In the following you can find a list of the most frequently asked questions during model exhibitions.
It is important to state in advance that the tone of the answers to these questions is more of a professional type than of a “hobbystic” type. In fact, the professional model maker thinks in a different way with respect to a person who considers this only as a hobby.
The construction times must be optimised since there is an agreement with relative delivery times and, considering the ultimate purpose of the work, also the costs must be limited.
It is exactly here that the experience and manual ability come into play, since thanks to these qualities and to some tricks, the professional model maker (the skilled one) can create models like a “hobbyist” but in shorter times.
This type of work requires a great passion, much good taste, good manual skills, and…
If you have any other questions or would like to examine more closely a particular subject, or you simply want to talk about model-making, do not hesitate to contact us, we will be glad to satisfy all your requirements!!
GODNESS KNOWS HOW MUCH PATIENCE?
This is the first question …. To tell the truth, I am not so patient and it often happens to see in my workroom “throwing objects”.
As for me, the resolution and will to professionally finish the work are more important than patience. And if for reaching this we must create 800 deck-chairs in a scale of 1:48, or 350 French windows in a scale of 1:100….then…….we will construct them!!
One of my friends (TERESIO), who sometimes visits me to have a chat, one day said to me: “I would have never thought that a job like this required so much grit as you have!!”.
This is true! I think that this job requires much more grit than patience!
HOW TO BEGIN?
There are no model-making schools but I know that someone organises model-making courses. This is so a vast world that there is space for everyone and everything.
But the “sacred fire” must come from inside, and it must be primarily a passion.
A school or some courses can be useful but, according to me, a model, for being created, must be “felt” by its model maker, who must establish a “contact” with the object, must understand its shapes, its purposes, how does it work ….. So every order is a challenge!!
This is why this is a really fascinating, varied and complete job!
Let’s listen to me, if the “sacred fire” is burning, the best way to start is to work with someone on whom you can rely, someone who is more experienced than you, and then observe (and learn) how he works, never fearing of asking.
Asking questions is not a sign of ignorance but of intelligence.
I have been lucky, I have found people who were firstly real friends and afterwards teachers!! (EZIO, LEONARDO, BERTO, SILVIO..)
WHAT’S THE USE?
A model is useful when someone wants to give clear and accurate answers with reference to his project or product, by exploiting the human eye. There is no drawing, photo or technical documentation which gratifies the eye so much as a three-dimensional object.
The drawings (and technical documentation) are sometimes complicated and everyone is not able to read them; photos are beautiful but they always have some hidden sides and they alter perspectives.
On the contrary, a model is “easy”, spontaneous and it stimulates curiosity.
THERE ARE DIFFERENT TYPE OF MODELS?
Of course, everything depends on what shall be represented. The choice is wide and personal, and I think that a correct “definition” of a model can be made in the following ways:
VOLUMETRIC for indicative arrangements of urban or industrial “volumes”: new residential quarters, recovery plans, city centres, industrial areas, production installations...
ARCHITECTURAL or RELIEF for detailed arrangements of civil or industrial constructions: buildings, villas, sheds, industrial plants, automatic production lines...
DIORAMA for stage reconstruction of situations and environments: the old port, holiday villages, parks...
DEMONSTRATIVE this is the most accurate reproduction with respect to the original subject. It allows shapes, purposes and peculiar characters of the original to be enhanced: ships, helicopters, aircraft, machines, defence vehicles…
PROMOTIONAL or GADGET this is for promoting an activity or production in an absolutely customised way. In practice, it can be used for any subject which does not exceed “desk” dimensions.
WHAT’S THE SCALE?
The scale is the reduction factor: in other words, how much times our model is smaller than the original.
Example: a scale of 1:20 means that the original is ONE and the model is TWENTY times smaller.
If the original subject has a length of 1 metre (1000 mm), our model will have a length of 50 mm. (that is to say 1000 divided by 20= 50).
