Early classic jet project for young Airfix designer
Welcome to this latest edition of Workbench and all the news, updates and exclusive announcements from the fascinating world of Airfix modelling. We are certainly starting 2019 with a bang and there will be absolutely no let-up in the pace as we bring you this 92nd edition of our blog. With the publication of the latest Airfix model range at the beginning of January, we still find ourselves with plenty of new information to bring you and following on from the Blackburn Buccaneer new tooling project details featured in our previous blog, we will be returning to the work of our talented design engineers in this latest edition and yet another of their 2019 new tooling announcements. Providing our readers with an interesting contrast however, whilst the Buccaneer featured the work of one of our most senior product designers, this latest review will be looking at the talents of one of the newest members of the design team and an incredibly proud achievement for him. Handed the challenge of producing an accurate scale representation of one of the most capable late first generation jet fighters, we look at the design work and challenges which faced a young designer who will hopefully go on to have many successful Airfix kit releases to his name.
If that were not enough to immediately grab your modelling attention, we also have the first in a new regular series of features entitled ‘Out of the box’, where we showcase the kit building talents of Workbench readers, or report on interesting subjects from around the world of plastic modelling – will you be one of the first to have your modelling skills shared with the massive worldwide readership of our Workbench blog? We also report on the start of the 2019 model show season with a series of exclusive pictures from the recent event held at the University of Bolton stadium and look forward to what should be a hectic couple of months on the show circuit. We seem to have rather a lot to fit in to this latest edition, so we had better make a start.
A desperate quest for speed
Computer rendered 3D image showing the new Airfix 1/72nd scale Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG 17, a scale representation of one of the world’s most famous jet fighters
From both a historical and modelling perspective, the aircraft which saw service during the Second World War are undoubtedly amongst the most famous in the history of flight, with this five year period of conflict witnessing the development of aviation from the biplane designs which had changed little since the Great War, to the first operational jet fighters, which possessed spectacular performance. Although this early jet technology appeared too late in the war to have any significant influence on its outcome, the aviation advances made during this period would go on to shape the future of aircraft design for many years to come and herald the start of a new arms race between former allies, as each side seemed determined to have the most capable jet aircraft designs at their air forces disposal. Resulting in one of the most interesting periods in aviation history, this quest for ever increasing speed would force aircraft designers into uncharted territory and see the introduction of some of the world’s most famous jet designs.
During the final frenetic months of the Second World War, Germany attempted to challenge the overwhelming superiority of the Allied nations they were now facing, by introducing a series of highly advanced new weapons, which whilst ultimately proving unable to turn the tide of war in their favour, did underline the technological advances made by German scientists. With the impressive Messerschmitt Me262 jet fighter possessing performance which bettered most Allied fighter types by almost 100mph and held the potential to wrestle a hard fought air superiority back from the Allies, a speedy victory in Europe became of paramount importance. Despite their incessant onslaught and a desire for total victory, it was not lost on the Allied nations that Germany possessed technology which appeared to be far in advance of their own science and they wanted to know more about it. As ground forces continued to advance into Germany itself, specialist teams were formed with orders to locate, secure and retrieve anything which could be deemed of interest to the Allies, especially research pertaining to jet and rocket propulsion and advanced aircraft design. Unfortunately, these teams would not be alone in their quest and as a precursor of the mistrust which prevailed in the years which followed the end of the war, search teams from Britain, America and the Soviet Union would all be racing to secure as much of this information as they possibly could, all at the same time.
