It's an instinctive reaction. When someone experiences the amazing, the
incredible or the exhilarating, they have only one reaction "Wow."
Bet on it. Getting a Wow from viewers of pictures of your scale modeling
project takes a lot more than slapping together a dime store model car and
snapping off a couple of picture with your cell phone.
Build a Top Notch Scale Model
Start with a subject you know. When you know the subject
or your modeling effort, you see things. Details that others aren't even
aware should be there.
The video at the left is an example.
Pierre Scerri, a French telecommunications engineer and model
builder, built this near perfect 1:3 working replica of the Ferrari 312PB.
His design drawing, based on photographs of the original, apparently took
three years alone.
Based on those photographs, he drafted the
schematics and made the molds for all parts of the model, a process which
took 7 years. In total, Scerri invested 20,000 hours into this project.
(If he worked at it 24 hours a day, seven days a week and took no time
off, he would have racked up 8,760 hours in a year.
You'll also notice
in the video, he didn't do this on the kitchen table.
The Ferrari is now in the hands of "Fine Art Models", based in Royal
Oak, MI a small company that specializes in producing the finest scale
models in the world/ Of Scerri's Ferrari they said,
"There is no sign of deviation from the real car in terms of
replication. The spark plugs are miniatures, the radiators were
hand-built to the exact same core design as the real ones. Even the water
reservoir fill cap is a Fiat radiator cap made exactly the same way as the
real one and pressure tested. The suspension is exact and the
hydraulically controlled brakes from the brake pedal have quick-change
brake pads just as on the real car.
If you were 1:3 scale, you would open the door of the car, get in, fasten
your seat belt as on the full-size car, take you Ferrari key (engraved
identically to the real key) and put it into the ignition.
You would flip the toggle switch for the fuel pumps, and with this you
would hear the fuel-injection system come to life, powered by a real scale
battery built by Pierre. A crew member would stick the hand-held scale
starter into the rear transaxle housing and as the engine turned over you
would flip the ignition toggle switch and the 12-cylinder engine would
come to life with a sound you’d never forget."
Up Close and Personal
When you have the perfect model completed, the
one you have been working on for years, the last thing you want to do is
expose it to out-of-focus and poorly lit photographs.
You can check out
the world of macrophotography with your own digital camera. Most current
digital cameras have a macro mode that lets you get a sharp focus
within just a few inches of the subject. When you get that close,
especially if you zoom in, you can get great results.
Most cameras don't automatically close-focus. Instead, you need to
activate that setting by pressing a button on the camera body. Most
manufacturers use the familiar tulip symbol to indicate macro mode--look
on the camera body, or perhaps on the LCD menu system, like mine which
shows up in the viewfinder.
You will find that the closer you get to your subject using a macro
lens, the more you lose depth of field. It drops from multiple feet in
normal mode down to an inch or two in macro even a fraction of an inch
that will stay in focus.
The advantage of a very narrow depth of field is that the background
will be blurry and indistinct--which is usually a nice effect when
shooting ultra close-ups. But if it is something you don't desire, your
camera may allow you to select a higher aperture setting like f/16 or
At this point you you should check your camera’s image size setting.
Most digitals are ready to shoot at a variety of size settings (in pixels)
which you can change. Check your manual.
Today's digitals shoot pictures with a resolution (size) of 2560 x
1920. For miniature photography, you'll be happier with a size of 1280 x
960. When it comes to downloading (and uploading) pictures, smaller is
At the left is a close up view of a
catapult aircraft on a 1:196 scale model of the USS Arizona. at this
size a foot is equal to about 1/16th inch, probably about the width
of one frame in the cockpit windows.
This was most likely shot
with a macro lens from a company like Tiffen. They furnish screw-on
or snap-on macro lenses for most digital camera models, and they
allow magnification significantly more than the built-in lens that
comes with the camera.
N-scale scratch building is always a fertile field for finding structures that will get a Wow reaction.