I really must protest…


This was a comment on  Scale Modeling Nostalgia after the link to the Matchbox model fan site was posted…the stated reasons for the lack of fond memories was “…their heavy use of “trench” control and panel lines, and those multi-color parts…” This statement is sacrilege for so many of us who grew up with Matchbox and Corgi diecast cars – couldn’t afford the cooler Dinky range – and whom began to transfer our allegiances to the like of Airfix, Revell and Frog – Monogram and Tamiya also being well beyond the budget…

Then, 1973 Matchbox catalogue announced models, beginning the long wait until the first kits appeared in the window of Victor Nelson’s shop in Oamaru (still going strong as at Christmas 2009!). I think the Huey Cobra was the first one I built, followed in close succession by many others and somewhere in the garage I still have a Heyford awaiting its turn on the production line, slow as it is…

Far from being discouraged by the ‘trench‘ lines, that was detail!; and ‘those multi-color parts‘? You could be finished and ready to fly the same day you bought the kit without having to wait for paint to dry. The Matchbox range expanded to a range of aircraft from trainers (with authentic RNZAF markings) to four-engined bombers like the mighty Victor; then kicked off a range of military models, followed by ships and larger scale aircraft…which only really became accessible for many of us when we returned to the fold in middle age…

The attraction of the Matchbox range, besides the low cost and multiple colours, was that it opted for less usual subjects and marking options…sure there was the normal spread of Mustangs, Spitfires and Bf-109s but like the Huey Cobra, so many of it’s releases were unique…many like the 1/32 Lysander, Puma and Sea Vixen still are, thirty plus years later…it’s unfortunate that things didn’t quite work out as planned for the Lesney company and it folded in the early 80s. Revell has since picked up the torch and so most, if not all of these classics are still available under the Revell flag…

The fan site also mentions the Matchbox Tribute Book that “…in July/August 2007, members of the Unofficial Airfix Modellers Forum collaborated in a Group Build of Matchbox kits, specifically to celebrate the work of Mr. Maurice Landi. There were no rules, other than to try and recapture the joy of modelling that, for many, began with building Matchbox kits many years ago. This book is a record of the project….” I’ve seen this book and can only describe it as 48 pages of nostalgia and memories which is available from on-demand publisher Lulu. There’s also a link on the sidebar to the right of this page to the Unofficial Airfix Modellers Forum which is a great and very unpretentious site for modellers to show off their builds, especially of the classics without being picked over like some of THE modelling sites…

Enjoy…

2 thoughts on “I really must protest…

  1. I was an enthusiastic (if highly incompetent)model building growing up and I, for one, really enjoyed the multi-colored parts. My inability to put together two pieces of plastic without smearing glue over everything was only surpassed by my inability to apply paint in anything remotely resembling the paint scheme in the instructions.

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    • Never too late to pick up the ball again…even if you don’t get back into the same way, the threat of a rapidly growing stash in the bedroom closet adds extra weight to arguments for season tickets, that new boat, the long-promised oft-postponed holiday, etc…

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