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 HOW TO WIN A TROPHY (texte léger anglais)

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MessageSujet: HOW TO WIN A TROPHY (texte léger anglais)   Sam 2 Avr 2011 - 21:48

HOW TO WIN A TROPHY
A Light-Hearted Advice Column By Tom Heinrich
So, you've built a couple of models and think a trophy or two might look nice in the cabinet too. Well, like the Charlie Daniels Band said, "sit right back in that chair just there and let me show you how it's done". Firstly I should point out that I'm an aircraft modeller & my advice is largely based on that form of modelling. If you're an armour modeller, get help son. And if you're a naval modeller, I'm sorry, but there is no cure.

OK firstly the basics. Get the fundamental construction right. Sand and fill all the construction joints, unless they're on a panel line. In which case you'll need to sand, fill and rescribe about six times. No, seriously, make sure the joint that's now a panel line looks just like all the other panel lines. It's harder than it looks. Check alignment in all three dimensions, paying particular attention to the wing and tailplane joints with the fuselage, because the judges sure will. Make sure the wings aren't attached to the tailplane position and visa versa, unless you're building Luft46. Make sure your dihedral or anhedral is perfectly symmetrical. Scientists have discovered that what we think of as a beautiful face is merely perfect symmetry. As it is with Nicole Kidman, so it is with the P-51.

In my experience, resin and etched metal detail sets don't necessarily help you win trophies. They just offer more scope to get it wrong. Well done, they add interest & realism, but they are very easily badly done. Use them if you wish, but if your desire is a model as close to perfect as possible to win that elusive trophy, leave 'em alone for now.

Make sure you clean up all your minor parts and give just as much effort to any ordnance as you do to the basic model. Make sure the ordnance is perfectly aligned. Before you put the canopy on, make sure the cockpit is painted (please don't ask me about why I've included this hint). A nicely painted cockpit will add a few points to the score. Learn about washes and dry brushing to give depth to your cockpit. (And if you're the bloke in the camo pants who stood next to me at the last Expo, learn about washing, full stop). And don't forget any interior areas that can be seen (gunners stations, bomb bays, undercarriage bays, etc.).

OK, painting. Everything you need to know, you learnt in kindergarten. Paint between the lines and don't go over them. Draw or mask the camouflage pattern on the plane and get to it. Thin your paint, don't use it straight out of the tin/bottle. If you're using masking and you build up a slight paint ridge, use 600 grit worn sandpaper to carefully sand the ridge back down again. The slight change in paint tone that results will disappear once your clear coats are applied. Oh yeah, do I really need to tell you that decals need to go on a gloss surface?

Decals. Ah yes decals. Good decals need no advice and go on like butter. Bad decals need a whole book of their own. Short version - the quickest route to a trophy is to use a good quality aftermarket decal set. This will also usually get you much nicer painting instructions too.

When you enter your model, don't forget to include the kit instructions and any instructions from aftermarket decals or detail sets. You get points for how closely you've followed the references, so don't deviate from your supplied references unless you provide evidence. If you can provide a scan or photocopy from a reference, showing your subject, do so. It's probably another point or so.

OK to sum up. Alignment, alignment and alignment. The three most important factors. During construction continually hold your model up and check that everything is lined up. Use good quality decals and stick to the instructions. Grab a hold of a judging schedule to see what the judges are looking for.

And the single best piece of advice I can give you in seeking a trophy? Simple - don't enter 48th scale single engine props. Last year there were nearly 40 entries from the most accomplished, brilliant, trophy seeking modellers in the state. Even with a split, you're still going to be up against 20 glory-hounds just like you. Here's a devious little secret. The multi-engine prop categories (both small & medium scale) are usually quite small. And up until recently the kits have not been absolute state of the art, so you're not up against those who build only the latest wunder-kits. Some years, large scale categories are quite small, but they do attract some stunners. Both rotors and small scale single engine prop categories can be quite schizophrenic. Some years you're up against a dozen gems and the next year there's three also-rans and a trophy just begging for an owner like you. Small scale jets might be a likely candidate too. Oh, and forget Rigged Aircraft unless you've got a trained spider to help with construction. The best of the best are usually to be found in that category.

Here's a second option in gaining that trophy. Most years an aircraft only competition called "Jets, Props & Rotors" is held down at the Port Adelaide Aviation Museum, usually around the middle of the year. This isn't a technically judged competition, but one that is based more on those models that attract the eye. It tends to reward the different, the unusual and someone who's put in some effort, more so than the technically judged competition. Unusual kits, unusual subjects, unusual markings & unusual colour schemes are preferred to "perfect" mainstream models. Knowing the judges as I do, I can confidently predict that a 109 will never win. So if you've got something that might not be technically perfect, but is eye-catching, the Port might be the perfect place for it.
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