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CBK SIG Statement of Intent
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 Post subject: CBK SIG Statement of Intent
PostPosted: April 22nd, 2011, 2:16 pm 
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Joined: April 5th, 2011, 8:09 pm
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Location: W. Yorkshire
MerlinJones wrote:
For a long time now, I've been on the outside of the IPMS (UK), enjoying Scalemodelworld as a visitor and then getting involved in the Airfix TSR2 kit Campaign. From the latter, I joined the TSR2 SIG and have since been in regular contact with Geoff “Thorvic” Baker.
Last year, I "dabbled" with the Whatiffery SIG and, perhaps more significantly, created a Group Build display attached to the Humbrol Stand, featuring a selection of kits produced by Airfix Forum members during our Group Build sessions. This was fairly well attended, at least on the Saturday and I know from subsequent feedback that it was an idea that was going to be expanded upon and developed...
Moving swiftly on, I found a gap, if you will, in the current Special Interest Group's set up amongst the hordes of the IPMS(UK) and initially thought about creating an Airfix SIG.
What certain Suits never seem to wholly grasp and appreciate is that “Airfix” is a is an ethos, a sense of nostalgic warmth and regret, coupled with a clinging onto a strong defiance against all things cheap and nasty.
To many of my generation, currently and reluctantly ticking the 35-55 box in consumer surveys, ALL model kits are “airfixes”.
That said, Airfix doesn't just relate to a series of plastic model construction kits, released in the early 60's and ever since.
To myself and others, it relates to tube glue and Sellotape, crisp sandwiches, with sugar butties for afters, to turning the stand into a phaser, long after the model it once supported went off to the Great Sprue in the Sky. I’m talking Instant Whip and R Whites lemonade. Airfix relates to building a kit before a teatime of spam fritters and chips and a whole squadron before bedtime, when it was still daylight and you couldn’t sleep for all the lawns getting cut! How many of our childhood ceilings were cat’s cradles of cotton contrails, leading to Spitfires and Messerschmitts roughing it up with Hunters and Phantoms, props bent and wheels a-dangling?

Airfix exists in spite of the Beancounters...always has...always will. Even without shiny new kits, the oldsters will carry it through, especially the Airfix Gems and those larger, once-upon-a-time Christmas-only kits, kits that we can now buy on any weary Wednesday in April, thanks to the likes of KingKit, Models For Sale and that marketplace of the Devil, eBay!

It was this ethos and culture I hope to tap into and promote with the new SIG. However, much as I love the older Airfix brand and most of the kits, such a Group could be quite limited in its scope. In addition, when you have the seizing of the RAF logo, as a Registered Trademark, and the RAF SIG becoming re-named, I didn’t want to fall foul of any corporate money-grabber. I'm also aware that those of us who share a love of Airfix kits, also share a passion for other classic kits, such as those made by Frog and, latterly, Matchbox.

As a kid, I never really discovered Frog kits until later. They always seemed a bit on the crude side, compared to the airfixes, with their thick plastic and moulded in pilots. It was only when I ran out of Airfix planes did I look further afield, discovering the Sea Vixen and that marvellous “Grey Nurse” Spitfire, with the exotic RAAF roundels, or the Spitty on its base, chasing down the V1 “Buzz Bomb”, or the Fairey Delta, resplendent in Humbrol 11 and pointy, bendy nose. I also learned that Frof kitted all sorts of the more obscure types, (to me), flown by the RAF, in particular, the trainers and that Gloster Whittle Pioneer. Thanks to Revell Germany, I now own again a Sea Vixen and the East Europeans gave me my replacement Delta, via those nice people at Novo.
I did, however, eagerly seize the Matchbox kits that were springing up in Sweet Shops and Newsies up and down the land. What a brilliant idea…two, or even three, colours of plastic made for a great way of by-passing the lengthy painting stage, especially when the colours were so spot-on, (for an 11 year old).
Got to admit though, that I dug out the Humbrol 11 so as to lose that awful blue and cream combination, found in the Hawker Fury box!
Still…weren’t their biplanes excellent kits and so much easier to build than the Airfix?
Then there were the more obscure types; Siskins and Skyservants, Ju.188’s and Me.410’s. Matchbox even got me into building tanks, with their lovely little diorama bases. Again, more and more of these are now available, repackaged and in monotone plastic, without a stand but with more decals, in Revell Germany boxes.

To modellers older than myself, or more dedicated, the then-obscure and pioneering short run kits, such as Eagle, or Contrail vac forms, formed the basis of the now burgeoning aftermarket industry. Dynavector and others as yet unnamed are responsible for so much of what we modellers take for granted nowadays.

