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modelfan

matchbox kits?

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They are very variable. Some are very worth building - good on shape, easy to build, well-fitting. Others I would not bother with, the ones with shape problems or which have been superseded by better low-cost alternatives. All are light on interior detail by modern standards, but that doesn't bother everyone. Which one did you have in mind?

Edited by Work In Progress

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A lot are still available in Revell boxes. I picked up the old Canberra PR9 just a couple of weeks ago

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Well I suppose it depends on what you want from the build. I have quite a few Matchbox kits in the stash, mainly because I grew up on them, so many have been purchased for pure nostalgia. Most of them will probably get built straight from the box, but stuff like the Stranraer and Privateer will have some extra attention lavished on them.

I love 'em. :) They're the perfect antidote when you're suffering from a bit of AMS.

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For some subjects, they are the only game in town.

No one else makes a 1/72 Supermarine Stranraer, Handley-Page Heyford, Vickers Wellesley or a Fairey Seafox.

Chris

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And why nobody has done a 1/48 Heyford is a question for the ages. I've pleaded with MPM for years, and they claim to be "very interested" but the kit keeps not appearing.

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They can be made into good models, and for some they are the only game in town.

All matchbox :)

43Sqn2.jpg

RF-101Top.jpg

F-86AFinLeft.jpg

cor2.jpg

h3.jpg

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skyknightleftfinish.jpg

Julien

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well, there are some good Matchbox kits which turn into nice models, and if they are the only ones available - go for it. But honestly, if there is an alternative, I rather take it than the matchbox...

Alex

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Hi Modelfan,

Absolutely yes, when I can get hold of them they are terrific kits to build. I was fortunate enough fairly recently to get a little more than 20 Matchbox kits and so far they build fine and the decals also go on the bare plastic very well. The only problem I know have is I have had to give up some of these kits for my kids and wife (non model builder) to build.

I wish that they were still sold in the multi coloured plastic inside the boxes with the windows on the back revealing the great plastic inside. I would still buy them like that and considering the assembly experience etc I think they are probably the best of kits to experience for anyone starting into the hobby.

If you are after some sage advice on building Matchbox kits I recommend you look at this Warhawk build on Britmodeller.

Cheers,

Daniel.

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It can definetly be fun, I love most of their kits! But they have aged... Not worth paying too much for, but that´s just me perhaps..

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I always enjoy building Matchbox kits. They fall together very easily. Of course, they do not contain all the additional detail that people may expect these days. However, as has been said, they did do some very unique subjects and their pre-war biplane kits still stand up very well.

Some kits are better than others. Unfortunately, I would suggest that the Boston is not one of their best.

I recently built their Hawker Tempest and thoroughly enjoyed the build. The decals are from the Special Hobby kit.

8g4ls6Jp.jpg

Edited by Eric Mc

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If you dont take the hobby to seriously or are a (heaven forbid) model builder then a lot of their kits can be quite

rewarding. If you agonise over every rivet then you should probably move along.

In 1/32 scale their ME109 has often been praised for its accuracy.

The Sea Venom is the only game in town and will reward you with a superb replica if you put the hard yards in.

The HP Victor was well received in its day and doesnt look like it'll get replaced anytime soon.

Have a look at the Airfix GB on HS to see what can be done with them.

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It really depends on what you want from your hobby: if you want to spend some time building a plastic kit that fits quite well and then splash some paint and decals on it, they are perfectly fine. If your goal is to build a good and detailed reproduction of a certain subject, most of their kits would be of no interest as there are other kits of the same subject that are infinitely better. Others are still the only game in town and it should be said that some were actually quite good, particularly the biplanes. Others while crude still compare well for accuracy and can be a good starting base to add details. Some are however totally hopeless.

If interested in a particular kit, better look for a revell rebox if this is available, as the original decals may now be useless and anyway the matchbox sheets rarely supplied more than the main markings and only a couple of stencils.

Personally I have a few in the stash I mean to build and there are some I quite like and buy anytime I see one for sale.

It should be said however that today a modeller who just wants a simple kit to build and paint with no fuss about accuracy or detail, can find on the market superior products at a similar price. If I'm happy with a Spitfire, why bother with a matchbox one when I can buy the new airfix or even the way superior academy one ? Why bother with the matchbox P-47 when the revell one is so superior and can be found for the same price ? And so on... a Matchbox kit can be made into a showstopper, but other kits can be made into showstoppers with much less work.....

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I built an Academy Spitfire XIV a few months ago and was very disappointed with its overall shape. So, even though it went together well, it didn't really look like a Spitfire to me.

Matchbox did a Spitfire IX but I wouldn't bother with it today.

Their best kits were the inter-war biplanes. Most of these have not been produced by anyone else - even 30 plus years on.

