Well, now that phenomenon seems to have caught one of mine. I went through the models in my collection (787 models as of now) to swap the ones being displayed for ones being in the cupboard in their boxes.
When i got to the BigBird 500 747 G-CIVB (Chelsea Rose) BigBird 1:500 British Airways B 747-436 - Wings900 ID# 3701
I noticed some very distinctive cracks in the paint. See4 the pictures for yourselves. It's the only model in my collection being affected by this. My other 13 BigBird Models and also all the Aeroclassic ones do not show any signs of problems.
I bought that Chelsea Rose in January 2004. It was fine then and it also was fine at the end of 2005, when i put it into the box for storage. It had the same environmental conditions as all the other models (19-26°C and 30 to 65% of humidity, as you would expect in an appartment).
So these cracks have formed as the material seems to be expanding locally around the center of the fuselage in the upper left side. The wings are not affected at all. At least not yet
I think this is quite an early stage of the process. I'll see if it develops or if it kind of stays that way. If it does, i can just have it showing its right side towards the observer, so the main cracks won't be visible.
I thought about trying to replace it with an identical model, but since the Inflight500 BA Asia Chelsea Rose is available i'll go for that one.