Wednesday 30 October 2013

Sprue Cutters Union #15: What makes an outstanding model?

What makes an outstanding model?

It's always disheartening to receive lacklustre comments about something you've spent time, effort and money on. CMON ratings of 5 or 6 from modellers who are technically lower down the food chain than you really suck. Let's not even mention the feelings of failing to make the cut at the Golden Demon or similar contest.

Peer reviews are often like family critiques - well-meaning and offence-free, but not usually useful in terms of progression and direction.

I'm starting to look at my work differently - not with just a sense of pride for having completed it to a decent standard - models need to perform well, too.

3 Rules:

1. A display model must be 'on display'
2. A well-painted model will photograph well
3. Any techniques used should be proficiently presented

These can, in part, be translated from musical performance or stagecraft;

1. Don't break character, and be idiomatic.
2. Don't blame the lighting crew for your dull performance.
3. Be well rehearsed - don't practice in front of your audience.

Let's start with this goblin. He's painted to a decent standard. Or is he?

1. He's on display. The base is fitting, if a bit simple.
2. He doesn't photograph well - too dark around the face. Not a lighting issue, but a painting fail.
3. Techniques are okay - he doesn't look like anything had been tried out for the first time.

Gandalf. Very proud of this figure. Let's apply the rules:

1. The display is too simple for subject. Needs to feel more epic.
2. Photographs well enough, but highlights brushwork on horse and clothing.
3. Some techniques, like blending, look like they were rehearsed on this figure.

Everyone's a critic, right? So it's important to think like them when building and painting.

Here's a photo by Dan Quirk (@filmcorai) of a Blood Raven sergeant:

1. The base is good. Doesn't obscure the figure, and the colours contrast nicely.

2. The photo itself isn't great, but the subject photographs very nicely. The face is a clear focal point, and the weathering stands out enough.

3. The range of techniques used were mastered elsewhere- not practiced on this figure!

I like this figure - the model 'performs', and does it well. Do yours?

Here's a different angle from a fellow sprue cutter:

Scale Model Workbench

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