The News at TIM – Mid Week Musings (No: 8)

Welcome to this weeks Musings!

Some recent posts by others got me thinking this past week, not a good thing I grant you.  This led me to ponder two things, the first of which was …

How expert are experts?

Red, White or Rose?

I am referring to wine.  Now I like wine but I am no connoisseur.  I willingly buy into Red for red meat and White for fish and cheese (I never drink Rose unless I’m drunk and it’s all that’s left.  Is it for surf ‘n turf’ or just the dregs of red and white mixed together?).  A grape variety grown in different countries with different soils and levels of sunlight logically gives rise to a variation in taste.  Wine left in an oak barrel for several years will taste differently to a newly casked wine and wine with a greater infusion of fruit will similarly be distinguishable when comparisons are made to less fruitier examples.  Similar things could be said about beer I’m sure.

So what is my point?  Well the basic taste differences I get, they are logical and not beyond the limits of my pallette.  Some are less obvious to me but I become appreciative once explained and pointed out by others.  Thereafter we are beginning to talk about very subtle changes.  Some I can pick up on, others simply fly over my head.  All of which gives rise to the following question.  Is my palette lacking in sophistication or is the wine expert simply being pretentious?

I suspect the answer lies somewhere in between.  I am not the product of a privileged upbringing so my exposure and understanding of some of the finer things in life are often lost on me.  This is offset by the fact numerous experts I have encountered in my former professional life love nothing better than to show off their expertise, something which I have found to be directly proportional to my lack of knowledge on the subject.

And the relevance of all this to modelling?

Well the way I see it is this.  Let’s take paints just as an example.  The differences between oils, acrylics and enamels is clear to see, just like Red, White and Rose wine.  The effect of washes is also evident and the impact of colour is a no brainer.  Some of the subtle variations and techniques are either obvious when applied or obvious once explained.  However, for me, and it is only me I’m talking about here, there are some things which are simply lost on me (for now).  For example, paint brands and manufacturers.  Do they really differ that much or are they all made in the same factory and put into different pots with other labels added to them?

Brushes potentially are the same.  Big differences at one end of the scale but so subtle at the other end that I suspect I would not be able to tell the difference.

Some of the experts (or is it the manufacturers?) would have us believe these things make a difference.  Perhaps they do but I cannot help but think some of it, to put it bluntly, is bullshit.

So am I knocking the experts?  Far from it.  The proffesional advice offered by the folks in the video link that Azazel recently provided for example was excellent and I have every intention of following through on some of them.  These people should never be ignored, they are professionals and make a living (presumably) from what they do.  They have my respect.  The issue is that even the experts do not agree on everything.  In fact some of the opinions offerred were polar opposite and this is the crux of the matter.

So what do “I” conclude?  There is great advice out there but it can be conflicting, potentially even false.  Listen to it all, try some of it or even all of it if yiu have the time but at the end of the day it’s what works best for you.

The beauty of our little community is we get to share our thoughts and experiences.  We won’t agree on everything, there is after all more than one way to skin a cat as my grandmother God bless her would say.  So to those who pass on their tips and experiences for us to check out, THANK YOU.  I will give them a try.

On to my other thought for the week …

Lionel Messi

Yes we are talking about the footballer (soccer player).  If you prefer feel free to swap Messi for Ronaldo.  In any event we are talking about the two best footballers currently playing today.  And what does this have to do with modelling?  I shall explain.

If I remember correctly the eighty/twenty rule goes something like this.  It takes 20 percent of our time to learn 80 percent of something and 80 percent of our time to learn the other 20.  In reality few of us if anyone at all ever learn the other 20 percent, 80 percent is often good enough.  It’s why computer systems have errors in them.

This rule in general can be applied to modelling.  A novis can learn very quickly.  We’ve all been there, we’ve all done it and now we are all trying to bottom out the remaining 20 percent.  Some of us are closer to that goal than others but none of us are or ever will make 100 percent.

There are two realities at play here in my opinion.  Firstly, the more you put in the more you get out.  Attaining 80 percent is achievable and further hard work will make advances into the remaining 20 percent.  Secondly, 100 percent is not achievable but only a natural ability will take you as close as it is possible to go.  Do other professional football players train and practice as hard as Messi or Ronaldo?  I think they do but they just don’t possess that extra something which elevates them to a higher plane.  That said neither Messi or Ronaldo are perfect, they miss goal scoring opportunities and fail with passes, they just don’t do it as often as other players do which is why they are better but not perfect.

My conclusion is a simple one.  Work hard and practice.  It is not a coincidence that the more you practice and the harder you work the better you become.  Perfection  is beyond mere mortals (that’s why I will always be the Imperfect Modeller) but it should not stop our pursuit of excellence, to be the best we can be.  Above all enjoy what you do.  Life’s to short!


Until next time!


