Britain adopts America’s mighty Mustang

Britain adopts America’s mighty Mustang

Welcome to this latest edition of Workbench and all the news, updates and exclusive announcements from the fascinating world of Airfix modelling. After commemorating the RAF’s 100th birthday during 2018 and enjoying one of the best summers for many a year, we have reached that point where we all have to accept that the dark nights are finally upon us. For modellers, the moving clocks can only mean one thing (well, perhaps one and a half), the latest Scale ModelWorld show is almost upon us and it must be time for another Airfix Workbench winter modelling competition – we have news of both in this latest edition of our blog. In what is fast turning out to be a modelling indulgence in all things North American Mustang, we preview the impending release of the latest 1/48th scale kit from this fantastic new tooling by featuring the two British and Commonwealth schemes which will be included as finish options, before moving on to look at some of the recent Customer Images submissions which underline the enduring appeal of this famous aeroplane. We also have a series of exclusive artwork images to share with you, which prove that our popular Starter Set series is not just about aviation subject matter and see how the latest releases in our Vintage Classics series will be bringing some appealing modelling nostalgia to many a workbench over the coming few weeks. All this will be topped off with the latest information regarding our plans for the IPMS (UK) Scale Modelworld 2018 show at Telford, one of the most important weekends in the European modelling calendar – let’s dive straight in.

‘We can build you a P-40 beater’

Curtiss P40 Warhawk of the Desert Air Force on the Airfix Workbench blog

At the beginning if WWII, the British were looking for a US manufacturer to licence build the proven Curtiss P-40 fighter for the RAF

As one of the world’s greatest warplanes and arguably the most influential fighter aircraft of the Second World War, the North American P-51 Mustang may have been a product of America’s impressive industrial capability, however, its initial development, name choice, combat introduction and ongoing refinement owed much to Great Britain. As Europe descended into conflict, the RAF were not prepared for what lay ahead and had a desperate need for modern combat aircraft. Approaching the US to secure large quantities of their proven Curtiss P-40 fighter, they were informed that American military expansion dictated that Curtiss were already at maximum production capacity and unable to take on any further orders. The situation was so pressing that the British Purchasing Commission approached a relatively new US aircraft manufacturer, North American Aviation, with a request to produce licence-built Curtiss P-40 fighters for the RAF. Slightly indignant at the prospect, North American officials proposed to build a totally new aircraft for the Royal Air Force, one which would be superior to the P-40 and more suitable for their needs.  Their pitch must have been an impressive one, as the British agreed to their proposal and immediately signed a contract for the new aircraft, which was later increased even before the prototype had made its first flight. The maiden flight of the new fighter took place on 26th October 1940 and by 9th December, in line with British policy, the aircraft had been assigned a name – it would be known as the Mustang.

Royal Air Force Mustang 1 on the Airfix Workbench blog

At the time the RAF began operating the Mustang I, they were the fastest Army cooperation aircraft in the world and became popular with both pilots and aircraft alike

The first Mustangs were powered by an Allison V-1710 V-12, liquid cooled engine, the same basic powerplant used in the P-39 Airacobra, P-40 Warhawk and P-38 Lightning fighters. Although a perfectly good engine, the lack of a supercharger restricted performance at higher altitudes to little better than average, so the overall operational effectiveness of the engine was therefore compromised. In 1941, the North American Mustang I entered Royal Air Force service and despite the aircraft’s lack of high altitude performance, they were delighted with it. Operationally, this dictated that the first Mustangs would be used for tactical reconnaissance and ground attack missions, where the new aircraft proved to be a great success – flying at high speed and often at treetop heights, there was little margin for error on these missions over enemy occupied Europe, but the Mustang proved to be rugged and reliable. Quickly earning the respect of pilots and ground crews alike, the Mustang thrived in the frantic low level environment in which it was tasked to operate and unlike the Spitfire, had been designed with a strong, wide track undercarriage, which made the aircraft much easier to handle on the ground. Welcomed into RAF service with open arms, newsreel features broadcast at the time described the Mustang as the fastest Army cooperation aircraft in the world and although likening it to a slightly larger Messerschmitt Bf 109E, confirmed that it was already becoming the scourge of German forces in Northern Europe.

