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Highlander

Weathering, Lots of Weathering, and Is There a Model in There Somewhere?

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I have noted in various magazines, advertisements for books and videos, Youtube videos, and on the contest table that models are becoming more and more weathered. In some cases, IMHO, the model is so heavily weathered that it is unrealistic. Now, I know that, actual equipment got pretty gritty and grimy in actual practice. But this is something entirely different.

 

I'm guessing that, in the cycle of building techniques, that when a new technique becomes fashionable and spreads through the modeling community, it gets applied with increasing vigor and enthusiasm. And, it can become the new norm.

 

And, I'm also guessing that there is a perception that heavy weathering increases the chances of placing in a contest. Whether that is actually the case or not. I know that my perception is that a completely clean entry is not going to do well against a modestly weathered entry with similar construction quality.

 

So, am I right. I weathering a roaring fad? Is it here to stay? Is it overwrought? And does it enhance one's chances in a contest?

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Part of the answer may lie in another question. Take the 1/24 Offy midget as an example. Does the build represent its appearance before or after the race?

Edited by Nortley

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David: I'm not sure what you're seeing is actually weathering per-se....there's a method of model finishing known as the "Spanish School" which, at first glance appears to be more heavily weathered. However, it's actually more of an emphasis on accenting panel lines and using much more contrast in the camouflage colors, as well as using heavier washes and drybrushed highlights. And you're right in that it almost always includes more, if not heavier, exhaust staining, oil leaks, and dirt streaking as compared to other painting methods.

 

Some people like it and others don't. For me, it depends on whether or not it's done well or not. Like anything, it can be overdone. When properly done, the interior spaces and the exterior finish seem to "pop" a bit more than standard finishes. It's definitely a more artistic way of painting the model. I like it because it's more eye catching when done properly. When it's overdone it tends to look artificial instead of authentic.

 

As to how it affects the judging in a contest....again, it depends on how well it's pulled off. Just as weathering (in and of itself) is neither good nor bad, so it is with the Spanish School finishes. When well done, the model retains its authenticity while having (generally) a more interesting finish to the naked eye. When it's over done the builder has failed to execute what he intended and will probably suffer in the judging.

 

The one thing that should not happen is for a judge to approach any such model with a bias; whether they like those types, or think they don't look real. The finish, whatever approach is used, either looks authentic and realistic, or it looks contrived; and THAT is what a judge should consider as compared to its competition.

 

GIL :smiley16:

Edited by ghodges

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I suppose that what I consider as over weathering is looking at a model and seeing only the weathering. Well, not only the weathering. Rather, seeing a plethora of techniques -- washes and highlights and chipping and filters and pigments and mud and rusts and oils and every other technique in the tool box of finishing a model. No subtlety, but a tour de force of everything the builder can throw at the model.

 

I was moved to start this thread when I saw a piece of armor in a magazine and observed that the original base color was completely covered. One could not determine the color of the underlying base coat due to layers and layers of "weathering".

 

Assuredly, it depends upon how it is pulled off. But it seems to me that finishing techniques, in some cases, have become an end in themselves.

Edited by Highlander

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The IPMS/USA contest guide says this to the judges:

"

  • "Weathering" is inherently neither good nor bad. When comparing a model with a weathered finish to a model with a pristine finish, the judges will concern themselves with the degree of success achieved by each builder in depicting the intended finish. An exception is in the diorama categories where appropriate weathering may be necessary to render appropriate realism.

Like many on this Forum, I've seen lots of "trends" come and go. If you like it, use it. If not, build how you like. Eventually it will probably come back into favor.

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Having attended many shows and contests in recent years, I have come to the conclusion that "subtlety" is not in the vocabulary of today's modelers and that most builders of model aircraft have never seen a real aircraft close-up.

Edited by SkyKing
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Like many on this Forum, I've seen lots of "trends" come and go. If you like it, use it. If not, build how you like. Eventually it will probably come back into favor.

 

Concur. It's just a case of what's appropriate - to my eye. Tried out my first set of Rustall on some very cheap, plastic HO-scale autos with the intent to achieve three levels of weathering: Light, Medium and Biodegradable. Each was prepped with suitable starting paint effects. Satisfied with the results and all three cars found spots on a friend's RR layout.

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I've seen this discussion many times and there is no wrong or right answer when looking at model building from an artistic standpoint. Art is subjective and always will be, no matter who tries to put spin on it, each individual will ALWAYS perceives art in a different manner.

 

I would only perceive a model as over weathered if it was meant to be an actual reproduction of a given subject but was heavily over done.

 

I for one do not like pre-shading panel lines. I have seen thousands of photos of WWII aircraft and I have never seen a single aircraft display this kind of weathering. I know this is done for effect, but it doesn't work for me, but that's just me. I am not saying this technique looks bad, I just feel it's not entirely accurate, and some model builders go way overboard with the technique.

 

So, there are more than a single side to this subject, but it all comes down to the individual in the long run.

Edited by spiralcity

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So, am I right(?). I(s) weathering a roaring fad? Is it here to stay? Is it overwrought? And does it enhance one's chances in a contest?

