If you build and fly just for the fun of it, using kits or plans, and have no intention of competing then documentation is probably unnecessary and that's fine. This group represents the vast majority of scale modellers. This is how I started. After a while I needed more stimulation and so I embarked on the competition circuit.
This is altogether a different story.
Why does one need good documentation?
There are 3 main reasons.
1. Information is needed to produce a realistic model to what ever degree is required.
2. If competing one needs to prove, in the static section of the competition, that your model is accurate and realistic in appearance.
3. To help the judges to sort out what points a model should get and maximise your score. If documentation is poorly presented, inadequate, or just not there for any particular static judging section your model will be marked down or not be marked at all.
A friend of mine has a saying he often uses and it is very relevant to us. "To trust is good but to check is better"
Photographs are, most of the time, reliable but check anyway. Drawings and 3-views must be considered suspect until proven otherwise. Take nothing for granted.
I always assemble my documentation before making the model. If you want to be competitive there is no point doing it the other way round. If you have drawings enlarged check the drawings carefully for distortion. A 1mm error on the original can be magnified to a shed-load.
The investigation and gathering of information for any particular aircraft has it's own reward and satisfaction and is well worth while.
If you are not sure about this aspect of competition I am sure that if you attend a comp' or meeting you will find the answers to your questions from the other competitors. We are a very friendly bunch despite the banter and sarcasm. You can also email me with an enquiry.
With today's technologies and the abundant amount of literature available there is little excuse for poor documents.
It is rarely the case that the minimum requirements are sufficient to get good marks for your model. The reverse is also the case and too much can be very confusing for the judges and lead to misunderstandings and hence the model does not gain the correct marks.
Ensure that your documentation is clear and precise. No dross, irrelevant text and pictures.
There are a few schools of thought about how to present documentation but this is how I, and many others, do it. The information I want to present, or copies of it, are temporarily put on a board BEFORE BUILDING THE MODEL. The model is then built to the documentation. When the model is finished the original documentation is adhered to a black cardboard sheet, that is easily viewed and handled, in the most logical pattern as is possible. i.e. Side, front and plan views etc following the score sheet items.
Each scoring category can be presented on one sheet so that the judges are only studying the relevant information for that section.
Beware there is a minimum size for the 3-view drawings.
There is now a requirement to fill in a declaration sheet for competition. These can be obtained from
Static judging can be very frustrating for the judges if the correct documentation is not presented.
PLEASE READ THE RULES and ensure that you have at least the minimum requirements. Any less than this and you risk serious down marking.
Please don't blame the judges for short comings on your part. They have to abide by the rules too.
All the necessary information and rule books are available from the B.M.F.A. for a few pounds or free download from www.bmfa.org or go to http://scale.bmfa.org for all aspects of scale within the BMFA.
The rules are updated on an annual basis so please check for changes before the season starts.