Staring down a few tons of aluminum, steel, electronics and explosives can be an invigorating experience. A few ounces of plastic, glue and paint on the other hand lacks the intimidation factor. However, with some simple lighting and the right camera work, it can be hard to distinguish it from the real deal.
I started photographing miniatures about five years ago with a little P-51 Mustang I bought online, pre built and painted. It took a few tries, but I turned it into a nice little picture over the english countryside. Something in me wanted to do more models and building, but I never seemed to have the time or the space to do it.
Once I had the space (dining room tables, entire floors) I started building with an eye towards photographing the results. Which would have been disappointing at first with the glue everywhere, paint peeling off, and decals falling away.
Eventually, I had a fleet of mostly complete, partially well done airplanes from various time periods. None were good enough to photograph the way that first one was, in the full light of day. However, they were not assembled as poorly as they had been painted, and made for an intimidating shape when viewed head on. Trouble is, when your subject is supposed to be 16 feet high, and is actually only five or six inches, perspective comes in.
However, as demonstrated by the SR-71 here, a smaller lens on a smaller camera lets you split that difference. This was done on my iPhone, held with the lens right above the surface. You get the ground filling in all the way to the lens, and it looks like you're still below a plane only sitting 2 inches off the ground.
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