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What Scale Is Too Large For Model Contests?


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I've gotten to the point that I don't enter models in contests anymore. I just look at the models, check out the vendors, hang with friends, and go home. I could say more, but the topis is large detailed models in contests, not the integrity of the contest itself.

I suppose the day will come when you can't compete without a 3D printer, and a small machine shop. File and sandpaper guys like me are on the way out. My opinion, anyway.

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Yeah, I can't see anyone commissioning something like this for just 30 grand.  Just getting someone to assemble and paint a kit can set you back four figures.  One of Michele Conti's hand build models would set you back $25000, and this as back in the '60s.   I wouldn't be surprised if you tried to actually hire someone to build something like this,  a real '63 Stingray would be cheaper.

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19 minutes ago, Repstock said:

I've gotten to the point that I don't enter models in contests anymore. I just look at the models, check out the vendors, hang with friends, and go home. I could say more, but the topis is large detailed models in contests, not the integrity of the contest itself.

I suppose the day will come when you can't compete without a 3D printer, and a small machine shop. File and sandpaper guys like me are on the way out. My opinion, anyway.

That's why contest have dc a box stock class. Builders compete on just their ability to paint and assembly a model.

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1 hour ago, Plowboy said:

What's the difference in building a kit where all of the parts are created? What about buying aftermarket parts, photo etch, resin etc.? The person building the model didn't create those parts. They bought them. Another person or machine did the work for them.

There is no difference. Where the raw parts come from is unimportant. What can't be done is contracting out of painting and assembly. I can not buy a complete fully detailed and finished engine and install in my model.

 

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18 minutes ago, bobthehobbyguy said:

There is no difference. Where the raw parts come from is unimportant. What can't be done is contracting out of painting and assembly. I can not buy a complete fully detailed and finished engine and install in my model.

 

How do we know this guy didn't do all of the work? Has he entered it in model car contests? If he hasn't, what does it matter? Even if he did enter it into a contest, it's certainly no worse than the dad that brings his kid along so that he can place his model in the youth class. 

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35 minutes ago, Plowboy said:

How do we know this guy didn't do all of the work? Has he entered it in model car contests? If he hasn't, what does it matter? Even if he did enter it into a contest, it's certainly no worse than the dad that brings his kid along so that he can place his model in the youth class. 

I never said he didn't all I'm saying is to be entered it in most contest the are certain aspects of the build that have to be done by that builder alone.

It is basically an honor system. In my opinion if you have to cheat to win you are admitting you aren't able to win on merit alone. If getting a trophy is so important then buy a trophy and make up a story to go with it. It will have as much meaning as cheating to win one.

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59 minutes ago, bobthehobbyguy said:

There is no difference. Where the raw parts come from is unimportant. What can't be done is contracting out of painting and assembly. I can not buy a complete fully detailed and finished engine and install in my model.

 

I was getting out of the hobby around the same time when the GSL and the NNL were in their infancy.  The founders of those events were, and still are friends of mine.  I recall a story that Mark G. has repeated occasionally about a builder who was on his way to Omaha having dropped off one of his builds to have Mark paint it for him so he could deliver it as his entry in the national finals in Omaha.  No one knew about it until years later when both parties talked about it.  These days, according to GSL rules, you are not even allowed to use a pre wired distributor in an entry at GSL.

TS

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12 minutes ago, bobthehobbyguy said:

It is basically an honor system. In my opinion if you have to cheat to win you are admitting you aren't able to win on merit alone. If getting a trophy is so important then buy a trophy and make up a story to go with it. It will have as much meaning as cheating to win one.

Cheating is another issue altogether.  Building large scale to be able to add more detail is certainly not cheating.  My original point was that the large scale builds have a decided advantage over the smaller ones, and to what extent the size difference is considered when a judging.  It’s very difficult to compare apples to apples at that point.

TS

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I agree that building a large scale model is not cheating. Being able to build in a larger scale has its advantages and disadvantages as does building smaller scales. My point on the gas engine still stands. There simply is no way to add an oprerating gas motor in a smaller scale. In my opinion that should be the threshold.  If one can make prototypical hood hinges in say 25th scale in my opinion that is a lot harder to achieve than doing the same in a much larger scale. 

If you look at the following project this is a 25th scale project that could challenge a larger scale. The degree of difficulty is immense.

 

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Hi Gentlemen!

