Thursday, 10 December 2015

Website of the Week

It's been ages since I posted a WOTW feature but once in a while I stumble on a suitable site.

One such is  I have fond memories of discovering Matchbox kits - in the far off 1970s they made for an interesting contrast with the staple Airfix offerings.  Oddly enough Bertrand and I were reminiscing only a couple of weeks ago about some of the kits we had built.

Anyway, back to the website.  Here you will find loads of information about this surprisingly large and diverse range of kits.  All images are copyright

To whet your appetite, here are a few carefully chosen images together with my own awards.
Winner - Worst use of two colour plastic.  The Gnat was the first Matchbox kit I built.  It may have been a nicer kit than it's Airfix competitor (I wouldn't know) but here the two-colour plastic rather let it down.  Red and Orange Arrows anyone?
Winner - worst scenic base.  My first Matchbox AFV - and save for an appallingly built Airfix Lee some years earlier - my first tank kit.  The base was a bit of a let down. being just a bit of desert!
The only MB ship kit I ever built.  Well, sort of built.  Prepared for a game of the St. Nazaire raid, this poor thing was hacked about into a representation of HMS Campbeltown after the charges were detonated.
Winner - best scenic base.  Not least because if you and a friend each had one you could make a complete bridge!  And frankly a rather nicer kit than the older Airfix Sherman.
Winner - nicest AFV kit.  I know this debate could run and run, but for my money the Panther was head and shoulders (or should that be turret and hull?) above other tanks kits of the time.  It still builds into a nice model and remains my favourite Panther kit.
Winner - wierdest 'plane.  Another hard fought category as MB did produce some oddities (Siskin, He-115, Ju-188, Fury etc) but when I saw this in the late 80s - during an extended break from kit building - I just had to have it!  It will come as no surprise to regular readers that I opted to complete mine as the pug-ugly Hungarian version!  I wonder what became of it.


Fatman said...

First the two coluor planes all sucked though the Gnat sucked mightily.

Second the Pzr III base did have a western style Cow skull that was......jnteresting

Third didn't buying an Airfix HMS Campbeltown occur to you?!?


Paul Foster said...

Top class post Tim. The 17 Pounder,Morris tractor and Jeep base was epic!

Tim Gow said...

1. The Gnat was the only deeply inappropriate colour choice - the others were mostly OK. And it was a good incentive to paint the buggers!
2. Ah yes, the cow skull - it never felt quite right.
3. I already had the kit, and the Airfix Campbeltown was nowhere to be found at that time (early 1990s).

Tim Gow said...

Paul Foster
The 17pdr was certainly one of the more useful kits - albeit one which soaked up two week's defence budget in the '70s...

Counterpane said...

Got to disagree on the Panther as best kit. The lack of mudguards is a pain. I recently added some to a Matchbox Jagdpanther and it wasn't easy.

If we're talking best Matchbox tank I'd probably go for the Char B1 bis (though I do still use my two-Fireflies bridge with its removable centre section sculpted from Das Pronto).

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Take's me back... The pziii kit was a God send for impoverished youths with an interest in 20mm WW2 gaming! :-)

Conrad Kinch said...

I built so many of those Panzer IIIs.

Thanks for that Tim.

Prufrock said...

That is a pleasant walk down memory lane. The 8th Army and Afrika Corps sets were the first figures I owned, and I had the Priest, the Humber, the M16 Half Track and a Jagdpanther as well, IIRC. Thanks for the post and the link!

Martin Rapier said...

I also built a few of those Pz IIIs, two of them still exist in my Megablitz collection, as do a couple of the Panthers.

Archduke Piccolo said...

I always rather liked the Matchbox kits. But they did have a downside: their quality control sometimes let them down. Two that immediately spring to mind were the Firefly with PxIV tracks, and the Honey with no glacis plate. I never ever had that problem with Airfix.

Of the tank and vehicle kits, I built 3 Fireflies (kept the bridge sections), 3 PzIII L (lost the scenic bases - regret that), I think 3 Panthers, a couple of the SdKfz11+PaK40 kits, a couple of 17pr kits, an Allied AAMG halftrack, a couple of Jagdpanzer IVs, and one LRDG group. My own favourite Matchbox kit was (and is) the Jagdpanther - a most elegant AFV. I built three of those 40 years ago, and have acquired second hand at least two more, since. My second favourite Matchbox vehicle was the Honey (I have 3 though one has a cardboard glacis plate...). For me, military 'cuteness' goes a long way...

I bought only one Matchbox T34, for which I scratchbuilt an 85mm gun turret that I could swap for the 76mm gun turret it came with. All the rest of my T34s (I think I have about 14 kits) are Airfix. You just can't beat the buy! However, the SMG foot figure that came with the Matchbox vehicle is very useful, given his own base..

Of the aircraft, I never built many - a tank-busting Stuka, a Henschel 123 (because it was cute, and which might well find service in the Raesharn Imperial Airforce...) and a Henshel 126 (intended to be a recomn aircraft). I don't recall that I built any other aircraft. These days I go under-scale for my OO scale figures: they look more 'right' somehow, but I've no idea why.

I bought very few warships: a Narvic class destroyer and a minesweeper that I think were Matchbox. I also bought an Airfix Prinz Eugen and Ark Royal.

Tim Gow said...

My Panthers have never worried much about mud. The Char B is a great kit but it was the Panther which made an early and deep impression.

Tim Gow said...

Steve the wargamer
The Panzer III is a delightful kit - god only knows how many I have built and owned over the years.

Tim Gow said...

Conrad Kinch
A great kit!

Tim Gow said...

I completely forgot to mention the figures. Another post is required methinks!

Tim Gow said...

Martin Rapier
I've definitely struck a chord with this post!

Tim Gow said...

Archduke Piccolo
I don't recall any missing or wrong parts in MB kits. I fully support your comments on the Honey and Jagdpanther kits.

Fatman said...

Counterpane I believe I once spectacularly failed to defend that bridge, probably at Middlewood hall.