Just as the British were inextricably linked with the birth of the Mustang, they were also responsible for unlocking its full operational potential. In early 1942, a Rolls Royce test pilot had flown the Mustang I and been suitably impressed with its low and medium altitude performance. He informed his superiors that in his opinion, fitting a Merlin 61 engine to the aircraft would dramatically increase its performance and after some gentle persuading, he eventually got his way. In August 1942, the Mustang X programme saw a number of Mustang I airframes married with the Rolls Royce Merlin engine and the results were indeed spectacular. Incredibly, this new combination propelled the Mustang to an impressive 441mph at 29,800ft, approximately 100mph faster than the Allison powered Mustang I at the same altitude. The magnificent Mustang had just come of age!

Retaining an interest – Mustang IV and IVs

The Merlin/Mustang combination proved to be so successful that performance data supplied back to the US encouraged them to consider using the British engine in all future production variants, however, there was a big problem. Just as Curtiss had no manufacturing capacity at the beginning of the Mustang project, so the British could not spare any Merlin engines, especially as the disappointing Avro Manchester bomber had just been re-engined with four Merlins, as this magnificent powerplant continued to be the backbone of the RAF. The answer lay with the Packard Motor Car Company in the US and the licenced mass production of an American version of the Merlin Engine - work on the US built Merlin engines began immediately and as the first units became available, they were supplied to North American Aviation for use on their Mustang assembly lines. As had been indicated by the trials in Britain, the performance of these latest Mustangs was spectacular and it would go on to make a significant contribution to the outcome of the aerial conflicts taking place across the world. Merlin powered Mustang fighters built for the USAAF were referred to as North American P-51B (aircraft built at Inglewood, California) and P-51C (built at Dallas, Texas), which were more or less identical other than their factory of origin and referred to as Mustang IIIs in Royal Air Force service. As America was now in the war and plans were progressing to mount an all-out aerial offensive against Germany and enemy occupied Europe, it would not be long before British and American Mustangs would be operating in close proximity to one another.

The Royal Air Force and the North American Mustang on the Airfix Workbench blog

For greater combat effectiveness in the European Theatre, RAF Mustang III fighters traded their original hinged cockpit canopy for the bulged Perspex ‘Malcolm Hood’, which greatly increased the pilots visibility

The combat introduction of USAAF Mustang fighters in European skies did not take place until late 1943, but they would have an immediate impact on the conflict which had already been raging for four years. Bombers could now rely on fighter cover for the entire duration of their mission, which led to an immediate reduction in losses and the start of a steady decline in the effectiveness of Luftwaffe fighter opposition. Mustang ace Brigadier General Thomas L Hayes famously quoted “the Merlin powered Mustang possessed three qualities you need most, if you are going to escort bombers all the way to Berlin – range, range and range”.

Continued development of the Mustang led to the introduction of what many consider to be the definitive variant of the Mustang, the P-51D. Maintaining the performance of this superb fighter, the D variant dispensed with the high ‘Razorback’ fuselage of its predecessor, in favour of a design which allowed for the addition of a bubble canopy, greatly increasing the pilots visibility. It also featured greater firepower and a much improved gunsight, which made the aircraft even more effective during combat encounters with the Luftwaffe. By this time, the Mustang was the main fighter of the USAAF and production of this latest variant was again split between the North American manufacturing plants at Inglewood and Dallas, although this time all aircraft manufactured would retain the same ‘D’ nomenclature. The only sub-variant of this Mustang were aircraft equipped with a different propeller, due to the preferred Hamilton Standard units being in short supply – Mustangs finished with the slightly smaller Aeroproducts propeller were known as P-51Ks.

