David Neat’s Blog about model making… highly recommended reading

Finding David Neat’s blog was one of those great discoveries that one makes on the internet while looking for something else! I was trying to find a Canadian source of 2 mm brass rod, which I thought would be easy, when I came across a reference to “soldering fine brass rod”. That took me to David’s blog. He teaches model building for theatrical set design at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, so his blog is somewhat aimed at that topic, but much of his advice and many of his ideas can be applied to any kind of model making. Here is a link…


There is a wealth of information and instruction on this site. I was particularly interested in his modelling of upholstered furniture, which looks like it would be well worth a try on the Fiat seats, but that is just one of many really interesting things in this blog.

Another really valuable part of the site is his general comments on modelling. Here is an example… (This is quoted without permission, so I am hoping that David does not mind.)

The importance of details

One has to accept the fact that these smaller things often take much longer to achieve than the elements of main construction (at least in relation to their size). Although one would never have to say this to a practiced model-maker, it’s important to reassure beginners that these will ‘take as long as they take’ and that one shouldn’t feel they’re less important just because they seem like small details of the visual concept. In fact it’s usually quite the opposite!  For example in a theatre design concept the ‘details’ in terms of furniture style and small elements of decoration may constitute most of ‘the design’ if the budget is minimal or if a minimalist approach has been chosen.

I think that an excellent example of this would be the brass bolts and the reinforcing plates at the bottom corners of the radiator shell that I showed in my previous post. Although these are small, they are highly visible, even when the hood is closed, so these will be part of the first impression. As David Neat explains in his blog, things like this can give the person looking at the model an immediate feeling that there is lots of detail in all the rest of the model, even if that is not true! One of the great things about humans is that we see what we expect to see, even when there is very little to support those expectations.

Also, continuing with my example, as David said, “one has to accept the fact that these smaller things often take much longer to achieve than the elements of main construction”. (If you read his blog, you will see that by “main construction”, he means things like the walls of a model theatre set. In the case of the Fiat, I would liken this to assembly of the model as it comes out of the box, vs. any added of modified details.) Those little brass plates took far longer to make than I ever expected (but the second set went a lot faster). I was much happier with the second set, and I am very pleased with the overall effect. It now truly feels like time well spent.

What I am trying to say here is that one can pick out a few small details to add to the Pocher Fiat, and get a disproportionately large improvement in the entire finished model.


About Bill Dickie

Semi-retired, living on Thetis Island off the east coast of Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. Exploring, retro-fitting and creating the Pocher Fiat model. View all posts by Bill Dickie

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