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John Tapsell

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  1. John Tapsell

    New Airfix 1/35 armour?

    The BBC4 programme is one I'm well aware of as I facilitated the filming at Scale ModelWorld. My level of involvement in the hobby means I get to talk with manufacturers, distributors and publishers of all shapes and sizes both officially and informally on a semi-regular basis - something I've been doing for the past 20 years. Therefore my views and opinions are influenced by what I've learnt about how the industry operates over those years. Regards, John
  2. John Tapsell

    New Airfix 1/35 armour?

    Airfix have been reboxing 1/35 scale kits for decades - starting with the Max/Peerless range in the 1970s and more recently some Italeri and Trumpeter kits. Airfix have never wished to invest in their own development of 1/35 scale kits - the development costs are huge and the risks too great for what to them is not a market of primary interest. The casual modeller market buys the greatest quantity of kits and that market is rarely interested in the origins of the plastic in the box. What they want is a kit to build that looks like the picture on the box. They enjoy the project for what it is and accuracy/refinement comes second to that basic enjoyment. Tamiya has been reboxing Italeri kits for the past 50 years - they do it for a very specific and pragamatic reason to cater for their domestic market in Japan (Tamiya sells more stuff in Japan than in the rest of the world combined so it remains their primary market). Until the Internet opened up the visibility of the global model market, most modellers outside Japan did not realise that Tamiya did this. Reboxing is standard industry practice - why should Airfix be criticised for doing what many other major manufacturers are doing? Regards, John
  3. John Tapsell

    Rolls Royce Armoured Car

    Some comments on the kit versions. What you get is great for a WWII RR Armoured Car in North Africa - but not much else without a lot of work. It's a very late 1930s upgrade with wide pneumatic tyres, different hubs and single wheels on the rear axle. An original 1920 Pattern did have solid (instead of spoked) hubs but think of them as being otherwise the same as the 1914 Pattern wheels - thin profile and with double wheels at the rear. Similarly, the turret is a taller 1920 Pattern design and unsuitable for a 1914 Pattern vehicle. There were apparently a very small number built in 1918 with the deeper turret and there is some suggestion that the initial batch built for the RAF in 1918 had the deeper turret (but this may be referring to the same 1918 batch). A 1914 Pattern RR had different fenders to the 1920 Pattern and the running boards of the 1914 Pattern were removable and doubled as wooden unditching planks - on the 1920 Pattern, the unditching planks were carried underneath a set of 'proper' running boards. Just to confuse the issue, a lot of the 1914 pattern cars that continued in service in the 1920s and 30s had their armoured bodies transferred to newer RR chassis periodically as the originals had worn out. A proportion of the vehicles had their bodies transferred to Fordson truck chassis in the late 1930s, but not all. The RR Tenders in the photos posted on this thread indicate that the armoured cars pictured belong to either No.1 or No. 2 Armoured Car Companies of the Royal Air Force, serving in either Palestine or Iraq. All military security in this part of the world was the responsibility of the RAF so there were no British Army units present (certainly in Iraq) in the 20s and 30s - the only 'infantry' units were locally recruited battalions under RAF control. Regards, John
  4. John Tapsell

    What music are you playing ? Part IV

    Nightwish - Live at Wacken Open Air 2013
  5. John Tapsell


    Actually - the driver's hatch, whilst offering some level of interference, is cleverly orientated in that it 'presents' edge-on to the RWS so it minimises the blindspot. John
  6. John Tapsell

    New tool Crusader III?

    I think you misunderstand the reason Tamiya have been reboxing Italeri kits for the last 40-50 years. Once upon a time, in the days before the Internet, the fact that Tamiya was regularly reboxing Italeri kits for the domestic Japanese market was virtually unknown outside Japan. It is difficult for companies to import their products without paying significant import duties. Therefore, it was a way for Italeri (and others) to get their kits onto the Japanese market at a reasonable price. Importing 'components' is a lot cheaper than importing a finished product. Now we have the Internet, it ihas become common knowledge that Tamiya reboxes Italeri kits - the reason they do it hasn't changed but of course they now filter out to the international market much more easily. John
  7. John Tapsell

