thanks a lot kat, and i will do as you suggest.
the blender material i've set up for testing does use 256x256 tiled detail maps for normals and diffuse, the main diffuse and its spec are 1024x1024 which both tile, so really the only unique texture is the main normals.
i tried to dl the xreal version of the q3 shader manual but it's a .pdf and all the index links in it appear to be dead, so it's a pain to try and find the relevent info i was looking for. do you remember if there is a multiply type blend mode for the idtech 3 shaders? as that is what i'm using in blender for the diffuse details. also can detail normals be scaled and tiled in those shaders?