Airfix classics ‘On Finals’

Airfix classics ‘On Finals’

The latest edition of Workbench sees the Airfix team making the final arrangements for their impending Scale ModelWorld attendance over the weekend of 11th and 12th November. We are all looking forward to meeting as many Workbench readers as possible over the weekend, so if you are making the annual Telford modelling pilgrimage, please do come and say hello to the team and don’t forget to let us have your views on our Workbench blog.

As we are heading towards one of the busiest periods of the year at Airfix, this 59th edition of our blog will be catching up on many of the projects we have been following over the past few months, several of which are finally approaching their much-anticipated release dates. We have an interesting feature looking at how modellers of all experience levels are regular builders of our starter set range of kits and how many will use their modelling spares box to deviate from the scheme options supplied with the kit to do something just that little bit different. We also feature some fantastic reader supplied Customer Images which have graced the Airfix website over the past few weeks and mark the start of the busy winter modelling season by announcing a fantastic competition, with a spectacular haul of Airfix goodies up for grabs. We start by re-visiting the new tooling announcement we made in the previous edition of Workbench and discuss how the modelling world already appears to have taken it to its heart.    


New Blenheim strikes a chord


Computer rendered 3D Blenheim images shown last week caused some excitement in the modelling world.


Amongst the most rewarding content we can bring you within any edition of Workbench, the announcement of a new tooling project is the culmination of many months of work by our development department, whilst also being a time of great excitement for the entire Airfix team. We know that our readers are really interested to receive these exclusive announcements, but we are clearly equally interested to see how well our new tooling projects are received by modellers in the days following the exclusive reveal. The new 1/48th scale Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF announcement made in the previous edition of Workbench seems to have caused quite a stir within the modelling community and we are pleased to report that we have been inundated with complementary messages from delighted modellers regarding this fantastic new model. Its seems that many people share our excitement regarding this spectacular new model and we are grateful for the many e-mails we have received from readers all over the world, who are very much looking forward to adding this larger scale Bristol Blenheim to their future build schedules.


Workbench readers are now familiar with the CAD screenshot images produced by the Airfix design team.


With the Blenheim occupying such a prominent position in the history of a modernising Royal Air Force, it is no wonder that the announcement of our new model was met with such overwhelming support and as this 1/48th scale beauty will be released during next year’s RAF centenary commemorations, it is already looking certain to be one of the modelling highlights of 2018. It has also not been lost on our readers that this will be the first time that a twin piston engined WWII subject has been covered in this larger scale and will utilise all the very latest design and development techniques that have met with such popular acclaim over recent years. As you may expect, many of the e-mails of support we received this week also included numerous suggestions for other new models you would like to see produced in the future. Whilst the Airfix team would clearly love to have unlimited development budget to bring you as many new model toolings as possible, commercial realities dictate that it may take some time to work through the many suggestions we received. What we certainly can say is that all these suggestions are both interesting and gratefully received by the team and we may well see a number of them announced as new tooling projects within future editions of Workbench in the years to come.

For now, we would like to thank everyone who kindly sent in their Blenheim e-mails, whilst also apologising for being unable to answer them all individually - there simply were so many of them. Obviously, we will endeavour to bring you regular updates from this project as it progresses through the development process, as this is clearly a model that will be of great interest to many Workbench readers. As detailed in our previous blog, the scheduled release date for the new Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF (A09186) is November 2018 and interestingly, we hope to have the prototype model on our stand at Telford in a couple of week’s time. If you are heading down to Scale ModelWorld, please come along to inspect our Blenheim, but if you are unable to make the show, rest assured that we will take lots of pictures and include a report in a future edition of Workbench.


A formation of Airfix delights


The new 1/48th scale Supermarine Walrus Mk.I has proved to be a difficult model to get hold of


As we speed towards this year’s modelling extravaganza at the Telford International Centre, it is interesting to note that a number of prototype models which we displayed on our stand last year are now fast approaching their release dates. Indeed, several models, including the new 1/48th scale North American P-51D Mustang and the beautiful 1/72nd scale Messerschmitt Me 262A-1A Schwalbe have already arrived in model stores and are beginning to appear on workbenches all over the world.