As consistent champions of the Mustang, the RAF were obviously keen to secure this latest version of the P-51 and around 900 would eventually be delivered for use by the British. Possessing the same impressive range performance as the machines which protected US bombers deep into Germany, many of these RAF Mustangs would be used to protect long range strike aircraft on missions across the North Sea, or against strategic targets in Germany, as Bomber Command began strategic daylight bombing operations again from 1944 onwards. In British and Commonwealth service, the P-51D was referred to as the Mustang IV and P-51Ks which utilised the alternative Aeroproducts propeller, the Mustang IVa.

With the undoubted pedigree and enduring appeal of the North American P-51D Mustang, it will come as no surprize that our recently released new 1/48th scale tooling has proved incredibly popular and the latest model in this series is just about to arrive in good model stores everywhere. A05137 presents the modeller with two attractive schemes representing Mustangs which operated in the colours of British and Commonwealth units in the final months of the Second World War, including one Mustang IV which has to be considered as one of the most flamboyantly presented fighter aircraft to see Royal Air Force service.

North American Mustang Mk.IV KM272/QV-V ‘Dooleybird’, Flight Lieutenant Arthur ‘Joe’ Doley, RAF No.19 Squadron, Acklington, Northumberland, England, late 1945.

Exclusive new Airfix North American Mustang IV A05137 on the Airfix Workbench blog
Exclusive new Airfix North American Mustang IV A05137 on the Airfix Workbench blog

Full scheme painting guide for Flight Lieutenant Doley’s uniquely presented RAF Mustang IV

Just as the Mustang transformed USAAF fighter escort operations on missions deep into Germany, so the RAF would use the impressive range of the aircraft to provide fighter cover for strike aircraft which would previously have operated autonomously. These missions included anti-shipping strikes by Beaufighters and Mosquitos along the coastline of Norway, which could last almost six hours in duration, with most of the flying time taking place over the vast, unforgiving expanse of the North Sea. Ensuring German units in Norway were never in a position to threaten the eastern coast of Britain and importantly, keeping significant forces occupied in the region and unable to reinforce units further south, these dangerous long range operations continued right up until the eventual end of hostilities in Europe and in their own way, were as demanding as any flown by pilots serving through WWII. As Bomber Command decided to re-commence daylight strike operations from 1944, the European Theatre witnessed the unusual situation of both RAF and USAAF Mustangs providing bomber protection cover in the same airspace at the same time and as the Luftwaffe finally began to crack under the unrelenting pressure, Allied Mustangs were free to hunt for anything they deemed a suitable target. At this time, there must have been hundreds of Mustangs flying in European skies, both British and American, and all manner of production variants – even the first Allison powered Mustang Is were used right until the final stages of the War in Europe.

Flight Lieutenant Arthur S ‘Joe’ Doley joined the Royal Air Force during the Second World War and went on to fly Spitfires and Hurricanes with Nos 610 and 87 Squadrons, in Britain, North Africa and Italy. He later joined No19 Squadron at Peterhead in February 1945, where he was introduced to the Mustang IV and long range operations over the North Sea, very different form the shorter range combat operations he had been used to in North Africa and Italy. Even at this late stage of the war, Doley was kept extremely busy on these shipping strike protection missions and undertook at least 12 of these missions during the last few weeks of WWII, with several further missions aborted due to various technical issues. Following the end of hostilities, No.19 Squadron relocated to RAF Acklington on 13th May 1945, where it continued its association with the Mustang, even though the aircraft looked very different from their appearance during the final weeks of the war. The rather dishevelled camouflage appearance associated with aircraft operating over large expanses of ocean had gone, to be replaced with a handsome natural metal presentation, which really suited the striking profile of the magnificent Mustang. It was during this time that Flt. Lt. Doley began his association with a particularly striking Mustang and one which must be considered one of the most distinctive piston engined fighter aircraft to see service with the Royal Air Force. Mustang IV KM272 QV-V was resplendent with its blue and white spinner and front engine cowling, but also carried name ‘Dooleybird’ in large red letters on the port side of the fuselage. With an olive drab anti-glare panel and additional yellow detail, this was a particularly attractive aeroplane, which has since gone on to become of great interest to modellers searching for something a little different when working on a Mustang project. With the appealing additional size associated with 1/48th scale kits, this eye-catching scheme is sure to appeal to plenty of modellers following the release of this new kit.

