Questions and Answers
about EIMB

Are you thinking of having a model custom built or ordering one of my products but don't really know what's involved or what to expect? Please read this page for a full explanation of Small Art Works procedures before sending an email. I'd be happy to answer any other questions you may have that are not covered in this FAQ page.

I sent you an email weeks ago, why haven't you answered?

Because this is a small operation (pun intended!), I am responsible for all emails and operations myself. Although I do have other people occasionally doing work for me for some things, 99% of it is done by little ol' me. So, sometimes I may get swamped with emails, I may have overlooked it, maybe it gets put in the spam folder or maybe I simply never received it. If you are concerned, please resend your request and I will get to it when I can.

I see no prices on your web site.... Is anything here for sale?

Everything shown on the Small Art Works web site is made individually for individual customers as requested. Nothing here is "mass produced", as I specialize in a personal approach. If you see something on this site that you'd like to have, please send an email to "" and I'll be happy to accommodate your request. Products shown on the "Special Projects and Custom Accessories" page show pricing on each individual product's page.

 How do I order your services?

All you need to do is go to the Order Form Page here, or we can discuss in an email. Read through the instructions to best find the payment method that suits your needs.
Payment options include paying with your credit card using Paypal or with a cheque or money order. Sorry, but I cannot accept credit card payment except through PayPal. Cheques are not recommended because they can take 25 business days to clear.

What about other fees like shipping?...

Shipping costs can be discussed in our correspondence. Shipping costs will vary depending on the services you would like to use. For more information you can go to the Canada post web site here: ""  .

Why are Canada's rates so high? Good question!

Please remember that when I ship your product to you I cannot be held responsible for what happens to the item once it leaves my possession. I recommend that you ask and therefore pay for insurance on the item (where applicable) when it is sent.

....And what's this about taxes?

If you are outside Canada and having a custom job done, such as a kit buildup, and are supplying the kit/materials, you MAY be required to reimburse me the fees which I have to pay as import taxes. I make nothing from these additional taxes, as they are levied to me by the government. To minimize these taxes, you should de-value the item to a very low price, under $10 US. You may also wish to attach a visible note on the customs form (to the attention of Canada Customs) essentially saying that the item is only temporarily entering the country "for repairs" or servicing and will actually be returned to you, the sender. If this is done, it may reduce the likelihood of taxes being applied, but is not a guarantee.

Remember, you're sending something that you will get back and therefore will not be staying in Canada, so theoretically it should not be taxed. Unfortunately for both you and me, the government of Canada in it's ever reaching and all encompassing search for as much tax collection as possible does not provide for situations such as this. In their view, if an item is modified (an assembled kit, for example) in Canada, it is therefore "used" or "consumed" here, so the taxes still apply, even though the modified (finished model) item is not remaining in Canada. Of course this is unfair and typical of a bloated government bureacracy, but it's beyond my control.

               If it's a valuable item and you choose to insure the package and/or declare it's full value, you will likely need to add an additional fee of 15% of the declared cost of the item plus $12.00 CDN to cover the taxes and taxation fees the Canadian government forces me to pay. If the government fails to tax the items (unlikely!), I will return your prepaid taxation fees. Make sure you write all this payment down on the order form when you send it.

How much does it cost to have a model made?

Cost depends on dozens of variables, but most of it comes down to time. Some materials to build models are relatively inexpensive, but most of the cost of having a model made is because of the many hours of time required to build it. If the model is made from a kit with standard assembly and paint, this will usually be the lowest possible cost, with the simplest models coming in at under $200. Cost to build most kits are between $250 and $850 or so, depending on the kit's complexity. Some can be much higher. If the kit requires modification beyond the standard assembly instructions or if you want lights or other special components added, this will usually increase the cost of the model considerably. A completely scratchbuilt model, which may require research as well as actual construction will be the most expensive, usually costing thousands of dollars, so it's always best to search the Internet to see if a kit is available of your favourite subject to save money.. 

Why does it cost so much for you to build a model when I can buy,
say, a finished die-cast model of a car at Wal-Mart for only twenty bucks?

Models sold at Wal-Mart and other retail outlets can be sold cheaply because they are mass produced in assembly lines at low cost by the thousands, usually in China, where labour is very cheap.  Having a custom built model completely assembled and painted by hand requires a lot more individual preparation, thought and care to the model than done in a large factory requiring hundreds of labourers trained for just one operation each.

What do you need from me to give an accurate quote and build the model? 

Obviously, all the models I've built on this web site I am already familiar with and can provide a quote immediately, just tell me if you want anything different on the model than what is presented on this site. However, I am not familiar with all kits or subjects, so you would need to tell me a few things before I could give a quote:

First, do you want a kit built or do you want the model built from scratch?