During the final months of the Second World War, German jet technology was hunted by the Allied forced both in the air and on the ground
Germany had shown that the future of aviation would be based around the jet engine and as Europe settled into an uneasy peace following the end of WWII, Allied air forces began to trade their greater numbers of aircraft for superior performance and relations between east and west quickly deteriorated. Desperate to at least match the capabilities of the latest Western aircraft, the USSR used all the technical information they had seized from the Germans and set their scientists to work. Initially, they were hampered by the lack of a suitable jet engine, however an approach to Rolls Royce in the UK and the granting of a production licence for their Nene engine, gave them the boost that they needed. The design team at Mikoyan-Gurevich were immediately instructed to produce an advanced high altitude day fighter, capable of protecting Soviet territory against Western bombers and what they eventually produced proved to be an aviation classic. Understood to be borrowing technology from wherever they could obtain it, Britain and the US were misguided in thinking that Soviet jet technology was inferior to their own, a mistake which would be cruelly exposed during the Korean war. The diminutive MiG-15 was one of the first successful transonic jet fighters to feature a swept wing configuration and its performance proved more than a match for all but the very latest US jet fighter, the F-86 Sabre. In time, the acronym MiG would come to stand for classic and highly capable Soviet aircraft, which the West must fear and we must all prepare to face in the event of East/West conflict.
The Soviet’s last gunslinger
Bearing more than a passing resemblance to its predecessor, the MiG 17 was a heavily armed bomber killer, which proved to be a surprisingly agile performer
Even whilst the first frenetic jet versus jet fighter combat was taking place in the skies above Korea and the Soviets were demonstrating the prowess of their exceptional little MiG 15 fighter, engineers at the Mikoyan-Gurevich company were already at the advanced stages of developing and upgraded version of the aircraft. Whilst this new aircraft could not be accurately described as the replacement for the MiG 15, it did represent another technological leap forward in aviation design and incorporated many improvements over the earlier aircraft, some of which were made as a result of feedback from operational experience. Having said that, many people could easily be confused by the appearance of the MiG 17 (NATO reporting name Fresco), thinking that it was actually the same as its predecessor, or at best, a slightly larger derivative of the original MiG 15. Although the aircraft clearly retains a strong resemblance to the earlier fighter, it is a completely different aeroplane, taking everything that was good about the MiG which posted such an impressive combat record of 3:1 during the Korean War and improving it in almost every way. Indeed, it could be argued that the MiG 17 was a fascinating combination of the best fighter technology from the Second World War and the latest advancements in transonic flight research – with a devastating array of machine gun armament and in the days before effective air to air missiles were available, this aircraft could be described as the Soviet’s last gunslinger.
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG 17 was a fast, high-subsonic fighter aircraft, designed to combat the potential threat of large scale Western bomber incursion into Soviet airspace. Although not intended as a dogfighter, the MiG 17 was an extremely manoeuvrable aircraft and would prove to be a feared adversary for much more modern designs during the Vietnam War. Indeed, these aircraft caused American airmen so many problems in combat, that in the aftermath of this conflict, the US initiated the lightweight fighter programme which would see such aviation heavyweights as the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon and the McDonnell Douglas F-18 Hornet eventually entering service. In the never ending quest to develop aircraft possessing even greater speed, the MiG 17 design attempted to overcome the effects of compressibility by adopting an even greater sweep to its wings and was the first Soviet designed aircraft to introduce the engine afterburner, allowing pilots to access greater thrust on demand.
Iconic profile of a Soviet aviation thoroughbred. This computer render shows the position of the devastating cannon armament employed on this capable jet fighter
Although possessing more than just a passing resemblance to its famous aviation predecessor, a quick walk-around the MiG 17 reveals a number of differences which make identification between the two much simpler. Although perhaps least evident to the naked eye, the MiG 17 is around 3 ft longer than the MiG 15 and its engine incorporates a FOD screen positioned in the distinctive air intake, designed to allow the aircraft to be operated from rather rudimentary airfields and protecting against the possible ingestion of foreign objects. This operational requirement also extends to the extremely rugged undercarriage legs, which again were intended to allow the aircraft to operate from unprepared airfields and specifically following re-location as a result of US bombers strikes on their usual home airfields. The aircraft also employed the use of three highly visible undercarriage lock-down pins, which pop up as reassuring confirmation for the pilot when the gear is deployed and locked – the nose gear pin is in front of the cockpit canopy, whilst the main gear indicators are on top of each wing.
