I gave a few Chinese building offerings a try recently and a few folks had mentioned that they were interested in buying them, but were not sure what they were going to get. So, since I already took one for the team, I figured I'd give a bit more detail on the two offerings I tried.
First up was the offering from Outland Models CN on eBay.
The offering from http://www.ebay.com/usr/outland_models_cn
I gave a bunch of details in my earlier post found here:
In short, I was really happy with the product overall. The plastic used was SUPER thick and sturdy. There were no instructions, but none were needed - it was simple to get together. There was a simple peg-and-hole arrangement that you can see in the photo above that really worked like a charm. There was no glue needed.
The one interesting thing about the design was that it was basically the Kato offering almost exactly. I'm not sure how I feel about that - it seems a little "pirate-like" if they just straight up copied the Kato building and printed their own. I didn't know about it until after the fact, which was rather amusing. I had placed the completed building on the layout, then did a double take when I saw the Kato building to the right of it. "Heeeeeey!" I actually had a good laugh about it.
The DioTown Metro Series 4 Floor Office Building, Brick (on the right above) runs about $20, so at a $9 or so price point, the Outland version really is a good investment if you can get around the copying aspect. Shipping was super quick as well, which was nice.
The other building I tried out was from the HAPPYSUN AMY folks. This was another interesting design with no instructions, but I got it together with ease after looking at the images they had up on eBay.
With this building, the plastic was a little "lighter" and more like standard offerings of it's type. Not cheap or flimsy, but not as stiff as the Outland building. The details were good, the painting was great, and it went together rather well. I did use glue on some of the pieces to make sure they wouldn't pop out and there were some seams that I had to work at to get gaps closed, but this was standard for the plastic kits I've purchased in the past.
When complete, I was happy with the building overall and - again, at the low price point of $10.54 - I was super happy with the purchase. The shipping time was a little slower, but I thought this might be due to a "print and ship" sales model. I've ordered additional buildings from them and they said they'd ship in five days which made me think they were printing buildings after sales were made, which makes sense. Not sure if that's what they are doing, but it's a sound model.
The one potential downside was a small front detail piece wasn't packed in the package when it arrived. The company has many statements like, "PLEASE contact us before placing negative feedback with eBay!", so I gave that a shot and was very happy with the interaction. They said they'd send the piece with my order as I requested and thanked me for bringing it to their attention and being so cool about it.
All in all, I had not problem ordering two more buildings from them.
The offering from http://www.ebay.com/usr/happysun.amy
Super clean right from the pack.
Yup...looks like an N scale building on the layout. :)
So, with all this said, I was happy with OUTLAND and HAPPYSUN and actually went back to HappySun for two additional buildings - no problem. I was going to purchase more from Outland as well, but I realized that my real estate was starting to get a bit tight in Shizuka, so I decided to wait before buying any more. :::grin:::
I'm glad I gave these folks a shot!