    Scale Model World 2019 - first time visitor help

    Hi Daniel, It may be worth looking at flights direct to Birmingham Internaional rather than the London airports. It's closer to Telford and if trains are your preferred mode of transport then there is a station at the airport with good links to Telford. It really depends on what the options are from your end (Birmingham has transatlantic routes but not sure which US airports they operate to/from). If you don't mind driving, Telford is pretty easy to get to as it's on the motorway (freeway) network. Two days - and you still won't see it all Accommodation - as others have said,the three hotels adjacent to the exhibition centre are probably booked out already but it might be worth checking them out, The International and Holiday Inn are both effectively on-site whilst the Premier Inn is about 100 yards up the hill from the front front entrance. The are other hotels (large and small) in the Telford area and lots of small guest houses too. Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton are 15-20 minutes drive away (or on the same rail line) and also have a wide selection of accommodation. RAF Museum Cosford is just down the road (10-15 minutes by car) and there is a train station close to the museum too (if you don't mind a 10 minute walk along the perimeter fence). Little tip - if you do want to visit the museum, go on the Monday or Tuesday after the show because that is the only week of the year when the museum opens up its conservation centre (about 0900-1300 each day) There's a small entrance fee to the conservation centre but it's well worth it (the museum itself is free entry but there is a parking fee). Telford itself is a fairly anonymous 'new town' (a planned new development built in the 60s and 70s) with a reasonable shopping centre. The area around the exhibition centre has been redeveloped over the past 3-4 years and there are quite a few restaurants close by. Shrewsbury has lots of history and is probably better for the casual visitor/tourist to spend the day. It's late in the year so several of local industrial heritage sites and museums will be closed. It is known as the cradle of the industrial revolution so there are museums and old sites to visit. If you google 'Ironbridge' or 'Coalbrookdale', it will give you an idea of the history. If you belong to IPMS USA (or any other IPMS group) you will get free entry to the show (no registration fee for the contest either) - IPMS (UK) members don't pay and it is a courtesy we extend to all our overseas IPMS colleagues. Not sure what your experience of US shows is, but British shows have a different emphasis. I know from my own visits to an IPMS USA Convention and the AMPS Convention in the early 2000s that US events are built around the contest. We build our shows around the chapter displays. The contest is important to us but the club displays are what make the show (and the vendors too). We aim to make a friendly, social atmosphere. There is always a dedicated 'overseas' area where all the organised overseas groups hang out and put on small displays (usually about 20-30 different groups from all over Europe and further afield - there's usually an IPMS USA presence there. Hope that helps, Regards, John
  8. John Tapsell

    AVRE Photo

    I had a thought - a random and weird one. Is it some kind of stretcher cart? (although filled with bags and stuff ) Regards, John
  9. John Tapsell

    AVRE Photo

    1) small cable reel 2) Don't know 3) Don't know 4) Believe this is a clear-lane or beach exit marker (orange/white as you describe) 5) I think this is a handcart - regularly described in the loading tables for the LCTs but I haven't actually seen one. However, note the spoked wheel half-buried in the sand and the fact that both ends of the frame are the same and would make good handholds to push/pull the contraption. Note in the photo below (taken earlier I think), there is a guy digging the 'scrape' next to the Jeep and the handcart is still upright behind him (and a little further away). Regards, John
  10. John Tapsell

    Type 69 with BTU-55 Dozer

    Iraqi Type 69s were definitely fitted with KMT mine rakes on occasion but I've not seen one with a BTU dozer blade. I photographed a Type 69 with the rakes way back in 1991 but I can't remember where the photos are at this precise moment. Regards, John
  11. John Tapsell

    Load options for Scammell Pioneer tractor & trailer

    There's at least one shot of a REME Workshop Scammell Transporter carrying a rather 'used'-looking Sherman Firefly (facing rearwards on the trailer) in NW Europe. (Page 30 of the Concord Publications book 'British Tanks of WWII (1) France and belgium 1944)'). Photo shows the left side of the tank - front sprocket and bogie missing, no track in place but with a section of track coiled up on the engine deck. Regards, John
  12. John Tapsell

    Hornby Group (airfix's owners) half-yearly results

    The Hellcat has been released specifically with the US market in mind. That's partly why the display model at Telford was revealed in US Navy markings rather than FAA markings. First impressions count for a lot and seeing a new model announced in USN markings has a greater appeal to the guys in America. Airfix wants to mzake inroads to the US market and remain a global brand. They can only do that by appealing to a global market. As I understand it, the Hellcat will have FAA markings but the 'headline' markings will be USN. Regards, John
  13. John Tapsell

    New Airfix 1/35 armour?

