Purchasing a model ship is a significant decision. If you’re not already a model builder or collector, it can be very difficult to determine the exact value of the model you’re looking for. With the infusion of the internet, there is also the added challenge of not being able to examine the model in person, or to compare models of different builders for details. A model might look good from afar, but when closely examined it could be a disaster.
When looking for a ship model, first ask yourself these questions:
- How many pictures does the seller provide?
- What is the quality of each picture?
- Is the model historically accurate?
- What components were used in building the model?
- Does the seller have quality control and/or inspect all models prior to shipment?
- How will the model be packaged for delivery?
A Picture is Not Always Worth 1000 Words
Since you cannot see the model in person, the next best thing you have is photos on the web. Depending on how large and/or complex the ship model is, you have to hope the seller will offer you as many angles as possible to reaffirm your decision.
At minimum you should have pictures of the bow, stern, port and starboard sides of the boat. If the ship has sails, a close up of the fabric and stitching are also helpful. If the stand has a plaque, that should also have a separate picture. If it has any specific historical details such as raised colors or deck contents, those should also been shown.
Each photo should also be an exceptional resolution and size for better inspection. Blurred or hastily Photoshopped photos also give the impression that the seller is just as careless with his or her product.
Accuracy is Key
This is where the digital age becomes the most useful. With the World Wide Web at your fingertips, it’s very easy for you do your homework and make sure that the seller has done his or her fair share as well. Do a side by side analysis of drawings, paintings, and historical photographs for the ship you’re looking for with the various photos shown by the seller. Are the painted colors correct? Does the ship have the right amount of cannons on each side? Does it have 3 turrets or 4?
How the model is made is also a huge factor in quality and pricing. If the model is made of high quality rosewood, it will certainly be a more prestigious sale than one made of cold cast resin or plastic.
Inspections & Shipping
The ultimate way to tell if the seller is offering you good product is if he or she inspects the product before shipping. Often you’ll find a link to a guarantee with multiple points of inspection offered before the ship is sent.
Also a good thing to look for is any info on how the boat is packaged for delivery. If the seller shows photos of how the boat is stored and protected, the better. Using a specific shipping company with excellent standards is also a plus.
If the model and the seller offering it meet all of these criteria, then you’ve got a better edge on determining if the model will be perfect for you or as a gift for someone else.