Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Product Review: Building Craftsman Structure Kits Volume 2 DVD

Building Craftsman Structure Kits Volume 2
DVD by Scott Mason at www.scotttymason.com

Overview: “How to” DVD that covers basic structure kit assembly techniques. This is a continuation from Volume 1.

Let’s face it. Most model railroad how-to videos are boring. The techniques are important to us, but watching them on TV is like watching paint dry. Volume 2 of Building Crasftsman Structure Kits is no different.

I do like how this video is structured. You can pick a topic and just watch one topic at a time. That makes it a little more palatable. I watch two or three at a time and then turn it off. My guess is that because the techniques are often time consuming and most hosts are a bit on the monotone side because they are trying to concentrate is what leads to the dullness.

This is Scotty Mason’s second video on this topic. I’ve not seen the first because at $30 a pop they aren’t cheap. Are they worth $30? Not to me. $15 seems to be a more reasonable price when you look at what material you are learning. A good Kalmbach book runs around $20, so I’d say that is my high end spend. In this video all you are really learning is what George Sellios is writing in his excellent kit instructions. So my thought is that it is smarter to invest in the kit than a DVD on kit assembly. Member of the NMRA can get copies of kit instructions for a minimal charge at the Kalmbach Library in Chattanooga.

As to the DVD itself, it is fairly well produced. The camera clarity is excellent, as is the sound. I like the music playing while Scott does the detail work, and the large work space makes it easy to see the tools and supplies. Behind the instructor is a wrinkled black backdrop that makes Scotty’s shiny forehead stand out even more. Is it just me or does Scott remind you of George Costanza. Soon he’ll say “it’s not a pick” and I’ll bust out laughing. Close up shots are very well done and in general the photographic work is excellent. My only pet peeve is the blurry shot that leads in to the next technique and has a thin type style saying the topic name. It is very hard on the eyes.

There is no doubt that Scotty is a top model builder. His work is fantastic. I really enjoy watching him work. Most of the techniques are nothing very new and inventive, but for folks that don’t like to ready instructions, this is the perfect substitute. He keeps referring back to Volume 1, so my thought is that if you are interested in this type of program, buy Volume 1 first as most of the good stuff is probably there.

The one technique he used that I loved and had not seen before was the stucco technique. It looked fantastic and was just what I needed for my adobe structures. Other than that, you’d be better off just to by a Fine Scale Miniatures kit and kit it a go. You’ll learn more and its hands on.

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