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fatalbert

Memories of modelling

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1 hour ago, Troy Smith said:

I stuck this link into the Nostalgia thread,  memories of Brighton area model shops

https://www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk/places/placeshop/do-you-remember-the-shop/do-you-remember-the-shop

though i now see i forgot to in Gamleys, the toyshop, which was in the Arcade by Churchill Square, where I spent a lot of time.

I remember Gamleys but remember Model Aerodrome more.  I don’t remember buying anything in Model Aerodrome but I think we used to have a look around whenever in Brighton.  There used to be completed models and RC aeroplanes hanging from the ceiling.  Not been in Brighton for at least a decade, is the shop still there?  I would be reasonably sure I had to walk past it to go to the Bon Soir Club in later life..

 

There was also a Militaria Shop in Trafalgar Street that had ranks of model soldiers in the window, sold militaria medals, reproduction sword, armour etc..

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4 hours ago, Stew Dapple said:

 

In a weird way it's a shame that everything is available on the internet now and can be delivered in the post to the comfort of your own home, as I (and many other contributors to this thread, no doubt) have some very fond memories of the various shops I have visited over the years.

On 3/30/2020 at 10:10 PM, fightersweep said:

 

What was painful was the weekly wait for Saturday, the pocket money and then legging it in any direction to spend it, as any compass point from home had some sort of shop that sold model kits. Model shops, toy shops, newsagents, hardware stores etc, etc. Spoilt for choice weren't we? What was even more painful was spending the week prior obsessively making mental lists of potential purchases and trying to break it down to something that would be affordable: ie: a series one Airfix kit or a purple range Matchbox kit. Anything bigger than that was a rarity unless I could save. Mmmm? Unlikely.

 

 

Got to endorse those points.  I don't know how the younger modellers look at the hobby now but certainly "back in the day" it was (for me) almost a 'lifestyle' thing.  Shuffling through the bagged kits was a tour of discovery and the amount of nominally useless information we picked up from the description on the back of the folded paper bag header was ludicrous.  "Arial Arrow?  Whazzat?  Stephenson's Rocket?  CAC Boomerang?  Westland Scout?"  Great days, in many ways.

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24 minutes ago, Dave Batt said:

In a weird way it's a shame that everything is available on the internet now and can be delivered in the post to the comfort of your own home, as I (and many other contributors to this thread, no doubt) have some very fond memories of the various shops I have visited over the years.

That's sort of true I guess but I grew up in a small town in Canada, and all that was available in the way of a hobby shop was a newsagent with a small stock of matchbox kits and humbrol paint - these was also a toy shop a bit further off (beyond permitted cycling range) which stocked some of the bigger American brands (Revell, Monogram, Lindberg and awful testor's paint!). I guess this was late 60s eraly 70s. And then I discovered the Squadron Shop mail order. I vividly remember negotiating birthday/Xmas gifts in order to get my Dad to agree to writing a cheque for a certain amount (can't remember how much) followed by hours studying the catalogue to decide just how to spend it. This of course was followed by an agonising wait for the order to arrive - and then the excitement of arrival day! One kit I remember from that first order was the Monogram 1/32 Grumman F3F with the undercarriage that retracted when you turned the propellor. I was so pleased with myself when I got that built and working - that model probably had more landing gear cycles than any real example. 

 

Scale modelling doesn't seem to have been a big thing  in my part of Canada in the early 70's - I don't recall any dedicated shops even in my nearest big city (Montreal) though there were a number of shops catering to RC and control line models (I also made a few large rubber powered flyers and sailplanes ... but that's another story). I don't think I stepped foot into a genuine model shop until I moved to Southampton UK in '88, where we had a couple of decent independents and of course the ubiquitous Beatties. Sadly all gone now.

 

Cheers,

 

Colin

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7 hours ago, Stew Dapple said:

When I moved to Southend as a teenager, there was a pretty good selection of Kits in the Beatties inside Keddies department store on the high street, a pretty good toy shop with kits on Thorpe Bay Broadway where I bought an Airfix 1/24 Stuka after pulling a 24-hour shift at work (I blamed delirium when quizzed by my girlfriend) and a good model shop up by Chalkwell Park; unfortunately the names of those two shops is now lost to me.