From a kit....
 ...I would need to know what brand it is, roughly how many parts the kit has, what the kit is made of (is it injection-molded styrene plastic, vacuformed, resin, metal or multimedia?). What is the rough size of the kit when finished and any other information you could provide would be needed. It's very helpful if you could send photos of the model's parts which allow me to determine the quality of the kit. Please note that the higher quality the kit is and the better the materials are, the lower the cost may be for me to build it. Some "garage" kits which are usually made from resin, white metal or vacuformed plastic are extremely crude and require a lot of cleanup before construction can even begin, so this adds to the labour, and therefore cost.

From scratch...
If you want a scratch built model made, you would need to provide me with pictures or drawings of what the subject looks like. Remember, the more thorough the reference material, the more accurate I can make the quote and the model. If adequate documentation cannot be found, I would make an educated guess at what the unknown elements are. Remember that if I am to research the model this brings up the cost, since sometimes researching a model can take a very long time. It's best if you can get as much reference material as possible. I will also need to know what scale or how big you want the model to be. If you have a budget in mind, please say so and I'll see if it can be done for that amount.

How long will it take to complete the model?

It depends, again on many factors. My own schedule is one. Sometimes I get backed up with work and it may be many months before I could even start work on your project. It also depends on the complexity of the model. Some models can take only a few days to build, some may take many months. If you absolutely need the model to be built by a certain time, you must state this deadline up front before I can give a quote. Due to work commitments that may be ahead of you, it may not be possible to meet a close deadline.

Patience on your part would be the greatest asset to having the model done well.

What about the "regular stuff" you sell, like your kits? How come it takes so long for them to be delivered?

Although this is a business designed to serve the general public, it is essentially a very tiny operation which serves a relatively small number of people when compared to large corporations because we serve a very small "niche" market, producing more specialized items that large manufacturers would consider unprofitable. The entire "Garage Kit" industry is run by individuals and fans, just like you, but with the ability to produce very limited run kits on an order by order basis in units or at best dozens, not thousands or even hundreds. We are not full-bore production factories with multi-million dollar facilities.

This business is my full time job (it's all I do), and although I try to keep as much work in-house as possible, occasionally hiring people to work here for some jobs like resin casting, I may tend to job out some of our bits and pieces to other people for more specialized work, like rotocasting.  This keeps the product you will receive the highest quality possible, at the cutting edge of the industry. Most of the kits require that items be ordered from other manufactureres as they become needed, as some items require materials or procedures needed from other companies. Their schedules are also dictated by the amount of work they have to do and the time they are able to spend doing them, therefore delays can and usually do result, sometimes taking months.

You need to keep this in mind when you order any Small Art Works kits, as sometimes it is impossible for me to acquire the parts I need in a timely fashion.

Every effort is made to make sure your product is delivered, even if it does take a lot longer than you would like. If you absolutely need a product by a certain deadline, be sure to ask if that specific deadline can be met BEFORE you order or pay for the product.

We may take a long time to get your product delivered, but we regularly meet a level of excellence that is unmatched in most of the "Garage Kit" industry. My personal philosophy is that it's better to take longer to deliver a high quality product than to deliver a poor one quickly.

What kind of skills are required to build one of your kits?

Here is a "primer"  you can read which gives a general overview of how to assemble a Small Art Works kit..

Can you accommodate my budget?

Depends on your budget! Sometimes there's just no cheap way to build a model as they all take at least a certain amount of time, and time is money. If you have a limited amount of money to spend, let me know your budget considerations and I will see if I can accommodate you.

Do I need to make a down payment?

A minimal down payment will be required on all scratchbuilding jobs and some of the very expensive kits, generally used to buy materials and begin construction preparation. The downpayment amount will depend on the job and will be discussed at the time of the quote. If you are providing a kit to build, the kit will act as collateral, so sometimes a downpayment is not required, but there may be exceptions in some cases. 

What if I change my mind and no longer want the work done after I've hired you?

If I've not begun work yet, you're entitled to a full refund of your downpayment and/or materials supplied, but you'll have to pay for any costs such as return postage or banking fees where they exist.

 If you've hired me to build a kit and I've already begun work, I would require a partial payment to cover the work already done and postage to return the unfinished kit to you.  If you were to refuse such payment,  you would forfeit the kit and I would have to try to sell it myself to recover my labour costs. Hopefully this would not happen but I'm usually willing to work something out that satisfies us both. 
However, please remember that on scratchbuilding jobs, the downpayment is not refundable once work has begun. 

An exception to these rules is if the project cannot be completed due to a fault of my own. If I cannot or will not finish the job for some reason that is not your fault, you'd get a full refund of your down payment whether I've started the project or not. This exception does NOT include projects which have taken longer than you may have expected, unless I failed to meet a deadline that you specified at the outset and is written on your submitted order form.