One model that became something of a star item on the Airfix stand at last year’s IPMS (UK) Scale ModelWorld show was the impressive 1/48th scale Supermarine Walrus Mk.I (A09183), a rather ungainly looking WWII amphibious aircraft, but one which excelled at the roles for which it was designed. During the course of last year’s Telford weekend, the Airfix team heard more people saying they were looking forward to building an example of the Walrus more than any other kit, a fact that was certainly borne out with the almost immediate sell through of initial supplies of this beautiful new kit. We are pleased to inform Workbench readers that a second batch of Walrus models is just about to arrive and if you missed out on securing one with the initial delivery, now is your chance to begin your modelling love affair with this extremely interesting aeroplane.


Although perhaps not as enigmatic as the Spitfire, modellers have welcomed the new Walrus as one of the most impressive kits in the Airfix range.


Coming at the end of a long line of extremely successful and highly capable amphibious aircraft designs produced by the Supermarine company, Walrus was the name attributed to the British version of the Seagull V, an aircraft developed for service with the Royal Australian Navy. Already users of earlier Supermarine amphibious designs, the Australians had long been admirers of these extremely rugged aircraft, which could be operated from their sea plane carrier HMAS Albatross and afforded them valuable eyes across the ocean. Keen to provide their own fleet with a versatile and robust naval reconnaissance and gunnery spotter, the Royal Navy were to become heavy users of the Walrus, which was found to excel at a great many naval tasks, especially in the search and rescue of downed aircrew. With its strong metal hull and high set engine positioning, the Walrus could alight on all but the heaviest seas to affect a rescue and had the ability to either return their valuable cargo direct to a land base, or be winched aboard a suitable naval vessel.

Although you could never describe the Walrus as having the same aesthetic appeal as its more famous fighting relative the Spitfire, it is certainly one of the more interesting British aircraft of the Second World War and our new 1/48th scale kit has brought its many impressive qualities to the attention of modellers everywhere. A new delivery of these magnificent models is scheduled to arrive over the next few days, so if you missed out on the initial Walrus release, please speak to your usual model supplier, or head for the Airfix website to make sure you get one this time around. 


December Delights. Some of the impressive new models scheduled to arrive in the next few weeks


The new Supermarine Walrus kit has certainly been keeping some impressive modelling company and several of the new tooling projects Workbench readers have been charting the progress of over recent months are also finally nearing their release dates. Also displayed on the Airfix stand at Telford last year, the new 1/48th scale North American P-51D Mustang (A05131) has hit the stores recently and as befits an aircraft of this pedigree, has proved to be an exceptionally popular addition to the range and is currently marked as out of stock on the Airfix website. With further stocks available soon, you can register your interest to be notified when more models become available by entering your e-mail address on the Walrus page of the Airfix website - it may also still be possible to pick one up at your usual model supplier.

December is already looking like being a significant month for model arrivals, with three massively popular new tooling releases all scheduled to arrive during the month. Our growing 1/48th scale range will increase further with the addition of the handsome Hawker Sea Fury FB.11 (A06105), the prototype sample of which was displayed on the Airfix stand at last year’s Scale ModelWorld show and marks an aircraft which could reasonably claim to be amongst the finest piston engined aircraft ever to take to the skies. This will be joined by another exponent of senior service air power, in the form of McDonnell Douglas Phantom FG.1 (A06016), the model which we announced to such overwhelming acclaim at Telford last year and one which many modellers will be hoping to get their hands on as soon as it is released. These two British classics (yes, we are claiming the Spey engined Phantom as our own) will be joined by a stunning 1/72nd scale example of one of the Second World Wars most versatile aircraft, the North American B-25C/D Mitchell (A06015). This new model was only announced at the beginning of this year and other than the development pictures we have brought you in Workbench updates, modelling enthusiasts have not yet had the opportunity to inspect it first-hand. Visitors to the Airfix stand at Telford will be able to see the model in all its glory for the first time in a couple of weeks and this Magnificent Medium will undoubtedly be residing on many a workstation as we head towards the festive period.

With such a formation of aviation modelling delights heading onto finals, please check the status of any order you may have in place to ensure your example is amongst this exciting initial delivery. As usual, our Coming Soon section on the Airfix website will provide you with all the latest release information for the kits you are interested in.