Ah! A fellow Southend modeller. Not sure on the shop in Thorpe Bay as it was outside of the range of my little leggies. The shop by Chalkwell park I think would have almost certainly been Blackwell's Models. That ended up moving to Rochford and then went solely mail order I believe concentrating on dolls houses and RC stuff.

 

I'm thinking late 70s to late 80s, but there was also Owen Wallis in the high street that did kits, Wings and Wheels up in Leigh. Beatties in Keddies as mentioned as well as Woolies. There was Bermans in Southchurch Road that had lots of kits downstairs (where you always got folllowed around while browsing.) Flying Colours in the Ridgeway, Chalkwell (one of my favourite shops run by Dave, an ex para who introduced me to my first Heller kit). Argosy Toys had a good selection of kits and supplies, and the short lived WWII Plus in Station Road Westcliff (photo included). Shame it was short lived as it also had a collection of artifacts to look at too in the shop, including a Pratt and Whitney R-2800. The shop at the Historic Aircraft Museum also had a nice selection of kits, my last purchase there being a Novo P-40 (it was all I could afford and I remember being naffed as the decals broke apart in the water). Then of course, there was practically every newsagent selling kits, usually Matchbox by that time. We also had a few cheapie shops (the sort that sold mops and buckets and solid state radios) that sometimes had the odd kit. Me and my mate found one once that had piles of Revell 1/32 Bf-109Gs and P-40s for a £1 each. Bargain! I'm sure I've missed a few shops, but it was a long time ago 🙂

 

WWII Plus in Westcliff. 1981 I think...

49718067957_5ce16e501d_c.jpgWW2 Plus 3

 

Steve

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2 hours ago, Dave Batt said:

Got to endorse those points.  I don't know how the younger modellers look at the hobby now but certainly "back in the day" it was (for me) almost a 'lifestyle' thing.  Shuffling through the bagged kits was a tour of discovery and the amount of nominally useless information we picked up from the description on the back of the folded paper bag header was ludicrous.  "Arial Arrow?  Whazzat?  Stephenson's Rocket?  CAC Boomerang?  Westland Scout?"  Great days, in many ways.

Totally agree with you Dave. Despite my week's worth of trying to make my mind up, it was still the magic of perusing the stock in a shop that got the imagination fired. All that lovely box art, discovering types I knew nothing about and cussing my frugal allowance as those 1/24 Superkits on the top shelf were awe inspiring, along with the big bombers and other larger kits. I wanted them all! Even more exciting (this was after Airfix went bust) was finding very old kits high up on dusty shelves in newsagents that had been there for years. I found an Aerial Arrow (funny you should mention that) and a SRN.1 in type 3 boxes that way and was made up. I wish I still had them now.

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It's hard to pin down exactly what started off my interest in modelling and aviation, but two things spring to mind. Firstly, my favourite uncle bought me a couple of model kits (the old Revell 1/72 P-51D and an Airfix 1/144 BAC-111). I guess I would have been maybe five years old at the time. The second was the Brooke Bond History Of Aviation card set, which came out in 1972, when I was six. Certainly, by the time the card set came out, I was a die-hard aeroplane nut!

 

For the most part of my childhood, all I ever wanted was model kits, much to the exasperation of family members. I've never quite worked out why those who don't build models have such disdain for the hobby, but I have encountered some real hatred for it over the years. Anyway.......

 

After the first two models, I remember my parents coming home with a batch of kits that they'd got from somewhere (I never did find out). Amongst them was a Hasegawa Alf, Revell Kaydet and three Airfix kits: a Yak-9, and Islander and the waterline Rommel. My parents made and painted these kits after the mess I'd made with the first two.

 

I grew up in St Neots, Cambridgeshire and my local newsagent was A.G. Fry on Longsands Parade. They had a range of model kits over the years but the first one I remember seeing (and coveting) was the Revell 1/32 Fw 190D-9. Eventually, it was mine! My dad made it and my mum, being something of an artist, painted it. I think they must have been quite proud of it between them, as it sat, pride of place, on top of the television for quite some time.

