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 Airfix (and other) Model Kits

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Triceratops
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PostSubject: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Sun 23 Sep 2012, 13:14

Back in the dim and distant past, building model planes, ships, tanks etc was one of the most popular hobbies amongst boys. They could be bought anywhere from the local shop and Woolworths to specialist model shops.



quite a few boxes there that I recognise.

The bigger model shops had the American brands, Aurora and Revell, as well as Airfix and Frog.The 1/72nd scale fighters used to be in a plastic bag,the Airfix ones anyway.

Did anyone else build them?

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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Sun 23 Sep 2012, 13:36

You bet!

Did you know that when Frog went out of business in the 70s their plastic moulds were bought at knock-down price by Novo, then still in the Soviet Union. One can still buy Novo kits in speciality model shops, though now in reality they too have become part of the Revell brand. However what you would never find in the Novo range were any Axis power aircraft - the Soviets wouldn't touch them. Revell took these from Frog, so now they're all reunited again (except for Frog's jet aircraft moulds of which many ended up with Hasegawa in Japan).

Frog designs were inferior to Airfix, at least so we always maintained, both in terms of craftsmanship and historical specificness of the finished aircraft's insignia. Besides, we thought they were French. Mind you, we thought Revell were French too.
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Sun 23 Sep 2012, 13:37

I wish to object, there's too much on this forum regarding things which I consider to be almost contemporary given that I remember them and owned and still own several. Worse than that even, my children own some. I'm feeling very, very old. Realising that one's own lifetime is now an object of study, not just with grandchildren asking about "the olden days" but by serious, grown up academic historians and archaeologists, is a chastening thought.

There's plenty of these kits still around Trike but I wonder whether the main market for them is children or adult nostalgics?


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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Sun 23 Sep 2012, 13:57

I didn't know about the moulds, Nordmann,thanks.

You're not old, Ferval. The "olden days" are anything pre Call of Duty.

That's a point, I don't know if I could build a kit nowadays, used to be able to bash out a Hurricane or a Stuka on a Sunday afternoon.
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Sun 23 Sep 2012, 14:09

They're still popular with boys of a certain age, at least where I'm living. But then, so are books.

I am chastened when I am talking to history students at university here and am told, for example, that their analysis of socio-economic British history begins with Thatcherite reform - post-war Labour reforms being considered "ancient" stuff only useful to know for reasons of establishing contrast. This might be to do with a Norwegian mindset that splits modern history into pre-oil and post-oil periods which more or less correspond with the stated changes in Britain.

I had a go at a Spitfire 1/72nd in the recent past and came a cropper when I got to applying the fiddly decals, what with concentration tremors and bad eyesight. Thank heavens I didn't opt to become a surgeon when younger! Fortunately a 9 year old was at hand to help me.
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Sun 23 Sep 2012, 14:14

My son used to love making these but since he has never been the most dexterous nor finicky person, the flipping glue got everywhere, little bits of sprue scattered like snowfall and decals ended up adhering to the most unlikely places.

Here's a modern kit, have a look at the health warning, another example of " How the hell did we manage to survive?".

http://www.airfix.com/airfix-products/gift-sets/large-starter-sets/a50098-eurofighter-typhoon-large-starter-set-a50098/
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Sun 23 Sep 2012, 14:22

What was never included in the health warning (fortunately for us) was the bit that said "When the polystyrene cement tube is empty do not under any circumstances hold it with a tweezers over the naked flame of a candle to see how long elapses before it explodes, filling the room immediately with a dense grey mustard gas the smell of which takes three days to disperse, despite the frantic waving of hands and towels in the air amidst hacking coughing while you hear the imminent approach of running parental feet!"