A further selection of computer rendered 3D images from the new MiG 17 project which highlight the distinctive shape of the fighter and illustrate how the Soviets had made great strides in understanding the aerodynamics of high speed flight
The wing sweep on the MiG 17 was even greater than that employed on its famous predecessor
The MiG 17 maintained a position of parity with Western air forces when it entered service and ensured aviation development continued apace across the globe
For more definitive identification confirmation, the MiG 17’s wing and tail-plane have a greater sweep incidence than that employed on the earlier fighter, with the wing also being much thinner and having a slight outer wing kink on some models. It also employs a third stability strake on the top of the wings, all impressive design features which made this one of the world’s most manoeuvrable combat aircraft until the advent of the F-16 Fighting Falcon. The rear of the aircraft is dominated by two large speed breaks, which were almost twice the size of those employed on its predecessor and hydraulically operated, allowing their use at any speed. Offensively, this was one of the most heavily armed fighters in the history of aviation and employed two 23mm cannon under the port side nose of the aircraft and a mighty 37mm cannon under the starboard side – the entire lower nose section of the aircraft, back to just behind the cockpit, was devoted to guns and ammunition, which is why this fighter is often described as one of the last true jet powered gunships. With its combination of robust construction, extreme manoeuvrability and heavy armament, the MiG 17 proved that Soviet aviation design was a match for the Western powers in a combat situation. Although it was not produced in the same quantities as the earlier MiG 15, the faster and more powerful MiG 17 became the standard Warsaw Pact fighter from the late 1950s and served with the air forces of over 20 countries – it was also built under licence in both Poland and China, making this one of the most important jet fighters of the 20th century.
Continuing a proud Airfix tradition
Writing his own little piece of Airfix history, Tom is one of the newest members of the team and the new MiG 17 is one of his first design projects
With the first Airfix aircraft construction kit appearing back in 1955, many of the world’s greatest aeroplanes have been inducted into the Airfix scale model hall of fame over the years, inspiring many modellers young and old to continue with this fascinating hobby. During this time, the product designers who have represented the company and produced some of the most iconic kits the industry has ever seen can be rightly proud of their achievements, as they have left an enduring legacy which has brought pleasure to millions, not to mention being involved in the production of some of the most iconic leisure time items of the past 60 years. This proud legacy is being continued by a relatively small number of current Airfix product designers, who are determined to add their credentials to this modelling roll of honour and using the very latest design and production technologies available to them, strive to produce the most accurate and enjoyable to build construction kits in the hobby. With an impressive range of kits covering all interests and all scales, our design team have a vast level of experience and industry knowledge behind them, but spare a thought for the young designers who have to enter this world and start their journey to becoming a custodian of this enduring hobby legacy.
That is the position which our young designer Thomas found himself in when joining the company more than 18 months ago, having previously graduated from Loughborough University with a degree in Industrial Design and Technology. The course offered at Loughborough uses the type of powerful computer design software which lends itself to the type of work undertaken at Airfix and this can be quite a fertile hunting ground when looking for new designers to join this illustrious team. For this reason, members of our design team have been invited to present to students at the University on a number of occasions, giving them a fascinating industrial insight into some of the real world applications of the skills they are mastering and giving them an unusual slant on product design and development. With Tom having secured a position at Airfix, he was bringing all his skills into an extremely successful environment, sharing desk space with some of the most talented designers in the industry, but rather than being overwhelmed by the situation, he was determined to tap in to their wealth of experience and quickly become a contributing member of the team. One of Tom’s first projects was to produce a new 1/72nd scale kit of the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG 17 fighter and whilst we know you will all be interested to find out a little more about this new project, we also wanted to take the opportunity to bring you this information from the perspective of a young Airfix designer, who is just at the start of his career, excited to be making his modelling mark.
