Saturday 2 November 2013

Sprue Cutters Union #15: Everybody's A Critic

Running late this week on my SprueCutters assignment. We're being asked how we look at finished models from friends, the internet and our own.

- What do you think makes an outstanding finished model? -

"Finishing" is a relatively new term for me. As a teen, the model was finished when fully assembled, painted and decals were in place. In the past year I've learned to go beyond that, or at least try to. I'm trying to challenge myself to 1) build better than I used to and 2) attempt some weathering.

Build better?
For me, this does not mean going all out on aftermarket parts. I still build out-of-the-box, but I try to file away imperfections, fill seams and make adjustments that are obvious and not too difficult. Basic stuff really, but a challenge sometimes nonetheless. I spent several hours filing, filling and sanding on my U.S.S. Missouri and while still not perfect, I've reached a point of "f@#$ this, close enough".

I'm trying to go slow about this. I've tried some washes and just this week started working with pigments. It's easy to overdo all  these effects, so going slow is the way to go here. There are many techniques for me to learn, but I'm tackling one at a time.

I've declared 5 models as "finished" this past year, although at least 2 of them will come out of the display cupboard later in life, to improve little things. I'm far from a perfectionist, but it's hard to say when they're really done. Practicing and perfecting techniques will maybe make this easier as my skills improve.

Giving and receiving criticism
As any modeller, I like to show off my finished models (or even Works-in-progress). That's the reason for this blog, a dedicated Facebook page and taking finished models to the next club meeting. I think I can speak for all my fellow modellers when I say we feel proud of our creations and take extra pride when others say nice things about them. Constructive criticism is taken to heart and only serves as extra incentive to make the next model even better.

I've seen many models (perfect and far from perfect) and given my own honest opinion. You can tell a beginner modeller to try to remove that obvious seam or give finishing tips, but don't go trashing his work. Nobody likes the "rivet counters".
You can notice the obvious misshap and try to think how you could have fixed it if it happend to yourself. Give it a positive spin if you know a way to fix it or if you can't, just express sympathy, then compliment on an aspect of the model that worked really well or looks great.
I've seen wonderful models, that reveal imperfections when viewed up close. I'm personally very sensitive about brush strokes, which is why I do everything possible to avoid them myself. I've seen brushstrokes on award-winning models, but when you move back from your 10-centimeter up close inspection, the little blemishes may disappear, leaving the overall model to dazzle with other aspects of it's build or the builder's creativity.

I like models with a unique aspect, a soul so to speak, showing it's builder personality. An imperfect execution does not diminish the achievement.

Don't forget to read other Spruecutters opinions :


  1. Hey bud, great post. I always find it interesting to read how the views of you scale model builders differ from those of wargamers, and it seems that we aren't overly different at all when it comes to the fundamentals.

  2. Hiya Jeroen,

    Good read and congrats on getting 5 models completed this year! I agree with you constructive criticism. I rather show support on a build rather than knock it down.