Just completed a display model, Revell’s “Firefighter” of 1939.
Many kits are good enough to build as-is, or nearly so… not the Firefighter! After researching online resources and Ditzel’s book “Fireboats“, I discovered so many issues with FF’s cabin and deck furniture that I had no choice but to build much from scratch.
I elected to use 3D Printing for the entire cabin structure, tower, and fire monitors and their bases. Even the many handwheels and all the stanchions were done as 3D Printing… all of which was sourced from Shapeways.
Now, don’t get the idea that 3D printing is easy, or that it makes easy-to-use parts… but sometimes there is no other choice! You need to have good 3D CAD software to begin… and you must know how to use it. Then, the printing technology is pretty good… but not great. Parts usually have bad surface finish, and if you design complicated or fragile parts, then smoothing the surface may be impossible. And indeed, the parts are fragile- not nearly as strong as typical molded styrene kit parts.
But I was able to make use of it all here… read more in my post at RC Groups (including the link inside to the 3D Printing thread). http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1759589