As a sidenote, the phrase “I buy what I like and I like what I buy” provides much room for interpretation; therefore, it’s far from giving a helpful ‘direction’ in any discussion about “What’s normal”, “What’s exaggerated”, and “What’s simply excusing” concerning the actual and/or potential quality (or details featured) on aircraft scale models.
What I have seen in my 40 years of collecting is a mixture of manufacturrers’ (technical) capabilities, collectors’ requirements/demands, and manufacturers’ dedication to their products and
their customers’ needs. The latter has been and still is referring to what can be achieved under the given technical and economical conditions on the one hand, and what is actually delivered on the other hand.
An easy-to-understand example: those of you who are old enough for being somehow familiar with Schabak 1/600 models will remember the limited technical premises for producing very small-scaled die-cast metal models back in the Seventies and Eighties. The final model mould was just one piece and painted after parts (normally two, i.e. upper and lower fuselage moulds with wings and stabs belonging to one or the other) had been pressed together, so only one colour could be painted on the model (normally silver or white as basic colour) and all necessary details such as windshield, cabin doors/windows, and of course the airline livery were applied by using decals. Nobody would’ve ever requested antennae, small details of airframe structure decaled to engines or wings or anything like that, of course.
In essence: the one and only focus of early Schabak collectors was if the decals were applied straight on the fuselage and tail, i.e. no curved cheatlines (and windows), no mirrored stickers (which was possible since Schabak used water-based slide-stickers (I don’t know the technical term for those, sorry)). One might think that applying decals straight was a simple or a natural sign of quality back then... no, not in the slightest!
Why do I chose this example: there's only one quality criteria for the collector - straight-applied cheatline/cabin window decals. Schabak mainly made its money by selling large quantities to airlines and other companies as promotional give-away items, that's why the price was reasonable back in the day. But companies were not as 'nitpicking' as a collector would have been, so having models with misplaced or curved or mirrored decals were a common problem (or pain in the neck) for anyone who started collecting Schabaks. The fact that the big money came from corporate contracts made Schabak ignorant towards collectors' input - huge quantities were sold to airlines for the big money, remainders were sold through airport gift shops and the very, very few specialised retailers which carried Schabaks in addition to their regular scale model business (either model railway dealers or general toy shops back then).
Time shift into 1/200: Upscaled models - upscaled demands. This is a very natural development and I must say that I consider a pretty big part of the collectors' ciriticism posted here and on other forums as reasonable, particularly when we are talkign about the 1/200 scale. Mostly, the crucial point (for me) is whether the manufacturer made a bad design in general or if a certain model was actively screwed up although - with conscientious and thoroughly use of the available
devices for this particular model release - would have allowed a better product. When it's about bad design (either the aircraft's mould itself or the paint job), I can address that problem but am also able to avoid buying that specific models. But when an individual model or a batch of a production run is actually screwed up (inferior paint quality, misplaced or wrongly scaled printing (especially windshield), wrong colours or logos applied, parts bent or broken off etc.), then it's literaly necessary
to address these problem and to demand a product in what we all now as "mint quality", i.e. the quality the manufacturer must reasonably achieve but was not accomplished in that certain case. In that case, just saying "Buy what you like" (and "Don't buy what you don't like") would not meet the true standard we are all heading to - or looking for.
All in all, in that respect EuropeanCollector's comparison of our scale model hobby to buying a new car is quite striking: "Build me a new S Class - I can live with a some scratches and bumps, no problem. And you can keep the Mercedes star too, if you want". Really? No, of course not.
Above, Grizz said: "Constructive criticism can be a force for good and produce more accurate models". I agree totally. A reasonable and objective manner should be the maxim in general when we are talking about criticism - be it criticism of scale models or whatsoever. In this respect, I wouldn't even use "nitpickers", "whiners" or "complainers" as headline for a discussion thread like this.