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Realism....


The Old Man
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I have been looking at the completed ship models in the Galleries. What great work. Not only Museum quality, but also Jewelry quality. I can't even imagine producing work like that.  But what about realism?

 

Now before you spit out your coffee and look for a rope to put around my neck, let me explain.

 

I have a friend who builds models of WWII Vehicles. They buy there Kits, then go to great depths to modify them to look real. Special paints, mud, grim, dust, and they even burn holes in their models to make them look damaged. For those modelers, "realism", not a sharp clean model, is what counts.

 

When I visit our local Harbors I see wooden ships and boats. Large and small. Old and new. Fishing Boats, Tug Boats, Sail Boats of every type, Freighters, Ferries and Work Boats. Those boats are all rough looking. The wood is split, crushed, or even missing. Most need painting. All are somewhat dirty. Waterlines are marked by seawater, the sails are dirty, the ropes are frayed. Copper bottom? A Copper Bottom on a ship is green, not copper colored. The same with the copper deck fittings. Green.  The ships look real. The look alive.

 

As a person just starting in the hobby, the near perfect ships in the Galleries scare me. I know that I cannot, and never will produce such work. It discourages me from buying a Kit. Why should I even bother…..

 

Has anyone built any ship models based upon realism? Based upon working ships. Models with flaws, broken timbers, grime, cracked paint, and even barnacles on the hull. Building ship models in a realistic fashion could be a untried market.

 

I believe building more realistic ships, flaws and all, would attract more people to the hobby. Encourage more people to display their work.

 

I would like to add that there will always be a place for the Museum and Jewelry quality.

 

OK, now you can spit out your coffee…….

Edited by The Old Man
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If you wish to replicate realism - fine.
If you wish to build a kit out of the box - fine.
If you wish to modify a kit  - fine.
If you wish to make up an imaginary vessel - fine.
If you wish to enter a competition - fine.
If you wish to build from scratch - fine.
If you wish to build a historical model - fine.

Basically I for one build for myself to the best of my ability and do not try for museum or jewel quality.
Don't be afraid to follow any path you decide on.

It's a hobby with many aspects that are different for each person and that is just fine.
 
Now back to a fresh cup of coffee.

Edited by markjay
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Ships and boats are expensive, kind of like your car. Owners go to a lot of trouble to keep them looking good as you probably do for your car. Sitting at the curb you probably have it looking nice, out on the road in dirty conditions for a while, it will look rough until you clean it up. I expect a model, sitting in a stand to look new, if a part of a Dorma, she should reflect the conditions depicted. Weathering a stand alone model has no appeal to me, others feel differently, so, as indicated in the above post, do what you wish, it is you that needs to be pleased, not me or anyone else.

jud

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Ships and boats are expensive, kind of like your car. Owners go to a lot of trouble to keep them looking good as you probably do for your car. Sitting at the curb you probably have it looking nice, out on the road in dirty conditions for a while, it will look rough until you clean it up. I expect a model, sitting in a stand to look new, if a part of a Dorma, she should reflect the conditions depicted. Weathering a stand alone model has no appeal to me, others feel differently, so, as indicated in the above post, do what you wish, it is you that needs to be pleased, not me or anyone else.

jud

I live in Alaska.  Real Alaska men never wash their trucks...... had mine for 8 years. Never washed. Nor the trucks I owned before.

 

There will always be a place for detailed quality. Always.

 

I'm just suggesting that with many modelers today, whether model cars, boats, military vehicles, many people are moving to the more realistic look.  There should be a place for such a look with model ship builders. I appears to me that the inner circle of high quality, detail oriented, model ship builders look down or feel somehow threatened by anyone suggesting anything different. Not vice versa. 

 

There should be a place for both. There should be a place for both..........

 

Here's a open challenge.......for every one.  Go visit your local Museum or Historical Society. Ask them which Scale Model Ship Model they would chose to add to their collection. A traditional very clean detailed Fabergé model, or a model of a historic and real ship. A model showing a working ship, with all it's environmental wear and tear, mud and grime.  A model of a ship presented the  way it would have been. if viewed in it's historic environment. I'll bet you will be surprised by their answer.

