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How much detail is too much


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#21
CDR_Ret

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This is in the FWIW category...

 

The Curator of Navy Ship Models at Carderock provides the following guidelines for details to be included in their museum-quality models. Under Durability of Materials|Range they make the following statement:

 

 Generally, all items on the prototype twelve inches or larger for 1:96 scale (six inches or larger for 1:48 scale) will be reproduced.

 

I suppose you can continuously scale the detail sizes in relation to these two standards. In the end, we have to decide what we are making the model for and with what we will be satisfied.

 

Terry


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#22
shiloh

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Never can be to much detail, if done well. Scale and skill will control the well part of the eqation.

jud


Edited by shiloh, 01 July 2015 - 07:03 PM.

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#23
Cathead

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Having been a model railroader for a long time informs my perspective on detail. 

 

For example, there are people who build super-detailed model railroads where every square inch is filled with some kind of "thing". Clutter, figures, mini-scenes. These layouts are like Where's Waldo pages. You can never stop looking at them, there is always more to see. Here is an example:

 

GMR02pic.JPG

 

There are other people who build layouts which are realistic but sparing with detail. They use empty space and careful focus to draw the eye to specific things while allowing the brain to fill in the rest. Like this:

 

pelle%20photo.jpg

 

I am of the opinion that too much detail can be counterproductive. I feel that the eye has a natural tendency to fill in missing information, and that part of the art of modelling is to fool the eye into seeing what it wants to see. I much prefer the latter form of model railroad, because it tends to look more realistic to me.

 

The former may actually be more realistic in terms of the amount of visual clutter in the real world, but my eye at least sees the modeled version as "too much", whereas a spare but careful use of accurate, quality detail looks much more realistic to me overall. The eye is very, very good at picking out things that don't belong, whether it's details out of scale, plasticky-looking figures, etc., but also very good at filling in empty space. 

 

I agree with those who list priorities, and skill, as important factors. If you like making super details, and can use them in a consistent way, go for it. A good example of excellent super-detailing is the Bounty Launch by matt.s.s. which I recently followed to completion. It has superb detail without overwhelming the visual impression. But you can also eliminate many details and allow the viewer to fill them in naturally (or not notice their absence), through the judicious use of proper detail.

 

In literature, one might call this the difference between Dumas, Dickens, or Hugo (extremely detailed but sometimes ponderous) and Hemingway (precise but spare). I actually enjoy all those authors, but tend to be a Hemingway when modelling. Yet to each their own, as long as you and your intended audience are pleased with the process and results.


Edited by Cathead, 01 July 2015 - 06:50 PM.

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Current build: US Revenue Cutter "Ranger", Corel, 1:64

 

Previous builds:

Naval: 18th century longboat, Model Shipways, 1:48; Naval gun kits from Model Shipways; Bounty launch, Model Shipways, 1:16

Missouri River craft: Missouri River steamboat Bertrand, scratchbuilt in 1:87;  Lewis & Clark barge, scratchbuilt in 1:48;
Missouri River keelboat, scratchbuilt in 1:87; Missouri River steamboat Far West, scratchbuilt in 1:87


#24
wefalck

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I would like to add to my above post that one has to try to avoid being merely 'additive', which is why the first image in the previous post looks rather cluttered. Details have to blend into the overall image.

 

On the other hand, the two images above do not compare very well with respective to what they were meant to show, because they portray two different subjects from two different periods. The first image seems to show an urban setting from the 1930s, while second image seems to show a more rural modern setting. Since the 1950s you can generally observe a de-cluttering of our (i.e. Western World) land- and townscapes. Simpler lines on everything, plain concrete walls, etc. So there is less 'detail'. The same applies to modern ships compared to e.g. the old sailing ships. Modern ships are mainly welded, while older iron- and steel-ships would have been rivetted, which immediately makes them look more detailed (even when countersunk rivetts were used).

 

So, if you want a realistic appearance as they may have looked at their time, you may to include a lot of clutter and details (as in the first image above). Conversely, if you want to point out the aesthetics of hull lines or of the sail-plan, you may want not to include such detail.


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wefalck

 

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#25
Cathead

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Wefalck, I apologize that I was not able to find two photographs of a perfectly comparable model railroad scene only with different levels of detail. Perhaps if I had spent hours sorting through stacks of old magazines, rather than a few pages of Google Image results. The point was simply to show the difference between a detailed and a spare scene. There are also sparely detailed urban scenes and highly detailed rural scenes, but I didn't feel the need to hunt any further for perfect examples for a free blog comment.

 

As you note, this relates to the historical prototype being modeled, though I dispute your claim that "modern" landscapes are inherently less cluttered. As we both likely agree, to an extent the question of "how much detail" comes down to the spectrum between art and documentary. Do you intend to represent, or recreate? 

