Subscription Models: Should You Take The Leap?
Up until a few years ago I’ve never heard of a subscription model plan. But as I found out, these are pretty popular in the UK where they sell a new set of parts each week at many newsstands but here in the USA this was a revelation to me.
First thing’s first: What is a subscription model? Every week (or every month) you are sent parts of a scale model and a little magazine with instructions on how to put the model together (the magazine usually includes some information about what you are building). This could go on for a year or two before you have all the parts needed to complete the build. Many come already painted so all you need to do is screw and glue.
A little over two years ago I learned about this studio scale model of the Millennium Falcon. It was offered as a monthly subscription here in the States (weekly in the UK). For only 25 easy payments of $59.99 plus shipping (it appears it's gone up five bucks since I joined) I could have my very own giant Falcon to build and hang in my house. I was worried that maybe this company would go out of business or stop making parts for this before I was done. I did a little research on DeAgostini Models and they seemed like an up and up company that was well established in the UK and there was a huge community of builders online sharing their build stories and how-to's. Sign me up! Trust me, I never went to a calculator and entered 25 x 60. I don’t want to know.
My first shipment came and it was like Christmas morning all over again. Look at these parts and the blueprints and the books and… my mind was blown. This is gonna be awesome! Technically you could build this without painting a piece of it but I wanted to paint and weather it my way. Plus it comes pre-wired for lights, sounds and motors (the landing ramp opens and closes). Every month the excitement grew as more parts came… until the dread came. How was I to get this completed? I have 25 months - there should be enough time.
I kept up with the interior. I completed the hold with some customization of the couch and re-painted all the pieces. Then I learned that there is a very robust customization part community selling both metal laser etched parts and 3D printed parts for this model. Since I wanted an even more detailed cockpit I bought the laser etched upgrade from ParaGrafix (throwing even more money at this project). There is a huge group of builders that are more than happy to share their experience and expertise on the Model Space website and on other venues on the internet. You are never left wanting for inspiration.
I then started the lower hull with painting and weathering. But as other projects snuck up I started piling up month after month of parts until month 25 came to the door. I’ve got so much to do! As I continue this build I will share updates here and I should be starting back up on this soon.
So now that I’ve survived a complete subscription run do I recommend the experience? Yes, completely. If you have the money, commitment and space to build it. The level of detail is amazing and the community to back you up while you are building is invaluable. Companies like DeAgostini sell automotive, sailing ships and now a ½ scale R2-D2 model that are rewarding to build and relatively easy to put together for the detail and scale. These are also great if you can share building it with a child or other family member. Many kits you don’t have to spend time painting since it comes ready to go and you end up with a very professional looking model that was a fun expierince to build. Now to finish the Falcon!