 

The world is changing.

Edited by The Old Man
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My 2 cents and not having a go, but this and a handful of other topics come and go like the rising and setting of the Sun.  If you had performed a search this same question would come up at least 3 times I can remember.

 

And generally concludes with "its your ship, build it how you want to'

 

 I appears to me that the inner circle of high quality, detail oriented, model ship builders look down or feel somehow threatened by anyone suggesting anything different.

 

You must be confusing MSW with some other site because this in general is far from the truth.

 

My usual response to this question is that in my opinion making a ship look weathered and realistic runs the risk of looking more like poor workmanship, might be due to the scales or subject, don't know.  Until the next time.

 

Slog

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My 2 cents and not having a go, but this and a handful of other topics come and go like the rising and setting of the Sun.  If you had performed a search this same question would come up at least 3 times I can remember.

 

And generally concludes with "its your ship, build it how you want to'

 

 

You must be confusing MSW with some other site because this in general is far from the truth.

 

My usual response to this question is that in my opinion making a ship look weathered and realistic runs the risk of looking more like poor workmanship, might be due to the scales or subject, don't know.  Until the next time.

 

Slog

  "it's your ship, build it how you want to"   GREAT!

 

I am only suggesting that there should be a place for the Realistic Builder.   There is room for both.  I can't find that anywhere. Not like I can with car, military vehicle, or other models. 

 

My challenge to discuss this with Museums and Historical Societies stand. What would they prefer to exhibit, if given a choice? Ask them.

Edited by The Old Man
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Sure, I have seen numbers of ship models built roughed up to give it that aged weathered look. Like I always tell people that see my models, that real ships of the time weren't pretty except maybe the day they were built because sea water takes it toll on wood and they used tar to help water and worm proof the wood. Now with that said, I have not built a weathered model because THEY DON'T SELL VERY WELL! Most people except for that die hard ship model lover would never appreciate the effect or the effort involved. I also have to say that I like the clean neat beautiful appearance myself especially if I intend to put it in a thousand dollar display case for display. But to each their own.

 

 

mike

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I am only suggesting that there should be a place for the Realistic Builder.   There is room for both.  I can't find that anywhere. Not like I can with car, military vehicle, or other models. 

 

My challenge to discuss this with Museums and Historical Societies stand. What would they prefer to exhibit, if given a choice? Ask them.

 

Correct there is room for both but it comes to subject matter.

 

In the scratch section there is a guy who builds contemporary fishing vessels and he weathers them superbly.  The praise he gets for it is immense. He is not looked down on because he weathered his models.

 

They look like the real old beat up thing. They don't look poorly done they look real.  Why? In my opinion because they are steel vessels where rust and paint damage can be replicated realistically.

 

This forum is more directed to wood models of wooden sailing ships.  Built as nice and sharp and clean as possible.  Why? because again in my opinion making a wooden ship from wood can easily look like poor workmanship although there are good examples on this site.

 

If there were more steel ship builders then more weathering would take place I guess.  Metal cars and military vehicles in larger scales take weathering far more easily in my opinion.

 

For museums, they do have a choice as I would imagine they commission ships models to be built. Fact that most or all are 'clean' suggests they want them that way.

 

With regards to real weathering I visited the local harbour where the Dufyken (spelling) was moored and a couple of workmen were on it.  What a mess, it looked decrepit and falling apart.  This is probably after only one season of sailing as well.  To replicate that most viewers would think it should be thrown on the fire.  

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I live in Alaska.  Real Alaska men never wash their trucks...... had mine for 8 years. Never washed. Nor the trucks I owned before.

 

There will always be a place for detailed quality. Always.

 

I'm just suggesting that with many modelers today, whether model cars, boats, military vehicles, many people are moving to the more realistic look.  There should be a place for such a look with model ship builders. I appears to me that the inner circle of high quality, detail oriented, model ship builders look down or feel somehow threatened by anyone suggesting anything different. Not vice versa. 

 

There should be a place for both. There should be a place for both..........