If the scale is 1:100, the model has a length of 10 mm (that is to say 1000 divided by 100= 10).
Remember that the unit of measurement must be the same for the original subject and for the reduced reproduction.
Therefore, if you wish to indicate the dimensions of the model in millimetres, you must use millimetres also for the dimensions of the original subject.
Of course, if you have a model and you want to know the dimensions of the original object, you must do the inverted operation: if the model has a length of 100 mm and the scale is 1:35, the original object will have a length of: 100x35= 3500 mm. Is it clear?
A scale of 1:1 means that the model has the same dimensions as the original. These types of models are called MOCK-UP and they are used above all for helicopters, armoured vehicles, cars or machinery in general, and for mainly promotional or exhibition purposes. They are less and less used for merely technical reasons such as wind tunnels or other types of tests.
WHAT’S REQUIRED TO BUILD A MODEL?
First of all, you need the documentation: drawings, photos of all that you have to reproduce. Then you must have a technical base for starting, the necessary equipment ...
which generally is the same as for a normal workshop: lathe, mill, drills, files, circular saw, a grinding wheel, glass paper...
WHAT MATERIALS AND TECNHIQUES ARE USED?
In this case too, the field is wide!
The present technology supplies us with a number of means and materials and everyone makes his choices according to his preferences and attitudes.
As regards me, I mainly work with plastic (ABS or polystyrene), sometimes I use wood (especially for prototypes or as a “filler”) and rarely metals.
I create my models starting from ABS sheets, tubes and bars used for making the box-shaped and structures, or from “thermoforming” plastic (that is to say modelling by means of heat and using suitably made moulds) for “softer” shapes.
So there are various methods, everyone has his method and all are good, but the real starting point is only one: “each work is a challenge”.
Therefore, when you will have to face a “big problem”, subdivide it into small problems which will be then simpler to be solved.
Once you have solved the small problems … put them together and you will have automatically solved the big problem!
Results will astonish you … independently on the technique or material you have used!
HOW TO PAINT THEM?
Acrylic colours are excellent – applied with a brush or sprayed – but for my models I mainly use flat paints for car bodies; these are very expensive paints and must always be used “in safety conditions”, that is to say with a face mask, a suction cabin, lights turned on and a safety helmet! (sometimes I am exaggerate)
These are paints which I only use for spray painting. Since they are covering paints, they “mask” the eventual drippings thanks to their elasticity and, above all, I can use them for a long time since they do not clog my aerographs.
With reference to this type of activity, my principle is “the dearer is the cheaper”; in fact, painting is the most delicate and visible part of the work.
On the other hand, it is well known that, all over the world, the finishing and painting operations grant the work its peculiar aspect.
HOW MUCH TIME NEEDS A MODEL?
This is an interesting question! As already said in the introduction, a job is a thing (there is an estimate including expected costs and times) and a hobby is another thing!
To be clearer: the model of the “GRAND PRINCESS” (job) has been created in almost 7 months while the model of the “GLADIATOR” tug (hobby) has taken 2 years and a half to be constructed.
BIGGER MEANS EXPENSIVE?
Or … “My God, how it weights …. I wonder how much does it cost”.
I have heard these two questions very often and each time I am amazed.
This is absolutely not true … A model can be smaller or lighter than another but it can have a triple or higher value.
It depends on the degree of details, finishing, construction … as well as on who is evaluating it!
WHAT BEATIFUL FLAGS, WHAT ARE THEY?
All different from one another, featuring vivid colours, they are really beautiful, but they are not only choreographic, they firstly are a communication system.
Each flag corresponds to an alphabetic letter or a number. By combining different flags, it is possible to create messages which, in their turn, can be “in clear” or “in code”.
Without engaging into a complicated subject, in the following you can find the international alphanumeric optical code (used by all the navies in the world) and the radio code (used for radio communications and for detection and control of air traffic).