Let me tell you a story about me and the Revell 1/32 Ju88. A cautionary tale, if you will, but like the faerie tales of old, it does not have a happy ending. The kind of story that old crones in the Russian steppes tell their children huddled around a winter fire, to keep them in check and safe from the dangers that undoubtedly range afoot in that harsh and unforgiving land.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve seen this kit, but it is beautiful. I spent a long, long time on this aircraft, even making hand made little blackout curtains (?!) for the cockpit, for heaven sake. The camouflage was a rare four colour pattern (see below) that you can imagine, took a lot of masking, shading, and blending.
You know I’m prone to humour, but I don’t have any sense of hubris. If anything I can be quite self deprecating. But the work I did on the camo scheme on this bird was exquisite. Really.
I returned from work one day to find that my two youngest children (12 and 9 years old at the time) had an argument and knocked the model off my bench. The result was a broken irreparable undercarriage. Now, I’m a calm person. I chided said children, made them understand how much work had thus far gone into this airplane, and they were suitably guilt-ridden. I repaired what I could and made a lovely stand to pose the Zerstorer ‘in flight’, replete with beautiful self made ‘blur props’. If anything she now looked even better.
This is not the point of my story. No.
After all this, I was at last ready to coat her in matt varnish and she looked like an impossibly beautiful bride ready for her ultimate day of days. I debated on whether to make my own wash or go with the Humbrol ‘dark grey’ wash I had on the shelf. I went with the Humbrol. I gave the Ju a coat of wash and then set about tidying up the excess. At this point even my wife said, “why are you covering the plane in all that gunk? It looked lovely” (for my wife to use this adjective in connection with a tool of war is unheard of).
Anyway, you can tell where this is going. The ‘wash’ didn’t. Wash, I mean. The wash stuck. Stuck in a way that you’d be proud of if you were replicating sludge all over your prize T-34 that had fought to a standstill in the mud of Stalingrad.
There was nothing I could do. I tried various concoctions of thinners, water, alcohol (both applied to the model and to myself). Nothing worked.
I took this thing of beauty, this expression of countless hours of my time made manifest and real, and laid her gently in the bin. Well, after thoroughly crushing her to bits.
So, when you think of the bogey man, that monster in the dark, the Keyser Soze, that whispers in your ear when you are trying your hand at finessing camouflage, saying, “just slap that wash on, what’s the worst that could happen?” Just think, ‘David’s Ju88’ and take a piece of styrene, and experiment.
And then stick it in a post and share your learning with us all, lest anyone makes that horrible, fateful mistake.
1 additional image. Click to enlarge.