Getting To WOW!
Takes Time, Dedication

Getting to Wow.

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 f/32.

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 obviously better.

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.

For Instance...

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