The Sprue Cutters' Union wants to know how I prepare for my next build.
It's not complicated really. Once I've decided on the subject matter, I'll do a quick Google search for any reviews or information on the kits available, figuring there are plenty of people out there more knowledgeable on the subject than I am. If there's an overwhelming majority of opinion that a certain kit's awful, and if at least some of that feedback is coming from guys I respect, I'll probably avoid buying it. (Magazine reviews are also useful, although if it's an older kit I'd have to look back through years of back issues to locate an article, so I probably won't bother). If there are a few minor inaccuracies that I can live with or easily correct, I'll find the kit at the lowest price online and order it. There was a time when I'd order a bunch of aftermarket to go with it, but years of experience has proven that the more I spend on a project the less likely it is to get started, let alone see completion. Aftermarket nowadays is more likely be limited to a resin ejection seat or pre-painted photo-etch seat harnesses.
Assuming I haven't totally lost interest in the project by the time it arrives, I'll start to do some more research. Again, the internet is my first resource, and I'm mainly looking for Walkround images and photos of the real thing. Jim Watts mentions Airliners.net as a go-to resource, and it's one of my primary references too. I'm looking for alternative colour schemes and close up images that show antennae, stencilling, undercarriage mechanisms, all the little details that can be added to enhance the basic kit. I have a reasonable library of books and magazines as well, so I'll also consult those. Although some modellers like to check the kit against scale plans, I rarely do; I don't know enough about the veracity of the drawings, and I'm lazy enough to assume the kit manufacturer has already done that for me.
There's still lots of potential for the project to be shelved even at this stage, but if it survives my low boredom threshold and I haven't been distracted by some other equally colourful project, I'll begin the actual build.
Here's how other Unionists prepare:-