Saturday, November 2, 2013

Sprue Cutters Union #15: My Critical Eye

With all the model shows I have attended through the years and all the forums, pages, and blogs I contribute to, I have seen hundreds if not thousands of unique models. Most of us can probably say the same thing. Spend a year on a forum and you'll get an eye full.
So what makes one model stand out from another? What do I consider an outstanding model? In short, it needs to tell a story.

Naturally, we all consider the necessity of a diorama to contextualize the models within it through an identifiable story line. It is how dioramas are categorized and judged. But this topic isn't all about dioramas, is it? Never the less, if you put a model in front of me, I still want it to tell me a story. It won't have a visible story line like a diorama but it will imply a history through its finish. When I say finish, I am referring to the combination of painting and weathering. A model can exude so much character based on how the modeler decides to finish it.

I like my models to look used. They are, after all, representing real machines that should have had some exposure to the elements or the hazards of the battlefield. I'm not saying a great model can't be clean and pristine but they just don't stand out in my mind. An aircraft or tank that looks sufficiently worked tells me more of a story than a model that looks factory fresh.

I think honestly, Steve from Scale Model Soup and I share pretty much the same opinion. Modeling is an art for so than a science. The models that I appreciate the most are the ones that tell a story through how it is painted, not how it is constructed. The aftermarket accessories do not matter to me, nor does necessarily eliminating every seam (though most show judges will care). If you want to catch my eye,  give it some personality.

Thanks for reading!


Part of being in the Union means you must include links to fellow contributors' posts within your own response. If you liked this post, then perhaps you'll enjoy what some other modelers have to say about this topic!

Yet Another Plastic Modeller
The Eternal Wargamer
Motorsport Modeller
Mattblackgod's World
Miniature and Model Painting
Scale Model Soup
Scale Model Workbench

Want to join the Sprue Cutters Union? Its simple. If you model and have a blog that is all you need to start. Just write a post in response to the weekly topic, copy the link in the comments section for that week's assignment and you're in! Check out more detail about joining the Sprue Cutters Union.


  1. Very true Jon about the painting can be all the difference. I agree 100% about the weathering of military machinery and i also appreciate a rally car etc being weathered, for me i just cannot bring myself to dirty up one of my builds. I would love to try one day but i would always be worried if i get this wrong i have stuffed it all...

    1. Generally, that is the one thing that turns me off to car modeling. The glossy clean finishes just don't do anything for me. It is, however, an art form to get them to look like a show floor automobile, a skill I don't have.

  2. My rather rambling reply to the topic

  3. Here is my late contribution.