|ModelArmour: A Beginner's Guide|
Rob Matthews offers a helping hand to new members!
Beginner’s guide to the site
It isn’t so long since I looked in at ModelArmour, liked what I saw, registered and hung around for a while. A little nervous about contributing to the forums...no specialist knowledge, no experience in the military and pretty much a background that consisted of some half-hearted aircraft modelling!
I began posting in the threads...no one chewed me up! In fact everyone was friendly and encouraging. I submitted my first 'Photo Feature' with great trepidation...and was greeted with the same. Now 2 years on I feel I’m a regular contributor. Having gained hugely from the advice and support of all the other site members, I now feel part of a vibrant and friendly community.
However...when you first join...it can be a bit confusing!
So here’s an attempt to provide a succinct and simple guide to using and being involved in this site.
If you have looked on from afar and haven’t joined yet...then consider it...please. It’s not difficult. The site's policy is to use your full real name as your Username. This is for the simple reason that people then cant hide behind ‘nommes de guerre’, which on other sites often seem to go hand in hand with 'flaming' or 'trolling behaviour' (aggressive and unsupportive criticism of other work or opinions, or malicious incitement to argue).
After you’ve joined, then consider posting in 'Introductions'. It’s the first topic under the 'Forums' tab on the main page. Tell the membership a little about yourself and what you’re interests are. It’s also a chance for us to welcome you and answer any immediate queries you have.
The Forum is where most of the business of chat, discussion, and information exchange takes place. The headings are self-explanatory and cover all the aspects of our hobby. To post you simply press the 'new Topic' button at the top of the page, make up a title, compose your post and when it’s done - press the 'submit' button. It really is that simple. You can always preview your piece first which allows you to see it before its 'published', and then press submit after you’ve edited it, or like me corrected all the grammar and spelling! It’s also rare for a thread to go unanswered.
It's common courtesy of course to be polite, and the atmosphere in the forum is always one of mutual support. If you offer criticism, please do so in a constructive way and remember that what can be said to someone in the flesh with a smile and a laugh may come out in cold print as sounding pretty harsh. Use the emoticons – they are there to convey sentiment, hopefully happy sentiment! You’ll find them to the left of the thread box and you use them just left click your mouse over the one you want to use.
Ian Shumsky’s thread explains how to use all the function boxes listed at the top of the thread box. Its essential reading! (Just click on the picture).
Each time you log onto the site and go to the forums – there is an option at the top right that invite you to 'View new posts'. This will list in order of posting all the threads that have been submitted since you last logged off. On the other side you could also use the 'View Active Topics' button, this shows all the latest posts on the site, and a small tic shows those posts you've not yet read.
Modelling can be a pretty lonely hobby especially if you don’t have ready access to a modelling club. The site offers you to show your work to a knowledgeable and interested crowd. That means taking pictures. Most modern cameras...even comparatively cheap ones especially with a Macro function...are up to the job.
Tripods are really essential and are very cheap. I use one bought for £12 from Amazon which is more than adequate. For a tutorial on actually taking the pictures I’ll hand you over to Jay Tillott: (Just click on the picture).
Don’t be shy – we are all on a journey – striving to improve. We all started somewhere. We like to see other people’s work. Modelling = producing models – so don’t be afraid to submit your work.
So you’ve got your pictures – now what?
Well over to Matt Parvis for his tutorial about preparing the pictures for entry to the site: (Just click on the picture).
Matt uses GIMP, I happen to use Fast Stone Photo Resizer 2.9 which is Freeware and easily downloadable.
I happen to feel Fast Stone is easier to use. The purpose of these programmes is to reduce your pictures in size down to manageable dimensions to upload them to the gallery. I’ll list how I do this
Upload pics from camera to photo software (Adobe Photoshop album in my case)
I make a new file for the particular subject in Windows Pictures say for example “Dinosaur tank”
I then create a second folder that I name “Dinosaur tank Edited”
I open Fast Stone Photo Resizer – choose the folder “Dinosaur tank” – set the size of picture to be resized to 800 x600 (the preferred size for Gallery uploaded pics) and then resize the pictures I want to upload to “Dinosaur tank Edited”
On the Model Armour site I then press the Gallery tab.
I press the “Upload photos” button and this present me with a column of “Choose File” buttons. Press this top button which allows you to open Windows Pictures and the file you want to draw from. In this instance “Dinosaur tank Edited” which contains your resized (800x600) pics.
Highlight the pic you want to upload and press “Open” on the windows screen box and this will populate the “Choose File” with a numbered xxxx.jpg
When you are ready to upload you press the Upload/Submit button at the bottom of the screen and hey presto your pic is now sitting in the gallery
You can now use these Gallery pictures to include in your threads or Blogs (Build Logs).
Here’s how I do this:
In a thread when I want to insert a picture I press the “Img” button from the function boxes at the top.
I then open Gallery in another window. I press “My photos” which brings up all my uploaded pics
I left click on my chosen picture which enlarges it
I right click over it – and left click over “Copy image URL”
I return to my thread and “Paste” between the [img] _[img] boxes
There’s your pic done!
The Blogs part of the Forum is by far the busiest and most popular. It’s a chance for you to detail and record a build, hopefully highlighting it stage by stage with photos. Modelling is all about building models. We like to see how it’s done. It’s a chance to assess a model and whether it’s worth getting. Its part review in that sense.
Everyone uses different techniques and part of learning is seeing how people approach and solve problems. I’m not sure it matters that much that the same model has been built previously – it’s likely that different modeller’s will bring to bear different techniques.
Some progress through to the final painting weathering and finishing stages, other’s not. Either way you’ll be encouraged by the positive comments and support you’ll get. This has certainly encouraged me to complete builds that I know in times past may well have been abandoned!
So you have completed your first Blog and now have a model that you feel you want to share with the site……
Now may be the time to consider submitting your model as a photo feature. That involves photographing the model and sending Vinnie Branigan the Editor no fewer than 12 pictures which unlike the pictures uploaded to the Gallery should be of the highest resolution possible. Check out the Features section to gauge what works in terms of settings and backgrounds. When you have your pictures ready Email them to:
I got a real buzz when my first model was accepted and the feedback has certainly helped me to improve since.
The site is also interested in photo walkarounds of vehicles from “real-life”, build articles, technique articles or indeed any written and relevant submission concerning modelling. I got a real buzz when my first model was accepted and the feedback has certainly helped me to improve since. The site is also interested in photo walkarounds of vehicles from “real-life”, build articles, technique articles or indeed any written and relevant submission concerning modelling.
Monthly Feature Competition
We are very lucky to have a monthly competition sponsored by Dragon Models.
Each month there are three recently released Dragon Models to be won...which for me is a real spur to enter something! At the end of each month, ALL the features from that month are voted upon by site members to se which they liked the most. Every registered user has a vote, and it’s your chance to vote on your favourite feature.
The vote appears under the 'General' tab on the forum. It helps to say why you liked a particular model, build or article. It's great fun and I know I get a kick being in the competition.
So here’s to you enjoying the site and most of all participating. It’s an inclusive site – we want to see you your work whether you’ve been modelling for 10 minutes or 10 years, we want to hear your views and opinions and we want you to vote monthly on your favourite published feature. It’s your site – make the most of it!