A visit to MPM
Model kit designThe MPM team works in offices where several computer stations are available for the designers. While the Czech company still uses older technologies (short run), they also work with 3D softwares which allow them to produce high precision galvanized metal moulds which are made in cooperation with Eduard. The fact that MPM uses different production technologies allows them to adapt the production runs. Typically, a model kit of an esoteric subject will be produced in smaller quantities in short run while a model kit with more potential will be done with molds which have a longer life span.
If some masters are produced almost only by hand using plain old craftmanship, some others are made with computer data transfered to a milling machine. More and more complex master parts for detail and conversion sets are made this way. Of course, for the production of a high number of resin parts, the silicon mold technology remains the only option.
Model kit productionPlastic injection takes place in a big hall were there are at least four machines destined to this task. Luckily, while we were there, fuselage sprues for the forthcoming 1:32 scale Mitsubishi A5M2b "Claude" were in production and I was surprised to see that it took about 30 seconds to make a single sprue. I though it would go faster.
Not far away from the plastic injection room are located the white metal and vacuform workshops where more traditional production methods are employed. However, it seems obvious that the need for these technics is decreasing since MPM now more and more relies on plastic injection to produce the parts of their kits, even for the transparent ones.
Production of resin parts takes place in another buillding. While CMK (resin) and MPM (plastic) work closely together, they are in fact two different entities. The methods used are very traditional (resin poured in silicone molds) but of course everything has been organized for mass production. For example, several big vacuum chambers can be used at the same time to allow a high production rate. Impressive was the collection of masters carefully stashed away in small drawers. There must have been several hundreds!
Model kit storageBoth CMK and MPM have their own shelves to stash their respective references for their http://www.cmkkits.com online shop, and though the number of kits and detail sets present there is impressive, it is nothing compared to the main hangar were thousands of parcels full of model kits are placed one over each other to constitute blocks which are as big as a small house! I felt like in the final scene of the Indiana Jones movie "the Raiders of the Lost Ark". I wonder how many treasures are still laying there in a corner? For sure there must be a Holly Grail there for every kind of modeller!
Credits and thank youMany thanks to Ms. Pavla Harazimova for having made the visit of the MPM company possible and to M. Jiri Silhanek for having allowed it. Many thanks in particular to M. Jan Hajicek for having devoted some of his precious time for us. Thanks also to all the people who have worked there and who were very friendly to us. Many thanks as well to Steffen Arndt for having been my GPS system during the trip (must still think of buying an update…) and for having shared his photos of which some found their way into this feature.
Copyright ©2020 by Jean-Luc Formery. Images and/or videos also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely the views and opinions of the authors and/or contributors to this Web site and do not necessarily represent the views and/or opinions of Armorama, KitMaker Network, or Silver Star Enterrpises. All rights reserved. Originally published on: 2010-06-19 00:00:00. Unique Reads: 20925