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What do model builders overlook that could improve their models?


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I know that many of us are quick to suggest that wheels should have valve stems.

I've noticed that in many builds I've seen that the inside edges of window frames, such as vent windows, have rough edges that could benefit from a little sanding, and possibly some indication of felt window channels. I also think that some interior parts and molded-on firewall hoses etc. would look better with a little scoring around the separate parts before painting to "lift" them off of the surface a bit.

Other thoughts?

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MIRRORS!

How many times have I seen a model of a late-model car posted here with no mirrors, either inside or out? Constantly. Nothing screams "model" more than a model that is obviously missing all the mirrors.

Another pet peeve: 90% or more of people who build a Willys leave that raised molded-in edge on the clear windshield clear. That raised lip reperesents a rubber gasket and should be painted flat black. No 1:1 Willys windshield ever had a raised, clear lip molded into the windshield glass!


And do I even have to mention the "magic floating alternator?" ^_^

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Skip said

"I also think that some interior parts and molded-on firewall hoses etc. would look better with a little scoring around the separate parts before painting to "lift" them off of the surface a bit."

That is a great tip, why had I never thought of that ? I always eliminated them and used bits of styrened , wood blocks and wire for replicate what was molded on.

Edited by Old Buckaroo
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Myself not being a great model builder still notice that many times people forget to either drill out the exhaust or at least paint them black on the ends to improve the looks. Also the inside portion of scoops are not treated to a black inside. The body vents below the windshield can always look better with a wash of the detailer. Lastly, detailing wipers can make a big difference. I have forgotten these things more times then I care to mention.

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Another thing many builders overlook: Even if you're not going to detail your model, even if you build straight out of the box, you should always remove any ejector pin marks that will show on the finished model. If they are under the seats, or on the interior floor where they will be covered by the seats, no problem. But make sure you don't forget taking care of the ones that will show.

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Another basic step that most people don't do: adding a black wash, especially on grilles and wheels. Nothing looks more toylike than Chevy or Mopar Rally wheels that are all shiny chrome plated. The real wheels are a combination of matte silver and polished metal... and they haves holes in them, something a black wash will work wonders on. A black wash also makes the model's engine look much more realistic and less toylike.

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Another thing I see happening here way too often: Decals (like flames or stripes, for example) that cross body panel lines all in one piece. How do you suppose the door on the 1:1 car could open if the vinyl graphics ran across the panel line all in one piece??? They don't, of course... and they shouldn't on your model, either.

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The age of the digital camera has made me much more aware of my own failures, mistakes and omissions, and it's also made me notice things on other builders' models that I might not even see in real life.

I find a lot of otherwise nicely-built models with glaring errors in panel fit. Making hoods, grilles, doors, decklids, etc. actually FIT the openings they're in, and fit with even gaps to the adjacent panels, well...it takes a little more effort, but it can make all the difference. It needs to be done BEFORE painting, and allowances need to be made for paint and primer thickness, etc. And bumpers should be square to the body, and even...not hanging down in front or to one side.

Wheels should usually be in the CENTER of the wheel openings, even on most altered-wheelbase drag cars. I see models that have the suspension assembled apparently wrong, or the chassis in slightly the wrong place, and it places the wheels in a wonky relationship with the openings, too far to the front or the rear. It can instantly ruin an otherwise fine build.

Another one that can really spoil a model is seeing a chunk taken out of a wheel rim where it was attached to the tree. It's not too hard to fix, really, even if it's chrome (an opportunity to learn to shoot Alclad, eh??)... or at least put the damaged wheel on the other side of the model, away from the camera.

Sanding tire treads for realism is good, but actually LOOK at a real tire. They don't have visible mold-seams running through the middle, or shiny spots on the treads. Sand enough material off to get it to look REAL...not just a couple of swipes with sandpaper.

Just one more...real engines and transmissions don't have seams running down the middle of them. After you glue these parts together and the glue is completely dry, sand the glue-seams away with 400 grit paper or finer. Primer and re-sand as necessary to get the line GONE before you paint these parts.

Edited by Ace-Garageguy
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I personally don't mind if I leave off valvestems, but I do put them in at least half the time.

I usually see a lot of things I should have done...after the car is done and getting photographed. Its then I notice that darn ejector pin mark or something. personally I am guilty of every one of the things Bill above mentions, just not all on the same model. and usually I didn't notice how apparent it was until after the thing was together...and the macro lense indeed does not lie.

jb

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Have fun building. I'm not a big detail guy. My models may look like toys to a lot of you. But, I'm mainly into modeling for the fun of it. I use to try building to others levels. I went nuts trying to build as well others within my model car club for example. But, I either don't have the patience or skills, or sometimes the combination of both. There have been times when I have liked a model less after I tried to add a certain detail.

One detail item I avoid like the plague is bare metal foil. I hate that stuff. Mainly it's the lack of patience and the slipping of the knife at critical moment that drives me nuts. I use a sharp knife and it still rips or gives me a wavy line. And it doesn't always stick! I will sometimes use it on bigger chrome parts on a car. For example the hood vents and rocker panels on a past build of AMT's '63 Corvette. I recently built Revell's 1/32 scale '56 Ford convertible in two tone. There I used foil on the molding separating the two colors. But, I will not do window frames, wheel lip moldings, whatever, to make my model look less "toy" like. I really hate bare metal foil, over all.

