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Dioramas
Do you love dioramas & vignettes? We sure do.
REVIEW
The Old Pier
CMOT
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Posted: Friday, August 23, 2013 - 08:42 AM UTC
Todd Michalak takes a look at the ''The Old Pier'' a resin vignette or a possible diorama element from Reality in Scale.

Link to Item

If you have comments or questions please post them here.

Thanks!
staff_Jim
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Posted: Friday, August 23, 2013 - 10:25 AM UTC
Nice review Todd. Thanks for doing this one. I also thought this was a nice niche set and certainly not something you are going to find everyday.
velotrain
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Posted: Friday, August 23, 2013 - 11:47 AM UTC
Reviewer Todd Michalak states that two of the four "main values" of Reality In Scale are completeness and reality. I'd have to say that this kit fails on both accounts, and for the same reasons.

Based on the parts supplied, after the modeler creates a water effect, the pier deck will be perhaps 1-2 scale feet above the water, which means that it is high tide, and an unusually high one at that. Since the pier is fastened to pilings, it clearly isn't of the floating variety, making its positioning all the more curious.

I also question the length of this pier section, and can't really imagine just what modelers will do with it. You certainly wouldn't slice a few inches out of a 1:35 ship (of the few available, mostly mini-subs) to have it moored alongside this very short segment, which leaves the possibility of the pier perpendicular to the front of a vignette with perhaps a rowboat tied up there. Then again, perhaps it was meant to stand alone? as what?

Jim mentions that this is "certainly not something you are going to find everyday", which is admittedly the case. However, any competent modeler should be capable of scratchbuilding a more realistic - and useful (i.e. complete), pier segment, using the real materials.
CMOT
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Posted: Friday, August 23, 2013 - 01:33 PM UTC
You have Piers like this on rivers which are not affected by tidal surge and is an ideal size for a rowing boat. I could even see this with kids fishing off of it in the American South and so i feel you are being a little unfair to Mike.
TRM5150
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Posted: Friday, August 23, 2013 - 02:57 PM UTC
Thank you Jim! This is a neat little piece! In one word, “Niche” pretty much sums it up.



Charles, thank you very much for the editorialized feedback on this piece. Opinions on any of the products being reviewed are always welcomed as to would be the retort to such opinions…

Yes I did summarize the four “values” that make up the self-declared philosophy of Reality In Scale. I am still a bit confused as to why the folks at Reality In Scale have fallen short on their goals in respect to this piece. All of the parts were in fact in the kit and the likeness to an old pier is in fact that of, well, an old pier. This would be my opinion now, but I would think that this was created with the vignette application and not necessarily the diorama. One could enjoy painting figures and just need a simple placement and not want to add full water effects, shipping lines and longshoreman.

The one thing I have learned from this hobby is to not be so presumptuous on how an individual will actually use anything in one of their projects. Who is to say this is not on a lake, pond or as Darren chimed in with, a river. The application is solely up to the individual building it not up to how someone else sees it. Not all builders wish to take the time to factor tidal surges, heights and lengths of docks or even whether seagull is indigenous to the location...they just build, and have FUN doing so.

As for scratch building, this is definitely a skillset of an experienced modeler but certainly not exclusive. I do not think though, that only a modeler that can scratch build is “competent”. There are some exceptionally talented modelers that do not scratch build and in the same respect, there is plenty of scratch building modelers that use resin as the medium of choice in creating their pieces. Something made from plastics or resins are not less the creation from ones made from wood and metals…just a different product used for the task at hand.

Finally, I DO NOT speak for Jim, but, I took from what he said as referring to something new and different, not absurd and fanciful; a nice little project for someone to put on their bench and have some FUN with. This hobby is about enjoying the craft of building models…i.e. FUN.
velotrain
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Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013 - 05:01 AM UTC
Guys – I get the feeling that I ruffled some feathers, so I thought I’d try to clarify some things.

First – although I quoted people, I only meant that as a point of reference for my comments, and was in no way attacking them.

Let me assure you that all of my derision is reserved for the product.

Despite the company name, this looks more like someone’s fantasy of a pier – someone on the order of Walt Disney or Thomas Kinkaid. Even the designer seemed to be uncertain over just what he was making. The multiple pilings lashed together indicate heavy-duty use, and the barrel and crate suggest that it’s actually used for loading cargo at some level. Then there’s that single bitt, as if large vessels might tie-up here. These are all belied by the miniscule size and low height. It it’s meant to be for tying up a rowboat or fishing off of, then make it look like that.

Darren – who is Mike? “and so i feel you are being a little unfair to Mike.”

I’m all in favor of fun, but in all seriousness [sic] can only consider this more caricature or kitsch than modeling.
CMOT
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Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013 - 06:42 AM UTC
I should have said Todd not mike.
TRM5150
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Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013 - 07:04 AM UTC
All good Charles...I didn't you were attacking me my friend!

I think, myself, it was a pretty big hit on a small chuck of novelty resin is all. I seen where you were coming from and even more so now as all of your points make for an excellent argument. I chose to look at the piece for what it was...a small accessory for someone to have some fun building. The market is loaded with items that really are not to spec...pretty much everything is not to scale if you start measuring the thickness of the plastic. Just trying to keep things in perspective in regards to a hobby that is suppose to be enjoyable!

I am OK with your honest approach, different view points, like I alluded to earlier, are welcome!!

