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Dakimbrell

ACCUARCY, CRAFTSMANSHIP, AND AESTHETICS

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When is craftsmanship more important than accuracy? (Putting seat belts in backwards simply because they look good that way.) How do you tell the difference? How do people feel about a model "looking good" but being totally inaccurate in multiple aspects?( An A6M5 Zero, armed with Sidewinder missiles, in Dutch markings, being flown by a Russian unit in the Battle of Britain) At what point should the builder take aesthetics into consideration. (Yes, the color is right, but it is just ugly.) Should aesthetics be more important than trying to make the model accurate? (Like putting a Ford engine in a Dodge because you think the detail looks better.)

Having had some interesting discussions with people about accuracy and craftsmanship, I have come to believe many talk about these things, but are all on different pages about how they should be applied to models and contest judging.

Thoughts?

Dak

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First you have to designate whether you're discussing your topic as applied to contests and judging, or just building for yourself.

If you're building for yourself, anything goes. BUT, the caveat to that is  when you build something of spurious genealogy with weird paint and it looks funky (as you intended); expect to be questioned on it at a meeting or on line. You cannot build "outside the ballpark" and expect others to understand, agree that it's "right" the way you built it, or like what you produced. The only aesthetic involved there is whatever beauty your eye beholds.

In the context of contests, there ARE expectations to met. To answer your first question, craftsmanship is always more important than accuracy. A poorly built but accurate model will not attract many second looks, nor impress any judges. The BASICS that IPMSUSA judges by are simply expectations of craftsmanship that must be met to be competitive and win.

As for accuracy, IPMSUSA doesn't judge it. It's discussed a LOT because (usually) it allows Joe Blow to show off his area of expertise to others at the meeting or on line.However, it's craftsmanship that almost always determines the winners and losers, with degree of difficulty being the first tie-breaker, and "accuracy" only as an absolute last resort.

As for the aesthetics, I prefer AUTHENTICITY over accuracy. By that, I mean there's a ballpark you can stay inside of and meet people's (and judges) expectations while straying from absolute accuracy. If your scheme calls for OD over Neutral Gray, then the top better be some sort of muted camo green and the bottom better by some shade of gray. BUT, there's plenty of room withing shades of both of those colors to allow for variations that some experts might raise an eyebrow at. The same goes for any other myriad of details or markings....if you get it in the ballpark, generally the aesthetics will be acceptable.

The only time I believe that accuracy must equal craftsmanship would be a build for posterity, say for a museum, or for a veteran. That type of build comes with higher expectations, especially if your model will be used to educate any viewers.

 

GIL :smiley16:

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45 minutes ago, ghodges said:

As for the aesthetics, I prefer AUTHENTICITY over accuracy. By that, I mean there's a ballpark you can stay inside of and meet people's (and judges) expectations while straying from absolute accuracy.

Generally, I agree. Even VERY accurate kits would look odd if blown up to full size. But what about things like equipment in the wrong time? I once saw a modern dumpster used in a WWII diorama and it really bugged me. Should we ignore things like that, and if we do, where do we draw the line? (Sidewinders on a Zero?)

Except in gross colors, I would never judge colors because there are too many variables.

Accuracy seems to mean different things to different people and I think this is part of the problem. To me, judging accuracy does not mean putting calibers to the model to check length width, or thickness because again there are too many variables....Measuring the length of the crocodile over the back gives you a different measurement than between the pegs.

It does mean looking at the variant of the model for the time and place specified. It does mean gravity has an effect. Also physical reality....how did the tank get into the river? Why are the guys calmly drinking coffee while ten feet away a major fire fight is going on? Would you put a Flak position right in front of the revetment opening?

45 minutes ago, ghodges said:

As for accuracy, IPMSUSA doesn't judge it.

In this, I disagree. To a certain degree these things go hand in hand. Mold seams, mold marks, silvered decals, and glue globs are not found on the real thing and the reason they are considered bad craftsmanship is because we don't find them (generally) on the real thing. So filling a mold release mark IS an attempt at creating accuracy or authenticity.

However, I should note, I am constantly surprised and intrigued by the exception to the rules. Like the real F-4 Phantom with off register rescue arrows. Or this seam...

seam.JPG

Edited by Dakimbrell

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I just did searched the word craftsmanship and found some very interesting commentary on the subject particularly the bastardization of the use of the word craft in marketing today.  To craft, now implies something made with craftsmanship, such as craft beer, or hand crafted salads.  This lead to other discussions of craftsman and craftsmanship. There are some parts I agree with and others I did not.  Generally, a craftsman is someone who has mastered a craft.  Often this means to make something with skill and artistry.  

Having said that I do not find craftsmanship and accuracy to be mutually exclusive terms.  A craftsman will find a way to build accurately in such a way that it is pleasing to the eye.  This then comes down to a basic tenet of our hobby.  Is accuracy measured by the eye(does it look like the real thing) or buy calipers and micrometers.