My models will never match up to most of the guys posting on web sites like this. Or other members of my local model car club. I will never win a model contest. But, our local model car club, the Model Car Club of Minnesota has a saying we print on a lot of club related items. "Build it, Bring it, Have Fun Doing Both!"

This does mean I don't look for ways improve my models. I do. Over all most lay people (none or casual model builders) think my models look great. And in general they do. The club members sometimes give me a little BLAH_BLAH_BLAH_BLAH for building models that a lot of times look like promos. But, I'm OK with that, and the other model car club members respect me for other reasons. (I'm known more for knowledge of both real and model car history for example.) And I respect others who have the patience that I don't. I just not going to beat myself up trying to meet or match their standards.

Scott

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Harry .... Mirrors? good on ya

Hahaha

Love it

I think this is already a thread from last Sept.,?

Door lock pins on pre 80's stuff, Yes exhaust and or cage tubing without mold seams,..

Headlight lenses set vertically,..yes

And I have to agree, wheels that are straight chrome,... look odd

I know that we are trying to up our detail level , but, spark wires that are the wrong scale and different colour with mold lines ,...Meh!?

And one other thing,.... A beautiful paint job that wasn't polished is just another orange peel.

Cheers

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The age of the digital camera has made me much more aware of my own failures, mistakes and omissions, and it's also made me notice things on other builders' models that I might not even see in real life.

I find a lot of otherwise nicely-built models with glaring errors in panel fit. Making hoods, grilles, doors, decklids, etc. actually FIT the openings they're in, and fit with even gaps to the adjacent panels, well...it takes a little more effort, but it can make all the difference. It needs to be done BEFORE painting, and allowances need to be made for paint and primer thickness, etc. And bumpers should be square to the body, and even...not hanging down in front or to one side.

Wheels should usually be in the CENTER of the wheel openings, even on most altered-wheelbase drag cars. I see models that have the suspension assembled apparently wrong, or the chassis in slightly the wrong place, and it places the wheels in a wonky relationship with the openings, too far to the front or the rear. It can instantly ruin an otherwise fine build.

Another one that can really spoil a model is seeing a chunk taken out of a wheel rim where it was attached to the tree. It's not too hard to fix, really, even if it's chrome (an opportunity to learn to shoot Alclad, eh??)... or at least put the damaged wheel on the other side of the model, away from the camera.

Sanding tire treads for realism is good, but actually LOOK at a real tire. They don't have visible mold-seams running through the middle, or shiny spots on the treads. Sand enough material off to get it to look REAL...not just a couple of swipes with sandpaper.

Just one more...real engines and transmissions don't have seams running down the middle of them. After you glue these parts together and the glue is completely dry, sand the glue-seams away with 400 grit paper or finer. Primer and re-sand as necessary to get the line GONE before you paint these parts.

Good point about the photo's Bill. There has been many times when I have looked at my photo's and then thought.... " How the heck did I miss that ? ". Sometimes I fix the problem if I can and other times I have taken more photo's that don't show the flaw or boo-boo. Of course if I only posted photo's that did not show any flaws I'm afraid I would would not be posting many if any photo's. : )

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My biggest pet peeve is scale and detailing. Especially on late model NASCAR models. I think the Ford Boss 429 was the only engine in NASCAR to use the Holley Dominator carburetor, but I have seen them on hundreds of models built for showing off the engines. Plug wires that might scale to 1" thick, miscellaneous wiring that looks to be about 10 gauge thick, unrealistic braided hoses and huge wheel studs and lug-nuts. My list goes on and on. Many models suffer from over detailing and trying to fit every aftermarket photo-etch or resin bit the builder can find. I also saw where someone else spoke of molding seams on small parts. These always catch my eye on the shiniest of models.

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As noted, wheels are a huge scene stealer. Do some research and use wheels with proper depth and rim edge detail for the subject. Seeing all those hemi darts with the shallow rear mags and slicks drives me nuts. And the stock steel wheels supplied with some of the older kits are terrible. Fortunately, there's plenty of good ones out there and the aftermarket is making more.

Another thing about headlights; using ones that are the correct scale diameter hugely improves the appeal of a project. Especially the amt mustangs.

mike

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Good thread guys,

Seriously on the subject of digital cameras, the overall image is a good start!

How many times have we seen blurred images / poor light / background distractions such as the workbench etc, etc, etc......I could go on and on.... :blink:

Poor photography distracts the overall appearance of the build, I generally bypass builds that have poor images etc...

Another thing that gets me is just a 'one' image post in 'under glass' :blink: ....why? ....got something to hide?

At least take a heap of pictures at all angles so we can get a good look at the completed build!

Cheers

Ray

PS: No doubt there is a topic in this forum on how to take good pictures!

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It drives me nuts when every hose and belt under the hood is the same shade of black and every bare metal component is the same shade of silver. There's a lot of variation in these components in a real car that makes a big difference when replicated on your model. Interiors where there's no differentiation between carpeted areas and leather/vinyl surfaces are another pet peeve of mine. And don't get me started on body-color windshield wipers!

Edited by jaymcminn
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