Interesting discussion. It reminds me of the concerns that grew in the 80's when the world of 1/1 street rods was taken by the mega$ all billet, shop built "objets d'art". On one side, "regular" rodders complained that whatever they did paled in comparison to those masterpieces. The Coddingtons and Fooses of the world countered that they were only "pushing the envelope", and that we should all rejoice that they could assemble dream-teams of craftsmen to reach such levels. 

Then, ensued the "Riddlerization" of car showas: The Great 8, AMBR final contenders, etc. Mega bucks competing with mega bucks. To the satisfaction of the automotive press, always on the lookout for eye candy to put on the cover page. Coddington famously admitted that he was willing to "loose money" on his flagship cars, because he was making his pay elsewhere: billet wheels, accessories, clothing, etc. The cars got your attention, and that was priceless. For all the rest, he had Master Card!

It's interesting to note that when those celebrated cars got on the block, at say, Barrett-Jackson, they mostly raked in MUCH LESS than their building cost. They were not less sensationnal, or decrepit... Just the flavor of last month, I guess? A space in time experiment, at most an "icon"?

It's also amusing to notice that lately, the Goodguys Top ten and all other major shows trophy winners tend to be... recreations of old rods of the 50's and 60's! Can you say "leather straps to hold down the hood"? Old tech, executed to the nth degree. Oh well... Everything old is new again. Heritage anyone?

It's  interesting to note that when kit manufacturers came up with large scale cars, it was mostly because, of their own admission, it was perceived as "more stuff for my bucks". And the suggested retail also went up, and so did the profit margins. 

So, if someones shows up with a magnificently detailed and finished large scale model, I will be the first to marvel at their accomplishement. But I will also be mercyless for any flaw that might have escaped me on a smaller scale car. It comes with the territory, I guess...

Just my two cents, FWIW...

regards,

CT 

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1 hour ago, Claude Thibodeau said:

Hi Gentlemen!

Interesting discussion. It reminds me of the concerns that grew in the 80's when the world of 1/1 street rods was taken by the mega$ all billet, shop built "objets d'art". On one side, "regular" rodders complained that whatever they did paled in comparison to those masterpieces. The Coddingtons and Fooses of the world countered that they were only "pushing the envelope", and that we should all rejoice that they could assemble dream-teams of craftsmen to reach such levels. 

Then, ensued the "Riddlerization" of car showas: The Great 8, AMBR final contenders, etc. Mega bucks competing with mega bucks. To the satisfaction of the automotive press, always on the lookout for eye candy to put on the cover page. Coddington famously admitted that he was willing to "loose money" on his flagship cars, because he was making his pay elsewhere: billet wheels, accessories, clothing, etc. The cars got your attention, and that was priceless. For all the rest, he had Master Card!

It's interesting to note that when those celebrated cars got on the block, at say, Barrett-Jackson, they mostly raked in MUCH LESS than their building cost. They were not less sensationnal, or decrepit... Just the flavor of last month, I guess? A space in time experiment, at most an "icon"?

It's also amusing to notice that lately, the Goodguys Top ten and all other major shows trophy winners tend to be... recreations of old rods of the 50's and 60's! Can you say "leather straps to hold down the hood"? Old tech, executed to the nth degree. Oh well... Everything old is new again. Heritage anyone?

It's  interesting to note that when kit manufacturers came up with large scale cars, it was mostly because, of their own admission, it was perceived as "more stuff for my bucks". And the suggested retail also went up, and so did the profit margins. 

So, if someones shows up with a magnificently detailed and finished large scale model, I will be the first to marvel at their accomplishement. But I will also be mercyless for any flaw that might have escaped me on a smaller scale car. It comes with the territory, I guess...

Just my two cents, FWIW...

regards,

CT 

Hello there Claude!  Thanks for joining in on our discussion with your thought provoking insight.  Heck, I’m give you two bucks U.S. for that kind of wisdom.  

Your point about the big buck builds taking over the large car show circuits is well stated.  I guess you could apply similar logic to the model car shows.  Maybe it’s just as well that the big national shows seem to be winding down, and the less competitive events such as NNLs, regional, and local filling the space.  I think people have a need to hear that others enjoy their work.  It encourages them to continue on, and even look for ways to improve.  Otherwise, the realization that they just don’t have what it takes to be competitive on a national scale could become discouraging, and even cause them to drop out of the hobby all together.

