One of my favorite American professional wrestlers is Mick Foley, aka Cactus Jack, aka Mankind. In his first book “Have a Nice Day” he talked about wrestling being “fake”. In essence, it is fake, in that outcomes are predetermined, and they’re not actually out to harm each other. But the reality is jumping off of steel cages onto a table 15 feet below does take its toll on the body. The physical abuse is not fake. But I digress….
In describing that, he used a thought that I have tried to apply to my modeling. He talked about his goal was to get the audience to “suspend their disbelief”. Intuitively they know it’s all fake drama, made up storylines, etc. But the wrestlers job is to get them to look past that, if only for a moment, so the audience suspends their disbelief, and simply enjoys the show. (Assuming you’re a fan of professional wrestling, or, in my vernacular, “rasslin”.)
I think the same can apply to modeling. Generally, all modelers are in some way striving to make their work appear like the real thing. But making a 1/48 scale object (or whatever scale) appear to look exactly as the 1/1 object does from 48 feet away is difficult. So we use various techniques that invite the viewer to suspend their disbelief that what they are seeing is actually just a plastic toy. And just like wrestlers have different styles and approaches, so do modelers.
Is it realistic? Well, none of it is, really, in the very strictest sense. It’s all simply attempts at realism, based on how the creator sees things at the time, and how they want their audience to perceive the final result. One person may look at it and say “that’s not realistic at all”, while another looks and says “wow- that is awesome!”
I’ve always wondered what it would look like if you could go back in time, take a real 1/1 airplane, hit it with a shrink ray and size it down to 1/48 or 1/32 or whatever scale, and sit it on a table at a show. I am quite certain that some folks would love it, and others would not. (And if it were an AVG P-40B someone would certainly say “that underside color is completely wrong….)