Scan data from the MiG 17 project, which clearly illustrates the level of detail designers have to work with when checking the shape of the aircraft to be modelled
The first question we put to Tom was the one we thought most of our readers would have asked, given the opportunity, ‘Were you daunted at the prospect of starting your first major project and how did this come about?’ As Tom is a confident young man, he described how he was really keen to start working on his own projects and the opportunity came around relatively quickly in his time at Airfix. Individual projects are usually assigned to designers at specific team development meetings, with each team member having the opportunity to express their preference, but with the development manager having the final say on the matter. Tom was given the chance to challenge himself with the new MiG 17 tooling project at one such meeting and relished the chance to get started. He had the opportunity to discuss everything with his fellow team members before beginning, using their experience and guidance to gain a clear understanding of how best to attack the project. Although they were always there to provide him with support throughout, he was basically allowed to get on with it and dived straight in, knowing that he already had all the required skills to complete the task at hand. As usual, regular review meetings were planned, so that everyone had the opportunity to assess his progress and provide him with appropriate feedback, if required.
As this would be one of Tom’s first new tooling projects, we asked if he felt that he had to do any prior research into the MiG 17 before starting, so he was totally immersed in the subject matter. He told us that the information files provided by the lead researcher were of such a high standard that it was not necessary to do this and he would have plenty of opportunity to become a MiG fanatic as his work progressed. For this particular project, the research team had the opportunity to scan a restored example of the aircraft, with Tom and other members of the Airfix team also having the opportunity to make a further research visit, checking specific details and taking plenty of reference photographs on the day. Unfortunately, we are unable to bring you pictures of either research trip at this time, but hope to do so in the future. With the MiG project following a similar route to that of the Blackburn Buccaneer featured in our previous blog, we are not going to cover the same territory again this time, however, should you wish to see more detail about how the designers convert the scan data into a format they can use to design individual kit components, please click HERE to be taken to that edition.
Scan data from the rear of the MiG, showing the large air brakes which proved to be quite a challenge during the design phase of the project
On a more personal note and with the MiG being one of his first major Airfix projects, we also asked Tom if he found he was taking his work home with him and if the desire to do well made it difficult to switch off? He told us that once more, the guidance from his more senior colleagues proved valuable and he explained how it was important to switch off when leaving your workstation for the day, returning to the project fresh and raring to go anew in the morning and hopefully avoiding a phenomenon the team refer to as becoming plane blind, where you just need to step away from the project for a while. That is certainly not to say that you can’t still have a ‘eureka moment’ whilst sitting down to your evening meal, finally understanding how to overcome a problem which has been troubling you for a couple of days.
Once Tom has used the scan shape data as a base model parent from which all the individual components of the kit can be designed (which is obviously a lengthy and challenging process, but one we have covered previously), it is time for what must have been a really exciting time in his career – the production of the resin prototype model components. We will be bringing you a comprehensive review of this process in a future edition of Workbench, but basically, Stereolithography Apparatus Technology (SLA) is used to produce the individual components of the new kit, by a process of using an ultraviolet laser to cure photopolymer resin, building up the required shape in layers. This will result in Tom receiving a collection of resin parts, which he can then assemble, all the while assessing every aspect of fit, shape and design. As this process produces components which have a layered appearance and are distinctly different to the kit parts we are all used to, this stage is used to highlight any necessary design alterations and the overall shape and fit of the components. These parts are not intended to include fine surface detail, however, there are a strict set of design standards the team adhere to, which have been perfected over the years by some extremely talented product designers, providing the reassurance every member of the team can count on, when it comes to incorporating the correct level of surface detail.
Will the new model make it to tooling?
A base model screenshot, which shows how the converted scan shape data is used as a starting point for developing all the individual components of the new model
Although we modellers would love Airfix to keep producing significant quantities of fantastic new models for us all to collect and build, we sometimes have to temper our enthusiasm and realise that all new tooling decisions have to be made around strict commercial parameters and the costings associated with any project will dictate if they proceed to tooling or not. Even at this stage, with a costly and rather unique resin MiG 17 model sitting on his desk, Tom can still not be certain that the new model will actually appear as a new kit in the Airfix range and marks yet another fascinating stage in the models development which has not previously been covered in Workbench. Having assessed every aspect of the model and made any alterations to the CAD files deemed necessary, the new model is sent to a manufacturing facility in the Far East for tooling quote. This quote will have to be presented to the finance department and agreed before the project can advance any further, however, the vast amount of industry experience possessed by the Airfix team means that in most cases, they are relatively confident they will get the go-ahead in advance of this meeting. If things are looking tight, again their experience may make the difference once more and they may be able to slightly alter the tooling or reduce the number of parts to ensure agreement can be reached.