 

Along with my local newsagent, St Neots also had the Toyman in the arcade and Scott's Sports (which had a small corner packed with kits) and later, Fishers sold Matchbox kits at bargain prices. Further afield, Huntingdon had Sports & Fashions and another shop on Chequers Court whose name escapes me. Bedford had  the brilliant Gasgoines (one of those hardware/model shops that Bedfordshire used to have so many of), Bryan Scale Models and Goldings, while Cambridge had Ren Models and later, R&D Models. Plus you could always rely on Woolies for Airfix kits.

 

One member of my family who never seemed to mind buying me models was my nan, bless her. My parents were quite young, my dad getting a mortgage at 21 (as did I) and consequently, we never seemed to have any spare money. My nan would bring me kits from time to time to keep me occupied and I remember being really excited when she turned up with the Matchbox Beaufighter. We went into town together to get some paint for it and while I can't remember which shop we bought them from, got some Precision Paints Extra Dark Sea Grey and Sky for it. My nan was also a bit of an artist and loved painting, so she was quite keen on me getting the right colours for it.

 

I would have been fifteen or sixteen by the time I started buying model magazines, most likely started by the free decal sheets given away with Scale Aircraft Modelling. That's when I discovered mail order model shops (and also the perils of sending off cheques, when Capital Model Supplies went bust, cashing my cheque and not sending any kits, gutting for a sixteen year old with next to nothing!)

 

One last memory- biting off the "nubbin" on a tube of Airfix glue and the contents emptying out onto my tongue. That's a taste you don't forget!

 

Cheers,

Mark.

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16 minutes ago, lasermonkey said:

I would have been fifteen or sixteen by the time I started buying model magazines, most likely started by the free decal sheets given away with Scale Aircraft Modelling. That's when I discovered mail order model shops (and also the perils of sending off cheques, when Capital Model Supplies went bust, cashing my cheque and not sending any kits, gutting for a sixteen year old with next to nothing!)

Good memories. Thanks for sharing. I only ever bought one magazine as a teenager, and that was Aircraft Modelworld that started in 84 I think, so I remember most of those mail order people. I only ever ordered one kit via a postal order, and that was a vac form 1/48 Seafire 47. ID models? I can't remember.

 

One thing that really annoyed me about that magazine was the endless conversion articles. Annoying, because this was the early 80s and modelling was in a slump, so to be confronted with an article for a Nene Lancaster conversion that glibly tells you to hack up two Frog Gloster E28/39s for the engine pods. Well! Where was I going to find them as a 14 year old modeller, and if I did have them, I wouldn't have hacked them up. Frustrating! It didn't cater for younger modellers either, assuming you were a seasoned modeller with a healthy stash and a fixation with Skybirds kits and pre war Frog kits. I still bought it each month though!

 

Steve

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It just dawned on me that , whilst discussing Bradford model shops of the 1970s , I'd omitted to mention The Bargain Stores .  This was in Great Horton Road , just across from Great Horton Library & was primarily a hardware shop run by a gentleman called Phil Tolledano, but he was an authorised Airfix stockist and had a decently stocked model section at the rear of the shop .  It was almost entirely Airfix with a few oddities such as Aurora knights in armour .  Since almost everything I bought in those days was Airfix , this suited me admirably .  Phil was an accomplished modeller who was happy to dispense advice & I spent many happy hours there .  Sadly , circa 1977 he decided that the hardware business was declining & was offered a job in management at a big retailer whose name I cannot recall , closed the shop & moved to Blackpool .

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Frizinghall Models and Railways still exists, though it’s now upstairs in an industrial unit between Baildon and Guiseley...

 

I grew up in a small village in North Cornwall. Stratton Post Office has a good selection of the smaller Matchbox kits (for some reason I bought a couple each of the Hs126 and Helldiver...), the general store had the odd Revell kit and, weirdly, a whole lot of small scale LS (I think) kits that might have been 1/144 or 1/100. Oddly, the little Mace Stores where my friend Jeremy lived also had the Aurora Knights. I never asked his parents why just those, even though I bought several, including the guy on horseback.

