This little Barclay is built from a DJH Beginners whitemetal kit. It was a Hornby magazine project that was nearly a complete disaster.
Not the build - that went very well. The reason this isn't the cheapest kit in the world is because a lot of R&D has gone into making it easy. Some cheaper kits achieve their price point by dumping lots of fettling on the modeller. Fine for me, bad for a beginner who hasn't earned their bodger stripes.
The problem cam when I painted it. As I recall, the deadline was looming (they always are) and I weathered the model in the spray booth. In my enthusiasm, I overdid it massively.
Tentatively, I attacked it with turps soaked cotton buds to see if I could remove the filth and try again. The result amazed me. As the paint cam off, it left what I considered one of my best weathering jobs. Dirty, but with the paint showing though.
At the time I was just relieved, but since then, the "dirt then cleaning" method has become standard for me. I usually add a bit more dirt afterwards to good effect.
Would I have developed the technique without things going wrong? Maybe. Martyn Welch covers it in The Art of Weathering, but there's nothing to beat actually trying something to prove to yourself that it works.
And I bet some people think mag writers get things right all the time!