 

Here's a open challenge.......for every one.  Go visit your local Museum or Historical Society. Ask them which Scale Model Ship Model they would chose to add to their collection. A traditional very clean detailed Fabergé model, or a model of a historic and real ship. A model showing a working ship, with all it's environmental wear and tear, mud and grime.  A model of a ship presented the  way it would have been. if viewed in it's historic environment. I'll bet you will be surprised by their answer.

 

The world is changing.

No, I think YOU need to check with museums and ask what they prefer, I don't build for museums, nor do I consider any of my work to be museum quality nor do I consider it art, I consider it a hobby and what results out of that hobby. Now, if I scratched built models and hand made every little piece of the model then I would look at it as a one of a kind model that a museum would consider possessing no matter whether it was weathered or pristine and shiny. But ship models built out of a box are neither. So no, I don't need to check with a museum because I already know what they would expect and most if not all will tell you that ship models are a dime a dozen and unless there is something very , very special about it, they wouldn't be interested in it anyway.

 

 

mike   

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I think peoples attitudes are changing.  Again. Ask your local museum or Historical society which model they would select. I asked mine and have an answer.

 

The world is changing. People are beginning to look for different things. Providing a weather looked ship, does not equate to poor workmanship.

 

I have never washed my cars or trucks. But, I did wash my and wax my boat. I'm not a total barbarian.

Edited by The Old Man
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Spent some time aboard and part of my work was keeping her presentable, at least the guns, she was 24 years old then. She is still serving in the South China Sea, looking a little weathered. I would want the clean appearance in a model of her.

 

Looked again the vessel indicated as the Sierra Madre, ( USS Harnett County LST 821 ) came from a group of photos on the net labeled for that ship and I grabbed it without looking closer, she is not the Sierra Madre. The lase photo is, you can see the difference in the superstructure, tripod mast, more guns forward and the cargo boom for handling PBR's.

jud

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Edited by shiloh
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Providing a weather looked ship, does not equate to poor workmanship.

 

I agree 100%, but you are obviously missing the point of my counter argument, so will leave it there.

 

Enjoy your modelling and weather as much or as little as you think appropriate and it will still be welcome on this site and enjoyed by many.

 

Cheers

Slog

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Have a look at Riverboat's builds... Matt.S.S.  There's others, but those two off the top of my head for kits.

 

Kees in the scratch area.

 

I know there's others who weather their ships.  It's a part of the hobby.   ;)   

 

And I agree with Slog....  This is MSW.  We're not stuffed shirts who only build models "one way..the true way'' as some places seem to prescribe.

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I have close to 4 decades under my belt building plastic and resin models (see my latest stuff here: http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/4423-what-else-do-you-model-besides-ships/?p=343803 ).  The main reason why I wouldn't want to paint and weather a wooden ship model is wood is a wonderful natural material, and a wooden ship model is something I create myself from raw materials.  I want to showcase what I created, rather than cover it up with paint and weathering.  A plastic or resin model, on the other hand, is essentially already formed/shaped by the manufacturer, so there is no reason to leave it uncovered.  I modify heavily every plastic or resin kit I've built.  To me the art in plastic or resin model building comes from painting and weathering.  In wooden ship modeling, I feel the art comes from the creation of a finished product from what is essentially a pile of sticks and string.  That's my humble $.02.  :)

 

Erik

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I have spent a long time reading post on this web site. Looking at models. Reading builds.

 

There will always be a market (desire) for the way Model Ships have been built in the past, and the way they are built today. All I am saying is there is an area in Model Ship Building where it can expand.  More people would enter the hobby if it did not appear so elitist. Step back from the tree and look at the forest. I am looking at it from the point of view of a outsider, a new builder. Past traditions, traditional ways of doing things mean nothing to me. I'm not in a circle. I am outside the circle trying to understand it.

 

I see all model making progressing toward more realism. Is that good or bad? Neither. It just opens up new horizons and more possibilities.  Yes, you have a few models the are more realistic. I love the rust and dirt. Cracked wood decks, chipped paint, ragged ropes and lines. More people would join the hobby if they saw options available to them, other than the ships in the Galleries. I showed them to a friend, who is newly retired, and looking for a hobby. When he saw those ship models, he said " I can't do that" "Building a ship like that from a kit is way over my head". He had no further desire to pursue the hobby further.

