The Combat Workshop asks an interesting question this month:
do you bother with details that won’t necessarily be seen on the finished model?
The short answer? No.
The longer answer? Usually not. It really depends on what “won’t necessarily be seen” means.
Will it be completely and totally invisible even with one of those colonoscopy cameras?
Like, say, the actual bodies of jet engines? Then hell no, I won’t detail it. I’m sorry, but “I know it’s there” is just an excuse for some weird OCD thing. The engine will be encased in plastic. It will never be seen. Why the hell would you waste paint on that? Hell, when it comes to something like that, I assemble only the bare minimum needed structurally and call it a day.
Will it be invisible unless a colonoscopy camera is used?
If something might be visible, but only through some weird, unnatural means, fuck it. Not happening. Case in point – the top runs of tracks on tanks with prominent side skirts. If we’re talking rubber bands, fine. But if we’re talking some of those meticulous maddening indy link getups, why would I bother assembling another three hundred tiny pieces that will never be seen and convey zero benefit?
Will it just be hard to see?
There are a lot of areas on models that might be hard to see but are still visible from various angles. On aircraft, areas like landing gear bays and bomb bays come to mind.
These I will detail as much as makes sense. Take the A-6 Intruder or the F-16 Viper. Their main gear bays are rather more visible “on the ground”, whereas something like the F-5B Freedom Fighter I’m working on now has its bays stuck up in the wings where you basically have to pick the damn thing up to inspect them.
For the former, I will make modest additions with wire and such to busy the place up. For the later, painting and weathering suffice.
The same holds for a lot of cockpit detail. On subjects with huge cockpit apertures – like the A-6 Intruder or P-47 Thunderbolt, I will go to town with detail. But when you’re looking at something like an F4F Wildcat, why bother? Focus on the seat, instrument panel and armored bulkhead and call it a day.
The only real exception? Wingnut Wings kits. A lot of Great War aircraft have tiny little cockpit apertures, but the WNW kits are so stuffed with detail that it’s hard to draw a line. Though generally anything behind the seat or in front of the instrument panel gets half-assed treatment.
Engines – particularly radial engines – may seem to be an exception here, since I do tend to go to lengths to make them look decent.
But the thing with radials is that I only pay any real attention to the parts that will be visible – the crankcase, ignition ring and wiring and the forward faces of the cylinders. Unless I’m going to be displaying the engine opened up, I don’t bother with the rest aside from just being consistent with the paint and washes.
Because…why bother? Once the R-2800 is shoved into a cowl, all you’ll see is the front facing portions. So why get bent out of shape about detailing the tops of the cylinders, or all the exhaust snakework behind the cylinders?
So..back to the short answer…no…if it can’t be seen I don’t bother detailing it.
How about you?