An interesting story associated with this aircraft and its pilot will make this attractive scheme appear all the more appealing to modellers, when they learn that former Flt. Lt. Doley donated his log books to the archives of the RAF Museum in 2014. This complete record included all of his wartime flying and records from his pre-war civilian flying experience, along with some photographs from his personal collection. Some years earlier, the former RAF pilot was in a store in his home town of Wolverhampton, when he picked up a model kit that looked rather familiar. The box artwork on this 1/72nd scale Matchbox kit release featured the distinctive Mustang he used to fly at RAF Acklington in 1945 - it must have been both a shock and extremely satisfying to see his former mount presented for modellers to enjoy. A couple of years earlier, he had been approached by a chap who was writing a book, asking if he could borrow his wartime log book – Mr Doley was happy to oblige and he stated that the book included a small picture of his ‘Dooleybird’, which is where the model references may have originated from.

North American P-51K Mustang KH676 CV-A, No.3 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Lavariano, Italy, July 1945.

Exclusive new Airfix North American Mustang IV A05137 on the Airfix Workbench blog
Exclusive new Airfix North American Mustang IV A05137 on the Airfix Workbench blog

The magnificent North American Mustang was one of the finest fighting aeroplanes of the Second World War and was to see extensive service with British and Commonwealth air forces

As Europe was plunged into war in the late summer of 1939, Britain needed all the help she could get, but knew she could rely on the support of the Royal Australian Air Force. Offering to send six squadrons of aircraft and their support personnel to the UK, this was in addition to the 450 Australians already in Britain to collect Short Sunderland flying boats ordered by their government – these aircraft were to remain in the UK, with No.10 Squadron RAAF (under RAF control) becoming the first RAAF and British Commonwealth squadron to see action during WWII. Australian squadrons would go on to make a significant contribution to the war effort, with 17 squadrons operating under RAF control, most notably as members of Bomber Command and with the Desert Air Force in North Africa and the Mediterranean.

No.3 Squadron RAAF was formed at Point Cook, Victoria in September 1916 and almost immediately moved to Great Britain to undergo intensive training, before eventual deployment to the Western Front the following year. The squadron undertook reconnaissance and light bombing missions and earned a reputation for tenacity and operational effectiveness in the face of the enemy. After the commencement of the Second World War, the squadron was on the move once more, this time to Egypt, where it would begin a long association with the American built Curtiss P-40 fighter, flying operations in support of the 8th Army and the intense battles of the North African campaign. It would later participate in the liberation of both Italy and Yugoslavia, earning a proud reputation for its determined and accurate strike attacks against Axis shipping in the Mediterranean. With a victory tally of 217.5 Axis aircraft destroyed, No.3 Squadron remains the highest scoring fighter unit in the Royal Australian Air Force.

In November 1944, No.3 Squadron exchanged their ageing Curtiss P-40s for the new North American Mustang IVa (P-51K), becoming the first RAAF unit to operate the Mustang. At this time, they were based in Italy as part of the RAF First Tactical Air Force and carried out dive bombing and ground attack missions against targets in Italy and Yugoslavia, continuing to do so until the end of the war in Europe. Australia would eventually take around 500 Mustangs, with the aircraft initially assembled by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation and later fully manufactured under licence. Interestingly, by the end of the Second World War, the Royal Australian Air Force was the 4th largest in the world, behind Britain, America and the Soviet Union. Many RAAF aircraft can be distinguished from other Commonwealth aircraft by the application of the Southern Cross markings on their rudders, a star constellation only visible from the Southern Hemisphere, which is considered Australia’s oldest national symbol.

