciate this post, it will help me make my final decision about buying this kit or not.

Jut my only 1 cent
Armorsmith
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Pennsylvania, United States
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Posted: Monday, January 02, 2017 - 04:35 AM UTC
As one who has been building for over 50 years I am always a bit amused by those who complain about todays kits. While it may be true that you don't always get what you expect, my feeling is that one should be happy/grateful for the quality and quantity of releases offered by the many manufactures today. This is not to say that all kits are great or that there are no dogs out there but, I am personally thrilled by the choices that I now have. Choices that I could not imagine even 20 years ago let alone when I first started building in the 60's. As far as I am concerned there are simply too many kits out there waiting to be built without me obsessing over every detail that a manufacturer has gotten wrong or omitted. I don't fault those who do agonize/obsess over errors/omissions, it's just that I don't get all worked up over them. Nothing in life is perfect, why should we expect hour chosen hobby to be any different?
SaxonTheShiba
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United States
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Posted: Monday, January 02, 2017 - 04:48 AM UTC
Val, thanks for the reference photos and the response.

Best wishes,

Ian
hugohuertas
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Buenos Aires, Argentina
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Posted: Monday, January 02, 2017 - 05:14 AM UTC

Quoted Text

As one who has been building for over 50 years I am always a bit amused by those who complain about todays kits. While it may be true that you don't always get what you expect, my feeling is that one should be happy/grateful for the quality and quantity of releases offered by the many manufactures today. This is not to say that all kits are great or that there are no dogs out there but, I am personally thrilled by the choices that I now have. Choices that I could not imagine even 20 years ago let alone when I first started building in the 60's. As far as I am concerned there are simply too many kits out there waiting to be built without me obsessing over every detail that a manufacturer has gotten wrong or omitted. I don't fault those who do agonize/obsess over errors/omissions, it's just that I don't get all worked up over them. Nothing in life is perfect, why should we expect hour chosen hobby to be any different?



Well, I only started building models back in the late 70's, but anyway I can also see the huge difference both in quality and variety of todays offering.
My point still is that that means almost nothing because the same can apply to almost every market and/or activity, and people always keep asking for more.
And this is not bad, even if someone cannot get it.
The ever-growing market demands led to the kits, the TV's, the cars, the smartphones, the computers, and every other stuff we can find today.
If a given car has worst characteristics than another manufacturer's one in the same price range should I not say it nor criticize it, just because it still is far better than the car I owned back in the 70's?
Sorry, I don't get this point of view.
Following that path, why bother to read any reviews or even start arguing about the poster opinions? Just buy the kit you want and be happy with it, as it is...

Anyway, enough jeopardizing this post arguing about this, I'm really interested in Nenad's build and opinions of this kit.
davidg
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Ontario, Canada
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Posted: Monday, January 02, 2017 - 05:39 AM UTC
Here's the deal for me! Fuel lines and lines for drivers scopes. Don't need to make those. So I was sold, have built 3 so far. Miniart may give them a run for their money if they continue along their T-54 line and follow it up with T-55 series. Don't like headlight guards, very bad considering how they moulded the above mentioned fuel lines.
Dave
Armorsmith
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Pennsylvania, United States
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Posted: Monday, January 02, 2017 - 05:42 AM UTC
You kind of make my point which is be happy with what you have. No one is forcing you to buy a kit that is "incorrect," but if you do buy it be happy and don't whine about it. Just like buying a car if you don't like it because it's not up to your standards there is no use in complaining because it's not going to change the car. You either buy it as it is or buy another one that you think is better. There are plenty to choose from. Caveat emptor.
SEDimmick
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New Jersey, United States
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Posted: Monday, January 02, 2017 - 06:15 AM UTC
Biggest problem is how the problems are addressed...Big Problems would indicate difficult problems with kit.

I understand that English isn't the posters first language, so lets not get too bent out shape over this.
Bravo1102
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New Jersey, United States
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Posted: Monday, January 02, 2017 - 08:37 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Just buy the kit you want and be happy with it, as it is...



Some of us do that and have been able to cut back on our meds and able to lead happier and healthier lives. It's only a hobby. Don't catastrophize about what is supposed to be a leisure activity. It should relieve stress, not increase it.

Amazing that some compare a what is little more than a plastic knick-knack to a car or home appliances. I have a lot more at stake in choosing a mode of transportation that is a vital part of my life as opposed to the object of a hobby that is supposed to relax me in my off hours. Getting a faulty microwave is not comparable to a few accuracy errors on a model kit. My microwave popcorn is far more important than the engine deck details of a model.

Be healthy and happy in the new year.
AussieReg
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
AUTOMODELER
#007
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Victoria, Australia
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Posted: Monday, January 02, 2017 - 08:46 AM UTC

Quoted Text

And when one of these companies does produce the perfect kit that is 100% accurate,

. . . . .

This is the real question. Was every single 1:1 T-55A that ever came off the line absolutely identical?

Take into account the inevitable "human" element in the real world, can any kit ever be 100% accurate?

My 2 cents, FWIW.

Cheers, D
Konigwolf
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Tasmania, Australia
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Posted: Monday, January 02, 2017 - 09:47 AM UTC
30 years ago (and still seeing re-pops today) Tamiya had large holes and incorrect placement of hull locations so you could motorize their kits from a company 70 years old. Trumpeter have been around say 20 years give or take (not sure exact numbers) and there is HUGE difference from their first T-54 kits and their current lines, still far from perfect in some cases, but still much better. Now Takom, how long have they been around? 6-7 years with very few kits really in the first couple of years.

While it may be a lot easier to create models now with computer design etc compared to say 30 or 50 years ago, that still doesn't mean companies will get this perfect with choices and decisions right from the start, more so if competition is releasing similar subject at the same time so you want (or need to) to maximise your profit for minimum expense, this isn't a cheap industry to start up in.
Jmarles
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British Columbia, Canada
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Posted: Monday, January 02, 2017 - 09:56 AM UTC
I understand some people have different expectations...the little gaffs can be overlooked but having incorrect tracks is pretty bad IMHO ..regardless if there are AM ones out there; some of us are content to use kit-supplied indy tracks.
Jacques
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Minnesota, United States
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Posted: Monday, January 02, 2017 - 10:44 AM UTC
Should we be happy that kits are getting better? Yes.

Are kits also getting more expensive? Yes, so companies are being compensated.

Should we expect a basic, buildable kit from the box description? I would argue...yes. As pointed out, the tracks/sprockets are very rare for the titled kit. This is a case of a company being cute or cheap. Not acceptable, no more acceptable that what Trumpeter did with their Type-62 tracks: http://www.armorama.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=Reviews&file=index&req=showcontent&id=12384

And then those roadwheels. Poor engineering choice.

Takom does good work, but they are trying too hard to be too cute, like a lot of companies. They are not aiming for 90% "good enough", they are aiming for 70%.

Companies are forgetting what they are doing and trying to "out maneuver" each other, and starting to forget what they are in business for.

Example:

The T-55 is an epic piece of cold war equipment used all over the world in large numbers. Well recognized and often used as a symbol of a "tank". This is a kit that, if researched and "done" correctly by a company could become a cornerstone/bedrock line that could make a nice steady stream of money. Variants and reboxes of a good, solid kit would be worth that initial, solid investment. So when corners are cut, gross details overlooked, or confusion exists in kits...it makes me question the dedication any company has to their products.

What to do? Put out the information you find. Let others make their choice to buy it or not. Make your own purchase decisions. Plenty of other models to build if this is not what you want to do.

Now then...