Nor did they ever warn us about stuffing old models with paraffin soaked tissue, hooking them to a fishing line suspended from a point on the roof highest above ground level and attached to a point somewhere in the garden, and then letting them slide down having first ignited them in order to simulate actual dogfight casualties. The blobs of melted plastic all over the backyard were a constant source of mystery to our mother (or so she let on - she was probably enjoying a sneaky view of proceedings from within the kitchen).
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Sun 23 Sep 2012, 14:30

Given that the aeroplanes are scale models they should create lift in the right conditions. Not so many years ago I had a small taxi business and ran multi seaters, and with the conversion for wheelchair access a window, though not a full windscreen above the driver. It became popular to top our Ariel’s with all manner of silly gizmos… I wanted something different… a spitfire, my favourite airplane of all time. So having like Trike bashed it out one Sunday afternoon, painted an bedecked in all its refinery I drilled a small hole at an angel through the bottom to the top and glued part of a biro as a bearing into the fuselage… the hardest bit was getting on the roof of me cab… it worked a treat… like a weather vane down on the windswept beaches of Poole harbour, but when under way, she rose majestically up the Ariel like a speedo. No matter how drunk, or aggressive the punters were, once pointed out to them they became like little children wondering how it worked… where I got it from, could I get them one, and a good job it was hard to reach else I would have lost it… a more calming effect on drunks you couldn’t find.

Incidentally… I’ve never come across the frog range, well I don’t think so anyway… but was that anything to do with the ‘Frog’ model aeroplane engine, the first of its kind… my old dad had a few bits and pieces of them kicking about in his shed for years… he always told me the designer was a pal of his and dad made the first few parts for him…
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Sun 23 Sep 2012, 14:31

£14.99p!!!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Sun 23 Sep 2012, 14:40

Frog also made actual flying models. They started that way. However Frog model engines might either have come from them (Charles Wilmot and Joe Mansour operating as IMA) or from Davies-Charlton Ltd, who also designed engines under the brand name.

Found out through trial and error that Keil Kraft designs with Frog engines were a brilliant combination. Still remember a mid-air collision between my brother's self-designed radio-controlled crate and a super-dooper American model being flown by a mate. The pieces were falling like confetti for around ten minutes. Both Frog engines survived (only things that did) and both were up and running again later that day in two different kits.
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Sun 23 Sep 2012, 15:14

I remember seeing Keil Kraft models, but it was a make I never used, always felt they were a bit too complicated with the balsa wood.

There are TV adverts running at the moment for a scale model of the Sovereign of the Seas,which comes in weekly parts together with a magazine. The whole process will take nearly 3 years and cost about £800.
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Sun 23 Sep 2012, 15:33

My brother and I saved up for a Jet-Ex motor once. That took nearly as long - the amount may as well have been £800!

Keil Kraft were classics and worth the effort. The first one we made was the Ajax which had an undercamber. Try cutting an undercamber out on each rib without splitting the balsa along the grain - if you can master that then you can build anything. The Ajax was rubber-powered. Too poor to afford a swanky electric windy-upper we took turns winding the prop with our index fingers up to the maximimun torque of the rubber (about 5,000 revs if it was lubricated right) before each flight. The transfer had to be done with military precision when we handed over - if the prop took off it would have your finger off in a jiffy!
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Sun 23 Sep 2012, 16:59

Jet-Ex motor… is that the cigar shaped jet engine that ran on a pill like thingy… gosh I’d forgotten about them. I made a bluebird like boat with one of those… went off like a rocket across the lake into the weeds and I never got it back.
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Sun 23 Sep 2012, 17:15

The very thing. Within about six months of having finally got it the only model shop in the country which stocked the fuel pills went out of business.

To put it bluntly, and one had to very careful what one said in an ultra-Catholic country, we had to give up the pills and go back to the rubbers.
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Sun 23 Sep 2012, 20:04

Sorry to go off topic again Trike, but as the girls are all getting legless in the bar totally unimpressed by our boys toys, have any of you old boys, or gents ever had or remember an odd little pressed tin boat that ‘popped’ around in the old tin bath. I don’t know the name of it, so please forgive while I do my best to describe it.