As for myself, I really prefer the concept of the NNL, where I can place my builds on the tables along side some really fine builds, meet and greet some really talented builders, gain knowledge from them, and maybe even share a tidbit or two with them.  I have no desire to do a large scale build.  At the pace that I build, I doubt I would ever finish it, and then where would I put it if I did?

TS

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4 hours ago, Plowboy said:

What's the difference in building a kit where all of the parts are created? What about buying aftermarket parts, photo etch, resin etc.? The person building the model didn't create those parts. They bought them. Another person or machine did the work for them.

Sure, but would it be okay  if someone built an engine for you, painted a body for you, etc?

The point is, we have no clue what this individual did or didn’t do.

I suppose there is the possibility that this person possesses all of the skills necessary to build this model by himself, but that’s just speculation at this point.

I think that If I was in charge of a show that this model was going to be entered in, I would probably like to know what he did, and what he didn’t do.

 

 

 

 

Steve

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1 hour ago, bobthehobbyguy said:

I agree that building a large scale model is not cheating. Being able to build in a larger scale has its advantages and disadvantages as does building smaller scales. My point on the gas engine still stands. There simply is no way to add an oprerating gas motor in a smaller scale. In my opinion that should be the threshold.  If one can make prototypical hood hinges in say 25th scale in my opinion that is a lot harder to achieve than doing the same in a much larger scale. 

If you look at the following project this is a 25th scale project that could challenge a larger scale. The degree of difficulty is immense.

 

I agree with you there Bob!  Francis is definitely in a league by himself.

TS

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So what is the group consensus on large-scale "subscription kits"? Everything shows up pre-painted and pre-decalled. Assembly can be challenging but the detail is usually pretty great right out of the box. Should they be allowed on the contest table with models that have been fully built, painted and detailed by the builder?

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11 minutes ago, jaymcminn said:

So what is the group consensus on large-scale "subscription kits"? Everything shows up pre-painted and pre-decalled. Assembly can be challenging but the detail is usually pretty great right out of the box. Should they be allowed on the contest table with models that have been fully built, painted and detailed by the builder?

Interesting question Jason.  My thought is that it should be allowed, but the judges would definitely need to be on their toes to understand what it takes to build such a kit, what is included with the kit, and to what extent did the builder make improvements.  I say that, because I know of at least one builder who has shared a lot of information online, and frequently rebuilds the parts that came with the kit and improves them immensely.  He is not content to simply assemble the already highly detailed, difficult and expensive kit.  He takes it to yet another level.

TS 

 

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A well done model painted, detailed, and built should handily beat a subscription kit that is simply screwed together. There have been some who have repainted a subscription kit and that should be taken into consideration.  I would thing it would make more sense to create a class for subscription kits if enough were being entered. That would allow a level playing field in my opinion and allow those who do subscrption kits to compete against one another,

The same case existed when some of the model companies offer pre decorated kits. The catch was that parting lines and other prepaint prep was not being done. A builder who made the effort paint to do a great paint job will be a factory painted model.

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56 minutes ago, StevenGuthmiller said:

The point is, we have no clue what this individual did or didn’t do.

Exactly. But, people are making assumptions about what he has or hasn't done and no one truly knows. 

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25 minutes ago, Plowboy said:

Exactly. But, people are making assumptions about what he has or hasn't done and no one truly knows. 

What this particular person has or hasn’t done himself, isn’t really important since to my knowledge he hasn’t entered this model in a contest or asked to compete anyway.  My point in starting this thread is to show what is possible in scale, and get people’s thoughts on how the larger scale builds should or shouldn’t be compared to the smaller ones.  This person is not the only one that is building large scale models to this level.  At some point, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone shows up with one at a contest.  The next and final GCL, given the time since the last one, and the fact that it is the final one, may well be a place where we will see builds approaching that level, if not actually running V8s, or V16s.

TS

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1 hour ago, foghorn62 said:

What this particular person has or hasn’t done himself, isn’t really important since to my knowledge he hasn’t entered this model in a contest or asked to compete anyway.  My point in starting this thread is to show what is possible in scale, and get people’s thoughts on how the larger scale builds should or shouldn’t be compared to the smaller ones.  This person is not the only one that is building large scale models to this level.  At some point, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone shows up with one at a contest.  The next and final GCL, given the time since the last one, and the fact that it is the final one, may well be a place where we will see builds approaching that level, if not actually running V8s, or V16s.

