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Tiger331

The Parlous State of the UK Modelling Magazine market

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2 hours ago, Des said:

However what really does annoy me is reading entries on modelling forums along the lines of the 'the Airtrumpyhobbyiya whatever has just been released ,what aftermarket is available?'  before anyone has even opened the box to see what is inside and if it in fact needs to be replaced or embellished but on the other hand such comments do suggest that there are those among us who have made that choice in pursuing their hobby.

I'm with you in spirit.  It doesn't annoy me as such because everyone is entitled to enjoy their hobby as they wish but it does suggest to me that for some of us money is less of a problem than the discernment to see whether improvements are necessary (and whether any aftermarket offerings, regardless of cost, actually address the shortcomings identified). 

 

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24 minutes ago, Seahawk said:

I'm with you in spirit.  It doesn't annoy me as such because everyone is entitled to enjoy their hobby as they wish but it does suggest to me that for some of us money is less of a problem than the discernment to see whether improvements are necessary (and whether any aftermarket offerings, regardless of cost, actually address the shortcomings identified). 

 

 

...not forgetting that often the aftermarket stuff is no improvement on the kit!

 

My gripe on this subject is manufacturers who market a kit, which you can enhance with their own "detail-up" stuff! Surely that's an admission of failure?

 

And yes I know some may say it caters for those who want a cheaper kit and/or the ability to scratch-build or add their own details, but to me it's blatant opportunism. And again, this add-on stuff often doesn't improve on the kit bits anyway! 

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Bearing in mind that I have a mostly vehicular perspective, I don't think that the lack of detailing parts saves anything. Certainly not in the case of the manufacturer which you probably had in mind. I could give direct comparisons which leave me feeling a bit short-changed. Back to wings, I think that Eduard shows what value can be achieved by doing it in-house and putting a fair proportion of it in the box.

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On 9/5/2017 at 7:33 AM, Seahawk said:

To be fair, that's not entirely a new phenomenon.  ISTR that Alan Hall's  Wasp conversion used 4 Hudson tailwheels, which at 4/6 a kit was heap big money.  Could probably have bought a whole lingerie model for that.

There was an Avro 504N conversion in Airfix Magazine (it may not have been one of Alan Hall's, I've a feeling it could have been Peter Cookesley) that recommended using an engine from the Airfix Hs 129 to represent the twin-row Lynx radial. Not so bad but the author referred back to an earlier 504N article, which predated the release of the Hs129 kit, and remarked "Fortunately, this means it is no longer necessary to recommend the use of a modified engine from a Superfortress kit, as in the previous article"! I think that would have trumped even the 4 Hudsons.

 

I never saw the original article, and I do wonder whether he got it right. The mind boggles at the thought of a 2,200 hp Wright R-3350, however modified, stuck to the nose of an Avro 504.

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9 minutes ago, AWFK10 said:

 I think that would have trumped even the 4 Hudsons.

 

Not at all: 1 Superfortress 12/6 (ie already serious big Christmas present territory).  4 Hudsons @ 4/6 = 18/-

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Reminds me of when I began subscribing to Aircraft Modelworld when it was first published back in 1984. I was 14 years old at the time. Myself and my best mate, another keen modeller, would often get frustrated at the conversion articles that regularly featured. One that springs to mind was the Nene Lancaster conversion by Brian Monaghan IIRC. It required hacking up two Frog or Novo Gloster E28/39s for the engine nacelles. Bearing in mind that the hobby was at a low point then, and we were 14 with not much money to play with, the prospect of either having two spare E28/39s in the stash was aproximately nil. Likewise, finding old and deleted model kits at that age, unless you had access to model show etc, was almost impossible.

 

Most of the articles were like this, where we would wince at the numerous rare and exotic kits that were hacked up for conversions. "You only need to acquire four engines from two Airfix Bristol Super Freighters for this conversion". Two Airfix Bristol Super Freighters??? At that time, I had never even seen an Airfix Bristol Super Freighter in the flesh! 

