Some of us recall a time when model kits came in all sorts of colors. They were burly blue, flaming red, military brown, aviation yellow, olive drab, navy blue gray, pale fish-belly ‘Nam gray and dark green and dark earth and TAN.

Then came the day when the first Japanese maker of kits decided that all that was crazy. I mean, you’re going to paint it anyway, right?

The came the first forum posts. There were just a few at first. A tiny trickle of clear water came in under the door. Nothing to panic over. A few observations from stuffy old Uncles about how gray was actually better. Sure it was. Stop yer cryin’, ya sissy! Kids like colors. Kids and little girlies. Men like us like GRAY. Or maybe GREY if you’re from England but remember what Archie Bunker said about England.

Then came the deluge. Everybody said that gray was the only way to go. Easier to paint. Then came the endless verbal diarrhea of complaints about this or that old kit, and how it was blue or bright green or something and that made it a BITCH to paint because reasons. “God help me! Momma, I know you can hear me in heaven and I hope to Hell (pardon my Dutch) you can do something about this HORRIBLE baby-blue plastic that is messing up my painting of this kit and causing my trans-sexuality to act up after the Army doctors told me to start wearing a suit again.”

Or something.

Well, I miss the colors. The gray is only gray because it’s better for the kit manufacturers and NOT for any other reason. With the same dull, dead gray plastic for everything, they don’t have to worry about that new guy pouring PB4Y1 blue into the bin for the B-24D. Color was a big problem for the people who actually make the kits, and getting rid of it was a good idea. For them.


But for me, it sucks. Color is a big part of our world. Color informs and enlightens and brings us change and leads to insight and transcendence. Gray leads to hanging yourself accidentally during a highly embarrassing sexual act. Gray is the color of death and horror and the end of everything. Colors– like blossoms in the Spring– lead us OUT of depression and into the airy highlands of Euphoria and that country that Euphoria is always at war with, Ecstasy. Color is good. It changes lives, provides comfort and happiness and is the only evidence we have of God’s mercy and goodness.

Color, my friends, is something that should reach out and slap you when you open the kit box. “Olive drab reporting for duty SIR!” when you open a P-39. Scrappy little guy. “Navy Blue Gray here!” drawls a voice doomed to die at Midway, sacrificed to Mars in return for a glorious victory over the people who would get their revenge with anime. “Hi, I’m YELLOW! How’s it hangin’?” Lisps the holiday-bound De Havilland short-hop airliner that’s bound for Jamaica and all that entails.

But you suck away the color and you get the door to the Iron Halls of Annuvin.

“Assume the position, slave. LIFT that airbrush! PRESHADE! PRESHADE! What’s wrong with you, slave? Can’t move fast enough to adopt the latest modeling retail marlarky? This WHIP will teach you a lesson!”


1 Reply to “Gray”

  1. Oh Yeah, Colors! I clearly remember the early Aurora kits — the Yellow Zero, Wine Red Me-109, Sky Blue Spitfire. The WWI Maroon dR.1, Deep dark green Albatross, Khaki Nie 11, Green Gotha…Colors you could get your eyeballs into..and yeah the lusciously Yellow Monogram T-28, The Black Revell Canberra. I once was privileged to see a flight of Canberras starting up using cartridge starters, wow, that made a lot of Smoke!

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