A model childhood

It’s been a strange month, where for some reason random memories have been
re-surfacing, spurred on by some equally random triggers.

Today was no exception – after a work visit to the Army Air Corps centre at Middle Wallop, I called in at the Museum of Army Aviation for lunch…

It’s not the first time I’ve been, but on the way out this time I glanced to the left and noticed an old helicopter on display in the adjacent field.    A Westland Scout.

And suddenly, I was transported back as a little boy, playing with my collection of Airfix toys – my favourites being my Westland Scout collection – they were easily the cheapest Airfix model at the time, and I would regularly pick one up with my pocket money from Woolworths and hastily glue it together, apply the decals (carefully floating them off the backing paper in a dish of water) and eagerly waiting for them to dry.


My airfix models included many aircraft, like the SAAB Viglen, Harrier jump jet, Spitfire, and (well before the  flight simulator apps we can download today) I would learn to land them – by carefully attaching two drinking straws under the wings with sellotape, and with some careful trim weights (plastercine) to balance them, and by threading them on to two lengths of wool that were tied to my mum’s pelmet, or clothes dryer, I could lie on the floor having slid the plane up the wool and balanced it precariously on the pelmet, pull the wool taut and make the plane slide down the wool “glidepath”, releasing the tension slightly at the end to flare the plane and drop it safely on my makeshift runway.  some wool worked better than others.  the heavy plys snagged in the straw.   It was an exact science – and black wool obviously worked best – pink wool sort of spoiled the realism of the whole setup.

Later on I moved up to Battleships and armed with my Bismark and multiple Leander class frigate collection, and a role of lining paper for the sea, I would go round to my friend’s house two doors up, and pitted against his own collection of models, play naval war games after school using a book we had found in the local library.


As I got older I ventured into bigger and better models, including R2D2, The original Star Trek Enterprise and my favourite Colonial Viper.    Why don’t I make models these days?

I’m not sure why I’m having a flood of old childhood memories, but may the nostalgia continue, I’m quite enjoying the recollections…

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