Westlake Publishing Forums
December 12, 2018, 01:33:38 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:     REGARDING MEMBERSHIP ON THIS FORUM: Due to spam, our server has disabled the forum software to gain membership. The only way to become a new member is for you to send me a private e-mail with your preferred screen name (we prefer you use your real name, or some variant there-of), and email adress you would like to have associated with the account.  -- Send the information to:  Russ at finescalerr@msn.com
 
   Home   Help Search Login  
Pages: [1]
  Print  
Author Topic: Caricature vs Scale Model  (Read 1197 times)
Greg Hile
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 186



« on: December 20, 2017, 03:24:27 PM »

I came across this discussion thread today on another forum. The OP really doesn't like nail marks or corrugated metal or the mortar in brick walls, but it got me to thinking about his overall points regarding accuracy in modeling. Also some interesting comments from the peanut gallery.

Might be worth a look. Thoughts?

http://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/31931
Logged
finescalerr
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5179


« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2017, 05:23:33 PM »

The guy who wrote that letter is absolutely correct; most models we see on layouts and sometimes in contests, especially those in the smaller scales, have grossly oversize detail and, well, just plain gross weathering. That is because the majority of hobbyists are "model railroaders" rather than "railroad modelers" and are neither aware of nor care about the difference.

Most kit and parts manufacturers find it easier, cheaper, and more practical to create impressionistic products and most hobbyists are so used to looking at their inherent caricature that closer-to-perfect-scale modeling looks lifeless to them. Once I showed a "finescale" boxcar to the owner of Bar Mills models and he bluntly said he didn't like it.

I published an editorial or two about realism vs. impressionism (caricature) and often alluded to the difference in my construction articles. It was like trying to explain the difference to an audience of badly modeled and weathered brick walls. More readers preferred exaggeration because it's easier to recognize (and create). Accuracy is too subtle.

On the other hand artists often tend toward impressionistic modeling and some produce beautiful results. It seems most of us on this forum prefer to model as accurately as possible and have turned subtlety itself into an art form.

Finally, as valid as the author's points may be, his grammar, spelling, and diction are far more caricature than accurate. I guess teachers' tastes in communication are analogous hobbyists' tastes in modeling!

Russ
Logged
detail_stymied
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 139


« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2017, 05:42:54 PM »

I agree much of what is depicted to make a model appear realistic is way out of scale. the web-wide forums contribute somewhat, with accolades given to every effort in an attempt to never alienate a member or sponsor, and I think that has escalated the problem over the years. heaven help the member who points out a flaw or misconstrued configuration in the name of prototype authenticity.

the "character" coming from cock-eyed buildings or jagged roofing & siding would never be tolerated in the real-world situation. vehicles, automobiles, especially are victims of the barn-find mentality of evenly administered rust, giving no regard to how a real auto would languish.
Logged

s.e. charles
Lawton Maner
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 436


« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2017, 08:30:00 AM »

     Sometime the problem goes both ways. 

     I remember the long running spat between Model Railroader and Floquil Paints when a modeler used stove black to finish a steam loco because it came closer to a sooty look then paint available from model suppliers. 

     I am currently carving a block of plaster to make a master for casting chimneys.  Of necessity the mortar lines will be slightly exaggerated because of the difficulty of cutting a scale 1/2" mortar line in 1/48th scale.  A fixture made with a guide of Evergreen Car Siding does however give me the proper 21/4" thickness of the bricks. 

     The smaller the scale, the more difficult it is to "get it right".  One of my pet gripes is what I call "detailing by American Express" where the modeler cleans out the hobby shop's small detail bins and loads up a loading dock creating a thieves paradise.  Even a fruit stand sets out just what they expect to sell that day and takes it all in at night to prevent their stock from vanishing. 

    More modelers of scenes should try and model the mundane rather then the unusual.  Even during times of economic stress people keep their property tidy.  Model trash in an alley and not gutters full of it.  An occasional discarded article in the gutter of a busy street is better then a load of litter. 
Logged
Bill Gill
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 739



« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2017, 12:13:06 PM »

I agree mostly with what is being said here, but perhaps to inject a bit of the devil's advocate to stir the discussion further:

What is the goal of most prototype modelers when building and exhibiting their models, even if on forums or websites rather than in galleries? From postings I've seen the answer seems to be they are not only trying to observe and capture the finest details they can (subject to limitations of materials, skills and tools as Lawton noted), but also to represent them in a manner that will be noticed, at least by those who know what to look for. That often means some..."adjusting" of raw reality.
Though in some cultures artists were expected to copy rather than adapt the works of "masters", Russ duly pointed out most artists tend toward impressionistic pieces. There are a few who create hyper-photo realistic works and their results are stunning, though the first response to the work is usually a rational 'how did anyone observe and capture such minuscule detail' rather than any strong emotional response to the piece. I believe most fine modelers want an emotional response to their work as well.