 

One more comparative analogy between two artists I enjoy, Don Troiani  and George Caleb Bingham, both of whom portrayed realistic historical scenes. The former paints incredibly detailed works which are accurate down to the sheen on the belt buckles. The latter painted softer works that were representatively accurate but far sparer in detail. I will forbear giving specific examples to avoid more controversy. Both are attractive and accurate, but each conveys the theme in a different way, and each is instantly recognizable in its time and place.

 

Part of what I'm trying to argue is that what IS realistic and what LOOKS realistic are not always the same. Thus, in my opinion, sometimes it behooves modelers to leave out details even if they are correct, if they will detract from the overall impression made on the viewer. This is the same process by which a painting may look realistic even if inherently less detailed than the pixel depth of a photograph.


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Current build: US Revenue Cutter "Ranger", Corel, 1:64

 

Previous builds:

Naval: 18th century longboat, Model Shipways, 1:48; Naval gun kits from Model Shipways; Bounty launch, Model Shipways, 1:16

Missouri River craft: Missouri River steamboat Bertrand, scratchbuilt in 1:87;  Lewis & Clark barge, scratchbuilt in 1:48;
Missouri River keelboat, scratchbuilt in 1:87; Missouri River steamboat Far West, scratchbuilt in 1:87


#26
twintrow

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Same as answer for How pretty is too pretty,   or how tasty is too tasty?????

 

Tom


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#27
wefalck

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De gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum ...


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wefalck

 

panta rhei - Everything is in flux

 

 

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#28
allanyed

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Cathead

Thanks for the Don Troiani reference.  I Googled his work and thoroughly enjoyed browsing his American Civil War works. 

 

Allan


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#29
uss frolick

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Frolick: "My darling, is it possible for my precious wife to be too beautiful?"

 

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#30
robnbill

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I tend to fall on the side of more detail with the very important rule that it must be in scale. It must look realistic to the scale and subject you are working on. I think a model should offer more than a viewer can take in. When I am adding a detail using a high magnification lens then bury it under additional layers of rigging etc, I do so knowing that it is there. 

 

The model is an illusion of the real thing. Just as a good illusionist is one who's performance does not break down when the viewer moves from the back row to the first row, my goal is for my ship's illusion experience to work as well. When someone looks at a model they start by seeing something obvious then following that down into details. They may start with a yard then follow that down to the lines controlling it, then the blocks controlling the lines, then how the line terminates on a pin rail and the coils of line looped over the pins. They should be able to picture a sailor coiling that line. A line, block or deck fitting that is out of scale will break the illusion. Then the viewer starts seeing the art of the modeler rather than feeling the illusion of looking into a ship.

 

My goal is to provide and experience where the viewer runs out of the ability to focus on a detail because it is too small before they run out of details to see. Grabbing a magnifying glass should not break the illusion.

 

Knowing what can be successfully accomplished in this endeavor is a challenge. When I built my Connie, there were details that would have been great to add but I could not either because the scale was too small, or my skills or materials were insufficient. A detail that cannot be executed well should not be on the ship. As some have said, you need to be consistent for size. If you get down to something that is 6" across then everything 6" or larger should be on the ship - except where it cannot be done without breaking the illusion of the model.

 

Treenails have been mentioned. IMHO, treenails can be a very important detail or a (pun intended) nail in the model's coffin. Treenails, spikes, or rivets that are over scale, too few, or too obvious, make the viewer see the the art of the modeler rather than the illusion of the ship. On my current ship I use brass to represent the iron spikes used through out the ship. Luckily I have documentation on many of the sizes of spikes used in the various areas. There have been areas where the size of the spike causes it to disappear completely in the wood. When I had trouble finding where I put them using my magnifying headset I decided not to add them. These details were in the ceiling planks below the berth deck. It would be impossible to see them even with magnification. So they will not break the illusion not being there but would break it if I made them large enough to see.

 

However, I am also guilty of adding detail that no one will probably ever see. These are put in because I want to. I enjoy challenging myself on learning to create the details that can make something come alive. I know I am not alone in this. How many of us have painstakingly added detail after detail on a Brodie Stove that is then buried under a deck and can barely be glimpsed through a grating? However if someone does get the correct light, and has eagle eyes, they will be able to see details and know that there are more to be seen. The illusion does not break before their ability to see the details does.

 

Some have made reference to impressionist painters and our modeling ships. Recently I was lucky enough to go to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam  to see a huge collection of his paintings. His work gives the viewer the feelings he was experiencing looking at his subject. His "impressions" of the subject. The details are unimportant and indeed the illusion falls apart when viewing the paintings up close. There you can see the art of the painter when applying just the right colors in the right shape to make it look like a field of sun flowers when viewed from a distance. Van Gogh's genius is providing the viewer the ability to "feel" what he was feeling looking at the subject. No one would look at "Starry Night" and say that looks exactly like the view he saw out his asylum window in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. It is not realistic nor meant to be. However we do feel the wonder and beauty he felt when looking to the stars from the fantastical manner he painted it.