   A long time ago, one of my mentors told me that our hobby was all about fooling the eye to believe that it was seeing a shrunken version of the real deal.  I believe that this is where reality sets in.  We are taking plastic, glue and paint and making it look like metal, wood, concrete, and other materials that it is not.  The only true thing that may be accurate is measurements and shape.  None of which makes a good model.  It takes craftsmanship(mastery of the subject) to create a model that looks real not accuracy.   The kit creators know this and adjust things to accommodate that.  In his book "Master Modeler" S. Tamiya discussed this at length when Tamiya started making model cars.  He was meticulous in measuring and got the details correct and the kits looked horrible.  This turned out to be a matter of perspective.  When we see the real deal we are most often viewing the car from a perspective that is slightly above and to the side of the vehicle.  When we view a model car it is most often from above, which is a perspective we almost never see the vehicle from.  The issue is that when viewed from above, models done this way seem to be way to wide because when we see them from our normal perspective this decreases the visual width of the car. If you measure out any Tamiya car model you will find it slightly narrower to account for this.  

So to me craftsmanship incorporates the  skill of accurately replicating the viewing positions so the proportions look accurate.   After all, we are building something to look like an accurate representation of the real thing and that includes how it looks when we see the real thing.  

 

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Let's use armor as an example. A given judge may be an "expert" on the M-4 Sherman. He knows every nut and bolt on every variant and judges Shermans accordingly. However, he doesn't know squat about German tanks, so he can't/doesn't judge accuracy on them. Is it fair that the Sherman is judged for accuracy and the Panzer IV not? Our members build such a bewildering number of types and sub-types of variants of so many different subjects that we can't have judges that are experts on everything so that everything is judged the same, so to be fair, we shouldn't judge it until we're down to maybe the top few that are the same quality assembly-wise to try to pick the winner. At that point, judging teams will usually call  in "so and so" because he "knows" the subject better than anyone on their own team to help with accuracy.  

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If you want to see the epitome of craftsmanship, aesthetics and accuracy look no further than the late Gerald Wingrove's Workshop website.

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One of the problems we have is that every contest is different. One year a category is sparsely entered and the next it is murderous. This makes it hard to clearly discuss the subject because we are all remembering different events.

There is also the individual concept of what looks good. Popular now is pre-shading and highly accented panel lines. They do make the model much more striking, but are they truly authentic? In some cases yes and some no, but regardless, the model will be judged against what is in the category and not strictly the opinion of the judges.

Back in the late seventies and early eighties, there was a popular weathering style that turned out to be based on vehicles in out door museum displays. So, many would truthfully say they saw this very look on the real thing.In a sense, it was realistic and authentic, plus visually very eye grabbing. However, it was totally unrealistic for operational vehicles.

This is why we use judging teams and endeavor to mix the knowledge base. Some don't understand this and think we bump models on a whim. I have never worked on a team which quibbled over tiny detail points. Even major points are often ignored giving them the benefit of the doubt.

10 hours ago, PeteJ said:

So to me craftsmanship incorporates the  skill of accurately replicating the viewing positions so the proportions look accurate.   After all, we are building something to look like an accurate representation of the real thing and that includes how it looks when we see the real thing

I think this is well said and I agree.

Dak

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2 hours ago, noelsmith said:

If you want to see the epitome of craftsmanship, aesthetics and accuracy look no further than the late Gerald Wingrove's Workshop website.

Wow you aren’t kidding. I just looked his site up, those cars are amazing!

http://www.wworkshop.net/Duesie_Build/Menu.html

 

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This is pretty silly and I'm sure is just a typo, but is pretty ironic. Did anyone really read the title of this thread? Accuarcy?  Made me giggle. 

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It took you long enough. I did it to see who would catch it. Part of the point about getting things correct. People will miss the obvious. 

Dak😁

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pee pull sea wat tha xpect two sea, knot wat is.😆

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On 9/30/2019 at 7:49 PM, Dakimbrell said:

… 

Accuracy seems to mean different things to different people ...

I agree. we all have a benchmark from which to vary depending on our experience in the hobby.

Edited by tomqvaxy

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11 hours ago, Ron Bell said:

This is pretty silly and I'm sure is just a typo, but is pretty ironic. Did anyone really read the title of this thread? Accuarcy?  Made me giggle. 

i'm just glad no one put a caliper on my caliber.

 

( . . . judging accuracy does not mean putting calibers to the model. . . )

Edited by tomqvaxy

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One man's accuracy is another man's accuarcy.  This is particularly true when you build for clients.  Worse, my Williams Bros C-46A was taken to task in a review for the shade of O.D. on an O.D./Neutral Gray scheme.  Their comment?  I probably did what many modelers do, grabbed what I had on hand.  Believe me, in a discussion on accuracy, you can't win for losing.

IMGP8304-1.jpg.a896aed82cd73cacd72f783bca48ef44.jpg

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9 hours ago, ipmsusa2 said:

One man's accuracy is another man's accuarcy.  This is particularly true when you build for clients.  Worse, my Williams Bros C-46A was taken to task in a review for the shade of O.D. on an O.D./Neutral Gray scheme.  Their comment?  I probably did what many modelers do, grabbed what I had on hand.  Believe me, in a discussion on accuracy, you can't win for losing.

