After almost 20 years it appears that the Swanny’s Model site, and along with it “The Complete Future” writeup, is dead. The site hasn’t been seen online since at least mid-August. The cultist beacon for Future worshippers has finally bit the dust.
This should’ve happened a decade ago. Matt Swan, the owner of the site, should’ve taken down the Future page and replaced it with a single line of text reading “Stop using Future. There are better alternatives”. At this point, any alternative is a better than using, what’s meant to be, a temporary acrylic floor finish.
Days of Future's Past
Future has been widely accepted for too long as a sort of universal solution to every modeling problem. There’s nothing the product (supposedly) can’t do. It can set you decals (wrong). Enhance and shine your canopies (yeah, but why?). Thin your paint (I wouldn’t). Gloss coat your model (results may vary – wildly).
It’s been so long and so widely accepted that I don’t think anyone really remembers why Future became the miracle fluid it is regarded as today.
The answer is simply that there were no other alternatives.
For those looking for an acceptable acrylic gloss clear back in the early 2000s the choices were between bad and worse. Some of the most widely available products were (and still are) universally maligned by modelers such as Vallejo, Model Masters, or Humbrols offering.
This void in the acrylic gloss varnish world forced modelers to do what they do best; experiment with everyday products found at local stores. In comes Future and immediately it performs better and more consistently than the dedicated modeling products. Through further experimentation it was discovered that Future (supposedly) could be used for a myriad of applications and it wasn’t long until it was venerated as wunderprodukt.
Moving Past Future
Future’s time on a modeler’s workbench has long since expired though. As far back as 2010, we started seeing a rush of new acrylic clear products that performed far better and consistently. Alclad introduced Auqa Gloss to the market, which arguably remains the best acrylic gloss clear you can buy. The next few years saw the rise of Mig Jimenez products as well as AK Interactive. Recently, the fantastic VMS products have been picking up steam.
As a community it seems we’ve finally started to wake up after 20-years of drinking the “Kool-Aid”. The flaws and inconsistencies in using Future are widely documented on any forum or Facebook group. It’s what you would expect from a product that’s expected to be stripped and reapplied every 8-12 months from vinyl and tile flooring.
We know canopies don’t need to be dipped to look good. The tried-and-true method of sanding, buffing, and polishing simply works better.
We know paints need to be thinned with actual thinner. Proprietary thinners from companies such as Tamiya, AK, or Mission Models simply work better. We even have a universal thinner from UMP that works very well with a lot of acrylic paint brands.
We know you don’t “set” decals with future. There’s Tamiya Decal Adhesive, Mr. Mark Setter, and the universally known Micro-Set. We also know that Future doesn’t soften decals either. For that there’s Tamiya Mark Fit Strong, AK Decal Solution, or even Walther’s Solvaset which has been around for seemingly a hundred years.
Leaving the Future Behind
There was a period of time when we used to put lead and asbestos into seemingly every product. It worked great, it was cheap, and it was widely available. Then we learned how stupid we were for doing so and how better alternatives existed, not to mention safer ones.
Future is the lead and asbestos of our modeling past. It might have filled a void at one point but there so many alternative products that can and will perform consistently better. If you still own a bottle, be sure to press “F” to pay your respects as you throw it in the garbage and move on.