 

Best regards;

Steve

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For those of us too young to have been there, do any photos exist online of some of these revered, legendary conversions of the 1970s?

 

Thanks

 

Jon

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Give me a month or two, and I'll come across some in the loft. I posted up the Airfix Lanc/Revell Shack to make a Lincoln conversion a while back (still has relevance today, and cheaper than the Paragon conversion, if you can find one). To be fair, occasionally, with forward planning, some dovetailing of projects was possible, if you were skilled. Convert the Halifax with four balsa engines to make an early mark, then donate the spare radials to make a Hercules Lanc, then use the spare Merlins from that to make an in-line Beaufighter, or maybe do a Manchester first. Along the way, admittedly, it helped to have to hand a Sunderland (for its "Botha" turret), and a H2S radome from a Stirling.*

I remember the 504N conversion. It think it was for such reasons that Aeroclub was formed.    

* Which is why I wanted to know how to plunge-mould acetate.

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19 hours ago, Seahawk said:

1 Superfortress 12/6 (ie already serious big Christmas present territory).  4 Hudsons @ 4/6 = 18/-

Oh how it comes back! Series 1- 2s 0d, Series 2- 3s 0d, Series 3- 4s 6d, Series 4- 6s 0d, Series 5- 7s 6d, Series 6- 10s 6d and Series 7- 12s 6d. Examples of kits: Spitfire was series 1, Beaufighter was Series 2, Boston was Series 3, Wellington was Series 4, Lancaster was Series 5, Sunderland was Series 6 and Superfortress was Series 7. 2s 6d (half a crown) pocket money was enough for a series 1 kit and a tube of glue (1 tube per model - no holding back then). Bigger kits meant saving up or getting them for Birthday or Chrismas presents.

 

With regard to Alan Hall's conversions, I have a vague recollection of hearing from the horses mouth that Airfix supplied the kits for his conversions in Airfix Magazine. I recall that for his Ventura conversion from a Hudson he used two Corsair cowlings (and lots of balsa).

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20 minutes ago, Nigel Bunker said:

Oh how it comes back! Series 1- 2s 0d, Series 2- 3s 0d, Series 3- 4s 6d, Series 4- 6s 0d, Series 5- 7s 6d, Series 6- 10s 6d and Series 7- 12s 6d. Examples of kits: Spitfire was series 1, Beaufighter was Series 2, Boston was Series 3, Wellington was Series 4, Lancaster was Series 5, Sunderland was Series 6 and Superfortress was Series 7. 2s 6d (half a crown) pocket money was enough for a series 1 kit and a tube of glue (1 tube per model - no holding back then). Bigger kits meant saving up or getting them for Birthday or Chrismas presents.

 

With regard to Alan Hall's conversions, I have a vague recollection of hearing from the horses mouth that Airfix supplied the kits for his conversions in Airfix Magazine I recall that for his Ventura conversion from a Hudson he used two Corsair cowlings (and lots of balsa).

 

You're showing your age! :D

 

I remember exactly the same and the excitement of buying those kits with hard earned (and saved) pocket money. I think I was probably aged around seven when I had my first introduction to the concept of inflation. I went to Christopher's toyshop in Winter Road in Portsmouth to buy some Airfix Commando soldiers for the expected 1s 7d to be told that the price had gone up to 1s 9d. I do recall leaving the shop empty handed and very disappointed until I had the extra 2d to go and buy them. 

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5 hours ago, Latinbear said:

 

 I think I was probably aged around seven when I had my first introduction to the concept of inflation. I went to Christopher's toyshop in Winter Road in Portsmouth to buy some Airfix Commando soldiers for the expected 1s 7d to be told that the price had gone up to 1s 9d. I do recall leaving the shop empty handed and very disappointed until I had the extra 2d to go and buy them. 