North American Mustang IVa (P-51K) KH676 served with No 3 Squadron RAAF under RAF control from April 1945 until August the same year. It was regularly flown by Flt. Lt. Alan ‘Dusty’ Lane, who as part of the Desert Air Force had previously flown Spitfires with No.451 Sqn RAAF and No.111 Sqn RAF, before joining No.3 Sqn with their new Mustangs. With an extensive service record which saw him fighting in the Middle East, Sicily, France and Italy, Lane would eventually be credited with two aerial victories, one shared victory and one enemy aircraft damaged. It is thought that Lane flew this aircraft in July 1945 as part of a victory flypast arranged by the RAAF to mark the end of the war in Europe, whilst his squadron was based at Lavariano airfield in Italy. After the war, Dusty Lane joined Australian National Airways as a pilot, eventually rising to the position of Director of Operations – he also became a significant personality in the preservation of WWII aircraft, helping to ensure that such aeroplanes as a Wirraway, Mustangs and a Mosquito all being saved for future generations to admire.

The impending release of this latest Mustang from our relatively new 1/48th scale tooling will only continue the popularity of this famous aircraft as far as the modeller is concerned and will encourage people to consider two striking late war schemes which represent Mustang operations by British and Commonwealth air forces. Due for release next month, it will be interesting to see if these unusual scheme options force people to consider how this American aviation classic owes more than just a passing mention to its often overlooked British heritage.

Magnificent Mustangs

Exclusive new Airfix North American Mustang IV A05137 on the Airfix Workbench blog

As one of the most famous aircraft of the Second World War and with more than 15,000 examples produced, the Mustang has not only gone on to represent Allied industrial supremacy during the final months of WWII, but also a source of fascination for historians and modellers alike. Viewed as the aeroplane which finally tipped the scales of aerial supremacy in favour of the Allies and heralded the beginning of the end for the once vaunted Luftwaffe, it also represents the time when thousands of American servicemen and their machines arrived in Britain, bringing their considerable military might and North American culture to sleepy villages all over England. These interesting aeroplanes often reflected the confidence of the men who flew them in combat, with many being resplendent with the addition of striking nose artwork, something which was rarely seen on RAF aircraft – whilst the Americans were over here, they were determined to make their mark.

This stage of the European Air War has provided modelling inspiration for over seventy years and as this period also saw the large scale introduction of the North American P-51B/C and D, arguably the finest fighting aeroplane of the Second World War, it is no wonder that USAAF Mustangs are usually the subject of choice when undertaking any P-51 build project. Released in August 2017, the new Airfix 1/48th scale Mustang tooling not only sought to bring greater detail and a slightly larger representation of this classic fighter, but also attempt to try and help the modeller to consider subjects away from the popular USAAF schemes of the European air war. Schemes featuring the post war operation of Mustangs and several overseas operators have been included as scheme options in the two previous kit releases, along with the two new British and Commonwealth schemes which will accompany the impending release of A05137. Despite the fact that the attractive Mustang looks stunning in any scheme in which it is finished, it can still be difficult for some to break away from the ‘usual suspects’ particularly as there are so many famous schemes to choose from, even if you were to just confine your selection to one of the many Mustang aces who flew from British bases. Thankfully, there have been one or two recent additions to the popular Customer Images section of the Airfix website which underline the fact that there is perhaps, life beyond USAAF Mustang schemes, so let’s take a look at a few of them now.

