Jump to content

Recapturing my innocence with the help of a Matchbox Meteor


Recommended Posts

Once upon a time, many years ago, there was a boy who liked aeroplanes and had dreams of becoming a fighter pilot.  He would stare at the mid Wales skies, which, in those days, were full of RAF aircraft.  Jaguars, Harriers, Phantoms, Dominies , Hawks, Tucanos and Tornados were regular sights, as were Wessex, Sea Kings and Chinooks.  Even more exciting were the American aircraft such as the F-15 and the A-10.  The boy studied any information he could about these aircraft and could identify them by both sight and sound.  The latter days of the Cold War were a delight for a boy who understood and loved the hardware, if not the reasons for its existence.  He lived for aeroplanes, talking non-stop about them to everyone who would listen, and often to people who wouldn't.  The boy devoured books about aeroplanes and fighter aces, of Dambusters and Douglas Bader.  His teacher told him about his own youthful experiences of military aircraft in the "Swansea Blitz" of WW2, watching the skyline in flames as Hitler's Luftwaffe pounded the docks and seeing the RAF fighters of the day engaging them above the burning city.

 

One Christmas, when the boy was perhaps nine years old, Father Christmas visited his tiny village school, presenting the boy with a box wrapped in shiny paper.  At the given signal from the teacher the children ripped the wrapping from their presents, shrieking with joy as they did so.  Aware of the teacher's eyes on him, the boy carefully unwrapped his in spite of the other children's more exuberant efforts.  The paper fell away to reveal the bright box inside, and the boy felt his world change.  He looked towards his teacher, who stood with a knowing half-smile on his middle-aged, bearded face.  The teacher nodded almost imperceptibly as the boy held up his box.

 

The box contained a Matchbox Armstrong Whitworth Meteor NF.14/12/11 in 1/72 scale, the boy's first model aeroplane.  It looked like this:

 

spacer.png

 

Many years later the boy had grown; gone were his dreams of becoming a pilot.  His teacher, a kind if old-fashioned man by the name of Mr Warburton, was long dead, felled by a series of strokes before the boy had left the little village school.  Model aeroplanes came back into his life much later during the quiet of what became known as "the lockdown", and he remembered the joy of building and painting them from his youth.  When the opportunity to take part in an online group build dedicated to the by now vintage Matchbox kits arose, it seemed the logical choice to locate and build another AW Meteor.  The boy, now a grizzled and battered man of 43, decided to build  and paint the kit in the same way as he had as a child - without the use of an extensive tool kit and painted by hand.

 

This build will be for Mr Warburton, who although I didn't know it at the time, turned out to have been an excellent teacher.

 

Thanks,

 

JRK

  • Like 24
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Goodness me I must be getting soft as I'm almost 🤧 :cry:  naaah must be a cold :wink:

 

Thanks JRK, it's stories like yours that make this GB so special. 

 

Best of luck with your build. :like:

 

Cheers Pat

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, JOCKNEY said:

Goodness me I must be getting soft as I'm almost 🤧

 

Same here, Pat.  We're a proper bunch of soft lads, aren't we?!

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is turning into a popular build in the GB. It looks good when finished but can be a pain matching up the various bits arising from there being 3 versions possible - tail. nose and cockpit inserts, or so I found a year or so ago when I built mine. Hope the decs are better than the ones I had in the Xtrakit rebox - they fell apart, although a couple of oats of varnish did help somewhat.

 

Good luck with this build - hope this trip down memory lane does not result in too much bad language being generated as mine did!

 

Pete

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, PeterB said:

This is turning into a popular build in the GB. It looks good when finished but can be a pain matching up the various bits arising from there being 3 versions possible - tail. nose and cockpit inserts, or so I found a year or so ago when I built mine. Hope the decs are better than the ones I had in the Xtrakit rebox - they fell apart, although a couple of oats of varnish did help somewhat.

 

Good luck with this build - hope this trip down memory lane does not result in too much bad language being generated as mine did!

 

Pete

 

Well, we'll see how much effort it takes to get it together and looking half-decent.  I'm going into it without any expectations in that department, and am going to build it without too much emphasis on accuracy (after all, it's a decades-old Matchbox kit!) and am aiming for a tidy build instead.  I've had the tip about not using the longest nose extension as it's too long, so that's a good start!

 

Have you got any pictures of your build?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is no build thread as it was not in a GB but I found these if they are any help. 

