Total Immersions Nautilus - Beware the Beast!
There is an old proverb that says something to the effect of, "If it's too good to be true, it probably is." The Total Immersions Nautilus kit by Lee Seiler is definitely one of those things.
Now, I've known Lee's kits for nearly a decade now, and have personally assembled a large number of them for customers (frustrated with the process of working with such a challenging product, but I digress). There are a few things that you need to understand about Lee's kits:
First off, they can build into a beautiful model. If you can work through the challenges, you'll wind up with a great display piece with lots of really interesting detail.
However, the manner that Lee managed to create this detailed model is pretty underhanded. He took one of Scott Brodeen's 31" model kits, stripped off the exterior detail, added his own and then passed the entire model off as his own creation. Standing on the backs of giants, Lee undercut Scott and his hundreds of hours of labor and love and sold the kit at a discounted price.
Fair enough.. all's fair in love and war, right? I can agree with that (if not condone it). Having said that, the quality of the kits is, to put it quite bluntly, attrocious. Castings are made from the cheapest resin Lee can source. Castings are soft and mushy, prone to warping and full of air pockets. All pieces are cast in resin, including the small and intricate detail pieces, which become next to useless to assembly due to how fragile and hard to work with they are.
Finally, as if that is not enough, there is the small matter of actually getting what you pay for. I can't tell you the number of times I've had frantic customers approach me asking if I know how to get a hold of Lee after they put an order for a kit in. The tale always begins with how lucky they felt to find a kit that was a whopping $65 cheaper than the Drydocks offering. It quickly progresses to how, months after ordering, they still have not seen their kit nor heard any updates from Lee on its progress. Finally, after months and sometimes years of trying, they attempt legal recourse only to find out that Lee is nowhere to be found.
Here is an example of such a customer's heartfelt email to me, received only a few days ago:
Hi Bob, It is me again after a long time. I still have no joy with getting my $500 back. There is nothing been posted on the Total Immersion Website since he supposedly moved from Deadwood Oregon. I have contacted Oregon State Police to see if they know where he is but they will not investigated unless I make a formal complaint.
Although he said he was moving to the Reno Area of Nevada in my research there is no telephone listing of him when I enquired. On a Business Performance Website at least five other people have made it clear they are owed similar amounts to me and one person said he might have moved back to California .
Also I have contacted the Federal Trade Commission and filled in their Complaint Form Online but still no luck. It now has been just short of Two Years. Employing a Bounty Hunter would cost more than I am owed and I do not know if I as some Official suggested talk to the FBI.
Sorry to bother you but I hope you can warn others because Paypal will only recover money before about half a year.
Best Regards (name omitted to protect their identity)
Now, I understand that many of you reading may be taking this as one kit manufacturer slandering another, but I urge you to do your own research. Conduct internet searches for Lee's name and his company and start tallying up the customer complaints.
I hope that I've done my part to help protect some of your hard-earned money. More than that, I'd also be happy to offer one of our Nautilus Drydocks model kits at a discounted price to anyone who has placed an order with Lee in the past that has been taken advantage of. Pop me an email if you're one of those unfortunately people and we'll figure something out.
Thanks for reading!
The Nautilus Drydocks