Slavishly minutely reproducing observed reality without any personal interpretation or emphasis could be considered pointless, get a camera, shoot a picture, and even with that there is inclusion and exclusion... If displaying skill and knowledge of materials, tools and the innermost workings of the thing being modeled were the sole goal, I suspect far fewer "modelers" would exist and fewer yet display their work in any public way.

We each see things and understand them on different levels. If great modelers' views of "reality" are more focused in some aspects than the general public, it seems natural to me that the modelers might subconsciously exaggerate some details to help ordinary viewers "see" beyond their normal attention.

Modeling brick buildings without visible mortar lines and similar "accurate" reproductions of what can be seen doesn't look right to anyone. I believe that is a deeply human characteristic. We see what we expect. Artists and modelers show us what they have learned to see or expect.

Dioramas depict everything from historic scenes (with or without the benefit of historic photographs for reference and guidance) to fantasy scenes. Model railroads seem to present either an idealized or dystopian miniature world either unintentionally or very deliberately depending on the skill and interest of the railroader. Compressing reality into ridiculously small areas further emphasizes any exaggerations a modeler may introduce unconsciously that are "obvious" to someone with a slightly different world view.  Such compressions and limitations of skill and material properties also mean things will necessarily be omitted. That's unavoidable.

A few examples in closing. Filling a layout with ramshackle, rusty or unusual structures may seem overkill, yet the following all stand within sight of one another. All are considered pretty ordinary by the locals. There are more, but the forum limits attachments to a posting, so let these serve as partial examples.  


* Marine1.jpg (78.04 KB, 800x529 - viewed 114 times.)

* Mics.jpg (83.27 KB, 800x532 - viewed 111 times.)

* dock.jpg (72.2 KB, 800x532 - viewed 113 times.)
« Last Edit: December 21, 2017, 12:16:29 PM by Bill Gill » Logged
finescalerr
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5179


« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2017, 01:43:08 PM »

I think we're all in basic agreement about modeling and scale detail. Some prefer a slightly more clinical approach, others a little more artistic. Either way, the model will please most of us.

The real issue is one the author of that letter failed to clarify or maybe never thought about: The tendency of so many "model railroaders", even those who enter contests, to use someone else's model as inspiration rather than an actual structure, freight car, or whatever, and then base their ideas of detail, color, and weathering on that other guy's perception and techniques. THAT is the worst cause of caricature.

Russ

Logged
Ray Dunakin
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3821



WWW
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2017, 01:10:05 AM »

The real issue is one the author of that letter failed to clarify or maybe never thought about: The tendency of so many "model railroaders", even those who enter contests, to use someone else's model as inspiration rather than an actual structure, freight car, or whatever, and then base their ideas of detail, color, and weathering on that other guy's perception and techniques. THAT is the worst cause of caricature.

I agree. There is a somewhat subtle difference between learning the techniques of others and adapting it to create your own model, vs trying to copy what someone else has done. The latter can certainly be a useful method for beginners to learn, but many never attempt to move beyond that stage. The result is models that come across as "copies of a copy".

Logged

Visit my website to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!

Ray Dunakinís World
Bill Gill
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 739



« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2017, 08:46:56 AM »

I agree. There is a somewhat subtle difference between learning the techniques of others and adapting it to create your own model, vs trying to copy what someone else has done. The latter can certainly be a useful method for beginners to learn, but many never attempt to move beyond that stage. The result is models that come across as "copies of a copy". Ray Dunakin

I agree too and wonder if some craftsman kits reinforce the idea of copying the expert's methods by supplying tons of photos and minute instructions for every little detail, color and weathering technique rather than encouraging the builder to develop a personal style? There have been forum construction threads (not here) where a modeler apologized for varying slightly from the instructions as though he'd violated an unspoken rule. The detailed directions probably are intended to encourage modelers to buy and try a more advanced kit, but may inadvertently reinforce the idea of duplicating it exactly?
Logged
Lawton Maner
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 436


« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2017, 09:28:09 AM »

     We must remember that many who call themselves "model railroaders" find the Athearn shake the box kits challenging.  For them, and my wife who considers recipes to be the word of God, detailed instructions are a must.  For those of us on this forum, a craftsman kit is an inspiration where someone else has done the shopping for us. 
     
