So, where are these mythical 'colour police'? They might wander, anorak clad and under cover, around the model shows but I've seldom seen anyone savage a model for colour inaccuracies online. Usually it is the opposite - "that look's great, here is mine" (some people simply have to hi-jack other peoples threads with pictures of their own models - it never seems to occur to them to start their own). I've witnessed and participated in plenty of arguments about colour, usually involving colour photos, and seen umpteen statements of the "I use xyz (paint) and it looks great" kind (a pattern emerges) but seldom if ever the stark statement "that colour is wrong". Maybe it is whispered elsewhere, in the far corners of the display halls, or in exchanges of poisonous emails bent on character assassination, but that is life rather than modelling.
Colour policemen on their way to check a model
There are plenty of wrong and unconvincing colours on models though and it would be easy to be rude about them but there's a big difference between thinking it and saying it. Well, what about constructive criticism? - help the guy out. The trouble with that, and I have seen it on a well known American modelling hyper-site, is that the helpful critic is not just spurned by the model owner but likely to receive a barrage of booing from those ever-vigilant flash mobs who gather to proclaim that modelling is meant to be fun (let's state the obvious) and any attempt to pursue historical accuracy "sucks the life out of modelling". Joyless Modelling Nazi - JMN - joins "colour police" and "rivet counter" in the lexicon of contrived resistance to the pursuit of excellence and historical veracity. No, sorry, don't buy it. In my humble opinion those who bring angst to the forums are the very ones who carp snarkily about "colour police", "rivet counters" and JMNs, an exercise in reassuring themselves that their own models are not so bad and that their difficulty in appreciating colour let alone applying it to a model doesn't matter because they once knew a crew chief, blah, blah, blah.
Rivet counters at work
They can be counted on to intervene in any serious attempt to discuss aircraft, whether it is about colour or the shape and size of an oil cooler with their "two cents worth", usually a combination of sly innuendo against those who make them feel inadequate and a desperate plea for reassurance that their own approach to modelling is mainstream. The "Paint It Any Colour You Like" Brigade are far more likely to push their way into any serious discussion than anyone who might be described as a 'colour policeman', badge or no stinking badge. Oh, how tired they are of those long-winded discussions about the minutiae of colour, how scornful of such attention to detail - walk on by then, no-one forces you to read through those long-winded discussions or to make them even longer by insisting on adding your own statements of the obvious. Here's news (not really), I'm interested in the minutiae, technology and pedantry of colour, ready and willing to discuss those with anyone, but absolutely relaxed about what colours people might choose to paint their own models. An interpretative art form is just that. One can seek to inform it without dogma and observe it without judgement. And one can walk on by when the subject under discussion is of no interest to you personally. There are those who agonise over the precise shade of paint and those who don't. All are welcome - let's leave identity group labelling and condemnations to politics.
The long-winded discussion about RLM 83 soon descended into fisticuffs
Well, yes, but this polemic is judgmental, I hear you say. Yes, but think of it as gently pushing back. If one attempts to do that on a forum the moderators will probably step in, their radar apparently more finely tuned to reciprocations than to the indirectly snarky interventions that provoke them. So, what exactly are the pejorative opposites of 'colour police', 'rivet counter' and 'JMN'? The absence of those antonyms speaks volumes about the true nature of judgmentalism in modelling.
"You really thought you could get away with that colour on a 109? Come quietly son, you're nicked!"
Image Credits: from 'The Complete History of Colour Policing' by I.M Joshing (1907)