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Well to see what can be done to a Matchbox kit with some TLC - & modelling skill! - have a look at some recent builds on RFI (as well as Julien & Eric's above!);

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234939337-royal-navy-lynx-1970s-style/?hl=matchbox#entry1304026

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234939399-172-junkers-ju-188f-1-from-matchbox/?hl=matchbox

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234938152-a-different-liberator-pb4y-2-privateer/?hl=privateer

Even if Hasegawa did a brand new Privateer, I doubt I could get it to look as good as Myrsky's in that last link...!!

Keef

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Their Lightnings (EE variety) are way better than the Airfix and Hasegawa/Frog/Frog clones. Trumpeter should have blown everything else away instead of itself.

Academy were due to release one but shelved it when Trumpeter announced theirs.

There are high expectations of Airfix. However if you want a two seater then Matchbox is still the only game in town.

I agree that some of their other offerings e.g. their biplanes are well worth checking out - always wanted the Siskin.

Trevor

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Their Lightnings (EE variety) are way better than the Airfix and Hasegawa/Frog/Frog clones. Trumpeter should have blown everything else away instead of itself.

Academy were due to release one but shelved it when Trumpeter announced theirs.

There are high expectations of Airfix. However if you want a two seater then Matchbox is still the only game in town.

Not really, the Aeroclub conversion still pops up on e-bay - probably as regularly as a Matchbox twin stick, & usually goes for not a lot more - & while it's a different game, it's probably just as easy (if not easier) to get a good R.A.F. Frightning tub out of it as it is to cross kit the Matchbox one with the Airfix kit. And I think the Aeroclub has a bit more accurate nose shape than the Matchbox one...that's if you want an R.A.F. machine of course!

keef

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If the question is specifically about the Boston/Havoc, then this is what you get:

finished1-L.jpg

finished3-L.jpg

It's probably not the best on the market, but I reckon it looks OK...

Personally, I really like Matchbox kits -- they were more part of my childhood than any maker other than Airfix, thanks to availability in the Post Office in the little village where I grew up, whereas Airfix and Frog required a trip into town, and Hasegawa even further afield -- the 50 miles to Exeter Pram and Toy Shop or Barnstaple!

This is the 1/32 109...

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Both these were done for a CBK SIG display back in 2008, which was celebrating Matchbox, so it wasn't a case of choosing the best 1/32 109 around, it was more to demonstrate that Matchbox kits could still produce a creditable model.

bestest,

M.

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Keef

I once got as far as cross kitting the Matchbox T.55 fuselage with the Airfix 1 wings. It was a good fit. However swapping the ventral tank went horribly wrong at the rear end with the fit between the two being totally different. Had I overcome that I could have got a decent T4 or 5 out of it.

Trevor

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..it was more to demonstrate that Matchbox kits could still produce a creditable model.

bestest,

M.

And they both proved that point - great work! Trouble is I'll be looking for a Matchbox Boston now...!!

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Keef

I once got as far as cross kitting the Matchbox T.55 fuselage with the Airfix 1 wings. It was a good fit. However swapping the ventral tank went horribly wrong at the rear end with the fit between the two being totally different. Had I overcome that I could have got a decent T4 or 5 out of it.

Trevor

I've seen some nice ones done that way Trevor, I'm fortunate to have the Aeroclub one in stock though, so don't have to try it myself!

keef

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I love 'em. :) They're the perfect antidote when you're suffering from a bit of AMS.

Yup!

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Mostly all from Revell reissues, just great kits to sit down and have some fun with.

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Always good to see some nice models like those shown here.

However... while as I said before I don't dismiss Matchbox kits at all, I think we should keep some perspective...

Some of the models shown (like the privateer) are very beautiful models where not only a good number of aftermarket parts have been used, but most of all the modeller is clearly a very good one that put a lot of effort into the model. Me, I'd never be able to build a privateer like that regardless of the kit I start with. While the pictures show well what can be achieved, they also showcase more the skills of the builder than the quality of the kit he started with.

Other models while beautifully built and painted, show clearly the limitations typical of most Matchbox production: heavy recessed panel lines (fortunately some had raised ones though), little detail, crude parts. Some of these models while well built and painted also show to a knowleadgeable eye all the shape issues of the original kits.

Matchbox kits were designed for a younger audience, with features that were striking for a kid in the mid '70s (like me): coloured sprues, easy assembly, colourful decal options. No to mention that they were cheap, at least here way cheaper than the corresponding airfix kits. They were great for beginners but only some kits were even in those days better than the competition.

Today there are on the market kits that are not more difficult to build while being 10 to a 100 times better in quality. And they are not more expensive.

Would I suggest another modeller to build a matchbox kit ? Yes if the modeller already has one in the stash. If said modeller had to go and buy one however, I'd only suggest it if:

- the modeller wants to feel what it was like being a beginner modeller in those days

- the modeller is interested in that particular subject that only matchbox has ever done

- the modeller wants one of those kits that matchbox actually did well. And there are a few !

PS: I'm speaking about the aircrafts only, no idea what the tanks and other kits were like

Edited by Giorgio N

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