Tamiya Honda CB750F 1/6 scale
By Mario Covalski
Sometimes, something particular comes about to those lucky modelers who have been doing scale modeling for many years… to compare between two models built by the same author, but ...20 years back. (My dear friends, believe me, I wish I could be 20 years younger, and not writing this editorial :-).
This is my situation, and I find special interest in analyzing not only the skill but also the techniques (with their improvements) that have been carried out.
I don't remember exactly, but let's say in 1980, when I built a 1/6 Tamiya Honda CB750F; time passed and the model was still there, sleeping in my showcase. Then, in 1998, I decided to build the same kit (yes another one!)…again.
First, I remembered why I had given up painting with spray cans. Nowadays, I use to airbrush my models, this practice lets me to get a finest painting job, allowing those small parts or tiny details can be fairly visible, and what is most important, the entire absence of orange peel.
What did it mean to me building "a good "model, 20 years ago?:
A body that had been painted with a Testor spray can, sanded and polished, after 2 weeks. A chassis that had also been sprayed. Most of the parts that had been provided chromed or plated, remained in that way, and by that time, only a few metal paints (silver, aluminum or metallic grey), were widely available for me. On the other hand, I didn't care as much about either techniques or research, but.....anyway, the hobby was fun and details were in fact, the result of my imagination
The model I constructed in 1998 was airbrushed at high pressure, using my usual painting technique. Several coats of varnish were applied over and over with the paint still fresh. After some years, I could appreciate a deep and smooth brightness.....and above all, in scale, because I used proper paints for modeling.
I gave the same treatment to the chassis, getting a shine black different to the rest (so as to get contrast). The chromed of the engine was removed to be painted in chrome silver mixed with aluminum and after several washes, it actually looked very real.
I used several mixes to get different shades of black, obtaining in this way, the proper contrast. Drybrush was applied in a very subtle way, just for lightning purposes; drybrushing excessively would make that surfaces look like "stone".
If both models were compared, anyone could immediately appreciate that the latest has more realism and "life", and that the whole assembly looks much more fine.
Everything mentioned above, aims at showing how my techniques have changed along 20 years, and not to judge if they're good or not, and perhaps other modelers' experience could be different. What is most important, the progress in the use of the those techniques. Furthermore, both models lack of aftermarket, so it's possible to move forward, getting better models, without thinking about adding detailing parts. Sometimes, it's just a matter of learning new techniques, or improving our own skill.
Nowadays, many people think that improving a model, say to do "something better" means to buy details sets, or special paints, or to search for more and better references.....I, sincerely believe, that there's no great mystique about. First of all, we should have to be enthusiastic, to develop our skill to the utmost, and to discover that, with simple materials, it's possible to build the model we've dreamed of, these could just be the reasons that would let us improve it..........even after 20 years.