Got something you want to contribute? We're always on the lookout for new material. All material on the site is covered under the copyright of Starship Modeler to protect us and our contributors. We do retain reproduction rights to images for promotional purposes only. Authors retain the copyright to all their images and text, and may distribute them elsewhere, as they see fit. Contributors get prominent billing and have the option of including a link to their e-mail address and home page (if they have one). We can't pay for material (just maintaining this site is expensive enough!). We're in this for the love of SF modeling, just as you are.
We may edit submissions, though this is done only to correct any existing grammatical problems. We regard the substance of the article as sacred. If we require substantial changes, we'll either ask the author to tweak the work - or we'll get the author's permission to make changes, if that's what they want.
Send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What We're Looking For
Starship Modeler presents information in many forms, and we're always looking for more. Below are the basic article types we use - for in-depth requirements for each, see the following sections.
Reader's Tips are short texts, dealing with a single topic, which might be useful to other modelers. The topic can be anything you want; the only requirement is the tip be helpful to the people who frequent this web site. All tips submitted are sorted into categories, by subject matter, so that readers can search through them more easily.
A Gallery piece is essentially a few photographs which show off someone's completed model. Usually, there is little text to describe or rate the product as it came out of the box, or how the builder actually created what is in the pictures. There can be some of both; there is no rule against it, but this type of article is primarily a "here are some cool pictures of my finished model" type of thing.
An In-Box Preview has very little information about how well a particular kit builds up. Instead, it focuses on describing and rating what comes in the box. It will also include the reviewer's first impressions as to the kit's quality, value, accuracy and so on. Images should be geared more towards the raw parts than to the finished model. This helps kit shoppers more than kit builders. "Window shopping" can be fun, and we all want to spend our hard-earned hobby dollars on something worthwhile!
A Build-Up Review is primarily used to relay information about the process of building a particular kit. The modeler rates the kit's value, accuracy, ease-of-assembly and so on, talks about their personal building experiences and/or overall impressions, etc. They try to point out ways to avoid pitfalls in the assembly process, if there are any. The whole point is to describe how one turned lumps of inert material into a fine finished model. There should be a number of photographs that show the completed model at various angles, as well as pictures of the work in progress. These latter can be especially helpful when describing complex modifications or super-detailing. So can diagrams. When writing such an article, please consider submitting any of your short tips or tricks to the "Reader's Tips" section, if that seems appropriate to the situation. This will helps our readers find useful tips easier. It also helps keep each article's size reasonable.
Though many of our reviews are out-of-the-box buildups, that does not mean that's all we'll accept. It's really up to you, the reader, what we publish. We welcome articles on super-detailing, accurizing, adding just a few details, and straight out-of-the-box builds with equal enthusiasm.
How-To articles are always welcome - and in fact, highly sought after. These should focus on processes, techniques, or building stages and offer step-by-step instructions for accomplishing whatever topic the reviewer is addressing. Examples are: lighting models, scratchbuilding techniques, weathering and detailing sci-fi vehicles, etc. These articles will of necessity be more free-form than others described above - just remember that more detail and more pictures are always preferable to less of either. When writing such an article, please consider submitting any of your short tips or tricks to the "Reader's Tips" section, if that seems appropriate to the situation. This will helps our readers find useful tips easier. It also helps keep each article's size reasonable.Finally, a Workbench Review is essentially a hybrid article, somewhere between a Preview and a full-on Review. The modeler has begun building a kit, but has not fully completed their build-up yet. The reviewer has definite opinions about the kit at this point. It is helpful (but not absolutely necessary) if a reviewer tries to rate and describe the kit's contents. They may describe their overall impressions of the kit to others, along with their personal building experiences to date. They may suggest ways to make the build-up process easier or how to avoid assembly pitfalls. They can clarify bad instruction sheets. (But consider sending any generic, non-kit-specific tips to the "Reader's Tips" section). A reviewer can point out how to improve the finished kit, in terms of accuracy or anything else. There are some pictures of the model in progress at this point, which are primarily intended to help readers understand the text better. Because the kit is not 100% complete at this point, there are no pictures of the finished product.
Kits that have been described in multiple Workbench Reviews are prime candidates for Build-Up Reviews hosted on Starship Modeler. We generally do not publish incomplete reviews - something the reviewer has started, but not finished - as "installments" or multi-part articles. That's not to say we have any hard-and-fast rule against such things; we just don't want to leave people hanging. Talk to us if you think your article could be featured this way.
Format and Media
We'll take input from any source (just about) - even a simple e-mail is fine. However, it really helps if you follow these guidelines:
First and foremost, try to keep your assessments balanced. Starship Modeler readers look for fair and informative reviews and previews. If you have a drum to beat about a given manufacturer, keep it in the closet and stick to facts. Keep in mind the intended target market for a kit, i.e., don't review a $125 resin kit as if it were for kids, or vice-versa. A good rule of thumb is to not commit anything to print that you wouldn't be willing to tell the manufacturer to their face. Back up your opinions and estimations with solid facts.
In doing a kit build-up review, be as detailed as you can. Note where you had difficulty, what needed to be fixed to make it accurate - etc. Give the reader some background on the vehicle, especially if it's an actual piece of space hardware (however, a blow-by-blow account of the ship's service during the Dominion War is probably a little too much). Construction / in-progress photos are always a bonus, as is a detailed, step-by-step narrative describing how you built it. Comments on the kit's accuracy to the original vehicle or filming miniature are also beneficial. Take a look here as an example of how to format your article and what pieces you'll need. This isn't a "you must do it exactly like this" template. You can be pretty free-form, but please include all applicable basic information:
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being a masterpiece and 1 ... not being a masterpiece .... rate the kit. Please bear in mind that perfection is a state rarely attained - by model makers as well as everyone else. Be objective! Use the following criteria to rate, and please summarize your rating with one sentence (e.g. Parts Fit: 9 - I used only a hint of putty):
Note: These ratings are intended as a "snapshot" or summary. You don't have to write a book on each one - but please, if something is really good or really bad, explain why in the body of your article.
The primary purpose of an in-box preview is to provide the reader with an idea of what he or she gets for their hard-earned hobby moolah. To this end, it's important to have good, clear pictures of the parts. If you can, arrange everything that comes in the box together for an overall picture, then either place the parts on a scanner or shoot close-up photos of groups of parts. Again, keep in mind the intended target market for a kit -don't review a $125 resin kit as if it were for kids, or vice-versa. See this review as a guide for what we're looking for.
Please provide as much of the following info as possible:
Once again, use a scale of 1 to 10 to construct a "snapshot"of the kit. Please bear in mind that perfection is a state rarely attained - by model makers as well as everyone else. Be objective! Use the following criteria to rate, and please summarize your rating with one sentence:
Here's where you can showcase your work without necessarily writing a book about it. Please do tell us a little bit about the model though - like what it is! If it's a garage kit, tell the readers where you got it and who made it, and what it was like to build. If it's a scratchbuild, kitbash or diorama, give us all some idea of what you used to make it.
Again, more pictures are better than less pictures. Ideally, you should provide front, rear, side, top and bottom views, along with at least one "beauty shot", taken from an angle and showing your masterpiece at it's best.
Do you have a new product or service you think would interest the sci-fi modeling public? By all means, tell us about it! Please tell us the kit's:
Pictures are really worth a thousand words, so please also include images - whether of the parts, master, or assembled kit is up to you.
This page copyright © 1997-2001 Starship Modeler.
Last updated on 6 November 2001.