Wednesday 14 June 2023

Airfix Nostalgia - Redux

Well, it seems I just can't get away from those old Airfix kits. My original Airfix nostalgia project was supposed to be all over in 2020, but it seems the itch still needs scratching. So this is a short post recording a couple of recent bits of kit building. 

The first kit was one of those 'Vintage Classics' that Airfix currently have an extensive range of. So you can buy one of the models you remember from your youth, with the old school artwork, but the decals and instructions will all be bang up to date. Personally I'd prefer to have a facsimile of the old style instructions, but you can't have everything. Quality of the kits is generally very good. 

I picked the DUKW kit for two reasons - I remembered having fun building it and playing with it from when I was about 10, and it was also a vehicle that my dad told me he had driven in the war. In particular, he drove one up the beach at Anzio in 1944 (whilst the beach was still under fire), serving in a machine-gun battalion of the Middlesex regiment. So there it was, on a shelf at my favourite model shop, the Cheltenham Model Centre. No brainer!

The second is a genuine late 60s kit of a Ju-87 Stuka. This was another kit I distinctly remember building, at a time when I didn't even bother to paint my models, just glueing them together and then impatiently waiting for the glue to dry so that I could fly them round the house. Sad old fool that I am, getting my hands on one of those old bagged kits was once again a real thrill. 

Back in the day, the model would have been put together in an hour at most, but a combination of other things to do and a desire to savour the full nostalgic experience meant making this particular Stuka took a couple of months of short spells of activity. One positive surprise was that the decals, over 50 years old, still functioned, and so all I needed to add was a tail swastika from a modern decal company. Such things weren't allowed back in the late 60s, at least if you wanted to sell your kits in Europe.

Maybe those decals neeeded a couple of extra coats of Microsol!

It seems this project is now open-ended. I have a genuine 50+ years-old boxed Me-110 kit waiting on the shelf, and my eldest son bought me a trio of 'Vintage Classics' for Christmas, so that will keep me going for a while. I find making up these old kits at my current slow pace to be so relaxing, and the nostalgia is great for promoting peaceful and pleasant reminiscences. Retirement is good!

'Til next time.


Norm said...

Enjoyed the DUKW. I had a couple, but they were those (not so good) ready made ones in softish plastic that came boxed. I think one of the successes of the modern 28mm plastic figure is that nostalgic thing that the Airfix generation have of opening a box and pulling a sprue, setting eyes on it for the first time - I’m sure it gives some sort of hit to the brain!

My first plane was home made from two bits of ordinary wood, just put into a cross and with a nail driven through where they met to secure them. I had been to Beatties model shop and they had a load of made up and painted plastic kits suspended from their ceiing on thin. Wire - suitable inspired, I went home and did what all boys of a certain generation did …. And made one from bits laying around.

My first proper kit was the Airfix spitfire (of course :-) )

Thanks for the nostalgic post that has made me smile.

Anonymous said...

Interesting to hear that the DUKW quality has held up well. I loved all those Airfix kits, but I was really disappointed to find that the quality and fit of one I tried not so long ago - the Universal carrier that comes with the 6pdr - was extremely poor; it put me right off. Maybe I should try something else!

Steve J. said...

I too hanker after making some kits now and then, but where to store/display them when finished? Maybe one day I'll be allowed a display case, which would be rather nice. I made up an old kit (Revell 1/144th?) some years ago and it was was rather poor compared to the Zvezda models, which are SO easy to put together it's untrue. But then maybe half the fun was struggling to get bits to fit?

One thing I would like to do is buy the Afrika Korps and 8th Army 1/72nd figures and make some conversions as per the Airfix magazines guides, which I bought purely for that nostalgia kick. However I'd need a magnifying lamp now and again, somewhere to display them once finished. Maybe one day...

As for my first kit, it was a Fokker Triplane that came in the plastic bag and moulded in red plastic. My Dad assembled it IIRC and added some colour on the wheels, engine cowling and propeller. Happy days!

Keith Flint said...

Airfix Bren Carrier? Yes, I remember it being a bit crappy when it first came out. Hard to fit together. The old Airfix Churchill is another one to avaoid, along with the Panther. I have a mild hankering to get hold of the much more recent Cromwell kit, one I've never built.

Sgt Steiner said...

Pouring through the annual Airfix catalogues was a pleasure with all the intoxicating artwork for planes, ships, tanks and the myriad of stuff they produced.
Getting the Pontoon Bridge set for Christmas one year is a cherished memory.
Fitting rubbery tracks onto tanks was always a pain as rather easy to bust an idler wheel off.