     We will try someones technique to see if it works for us and if it does add a dash of inspiration, shake, and add to our personal kit of tricks.  If it doesn't into the bin it goes.  I can't remember how many techniques to weather wood I've tried over the last 55 years, and I'm still not fully satisfied with my results.

     Who remembers when John Allen weathered his HO structures and included both the pigeons and their droppings.  Or for that matter the division that graffiti covered RR car models creates, the reaction is as strong as are political opinions.

     Model the world as you see it.  If you intend to model the Toonerville Trolley then Caricature can be taken to the limit. 
 
Logged
detail_stymied
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 139


« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2017, 06:07:49 AM »

not a complete waste of time to build a kit from a box. even learning a foreign language requires knowledge of its vocabulary and grammar rules.
Logged

s.e. charles
Bill Gill
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 739



« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2017, 10:22:22 AM »

not a complete waste of time to build a kit from a box. even learning a foreign language requires knowledge of its vocabulary and grammar rules. detail_stymied

detail [may I call you detail? Smiley ], following the lead of super or innovative modelers, scratchbuilder or kit maker is a great way to learn. Then at some point we may strike out on our own or somebody new comes along with a different way of seeing or working and we learn anew.

We learn our native tongue by listening and imitating what we hear around us, whether expert or not. Vocabulary, idiom, slang, formal, or bawdy language take hold through exposure and interest. "Rules" come later. Created after the fact, rules, reinforce what is currently correct so we can share a common understanding, though those who work outside the rules are often admired for their creativity, or scorned for their crudeness and disregard.

Most of the time I'm not  aware of or care about any of this hidden imitation going on when modeling unless I'm deliberately trying to figure out or try out a particular look in real life or in a model that I like. I draw on my acquired 'vocabulary' and 'language' to tell the story I want to express.

This discussion is good in that it brings fundamental assumptions briefly to attention where they can be assessed and continued or modified as desired.
Logged
Greg Hile
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 186



« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2017, 12:07:46 PM »

following the lead of super or innovative modelers, scratchbuilder or kit maker is a great way to learn. Then at some point we may strike out on our own or somebody new comes along with a different way of seeing or working and we learn anew.

I wholeheartedly agree, and that process is not just for beginners. A good example is a thread I recently looked at here regarding modeling wood from plastic started by Russ (who I will assume for the sake of argument knows a thing or two about modeling  Wink). He went through Ray's and Chuck's techniques and then worked out his own.

As for the greater discussion regarding caricature, there is a long-standing debate in the art world that is framed (pardon the pun) in terms of artist versus viewer. Does the artist's vision or intent behind their work exclusively matter or is it only the viewers' interpretation of that work that is important? If we accept the notion that we as modelers (and yes, we are artists) are all that matters, then to each their own. But if we wish to convey something to those who would view our work, be it a railroad layout, a diorama, model or what have you, then I have no problem with taking a little license here and there to enhance the experience, or to make something technically impossible possible.

Of course, I also want it all! I want to fulfill my own desires and vision, sometimes with details that no one else will see or notice, AND I want those who see my work to enjoy and take something away from it, as well.
Logged
finescalerr
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5179


« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2017, 01:39:37 PM »

All very good points. And here's something else to think about: Most people build from kits or don't model at all because, to them, it's a necessary evil. Those of us on this forum, on the other hand, are part of a tiny minority who want to create something unique. In my case, at about the age of 14 or 15, my first railroad model was an Athearn caboose kit. My second was a flatcar I scratchbuilt from balsa and brass wire with carefully placed dabs of white glue on the truss rods to represent turnbuckles. (Yes, I painted the hardware afterwards.)

What's my point? People build after they see what others can do and get the urge to try it themselves. You can't create that desire and kits rarely will completely satisfy people with personalities like ours.

The best way to inspire a latent modeler is to show him an inspirational model. At some point he (or she) will say, "I want to build something like that ... only better." That is why, even though model railroading and kit modeling are withering, I am pretty certain scratchbuilding will continue. And, until we find another way to communicate, posting photos on the Internet is the best way to develop new hobbyists.

Russ
Logged
Pages: [1]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.13 | SMF © 2006-2011, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!