Sunday, 4 August 2013

The Art Of Instructions

I might also have called this post The Art of Compromise, because that appears to be the primary concern when composing instructions for building kits as I have been doing this week.

The kit in question, of course, is my very soon to be released NG-Y ballast wagon for 009.

You have to strike a balance between making the steps easy to follow whilst also anticipating all the traps and misunderstandings that modellers might have while attempting to assemble your handiwork.

It's tricky because I've been living and breathing this kit for the best part of a year and naturally I know instinctively where every bit goes and, perhaps more importantly, what I need to do to coax the bit that doesn't immediately fall into place into its intended position.

Some people have the artistic talent to provided beautiful exploded diagrams. Alas, I most certainly don't.

However I do have the ability to paint pictures with words - or at least that's what I tell my boss - so I try to get the message across through description and a few photos illustrating different stages.

The art is editing it down to the bare minimum. Sometimes I feel it would be possible to write a small novel about what I have found is the best way of putting together one of my kits, and a homemade resin kit by its very nature offers up many, many more variables than something produced by a machine does.

I don't want to bombard the seller with reams of paper and paragraph upon paragraph of text that's going to be hard to follow. I've also got to consider how I'm going to stuff this into the most efficient form of packaging I can find.

That's why for the ballast wagon I have boiled the instructions down to a double-column, double-sided A4 sheet with a pretty picture on the front so folk can see what they're buying, and a plug for the Welsh Pony appeal which I am supporting through the sales of these kits.

I am conscious, though, that the explanations may be slightly too brief for some, the 8 point text a little too much of a strain on the eyes and the photographs lacking in detail.

So that is why I will also be posting a more detailed and discursive set of instructions on a dedicated page on the Boston Largs Works blog which customers will be able to view whenever they wish.

It's what my boss would call a 'hybrid model' and I hope it will meet with my customers approval.

1 comment:

  1. An excellent concept; could you maybe put up some extra pictures of the prototype(s) on the same page? The slightly narrower bogies will also be appreciated.

    Best wishes.