IMGP8304-1.jpg.a896aed82cd73cacd72f783bca48ef44.jpg

However, as I have repeatedly said in numerous posts, on numerous strings, SHADE of color cannot be judged because there are too many variables. The best you can achieve is aesthetic appeal.

Dak

Edited by Dakimbrell

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As a lifelong US Army tanker and modeler, I always cringe when I see items piled on the blast panels of an Abrams tank or tank rounds loosely stacked on top of a turret like they are pick up sticks. Other items like rifles laying about in a diorama or set on an part of a vehicle that they would fall off as soon as the vehicle went into motion.

It may look good, but not accurate.

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3 hours ago, RGronovius said:

As a lifelong US Army tanker and modeler, I always cringe when I see items piled on the blast panels of an Abrams tank or tank rounds loosely stacked on top of a turret like they are pick up sticks. Other items like rifles laying about in a diorama or set on an part of a vehicle that they would fall off as soon as the vehicle went into motion.

It may look good, but not accurate.

I agree, but at the same time realize these are things often hard to judge without first hand knowledge. Every operational vehicle I have been on or in is covered with foot prints. Still, many build their models as a case of immaculate perception.

But it isn't fair for someone to do things correctly, but lose to a model with a lot of inaccurate, but aesthetically appealing details.

I would love to see someone do a piece for the Journal on the basic dos and don'ts of modern armor stowage. It wouldn't have to be an in depth thing, just a photos and such showing authentic things. The more people know will make them better builders and judges.

Dak

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On 10/5/2019 at 10:23 AM, ipmsusa2 said:

One man's accuracy is another man's accuarcy.  This is particularly true when you build for clients.  Worse, my Williams Bros C-46A was taken to task in a review for the shade of O.D. on an O.D./Neutral Gray scheme.  Their comment?  I probably did what many modelers do, grabbed what I had on hand.  Believe me, in a discussion on accuracy, you can't win for losing.

1458484075_B-17gweathered381BG.jpg.4758649c99ceed2a7db40d7132954508.jpg       So...exactly what shade of OD green is this guy...?      😉 

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That is why we don’t judge shade of paint. There are simply too many variables.

Still, people will build stuff and do things without even looking at the most basic references. I’ve seen engine decks opening the wrong way, “tank crew” wearing infantry harness, markings put on backwards, etc. 

New information comes out all the time, so it is understandable some things get done wrong, but some stuff is pretty silly.....like a Me-109 G10 done in Battle of Britain markings. Why? Because the builder assumedall Me-109s were the same. 

Dak

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Actually, David...we just don't care. I will not spend hardly anytime on references or research because, to me, its boring. Period. If I can't Google something and find an answer in 30 seconds, it isn't worth my time and interferes with the fun of building and painting. Of course I know people who research things to the extreme and they seem to enjoy it so cool but for me, no thanks to research.

And to me more inclusive as a group, we need to include both

Dave

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Building a model is the boring part, to me. Research makes it interesting. Having a fairly accurate kit to start with is a plus. This allows me to be creative. 

Obviously, most members like authenticity. The range of books which are available and the increasing accuracy of kits proves that beyond a doubt. 

Interstingly, I know a guy that feels filling seams is boring and takes away from the fun of building and painting. (His exact words.) He thinks it is unfair for IPMS to worry about seams and such. Go figure!

Dak

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14 hours ago, VonL said:

1458484075_B-17gweathered381BG.jpg.4758649c99ceed2a7db40d7132954508.jpg       So...exactly what shade of OD green is this guy...?      😉 

Beautiful!  Bob, you made my point...and my day.  What shade of O.D. Green is this guy?  Your choice.

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As for the question of what part of modelbuilding do I enjoy?  It depends...and varies from one project to the next.  Building for a client?  Then the client controls the answer.  For a magazine article or print book?  Then it depends on the deadline and how much space I have.  Many, if not most, of my article subjects look better in print than they do in person due to limited time.  And no, I'm not Shep Paine reincarnated, so I can't produce one of his Monogram dioramas in a month's time.  Building for myself?  Depends on the mood I'm in.  Producing a model for one of my Modelbuilding Guides?  Then I pay attention to everything from seams to details to aftermarket additions to paint to research to research to research.  Building for an IPMS/USA Nationals?  Haven't been there or done that and probably won't...unless I can figure out a way to make San Marcos in 2020.

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People get different signals from IPMS. On the one hand, we say build what you enjoy and do your own thing. Then we do the contests and get very picky about what gets trophies. The guy who did a lot of work.....but got all sorts of stuff wrong from authenticity to basic craftmanship.... wonders why he didn't win anything. Why is filling a seam so important? Look at all that detail I added! Look how big my diorama is!

Dak

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What can I say, David.  Everything you and I say...as well as everyone else who has commented on this thread...is absolutely correct.  Which comment/observation applies depends on the particular moment and the specific project's reason for being.

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