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miguev

How strict should the scale in a model be?

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Hi there,

I'm starting to think I might be being too strict and would like to hear your opinions.

When building for fun, not for a competition with rules, how strict should one take the scale of a model?

More concretely, how much is it OK to deviate from the original proportions in terms of width?

I mean, how much is it acceptable to make a model proportionally wider than the original vehicle you're modeling?

Early one when I started my BMW R-12, I figured out the scale from blueprint to tires and totally gave up on the idea of keeping the same scale for width as for the other two dimensions. It may be possible to model it's frame keeping the same scale for width, but it seemed too damn hard to me and didn't even try. After that, building was lots of fun, despite several cycles of getting stuck and having to rip it apart.

I'm now building a relatively simple truck, which I understand should be easy since there'd be plenty of room to build, and I'm finding the width scale particularly problematic. It'd be a 1:16 model if a Volvo FH Globetrotter XL Cab L2H3 (tractor), something like this:

dsc0467q.jpg

The 1:16 scale is based on 62.4mm tires and it would lead to a width of 19 studs. With that constrain, the front axle is killing me.

I've spent this morning trying to rebuild the whole thing because I had inadvertently built it 21 studs wide, using parts 57515 (Steering Arm 6 x 2) around a 5x7 frame. This worked well but it'd make the front wheels protrude 1 or 1.5 studs from the bodywork.

IMG_20141005_150933.jpg

Reducing width by 2 studs with the same steeting arms didn't seems like a good idea, so I tried with the parts 15459 (Steering Arm 5 x 1) but I'm running into problems around where to place shock absorbers.

IMG_20141005_151205.jpgIMG_20141005_151245.jpg

After I while I started thinking: I'm building for fun, not for a competition, is it really worth all the additional difficulty and frustration?

I mean, one has to strike a balance when taking challenges for fun, and since we're expecting a second child I'm looking for a way to make LEGO a stress-reducing hobby, not the opposite 0:)

Edited by miguev

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Yep, the front axle is where it gets problematic for me as well if I want to strictly respect the scale. :D

I deviate, but not to the point where it gets obvious visually that the scale is off.

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I think all the additional difficulty and frustration as you say really takes away from your build and at the end of the day, you can't make it perfect. With time, you can always improve it and redesign it. I think you should continue building it how you can and not worry too much about increasing the overall size because you are completely right about this being a stress-reducing hobby and you should just have fun with it! I've unfortunately gone through the exact same thing you have and actually haven't finished certain projects due to wanting them to be perfect. This of course was realized at a much later date when I finally decided to just do it and the end result was amazing. I've since accepted that what I build with LEGO will never be perfect because there will always be room for improvement! Good luck with this project and continue having fun with it! Remember to update this topic with your progress. :laugh:

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What I'm currently doing with my hummer, is creating the front-axle first, and after that I figure out what scale its gonna be.

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That's a good way to start off, but for me tire size dictates scale. I've only got unimog, grand prix and custom tires for example.

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I think you will either enjoy the build process more by deviating from your scale, or have a higher satisfaction looking at a perfectly scaled finished model

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What I'm currently doing with my hummer, is creating the front-axle first, and after that I figure out what scale its gonna be.

treu words :)

front axle first together with panels check

then all the rest :P

proportions are everything !!!

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It has to be accurate to nearest 10cm. More than that is overkill.

(Might be trolling you) :classic:

If you are headed for second child, one thing you definitely need is less stress :wink:

I actually have the most respect for people who invent compelling models without following a prototype. That's kind of hard, and I've spent hours moving parts a few studs back and forth to try and get something looking like the real version...I didn't feel much sense of fun at the end though :sceptic:

I reckon (1) overall proportions - do they capture the essential look of your prototype (2) is the model fun to play with? I would happily compromise scale and proportions for playability.

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treu words :)

front axle first together with panels check

then all the rest :P

proportions are everything !!!

