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shihawk   

I,m not sure if this topic has been dicussed in detail before ,but for the last while i seem to have got bogged down in endless ,fine detailing work mainly rigging cannons and am slowly coming to the conclusion that a lot of it may not be worth the effort . Not only in the time spent but at my scale of 1 : 72 a lot of the finner detail will either not be seen or not be that noticeable . I,m just wondering if any of the more experienced or life long builders have come to any simple rules as regarding how much detailing is necessary . I coming close to starting rigging and can,t decide if i should over complicate this delicate process or if simple is the way to go ? I understand i have skill limitations which will restrict me in some ways but is it worth spending an extra maybe 6 months on a build on things that ain.t really necessary ??? I have seen some fantastic super detailed work on the site ,way beyond my abilities ,but have also seen some equally impressive work with very little detail . Is there a stage where the quest for detail starts to take away from the overall look of the build ?? especially if not done to a very high standard .

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FredSC   

I just saw your query.  I certainly can't answer it, but I know that I share your issue.  I'm guessing that the "answer" may be what you are happy with.  Purists might say that every detail must be perfect, whether it can be seen or not.  I can't do that, but for now, I'm happy with the best that I can do.  Maybe with more experience, more help from others here, who knows....  But it is fun doing it, and that matters.

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Ponto   

I would maintain that it is a personal endeavour and one should be able to respectfully choose to take "things" as far as one is comfortable,... and your last comment relates to this sentiment. Strangely enough, it also might be directly related to how OCD one is at any given moment. Personally I would never completely rig and hardware that is to be covered but enjoy the efforts of those that do...to each their own.

 

JP

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Hi,

 

I just want to point out that Impressionist paintings command some of (if not) the highest prices in the art world. I truly believe that a lot of what we do is art. The important thing is to present a cohesive "whole", i.e. dont go hyper detailed on one part of the build and gloss over others. Just my 2 cents worth.

 

Best,

John

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All good points. I think that the better you get, the more detail you can put into your model. One reason for this is because you are getting better and can do things quicker. If it takes you forever to do the basic stuff, it will take several forevers to make it detailed. Secondly, when you get better your quality improves. Crappy details don't improve crappy models (trust me on that one). However when you have a quality model, quality details improve it.

 

That having been said, there IS such thing as too much detail. I think scale dictates that. Sometimes you can overwhelm a model with too much detail. Personal preference. Take a step back and let the model tell you what is right.

 

Who is your audience? If you are doing if for just yourself, make it for you. If you are making it for the public to see, remember people will only look at it for a few minutes, then go away. Some will look for 30 seconds some for 10 minutes. Make your model so it appeals to all of them in its own way.

 

...and whatever level of detail you decide upon, make ONE thing significantly more detailed. People will focus on that, you will get your "Holy Cow!!!" and people will walk away with a feeling it is far more detailed than it really is, because of the one they fixated on.

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Chuck's point is well taken. First of all, though, is you. What do you think will be the main features you like? If it sails you want, be ready for a lot of work. If the cannons are very important as a 'whow', then concentrate on those more.

I personally liked doing the rigging with lots of details on the various lines that operate the ship. I not only learned what they were all about, but it was a challenge to put them all together (with mistakes and several re-does).

Then when it came to doing both sides of the ship the same, I 'cheated' because I was going to have the ship against a wall. So I used that side to 'experiment'. That was for the hull as well as those lines not too visible from the front view.

To give you an idea of what the sails on my USS Constitution took to make, here is a picture of one of those topsails and all the lines that go with it.

post-246-0-08044600-1430869502_thumb.jpg

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Personally, I am trying to make the rigging of my build as real as possible.  Down to proper eyes, lashings and seizings.  Overkill....maybe.  Adding a lot of time to the build...definitely.  Proving to myself that I can do it and enjoying the ride...priceless

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A very good question, and all very good responses.  To 'sumarize' and to add my comments:

 

You are the artist, you decide the level of detail, the paint, the overall effect.

 

You decide if you are having fun.  When you make the ship for yourself - family - friends, then the process of making the ship is very important.  As Henry said, enjoy the ride,

 

You decide if you will enter the ship in a judeged contest.  Now the ride is still important but the level of artistry,attention to detail, scale fidelity, fit and finish, and overall effect went much higher.  It is still your decision.

 

Above all, have fun - enjoy the ride~!                                                Duff

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wefalck   

For me there is only one rule: reproduce the prototype as well as you can within the limits of materials' sizes and their workability (and of course your skills). Detail only appears too much and overcrowding, if they are done overscale (for whatever materials or skills reasons). The conclusion from this could well be not to include a certain detail, because it cannot be reproduced adequately.

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shihawk   

Tks for all the comments so far and i have to agree with all and pick a few key points

.

FredSC , I understand there probably is no answer ,but it,s when it reaches the point where it stops being fun and becomes a chore that i think endless detail could spoil the enjoyment of the build .

 

 Jp ,    To each there own !.    a very true statement and again one i totally agree with .The OCD  can be a problem at times and a help at others but where do you draw the line and decide the last 2 days where wasted making some paticular piece that when fitted can barely be seen ??

 

Landlocked123 , I have commented before that sometimes ,less is more ,and still believe it to be true . Your point about keeping all aspects of the build to a similiar level of detail is very valid ,it,s very easy to go overboard on some aspects, i suppose simply because they are easier or of more interest . To call my efforts Art would be pushing it a bit but i suppose very few can  build exact replicas so we all put our own artistic interpitation on them !!

 

Chuck  , You have summed my problem up well . I think most builders come to realise that when a  builder looks at a model they see something different from a non builder . Few of our builds will be seen by more than family and friends so in most cases we build for our own satisfaction ,so then does it matter if every t is crossed and i dotted ?? You also hit on my other concern is that crappy detail can spoil an otherwise acceptable build .