So similar to my own experience.  Summer holidays in Ipswich (from Whitley Bay) and I had to scrounge another 3d from Gran to buy a Westland Scout, which had got me all excitable due to the dramatic painting on the paper header, but the price was 2/3 rather than the expected 2/-.

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Anyone remember the series of Ansons done in Airfix Magazine (late '60s/early '70s?): I particularly recall an overall yellow target tug with black underside stripes. Or did I dream that too? :)

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22 hours ago, Seahawk said:

Not at all: 1 Superfortress 12/6 (ie already serious big Christmas present territory).  4 Hudsons @ 4/6 = 18/-

Blimey, is that all? I'd assumed it would have been nudging the £1 mark. In comparison with the prices Nigel quotes, a bit of inflation had taken place by the time I started modelling: Series 1 was up to 2s 9d. Until I was a bit older, I rarely managed to save enough cash to buy anything more expensive, so I can't remember what the corresponding prices were for Series 2 and upwards. But my dad did buy me a Hudson; he'd served on 459 Sqn RAAF in North Africa. I didn't get a Superfortress until 1999, and I haven't got round to removing the shrink wrap yet......

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1 hour ago, Sabrejet said:

Anyone remember the series of Ansons done in Airfix Magazine (late '60s/early '70s?): I particularly recall an overall yellow target tug with black underside stripes. Or did I dream that too? :)

I don't recall the target tug (which certainly doesn't mean there wasn't one) but there were definitely some articles early in 1971. A pre-war Mk 1, with the original sloping windscreen; a late war version with nose glazing and - I think - engine cowlings from the Frog Oxford, and, IIRC, a C19. Sadly, I no longer have the mags to check.

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1 hour ago, Sabrejet said:

Anyone remember the series of Ansons done in Airfix Magazine (late '60s/early '70s?): I particularly recall an overall yellow target tug with black underside stripes. Or did I dream that too? :)

In Airfix mag

1962 Sept there is an article on recon use with drawings

1962 Oct article on trainers with drawings

1963 Feb a photo of a float Anson

1968 Apr a conversion article to a XII from and Airfix I

1971 Feb a conversion article with drawing to a T.20

1971 Mar a conversion article to a T.1

1971 Apr a conversion article to a I

1972 Aug drawings of civil Anson

 

PM

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I remember the Lincoln conversation article, must have been about the first Airfix Magazine I bought though I didn't start buying it regularly until it went to A4 size (1976?). It was Brian Philpot's Stuka article that caught my eye. 

Was Bruce Quarrie the editor back then? 

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1 hour ago, Patrick Martin said:

In Airfix mag

1962 Sept there is an article on recon use with drawings

1962 Oct article on trainers with drawings

1963 Feb a photo of a float Anson

1968 Apr a conversion article to a XII from and Airfix I

1971 Feb a conversion article with drawing to a T.20

1971 Mar a conversion article to a T.1

1971 Apr a conversion article to a I

1972 Aug drawings of civil Anson

 

PM

Well I think it must have been the T.20 and maybe the yellow Anson was the civil drawings I'm thinking of? I certainly remember a clear nose. Would the yellow markings have been an Indian aircraft? Rings a bell somewhere.

 

EDIT: this one! (it's not a target tug, but is the yellow and black machine I remember):

 

Avro Anson 18C VT-CXT a civil aircrew trainer

 

Edited by Sabrejet

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Sure it wasn't the target tug Defiant? That was an early 1968 conversion too. I had never heard of target tugs before, indeed, I didn't know Defiants ever came in colours other than black. That black plastic put me off buying one between seven and ten. I have a lot to thank Mr Hall for, for he planted the modelling seed deep enough to continue with it as an adult.

I only ever spoke to him a couple of times, at Stoneleigh and such. I suggested that the RAE Raspberry- Ripple fleet would make a good issue of SAM, but he was dismissive. 