I agree, I usually have problems with the drive front axles in my cars, I always have to use the 8880 hubs to conquer less distance between wheels, I could use the normal ones but would be one stud more too much for me.

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Thanks all! I'll try have more fun and fewer concerns :)

Will sure post the MOC here once finished, it just might take a few years to complete :D

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As it is LEGO I think it is really difficult to get scale perfect every time. To me close enough is good enough.

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How close is close enough?

That's the topic question, after all.

Well that depends on what you are building, how much time, money and parts you have and what the end result you are trying to achieve is. I have seen and heard of people spending hours or days on trying to get something perfect, to me it is better to be close.

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Well that depends on what you are building, how much time, money and parts you have and what the end result you are trying to achieve is. I have seen and heard of people spending hours or days on trying to get something perfect, to me it is better to be close.

If it is something simple I shoot for close. If it is something exactly like the reference than my OCD kicks in. And what I'm working on now its big and the OCD kicks in when I work on it.

But as far strictness to scale it would go with a topic we had "form or function". And my OCD is trying to make me do both.

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How close is close enough?

That's the topic question, after all.

It's pretty hard to give an exact value. I think the ""best"" answer is that the model looks good if it's recognisable and looks convincing.

Some models are have simple details and their shape is the most characteristic thing. Obviously, for models like this, the proportions have to be perfect (dunno, half stud precision for a 14 stud wide vehicle?).

Other models have many details, some very characteristic details that fundamentally define the look (a grille, or headlight of some cars for example). In this case the you don't have to be so strict about the overall proportions, but you have to get the details right.

For me, functions, playability and looks are all important, but I usually give up functional things first. If I have to give up too many functions, I give up the whole project.

Edited by Lipko

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If you want to look at scale and proportions, then consider the Test Car, 8865. TLG didn't worry too much about the width between the wheels on that one. Instead they made sure that all features worked as they should. We should not get too hung up on exact scales. Despite the advancements in technic parts in recent days there are still limitations as to how narrow you can make a chassis and still get the front wheel drive and steering to operate.

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Interesting question. To me, it is impossible to objectively define the limits of a scaling compromise. I always aim for a realistic impression of my creations, and this is by definition a very subjective notion. Proportions of a model are obviously very important as they are imperative for a realistic look of that model. In my experience, if something seems a bit off with a model, but you can’t put your finger on why, in 90% of the cases, you will find that the proportions are incorrect.

Official Technic sets often suffer from incorrect proportions as well, I assume because TLG has a lower priority for proportions than I have and more requirements in the design process. This is one of my main motivations for MODs. It has been said that the legendary 8258, although very realistic, is actually too narrow for it height (I never checked) and one of the best MODs for the 8110 to improve its realism I have seen and executed, was to increase the body width with 2 studs.

I try to be as accurate as possible about the scale, but obviously by rounding the dimensions of the real machine to (in most cases) one stud will limit the options. A method I often use, is making a crude mock-up of the machine I want to build, designed around the most critical part and/or mechanism (a wheel or LA for example). I evaluate its proportions by photo-shopping a picture of this mock-up on top of an image of the real thing in the same position and comparing both. This trick makes the differences and areas of attention very obvious. It allows me to move, edit and scale the images until I have a layout that gives a compromise that I’m happy about.

To conclude: the level of compromise a builder is willing to make is very subjective and depends on many variables, not in the least part on the priority that builder gives to aesthetic realism.

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I try to be as accurate as possible about the scale, but obviously by rounding the dimensions of the real machine to (in most cases) one stud will limit the options. A method I often use, is making a crude mock-up of the machine I want to build, designed around the most critical part and/or mechanism (a wheel or LA for example). I evaluate its proportions by photo-shopping a picture of this mock-up on top of an image of the real thing in the same position and comparing both. This trick makes the differences and areas of attention very obvious. It allows me to move, edit and scale the images until I have a layout that gives a compromise that I’m happy about.

Great technique! You just answered the question that was forming in my head before, which is how to spot the most important details to model more carefully.

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