Building something scale? PLEASE do this. - RCCanada - Canada Radio Controlled Hobby Forum
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Old 12-10-2010, 10:48 PM   #1
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Building something scale? PLEASE do this.

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A long time ago I built & flew model planes, starting with hand launch gliders, rubber powered gliders, free flight (competition style) gliders, and did a bit of control line flying. After building a house in a rural area I started chasing my free flight planes all around the countryside & decided R/C might be a "smart move" so I moved up. I built & learned to fly R/C but eventually homes were built where I flew, and little by little I moved on to other interests, one being still photography (I also tried video, but came back to still due to all the time needed for good editing). Now after a 30+ year break I'm getting back into the R/C hobby, and by spring I'll have a hanger full of planes ready to go, but I'll still be attending most of the local events without any form of plane because I want to photograph those moments in time, capture the memories, preserve history, or whatever you consider a good photo to be, BUT I (and all serious photographers) need your help.
PLEASE make your cockpit look realistic from a photo's point of view. In photography there's a rule for aircraft photos (real planes): DON'T use a high shutter speed that freezes the prop, because that means the engine isn't running (very bad in a real plane). Well in the R/C world MY rule is that I need to see a pilot (at minimum) or full cockpit so that the model (plane) looks real. An empty cockpit IMMEDIATELY kills a good photo of a plane in flight. A detailed cockpit is VERY nice in a static photo, but in the air a pilot is a necessity.

Who could question whether this is a model or the real thing?

And although the next photo is VERY unfair to use here it clearly shows my concern. This is a photo of a VERY ACCURATE scale model of a Vickers FB-5, scratch built by a very skilled & dedicated modeler, but because it a photo taken long before he finished it it lacks the pilot, gunner, gun & radial engine he has since built. It's one of the early test flights, and I feel very fortunate to have been invited to be there that day, but if you didn't know that it was a "work in progress" you'd really know it wasn't the real thing.

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Old 12-11-2010, 08:19 AM   #2
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Re: Building something scale? PLEASE do this.

Thanks for this lesson.

I've never really thought it was necessary to have a body in there (and I've been "critiqued" on that omission also).

From your comment and especially the pics, I've seen the error of my ways.
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Old 12-11-2010, 09:24 PM   #3
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Re: Building something scale? PLEASE do this.

I'm very happy to hear that. I think a big reason that it wasn't important years ago was because there weren't many photographers with both the skill & the equipment to get the shot, but that's really changed. Back in the day we had to manually focus and hope something would fit into the frame's DOF (the depth of field in focus at the settings we'd chosen to work with) but today there are a lot of people shooting decent DSLR's and with long zooms that have excellent auto focus capabilities. Once they learn how to pan with the action it's not that difficult to nail a good shot or 2 that's in perfect focus, and since most cameras today can shoot at 4 or more frames per second we're going to hold the button down even more. Photographers can be every bit as passionate about their hobby as you can, and take great pride in getting the perfect shot, even if it's just for their own personal viewing. Just imagine what these shots would have meant to me IF there was an empty cockpit. To date not one single person (except those who've seen it face to face) has realized it's a scale model.


Real aircraft, fixed wing & rotary don't fly by themselves unless they are drones, so the addition of a pilot into what would have otherwise been an empty cockpit really adds to the authenticity.
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:38 PM   #4
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Re: Building something scale? PLEASE do this.

I paint my windows and windshield (on a cabin type plane) grey so you can't see 'in' =)
I'll have to show that heli pic to my co-workers so they can see how uncool they look without a leather jacket when they fly!
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Old 12-13-2010, 02:00 PM   #5
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Thumbs up Re: Building something scale? PLEASE do this.

I agree cicopo, a scale model should have a pilot.

If you go to all that work to make the outside look scale then put at least a pilot head in it.

If not do what Thunder Chicken did.
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