 

This shows the amount of filler used - it took a lot of sanding to get this far, particularly around the cockpit insert.

DSC02088

And this is how it turned out in the end.

DSC02209-crop DSC02211-crop DSC02213-crop

Not perfect but passable.

 

Pete

  • Like 12
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great story JRK, top-man that Mr Warburton.

Completely different context, but a teacher called Mr Campbell had a similar impact on my life. 

Mr Campbell told us stories of a time long ago, when two railways served the Cotswold market town of Stroud.

Despite me not really seeing the point at the time, and certainly without any appreciation - he drummed in the basics of spelling, punctuation and grammar. 

Mr Campbell was my first English teacher at secondary school.

And some of the illegible rubbish that I read on-line, or that landed on my office desk, certainly made me appreciate him in later life - to the extent that I put a small tribute to him onto a photo mug that I used for coffee at work.

Vivid memory of an occasion when a colleague came to me,  asking for proof-reading of a document he was about to publish.   

I said to my manager - who was watching "Mr Campbell has just turned in his grave!"

 

As I mentioned on SteveJ60's thread, I've built the Matchbox Meteor 7 times, most recently in the previous Matchbox GB, so any help is available.

Embedded threads in that link to previous builds, where Photobucket has lost the images.

 

And best of luck with your build,  make Mr Warburton proud.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a fabulous intro. I was lucky enough to be a regular visitor to mid Wales in the 80s, thanks to my parents having a holiday home there. I seemed to spend most of my time scanning the skies to identify the aeroplane responsible for disturbing the peace, which my friends (locals) and resident sheep ignored!
 

Particular favourites are the Hercules (generally seen on Wednesdays) and a 2 seat Hunter, both of which I looked down to see! Plus a one-off sighting of a Canberra which flew, at very low level, directly above us and a Jaguar which screamed past leaving the air crackling & buzzing for several seconds after, something I’ve never understood.

 

We also saw the occasional American aircraft, F-111 screaming along the valley and slower and far more interesting, to this teenage spotter at least, A-10s. 

 

Needless to say, any trip to a larger town would necessitate a search for a kit of the latest aircraft to pique my interest.

 

Edge

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

49 minutes ago, Edge said:

What a fabulous intro. I was lucky enough to be a regular visitor to mid Wales in the 80s, thanks to my parents having a holiday home there. I seemed to spend most of my time scanning the skies to identify the aeroplane responsible for disturbing the peace, which my friends (locals) and resident sheep ignored!
 

Particular favourites are the Hercules (generally seen on Wednesdays) and a 2 seat Hunter, both of which I looked down to see! Plus a one-off sighting of a Canberra which flew, at very low level, directly above us and a Jaguar which screamed past leaving the air crackling & buzzing for several seconds after, something I’ve never understood.

 

We also saw the occasional American aircraft, F-111 screaming along the valley and slower and far more interesting, to this teenage spotter at least, A-10s. 

 

Needless to say, any trip to a larger town would necessitate a search for a kit of the latest aircraft to pique my interest.

 

Edge

 

 

How did I manage to forget the Hercules?!  If you don't mind me asking, where in the area did you stay?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This morning I broke the box open and got to work.  The kit was even more basic than I remember them being way back in the 1980's, but I suppose that's all part of the fun where this GB is concerned.  Having chosen to brush-paint this build has already had an impact, slowing the start  of assembly as the paint dries so much more ponderously than when an airbrush is used.  Still, I've done a lot of preparatory painting, ignoring Matchbox's colour shout for flat black on the interior as I thought this would further limit the view of the cockpit especially.  Instead I went for a dark grey which I will probably wash with a lighter grey panel line wash.  Once the paint I applied this morning is dry I will close up the fuselage, get the tailplane, wings, jet exhausts, air intakes etc on and see where we're at.

 

spacer.png

 

It may not be much to look at yet, but it's a start.  Additionally I have sprayed two coats of Mr Super Clear gloss on the canopy and windscreen (after cleaning them with isopropyl) as they were very rough and needed a bit of rejuvenation.  So far, so good.

 

Cheers,

 

JRK

  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a wonderful thread opening JRK, that's some backstory and I apologise for only getting to read this just now (she's a busy little GB this one!). 

Many Teachers and important people have etched indelible memories in our lives so it's great to see this build dedicated to Mr. Warburton.  I am sure it will end up a fitting tribute to this fine gentleman. 

