When I wrote the first blog on this topic I concentrated on how to keep the paint finish on ones model in good condition. I was interested to read that the Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society (MNLPS) have a new regime for keeping their already spotless locomotive’s paint sparkling. They wash it down with warm water and a suitable car wax to remove the grit and grime and avoid using dirty oily rags like the plague. A method I would wholeheartedly endorse.
Modellers strive hard for the perfect, blemish free finish on their models. Mirror smooth metal work and paintwork gleaming brightly. Museum models are precise and pristine. Prize winning models at exhibitions are flawless.
For the day to day work horses reality is different so why if we are modelling one of these do we spend time producing an unrealistic finish?
My restored model of the the steam yacht ‘Elizabeth Morag’ came in for some ribbing over the planish marks on the copper hull; “You should have filled it with Isopon and rubbed it smooth.” Show me a plated and riveted hull which is smooth. Even a welded hull has ripples across it which can be seen clearly in certain lighting conditions. The only truly smooth hull I can think of is on the Royal Yacht ‘Britannia’ and John Brown spent a lot of effort achieving that finish.
William Mowll in his book HMS Warrior 1860 makes the point on page 53 when he writes about ships planking. I would suggest his opening sentence ‘The question of decking on model ships and boats is a paradise for critics.’ He basically says in real life there is no such thing as a perfect deck so why put one on the model. This is applicable in many other areas.
I am not condoning sloppy or careless work, but unless you are modelling a Rolls Royce I am suggesting that a perfect, blemish free finish is unrealistic.
This last one illustrates a museum’s approach to preserving as much of the original as possible. Personally I think this is too much the other extreme and just shows neglect after it came out of use. The original manufacturers and owners of the engine would be appalled!