Exclusive new Airfix North American Mustang IV A05137 on the Airfix Workbench blog

With so many stunning schemes available to choose from, it can sometimes be difficult to break away from USAAF Mustang schemes. ‘Missouri Armada’ has been beautifully finished by Philip Jones

Exclusive new Airfix North American Mustang IV A05137 on the Airfix Workbench blog

We did mention that the plethora of interesting USAAF Mustang schemes could keep modellers happy for many a year and even though we are going to feature some divergence from these popular projects, we simply had to include this absolutely stunning model built by Philip Jones. Representing P-51D Mustang 44-14789 ‘Missouri Armada’ this beautiful aeroplane was the mount of Capt. J. B. England, who flew with the 362nd Fighter Squadron, 357th Fighter Group out of Leiston airfield during the latter stages of WWII. The aircraft features 17.5 kill markings on the fuselage, which represents the personal tally of the pilot, although only ten of these victories came whilst using this particular Mustang – looking at this exquisite work, is it any wonder that we simply can’t get enough of the beautiful North American Mustang!

Exclusive new Airfix North American Mustang IV A05137 on the Airfix Workbench blog

Unable to wait for the November release of A05137, Tony O’Toole has produced this stunning RAAF Mustang IV in a striking natural metal finish

Exclusive new Airfix North American Mustang IV A05137 on the Airfix Workbench blog
Exclusive new Airfix North American Mustang IV A05137 on the Airfix Workbench blog

As if to prepare the ground for the impending new Mustang release, Tony O’Toole submitted these beautiful pictures of his model finished in the markings of Royal Australian Air Force Mustang KH716, CV-P, which was the personal aircraft of Sqn. Ldr. Murray Percival Nash, the commanding Officer of No.3 Squadron RAAF. These Mustangs regularly performed low level strike missions in Italy and Yugoslavia, attacking railway installations and military vehicles, all designed to reduce the enemy’s ability to continue fighting.

Exclusive new Airfix North American Mustang IV A05137 on the Airfix Workbench blog

Looking for something a little more esoteric from his Mustang build, Peter Cosgrove has gone for the unusual presentation of this Israeli Air Force fighter

Exclusive new Airfix North American Mustang IV A05137 on the Airfix Workbench blog

Certainly qualifying as a rather exotic Mustang scheme, this beautiful model built by Peter Cosgrove represents one of the 100 or so Mustangs which found their way to Israel following the end of the Second World War, becoming the backbone of the fledgling Israeli Air Force. These attractive markings are about as far away from USAAF Mustang colours as it is possible to get, but certainly underlines the scope of options available to modellers looking to build one of these iconic fighters.

Exclusive new Airfix North American Mustang IV A05137 on the Airfix Workbench blog

A model build which quite closely resembles the No.3 Squadron RAAF scheme included with the new 1/48th scale Mustang release, Alex Roughsedge has created this Mustang masterpiece, which will serve as inspiration to many a modeller

Exclusive new Airfix North American Mustang IV A05137 on the Airfix Workbench blog

These final two Mustang model images feature a kit which was finished by Alex Roughsedge and show another No.3 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force aircraft, this time flown by pilot Lew Ranger. Carrying the name ‘Anita’ on the fuselage of the aircraft, rather than presenting the Mustang in a similar scheme to the natural metal finish featured above, this build centred around an aircraft wearing a typical RAAF camouflage scheme, whilst retaining the famous blue rudder and ‘Southern Cross’ markings associated with RAAF aircraft. This is most definitely the closest scheme to the one which will be included in the forthcoming new Mustang release and will be a popular choice for anyone interested in Commonwealth air operations during the Second World War. There are some talented modellers out there and it seems as if the Mustang is still a popular subject with which to showcase those skills. So what will it be for you? Will you finish the latest Airfix Mustang release as one of the British and Commonwealth options included with the kit, or will you ignore these in favour of a classic USAAF scheme, such as George Preddy’s ‘Cripes A Mighty’, or Bud Anderson’s ‘Old Crow’? Whichever way you decide to go, please do post pictures to our Customer Images area, so we can continue to monitor this classic Mustang modelling conundrum. 