 

Cheers, welcome aboard and best of luck.. Dave  

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, jackroadkill said:

 

How did I manage to forget the Hercules?!  If you don't mind me asking, where in the area did you stay?

My parents had a place in a small village called Clatter, which is between Caersws & Carno. We saw the Hercules on the back road to Newtown, around Aberhafesp I guess, while the Hunter was, I think, near Mychnlleth. Of course Hawks made up the majority of what I saw (and most of those I saw were camouflaged), so anything different was quite exciting.

 

Happy times indeed!

Edge

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Edge said:

My parents had a place in a small village called Clatter, which is between Caersws & Carno. We saw the Hercules on the back road to Newtown, around Aberhafesp I guess, while the Hunter was, I think, near Mychnlleth. Of course Hawks made up the majority of what I saw (and most of those I saw were camouflaged), so anything different was quite exciting.

 

Happy times indeed!

Edge

 

 

 

I know Clatter very well - my Dad has just bought a house there, in fact.  It's not far from where I live.  Small world, eh?

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay, well, I'm getting to putting it together now, or at leat the earlier stages thereof.    I'm having some serious flashbacks to how hard it was to get it together years ago.  No locating pins, parts that don't fit or match etc etc.  In order to get the fuselage's cockpit insert to fit I had to cut off the bottom of the IP, but I don't think this will be seen as the interior is as dark as Jacob Rees-Mogg's nightmares, even with grey paint rather than black.  There are also some structural issues; the plastic doesn't like TET at all, so for the most part I resorted to using Humbrol Poly Cement.  There is going to be a lot of filling and sanding required, as mentioned above by @PeterB

 

spacer.png

 

spacer.png

 

Some proper gaps showing above, although there are worse issues on the fuselage that I haven't photographed.  All will be revealed later when the filling and sanding shots surface!

 

spacer.png

 

I think the TET is responsible for this weird plastic fatigue on the air intakes.  I'm going to wait until everything is 100% dry and then address these.

 

So far I'm having fun.  I'm also retrospectively far more impressed with the much-younger me for results I got with a lot less know-how and patience!

 

Cheers,

 

JRK

 

 

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, jackroadkill said:

So far I'm having fun.  I'm also retrospectively far more impressed with the much-younger me for results I got with a lot less know-how and patience!

 

Though our eyesight was probably a lot sharper when we were young, I guess we were more tolerant of gaps etc - well at least I was, and anyway, in those days I did not have any filler! Of course tube cement probably helped as it went on thick, the downside being it also got where it was not supposed to go like on canopies..

 

Pete

Edited by PeterB
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, PeterB said:

I guess we were more tolerant of gaps etc

 

Yes, I don't remember having any problem at all with gaping holes, stepped seams etc etc.  I was just happy to have something to hang off my ceiling half an hour after opening the box, as I recall.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

spacer.png

 

Round one of the filling has taken place.  I used Humbrol Model Filler on the huge gaps in the fuselage and AK Modeling (sic) Grey Putty on the wings.  This isn't going to be the last time we see filler making an appearance, I reckon.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe my parts were warped, but the biggest problem I had was with the long horizontal seam between the cockpit upper insert and the fuselage.

 

Pete

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, PeterB said:

Maybe my parts were warped, but the biggest problem I had was with the long horizontal seam between the cockpit upper insert and the fuselage.

 

Pete

The one I built about four years ago had a similar problem with the fuselage insert. I built one years back when it first appeared and the fit was a bit naff even then. It gave me the impression of being a kit that was  rushed into production before the bugs were ironed out. Having said that, it doesn't look bad once finished. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 minutes ago, PeterB said:

Maybe my parts were warped, but the biggest problem I had was with the long horizontal seam between the cockpit upper insert and the fuselage.

 

Pete

 

9 minutes ago, Mr T said:

The one I built about four years ago had a similar problem with the fuselage insert. I built one years back when it first appeared and the fit was a bit naff even then. It gave me the impression of being a kit that was  rushed into production before the bugs were ironed out. Having said that, it doesn't look bad once finished. 

 

This is definitely going to be a big issue on this kit; I'm attempting to do the filling and sanding in sections and have left that trench for the next step.  PeterB, I was mindful of what you said above and attempted to negate this as much as possible during the cementing process, but I'm not sure how much effect this actually had.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...