Stealth Graffiti


I have a reader of this column who mentioned that he goes to his local Home Depot store to buy spray cans of clear varnish for  various DIY projects. Being the person he is, he commented at the front counter that it was for ” stealth graffiti “… and only one clerk ever got it. Retail hardware is a grim country –  its citizens are serious and hardened to life…

I note, however, that our local Bunnings – the Australian equivalent of Home Depot – has decided to unlock the spray can cage lately. The shelves of spray can paints and varnishes were kept behind steel mesh with a padlock to prevent unauthorised vandals from taking the cans to deface local walls. I can’t say whether this has been successful, though the local graffiti has decreased, but I guess that Bunnings staff found it all too hard to go over there and unlock the cage every time some pensioner wanted enamel to refinish a kitchen chair. So they have fallen back to the cashier line – presumably scanning every person who crosses the sensor for either a stolen can of Dulux or an antisocial attitude.

I hope it is the former, as I have the latter and would be caught every time. Come to think of it , most of the people I know are the same. The only thing that stops us from tagging the local telephone booths is the fact that there ARE no local telephone booths and we all have access to computers. We can be antisocial on a global scale and need not go out on a cold night in a hoodie to do it.

Back at the cage, I purchased a can of wood stain combined with varnish. It promises to make things look like polished jarrah in three coats. I have just put on the first coat and am nervous. I think it is going to make things look like scrabby shit.

Stained scrabby shit, mind. The instructions mention 24 hours curing time and then a light sanding before the second coat. Okay. I’m game. But if the second coat looks as bad as the first coat there is going to be some bloody extensive sanding, followed by a coat of enamel put on with a brush, and the rest of the spray can used to explain my concerns on the front of the Bunnings store windows at 3:00 AM. I must practise my tag…



Civilisation, Captain, But Not As We Know It.


The recent foray to the Plastic Model Exhibition was enough fun to draw money out of my pocket…I bought a vial of tiny nuts and bolts and two diamond files…and it provided a pretty good view into the minds of some of the modellers. The ones that really intrigued me were the ones who had gone past the kits and the hobby shop and who had looked at real life.


The images illustrate this. The second part of the exhibition was given over to models in competition with each other – displayed for prizes. I cannot pretend that I understood the grading system or the categories they were placed in, but I was attracted to the civilian entries more than the military ones. These two vehicles in particular.


There weren’t the sheer numbers that you see at the Super Model Car Sunday  ( Though the SMCS chaps had brought their beach scene along as well to entertain the crowds in the commercial section ) but these chaps have really observed what cars on the street look like. The fact that they are rather dirty streets full of old cars is part of the charm. That’s exactly the sorts of streets we live in.


Unfortunately I wasn’t able to speak to the modellers who had completed these cars so I wasn’t able to find out how the detailed graffiti was put on the VW van. It looks too complex to be decals but too fine to be airbrush…unless the person doing it is absolute master of the instrument.


In the case of the plumbing van, the airbrushing is a little more obvious, but I like the motley effect of the replacement doors. I also applaud the modeller for making a choice to do a working vehicle – few of the models seen on the plastic shelf and darn few of the die-casts are actual working vehicles. I know I am always looking for 1:18 trucks and they are so far pretty scarce. I’ve located a 4WD that is useful and there’s a Chinese commercial van on the eBay but that is about it. I want a tray-top!