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PHX/Mesa Gateway Airport

Custom Model Frequently Asked Questions

What happens once I place my custom order?

Ordering is as easy as 1-2-3. Once you place your order we charge a 50% deposit, assign your model a serial number, and send you an order confirmation with a link to your easy electronic order form that you will complete to provide us with all your details to paint and build your model. We have all the proper CAD and line drawings, we just need you to tell us how you want your model painted and how you would like to customize your display stand. Once the order form is submitted you will receive a confirmation and a copy of your order form. If we have any questions we will contact you. When your model is complete we will send you several photographs from all different angles to review and approve PRIOR to shipment. This is done to ensure that neither we, nor you, missed any important details.  Once approved, your model will be shipped via air freight fully insured by UPS, Fed Ex/TNT or DHL. Experience the FDM Difference.

What types of airplanes can you make? Are they customized?

We can replicate any type of aircraft, car, ship or any other vehicle or 3D object you can imagine. Our custom models are built and personalized to YOUR specifications. We currently offer over 3,ooo different custom model airplanes, both military and civilian. Even if you don’t find the model you are looking for on our website –  it is very likely we have built the model previously. If you can dream it, we can build it!

How long will it take to receive my custom model?

Scratch built custom models  take about 8-10 weeks. Models with see through windows and full custom interior details take about 14-16 weeks to build. Build time starts when we receive your completed order form and specifications.

Do you offer a rush production service?

Yes, please contact us for more information.

Who builds the models you sell?

We do. We own and operate our own manufacturing facility. FDM employs over 200 people and for the last 25 years has worked tirelessly to assemble only the best of the best craftsmen in the industry, many of whom have been with us for over 20 years. In the past we have carried third party “stock” models from various other vendors but those models did not reflect credibly upon the FDM brand. At this point in time we only offer models that are built under our control, by our team of craftsmen, in our own factory which is FDM owned and managed by former and current pilots. We are the only true factory direct model company in the Philippines. Other companies claim to have their own factory but the truth is these vendors outsource their orders to the lowest bidder, a business model that is often very unreliable and results in a sub-par product. We are fully transparent and you can communicate via email and/or via our toll free telephone number directly with our manufacturing staff at our factory in the Philippines, just keep in mind there is a 15 hour time difference from CST.

What type of quality control systems do you use?

We use numerous redundant quality control checks at each stage to ensure your model is built with absolute perfection. FDM is different, our factory is owned and operated by Hank Morrison a former Lt. Commander and military pilot with thousands of hours behind the stick. We also employ current and former military and civilian pilots to do quality control checks before each model progresses to the next stage. We are the ONLY factory in the Philippines with actual pilots.  Models for pilots, built by pilots.

What type of materials do you use for your models?

We use many different  materials to replicate your model depending on the type of model you order. Our wood models are built using only the finest kiln-dried solid mahogany. They are hand-crafted by the world’s finest craftsmen using old-school trades dating back nearly 70 years. We also build many of the models we supply to our manufacturer clients from solid resin, composite or fiberglass materials. Your custom aircraft replica will be authentically reproduced with unprecedented precision, accuracy and extreme attention to detail. Experience the FDM Difference

Will I be able to approve photos of my model before it is shipped?

Once your aircraft replica is complete we will email multiple post-production digital photos for your final approval prior to shipping. This allows you to see the finished product to ensure that we got everything just perfect, and as specified on your order form. These photos will clearly show the paint colors, markings, ordnance, names, tail number and customized stand. Corrections are still possible at this time. Any change requests different from the order form may incur a minor additional charge. Once the final photos are approved, we apply a final coat of polyurethane to protect your model for a lifetime of enjoyment.  Your model will be delivered fully insured encased in its foam fitted shipping box via airfreight within a week after approval.

Do you only build desktop models?

We can build you a model in sizes ranging from just a few inches to a full scale mock-up. See our Large Model page to view some of our previous large model builds. You can have your model custom made to any size you’d like.

Do you offer any Guarantee on your models?

Your satisfaction is our priority. All our models are guaranteed to meet your expectations. If by some chance, your model is not correct, according to specifications you provided, we will build you a replacement model at no cost or offer you a full refund. No questions asked.

Do you have a showroom?

Yes, our showroom is located at the Phoenix/Mesa Gateway Airport (the old Williams AFB) in Mesa, Arizona.  Our hours are Monday – Friday 7 AM- 5PM and Saturday & Sunday by appointment. Visit our “Contact” page for directions and map. We have over 50 models on display including some very cool large exhibit models. Our walls are filled military artifacts and signed pieces from the worlds most recognizable and accomplished aviators and astronauts. Come on by, say hello and meet the staff.

Why are your models built in the Philippines?

Simply stated, the Philippines has the best craftsmen in the world in this industry. Model building in the Philippines began in the 1940’s, over 70 years ago. It was a “trade born out of necessity” by very talented local Pilipino people living and working at or near two of the United States largest foreign military bases located on  Luzon island in the Philippines. FDM has been building models in the Philippines for over  30 years.  Clark Air Field and NAS Subic Bay/Cubi Point were heavily used active bases from WWII until there closure in 1991 and 1992 respectively. Hundreds of thousands of US servicemen transitioned through these bases retuning to the United States and ultimately home.  Many would scramble to find souvenirs to take home to remember the friendships and airplanes they flew. The need was met when local Filipino people came up with the idea to whittle wood into airplanes they saw flying in and around these bases. They decided to offer these new hand made models for sale to stationed and passing through soldiers… and what do you know it was a huge hit – and just like that an industry was born. FDM employs over 200 people and has worked tirelessly to assemble only the best of the best craftsmen in the industry, many of whom have been with us for over 20 years. The relentless pursuit of perfection and innovation is seen in the products that are exclusive to FDM such as our desktop full see through clear window models with full custom interior details – your entire interior replicated in exact detail, including your instrument panel .  The model business has come a long way in 70 years due in part to FDM’s dedication to provide a good, clean, safe working environment for all our employees. FDM is also one of the only model companies that offers our craftsmen full medical, retirement and all the benefits typical of any specialized job requiring a university education. At FDM, we are family. It is an absolute honor to work with the people in the Philippines. Hank Morrison, a former US Navy Pilot, who has lived in the Philippines for over 30 years and served as a UC-12 Station Pilot at Cubi Point manages our manufacturing facility. Working in this industry for so many years watching this trade be handed down from generation to generation has truly been an amazing experience. The entire FDM Team is very proud of what we have created and what we envision creating in the future.

We don’t just build custom model airplanes, we build relationships with our clients.

We live and breathe models every day, the entire FDM team. Why? Because we love it! We’re passionate about what we do and it shows in our work. We enjoy the thousands of smiles we put on faces every year. Your model will be an exact replica of the real airplane, including your paint scheme and all the very fine details and features that are exclusive to FDM. We truly believe that it is “all in the details” from order placement through final delivery.  We will work diligently with you from the moment you place your order until your model is delivered in its custom foam fitted shipping case. Most of our clients become lifetime friends, friendships that the entire FDM Team cherish. Experience the FDM Difference.

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