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Accuracy or Craftmanship


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I’ve met a couple judges I’m convinced live at Area 52. (Area 51is just camouflaging.)

Dak

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Even though, for me, it is a way of life and not a hobby, in general, it is all fun to me. In fact, attention to detail makes me more interested in all things. How else would I have learn what the most common reason for stoppage is in a Bren gun or that 2021 is the same calendar as 1773 and the correct answer to “what is the airspeed of a coconut laden swallow”. By the way, that is a trick question.

Nothing is superfluous.

Dak

P.S. For this going to Vegas, black can come up ELEVEN times in a row on a roulette table. The Martingale System is a sucker’s bet. 

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40 minutes ago, dmorrissette said:

African or European? HAHAHA

Dave

Hah, hah! You survived the test! These things are important. But what is the name of the woman who own the house where Guy Fawkes hid his explosives? 
 

Dak
 

Dak

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Seams and alignment and clean work are the main things I try to attain, and as simple as that sounds it can easy to mess up.  I build out of the box and If that's what the instructions say then that's how I will build it. Entries should be judged on what's there and not on what's missing or how it should be. That's my 2¢ worth.

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Most major manufacturers get it right, at least based on the information they have. However, interpreting the instructions can be tricky at times.

I remember one where the builder tried to mount all the options on the same hard point then complained how nothing fit. 
 

Dak

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Sometimes I feel that there is an expectancy for judges to know everything and have encyclopaedic knowledge.

They are only human after all and cannot possibly know everything, and they just do their very best on the day.

Accuracy or Craftsmanship? I would guess that models have to get judged on both counts on the day.

A model could be accurate, but if poorly built would be out of contention anyway.

Edited by noelsmith
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18 hours ago, noelsmith said:

Sometimes I feel that there is an expectancy for judges to know everything and have encyclopaedic knowledge.

They are only human after all and cannot possibly know everything, and they just do their very best on the day.

Accuracy or Craftsmanship? I would guess that models have to get judged on both counts on the day.

A model could be accurate, but if poorly built would be out of contention anyway.

It all goes back to reading and understanding the rules.  In the IPMS/USA Modelers Guide to Contests (formerly known as the Competition Handbook), here is what it says about accuracy:

*****
Accuracy

Absolute accuracy is a noble, but probably unattainable, goal. Despite the fact that no scale model is ever 100% accurate, some people urge that models be judged principally on their accuracy. This is a real minefield. While gross inaccuracy is easy to spot in some instances, the situation quickly becomes murky past obvious things and can lead to unfairness in judging. For example, suppose one of the aircraft judges spent the better part of twenty years as the crew chief of a particular aircraft. That judge will probably be able to find inaccuracies of one sort or another on every model of that type of aircraft entered in a category. But, there's a real risk he will unfairly penalize those who entered those models if he judges solely on the basis of accuracy as he can readily spot their flaws while he may miss inaccuracies in other aircraft types with which he does not have the same level of expertise. Along the same lines, modelers who know the minute aspects of a subject often mistakenly believe judges also have similar detailed knowledge. This may or may not be true. It's simply not possible for all IPMS judges to match the expertise developed by our disparate and incredibly knowledgeable membership. The Chief Judge and Class Head Judges take pains every year to remind the judges to be aware of these problems and to be fair to all on this issue. You can also help yourself by not assuming the judges know all the details you know. Help them and yourself by putting such information on the entry sheet or any other display material you put with your model. Judges are instructed read that stuff and it could make the difference for you.

Lest we get too wrapped up in the accuracy debate, remember that IPMS/USA judges concentrate first on the modeling aspects. A model with every component built absolutely accurately probably still won't win if seams between the components aren't filled properly. Conversely, a superbly built model containing an inaccuracy could win.
*****   
In the past, several Senior National Judges have made a claim that they use accuracy as a tie-breaker.  Given what was said by the NCC above, I fail to see how, after they've been instructed not to judge on accuracy, all of a sudden they should use it as a tie breaker.  Given how judging teams are assembled, there is a very tiny probability that a four-person team can posses ALL of the knowledge needed to pass judgment on ALL of the models in the category.  Possible?  Yes.  But you have a better chance of being hit by lightning.

None of the other modeling organizations I know of uses accuracy as a yardstick in a contest, either.  I haven't looked lately, but the National Model Railroad Association may use it as a grading point as people climb the ladder to Master Railroader (a non-competitive program), but that is possibly the only incident of using accuracy as a yardstick.

