I missed last week’s entry on account of lack of time to formulate a well thought out response, but I hope this week’s Sprue Cutters Union topic generates interest amongst readers. This week’s question is simple: what makes an outstanding model?
The answer is not so simple however. Having read the other union members’ replies, the most common thread seems to be story telling. A good model should convey its history by means of detail, finish, and final presentation. I don’t disagree with this; but to me, story telling is not always the goal of modeling.
I strive to make models which can be decorative objects for my man-cave. Therefore my own modeling goal is to make attractive, eye catching builds. To this end, I strive for bright, sharp builds. Detail that pops out, bright colors, and clean builds. I don’t know if I’ve achieved this goal entirely with any of my builds, but it is something I strive for. There are modelers out there who do this quite well. Folks like Mike Grant, Greg Schmidt, Paul Boyer, Tony Greenland and many others build models that look; in a word, pretty! And I like pretty.
Now I don’t think that pretty has to come at the expense of realistic. But the lynch-pin comes with weathering. Making a pretty model and a well weathered model requires a careful balance. For the record, I don’t believe the “Spanish School” modelers have achieved that balance. They’re style looks pretty, but it is not realistic. Especially when applied to aircraft. To my eye an outstanding model does not need to be heavily weathered to still look realistic. For example, a USN A-4 could look great with bright colorful decals over a gull gray and white finish and subtle variations in sheen on the base coats from satin to almost flat, a few cleverly placed scuff marks and fluid leaks to simulate wear and maintenance. I don’t feel that every panel line needs to be darkened, the center of each panel faded, and the paint scuffed and sun bleached. But that’s just me.
Speaking of Skyhawks though. The pursuit of pretty does mean that I’ve been finding myself building a lot of US Navy schemes lately. Aircraft of the 1920s and 30s, and Japanese aircraft have also been finding their way to my shelves and stash as well. This doesn’t mean I don’t build anything in a green and brown camo. The more drab looking craft go a long way to keep the modeling shelf from looking too much like a circus. But when I look at pictures of my displays from years past, when drab and lo-vis were the norm, I can’t help but feel a bit numb.
Below are a few examples culled from around the web that represent outstanding models to my eye. These are just a few of the benchmarks to which I strive.
If any of the images below violate viewing rights, please contact me, and I will remove them.
Greg Schmidt’s 1/24 NASCAR Monte Carlo
Mike Grant’s 1/72 F-104 in flight
Barry Webb’s 1/72 T-33
Mikeew’s (don’t know his real name- sorry) 1/48 Javelin (see – camo can be pretty too)
Patrick Lebecq’s 1/35 Horch
Thats all for now. Check out a few others’ opinions on the topic.
Yet Another Plastic Modeller
The Eternal Wargamer
Miniature and Model Painting
Scale Model Soup
Scale Model Workben
The Combat Workshop