To celebrate all of our wonderful Kit History, I have decided to try and establish…drum roll…

The Classic British Kits IPMS(UK) SIG

The proposed focus for the SIG will be all construction kits, manufactured by the likes of Airfix, Frog and Matchbox...names from what I perceive to be the halcyon days of modelling. Discussion will be ongoing about which other British companies would merit the definition of "Classic". On the one hand, we wouldn't want an all-inclusive list of all British kit makers and their products, on the other, we wouldn't want to miss out true Classics and influences, through ignorance.

The SIG will not be only interested with nostalgia, wistfully looking back through H1321-tinted transparencies, but will look to include all current and future incarnations of those manufacturers within our field of interest. The gems still exist and are still available on the market. It would be helpful for people to know, exactly, where to look. It would also be of use to be able to identify those kits that are perpetually re-issued, that are well past their Use By Dates…especially when , with the right pointers, you can find a nicely moulded, fresh-of-the-press example, from one of the second-hand kit dealers.
(Having said that, we will enjoy the cosiness in drifting off, all sentimental like, about rushing home from the Newsagents, with your two-coloured Matchbox kit, to build it before Grandstand finished and the Dukes of Hazzard came on).

After some consideration, "The Classic British Kits SIG” will be initially concerned with all kits; injection, resin, vac form and multi-media, originally tooled before 1980, by British companies registered as such. This date will advance in years as we do and the point is taken that "classic" kits are re-issued time and time again. Every Airfix catalogue since 1980 has included "classic" kits as re-releases, albeit with new decals and, in some cases, modified or just cleaned-up tooling.

Other kits may be considered for "CBK" status by the membership, following discussion and reasoned argument. For example, the recent Airfix TSR2 may be up for consideration, given that its roots lie well back in the time when the original was scrapped and that, by all accounts, it’s latterday appearance may well herald a new era of success for Humbrol.

It isn't my intention to get too bogged down with definitions and nit-picking over whether or not a kit is British, French or whatever. I'm hoping that the SIG will be able to celebrate those care-free days of modelling and those home-grown kits that made us what we are today.

That said, our intent is not set in stone and I hope for input from an active membership to fine tune it. The definition of "Classic" is a subjective one and we intend to be as varied and as flexible as our great hobby allows.

I will act as Founder and SIG Secretary, up to and including the period around Scalemodelworld 2006. This will be to facilitate the initial growth of the SIG and to organise the display for Telford. If, by this time, the SIG Membership is content with my efforts, I will then continue to act in this role for a period of one year, beginning with the official start date of the SIG; 1st July 2006. After this, the role of SIG Leader will be up for grabs.

If we're as successful a SIG as I hope we'll be, it is likely that other administrative roles may need to be addressed and the membership will be approached to meet these.

Airfix, Frog and Matchbox spring immediately to my mind because I'm essentially an injection-moulded modeller of aircraft. They are also the bigger sellers and of more numerical significance to people of my generation. That said, many other smaller concerns all had a part to play. Input towards the many other subject-types must also be given due consideration. I’m not just talking about ships and AFV’s, but Saturn V’s, SRN1’s and Henry VIII, Beam engines, Stephenson’s Rocket and even certain blue grey tractors!

I’m hoping that, over time, we can accumulate histories of our kit manufacturers and examples of box art and instruction sheets. Already, good work has begun in contacting representatives of those kit manufacturers that hold our interest and lists are growing, cataloguing the output of Matchbox, Airfix and Eagle, to name a few.
Whilst some of us might enjoy sniffing the musty contents of an original 1960’s box, we will be a modelling SIG, concerned with building kits and showing them off for all to see and remember. We are builders first, who just happen to collect kits because we can’t build them fast enough and have run out of room for display space! For example, it’ll be interesting to be able to see examples of original kits next to their modern reincarnations. Revell ex-Matchbox and ex-Frog kits compare very well to examples that were fresh-tooled back in the 70’s and are even improved with 21st Century decals. The recently released Club Members Exclusive Edition Airfix Jetstream was indistinguishable from its original tooling, thanks to the moulds getting a proper clean up. The same could be said for the same company’s Hudson and Marauder bombers.
Some Airfix kits have fared less favourably over the decades and their modern counterparts are mere shadows of the original. For example, the old VC-10 K2 kit has moulding defects which suggest imminent retirement.
Also of interest will be examples of “evolved” kits. For example, the Airfix 1/144 VC-10 became a VC-10 K2 Tanker. Many Matchbox kits became modified so as to create their Trainer equivalents. On the subject of Matchbox, we hope to be able to show Matchbox models, well built but without paint, next to fully painted and detailed examples of the same kit.
We want a celebration of British Kits!

Our on-line home is to be found here, on The Unofficial Airfix Forums, founded following the closure of the Official Airfix Forums.


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