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What the last few posts have been highlighting is why I started my business. It was the "source an engine/propeller/wheels etc from the spares box" comments in the vac company instruction sheets. Also I wanted my proposed series of kits to be complete. I think another reason why we have nostalgia for the older magazines is that they did offer you ideas to expand your collection by converting kits by often ingenious ways and lateral thinking (the front of a drop tank can become a spinner). The rise of the "Kit bashers".

 

Alan Hall could be dismissive if he hadn't thought of it first. Just the same as I was dismissive when he suggested that I market my metal ejection seats as "More than just a load in the nose"  I got quite snotty about that! But we owe him and others a dept of gratitude because they expanded the hobby horizons. One no longer just stuck plastic together, you now reshaped it and therefore expanded your horizons and skills. I can remember back in the days when you had to carve a model from wood, mould the canopy and fabricate the detail parts was the norm, the 'Solid modellers' in the Aeromodeller and Model Aircraft decried the new less skilled  plastic kit assemblers.

 

John

 

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Although I didn't buy Airfix Magazine regularly before the mid - 1970s I did pick up a few and I think I recall a debate that went on for a while in the letters column about it photo of a target towing Skua and whether it was painted in silver and red stripes? 

 

John 

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5 hours ago, John said:

Although I didn't buy Airfix Magazine regularly before the mid - 1970s I did pick up a few and I think I recall a debate that went on for a while in the letters column about it photo of a target towing Skua and whether it was painted in silver and red stripes? 

 

John 

I remember that discussion, though I couldn't tell you now where I read it. It began with a chap who was restoring an assembled Frog Penguin Skua - either it had been painted in that scheme or the instructions said it should be (it was certainly supposed to be painted in stripes, witness the box art).

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19 hours ago, Sabrejet said:

EDIT: this one! (it's not a target tug, but is the yellow and black machine I remember):

 

Avro Anson 18C VT-CXT a civil aircrew trainer

 

If I remember rightly, you needed the cowlings from a Frog Oxford (easy at that time) and had to not only carve the higher roofline from balsawood, but then firstly seal it with talcum powder and dope and then hollow it out afterwards! It's only now I wonder why not plunge mould using the carved exterior?

 

I still have the early Airfix manuals and recall a semi scratched Brigand. The fuselage I think was solid balsa, whilst the wings used bits from a He-111 and Bristol Freighter! Transparencies may have been gelatine?

 

Another was a Manchester from the original Airfic Lancaster. Balsa engines, dorsal fuselage plug and lower wing, mid upper turret from a Stirling, but using two of the kit propellers (despite the fact that no attempt was made to reverse the rotation of the blades....).

 

AWH was a constant source of inspiration, although tonthis spotty teenager, his techniques were way beyond my comfort zone.

 

Trevor

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11 hours ago, Big Kev said:

No traders/advertising 

I hope that is not a reference to Airfix Magazine as was in the good old days.

 

I pulled out a few copies covering late 1972/early 1973 and found that including the cover issues back then had either 60 or 64 pages on which between 25 and 28 pages carried advertising.

 

By contrast I checked the latest crop of purely modelling magazines that I take and found :-

Airfix Model World (AMW) had advertising on 26 of 116 pages

Scale Aircraft Modelling (SAM) had advertising on 23 pages of 88 pages

Scale Aviation Modeller International (SAMI) had advertising on 24 of 100 pages

Model Aircraft Monthly (MAM) had advertising on 19 of 84 pages

Fine Scale Modeler (FSM) had advertising on 10 of 66 pages

 

I counted each page on which there was an advert irrespective of the amount of space it used and while in most cases for all magazines full pages were used for advertising purposes part and half page adverts were more common in SAM than in the others including Ye Olde Airfix Magazine.

 

Perhaps goes to show that back when the world was black and white and when modelling magazines really were modelling magazines as some might claim not only was the use of parts from other kits more expensive in relative terms than aftermarket is today but there was also a far higher proportion of those evil adverts.

Edited by Des
added 'in relative terms'

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