19 thoughts on “The News at TIM – Mid Week Musings (No: 8)

  1. Nice one! Yea, I struggle with understanding talent. Pros often aren’t willing to divulge the amount of time they spend doing something. It’s hard to tell what is really easy and just coming from an innate talent or what they just have to work hard on. I imagine for everyone it’s a bit different.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think there are definitely tricks of the trade and you don’t know what you don’t know. A guy I met did some great paint work on 54mm scale shields and I said as much to him. He told me it wasn’t as hard as you might think. Turns out he traced outlines onto them using kids tracing paper and then just painted on top. Clever and still skilful but with practice I figure anyone could do it. As for me, would never have thought to do that in a million years! Thats why I like tips pages such as yours. You just never know what might come in handy!


    1. Unless you’re doctoring your photos I don’t see too much wrong with your work! Thanks for getting where I coming from. With hindsight it felt too much like a ramble but I know people who have walked away from the hobby because they feel their work is inferior. Such a shame.


      1. I have no desire to be the best. Too old and too lazy… Would like to be able to rely on my painting to get the finish I want. Not have to smother things in washes, post painting, to hide the mistakes that I think must be so obvious to anyone that looks too closely. Glad you like the stuff I do. I decided a long time ago to post ‘all’ that I do, the good bits and the bad, and let my audience decide what they wanted to take from it.
        I have left forums and Facebook groups that have too much negative feedback. Here just feels right – People comment if they like it, ignore it if they are not fussed… My kind of environment.

        I love a good ramble now and again…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, the paints come from different factories (they’re not all from HMG!) and often have different characteristics. How many of them you want to use can simply be put down to how many of the colours do you want to use straight out of the pot – or using the better ones from different ranges for the colours that you want to use.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. See this is the thing, tips and advice from fellow modellers, gamers, painters means so much more. Learning is usually a process of incremental steps. I admire the pros but the gap from where I am to where they are feels to wide. The tips provided by you and others feel like the next steps in a long sequence but they are logical and I can by into them so much more.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Likewise, the brushes (in my experience) fall into four broad categories:
    Unsuitable, Crap, Average & Excellent.
    I’ll write some more on that when I get to my post on that sort of thing, but right now I’m just trying to do some blog-follow catchup!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yet one of the pros in the video only used cheap brushes (see I did watch it!), although cheap could still equal good I guess . I will be very interested to see what you have to say on this one in due course. I do buy what I consider to be quality brushes and it has made a difference. The biggest difference I found though was using a bigger brush for smaller details rather than a small brush. Seemed contradictory initially but works much better. A bit like golf, not just what make of clubs you buy and how much you spend but you need to know what club to use and when. No point teeing off with putter!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Cheap basically just means disposable. It’s a mindset thing – you just don’t need to take care of them as much as you would a more expensive brush.

        They’re cheap, you use them until they lose their points in a matter of weeks or at best a month or two, then you use them for the next thing. When they’re fresh you can use them for fine detail, then they become only suitable for blocking in paint, then only blocking in paint on larger things, then they become drybrushes, then they become glue brushes. Then paint stirrers.

        The difference between Crap and Average is how long they last in that process and also how much they cost. I’ve found that Army Painter brushes sadly cost more and degrade quicker than the AU$4 specials from the local hobby stores.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I mostly drink beer.
    I drink wine from pint glasses.
    I’ve never skinned a cat only rabbits.
    I use cheap nasty brushes and have a couple of decent ones and both have their advantages.
    I’ve always used citadel paints but I’m considering jumping over to Vallejo because the citadel pots are notorious for becoming hard to close and drying out.
    I’d like to go deeper on the subject but I haven’t had my coffee or pancakes yet. Good post man and I’ve enjoyed the comments. That Azazel is a God amongst men I tell ya!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha. Get that coffee and pancakes inside you and then let’s hear what else you have to say! Yes, Azazel is a class act. A very knowledgeable guy and an excellent painter. He offers sound advice and I welcome his tips. I’m not joking when I say I love being a part of this little community. Gotta go, the sun is shining in England so time to hit the beach, could be the only day of the year for doing so!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha I don’t miss the beaches in the uk. Do you wear a stringed singlet and handkerchief hat thing at the beach? Ok I’ve had my coffees but I’ve also had a few (8) beers hic… hic… so the perfect time to talk about experts and such. I think the big difference between mediocre and professional is practice. Of course there are skills involved but these can only be improved/honed by practice.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha cheeky git I’m not that old! Were the beers for breakfast or am I out of sink with time zones! To be fair the Cornish beaches where I’m typing this now are pretty good but I’d swap for oz at the drop of a hat. As for the modelling I agree completely, practicing good technique is the only way to improve.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Haha
    I’ve never been to a Cornish beach or seen the a bite cliffs Dova. There are plenty of lovely places in the UK but, I know I’m bias, Australia has it all hehe. I think I was drinking beer in the evening but who knows. My brother in law tells a story about him riding to school in the morning (13 years old) and swigging beer on his way ahaha.

    Liked by 1 person

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