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  1. Airfix don't have the tooling any more. As Paul821 has said, when Airfix changed their Series 1 packaging from polybags to blister packs 50 years ago they bumped some kits that wouldn't fit in the latter up to Series 2 and put them in a box. Arthur Ward quotes meeting minutes from November 1972 in his Airfix: Celebrating 50 years of the Greatest Plastic Kits in the World in which it was suggested that the price increase on these kits could be compensated for by including extra detail, such as underwing stores (which in the event wasn't done). However they decided to drop the SR.53 and the P1127 from the range on the grounds that "little can be done with these, the aircraft being experimental only". When Arthur wrote his book in 1999 he said that Airfix still had the moulds for both these kits, and the P1127 was re-released the following year but the SR.53 has never been seen again and it now seems likely that the tooling has been scrapped. There was an Eastern European kit which I'd always assumed was produced from the Airfix moulds but Scalemates tells me I was wrong. Incidentally, Airfix did some more "bumping up" in the late 1970s when they re-released kits that had been rotated out of the range. Some but not all of this was due to the return of Series 1 kits that hadn't had a production run since the start of the blister pack era (e.g. the RE8) but not all. For instance their Battle had always been a Series 2 kit but since 1979 it's been in Series 3.
  2. I do remember reading somewhere that petrol was sometimes used to remove the stripes. In this case, though, I think it's paint because the outermost portion of the flap which would have been white when the stripes were in place doesn't seem to be partially-removed white over the original silver but the same olive drab that I agree has been used on the fuselage.
  3. I did the same nostalgia build some years ago using the Italeri kit, after coming across that photo. I think that black stripe is the remains of the outboard one from the Overlord markings. The inmost third of the stripe has been more effectively covered up by the rather perfunctory coat of paint than the bit we're seeing. See this photo.
  4. On the other hand, as a teenager in the 1970s I wasn't paying the household food, utilities and council tax bills, nor did I have a house to maintain, a wife and a dog. Nor internet access, a smartphone, subscription TV etc. because they hadn't been invented yet (and a good thing too as far as the last two are concerned). Fast forward 50 years and I'm once again on a fixed income, this time an occupational pension, but with all those commitments now having to be taken into account.
  5. As it happens a friend of mine commented on the price of this very kit a couple of days ago and he didn't even know that the tool is nearly 50 years old. He hasn't built models since he was a kid but he's interested in aircraft and particularly the Harrier. He said he'd seen an advert for a "new" Airfix Harrier in a newspaper and had been sufficiently interested to look on the Airfix website but when he saw the price he immediately lost interest. A while ago another non-modelling friend said the same about the 1/72 Buccaneer, which he'ld been thinking of buying for his father. Of course it's not just Airfix, though perhaps they attract more comment. It's several years since a model shop owner told me he'd stopped stocking Italeri kits because of the price he needed to charge for them and I notice that (e.g.) their Ca 313/14 kit of similar early '70s vintage is retailing in the UK for an eyewatering £30. I bought an Academy P-51 a few weeks ago because I have a tentative plan to build a 1/72 F-6C at some future date, I didn't have a kit in stock to cover that project and it seemed prudent to lay one down now while there's still an affordable option. It cost £10.99, which seems reasonable enough, but when I put it in the relevant cardboard box in the garage I noticed that the one I'd bought from the same shop within the last 18 months had been £6.99. That's a 57% increase. I still call in at my local model shop on a weekly basis but now I look at kit prices and with the increasingly occasional exception I can't justify paying them. When I heard that Arma were producing an F-6C my original thought was to buy one for the project I mentioned. When I discovered that it costs over £24, though, I dropped the idea. If I didn't have a stash to live off which I accumulated over several decades, I really think that after 50+ years (including the 1970s price rises) this would be the point at which I would have had to part company with the hobby. For instance, I rediscovered an interest in 8th AF aircraft recently. Luckily, I have unbuilt kits from the last time round, including several Liberators. How much is a 1/72 Liberator kit now? The only option available from a well-known retailer is £70. Secondhand ones are £40 - £60.
  6. I wouldn't disagree that £24 may be what Airfix need to charge for this kit to make it viable for them to produce it. Of course you're absolutely right that the decision whether or not to lay out that amount of money comes down to personal choice. Speaking purely for myself, it doesn't offer me anything I want that I wouldn't get from the Xtrakit ones which I already have, so if the mood takes me to build another Meteor F8 I have the choice between paying £24 or £0. No contest. Even if I didn't have the kits in the stash, they're still available for little more than half the price of the Airfix Meteor. I don't have an FR9 laid down but if I really feel the need to build one I'll either try and source an MPM one for an acceptable price or modify an Xtrakit F8 rather than buying a potential Airfix release which would inevitably cost significantly more than £24 if and when it eventually appears. Not so very long ago, when a kit such as this from Airfix would have been around the £15 mark (and I was still earning a salary) I might well have bought one, or several, on impulse: why else do I have four Harrier GR7s? Regrettably, those days are gone and I aim to lay out money only when I don't already have an adequate kit in stock which will allow me to model a subject that I really want to build at some point in the not too distant future. That leaves me more cash to pay for modelling consumables (paint, brushes, glue, etc., etc.) which of course are also increasing in price. I do agree with your observation that "we all need Airfix as a company to make a profit otherwise their reason for existing ceases to be", though for 'Airfix' read 'model companies in general'. If there are no model companies, then sooner or later there'll be no suppliers of consumables either and what good will a stash be then?