 

Do you want more people to take up the hobby of Model Ship Building?  Then some of your circles may need breaking. New ideas including building more realistic models need to be embraced. People who ask questions should not be ridiculed or put down. Yes, there are people who visit this web page, some who are seasoned builders, who do just that.

 

I hope I made sense as to what I have found, and what I am trying to convey in the above posts.

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I have been looking through the Forum for weeks. Very talented people here. But, I do believe they are missing out by not expanding their horizons.

 

Copper bottoms on the ships in my harbor are greenish.  Saltwater I believe.  All fittings above the waterline are very green.

 

Yes,  I am building a Historic Russian 1803 Merchant Ship.  No plans, and very little documentation about the ship. I scratch build. Using 3/16 plywood scraps from lumber yard for keel and bulkheads. Only 3 ply, and not very good wood to work with. Wood chips bad when I saw it.  I can purchase Basswood 1/16 sheets in a local variety store. But they are expensive. I laminated those sheets with Elmers glue to make my own wood for decks and other parts. Cut my own Basswood strips for planks. I soak them in my Aluminum Fly Rod case filled with water.  Wrapping the planks in wet paper towel then microwave 30 seconds works real good. Whatever I can find in Hardware store. Working on rigging which is way over my head. This is my first ever attempt to build a ship. Never even built a kit before.  Almost drives a guy to drinking.  About 60% done I would think time wise. I hope to be done by March.  Which is the time to begin gardening.

 

I'm an old independent SOB, so I'm sure many people are taking me wrong in my comments. I have always viewed the world differently, and marched by a different drum, than most people.

 

I'll never wash my truck or cut grass again.

 

 

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Interesting topic especially because in my present build (my fifth wooden kit after 4 "clean" builds) will have some light weathering effects.

I spent many many hours trying to replicate the look of wood in plastic; then I spent many many hours in giving my plastic models a weathered and worn wooden look. Look at my photos of my Heller 1/75 Santa María.

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My first wooden ships (San Juan Bautista, Endeavour, Bounty and Vasa) were all built "clean". (Well. with regards to Vasa, she didn't have time to "weather" :) so that would be a mistake. :) )

I decided from the beginning that my Royal Louis will have a slight (not as heavy as Santa Maria) weathered look. I hope people here will like my "experiment"... if not... well... sorry. Hey, I may not even end liking it my self... but well, it will add to my learning experiences.

 

So, like has been said all over and for the thousandth time: its your ship, you are the captain, build it as you want. Experiment. Experiments are the only way to find out what we like and what we don't. Of course, something has to be lost in the way if in the end your experiment turns out to be a failure. But you learned something!

 

Best regards.

 

Ulises

Edited by Ulises Victoria
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Have you tried using a very light sand blasting to whether the plastic?  I know the people who build WWII vehicle models use it sometimes. They also use some "Special Wash" that they purchase for weathering.

 

Personally, I like the realistic weathering look. It gives a model "character".  

 

I wish I had your talent for ropes and rigging.  I don't have enough feeling left in my fingers for such detailed work.

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Old Man

 

Try these guys out for your wood supplies. Their prices are very reasonable and you'll stretch your dollars a lot further buying from them rather than the variety store.

 

http://www.nationalbalsa.com/

 

Regards

Craig

Thank you.  I am aware of the source and will use it next time.   A Basswood 1/16 x 4 x 24 costs $4.69 at my local store!

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This forum is more directed to wood models of wooden sailing ships.

 

 

Aack!!  No no no no no!  Nooooooooooooo.  MSW is aimed at ship modelers of every stripe, and some of us wish a lot more non-wood models would make their home here.

 

(Just messin' with you a little, Slog -- I knew what you meant).

 

@ Old Man:  We do have modelers that weather their models, even if many don't.  I, for one, don't bother weathering my models because a) I like them the way they are, and 2) good weathering is an acquired skill whose learning curve I'm not interested in tackling.  But, honestly, trying to encourage more weathered models by making unsubstantiated statements about "inner circles",  embracing "new ideas", and MSW not having room for the "Realistic Builder" strikes me as counter-productive.  Want more weathered models prominently featured here?  Then post some!  Inspire someone!  That would, I think, work much better.

