Saturday, April 26, 2008

Custom Display Case VS. The Display Case Kit

As owner of for 23 years we have seen it all. So I thought I would write a guide to help out some of you that have had questions on how to buy a real museum quality ship model display case. You should always ask these questions when looking to buy a ship model or train model or any model display case to help you understand the quality and construction of the display case.
Always a good idea to start with your model. Depending on what type of case you are looking for, a kit case or a case that comes completely assembled. We will start with info on a kit case.
Display Case Kits
A display case kit is a display case that most likely does NOT come with any real glass or plexi. Most of them have to be assembled by you the buyer. If your looking into buying a kit you must be sure it is going to fit your model. Most kits come in some standard sizes. As we all know there is no standard size in the modeling world. A lot of model makers will build from scratch and that can change the dimension of a model even if a flag was added to the top that would cause the height to change ect..
First measure the longest points of your model. Make sure you include the base if it is already sitting on one.
Measure the length , width and height. The add about 2 inches all the way around your model. That would give you the finish size of your case. You want your display case to fit your model perfectly. You don't want a case that is going to be make your model look lost or cramped inside the case. Most kits companies will not or can not build custom sizes in all directions. So make sure you ask first. Some kits will only except a certain size of glass or plexi thickness. So make sure you find out what thickness the case will hold. Some kits can only hold 1/8 plexi glass which on a large case say 45L x 35H x 15W when looking at the side of the case (45L x 35H) you would mostly see a deflection in the plexi because of the size of that piece. The biggest part of buying a kit case is you should get the sizes you need to buy for all the plexi pieces and price them out. They can really add up on some large case sizes. Home Depot has both plexi and lexan sheets in large sizes. a 36X72 sheet is 40.00ea you would need two of these to cut your own sheets out of then you would need a sheet that is 48 x 24 to cut the top out of.
45L x 35H x 2 pieces - 15W x 35H x 2 pieces 45L x 15W x 1 piece Which would bring your cost for the 3 sheets needed to get all these cuts out of them to 120.00 Plus tax. Then you have to cut them yourself. You can also call a glass shop to cut your plexi to the sizes you need. But it will cost a lot more. The same size piece as i just mentioned would cost you $298.00 In 1/4 " plus tax and $186.00 plus tax In 1/8" plexi. So if you buy a kit for say around 200.00 make sure you add in your $200.00 plus+ for the plexi now you have a kit case for over $400.00
Some kit cases will come unfinished. Which means you may have to buy stain ,ploy and sand paper for the do it yourself jobs as well.
Custom Glass and Brass Display Cases Shipped Complete and Fully Assembled
When ordering a custom display case as with the kit make sure you measure your model or item to be cased closely. Add the 2 inches around the item and that would be your finish case size. Custom display case companies like Clear View Designs /mydisplaycase build each case to fit your model perfectly, and do not charge extra for the custom size cases. You can have a choice of oak or mahogany wood bases. It is important that your base is at least 3/4 thick to support the model which on some models can be heavy. So this will help with mounting your model. A full assembled display case comes as it says, fully assembled! With real oak or real mahogany (not just stained a color of wood)1/8 double strength glass top and solid brass 7/32" brass angle on the glass edges. These types of cases are shipped fully assembled and complete. There is nothing else to assemble,buy sand or stain. Just install your model and your done! With a custom glass top case, getting into the model is as easy as lifting of the top. No screws to remove like on some kits case. The glass sits down into a glass channel to hide the edge of the glass from view.
With a glass and brass top case there is more to see of the model than with a kit case trimmed in bulky wood uprights and rails. With a brass trim case the brass is only 7/32 wide so it does not take away from the viewing of the model and it gives it a nice museum quality look as well. I always said there is nothing museum quality about a case that you have to buy parts for or assemble. So make sure you get the type of case your looking for.
A custom case may cost you a little more depending on the size of the case. Sometimes it can be less or the same price as a kit case , but then you have to buy all that stuff for your kit case.But for what your getting in the end with a complete case I think it's worth having a custom ship model display case built to fit your model .
If your a handy modeler or want to assemble your own display case and feel like buying and cutting your own glass or plexi for the kit than a kit case is for you.
If you prefer a more high end look to go with your expensive model a nice complement for it would be a custom glass and brass display case. This type of case would fit your model to your exact measurments and have that custom museum look about it.
So make sure you ask before you buy or bid on a display case of these types.
And as the old saying goes " You get what you pay for!

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