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Scale or Effect ?

Most Miniatures are, at least nominally, built to a particular scale.  There are exceptions but for most modellers a key objective is to recreate their chosen prototype object in a particular and constant scale.

Posing the question "scale or effect" sounds neutral enough  but I find it hard to develop or explore  the question in a neutral way.   For me, the question "how much should strict adherence to true scale be sacrificed in the interests of creating a pleasing effect" is a meaningful question.  But the converse, "should we compromise on effect in the interests of scale" , is harder to contemplate. 

Building to scale represents, for me, a clearly identifiable starting point from which divergence can be observed - regardless of whether that variation is considered to be desirable or not.  Yet I am conscious that I am displaying my own prejudices simply by posing the question in this way. Is this the difference between a mechanic and an artist; between left brain and right brain people?

There are clearly those for whom adherence to scale is a secondary consideration.  This view is pithily expressed in the interesting and useful site  www.newrailwaymodellers.co.uk  .  In their FAQ pages they answer the question "How important is scale?" with the view "Not at all. If you like the look of something that is over or under scaled, who am I to tell you it's wrong.  Do be aware that some people are very snobby when it comes to scale".   Which puts me firmly in my place.

Leaving the fantasy modeller aside, for they are a rare species for whom effect must be everything, it appeared to me that the best people to approach for a view on the importance of effect would be the producers of resin models for the giftware market. Many years ago I did write to the makers of the well known Lilliput Lane range. My recollection of their reply was that they considered effect above all. That scale did not really feature in their modelling. If I have misrepresented them I would of course be more than happy to publish their thoughts o the subject.

Your thoughts on all these issues are very welcome and will be added in due course to an updated copy of this article.

David, November 2019
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