Calling all Airfix Modellers

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by biglouis, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. biglouis

    biglouis SC Veteran

    401
    Aug 4, 2013
    I couldn't work out where to post these pictures but as they deal with a social phenomenon amongst boys of a certain age, and probably a byegone era I decided this was the best thread. These are captures using my RX1 from an exhibition at the Royal Airforce Museum in Hendon, London about the company Airfix, its models and the art that was an integral part of the packaging.

    (BTW, I am incredibly impressed at how well the RX1 performed at ridiculously low light levels and consequently very high iso).

    In my youth (abut 40 years ago!) there were no computer games or other electronic wizardry and Airfix filled a gap for me and many other small boys who wanted to model the world and past events, especially the aircraft of the second world war.
    _DSC1287.

    Possibly the most popular air models were those of the legendary Spitfire. Airfix went to great lengths to authentically reproduce different versions to build as can be seen in these finished models.
    _DSC1268.

    My ambition as an 8 year old was to own and build an Avro Lancaster - a very difficult and large kit. When I finally saved enough money to purchase the kit my father helped me to build and paint it in its brown and green camouflage on top and black underneath.
    _DSC1264.

    Airfix also produced packets of small soldiers of every era and description. At some point I owned most of these, including the civilians! I especially collected the first world war series when they started (not shown).
    _DSC1267.

    From small beginning Airfix grew into a respectable sized company which aimed to meet the needs of serious modellers. Their subjects included historical figures to assemble. This one is of Charles I, the King who lost his head after the English Civil War.
    _DSC1270.

    AS well as historical events Airfix also kept up with current ones and produced a great series of models to assemble around the progress of the 'moon race' in the 1960s. I also purchased and assembled both the 'Old Bill' bus which I recall being a spectacular model as well as all the 'space' models, including the Lunar Excursion Module, seen here.
    _DSC1279.

    An integral part of the packaging was the box art which became not only sophisticated but worthy of exhibiting in its own right. Roy Cross was a regular artist for Airfix and this is a fine example of his work for the Tank MkI kit.
    _DSC1284.
     
  2. nippa

    nippa SC Top Veteran

    561
    Aug 7, 2010
    Cheshire UK
    Dennis
    Airfix ,Frog and Revell ..aahhh hours of fun making those kits up only to have my mother dust them and bits break off.

    Judging by the crowds around the Model Shops near to us , it's still a popular pastime.
     
  3. Richard

    Richard SC Top Veteran

    564
    Feb 1, 2013
    Marlow, UK
    This takes me back.

    I built many Airfix models in my childhood, but I was always torn between the classic World War II aircraft seen above, and contemporary military aircraft of the 1970s. Like most boys of my age I suspended the finished models on thread in my bedroom, and arranged them artfully into formations and dogfighting groups. But because of the mix of eras, I had a B17 Flying Fortress with P38 Lightning and P51 Mustang escort (with Messerschmitt Bf109 sneaking up behind) on one side of the room, while a few feet away an F14 Tomcat was giving a MiG21 a hard time, while a Panavia Tornado looked on.

    That Flying Fortress was the pinnacle of my model making period, because at 1:72 scale it was an expensive purchase and pretty tricky to build. It had at least four gun turrets arranged along its centre line, all of which were supposed to rotate freely one you'd stuck the two halves of the fuselage together. I think one of my turrets was affected by a stray bit of polystyrene cement and wouldn't move but the others were OK. The undercarriage lowered and retracted too.

    I haven't been to the Hendon museum for years, but it was a regular haunt when I was young. Also, I can recommend the Imperial War Museum in Duxford for an interesting day out.

    -R
     
  4. biglouis

    biglouis SC Veteran

    401
    Aug 4, 2013
    Richard, well worth a visit. It has expanded somewhat but in any case, where else in the world can you walk around an Avro Lancaster and an Avro Vulcan in the same hanger?

    LouisB
     
  5. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group

    Jul 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Barrie
    Good to hear that there were others with a misspent youth like mine :smile:

    Barrie
     
  6. Richard

    Richard SC Top Veteran

    564
    Feb 1, 2013
    Marlow, UK
    I was more taken by the American Air Museum at Duxford. I made Airfix models of many of the exhibits there (B-25 Mitchell, B-17 Flying Fortress, F-4 Phantom, F-15 Eagle, P-51 Mustang, F-111 - I made all of those) and there are many more to see.

    The star exhibit for me was the SR-71 Blackbird, the only example on display outside of the USA. The actual aircraft on show is the CURRENT holder of a couple of air speed / altitude records, set in the 1970s. Now there's a plane to excite small boys of all ages!

    -R
     
  7. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Ah, Airfix... a formative youth spent with my fingers stuck together - oo-er :biggrin:

    I made many of the kits shown above (I was a member of the Airfix Modeller's Club :rolleyes: ) The naval warships were a particular "delight" - all those fiddly bits. I also had "Minitanks" - amazingly detailed (albeit variable in scale) tanks and other military vehicles. The peak of my modelling was either the 4 1/2 Litre Bentley by Airfix (horrendously complex) or the monster 1/72nd scale B52 by Monogram. This was so big (26" long with a 30" wingspan) that it had to "bank" severely to get through a doorway... I remember the hours of bomb-gluing and painting like it was yesterday (cue black and white flashback...)
     
  8. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    I was never into models of war planes (maybe I was the wrong age to be nostalgic about world war II). Anyways, I saved up my money to buy a model of a '56 corvette. I spent 3 days, got nothing accomplished and a lifelong pattern of quitting things that I was no good at was put into motion.....and yet I still keep at photography......LOL.

    Cool photos... I especially love the box art.
     
  9. Richard

    Richard SC Top Veteran

    564
    Feb 1, 2013
    Marlow, UK
    I'm impressed - I don't remember that one but it sounds enormous. A friend of mine built a 1:48 scale (I think) Hercules, which was a complete nuisance from start to finish. It cost a fortune to paint - I think he gave up on the little tins of Humbrol enamel paint and tried oil paint instead, but that never dried properly and may even have partially dissolved the plastic of the kit. Then he hung it from the ceiling and found that because of its size and weight, the traditional bead of cement around the two halves of the fuselage just wasn't enough to hold it together, so it would occasionally rip itself in two in the night. He still flinches when I mention it.

    Did anyone build the Airfix Saturn V rocket? I always fancied one of those but never got around to it. It was horribly expensive, as I recall.

    -R
     
  10. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Yes, I did. And the lunar module in Louis' photo. I was still finding bits of both in various boxes in the attic and under the stairs 25 years on...

    Sent from another Galaxy
     
  11. I know my brother was big into moddeling. He had his room chuck full.

    I dabbeled with a few, but could not sit still that long.