TS

The point about the work accomplished on larger scale builds by the builder only has to be addressed so the competition  is fair. If the builder has the skills and time to build a actually car as the Corvette they deserve the awards. 

The key is providing a venue for all builders. If I choose to build box stock I shouldn't have to compete against some one using aftermarket parts. That's why the box stock class was created so that contestants could compete based on basic skills only.

With the popularity of subscription kits some contest my want to add a class.

In the end contests need to provide a venue for different build styles. If you let a contest be dominated by large scale anything goes build you are going to alienate those who feel why compete I'm not going to win. Its not that they should expect win a trophy rather they feel they have a chance. A contest will not thrive if enough people don't participate.

 

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3 hours ago, Plowboy said:

Exactly. But, people are making assumptions about what he has or hasn't done and no one truly knows. 

Agreed.

But honestly, it’s all really moot to me.

I’m pretty confident that I’m never going to see anything such as this at any of the shows that I go to anyway.

I’ll stick with my original sentiment on the subject.

I really don’t care.

 

 

 

Steve

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4 hours ago, jaymcminn said:

So what is the group consensus on large-scale "subscription kits"? Everything shows up pre-painted and pre-decalled. Assembly can be challenging but the detail is usually pretty great right out of the box. Should they be allowed on the contest table with models that have been fully built, painted and detailed by the builder?

This is exactly what I was trying to convey.

Thank you.

My opinion is no.

it’s just basically an unassembled diecast.

But then again, I’m guessing that a “pre-decorated” pro shop plastic kit might very well be allowed.

Who knows.

I might be interested to look at such a model, but as a judge, I would absolutely never vote for one.

 

 

 

Steve

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22 hours ago, Jantrix said:

Lets be honest, as a group of hobbyists without new blood entering our circle, we're all getting older. I know many of us who have switched to large scale because our vision is getting worse, out hands shake or the old arthritis is making modeling more difficult. So is it a trend that more large scales are showing at the shows? Maybe, but it's likely a result of modelers adapting to changing health.

In the past, larger scale options were pretty limited but 3D printing has changed that. The only constant in the world is change. Like Gunny Highway said, improvise, adapt, overcome. If you can't beat 'em , join 'em.

Having said that, honestly I don't think it matters that much. I've competed at GSL and let me tell you scale doesn't mean squat when you are competing against builders of that caliber. 

 

 

I see this brought up a lot with aircraft models and subsequently disproven comparing 1/32 to smaller scales. The idea being 1/32 has bigger parts so is more kindly to aging eyes. If you actually look at kits, the smallest parts tend to be about the same size regardless of scale. The larger scales just tend to have finer detail with many more parts. A larger scale kit literally just scaled up from a smaller kit would be unsatisfying for most.

As the scale gets bigger, the detail increases, so a 9 cylinder radial engine in 1/32 might have 10-20 parts (individual cylinder jugs, crank case, wiring harness, exhaust collector etc) while in 1/72 it is probably just 1-3 parts with most detail cast in and all parts larger than the smallest part in that 1/32 engine.

 

This is the same reason why smaller scale kits don't cost a lot less. Material costs are a relatively small portion of kit costs, 2 kits of different scales are not just resized, they have to be re-engineered and have entirely different tooling made for them. The result is a 1/48 scale airplane kit costs $1-2 more than a 1/72 scale kit because that is the material difference, although the finished model is about 1/2 the size, it did not take 1/2 the time to design, mold and package.

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Scale is kind of like aftermarket parts. Like aftermarket parts a larger scale can help to create a "better" model, but it also offers more opportunity to fail. A good paint job in 1/24 may be marginal in 1/12 scale. The larger scale offers more detailing potential, but also requires more detailing. Small stuff nobody would miss in 1/24 may be a glaring omission in 1/12. More detailing offers more potential to do that detailing poorly.  

As far as scratch built models go, that also goes two ways. A lot more skill and work goes into a 100% scratch built model, but the final model may not look any better than an average builder can do with a plastic kit, despite 50x the work being put into it. Just think about the work and skill hand fabricating everything just to get to 75% of the quality the guy with the plastic kit had just opening the box. How can you judge something like that fairly, what are you even judging, skill involved or simply which one looks better? The scratch built model took oodles more skill, but the box stock plastic model is the better representation.

There is a good reason models are usually highly segregated into categories.  

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