Monday, 29 November 2010

A history of Airfix HO/OO kits - part 3 - 1961

1961 saw the release of the first tank kits - the Panther, Sherman and Churchill.  The Panther has the dubious distinction of being one of the kits I have never built, as my first Panther was the far superior Matchbox kit.  I have, however, rebuilt several - see the relevant post at
These kits were originally on sale in bags with the folded instructions making the header card.
The Churchill is another kit I have no recollection of building, although again I have refurbished and converted a good few over the years.  I remember making a (now long deceased) conversion of an AVRE with Petard and fascine in the late '70s. 

Here is a bog-standard Churchill built straight from the box.  Or bag.
The final release in 1961 was the Sherman.  While this is showing it's age now it is still a good representation and is welcome on my wargames table anytime.  This completely standard Sherman is part of my Canadian 4th Armoured Division.
Like the Churchill, the Sherman kit is ripe with conversion potential - here we have Crab and DD variants which were part of a collection I bought about 12 years ago.  At a (much) more basic level, I remember using the Sherman kit to build an M-7 Priest and a Kangaroo back in the '70s.
Next time - 1962 and another 3 realeases.


Trebian said...

Never built the Panther or Churchill? What did you do with your childhood.

The Churchill was really fiddly to build because of the track and runner assembly. Each wheel had several parts to it. The Panther I don't recall being awkwardbut everyone must have built a JP from it.

Most of mine were the later soft plastic pre-built model.

The sherman tho' is a classic. Made Fireflies, a Jackson and a calliope version to get the advantage on my chums at the time.

Tim Gow said...

As I recall, I spent my childhood building Matchbox Panthers! I was warned about the Churchill suspension by friends - I found the Matilda bad enough. Can't go wrong with a Sherman.

Don M said...

Great report Tim, and YES! The Churchill was a pain in the butt!
I finally got a few meal ones of
the same scale to avoid a repeat of the experience...) The Sherman was an
easy build and made many a Kangaroo
out of them.

Tim Gow said...

Many years later (about 10 years ago now) I built the Matchbox Churchill (the AVRE) which has a much easier suspension arrangement!

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Oh I like the Airfix Sherman

It seems to say, don't expect too much of me on the table, but I'll try

Paul said...

Graet post Tim, the Airfix Churchill was and is a pig, I must build the 4 or 5 I have in the stash over Xmas, after building one I got nervy and hid them away.

Like you say the Panther is not too bad but more than a few suffered from Airfix Short Track Length Syndrome (ASTLSy).

But the Sherman still fills a gap no matter its few faults, still not to bad for being in it's 50th or so year. I think it will outlast the real thing!

Tim Gow said...

I think the Airfix Sherman may be greater then the sum of it's parts.
The Churchill is great despite it's parts!