    Das Abteilung https://www.airfix.com/uk-en/grumman-f6-f5-hellcat.html Regards, John
  14. John Tapsell

    New Airfix 1/35 armour?

    1/35 scale is not and probably never will be of any real interest to Airfix. They are primarily an aircraft model manufacturer. They have dabbled in 1/35 with reboxes of Peerless/Max kits and more recently the Italeri DUKW and Trumpeter Challenger 2, but never developed their own range. Their 1/32 scale kits (Crusader, M3 Lee/Grant, Monty's Humber, Rommel's Greif, 17 Pdr AT Gun which were all very nice kits) never really took off because they were released in the 1970s just at a time when 1/35 was becoming popular. With regards to their 1/48 scale range of vehicles, the Operation Herrick range were released specifically to tie in with the release of Airfix's modern helicopter kits in the same scale - they were not an independent range designed to produce a long term selection of 1/48 scale vehicle kits. The Warrior was the last in the line and will remain so. The same is true of their Bedford and Albion trucks - supporting kits for their Battle of Britain series with no intent to release additional vehicles. In both cases, Airfix spotted a window of opportunity to sell that type of kit to their core (aircraft) audience. It was time-limited and they took advantage of it. Note also that Airfix are seriously reviewing their 1/76 (1/72) range of vehicles with very few remaining in production or slated for re-release. Airfix are quite possibly getting out of the vehicle market entirely and will concentrate on one subject area - in fact there are very few manufucturers who release a broad range of subjects and they tend to be the 'old-timers' with huge back-catalogues that are re-released on a regular basis (Airfix, Revell, Italeri etc - all of whom have struggled to survive in the modern market). Tamiya are a bit of an anomaly in that their main commercial interests are in the radio control market and the plastic kits are a minority part of their business. The new boys on the block are mostly specialists who concentrate on one area. They are also mostly based in China and have more than half an eye on their own rapidly growing domestic market rather than the global market per se. That's simple commercial decision-making. Airfix have long since identified their core market and will concentrate on selling to that (aircraft) market. Also, Airfix have struggled in recent years financially, so their choices need to be 'safe' (with a high degree of confidence that the kit will be profitable). The development costs of any new kit is very high and they cant afford to take large risks. Any major manufacturer will spend a lot of time doing market research to quantify what sells and what doesn't. Modern British armour is high-risk with a limited global audience. If a company isn't confident it can sell an entire production run in a short period of time (recouping their development and production costs and making a profit), they are unlikely to release the kit. The most recent example of that commercial reality is Airfix's decision to release a 1/24 scale Hellcat. Visitors to Scale ModelWorld were largely underwhelmed but that doesn't bother Airfix too much because in the words of their head of marketing, Darrell Burge, 'for every two kits we sell in the UK, we can sell a dozen in the USA'. They could have dressed the display model up in Fleet Air Arm markings to encourage UK interest, but it's the US markings that will appeal to the larger (non-UK) audience and first impressions count enormously. Regards, John
  15. John Tapsell

    Churchill markings

    An RTR Battalion would take precedence over an RAC Battalion in the Order of Precedence. Therefore: 9 RTR would have been the Senior Battalion, RAC Battalions were converted from Infantry battalions so they appear to have retained their seniority within the infantry order of precedence 107 RAC (5th Bn, King's Own Royal Regiment - KORR was ranked 4th of 'the line') 147 RAC (10th Bn the Hampshire Regt - Hampshire Regt was ranked 37th of 'the line') If a new battalion joined a Brigade, it was re-organised to reflect the pecking order. The British Army, being enornously 'tribal', would not countenance a more senior battalion taking a position behind a lesser battalion. Order of Precedence goes like this Household Cavalry are most senior Royal Horse Artillery Cavalry Regts RTR Royal Armoured Corps Royal Artillery Foot Guards Infantry of the Line Supplementary Reserve Militia Territorial Army (inc Yeomanry, then RTR, then RAC) There is a fairly comprehensive Order of Precedence listing in Malcolm Bellis' book 'Divisions of the British Army 1939-1945' Regards, John