 

Weekends were time for visits to the thriving metropolis of Bude. Weys, the newsagent on the main drag, had an extensive Airfix selection, with Superkits, Classic Ships and the likes of the Hercules and B-29. Further down was a sports shop which sold a goodly selection of Frog kits. And then there was Truscotts, a DIY and household goods Aladdin’s cave. Amongst the labyrinth of small rooms that made up the store, there was one with the walls lined with bagged Airfix kits and Britain’s soldiers, and another where the full range of Matchbox appeared including the big Spitfire, Dauntless and Lysander. Plus all the cars, though for some reason the Aston Martin Ulster was the only one I bought in that era of my modelling. Finally, some time around 1980, a dedicated model shop appeared among the chi-chi plant and crockery shops in Julia’s Place, an arcade at the bottom of town, by the river front. The owner was a railway enthusiast primarily, but he started selling me the hard stuff... Hasegawa and Fujimi. I had a squadron of Phantoms from him, but the piece of resistance was a P-3 Orion, which I was really proud of when I’d finished. My friend Tristan built a pretty passable and well filled Flight Deck of the then-current CVN-65 populated by Hasegawa Phantoms, Airfix Tomcats and a Fujimi Hawkeye. Eventually, though, the lure of Looney Toons Records across the way, with its classic rock and new post punk vinyl dragged me away, and I started spending my money on different kinds of B-52s, and Blondie. It helped that it was where the pretty, cool girls hung out on a Saturday afternoon, of course...

best,

M.

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21 hours ago, lasermonkey said:

 

For the most part of my childhood, all I ever wanted was model kits, much to the exasperation of family members. I've never quite worked out why those who don't build models have such disdain for the hobby, but I have encountered some real hatred for it over the years. Anyway.......

 

Cheers,

Mark.

Mark, it's a shame if this thread turns to 'the dark side', but all I will say is "you're not alone".

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On 01/04/2020 at 04:40, Stew Dapple said:

When I moved to Southend as a teenager, there was a pretty good selection of Kits in the Beatties inside Keddies department store on the high street, a pretty good toy shop with kits on Thorpe Bay Broadway where I bought an Airfix 1/24 Stuka after pulling a 24-hour shift at work (I blamed delirium when quizzed by my girlfriend) and a good model shop up by Chalkwell Park; unfortunately the names of those two shops is now lost to me.

If you mean the one up at The Elms on the London Road, it was Ray Rippons. Basically, they were a cycle shop, but they sold a good selection of Tamiya kits too. But what I really used to drool over were the Japanese and Korean brass HO scale US locos. The Union Pacific Big Boy was my favourite. Can't help with the Thorpe Bay one though as I never used to venture down that way. Too posh for an Eastwood boy.

 

John.

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2 hours ago, Dave Batt said:

all I will say is "you're not alone".

Look on the bright side: we have something to serve as distraction/relaxation that leaves something tangible.
Others bingewatch video. 

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16 minutes ago, alt-92 said:

we have something to serve as distraction/relaxation that leaves something tangible.

More than that - modelling provides a very useful range of skills which can be scaled up to the real world ... painting, using tools, problem solving etc. etc.

 

Many times my hardware challenged offspring will ask me to fix or adapt something and ask "how did you know how to do that?" 90% of the time its something I learned in 1/72 scale 🙂

 

Cheers,

 

Colin

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6 hours ago, ckw said:

More than that - modelling provides a very useful range of skills which can be scaled up to the real world ... painting, using tools, problem solving etc. etc.

 

Many times my hardware challenged offspring will ask me to fix or adapt something and ask "how did you know how to do that?" 90% of the time its something I learned in 1/72 scale 🙂

 

Cheers,

 

Colin

 

Yes! My eldest daughter's boyfriend had a broken switch on his game controller but wasn't working at the time and didn't have the money for a new one. I took it into my room and took the controller apart. One of the little plastic swivel pins had broken off. I cut off the pin on the other side, drilled a hole through both, then superglued a piece of brass rod through the holes. I re-assembeled the controller and gave it back. From start to finish, it took maybe half an hour. That was almost 5 years ago and the controller still works. He was impressed.

 

I have fixed and repaired many things over the years. Dolls and their sundries for the daughters and stuff around home. 

 

 

Chris

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10 hours ago, Bullbasket said:

If you mean the one up at The Elms on the London Road, it was Ray Rippons.