Mine was about a foot long, a good size for a small boy and made from old pre-used tin cans. It was in the form of an open motor launch. It had a rudder at the stern and either side a small copper tube ran from just under the waterline to a midships position where the tubes were bent at 90 degrees into the bottom of a 2 inch or so diameter chamber formed from two very thin plates of brass. The two plates together were just like two folds of paper… beneath this disc was a small receptacle for a tiny amount of meths. Amazed my father let me play with stuff like that unattended… once lit and almost instantly the boat would begin to move accompanied by a pop pop popping noise and you could clearly see the brass ‘diaphragm’ opening and closing… and the jet of water expelled from the diaphragm vented through one of the tubes in the rear… I’d never seen once since an I never found anyone that had. Until I mentioned it to a hippy character working for me, who seemed interested.

When he returned from one of the many pop festivals he went to, he burst into my office so excited with one of these little beauties wrapped up in a sheet of old newspaper, almost exactly as my father had given mine to me… he’d bought it for me to give to my son, now building boats in Peterhead.

Right… carry on playing with ya dolls girls… we got engineering toys to talk about.
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Sun 23 Sep 2012, 20:16

Actually Norm, I often went in here with my granddad and I was fascinated.



Then I lived (and do again) 200 yds from Queen's Park where there was, and still is, a very active model boat club and I sailed yachts and little clockwork boats there very happily, falling in regularly while trying to retrieve those that refused to come home.



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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Sun 23 Sep 2012, 20:26

Actually Capt. ferval ma’am… that doesn’t surprise me at all. Always thought of you as the kind of gal with a bit more substance…
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Mon 24 Sep 2012, 02:52

Good lord… isn’t it amazing what you can find on utube, the very boat I struggled to describe.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3OLhFx8KZY&feature=related

and how to make your own... go on, you know you want to.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-M9KUbxxfk&feature=related
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Mon 24 Sep 2012, 08:31

I had quite forgotten those boats. I had an uncle who made one for his sons to play with in the bath.

We were jealous - they had a bath!
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Mon 24 Sep 2012, 18:37

Don't remember those types of boats at all, Norman, they must have passed me by.

The Clyde Model Dockyard in the Argyle Arcade, now that brings back memories. They used to have the Mamud Steam Engines and lots of other stuff that our local shop didn't. The last model I bought in the CMD was of the triplane flown by Terry Thomas in Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines. I think it was one of the few shops that did the TMMitFM models.
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Mon 24 Sep 2012, 19:14

Ah now, Mammod Steam Engines...

I still have mine, a traction engine, that was given to me for Christmas in about 1972. I last fired it up about four years ago and it still worked a treat... and it fascinated the kids of some relations who we had staying and actually lured them away from their game-boys.

As part of my GCSE O-level metalwork we had to cut, machine, shape, solder, braze, heat-treat etc all the parts and construct an item from plans: the choice was a jeweller's vice, an oscillating steam engine, and something else, which I forget. To a man (boy) of course we all opted for the steam engine.

When built (and the O level successfully gained) the engine worked a treat, running perfectly on compressed bottled gas, compressed air via a foot-pump and reservoir - say a 10L plastic white spirit container, or of course best of all, on steam from the small boiler that my father had built years before just after the war as part of his coppersmithing apprenticeship.

When the season is a bit quieter here I think I'll get my little Mammod engine out again for a spin.

EDIT : Just a thought, but does the current equivalent GCSE course cover building from scratch a steam engine, or similar? My 1975 GCSE engine could never be built in a one-off exam, it took several months of work and in addition some parts had to be designed, and then built, by the student (such as the fly-wheel bearing and housing). This seems to be entirely in accord with the modern practice of evaluating the students work over a period of time. But in 1975 we did also have a 2 hour theory paper and a 3 hour practical exam too. To my mind, for a practical/vocational subject like metalwork that still seems quite a sensible method of evaluating students. Anyway it stood me in good stead when doing a BSc degree in Materials Science ... I could machine my own test pieces, and build my own test rig. And, if I have to, I can still weld ordinary steel, or solder copper pipe etc, adequately if not perfectly.
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Mon 24 Sep 2012, 20:19

They are still being made, Meles

http://www.mamodonline.co.uk/

your own one will probably still work.
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Mon 24 Sep 2012, 21:10

Cheers Trike, but it's no 'probably'.... my Mammod steam engine does still work after 40 years, .... at least it did only a few years ago.