 

Modeller12 , Although i have considered rolled up sails on my present build i find the though of full sails and their rigging way beyond my abilities at present and possibly ever , but hats off to you and the other sail makers , Maybe some day ?

 

Popeye  , I to would like to make my rigging as real as possible ,but the    Overkill   is my worry . Lashings and seizings will be new to me but i am also hoping to learn a bit of the proper terminology as i go along and understand how the different parts of the rigging worked . Am looking forward to it but a bit worried .

 

As usual there are no hard and fast rules but i thought it was worth discussing to get a few things clear in my own head and hear others opinions . 

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All very good points. The only comment I'd like to add is to modify Chuck's statement slightly. I believe for the observer, there may not actually be such thing as "too much detail", as long as the details are to proper scale. That is, the details must be physically to scale and visually to scale. The problem with "too much detail" is usually that things stand out too much that shouldn't. Treenails that are too dark or too big look too busy because on most models, they should barely even be seen, some might suggest that they shouldn't be visible at all. 

 

But, I agree as to what has already been stated, that it's up to the builder as an artist what level of detail he or she desires to present.

 

Clare

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I think a big concern should be consistency of detail rather than level of detail. If you are depicting the hinges on the gunport lids on one part of the model, something eight inches wide on the actual ship, you are now obliged to represent every other object on the ship that is eight inches or greater. In other words don't depict those gunport hinges if you don't intend to include the ironwork on the pumps. My trouble in my own models is in trying to adhere to the level of detail I decide to aim for when I begin the project, I always find myself adding detail later in the project that winds up being at a higher fidelity than details I had built earlier. In some cases this forces me to go back and tear out earlier parts of the build in order to match the new standard as I had raised the bar during the process.

Following this urge to depict great and greater detail leads inevitably to frustration, you will never be able to include every detail. Nor will 99% of us ever be able to achieve levels of detail as small or as precise as can be found on some superlative models built by craftsmen who's talents and abilities outstrip our own.

Also here is a conjectural rule of thumb I just invented: If it takes 100 hours to build something which includes all details which on the real ship would be 12" wide, multiply those 100 hours by 1.5 if one now wishes to depict all 6" wide components. If one wishes to include all components that are 3" wide, double the time you must allot for the project. I picked those numbers out of the air and they may be debated, but the point I am making is the time added to the overall project grows exponentially as you increase the detail. If one persists in more and more infinitesimal detail, the amount of time expands past any reasonable amount.

An argument for less detail is that most models will be viewed from across the room most often. Those hinges on the gunport lids will not be visible if the model is high up on a shelf. An educated eye scanning the model from up close will look to see if such hinges are included, but only one half of one percent of the people viewing the model will have that educated eye. But YOU are one of those one half of one percent and YOU have to decide if you can live without the hinges. The words " I could have included the gunport hinges but it would have taken too much time" are never going to taste good in your mouth.

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For me several thing come into play here; consistency; as said before, if you are going to include items at 6", include them all. be consistent, right or wrong...Consider the scale and set the tolerances; within 1 inch of actual???....Reduce the detail on items that will not been seen, don't reduce the quality of work....

It is a work of art and you are the artist, if in doubt, sleep on it, go watch TV, then come back with a clear head.....

I'll also add, that what was acceptable, may be 10 years ago, is not acceptable today. As your skills improve and grow, step out and try new things...work them into your regular build process.

Larry
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Frankie,

 

I disagree. I see no issue with including SOME detail at a certain granularity, but not include all. I suspect we already do that. If you rig a ship without sails, don't you leave off some of the rigging? Some people rig the guns to a gnat's ***, but do the really model in every rope, line, bucket, widget and who-ha that might be on deck?

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shihawk   

Chuck ,you make a good point .If you start measuring and exclude everything below a certain size surely you must then include everything above that size . So i,m beginning to think it comes back to what looks right ?? eg  to-night i started thinking about the netting ,very fine stuff but as i have now decided to forget about rigging the cannons does this mean i should forget about the netting as well .( I don,t say for sure i will include netting untill i try )  . No i don,t think you can work on measurements alone although it could be a place to start from ,ruling out certain things from the beginning .  

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As most have said or alluded to, in the end, it depends on what you are comfortable with.  I, for one, will admit that I have omitted some details I originally intended on including because, try as I might, I couldn't get it looking very good.  After numerous attempts I resolve to leave it off but try again will my skills improve (and/or I get better tools).

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NenadM   

Good points said here.

 

I think there can be one more angle of view.

 

If you enjoy in challenge, and just in making process (as me) , do the fun, and enjoy making details, no matter your model is up to.

 

My model will be almost 100 cm long and over 70 cm high , and it is a great collection of mistakes and wrong made places and parts, but I enjoyed very much in last challenge I ordered to myself - make cathead 30x3,5x3,5 mm with three metal sheaves inside. I know rhat NOBODY can see this, but I was enjoying a lot making them. And I think that is a point - joy and fun

 

post-4738-0-98438300-1433522734_thumb.jpg

Edited by Nenad

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Nenad,

 

    I disagree.  If you have the opportunity to display it where people will see it, at least ONE other person will see it and say "Holy cow!!!  Will you look at that!!!!"   ...and that makes it doubly worthwhile, because that person will talk about it for years.  "....I remember one time, I was looking at a ship model.  The guy made actual working sheeves THIS SMALL."

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CDR_Ret   

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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shiloh   

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

jud

Edited by shiloh
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Cathead   

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

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wefalck   

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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Cathead   

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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allanyed   

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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robnbill   

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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