A ‘Starter Set’ is not just for Christmas

Airfix Mini Cooper S Starter Set A55310 on the Airfix Workbench blog

Spectacular box artwork is not just restricted to the latest aviation releases, as this Mini Cooper S image proves

As the school half-term holidays come to an end and Bonfire Night is just around the corner, retailers will already be putting the final touches to their Christmas stock planning, as we head towards the busiest trading period of the year. From the committed modellers perspective, this time of year presents us with an opportunity to start dropping a few little hints as to what we might be hoping to find under the tree on 25th December, but for other more casual hobbyists, it is probably more about the surprise of seeing what might turn up on the day. One range which retailers are desperate to keep good stocks of throughout the year is our Starter and Gift Set range, models which are supplied complete with glue, paint and paint brush, just about everything you might need to crack on with your new model. Suitable for just about every type of modeller, from the youngster starting out, to those of competition standard (and everyone in between), these kits are perennial top sellers and it can be difficult for model stores to keep a full range of these popular kits, especially around Christmas time.

Airfix Mini Cooper S Starter Set A55310 on the Airfix Workbench blog

This full artwork file from the A55310 Mini Cooper S Starter Set project has never previously been published and shows what modellers can look forward to with the release of this kit early in 2019

The range features an impressive selection of subject matter, from HMS Victory to the mighty Vulcan bomber and whilst aircraft models certainly feature heavily, they are by no means the only options available. To highlight this fact, the two images above are being shown in Workbench for the first time and feature the product line artwork and digitally produced box artwork in support of the early 2019 release of 1/32nd scale Mini Cooper S A55310. Without doubt one of the most recognisable vehicles on today’s roads the MINI stands out from the crowd with its smart exterior design and stylish cabin presentation, continuing the legacy of this extremely popular small car. Finding sales success all over the world, this new MINI design is for many people the standard against which all smaller cars are now judged and includes a range of models and options which genuinely has something to appeal to everyone. The Cooper S modelled here features a 2 litre engine, smart white alloy wheels and a rather distinctive Union Flag roof, which may look stylish whilst driving around town, but could have its drawbacks if the car was forced to serve as a getaway vehicle after a crime had been committed and the police helicopter was hot on your tail. Catering for all modelling tastes, the Starter Set range is sure to receive plenty of attention over the coming weeks, so why not have a quick look at the current range when next visiting your local model store, to see what they have on offer.

Competition Time

Airfix model competition time Modelling Saving Time on the Airfix Workbench blog

A trio of fantastic Airfix kits awaits the winner of our ‘Modelling Saving Time’ competition

This coming weekend will see everyone battling with the bi-annual kerfuffle of forgetting to do something rather important and spending the next few days getting our timings out of kilter – putting the clocks back one hour, marking the end of British summertime. Although this signifies the depressing onset of dark nights, cold weather and spiralling heating bills, modellers tend to be a little more philosophical at this time of year, as they can legitimately devote a little more time to their beloved hobby, without such unnecessary distractions as gardening, outdoor maintenance and holidays getting in the way of their build schedules. Although many of us might see this as an attractive option, actually eating our Christmas dinner at the workbench is probably stretching our devotion to modelling duties just a little too far.

Rather than spending our extra hour in bed, surely an extra hour devoted to modelling is a much more sensible option for Workbench readers and in support of this radical thinking, we are pleased to announce our latest Airfix competition, which we are imaginatively calling our ‘Modelling Saving Time’ competition (can you see what we did there?). Awaiting our lucky winner, we have a trio of fantastic kits which should keep them occupied for at least a couple of weeks, seeing as we have all this extra modelling time at our disposal, with each kit specially selected to mark an important year for aviation. A50181 is our RAF Centenary Gift Set and includes examples of three fighter aircraft which proved significant during the 100 year history of the Royal Air Force. Marking this years 75th anniversary of the Dambusters raid, A09007 will allow our winner to build one of the nineteen specially modified Avro Lancaster bombers which carried out this audacious raid, ensuring that RAF No.617 Squadron became one of the most famous squadrons of the Second World War. The third and final kit is A01008A Messerschmitt Bf 109E, where our selection becomes a little more tenuous – we could go with the fact that this was the most heavily produced fighter aircraft in history, or just that the Centenary Gift Set Spitfire will need to be chased by something. In any case, this selection of kits is well worth winning, whether you intend to build them yourself, or to use one or all of them as model gifts a little later in the year.