An exclusive look at a toolmakers 2D tooling layout drawing, which has to be thoroughly assessed before it can be signed off for production
Once authority to proceed has been granted, the tool makers are instructed to produce 2D tool drawing layouts for all the model frames, both solid plastic and Crystal Styrene parts, from the CAD data supplied by the designer. These drawings are a crucial component in the development stage of the proposed new model and fascinating to see for anyone who has ever made a plastic model kit. When these initial draft drawings are sent back to the Airfix designer responsible for the project, he will have to thoroughly inspect every aspect of them, looking for specific detail such as – checking the frame sizes will fit into the intended packaging, checking all parts supplied in CAD are present and that there is enough space between the parts to safely allow the modeller to cut them from the sprue. Using their injection moulding experience, are the feedgates in a logical position to allow the most efficient flow of plastic to fill the mould and are they in the most effective position for modellers when cutting parts from the sprue. Finally, the position of the frame ejector pins, which push the moulded part sprues from the tooling block – are these on the internal side of the part, minimising the potential of them being visible on the finished model. Once these tool drawing have been assessed, modified and re-checked by the designer, they are subjected to further scrutiny by the entire development team, just to make sure that nothing has been overlooked and once everyone is happy, the drawings are approved and the tool maker can begin producing the new model tool. A future new Airfix release is now a reality. Tom described how he asked the tool makers to provide him with a weekly update of how the project is progressing, hoping to see images of the tooling blocks as they are being produced – we hope to bring you this information in the next update from the MiG 17 project.
Working on a scale MiG fighter
A finished 3D CAD screenshot of the rear fuselage of the MiG, clearly showing the detail required on the inside of the air brakes
Tom hard at work on his MiG, determined that his model will be a popular addition to the Airfix range
Having the opportunity to speak to a young Airfix designer at the beginning of his career and whilst engaged in one of his first major projects, has proved be really enlightening and we hope it is something you have all enjoyed. It would have been slightly remis of us had we not inquired about the design experience itself and if there was any aspect of the work which Tom found particularly challenging. He described how the large air brakes at the back of the fuselage, which are such a distinctive feature of the aircraft, posed him quite a few problems and resulted in him seeking the advice and experience of his more senior colleagues on more than one occasion. The kit needed to incorporate the option to have the air brakes in either the open or closed position and as well as accessing the detailed scan and research data, the guidance of his fellow designers helped Tom to confidently replicate this important area of the new kit. On a similar vein, we asked if there was something about the new model which he felt modellers would be most impressed with, once the new kit is available? Again, he returned to the same area of the aircraft and described how the jet pipe, air brakes and highly detailed tail area of the MiG look particularly impressive, as there is quite a lot going on in a relatively small area, with current manufacturing capabilities allowing impressive detail to be incorporated. Interestingly, when asking Tom if there was a specific aspect of the model and indeed the real aircraft which he was most impressed with, his design brain and attention to fine detail really came to the fore and we immediately understood why this young man had been singled out for an Airfix future. He said, “I love the nose and air intake area of the fighter – purely from a design perspective, this distinctive area of the aircraft is well engineered and is an iconic feature of the MiG 17. It was a real pleasure to replicate this instantly recognisable piece of aviation history, in a scale model which will hopefully be enjoyed by thousands of modellers all over the world”.
