(October 2010)

There’s something wrong with me, I’m sure of it. There are hobby shops full to overflowing with kits of Spitfires, Mustangs, Bf109s and Tigers in every mark and variation, but they hold no interest for me. With these kits you can knock our a more than respectable model with little effort, just cut the parts off the sprues, glue them together and do a bit of a paint job and the model is completed and looks lovely. Most modellers seem quite happy with this and it fills their modelling hearts with glee. But not mine. Sure, Spitfires and Mustangs are beautiful enough and I’ve made more than my share, but my affliction leads me off into fields of flagellation and self abuse that seem to have no power over other modellers.

Let me demonstrate by having a brief look at a couple of the items on my modelling bench at the moment.

First is a relatively harmless little bit of fun, a Boeing 717. Nobody sensible makes a kit of this, I have a Sasquatch kit in my Treasure but it makes a Dujin kit look like a Sunday picnic. Instead, the end result is achieved by hacking away at a kit of a MD-83 because, as we all know, the 717 has a shorter fuselage than a MD-83. It is not difficult to find out how much shorter on the internet, but working out which part of that length comes before and which from aft of the wings is the trick. In the end I resolved this problem by counting windows and allowing for the fact that the windows from the MD-83 kit and the Hawkeye 717 decals I planned to use are not quite the same size. I would give you the solution to this puzzle but I’ve lost the piece of paper that I carefully wrote the figures on. Then I had to replace the tail with a conversion part acquired from a mob in Australia and new engine pods acquired from Brazil. Neither are flash and need a great deal of work to fair them into the rest of the airframe, but that’s about the limit of this folly.

If you want to inflict a lot more hurt on yourself the VLE Models vacform 1/144 LeO 213 is what you have been waiting for. I’m making this because nobody else makes a kit of this, although I can hope. No sooner had I completed the VLE Wibault 283 than F-Rsin released a lovely little resin kit of it and not long after I completed the Welsh Models vacform Breguet 762 F-Rsin released a good injection molded kit. So I have hopes…

If I were to go into the details of trying to turn this kit into a model your eyes would fill with tears, and not of joy. Most notable among the challenges was that the fuselage halves were nicely rounded but the real LeO is slab sided – lots of filler went into that. Yet to come is the business of affixing the upper wing to this little monster. I can’t wait!

You will also notice that both kits involve the colours red and white, silver and gold. Lots of fun there too. The thumb-screws would be more pleasant, if I could only find them again.

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