I've just dug it out from it's hiding place in the cellar. It still looks pretty pukka to me.

I've also found an all wood kit to build a Napoleonic privateer cutter... it was a given to me a couple of years ago. It's the French cutter Le Renard . I've just looked at the instructions... hmmm .. not sure my manual dexterity or eye-sight is still up to the job.... but, now that I've found it I might give it a go. Over Christmas maybe.

But going back to your original post for several years, each Christmas, I got a big Airfix or Revell ship kit from my Aunt: the Santa Maria, the Golden Hind, the Wasa, the Revenge, the Soverieign of the Seas.

And then I guess I got to be too old. for such things...

That was until a few years ago when in a moment of folly I asked for that wooden kit of Le Renard for a Xmas pressie. So, just like old times, I might well have a go at building it next Christmas.

Yup it's true we boys never really grow up.


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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Mon 24 Sep 2012, 21:11

http://www.marcle.co.uk/catap9.html



Now that's what I call a model .....

http://www.papershipwright.co.uk/ has some intriguing examples, too.
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Wed 26 Sep 2012, 13:25

They weren't joking Gil, "more of a ship building experience"

That got me thinking about model ships used in films and I found this link, which might be of interest;
http://modelshipsinthecinema.com/

This is a corker, a 1/10th scale model of the Yamato, made for a film and now housed in its own museum at Kure;
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Wed 26 Sep 2012, 13:49

Wow!

Have you ever seen the naval battle in Peasholm Park in Scarborough using the boats with people inside operating them?



I saw this over 30 years ago and the story it seems has changed markedly. Then it was all U boats attacking a convoy and very much a WW 2 performance but now seems to be a generic enemy!


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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Wed 26 Sep 2012, 13:56

Brilliant Ferv. !!!!!!

T.
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Wed 26 Sep 2012, 14:22

I had to look this up and here's the details and history of the show. http://www.peasholmpark.com/content/view/9/9/

It's been running since around 1927. I wonder if the council employees who operate the ships get an active service payment?
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Fri 28 Sep 2012, 13:08

I'll post this link for no reason other than I like it;

http://www.wwiaviation.com/gallery.html
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Fri 28 Sep 2012, 14:40

This is a video of WW2 aviation art, pictures by Robert Taylor and Nick Trudjian amongst others;

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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Sat 29 Sep 2012, 18:42

I suppose this must be the ne plus ultra of model ships - at Jackie Fishers preferred 12" to the foot scale.



Oops! Lost the link http://hksw.org/Ting%20Yuen.htm
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Mon 01 Oct 2012, 14:42

That is incredible Gil.

Did find another 1:1 scale model, this one of an Aston Martin DB3 by the Evanta Motor Company in the Airfix style [it was due to be auctioned at the Goodwood Festival in September ]

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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Mon 01 Oct 2012, 14:58

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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Mon 01 Oct 2012, 15:04

Thanks Norman, I saw that programme and had forgotten about it.

T.
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Mon 01 Oct 2012, 16:06

Used to annoy my bro-in-law by calling his Reliant Scimitar a "Ford Airfix".
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Thu 06 Mar 2014, 15:03

This is brilliant;

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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Thu 06 Mar 2014, 16:23

Oh Trike ... that stirs up some memories and emotions. But it does rather put my own childhood layout in the attic - albeit a not inconsiderable L-shaped 15' x 10,' HO model railway - somewhat in the shade.

It's a bit embarassing to admit it...but I would really love to visit this layout!  Embarassed 

But how I wonder do they dust it? .... As I well recall from my own layout.... dust, spiders' webs and general grime were a constant problem and were all nigh impossible to clean away from all the delicate cardboard buildings, the dried-moss trees, and the teeny-tiny little plastic inhabitants.

But, oh dear, that clip did make come over all nostalgic.
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Thu 20 Mar 2014, 09:53

I was looking at Russia Today last night for their view on the Crimea, instead they were showing an article about the Grand Model of Russia in St Petersburg.