Cheers!
Ralph 

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On 7/5/2021 at 2:12 PM, noelsmith said:

Sometimes I feel that there is an expectancy for judges to know everything and have encyclopaedic knowledge.

This illustrates why I say model building is an art form. As a group, we tend to see models as "accurate" things, but in reality, the way we actually build them is a creative endeavor. We may know what one side of a tank or airplane looks like, but in most cases the far side is an enigma so we make it up as we go. We want the model to be accurate, but we also want it to be visually attractive.

Perhaps, it would be better if we just tell the judges to simply pick the models they like regardless of other factors.

Dak

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  • 2 weeks later...

This discussion has been going on a long time. Personally, I am a stickler for accuracy in my own modeling and will spend hours correcting the tiniest "flaw" in a kit. I never expect anyone else to live up to my standards of accuracy. That said, there are errors and there are errors. Separating them is a headache we judges often face. As for "We judge on construction only" I move that research and thus a certain accuracy are part of construction. Modelers should not be given a free pass on obvious errors. The judges's decision is final.

Some anecdotes:

My 1/76-scale Char B.I has the exhaust suppressors pointing INWARD as per the kit instructions and my research. In real life they probably could easily by twisted into any position. Being dogmatic on something like that is foolhardy.

Like Nick, I did not notice Gil's error on the Hawkeye until he told me. This one is tricky. Had no one pointed it out while judging I certainly would not have picked it up. Had a member of the team noticed it at the time it would be a tougher call.

Once I had a judge tell me that "NO P-40 ever had the antenna post" in the position it was on the model. "No'' and "never" should be warning flags when judging. I asked him about the position of the antenna on a nearby Yak-3, and he replied he didn't know anything about Yaks. I pointed out that his P-40 comment, even if true, was "insider information" and could not be used to as a judging criteria. A guy saying "I was crew chief on that plane and I can tell you that none of them were painted that way" is working on insider information. Additionally, what he really means is that "None of the planes I remember seeing were..." 

At one Nats we had a Huey with the main rotor mounted upside down. Two camps quickly emerged - the fatal error camp and the ignore it camp. The instructions were confusing and could easily have resulted in an upside-down assembly. But, both rotor blades were going in the wrong direction, so the symmetry was there. (I have seen helo models with one blade facing against the others.) And the error was not even obvious to everyone who knew something about the Huey, like putting the landing skids on backwards, eg, would have been. My ruling at the time was the wrong-way rotor discovery was based on "insider information", and thus should not be considered egregious.

So, a flagrant inaccuracy can be treated as any other modeling error - how serious is it and how does it affect the model in comparison to its competition? Backwards landing gear on an Me 410, or tank tracks going in opposite directions, are modeling errors and need to be evaluated as such, along with decal silvering and alignment, etc. As for Gil's lovely Hawkeye, I don't know what I would say the day of the judging. His handiwork would have to get its shot along with his competition. Like a seam line or paint overspray, even an obvious "accuracy" error is not necessarily fatal. It is just one more thing for the judges to evaluate.

 

Edited by BillDevins
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I’ve been working to clear two DML Tiger I kits from the shelf of wow. The first one #112 only took a few days. When I posted some pictures on another cite, David Byrden immediately pointed out the loader did not use headphones on German tanks! 

Who knew?! Two dozen books on Tiger tanks and dozens more on German armor and not one notation about loaders not wearing headphones!

As I work on the second Tiger #712, I am finding a number of differences in small fitting from 712 and the kits. These are all “initial production” kits. In this case, my reference is the Research Squad book on 712 aka 250031, the tank brought to APG.

The Haynes Manual which covers Tiger 131 at the Tank Museum and says it was the tank which knocked out Peter Gudgins Churchill tank. However, resent research has shown this to be incorrect. Byrden, again I think. 

It seems like historical research is like medical advances. Miss one seminar or one trade article and you are out of date! So we always can’t judge accuracy. 
 

Still, if you do Hartman’s Me-109 in reds and pinks with yellow crosses, you better bring your documentation!😉

Dak

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The only way to guarantee absolute accuracy is to scratch build a model so that you have control over every piece that goes into it.

It goes without saying that there is a need for a very high level of craftsmanship in order to achieve that aim.

However, many do not have either the time of inclination to go that route and concentrate on building, converting and detailing kits to the best of their ability.I

Competitive modelling by its very nature will develop a hotbed of differing opinions, and that is fine until it starts to become an obsession.