Ah! Thanks. I had forgotten Ray Rippons myself. I knew of the shop, but never managed to get there myself as it was a bit far from where I lived. Do remember passing it when out in Dad's car though.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/1/2020 at 4:40 AM, Stew Dapple said:

When I moved to Southend as a teenager, there was a pretty good selection of Kits in the Beatties inside Keddies department store on the high street, a pretty good toy shop with kits on Thorpe Bay Broadway where I bought an Airfix 1/24 Stuka after pulling a 24-hour shift at work (I blamed delirium when quizzed by my girlfriend) and a good model shop up by Chalkwell Park; unfortunately the names of those two shops is now lost to me.

 

On 4/1/2020 at 12:22 PM, fightersweep said:

Ah! A fellow Southend modeller. Not sure on the shop in Thorpe Bay as it was outside of the range of my little leggies. The shop by Chalkwell park I think would have almost certainly been Blackwell's Models. That ended up moving to Rochford and then went solely mail order I believe concentrating on dolls houses and RC stuff.

 

I'm thinking late 70s to late 80s, but there was also Owen Wallis in the high street that did kits, Wings and Wheels up in Leigh. Beatties in Keddies as mentioned as well as Woolies. There was Bermans in Southchurch Road that had lots of kits downstairs (where you always got folllowed around while browsing.) Flying Colours in the Ridgeway, Chalkwell (one of my favourite shops run by Dave, an ex para who introduced me to my first Heller kit). Argosy Toys had a good selection of kits and supplies, and the short lived WWII Plus in Station Road Westcliff (photo included). Shame it was short lived as it also had a collection of artifacts to look at too in the shop, including a Pratt and Whitney R-2800. The shop at the Historic Aircraft Museum also had a nice selection of kits, my last purchase there being a Novo P-40 (it was all I could afford and I remember being naffed as the decals broke apart in the water). Then of course, there was practically every newsagent selling kits, usually Matchbox by that time. We also had a few cheapie shops (the sort that sold mops and buckets and solid state radios) that sometimes had the odd kit. Me and my mate found one once that had piles of Revell 1/32 Bf-109Gs and P-40s for a £1 each. Bargain! I'm sure I've missed a few shops, but it was a long time ago 🙂

 

A journey down memory lane as there are some very familiar names there.

 

@Stew Dapple yes, the shop by Chalkwell Park was Blackwells of Hornchurch, it was originally half way between Hockley and Rochford and the shop in Thorpe Bay was Wings and Wheels which I think specialised mainly in radio control models so was frequented by my school friends who were  more into their Tamiya Radio Control Buggies. 

 

@fightersweep was Owen Wallis the shop at the top of the High Street near Victoria Circus opposite W H Smith or was it at the bottom of the High Street near the sea front ?  There was also a small model shop on the first floor of the Victoria Circus Shopping Centre which sold the obligatory LS 1/1 scale guns and always seemed to have a Monogram B-36 on their shelf which my parents always refused to let me buy but I've still got a Tamiya Dragon Wagon laid down in my loft which I brought for half price in Berman's closing down sale.

 

There was also a toy shop in Rayleigh, Rayleigh Prams, which stocked an acceptable range of Airfix kits which was always a mandatory destination during the school holidays. 

Edited by Richard E

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Posted (edited)
46 minutes ago, Richard E said:

 

@fightersweep was Owen Wallis the shop at the top of the High Street near Victoria Circus opposite W H Smith or was it at the bottom of the High Street near the sea front ?  There was also a small model shop on the first floor of the Victoria Circus Shopping Centre which sold the obligatory LS 1/1 scale guns and always seemed to have a Monogram B-36 on their shelf which my parents always refused to let me buy but I've still got a Tamiya Dragon Wagon laid down in my loft which I brought for half price in Berman's closing down sale.

 

There was also a toy shop in Rayleigh, Rayleigh Prams, which stocked an acceptable range of Airfix kits which was always a mandatory destination during the school holidays. 

Of course! Blackwell's was Blackwell's of Hawkwell. Visited there in the 84 trying to flog them a few old locos hoping to raise some money for some Tamiya stuff. No luck with that little enterprise! Remember the shop in Vic Circus too and remember the LS guns. I finally bought one from Flying Colours in the Ridgeway, the Colt M1911, and my mate bought the Walther P.38. Seem to remember them taking a bit of saving but we felt like Bodie and Doyle once we'd built them.