David,

 

These are only my own personal views and experiences...your results may vary.

 

In order, my answers to your questions above are Maybe, No, Yes, Sometimes, and in IPMS contests, Absolutely not.

 

Weathering of models has been going on as long as model building itself has existed. However, you could be right in thinking that some of the extreme weathering seen today is indeed not only way-overdone and counterproductive. On the other hand, weathering is not a fad. Some techniques might be, but not weathering itself. In fact, most dedicated armor modelers believe that to NOT weather a military model is far worse than applying at least some weathering (unless depicting a vehicle rolling off the assembly line). Weathering is definitely here to stay - extreme weathering will likely come and go over time.

 

That brings us to your final question and one that I have a bit of a pet-peeve about. In addition to the Judging Guide quote posted above (weathering is neither good nor bad) there is one more entry about weathering under military judging which says - to paraphrase - that judges need to really look at heavy weathering because it might be used to hide basic modeling flaws. That statement, and the one posted by Ron, basically tell the story. Weathering (and especially heavy weathering) is probably not going to give you advantage in an IPMS contest -- it may in fact prevent your otherwise perfect model from even placing.

 

In a non-IPMS contest weathering models can be very beneficial or even essential. In an AMPS contest, there is one whole area of judging just for weathering. If you don't weather your model, you get ZERO points. At a few contests I've attended which didn't use either organization's rules, very involved weathering was treated like intricate decal work or complex painting, a modeler was usually given extra credit for pulling off the technique effectively.

 

On a personal note, I actually like some (not all) of the very involved and intricate weathering being accomplished by modelers around the world. Many of the best military modelers are pushing the limits and coming up with new and better techniques...unfortunately a proportionately smaller percentage of those modelers are located in the U.S. As a predominately military modeler (90% or so), I tend to weather virtually every model I build to one degree or another. Without fail, the models that receive the highest number of compliments from modelers and non-modelers alike are the ones I've more heavily weathered. As far as IPMS contests go, my awards tend to come from the models I've more lightly weathered...imagine that.

 

Just my 2 cents...

Edited by RLFoster

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Just some images of actual, real weathering.

 

http://s192.photobucket.com/user/dmontgomery_photo/slideshow/weathering view the slideshow or let one pic speak for the others.

 

 

B-25.jpg

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Personally, I view some weathering as a way to cover up mistakes in paintwork. Really good weathering, while rare, is subtle and few can pull it off.

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Personally, I view some weathering as a way to cover up mistakes in paintwork. Really good weathering, while rare, is subtle and few can pull it off.

 

I highly disagree.

There were some heavily wreathed machines rolling during WWII, Korea and Nam. Weathering is not always subtle, as a matter of fact I cant think of a single war machine that had seen combat that didn't look weathered. The only machines not weather were the ones sitting on the show room floor

Edited by spiralcity

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Personally, I view some weathering as a way to cover up mistakes in paintwork. Really good weathering, while rare, is subtle and few can pull it off.

 

Can you further clarify that remark? Weathering includes everything from washes to add shadow, chipped paint, oil fading, streaking effects, etc...

 

I'm finding it hard to understand any part of what you're saying. Every modeler I know weathers for realism and style. I highly doubt they do it to cover mistakes. In fact I would say weathering, when done right, is more challenging to accomplish than painting.

 

This is not the first time I've encountered the thought of weathering 'covering up' something. Sadly, I experienced it while judging.

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I agree with the comment that weathering is more challenging than painting. I for one have the most serious difficulty weathering any of my models. I don't think I've ever been happy with any weathering job I've done.

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There are some modelers who will use weathering to try to cover up a mistake, especially if it's an armor piece since you can more realistically glop a bunch of mud (or something) on top of a bad spot.

 

However, where some people go wrong is when they assume that just because there may be some extra heavy weathering it MUST be covering up something......'taint necessarily so!

 

Whether the weathering is subtle or relatively heavy, the important thing is that the builder is both consistent in its application as well as being appropriate for the theater of operations depicted.

 

GIL :smiley16:

Edited by ghodges

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I think there is much to what Kevin says. As a judge, I sometimes find it hard to decide what is effective weathering and what is a mess disguising a poor finish. I think a neat paint job with skilled application of decals and, perhaps, some restrained weathering is much harder than slopping greys and blacks and browns all over the piece. Just sayiin'. Nick Filippone, Senior National Judge

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Warships turn into paint chipped rust buckets VERY quickly without regular maintenance. As an example, the CSS Arkansas was never painted. In haste to get her into battle, the Captain got underway before paint was applied. She turned into a rust bucket within weeks. So much so that many modelers and period artists think the ship was actually painted orange. When in fact it was so covered in rust.

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So, am I right. I weathering a roaring fad? Is it here to stay? Is it overwrought? And does it enhance one's chances in a contest?

 

 

Well if it's a fad, it's the longest running fad I have ever seen. My father taught me to model in the early 70's and he was weathering then.

Edited by spiralcity
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'Weathering' ! It seems to have become more of a generic term in model making for something just getting dirty, stained or damaged as well as for something stood out and deteriorating due to the elements.

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