A final selection of MiG development images. Here we see completed CAD imagery showing one of the main undercarriage units and various underwing stores
Don’t mess with me! The front profile of the MiG 17 shows how the aircraft developed from a high speed bomber killer, to an effective ground attack aircraft
Finally and at last allowing Tom to get back to his work, we asked him what his Airfix ambitions were and if there were any particular projects he would like to take on next? He said that in the short term, he wanted to earn his place amongst the talented, but small design team at Airfix and rather than having to request assistance from his colleagues, they feel that they can approach him for advice. Within the team, the designers are able to tell which model has been designed by which team member – he would like to be in a position where it is difficult for anyone to distinguish between projects. With regard to future tooling projects and on the back of the impressive 1/24th scale Hellcat announcement, we asked if being given a large scale model project to attack is the pinnacle for an Airfix designer and if this is what he aspired to. Tom told us that in his view, it was not always a case of bigger is better and for him, it is more about being involved with kit projects which are both user friendly and popular with modellers – if a kit he has worked on brings pleasure to modellers and is a joy to make, then that is a badge of honour he will wear with pride.
This final computer rendered 3D image shows a much cleaner presentation of the MiG, one of the first operational jets in the world to adopt afterburner technology
We would like to thank Tom for spending time with us in the production of this feature and to wish him well as he approaches his second anniversary with Airfix. We would also like to wish him every success for the future and hope that we will have many of his modelling projects on our workbenches in the years to come. We look forward to bringing you further updates from his A03091 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG 17 project throughout the year – for all the latest details, including its scheduled release date, please click on the above link to be taken straight to the relevant product page.
Out of the box
We are pleased to announce the launch this new regular feature on our Workbench blog, where we showcase the modelling talents of our huge readership, wherever we manage to discover them. We are not intending to place any restrictions on what we feature in this section, as long as it represents an enjoyment of the modelling hobby and involves individuals or groups taking kits out of their box and simply having a go. There is much to be celebrated in the hobby at the moment, which really does appear to be enjoying something of a renaissance and our ‘Out of the box’ section is intended to be a celebration of this. So who will have the honour of being the first modelling contributor to feature in our new section? That person is Paolo Malerba and we would like to thank him for both sending us his build pictures and for allowing us to share them with our readers.
Vintage Classic, Paolo was on the hunt for a model he knew formed part of the Airfix range some years ago
The reason for a renewal in his modelling interest, Paolo at the controls of Piper Cadet I-CCIM at the Savona Aero Club
Over the past few months, the re-introduction of our Vintage Classics model range has proved incredibly popular and brought back some very happy memories for a great many people, for whom Airfix was a major part of their formative years. Undoubtedly, we all have our particular favourites and for a variety of reasons, but whether the sight of this classic box artwork encourages people to return to the hobby, or allows a new generation of modellers to experience these classic kits, they surely have a valuable place within the Airfix range. With Vintage Classics fresh in our minds, it was interesting to see a recent post by Italian modeller Paolo Malerba on a hobby website, where he posted pictures of his latest model build and the story behind the project – it was definitely worthy of further investigation.
An accomplished airman, Paolo obtained his pilot’s licence in 1978 and since that date, has been active on the ultralight aircraft scene in Italy. He was recently offered the opportunity to fly something a little larger and heavier, but certainly something of a vintage aviation classic. Owned and operated by the Aero Club of Savona on the Ligurian Riviera, Piper PA28 Cadet I-CCIM is an example of a hugely successful 4 seat touring aircraft series, which made its first flight back in 1960. The flight performance of these aircraft is very much dependent on the size of engine attached to the airframe, with the largest 235hp variant capable of carrying four people and their luggage in some style, complete with full fuel tanks. Although he was used to flying smaller and much lighter aircraft, Paolo described how he was extremely impressed with the Piper, which has a large and comfortable cabin space and was surprisingly manoeuvrable for an aircraft of this class.
Combining his love of flying with a return to the modelling hobby, this classic Airfix kit brought back many happy memories for Paolo
The experience of flying the aircraft led Paolo to rediscover his love of modelling, as he was determined to build a model of the aircraft type he had just flown. Having built many Airfix kits over the years, starting his association with the brand back in his youth, he remembered that a Piper Cherokee kit was in the back catalogue and the search for one of these models was on. He managed to find an example at the latest Model Hobby Expo at the Milan Trade Fair, near to Malpensa Airport and he immediately bought it. The kit comes with decals to finish the model with either a US or British registration, but for a kit which was originally on sale in the late 1970s, it had suffered some damage and the decals included had yellowed. Nevertheless, it was more than adequate for the project and it brought Paolo many happy memories of years spent modelling, as well as those of a very enjoyable flight. The model was finished straight from the box (or more accurately, from the card mounted blister pack) and was brush painted using Humbrol paints.
