My recent rant against egregious panel line shading has drawn quite a hefty response. Plenty of voices of support…and of butthurt and defensiveness. A few who have mistaken the entire thing as some kind of condemnation of all pre-shading.
And then there’s Tom, who left this comment earlier today.
Good grief. Black basing, pre-shading, post-shading, it’s all so much unrealistic bullshit. Especially if you’re building a scale airplane.
I grew up around aircraft, and I fly them. Please, someone, show me a photograph taken at 1:48 or 1:32 scale distance and show me plainly perceptible “panel lines” on any aircraft that’s not dirty. (Yes, I saw the F-18, it’s an anomaly.) Anyone who understands aircraft knows that airplanes are clean. The panels on even well-used aircraft, when seen at scale distance, are almost imperceptible unless the light is just right.
The obsession for showing off “panel lines” is ridiculous and unrealistic. The time taken to highlight them is time wasted to depict something that doesn’t exist in nature.
Stop it. Please.
I like your moxie, Tom! No beating around the bush, no sir!
I didn’t grow up around aircraft. Nor do I get to fly them. But I did go to air shows as a kid and I had all the Desert Storm trading cards. The entire set, Tom! I go to museums when I get the opportunity. Oh, and I have this thing called the internet. If you type the right things into it, it shows you pictures! Even of aircraft! See:
Scale distance? Who gives a shit about scale distance?
This is one of those concepts that just isn’t meaningful in the least. When you go to contests, there’s no SCALE DISTANCE – DO NOT CROSS line.
But fine. The maximum image width on this blog is something like 800 pixels. On the average computer monitor at a typical viewing distance, that’s not really even 1/48 unless we’re talking about smaller props like a Dewoitine D.520. So let’s say that any image containing all or most of the aircraft is fair game as some kind of proxy for scale distance.
Anyone who understands aircraft knows that airplanes are clean
Oh, Tom. Under ideal conditions, yes, aircraft are clean. They’re lovingly cared for and kept safe from the elements in well-lit hangars and “no crew chief would ever!” rules apply. Up the operational tempo, though, or forward deploy aircraft where they don’t get to sip lattes in their nice shelters, and cleanliness falls by the wayside. Even the F-117, whose stealth properties could be thrown off by bird droppings, can be seen less-than-clean in many pictures.
Are panel lines even real?
According to our friend Tom, panel lines “don’t exist in nature”.
So I’m going to take up the challenge: Please, someone, show me a photograph taken at 1:48 or 1:32 scale distance and show me plainly perceptible “panel lines” on any aircraft that’s not dirty.
Well, first of all, aircraft get dirty. This is borne out in plenty of photographs, many of them taken of Hellenic Air Force planes. But to keep things on the straight and level, I’m going to stick to “not dirty” aircraft.
Follow closely and see if you can spot the panel lines!
Okay, but maybe it’s just that World War II aircraft were slapped together pieces of junk. Tolerances can’t have been all that good, right? More modern aircraft, they don’t have panel lines.
What about something that’s just completely babied. Like an F-15E Strike Eagle?
But wait, what about a prototype stealth drone with a curved composite skin and barely any panels to speak of?
At this point we could get into a deep philosophical discussion about how we don’t actually see anything, and how it’s just our brains interpreting tiny electrical impulses from these gelatinous photo-receptive sacks that we call eyes.
Or we could just say…yes…panel lines do exist in nature. Are they more prominent on some aircraft than others? Yes! Are they nearly invisible on a few – like the F-106 Delta Dart? Totally! Are they frequently overdone on models? You bet!
But to wade in and proclaim that they don’t exist in nature (lol) and that the entire exercise of depicting them at all is bullshit, ridiculous and unrealistic is not only wrong on the face of it and easily refuted with copious photo evidence – it’s also condescending and dickish. Hence the reply in kind.