Watching the series about Hornby and their railway models took me back to my childhood when I used to make Airfix models and it made me want to build something to occupy my time. Now I haven’t made an Airfix kit for over 50 years (the last thing I can remember building was Bismark when I was 13 or so). However, I thought that just starting with something simple wouldn’t challenge me and take me very long so I decided to leap in at the deep end and have a go at the Lancaster Bomber which is defined as “Level 3” (whatever that may mean).
So I plunged in and bought the kit, recommended paints, brushes and glue, ready to make the model.
I ordered online from Airfix and everything arrived and it all looked good.
I hadn’t realised just how small some of the pieces were going to be but I unpacked them, checked them over and (like anybody else would do) leapt straight in.
1st Lesson: Have a look on the outside of the box and at the instructions to see if there’s anything you haven’t got that you’ll need later.
In the case of this model, you discover that the website doesn’t give a full list of all the paints needed (hidden away on the outside the box it says “Pilot: 26,61”) which hits you at an early stage (step 5) with the pilot shown as an “option”. You also discover in the instructions step 70 says “Bomb Loads to suit this model are available separately in the A05330 Bomber Re-Supply Set.” So if (like me) you were planning to make a model with the bomb doors open and showing a bomb load you’ll need to buy another kit.
Anyway, despite these minor setbacks, I set off into the model. I did read the instructions (well skimmed them) before starting but even so decided to paint many of the bits before gluing them together.
2nd Lesson: Wash the pieces in warm soapy water before painting them and (perhaps) undercoat them with a neutral colour, particularly if using acrylic paint.
The plastic comes with a fine coating of oil to help it separate from the mould which prevents the paint sticking evenly to the plastic. However, two or more thin coats are better than one thick one anyway, particularly as it means the painting isn’t an even colour which add to the reality.
I then started gluing the bits together using the instructions
3rd Lesson: Its actually better to try fixing the pieces together before painting them, it sticks together better where there’s no paint and if you need to clean/sand the pieces, once they’re glued its more difficult.
Some of the pieces for this model are quite thin and delicate so there are times when painting the pieces before sliding them in to place makes it more difficult.
4th Lesson: Not all the pieces have to be done in exactly the order they’re shown. Fortunately, the pilot can be fiddled in quite a lot later (just before step 101 when the canopy is put on) so you don’t have to wait at step 5 until the two tins of paint arrive.
So I got to the end of the first page of instructions (step 9) and had a thing that looked like this:
Part 1 of 4. Part 2