Starter Sets – A gift that keeps on giving


Focke Wulf Fw190A-8 (A55110) proved to be modelling inspiration for two Workbench readers


Over the years, the ubiquitous Airfix Starter Set has managed to build up quite a reputation within the modelling hobby and it could even be argued that these distinctive models are amongst the highest profile in any Airfix range. Clearly these cannot be considered as spectacular as a 1/24th scale Mosquito, or a soon to be released Royal Navy Phantom FG.1, but they are special in the fact that they provide real exposure and retail penetration for our beloved hobby. Many Workbench readers will have probably stumbled across starter sets in some pretty unlikely locations, such as charity shops, garden centres and even haberdashery stores and it is extremely difficult to turn down the opportunity to buy one when they appear in these unexpected places. Indeed, the chance to secure a starter set bargain is one to be embraced at every opportunity and many of us will probably admit to having quite a healthy stash of these delightful little kits.

Another significant feature of Airfix starter sets is the appeal these kits have for modellers of all ages and abilities. Even though they are usually associated with younger modellers, or those trying their hand at the hobby for the first time, the range includes some fantastic little models, which incorporate some of the finest work of the Airfix design team and are fair game for some of the hobby’s most proficient modellers. With the extra modelling equipment supplied with these kits often becoming welcome additions to the spares box, many starter set build projects will often involve modellers deviating from the decal options and scheme details accompanying the kit, as they use up some spare decals they may have lying around, or just want to try something a little different with their latest build. This was certainly the case with two recent submissions to the Airfix Customer Images page, with two modellers having very different interpretations of the same Focke Wulf Fw190A-8 Starter Set (A55110), but both choosing to deviate from the scheme options supplied with the kit – let’s take a closer look.  


Paul Burton produced an unusual Focke Wulf, which was evaluated by the RAF during WWII.      


For many modellers, one of the most fascinating aspects of the air war during WWII was the capture of enemy aircraft and their use for evaluation or clandestine purposes by their new owners. The sight of a Hurricane in full Luftwaffe markings, or Messerschmitt Bf109 wearing the roundel of the RAF are incredibly interesting ones and not only transform the appearance of the aircraft, but also demand further investigation by anyone admiring their unusual markings. Uploaded to the customer images section of the Airfix website recently, Paul Burton has taken his Focke Wulf Fw 190 starter set and given it a really interesting twist, finishing his model as a very famous aircraft which was presented to the RAF on the night of 17th April 1943. Following a night incursion raid by this latest version of the feared Focke Wulf, pilot Feldwebel Otto Bechtolt mistakenly landed his aircraft at RAF West Malling, where he was promptly captured along with his aircraft – the RAF now had an airworthy example of the Luftwaffe’s latest fighter. 


There is something quite fascinating about enemy aircraft being operated under new ownership. 


This Fw190 would clearly have been of great interest to the British military and it was sent to the Royal Aircraft Establishment for evaluation, pained in highly distinctive markings and wearing a large yellow encircled ‘P’ on both sides of the fuselage, important in ensuring the aircraft was not mistakenly shot down by friendly forces. Flown extensively by a number of test pilots, including the famous Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown, this aircraft later joined No.1426 (Enemy Aircraft) Flight, before being destroyed following an in-flight fire in the Autumn of 1944. Paul has really served up a treat with his version of the Focke Wulf starter set, including some impressive weathering on the fuselage of the aircraft, taking away the start appearance of these non-standard, high-visibility colours.


Andreas certainly has an eye for detail when working on his model creations.


Regular workbench readers may recall the name Andreas Fey, as he was the recent winner of our Customer Images competition and the creator of a delightful Messerschmitt Bf 109 crash diorama scene. Well, Andreas has been at it again, this time using the Focke Wulf Fw 190A-8 Starter Set (A55110) as his kit of choice. Andreas is particularly modest when describing his modelling skills, but the standard of his work tells everyone that he is an extremely talented modeller. With projects always on the go, we are certain to see further examples of his impressive work either within future editions of Workbench, or once more gracing the Customer Images pages of the Airfix website.


