“Pet Peeves”

I just came back from Scalefest, an IPMS regional hobby show held in the Dallas, TX area. There were some truly excellent armor, ships, cars, dios and vignettes exhibited and competing there. Having said that, many of the armor models, whether they were “stand alone” or incorporated into a dio or vignette brought out two “pet peeves” of mine; these are:

  • Rubbing (or scrapes) versus chipping**: After 30 years of active duty in the US Army, I have seen a lot of vehicles in various theaters of operations (Vietnam, Germany, Korea, Caribbean / Panama, Central and South America, etc…). During this time, I don’t recall ever seeing an armored vehicle (whether ours or someone else’s) showing excessive “chipping” of the paint. Vehicles, whether they be wheeled or tracked don’t “chip”; they show “rubs or scrapes”…usually from passing through vegetation. If severe enough these rubs or scrapes go down to the next layer of paint ….or in some extreme cases, even down to the primer. Chipping (in my opinion) occurs almost exclusively in aircraft; rarely in ground combat vehicles.

Dark, REALLY dark, paint schemes on armored vehicles. These days it would seem that endless layers of washes, oil paint appliques, pigments, etc. are very much in vogue. The result (at least to me) is (almost) black vehicles whose normal paint schemes are some variety of green, brown, or yellow/sand….NOT black, no matter how much mud, sand, dirt, rubble, etc that they’ve been through. Apparently, this approach finds favor with many of the judges; I’m guessing that many of whom have never served on …… or seen …. an armored vehicle in a true “field environment”.

Thank you …… I feel much better now!!

Oh, and the above isn’t just “sour grapes” as I won both gold and bronze medals in (military) vignettes and dios….neither of which had any “black” armor vehicles or excessive or inappropriate amounts “chipping, rubbing, or scraping”…

Just sayin’…



Modeling is a lot like the old BurgerKing ad…have it your way. Seriously though it’s all very subjective and up for interpretation. That’s what is so great about this hobby…there is no right or wrong way.


That is true, and I appreciate a well built and painted model, regardless of the style used. That being said, my big pet peeve is the whole panel line pre-shading thing that has become such a big deal lately. Real vehicles just do not look like that!
There, I feel better now, so I will crawl back into my hole…


While I generally agree shading techniques are over done often. There is a time and place. This F-14 clearly shows worn paint in panel centers and darkened panel lines

I pre-shaded the panel lines on this Ki-84 (and perhaps biased) think it looks the part

Congrats on the medal wins!!


Damn. I missed it this year. Was off doing other things.
I agree with your comments though. Oiur gun trucks in Iraq bore not even a scratch, save for some divotds created by bullets.
Speaking of our gun trucks, I wouldn’t say it’s a pet peeve, but it does make me shake my head in wonder - rust where there should be none.


It all boils down to the artistic vs. realistic camps. The modeling gurus who publish all the materials, make the various items used for the appearances, and post the videos online to be followed tend to be of the artistic camp. Those that have been there/done that tend to be of the realistic camp.

Let us follow the words of General Yamashita and


The general would like to bridge the gap between our two cultures. He has a project in mind for that…


But an airplanes metal is different than a armored vehicles.

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I don’t like when someone says: out of the box, except for I added this or that…
It’s either stock or not…


I completely agree. I was addressing panel line shading in general. On armored vehicles it is often over done


Since I don’t have field experience I have to build from photo research so my models usually reflect what I’ve seen in pictures. There are a few modelers here that beleive in light weathering but I’ve seen, in photos mind you, equipment in SEA that were literally orange, so considering my project and it’s geographic location, III Corps RSVN, my models are weathered to suit the terrain. As far as chipping I’m learning that it depends on the service life of the vehicle, a jungle busting ACAV will generally have all it’s edges scraped down to bare metal with scrapes even gouges down the hull sides but an M548 that spends it’s time in rear area FSBs serviceing artillery is basically just filthy and battered.
My pet peeve is veteran modelers that expect all models of a certain AFV to look the same, I like to build my models with a degree of individual character, little details like the exhaust pipe on an M113 turned forward, or one tire on an M706 turned the wrong way (there was a reason this would be seen by the way) simple little notions that give the subject personality.
My models would never win any trophies in a competition, there’s too much wrong with them.

Cajun :crocodile:


My comments are mostly aimed at vehicles rather than airplanes, but US Navy/USMC are a special case. As part of corrosion control measures, they routinely paint the edges of panels that have been opened/removed or otherwise exposed to wear or damage to cover any bare metal that may have been exposed. In these cases the panel lines are actually painted on the real aircraft.


Interesting. Did not know that! Thanks for the knowledge gain!


The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn’t any other test. If the machine produces tranquility it’s right. If it disturbs you it’s wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed.
― Robert M. Pirsig, [Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values]

Another quote from him seems fitting:
We have artists with no scientific knowledge and scientists with no
artistic knowledge and both with no spiritual sense of gravity at all,
and the result is not just bad, it is ghastly.

And finally, with the all important model contest in mind:
That sounded right, and the more he thought about it the more right it sounded. Schools teach you to imitate. If you don’t imitate what the teacher wants you get a bad grade. Here, in college, it was more sophisticated, of course; you were supposed to imitate the teacher in such a way as to convince the teacher you were not imitating, but taking the essence of the instruction and going ahead with it on your own. That got you A’s. Originality on the other hand could get you anything – from A to F. The whole grading system cautioned against it.”

One of the two books that has guided my life.


:clap: :clap:
Build your model your way!

Now if you really want to get “artistic,” build one like this:



A little something for the ladies; the Russian version of ‘Girls Und Panzer’.


I agree! Love your kit!

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artistic & camp?



I completely agree with you on the panel shading. This seems to be an ‘in thing’ with aircraft modeling over the last couple of years. Especially with WW2 subjects. Make an aircraft who’s service life was measured in months look like it’s sat outside in the sun for 30 years. Yes outdoors museum exhibits look like that, but rarely in service aircraft. I think here we’re much more restrained and subtle resulting in some very nice finishes (and something I would like to replicate myself as a lot of my recent builds have been quite drab looking I think), but over on the Airfix Facebook page I’ve seen some nice builds ruined by this painting technique being overdone.
Two that spring to mind were an all yellow RAF Seaking. Black preshading under yellow, which appeared green, and uniform pale lemon yellow centres in every panel. These aircraft were kept pristine in service and never showed anything other than a bit of grime around doors and engine maintenance hatches.
The other was a Shackleton. Heavily weathered with exhaust, chipping and fading. One of the commenters mentioned he was a former Shackleton crewman and he mentioned that the aircraft would never have been allowed to get in this state, even providing photos of how it should have looked. Rather than take the constructive criticism onboard, the builder simply let loose with a tirade of abuse and called the guy a rivet counter.


Yes, playing in and around salt water is not kind to paint.