Personally, I enjoy placing my models on the competition table, and accept that you win some and lose some. I don't lose any sleep over a judge's opinion about my models, because that is all it is at the end of the day. Just someone else's opinion!

Edited by noelsmith
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Posted (edited)

Scratch building doesn’t guaranty accuracy. It only guaranties any mistakes are yours alone.

I too enjoy the competition. I can’t say I haven’t lost any sleep over judges decisions, but I still keep coming back. If you don’t play, you can’t win.

The objective is completion, not perfection. Like with all art forms, the final result is the artist’s vision and not that of others. Michelangelo’s greatest critics were not the public, but other artists.

And we are like magicians. We all know how the tricks are done or how we would have done them differently. It takes a lot to impress us. 
 

Dak

Edited by Dakimbrell
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Since this originally about accuracy and craftsmanship, here are some pictures. David Byrden, accredited author told me loaders on German tanks didn’t use headphones. Yet.......

 

When I showed it to him, he posted another shot of the same tank. Obviously, the picture is posed, but it illustrates why accuracy is a heartless bitch. And why we are fools to get too carried away worrying about it. 
 

Dak

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52705B8B-5D1E-4B89-BB64-73556E26E895.jpeg

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Just a thought, but since these are posed photos, how do we know that the crewman in the loader's hatch is in fact the loader? Perhaps he is the gunner, and the loader is the person taking the photos. Now I don't know if the headset wiring can extend from the gunner position over to the loader's hatch, but then again who knows if it is even plugged in. This looks to me like a photo to send home to the folks, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were more photos with the loader in place and the gunner, or another crew member gone. 

An example, yesterday I had a friend that I grew up with in Lynn, MA visit from San Antonio (where he is on the City Council) with his wife. We hadn't seen them in quite a while, so my wife and I took them to dinner out in central Massachusetts to a 250 year old mill turned into a restaurant, very picturesque. After dinner we lined up 3 at a time for photos,  each time with someone new doing the photos. So a question! In those 4 photos, who drove the car?

Just a thought.

John 

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That’s the point. We don’t have all the information. A loader wearing headphones is possible, perhaps not probable, but definitely real based on one photo.

So, if you were judging this, you give it the benefit of the doubt. 
 

Dak

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Dak was quite right that scratch building does not guarantee accuracy and the mistakes would be that of the model maker alone.

It would come down both to the craftsmanship of the modeller in making each individual part absolutely correctly and if they have 100 percent guaranteed accurate references to work to.

In many respects Dak has made some very relevant comments on the subject of accuracy or craftsmanship. References alone can be a minefield when researching a model with often conflicting views in books and on plans etc.

Artistic licence is used a lot on many models that I have seen, particularly on many aircraft models where there is absolutely beautiful panel highlighting with subtle shading done. However when you look at the real thing none of that is very apparent at all. But on the other hand a model looks a bit dead without it but would be technically a more accurate rendition of the subject. The whole thing starts to become a bit subjective, and comes down to what is the more pleasing on the eye when viewed in model form. Personally, I like the artistic approach to see the subtle paintwork on models that demonstrates the skills of the modeller, whereas others may disagree. It all comes down to personal preference at the end of the day.

 

Edited by noelsmith
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I would say it is all subjective. At an air show at Tinker AFB in 1979, I saw an F4 Phantom with the rescue arrow applied off register. The imperfection interested me more than the pristine examples.

If you want pretty pictures of the Grand Canyon, take them in the morning or evening. At midday everything it washed out. The same thing often applies to models. To be visually appealing, we do weathering and paint effects to make it attractive. 

I know it upsets some when I say model building is art. But as long as we praise the techniques that make them visually appealing, it will be in the realm of art.

Many years ago, I remember one prominent person saying weathering was a gimmick used by model builders to hide defects in their work. He went on to say heavily weathered models weren’t worth looking at because he knew they lacked real craftsmanship.

Well, times change.
 

Dak 

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With regard to model making being an art, the late Gerald Wingrove was of the opinion that it is.

For those who don't know of Gerald Wingrove he was a professional master modeller who mainly scratch built model cars for very wealthy private collectors.

His models can be viewed on the Wingrove Workshop website. I can guarantee that you will be blown away with what you will see there. Gerald's models are the epitome of Artistry, Craftsmanship and Accuracy.

He has written books on scratch building model cars, that I certainly found very inspirational.

The Complete Car Modeller. Volumes 1 and 2.

Edited by noelsmith
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