For the October edition of the Sprue Cutters Union, the Combat Workshop asks, “what do you think are the essential aspects you cannot afford to cut corners on during a build?”

Well we all have our quirks, don’t we? We all have those things that drive us insane until we get it right. Modeling is no different. I can’t stand clean models.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve made my share of terrible looking models…actually I think that sums up how I feel about a lot of the models I’ve made to this point. But there is just something wrong with making models of military aircraft and armored vehicles look anything but used.

Not everything needs to look like Mig Jimenez modeled it. Something as simple as a little bit of dirt on road wheels or carbon buildup around the gun ports on a fighter can bring a lot of life to something drab. Models shouldn’t look like this –


This looks like a toy. Granted, models pretty much are just toys, but how many of us really treat them like toys? We don’t play with them in the sand or pretend we’re strafing Japanese positions on Iwo with them. Most of us put them in a glass box so we can look at them. And that’s all the more they’re ever touched.

To me, models are a piece of history. Not in the normal sense of the word, but in the sense that they are as close to history as some people will ever get. We don’t all have an armor museum nearby where we can get up close and feel immersed in the history of the vehicle. But we can all look at reference photos and make something that looks like it was in the Battle of the Bulge.

So get out there and put dirt to plastic and bring history to life.


5 thoughts on “Imperatives

  1. Agreed 100%. This was something I noticed at the local contest here in Austin over the weekend. Tanks with not a single lick of weathering or variation on them. Not so much as a filter or drybrush. They didn’t even look like die cast toys. They looked like those cheap plastic things that are bad knockoffs of GI Joe vehicles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Theres nothing wrong with a clean model. It comes down to what you want to model and what you like. Who is to say that something is not “weathered” enough? In the marines we tried to maintain our equipment and keep it clean. You want to model in the field than great, wheather it! If its in garrison or just out of maintenance than its clean. Again its your model!


      • I agree that it’s up to a modeler to make a model the way they want to. But a model should be weathered to whatever environment it’s in, if that’s how the modeler is showing it. If it’s sitting in a maintenance shop, of course it’s going to be clean. But if you’re building something that sat in the desert for 10 months, it should look like it’s been in the desert.


      • HUGE difference between representing a clean subject and just slathering a tank in a single monochrome coat of green and calling it a day.

        Look at the N1K2 up in the post. It looks like a toy. Plenty of ways to bring character, depth and a sense of volume even to clean builds.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Why do I build? |

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