Monday, 27 May 2013

A little improvement

While I was working on a Land Rover kit the other night I noticed that on the clear parts sprue there were strange little ball-shaped tags from the moulding process, and they looked useful somehow... then I looked at my Showa Diorama... and at the street light...

Originally the bulb was just the kit part painted white...

The new bulb is clear and instantly looks much more realistic.

I also decided to try and play about with a photo of the diorama and came up with this... it's not that great, but it killed ten minutes or so...

Friday, 3 May 2013

Airfix Modern Cars

In the 1960s and 70s Airfix of Britain produced a wide range of 1/32 cars of the type you could see on any street in the UK or Europe.  All featured a full chassis, interior detail, glazing and plastic tyres rather than rubber, as seen in all of the Arii kits.  Unlike the Arii kits, however, some Airfix kits were sold in an alternative packaging with parts to allow the car to run on a track, similar to Scalextric.  Indeed there are collectors out there who are happy to buy up classic kits and turn them into toys rather than detailed static models.
Some people are barbarians, haha...

Where was I?  Oh yes... this range of modern cars was supplemented by sports cars of the day, such as the Ford GT40 and the like, and the range ran in tandem with Airfix's classic cars, which were all pre-war.  They did produce one model that straddled the eras, Monty's Humber... this was a large open top saloon used by General (later Field Marshall) Montgommery during WW2.  I plan to get the reissued version, but that's another story.

The cars eventually left the range in the '80s, with only the classic cars making an appearance... however, in the late '90s they started to make a comeback.  The first reissues were the Aston Martin DB5, Jaguar E-Type, MGB and Triumph TR4.  These sporty cars were obvious choices as they are rightly seen as classics. Later the VW Beetle joined them.  Apart from the Beetle these kits are still available from Airfix.
In the early part of the century Airfix then released a classic cars set, containing the Ford Escort Mk1, Triumph Herald and the MGB.  The Escort and Herald are also on sale as I write.  There was another, limited set which again contained three cars, but this time one of the cars was the Vauxhall Viva HA, a rather boring square car, but highly common and popular during the '60s and '70s.  The Viva is currently not available.

When Airfix stopped producing these kits some of the moulds were sold on to a company called MRRC.  To my knowledge only the Mini was sold as a proper kit, the others being sold as motorised racing cars.  However, three of the saloons DID make a reappearance in the '80s: Cortina Mk1, Zodiac Mk3 and Capri Mk1... as street rods, the tooling reworked to add bulges and slots in the bodywork, forever ruling out their reissue as normal car kits.

While Arii has a huge range of reissued LS and Otaki kits under its banner, Airfix has only a relative few car kits in 1/32 on release, however some of these are new models, such as the Mini Cooper S, based on the BMW version rather than the classic Mini, as well as some World Rally Cars.  Like the original Airfix car kits they have plastic wheels rather than rubber tyres, a mistake as far as I'm concerned.

Finally, here is a listing of the Airfix Modern Cars produced in the '60s and '70s.  I haven't included the racing cars, or the Dune Buggy.

Aston Martin DB5  +
Austin Healey Sprite Mk1  +
Austin Maxi
Bond Bug 700E
Ford Capri Mk1
Ford Cortina Mk1  *
Ford Escort Mk1  +*
Ford Zodiac Mk3  *
Jaguar 420
Jaguar E-Type  +
Maserati Indy
Mercedes 280SL
MG1100 Saloon
MGB  +
Morris Marina
Morris Mini Minor/Austin Seven  *
Renault Dauphine
Sunbeam Rapier
Triumph Herald  +*
Triumph TR4A  +
Vauxhall Victor 2000 Eastate
Vauxhall Viva HA  *
Volkswagen 1200 Beetle  *

Those marked with * are ones I have.  Kits with + are currently available.

Back to modelling next time ^_^