Clever use of props and thoughtful photography has produced a stunning set of model images


This latest project took the components of the Starter Set above, added some additional after-market detailing parts and no little passion for his beloved subject. Andreas always likes to break away from the standard kit wherever possible and look for aircraft schemes that are not usually supplied with the kit itself and are therefore rarely seen on model build projects. This magnificent model depicts a Focke Wulf A-8 of 12/JG.5 ‘Eismeer’, which was engaged in operations in Norway during the spring of 1945. ‘Blue 8’ was the aircraft flown by Unteroffizier Dietrich and as well as carrying the famous Eismeer emblem on the cowling, it also had the name ‘Erika’ under the port cockpit, presumably in reference to his wife or girlfriend. Andreas also prides himself on photographing his finished models in as dramatic a setting as he can and once again, he has achieved this magnificently, with these atmospheric images making his superb model look even more appealing.


This magnificent Focke Wulf build will serve as inspiration for many over the coming months


Both of these impressive projects illustrate why the Starter Set range enjoys such wide modelling appeal and how the kits themselves can serve as inspiration to produce something a little different. We would like to thank Paul and Andreas for allowing us to feature their impressive models and hope they will serve as inspiration for some winter starter set activities amongst fellow Workbench readers.


British Summertime ends – Modelling time begins!


Although this coming Sunday will finally see the end of British Summer Time and the sad realisation that we have months of cold, dark days ahead of us, there is definitely something of a silver lining on the horizon. Not only do we gain an extra hour in bed on Sunday, but it also heralds the start of Modelling Time! With such annoying distractions as holidays, DIY and gardening now out of the way, it is time to get stuck in to some serious modelling and make inroads in to the stash of kits we have all managed to amass over the summer months. This is clearly a time of great excitement for modellers and to mark the occasion of this annual modelling phenomenon, we have something special for Workbench readers – Prizes! In fact, our lucky winner will be the recipient of enough Airfix goodies to probably keep them going until next summer, so this is definitely a competition worth winning.


A prize haul to warm the heart of any modeller embarking on their winter build schedule.


The image above shows the box artwork of the FIVE kits our lucky winner will be receiving, which include 1/72nd scale examples of the Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress (A08017), Douglas Dakota Mk.III and Willys Jeep (A09008), Bristol Beaufighter TF.10 (A05043) as well as the 1/48th scale kits of the Hawker Hurricane Mk.I Tropical (A05129) and the hugely impressive English Electric Canberra B2/B20 (A10101A). All five kits will be sent to one lucky winner and this fantastic competition is only available to Workbench readers. Our colleagues over on Airfix social media will be running their own series of spot competitions over the coming weeks, with further Airfix modelling delights up for grabs, so definitely keep an eye out for these opportunities.

Now for the all-important question – How can you be in with a chance of winning this impressive collection of Airfix kits and to kick-start your winter modelling programme? Simply click on the link opposite, which will transport you to the Airfix Competitions page, where you will be presented with a simple Workbench related question to answer. Enter your basic contact details were indicated and sit back with your fingers crossed – that’s all there is to it. Our lucky winner will be announced in the edition of Workbench following our attendance at the Telford IPMS (UK) Scale ModelWorld show, which is due to be published on Friday 24th November. Good luck to everyone who enters.

That’s all we have for you in this latest feature packed edition of Workbench. Our next edition will be published on the eve of our attendance at this year’s Scale ModelWorld Show at Telford and we are very much looking forward to meeting as many Workbench readers as possible over the weekend of the show. If you are coming down, please do come and see the modelling delights we will have displayed on the Airfix stand and let us have any ideas you may have for future Workbench features. For readers who are unable to make the trip, we will be gathering plenty of information to produce some interesting show review features, in an attempt to bring you a flavour of this impressive event.

We are always keen to hear from our readers and there are several ways in which you can contact us, which include our dedicated e-mail address and of course the Workbench thread over on the Airfix Forum. If social media is more your style, you could access either the Airfix Facebook page or our Twitter channel, using #airfixworkbench where you will find plenty of modelling news, views and discussion.  Whichever medium you decide to use, please do get in touch, as it is always interesting to hear from fellow modelling enthusiasts and the projects you have on the go at the moment.

Finally, the Airfix website is the place where you can always find all the latest model release information, with our New Arrivals, Coming Soon and Last Chance to Buy sections all accessed by clicking on the above links. As updating the website is a constant process, a quick search through each section of the Airfix web pages will reveal new information and updated images in many of the product sections and this is always an enjoyable and rewarding way to spend a few minutes.


The next edition of Workbench is due to be published on Friday 10th November – Telford Weekend! Until then, thank you for your continued support of our Airfix Workbench.


The Airfix Workbench Team 


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