Spraybooth Logic
Confessions of a Thief
 
It was a Saturday, much like any other Saturday, except it was the second Saturday of the month.  This day was better known as ďmeeting dayĒ.  My nameís Dave and I am a modeler, but in my secret life, Iím a thief.
 
So Iím not a thief in the traditional sense.  I really donít steal stuff.  I steal ideas.  Ok, not ideas like Microsoft steals ideas, but ideas in the way of modeling.
 
I have a confession to make.  I have no original ideas with regards to modeling.  Thatís not to say that I donít have weird ideas, I build Japanese stuff for Peteís sake!  Enough said about that!
 
The thought process is pretty simple in becoming a thief was simple enough.  Iím not smart enough or skilled enough to make up a new technique.   I will never have a modeling technique named after me, nor do I really want it.  However, I am smart enough to see something I like and ask questions about how it was done and then drag it into my den of doom and make that idea my own.
 
Here are some recent examples.  From Frank Cuden I stole the idea of using a watercolor wash for panel lines.  How cool is it that you can put a wash on that if it doesnít turn out, you can wipe off completely.  You can also use it on engines.  Paint the engine overall bright aluminum and then simply do a very thick wash into the engine cylinders.  Voila, you have a really cool looking engine.  This also works for interiors to pick out the details.
 
From Steve Hustad I stole the oil paint dry brushing idea.  Really simple idea, mix up a light gray (or a dark gray in some cases or any other color that you might find appropriate) and take a big, cheap brush and get some paint on it.  Wipe most of the paint off on a paper towel and then go to town picking out the details.  The oils are workable for so long that you can shade and re-shade an area with several different colors and get some really cool effects.  Recently Iíve been working on a tank and this is an excellent method to give it a metal type of look on the overall body of the tank.
 
From Tom Norrbohm I stole most everything I know about natural metal finishes.  A little Old Silver and some highlights and you get a beautiful metal finish that people will ogle. 
 
Do you see what Iím getting at here?
 
While modeling is quite a solitary pursuit, we are not alone in this thing.   Daí boyz at your local club are always willing to help.  The people online at the various websites are full of opinions and different techniques that they have developed or honed.  There are books and magazines that are dedicated to improving your experience with the hobby.  What more do we, as modelers want?
 
Well, we do want the perfect kit, but weíve been in search of that for years.  We want better paints. Thatís why we have 300 bottles of the stuff of various shapes and sizes and mixtures and why we have more chemicals in our basements than DOW Chemical Corp.  We want validation, but that all depends on the techniques that we employ, the contest we go to and the judges that judge.  We want good references that are free, accurate and readily available.  In general we want the world!   How do we get all those things?  Well, you canít.  In most cases, they donít exist. 
 
So, for the most part we have to settle for stealing ideas from each other to improve our modeling.
 
Now is this to say that you must do things exactly the way someone else does?  Absolutely not.  There are things that Iíve tried that are successful for someone else, that have absolutely sucked for me.   For instance, I canít spray future and get it to lay down right.  Iíve tried it and at best had moderate success with it.  Iíve ruined a couple of models with it as well.  For me Pollyscale gloss works fantastic, so Iíve added it to my arsenal of things that I can do well and given up on Future.  I also canít stretch sprue, but thatís a story for another time.
 
Modeling is a constant learning process.  There is always someone out there that is better at something than you are, which means there is always someone you can learn from. 
 
My message for the month is simply this.  Donít let your skills stagnate.  Seek out people whose work you respect and ask questions.  Push yourself to try the new techniques that they pass on to you and make them your own.   Then pass on those techniques to someone else and let them steal them.  One of the most flattering things in modeling is having someone show a great model and say that they applied something you helped them with.
 
Now, go out and steal an idea and try it (sorry, shut up and build doesnít really end this one that well).
 
-Dave