As usual, to be in with the chance of winning our latest prize collection, please visit the Airfix Competitions section of our website, where you will find all the relevant competition details you will need and a simple North American Mustang related question for you to answer. We will announce the winner in a future edition of Workbench and we wish everyone taking part the very best of luck.

Terrific Telford

Exclusive new Airfix model announcement at Telford Scale Modelworld 2018 on the Airfix Workbench blog

Built samples of the new 1/72nd scale British Phantom on the Airfix stand attracted plenty of attention during the Scale Modelworld 2017 show

It is almost that time of year when modellers head for Telford’s International Centre in their droves, excited to be taking their place at the latest Scale Modelworld show, the world’s greatest fine scale model show. With visitor numbers increasing year on year, the show highlights the current healthy state of the hobby and is an opportunity for modellers not only to spend some quality time with like-minded enthusiasts, but also to gain a little modelling inspiration and check out all the latest industry developments. Our own plans have been in place for quite some time and the Airfix team are looking forward to meeting many of you over the show weekend.

As a result of our show attendance, we would like to inform Workbench readers that the next edition of our blog will not be published on Friday 9th of November in line with our usual scheduling, but will be delayed until 11am the following day, to coincide with events taking place at the Scale Modelworld show. Without wanting to say too much, this could be a result of wanting to support a new Airfix tooling announcement which may or may not be taking place at 11am on Saturday 10th November, but whatever happens, you can be assured that we will be bringing you all the latest information in a special Telford edition of Workbench – we are so excited that we can hardly wait. If you will be at the show by 11am on Saturday 10th November, you need to head for the Airfix stand just in case and for everyone else, the Airfix website, or one of our social media channels is the place to be. Not long to wait now …. this is even more exciting than waiting for Christmas.

Classic Airfix nostalgia for all

Airfix Vintage Classics Churchill, Panther, Bren Gun Carrier and WWI Male Tank on the Airfix Workbench blog

We would like to end this latest edition of Workbench by informing our readers that the second tranche of Vintage Classics kits has recently been released and should be available in your local model stores now. This latest selection includes some of the most popular military vehicle kits in the Airfix range and will bring back plenty of happy memories for modellers who remember building their collection of tanks and field guns and the ensuing battles which took place on front room carpets all over the country. Allowing a new generation of modellers to experience these classic models, each one is attractively priced and make full use of the original artwork which managed to captivate so many young people in the days before mobile phones and tablet computers. Featuring images which were not sanitised by the impact of political correctness and were allowed to show guns firing and shells exploding during the heat of battle, these kits represent the real excitement of plastic modelling and occupy a significant place in the history of Airfix.

This latest crop of releases include the purposeful looking British Churchill tank, always interesting Bren Gun Carrier and armoured royalty that was the mighty Panther, as well as the Great War Male tank which marks the first appearance of the tank on the battlefields of the Somme in 1916. With the festive season just around the corner, these fantastic kits will ensure that classic Airfix nostalgia will be gracing many a modellers workbench in the weeks and months to come. Keep an eye out for the next releases in this series, which should see the long awaited return of some classic fighting ships to the Airfix range.

That’s another edition of Workbench done and dusted, but we will be back as usual in two weeks’ time with a further selection of Airfix modelling delights for your enjoyment. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions for subjects you would like to see covered in a future edition of the blog, or ways in which we could enhance your enjoyment of Workbench, please do not hesitate in contacting us. We can be reached via our usual e-mail address or by contributing to our 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.

As always, the Airfix website is the place to go for 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 Saturday 10th November, when we look forward to bringing you all the latest news, updates and exclusives from the fascinating world of Airfix modelling.

On behalf of the entire Workbench team, thank you for continuing to support our Airfix blog.

The Airfix Workbench Team


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