As for the "Mike" thing...LOL!!! I have to guess it might have come from my last name...been called Mike for years as the last name got list first on things and a quick glance looked like Michael!!
velotrain
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Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013 - 08:14 PM UTC

Quoted Text



I think, myself, it was a pretty big hit on a small chuck of novelty resin is all.




Todd - I guess I was more bothered than I should have been over how confused it appeared about what it wanted to be when it grew up ;-)

It just seemed like a silly product, but there may well be an audience for it - I note they list it as a figure base.

Although resin and plastic can be made to "pass" as wood, I am convinced that nothing else can do as good a job as the real thing. Argument below - NOT my work:



I'm also likely biased by all the pathetic attempts I've seen to give resin "grain" to make it look like wood - such as this:



I clearly didn't know of the "Mike" history.

Charles
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Posted: Monday, August 26, 2013 - 08:07 AM UTC
Charles,

Somethings in the modelling industry do strike a cord with some folks easy enough ...myself included. Like I said, its all good brotha'!

I am a big fan of the wood scratch variety as I originally come from the wooden ship side of things. I just tend to be a "modelling whore" (if I can get away with using my own coining in reference to myself...LOL) and build just about any genre...usually at the drop of hat!! I learned early on to be able to use what ever I could lay my hands on...basically not nailed down, and in some case that too!! So the "natural approach is a nice way to go. But you know that there is a number of builders out there with out the knowledge and or the time to lay out a full blow scratch project and enjoy just building something, painting it and displaying it for themself.

Learning to manipulate the features on some rather less than accurate plastic and resin faux wooden items is something one need to work at...a couple scrapes and a snad here or there and anything can be made to look the part I think!



This deck was obviously of the plastic variety....a little love with the right paint and weathering fits the bill, especially for the scale I think.

I actally look at it as a challenge to try and make something plastic look like its not...don't always hit my mark but sure have fun trying.



I too have been known to dabble in the wooden side of things from time to time as it is partly what is called for but a lot of the time it is what seems to be the closets material I can lay my hands on.







As you can see, this one is not done and may not be...but the experience was worth the time to play around with! Helps open the mind to newer things.

If I could find the right figure for the little Old Pier Base I will give this a go....like I know I mentioned a number of time already...FUN! The challenge of making it come out decent enough to show at least here online is rewarding enough!

velotrain
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Posted: Monday, August 26, 2013 - 11:54 AM UTC
Todd - Great work on that screen door and facade - if only the BAR code was on the inside ;-) No doubt some judicious use of a sanding stick will take care of it.

I don't know what your original intent was, but would encourage you to complete it to whatever point would satisfy you. It looks like you didn't plan to add adjacent walls, but the ends could easily be covered by rampant weed growth - say Kudzu.

Regarding finishing styrene and resin:

Here's a ModelCeller crib done by a fellow named Andy Eaton - probably British. I wish he had distressed it a bit so it looked like it was used sometimes, but the finish on the steel parts is great and I love how he managed to keep all the paint where it belonged, so the NBW detail stands out from the wood. I haven't seen the kit (they seem to have more items out of production than in), but assume the hardware is cast in with the wood.



This is from an Atlanta-area fellow named Tom Yorke, who's had a long and varied career, from working in the Disney back shops, to having his own small companies - many of them. This is a ~1:24 model of a "scratched" (in the company shop) New Zealand logging "critter"; the frame is his resin casting, while the uprights are styrene. I'm surprised that the wood is generally so pristene looking, but he does a great job with the end-grain and is clearly a rust afficionado.



Lastly, another example of actual wood. I'd say it's the hardest to get a really old/used wood effect with the other materials. I wish the decking wasn't trimmed so evenly at the pier framing, and I don't see the expected joints in the decking, but the finish is first class. There's even some of the green that you expect on old wood structures in a damp environment - although I don't expect the water to be that shade of green.

I also wish the pilot house on the tug looked like it was fastened to the deck, instead of just sitting on top of it. What really bugs me (even more than fantasy piers ;-) is photos showing beautifully done structures, but with shadows under the walls because there's no foundation or attempt to integrate them into the landscape, so they just float over it. I can appreciate the desire to be able to remove a structure from the setting, but there must be some way to make it look like it really belongs there. One technique I've seen is to screw them down (using interior blocks) from underneath.



Charles
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Posted: Monday, August 26, 2013 - 10:13 PM UTC
Charles,

Thanks. As for the "code"...that last row and a half was the "unfished" part on the outside. One more course and I would be good to go!

Fine examples! Mr. Yorke's is an interesting piece for sure. I enjoy Chuck Doan and Marc Reusser's a lot. Their attention to detail and vision on their work is outstanding I think!

I think in respect to the first pic you posted, Andy's work, this is where individuals may differ on viewpoints on one's projects. Although I can most certainly appreciate the builders completed model and yes, the crib is made very well, the piece is lacking appeal...could be the subject matter, case, color or any combination thereof. Not a bad model to look at but it just does not have that "hook" I guess.

The last one I can see why you like the piece...this is done nicely and the water is a bit green but nice just the same. Takign a close look at the tug, that line appears to be a mop board which runs around the bottom eadge where the deckhouse and deck meet.



I figured I would toss this up too since we already derailed this entire thread a bit here. LOL!! I am just noticing MA location on you profile...are you planning on heading to ArmoCon (the show formally know as AMPS East)the end of next month? If so, I will have a table set up in the vendor room with a friend for the Modelers Social Club Forum, stop by and say hello!