AIRFIX HERITAGE KITS MAKE A COMEBACK
Nostalgia is always rife when an Airfix Vintage Classics product is released. Here, CHRIS CLIFFORD highlights two 1960s items returning to the market.
Many modellers of a certain age relish the occasion when an Airfix Vintage Classic kit becomes available. We get that warm and fuzzy feeling from remembering the first time we built the model in our youth… and then that desire to try it again with, perhaps, an expanded skill-set and greater patience. Pure nostalgia and a gauntlet thrown.
Two items of old just re-issued by Airfix are the 1/72 Japanese Aichi D3A Val dive-bomber (A02014V), and 1/32 Jaguar 420 saloon car (A03401V). They hail from 1965 and 1968 respectively and of course, are products of their time in terms of quality. While there are other, more modern 1/72 D3As with much finer detail, Airfix’s Jaguar 420 is unique, there being no other styrene option in this scale.
Once you’ve taken a while to appreciate Roy Cross’s original and dynamic artwork, lifting the lid of the Val box reveals a true 1960s moulding, with fairly basic detail, but even back then Airfix was renowned for its accuracy of shape. Raised rivets adorn the surfaces (you might want to sand them a little), and the front of the radial engine is moulded within the cowling. The seats are truly basic, but the propeller blades are neatly moulded and there is a modicum of detail on the hub.
The decal sheet carries markings for a single airframe, that being airframe AI-201, which took off from the Japanese carrier Akagi for the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.
Vintage Classics releases are usually aircraft, so it’s great to see a 1/32 automobile, especially a British example. For its time, the Jaguar’s bodyshell moulding is reasonable, with neat shut lines around the doors, although the outline of the boot is less crisp and there is the occasional surface blemish. The floor pan has underside detail and, best of all, Airfix made a fair stab at reproducing the 4.2 lit engine – which can be viewed due to a separate bonnet being provided.
The engine has 13 components, and more experienced modellers can always add more embellishment via scratch-building. Raised moulding ensures the dashboard features are visible, the seat upholstery representation has convincing depth, and callipers are moulded integrally on the brake discs. There’s also a full steering rack, suspension springs, a complete exhaust system and even separate door handles and the famous leaping cat hood adornment.
Airfix suggests gold for the body colour, but research will surely reveal other options. For its in-box scheme, the optional registrations RLL 675 and JAG 420 are provided, in decal form. The transparencies are quite thick, although polishing may improve their clarity.
These are two fun and interesting ‘new’ options for Airfix, priced £9.99 and £14.25 respectively, and will almost certainly have a particular breed of modeller – who relishes restoration-type builds – champing at the bit.
These kits are available from Airfix stockists and at: www.airfix.com