Delinquent Payment

Once the work has been finished and I have sent you photos of the completed work, you are expected to pay within a reasonable time period. A few weeks or a month is OK. Three or four months or more is not. If payment is not received within a reasonable time period (over a month) I would have no choice but to view it as a non-payment and I reserve the right to sell the work to another party if the opportunity arises.

Remember that once the model is finished, you are contractually obligated to pay for it. If you do not or cannot pay I would do with the model as I see fit and you would unfortunately forfeit any downpayment or kits provided if this were the case.

If you still intend to pay but cannot get the funds together yet you must let me know a specific date when you'll be able to make your paynment and I will hold it until then. But if a long time goes by after your promise to pay date, then the work becomes my property to do as above.

Do you guarantee your custom buildup work?

Modelmaking is an art form, much like an artist and his painting. It's not like getting your car fixed, where it's a "mathematically accurate" job. It either is fixed or not.  I must assume you are hiring me because you like the work you have seen on this web site. Modelmaking is highly subjective and I cannot know exactly what your expectations are. In order to satisfy your desires, you must be as descriptive as possible when you ask for your quote or tell me how you want your model to look and what is to function etc.very clearly using text, pictures or whatever necessary. If you have particular tastes, please show me references or concise descriptions at the time you ask for a quote. If I do the work as you have specified on the order form you would send me when hiring me for the job, it's clear to me that I have fulfilled my end of the contract. I can't give a refund if the model is finished and does not turn out as you wish due to lack of information supplied to me by you. It's a good thing to stay in touch with me as I'm building the model. You can 'phone or email. At certain points, I may, if you wish, e-mail you pictures of the model under construction for your input, but I reserve the right to raise my price if you later wish to deviate from what was described on your originally submitted order.

How should I pay?

Payment is best made by PayPal (preferred) or Money Order as stated in our correspondence. Personal checks from the USA or Canada may be acceptable, but not recommended, as you would need to wait for the check to clear, and that takes about 25 business days. I won't ship the work to you until that time elapses and the check clears. Certified checks are preferable to personal checks.

Always make sure that the money order or check is able to be cashed in Canada, and make the payment out to "James Small".

PayPal is the safest way to pay, because both of us, as well as PayPal, would have proof of payment in case of a dispute. Money orders or checks can go missing or get lost in the mail etc. which may cause a problem.

When is full payment due?

Full payment is due upon completion of the model. I will send you plenty of photographs via Email showing you the finished model when it has been completed. I will ship the model only after full payment has arrived.

Do you accept payment installments?

Yes, and for larger expensive jobs, that is recommended and may be required. Remember that the finished model will not be shipped until full and final payment has arrived.

How did you build that _________model?

It would be nice to be able to answer all the questions I get of that nature, but time limitations for the lengthy explanations required does not allow for it. There are explanations for how some of my models were built in the "Articles" section of this Small Art Works web site. 

How do you photograph your models?

I find the photography of the finished models to be just as entertaining as building them, sometimes even more so! I now use a Canon D-60 EOS digital SLR camera. This type of camera is perfect for model work because it has the capability of full manual control. You can manually set the aperature and exposure settings to maintain depth of field which is crucial for shooting models. Composition is all important as well and so is the lighting. For more information on how to take good pictures of your models, please go to the "Customer's Gallery" section of this site and look for the link to the Picture Hints page

All the models shown on this web site are completely unretouched except where directly noted. The only thing I do to the pictures in Photoshop is adjust brightness and contrast levels, remove unwanted background clutter, crop & re-size to suit and add text. 

The models themselves are NOT retouched to disguise or hide any flaws.

What are your modelbuilding standards and philosophy?

In the artistic world of modelbuilding, there are many standards to be met. Some people are satisfied with a semi-accurate snap-together model with only a basic and minimalist paint job. Others build models with such attention to detail that they even construct obscure areas that you won't even see on the finished model at all... but they just "know they're there". These are amenities like full cockpit instrumentation, rudder pedals etc. in an airplane model where you wouldn't even be able to see through the windows well enough to see them. This kind of work is truly inspiring, but is vastly time consuming and would be extremely expensive to have done professionally.

I take a considerably more practical approach. I realize that most people want a model made that will look great sitting on a shelf, desk or display cabinet in their home or office but don't necessarily need it to win those "anal retentive" contests. The models will generally not be examined with a magnifying glass by the owner or by the average observer, so rather than concentrate on tiny details that won't be noticed, I prefer to build an "arm's length" model that can be done at a more reasonable cost to the customer. Extreme accuracy and detail is achieved whenever possible, but there can be practical limitations.  To get a feel for the kind of work standards you can expect from EIMB, please have a close look through the "Gallery" section of this web site and judge for yourself. 

Any more questions you'd like answered? Please send an email to ""


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