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What level of historical truthfulness do you want for your models?

By Mario Covalski  

In the editorial of September 2007, I wrote about model detailing, focusing on how many details should be added to our models and my point of view on the topic. This time, I would like to call the attention of the patient readers of my editorials on another relevant issue within our hobby: the model's historical truthfulness or accuracy.


Whenever I write this kind of text, where I share my ideas, the image of the fresh and callow though enthusiastic new modeler comes to mind.
Only some time ago, I read a modeler's viewpoint who said something like this: "If you don't have any reference for the model you are building, follow the manufacturer's instructions." This is a simple concept but anyway, it is what many of us did for many years: we painted our models and detailed them just following the instructions and this made us happy.

History and modeling go hand in hand. Every model represents something that was real in the remote or recent past, and consequently, it is now a part of history. However, we should be reminded that the aim of modeling is not history itself: it is a hobby, and as such, one of those things in life meant be done for pleasure and for fun.
During all these years in modeling, I have seen both real historians at the moment of building models and modelers who would not care for history.

Possibly, as the modeler's ability increases, so will the modeler's concern for accuracy in a car body or a plane camouflage color or even the proper shape of a fuselage, etc.
It is all right if those who are interested in achieving perfection -should there be any such thing, research thoroughly to imitate with absolute accuracy the color of a plane that flew 60 years ago of which there are no reliable pictures, and sometimes, not even samples of the true colors in those times…

It is also true that there are researchers who take years of their life in order to determine a 50 year old armor or car's color with absolute accuracy. I certainly respect them. Anyway, I still believe that a simple modeler like you or I, need not be studious researchers if we are not willing to do so. I also believe that we can allow ourselves to behave according to the artists we are when giving our piece the look we feel they need to have.

As a modeler focused on civil vehicles, mainly Formula 1 cars, I refuse to accept that my models will be valid if only if I can afford a ticket to a F1 track and contrast my model with a real body shell and decide whether the color is historically correct or not with my eyes as the only measurement tool. I do believe that plastic modeling is more than just this shortsighted view of the matter… It is our spirit and soul that move the wheels of our interest in building a plastic model and as I always say and shall never get tired of repeating over and over again that the final aim is happiness, or at least a moment of it and not to match a color exactly.

This is my message for this month to the MS readers, mainly the newcomers to the hobby… let us enjoy building our plastic models… it is irrelevant how or what for.

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