Tuesday, October 27, 2015

My modeling imperative

This month Jon, our esteemed shop steward at the Sprue Cutters Union, asked this question for October:

We all get lazy at times but let’s face it, there are areas of this hobby that modelers cannot get skimpy. Whether it’s a part of the assembly process, a finishing technique, or a particular tool, what do you think are the essential aspects you cannot afford to cut corners on during a build? What are your imperatives?

I have to agree with the thoughts of the commonplacemodeler, who said his first imperative is to finish every model. That should be the priority for each and every one of us. If we don’t finish models, we don’t improve our skills and we amass a collection of half-built models that never get built. Neither is a good thing.

Beyond that fundamental imperative, for me the painting and weathering of a model is the most important aspect of every model I build. And every model I look at.

My favorite aircraft from the 2013 IPMS Nats, Bob Windus’s expertly finished 1/48 Hs-129.
As I think about the models I’ve seen at contests and club meetings, those that remain in my memory are those that were, shall we say, stunning. They weren’t necessarily the best built; they may have had construction errors that took them out of contention for an award; they weren't necessarily the most detailed. But they were exceptionally well finished. Whether they had very little weathering or significant weathering, their overall impact was the factor that creates a place for them in my memory.

Here’s the thing. You can put all the detail you want into a model, but once it’s on a contest table or in your display case, it’s very hard for a viewer to see unless he makes an effort to get up close and look for it. Most models are enjoyed at a distance of two to five feet, so it’s crucial that they’re painted and weathered to the best of your abilities.

And yet, I have to wonder why detail is also important to me. The models I’ve most enjoyed building are those to which I’ve added a bit of detail. I should build a few models de-emphasizing detail and focusing on finish. That’s what I did with my Academy F4F Wildcat and a Hobby Boss 1/72 MiG-3 recently, both with good results. Maybe it’s time to try again.


  1. Great points Steve and i have to agree with your logic. For me the goal is to buld as many quality models as i can so i work on the OOB method, but i have to admit when i do extra work and it comes out the way i wanted that model moves up as a favourite and one i will often look at when passing the cabinet.

    1. Exactly. I always feel pulled in the direction to add detail, yet so many models in the stash are awaiting my time. Ugh!

  2. I'm mostly an OOB modeler so I try to put extra effort on the finish.I might not have the most detailed cockpits or wheel wells,but I make up for that with concentrating on a good clean & neat overall finish.