 

Cheers!

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Do you have a little strip cutter? It's a plastic tool that uses a #11 X-Acto blade. The blade adjusts vertically for the depth of cut (thickness of material) and a screw adjusts the width of the cut. It allows you to buy sheet material and quickly cut your own strips for planking or other uses. Comes in very handy; I use mine a LOT. http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXAA63&P=ML

Through National Balsa, you can buy some exotic 1/32 sheets of wood, then use the strip tool to cut your own strips. That can also save you a lot of money when you're on a budget. I will often double plank using a thin veneer (1/32) for the final finish. I just use contact cement to apply them to the planking after the entire model is planked.

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Do you have a little strip cutter? It's a plastic tool that uses a #11 X-Acto blade. The blade adjusts vertically for the depth of cut (thickness of material) and a screw adjusts the width of the cut. It allows you to buy sheet material and quickly cut your own strips for planking or other uses. Comes in very handy; I use mine a LOT. http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXAA63&P=ML

Through National Balsa, you can buy some exotic 1/32 sheets of wood, then use the strip tool to cut your own strips. That can also save you a lot of money when you're on a budget. I will often double plank using a thin veneer (1/32) for the final finish. I just use contact cement to apply them to the planking after the entire model is planked.

 

I use one of these. Bought for a few dollars.  Will cut 1/32 and 1/16. Excellent guide for measuring width. It's very fast. I can cut 30 pieces in about 5 minutes. However, it will only cut material to 16 inches in length. But it works for me.

 

For rigging I have been using Sally Hansen Harder Than Nails clear nail polish.  It dries very fast. Soaks deep into the thread and line, and best of all, it will not stick or glue your fingers like CA glue.

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There should be a place for both. There should be a place for both..........

 

Here's a open challenge.......for every one.  Go visit your local Museum or Historical Society. Ask them which Scale Model Ship Model they would chose to add to their collection. A traditional very clean detailed Fabergé model, or a model of a historic and real ship. A model showing a working ship, with all it's environmental wear and tear, mud and grime.  A model of a ship presented the  way it would have been. if viewed in it's historic environment. I'll bet you will be surprised by their answer.

 

The world is changing.

 

I wouldn't be surprised at all by their answer at all. They like both. I have been building models professionally for museums all over the world for more than 20 years. Museums like a clean finished model when the display is on a stand with no contemporaneous surroundings to give it context. It's easier for visitors to determine the form and function without the distraction of weathering.

 

When a model is to be displayed in a diorama setting, then weathering is required by the museum to show the condition of the vessel in it's natural surroundings.

 

So you have got your wish, there is 'a place for both' but the world isn't 'changing', museums have had these preferences for many many decades.

 

Here you will find there are no preferences, everyone builds in the way they feel most comfortable expressing their considerable talents. There are no restrictions on how models are finished, there are no 'inner circles' and no 'wrong' way of building or presenting a model.

 

Long may it continue.

 

Dan.

Edited by overdale
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Old Man, I think it depends on the model and the modeler.  Many years ago I took a trip up to the northern tip of Lake Michigan and dropped by the museum in Sturgeon Bay on the way.  I saw many models of the vessels made there.  Many of them were immaculate.  However several were also put in dioramas  then weathered. Case in point I saw a model of a dredge that was very nice and then saw that vessel in a diorama working a harbor.  It was rusty and looked used.  The weathering was well done.  It all depends on what you are trying to achieve.  So long as you are satisfied that is all that counts.

David B

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I look at it from another perspective.  Weathering and making a ship look well used is an art and a skill that I do not yet possess.  And I think that many do not.  I look at models that are weathered and say to myself "I could never achieve that effect".

 

Some may look at realistic models and be put off or discouraged by the level of skill displayed there.  It is the same for any new endeavor one undertakes.

 

Does that put me off from building?  Not in the least.  I work to my strengths and expand my knowledge along the way.

 

To each his own.

 

Regards,

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