We are extremely grateful to Paolo for sending us these details and for allowing us to share them with fellow Workbench readers – it is also nice to have a contribution all the way from Italy. Grazie Paolo!
The 2019 model show season is off and running
It was great to see an impressive turn out for this first model show of 2019
Whilst most of us were still recovering from the excesses of the Christmas period, many members of the modelling community were hard at work either putting the finishing touches to the model show they have been involved in organising, or perhaps making sure their latest build project is finished and ready in time for their club or SIG’s model display. Determined that the modelling winter blues will not be setting in on their watch, thankfully we do not have to wait long into any new year before modellers have the opportunity to gather once more, catching up with some familiar faces, admiring a stunning collection of modelling talent and perhaps making a little early season addition to the kit stash. Whatever your reason for attending, getting the first model show of the year under your belt is definitely something to look forward to and this year, the honour of hosting the first show of the year fell to Bolton IPMS and the lucky modellers of the Northwest.
Although we have attended a previous Bolton show, this was the first time we had been to their impressive new venue, the Premier Suite at the University of Bolton Stadium, home of Bolton Wanderers FC. The previous venue was at a nearby school and whilst this was still an extremely enjoyable event, many of the displays were scattered amongst the many classrooms at the site, which did make this quite an unusual and somewhat challenging event to attend. Always well supported by exhibitors, traders and the modelling public, both parking and getting around the various rooms was difficult and it did seem that the popularity of the Bolton show would require a change of venue in the very near future. That change finally took place last year, but as we were unable to send a representative to this inaugural event at their new venue, we were particularly keen to make sure we attended this year. The Premier Suite at Bolton’s stadium is much more appropriate for a show of this magnitude and offers a large, unobstructed space for display tables and easy visitor passage between them. Indeed, this has now become such an important event in the annual modelling calendar that the organisers also had to open the mezzanine gallery for further displays and trade tables.
There was no shortage of modelling excellence on display at the recent Bolton show
The show may be one of the highlights of the Northern modelling calendar, but this is perhaps because it attracts displays from all over the UK, as well as boasting an impressive selection of trade stands and their irresistible wares. With almost unrestricted parking at the venue, it was great to see so many people braving the January weather to support this event and get their latest modelling fix. In fact, quite a lengthy queue had built up at the entrance by the time we arrived which was a joy to see, even though it resulted in a rather chilly wait before we could even get into the building. Once inside, it was great to see so many people enjoying the early season opportunity to indulge in their hobby, whilst also easing the stress levels of the organising team, who will have made a significant financial commitment in arranging the show. Perhaps even more important than this, it was so nice to see a great many people enjoying the individual model displays arranged by clubs who had invested so much time and effort on our behalf – well done to one and all. We will include a more robust review of the show in a forthcoming edition of Workbench, but for now, here is a small selection of pictures taken at the show.
The RAF Air Cadets had an impressive display of models at the show, as well as an extremely professional table presentation
Thunderbirds are go! This magnificent Thunderbird 2 model was judged to be the best model at show … a FAB decision
From the other side of the hall, visitor numbers stayed steady throughout the day, which is testament to the endeavours of the show organisers
This was a rather poignant display, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings and the Allied invasion of Normandy
No matter how many model shows you attend, you will always discover a selection of models and dioramas which display real artistic talent and an impressive level of technical ability
That’s all we have for you in this latest edition of Workbench, however, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 sections, which are both quickly 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 often reveal new information and updated images in many of the product sections and this is always an enjoyable way in which to spend a few spare minutes.
The next edition of Workbench is due to be published on Friday 15th February, when we look forward to bringing you all the latest news, updates and exclusives from the fascinating world of Airfix modelling.
Thank you for your continued support of our Airfix blog.
The Airfix Workbench Team
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