 

I posit ship modeling falls in the realism genre. I had the opportunity on the same trip to go through some of the finest examples of model ship building in the maritime museums in Amsterdam and Lisbon. The ships show amazing detail in scale. I did not get a sense of what the artist felt when he looked at the ship other than respect for the subject. Instead, the best models would make you feel like you were looking down at a ship from an omniscient perspective. You could see inside the ship's frames and move all around to appreciate the art of the ship's construction (notice I did not say the model's construction). My goal as a model builder is to give that to the viewer. I want them to see the ship and it's beautiful lines and the artwork of it's mechanics and appreciate the men that designed and built her - not the person who built the model.


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Bill

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#31
GAW

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As a model maker you are an artist, you are making your IMPRESSION of what you see - if it is a very small model, then you are looking at it from a distance and will expect to see somethings and not others - as goes the same if it is a larger model - the guide is to only make what you expect to see and you will make a work of art.  Go beyond that and start adding detail for details sake, and you will most likely move out of scale, and kill the whole effect.  The best guides are photos of the full size subject, add the detail that you can see - if it is a hinge, but only looks like a spot, represent it as a spot and not a hinge and it will look CORRECT in the finished model.  If you are an addict for detail, then pick a scale that suits your abilities and the subject, but the rule, if it be a rule, will be the same- for me that is. Check out:

http://www.wworkshop.net/Other_Models/Gallery-1.html#6

http://www.wworkshop...llery-1.html#11


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#32
wefalck

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I would tend to agree with you concerning level of detail and scale - but: unfortunately, unlike in a photographic image, the viewing distance is not fixed. Though in general, one may view a model from, say, half a metre or a metre distance, one may also put the nose over it. If I were to design a model, for instance, as a film prop and it would only be seen from a certain distance, I would indeed put the level of detail on it that is needed to give the 'right' impression. For a show-case model the situation is rather different. Here you need to create the 'right' impression for various viewing distances.

 

For certain details it may be safer to err on the small side ...


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wefalck

 

panta rhei - Everything is in flux

 

 

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#33
jbshan

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Gaw in Sunny Spain mentioned a hinge.  Try this for a spectrum of detail by scale:

Real life- built in a factory, or forged by a blacksmith, tool marks here and there, bolt or rivet heads with shanks.

Large scale- hand made piece of brass, working pin, tool marks gone, bolt heads, may be used to attach the hinge.

Medium scale- flat piece of brass, maybe plastic or paper, simulated pin, simulated bolt heads, possibly glued in place.

Small scale- brass foil or paper, glued in place.

Tiny scale- hinge simulated with paint.


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#34
SJSoane

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All great comments. All details should be considered in light of the overall artistic effect of the model as a whole. Having said that, I know that I have made some very fine and time consuming details that no one will see in the end, but I did them anyway. I think for 2 reasons: first, to push my limits and see if I could do it; and two, because I was curious about how the detail was built. building the details helped me understand how these ships were made, and how the parts functioned.

 

Good thing my overall deadline is to complete the ship just before I pass away....

 

Mark


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Current build: HMS Bellona 74, ca. 1760, 1:64

http://modelshipworl...60-as-designed/

 


#35
GAW

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In my opinion the view distance is set by the scale that is used, which when combined with the skill of the model maker and the materials to be used will determine the detail to be included.  Hinge detail at 1/96th scale, just completed and made to work - just to see if it could be done and to have fun - which is what it is all about.

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#36
AndrewNaylor

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When you consider that the exquisite bone models built by the French prisoners of war had huge parts of the interior built in to them, never to see the light of day with out the models been destroyed You can only conclude that they did it because they could rather than because they should.

Andy


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HM Granado CC

Past builds

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#37
reklein

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Are you an Impressionist or a realist??  Bill in smoky Idaho.


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Bill, in Idaho

Completed Mamoli Halifax and Billings Viking ship in 2015

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#38
GAW

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In answer to Bill - I am both an impressionist  - for what I make can only be my artist impression of what I see - and also a realist - in that I know my limitations, and that of the materials that I have to use.


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#39
zoly99sask

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Adding detail is a matter of preference and how much time you want spend on it/with proper skill,just for an exemple tke a look at this Hungarian modeller what quality and detail has been built into his HMY Caroline.Realt worth time to check all the pictures!!

http://www.shipmodel...AL_CAROLINE.htm

And the Pandora was built for almost 20 years,20000 work hours!!



http://www.shipmodel...ELL_PANDORA.htm

Edited by zoly99sask, 16 October 2015 - 05:04 AM.

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     Zoltan

 

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#40
GuntherMT

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Holy crap.  Spend the time to look at that Royal Caroline.  It has crazy stuff like this:

 

ROYAL_CAROLINE_183.jpg


Edited by GuntherMT, 16 October 2015 - 05:49 AM.

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