 

Owen Wallis was down the bottom end of the high street, just up a bit from Woolies. All the kits were on the second floor if I remember correctly. I bought an Airfix B-17G from Owen Wallis in 79 after saving for five painful weeks, and I might have bought a Heinkel He-177 from there as well at some point. I can't for the life of me remember when Owen Wallis shut though.

 

Edit. I must have confused Wings and Wheels as being in Leigh, not Thorpe Bay.  For some reason I though that was the shop on the corner of Thames Drive in Leigh.

 

49728552988_3e6e570fc3_z.jpg

 

Steve

Edited by fightersweep

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, fightersweep said:

Of course! Blackwell's was Blackwell's of Hawkwell. Visited there in the 84 trying to flog them a few old locos hoping to raise some money for some Tamiya stuff. No luck with that little enterprise! Remember the shop in Vic Circus too and remember the LS guns. I finally bought one from Flying Colours in the Ridgeway, the Colt M1911, and my mate bought the Walther P.38. Seem to remember them taking a bit of saving but we felt like Bodie and Doyle once we'd built them.

 

Owen Wallis was down the bottom end of the high street, just up a bit from Woolies. All the kits were on the second floor if I remember correctly. I bought an Airfix B-17G from Owen Wallis in 79 after saving for five painful weeks, and I might have bought a Heinkel He-177 from there as well at some point. I can't for the life of me remember when Owen Wallis shut though.

 

Edit. I must have confused Wings and Wheels as being in Leigh, not Thorpe Bay.  For some reason I though that was the shop on the corner of Thames Drive in Leigh.

Thanks Steve

 

Owen Wallis had closed by 1983 when I was at college in Southend, the kits were on the right hand side of the first floor as you went up the stairs (the little details you remember) and I can remember seeing the He-177 there alongside Revel's 1/32nd scale F-14 and Harrier kits.

 

Sadly Wings and Wheels has now closed, technically it was in Leigh but that part of Leigh which the residents refer to as Thorpe Bay.

 

I'd love to know what the shop at the top of the high street was: it sold a range of craft materials, books and stationery and had a well stocked model section on the first floor, my mum once brought me an Airfix A-300 from there.

Edited by Richard E

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6 hours ago, Richard E said:

I'd love to know what the shop at the top of the high street was: it sold a range of craft materials, books and stationery and had a well stocked model section on the first floor, my mum once brought me an Airfix A-300 from there.

I think I remember that shop. Top of the high street almost opposite WH Smiths? If it's the one I'm thinking of, I bought an Airfix 1/48 Grumman Prowler from there. Never built it for some reason. I've got a mate who might remember, so I'll drop him a line, although it does sound a lot like the current Lawrence Matthews shop, but I don't think it's that.

 

Steve

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That's sounds like the one Steve.

 

It wasn't Lawrence Matthews, his shop was originally in the Victoria Circus Shopping Centre and then moved to Queens Road.

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There was also a shop in Prittlewell, next to St.Mary's church. It was/is a pram shop, but they also sold, mostly, model railway stuff. It's still there, but only selling prams etc now.

 

John.

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15 minutes ago, Bullbasket said:

There was also a shop in Prittlewell, next to St.Mary's church. It was/is a pram shop, but they also sold, mostly, model railway stuff. It's still there, but only selling prams etc now.

Blimey! That shop has been there for ever. Never knew it used to do model railway stuff as well. Also opposite one of my old watering holes, the Golden Lion.

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On 3/29/2020 at 7:19 PM, dogsbody said:

Having to get my Mum to come with me to the toy section of the department store because they wouldn't sell me a tube of LePage"s plastic cement. It was the late 60's and some teenagers were huffing that stuff to get high so stores stopped selling it to teens. 

Yes, buying a kit on Friday evening, when Mum did here grocery shopping the getting home to start building. Painting was done on Saturday and by Sunday it was airwar with some of my completed kits. The smell of Testors PLA paints. Saving up a few weeks allowance so I could buy that Airfix B-29.I also had to buy more Testors Silver paint for that one.

 

 

 

Chris

In my very early days of modelling, I used to give my mother (who was going into the city) a list of Matchbox product codes, with the instruction to get one from near as top of the list as possible - or something like that. I wasn't allowed to go into the city on my own yet, but that changed as soon as I got into secondary school.

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