This is not the article itself, but an ordinary youtube;



the RT report did mention that to help keep the model dust free, the room it is exhibited in is slightly pressurised, whether this applies to the German model as well, I do not know.
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Thu 20 Mar 2014, 10:21

This Saturday and Sunday the annual London Festival of Railway Modelling takes place in the Alexandra Palace exhibition halls. Besides the layouts which are worth the admission price alone there are a host of other activities going on, including workshops and expert hints'n'tips sessions.

London Festival of Railway Modelling

I was there two years ago and enjoyed it immensely.
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Thu 20 Mar 2014, 11:20

And this was on the title page of Wikipedia today...

It's actually a photo of a real, full-size, 1:1 bit of Switzerland's railway system (it's the Brusio spiral viaduct) ... but doesn't it look just like a model railway layout ?



My own HO model railway (of 30 years ago) in places used to look exactly like this. Yet at the time, familiar only with the British Rail network, I worried because I thought all the tight curves and steep gradients of my system were highly unrealistic ... If only I'd known.

And it's funny how often reality sometimes surpasses one's imagination!


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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Thu 20 Mar 2014, 14:12

No need to go to furrin parts - Wales is far enough to see the Dduallt Spiral Deviation
http://www.bing.com/maps/?lvl=14&cp=52.9680767302145~-3.96696043619019&FORM=MMREDR

and click on bird's eye.
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Fri 21 Mar 2014, 08:59

This is a collection I would like to visit. The model ships at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich;


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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Fri 21 Mar 2014, 10:27




Trike, in the previous home of the Glasgow Transport Museum, the Clyde Room with its huge collection of ship models was a joy, even for casual visitors like myself, but now that it's all been moved into the new Riverside Museum (great building but too modern and family friendly displays for my taste) many are still there but, of the  smaller number on display, a proportion pass the visitor by on a conveyor belt like a maritime Generation Game. Oh look, there's the cuddly toy! Of the others, instead of being in walk round cases, they're mostly stuck to the wall and many too high to see properly. It's not quite as bizarre as the cars (real ones!) on shelves at ceiling height.



For those who are really interested though, it's not very well known that it's quite easy to arrange a personal and free visit to the Museums Resource Centre and see the reserve collection, up close and personal. http://www.modelboats.co.uk/news/article/the-glasgow-museums-resource-centre/14614
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Fri 21 Mar 2014, 14:15

Brilliant, Ferval, next time I'm in the vicinity I'll try and make a point of visiting the Museum. The shipyard models look terrific

1/48th scale model of the dreadnought HMS Colossus, must be over 11 feet in length!!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Mon 31 Mar 2014, 11:28

Getting back to basics:

The first ever Airfix kit - the Ferguson Tractor of 1948



This and many other interesting facts and images from David James' labour of love, his Collecting Airfix Kits site.
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Mon 31 Mar 2014, 13:08

@nordmann wrote:
Getting back to basics:


This and many other interesting facts and images from David James' labour of love, his Collecting Airfix Kits site.

Smashing site!!!!! Thanks.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Mon 31 Mar 2014, 14:28

Aagh! the little gelatine capsules of cement!!
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Tue 01 Apr 2014, 15:15

Yes, remember them? When re-using them after a while it was better to simply poke a hole in the side with a pin to get the stuff out than to even attempt to extract a graceful drop from the nozzle no matter how much one bayoneted it. The slightest extra pressure to encourage a new flow and the entire contents were liable to shoot across the room and hit someone in the eye (little brothers are magnets for that kind of thing).

I graduated at one point from Airfix to rubber-powered Keil Kraft planes - the hit from the cellulose dope was much more potent than the polystyrene cement had ever been. I needed the hard stuff!
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Tue 01 Apr 2014, 15:22

Actually, when I started to build trackside stuff for The Monsters' railway, I found MEK to have a similar effect ....   jocolor
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PostSubject: Re: Airfix (and other) Model Kits   Fri 04 Apr 2014, 06:50

I remember my brother making model planes.  Don't ask me what type though. Not the really complicated stuff. For girls and boys there were those paint by number things though I preferred to draw and paint freehand. Might not have been of Picasso's standard but mine own. And we did the puppet theatre out of cardboard box thing too.
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