I was wondering the other day if adding antiskid or antislip to a kit is the next level of a modeler's progression in building better kits or an new thing we all feel we need to add just to make our kits presentable.
Some may argue that photoetch is the next step to make better models. And while I agree, PE is awesome and a great add to any kits it comes at a prices both literally and figuratively. PE sets can cost $15 to $20 for an average set up to $60 plus for some of the more detailed Voyager and Lion Roar kits. Also, it can be a bit overwhelming to some at first to have to grind, cut or remove parts of a kit they just purchased for $65 and then try to bend and place a small piece of metal and hope it works and doesn't pop off to feed the carpet monster. This is why I think adding antislip is a better "first" modification to modelers.
The reason for this is simple. Antislip is for the most part easy to apply, can be done in a variety of ways and it can be removed if needed without to much effort depending on the method. It also adds an instant upgrade that is low cost and has high visual impact that is noticeable to the modeler and the viewer. Antislip can be done with purchased specialty products from Mig or Tamiya, it can be done with various pastes and medium you get at your local craft store, it can be done with glue and sand, and it can be done with special cans of spray paint if you mask carefully that you can get at almost any hardware store. The variety of techniques you can use to produce the results makes it good place to start adding more detail to your kits. The variety allows you to pick which method you like and works best for your skill level and budget. Some may say you need to worry about the scale of the antislip but while I agree that different nations have different sizes and ways of applying antislip, I contend that any decent job that is within scale to what you are building will add to any model regardless of how it is "supposed" to look. Also, I know that antislip is a more modern addition to AFVs, I think same logic could apply to zimmerit on German armor from WWII or even adding cast texture to Allied armor. All these techniques add to the kit are easy for people to add without breaking the bank or their nerves.
Here are some links to applying antislip.
For your M1 Abrams fans using the texture paint. Includes a template: http://www.armorama.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=SquawkBox&file=index&req=viewtopic&topic_id=50656#424251
More methods: http://www.armorama.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=SquawkBox&file=index&req=viewtopic&topic_id=193219&page=1
Or a nice YouTube Video using Gesso medium: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mR1PZGFCqfw
Thank you for reading and see you around the sprue.