  7. Those panel lines on the test build, as opposed to the real thing....... But in any case I'm going to stick with the Xtrakit Meteors in my stash which are already bought and paid for.
  8. A Fox would be very welcome but it has been done as an injection-moulded kit, although it's not easily available now and certainly won't be up to modern standards: https://www.scalemates.com/kits/pegasus-005-fairey-fox-mk1--159137
  9. If it's any consolation, I decided a few weeks ago to build one of the original Airfix Vulcans in my stash. It was the "Vulcan to the Sky" boxing issued in 2010 and the sprues were still sealed in the factory packaging. When I opened it, I could see straight away that the moulds must have seen a lot of use since the kit was released in 1983 but what I didn't notice until later was that one of the main undercarriage legs was missing. It wasn't loose in the bag and when I checked the place on the sprue where it should have been it was obvious that it had never been moulded in the first place. The sprue was completely smooth, there was no sign of an attachment point from which the part might have been torn off during handling. I was able to knock up a pair of replacement legs myself but I wasn't impressed. It's not like the kit was cheap, it had been £30 when I bought it some years ago. Furthermore it was a gift set, the type of thing that might be bought for a youngster or by someone who only has a casual interest in modelling but who's a fan of the Vulcan. If they found that their kit was missing a rather significant part, what might their feelings be about buying from Airfix again?
  10. There was a Falcon conversion kit for Bf 109 and Fw 190 two-seaters, and the Bf 109 G-14. They later produced a complete, injection-moulded, Bf 109 G-12 and if I remember rightly I have a Falcon injection-moulded kit of a G-14 in the stash.
  11. There was at least one 1/72 vacform: https://www.scalemates.com/kits/maintrack-models-bk-002-westland-hill-pterodactyl-iv--958348
  12. Yes, they'ld have been the 1/48 Bandai range. https://www.oldmodelkits.com/index.php?manu=Bandai&scale=1/48. My local model shop stocked them in the 1970s. As far as I remember, I never had any of the tanks but I seem to recall buying a couple of figure sets (German engineers, with a section of a wooden bridge) and possibly a Kubelwagen. I guess the tanks cost more than one week's worth of pocket money, and saving it up was a alien concept!
  13. Further to the presence of an extra navigator on some 635 Sqn missions. I've just been looking in 'Lincoln at War', which refers to "...the two navigator system as developed by Pathfinder Force during the war, which became known as the Nav-1 and Nav-2 or Nav and Set-Op. The two navigators worked alongside each other, [the nav radar's] job being to operate the Gee or Gee-H and H2S, complementing and aiding the plotter. The nav plotter was largely responsible for visual bombing and on nearing the target would vacate his seat and man the bombsight in the nose." "The blind bombing H2S system worked out electronically the forward throw of the bomb to be dropped and presented the information to the nav radar [who] directed the pilot to fly the aircraft so that the target came down the track line and would order the opening of the bomb doors and the making of the release circuits before pressing the bomb release button situated by the side of the H2S equipment. Usually the visual bomb aimer would follow the nav radar through the target area from the nose. During co-ordinated attacks when a bomb had to be dropped visually or blind, the visual bomb aimer would be in the nose directing the pilot with the nav radar providing assistance on the H2S and if during the last stages of the bombing run the target could not be seen visually the nav radar would try to get the bomb away blind using the H2S." If this description is also relevant to PFF Lancasters, then it's no longer necessary to postulate that the extra crew member was needed to manage unidentified defensive EW systems.
  14. I think it's "Cat AC" in both cases, which is a damage category: http://www.airhistory.org.uk/spitfire/damage.html. "Repair is beyond the unit capacity, but can be repaired on site by another unit or a contractor."
  15. Interesting! Thanks for this. It seems more and more likely that the photo shows ND673 after it had been extensively modified from its operational configuration to become a research airframe at the RAE. I'm reminded of an illustration in a certain book on the British air services in WW1. It has a section on the aircraft they used, which obviously wasn't the author's primary interest, and the photo used for the DH9 is of a machine that had started life as a standard bomber but had been modified in 1920 to test Handley Page leading edge slots. For that reason it had also been fitted with a disproportionately tall undercarriage and looked nothing like an ordinary Service DH9. If photos of the real thing were rare as hen's teeth, like the Lancaster VI, the received wisdom might well be that this was typical of operational DH9s in WW1. I've had a look at the 7 Sqn ORB: they didn't undertake any operational flights with ND673. I'm wondering about the electronics fit again. The photo doesn't actually show the aerials that Streetly identifies as being for Monica and Boozer. I can believe that ND673 might have been fitted with Monica while it was on 635 Squadron, as although the system was abruptly dropped when it was discovered that German night fighters were homing in on it that didn't happen until the end of August 1944. Streetly says that there was a single Monica aerial below the tail turret, which was the standard fit. He didn't have any photographic evidence for this, so perhaps he based it on Bowyer's account. But what Bowyer actually recorded was "bow and arrow aerials [plural] pointing at about 45 degrees from the base of the extreme rear fuselage". He does note elsewhere in Bombing Colours having a close look in May 1944 at a Lancaster II which had "beneath the rear turret....a Monica radar aerial to assist in gun laying [sic]", so it appears that he could recognise one even if he didn't know what it was for, yet he doesn't name either of the aerials that he saw on ND673 8 months later. His description of the one mounted on an arm above the tail turret certainly matches Boozer but if the other system really did have more than one aerial it's unlikely to have been Monica.
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