Wednesday 28 July 2021

The Airfix Olympics

I understand there is another competition underway in Japan but the real struggle took place last night on our regular wargaming Zoom call.  We were meant to be playing a Spanish Civil War game run by Simon but his village had been hit with a power outage, taking his internet with it!  Hopefully we'll be able to do the game this evening.

After a chat about various other things I offered those gathered a brief quiz, it's subject being some of the old aircraft models I have been refurbishing of late.  The kits in question - all Airfix 1/72 were as follows:

Boomerang, Ju-87B, YAK-9D, Il-2 Sturmovik, Mitsubishi Dinah, Helldiver, B-25 Mitchell.

If you want to try this yourself here are the questions.  No looking up the internet or old catalogues now!  Let me know your scores in a comment.  I may award a prize if I believe you!

Question 1.  The oldest of these kits is the Ju-87, originally released in 1957.  Rank the others in order of release year.

Question 2. Three of the kits are in Series 1.  Which three? 

Question 3.  Which of the kits are in Series 2?

Question 4.  Which series was the B-25 Mitchell?

Question 5.  I chucked a very tatty Airfix B-29 Superfortress in the bin.  Which series was this kit?

Question 6.  In the catalogue pictured above (price 2 Shillings!) only one 1/72 aircraft was in a higher series than the B-29.  Name the aircraft.

At this point we added up the scores and I added a tiebreaker.

Question 7.  Name this kit (1 point) and the series it was in (1 point).


1. Ju-87 1957, YAK 1963, Il-2 1964, Boomerang Dinah B-25 1965 (these three can be in any order), Helldiver 1968 (1 point each - max 6 points)

2. Boomerang, Stuka, YAK (1 point each - max 3 points)

3. Il-2, Dinah, Helldiver (1 point each - max 3 points)

4. Series 4 (2 points for correct answer)

5. Series 7 (2 points for correct answer)

6. C-130 Hercules - a Series 8 kit! (2 points)

7. F-4 Phantom (1 point) Series 3 (1 point)

The scores of my players were:  Graham (who denied all knowledge of the subject) 5; Tim C 6; John 10; leaving Martin and Jerry in joint first place with 11.  

The surprise here was Jerry whose aircraft recognition is generally limited to "Spitfire" or "not Spitfire" but like most gentlemen of a certain age he misspent many hours of his youth thumbing though old Airfix catalogues.  

He says this was mostly for the railway kits - shades of Kenneth Horne claiming he only read Nudist Monthly for the gardening pages...

UPDATE:  Jeffers claimed he got 14 points while John B, the donor of most of this stuff claimed 13. 

Calls for a full enquiry and drug testing I think…

Tuesday 27 July 2021

IL-2 Sturmovik rescue - part 1

So you thought the Stuka was in a bad way?  This Sturmovik appeared to have been painted using poster paint - much of which was flaking off.  Having decided to save it I decided to encourage the rest of the paint to flake off.  While this was largely successful the resulting surface might have fallen below even 1941 Soviet quality control standards.  

Undaunted I carried on with two coats of white which more or less covered the wreckage, even if it does look like it's been applied by a drunken Soviet squaddie using a broom.

Monday 26 July 2021

Jaded Junkers rescue - part 2

 Here’s the finished Stuka, resplendent in Romanian markings cobbled together from the decal box.  I like to think this explains the dodgy paintwork - after all the Reich was hardly renowned for sending its best stuff to dubious foreigners!  

Sunday 25 July 2021

Jaded Junkers rescue - part 1

The roughest of the recent aircraft rescues was this Ju-87.  It’s the old - very old - Airfix kit which was originally released in 1957!  This one needed various bits reattaching and the wing realigning  the latter was achieved, more or less, with a knife, glue, plastic scrap padding and brute force.  As you can see from the photo, it’s close enough.  

The packaging style of Series One kits in the early-mid 1970s. 
The original paintwork was very rough but I decided to paint over it, accepting the dodgy finish in the interests of a quick win and a pretty much free Stuka. I already have a couple in Luftwaffe markings so it’s off now to the decal box in search of inspiration. 

Monday 19 July 2021

Sdkfz 233 bodge

This was a lockdown project completed sometime last year. My starting point was a Solido Sdkfz 231 which had a broken gun barrel. As I have a couple more intact ‘231s I decided that a bodge was called for and remembering the possibilities of the old Airfix kit I opted for a short-barrelled 75mm. The gun and shield were cobbled together from plastic card and bits from the spares box. It’s intended to be representational and robust rather than accurate so I think those limited objectives have been met. 

Friday 16 July 2021

Hardly horrible Helldiver

 The first quick win from the bits box is this Helldiver.  It merely needed the canopies reattaching and painting, a new propeller hub from the spares box followed by a coat of varnish.  And yes, I know some of the decals are upside down but unlike most old decals they weren’t at all flaky and there was no removing them.  

Thursday 15 July 2021

Bassett’s Broken Bits Box

Another heart-warming tale of kindness now.  

Some months ago I was contacted by a good friend.  In accordance with the usual Megablitz and More witness protection programme let’s call him ‘John.’  He mentioned the discovery in a cupboard of a box of mostly broken and decidedly tatty old 1/72 aircraft models.  Should he, he asked, do the sensible thing and chuck them in the bin or would I like them?  Given that the price - free -  was in my preferred range, it was soon agreed that he would bring the box to the Conference of Wargamers.  Thus it was a couple of weeks ago that a large box of crumbling plastic took up residence in my car.  Last weekend I got round to an initial sort-out.  

Above: the winners. I’m currently working my way through this lot.  How many can you identify?  Most will be saved but some will undoubtedly go the way of….
….the losers. Photographed in my bin. And yes that is a B-29. And a Fw-189, He-219 etc. All desirable but really too far gone for recovery. 

Follow the thrilling tale of the survivors on these pages in weeks to come!

Monday 12 July 2021

Dodgy Dauntless


As my thoughts for future games drift towards the Pacific, a review of suitable aircraft uncovered this Airfix Dauntless.  Built by its previous owner to a good standard and finished in Free French markings, I decided to repaint it as a US machine. The decals are a bit of a lash-up cobbled together from what I had in the decal box but I’m rather pleased with the outcome. Coming soon to a remote Japanese-held island near you.