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Crookedmouth ":-/" (As seen on iPlayer)
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Emhar WW1 British Mk A "Whippet" Medium Tank - 1:72 Plastic Model Kit
Emhar WW1 British Mk A "Whippet" Medium Tank - 1:72 Plastic Model Kit
Offered by Modelsales
Price: £9.35

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tanked up, 19 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Whippet was designed to act as a fast and agile tank to break through enemy lines. The two bus engines gave this 14 ton beast a sprightly 8mph capability. That sounds pretty slow it had a 4mph advantage over the more familiar MkI/II Heavy tank.

This is a relatively simple kit comprising a paltry 18 pieces. The tracks, (the bane of the tank modeller's life) are in this kit molded in solid styrene and are already "attached"*. This really couldn't be simpler to build. The detail is pretty decent too, with engraved panel lines and raised rivets. These latter are a little large to my inexpert eye, but once the kit is painted they will, no doubt, blend into the final finish.

There is a choice of decals - a very simple olive green scheme with either British or German markings.

A rather nice little kit of a less than familiar subject.

* Pay no attention to the other review which says that the tracks come as separate black rubber. They don't


Airfix 1:72 RAF Benevolent Fund BAE Hawk Gift Model Set
Airfix 1:72 RAF Benevolent Fund BAE Hawk Gift Model Set
Price: £12.16

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Faith, Hawk and Charity, 18 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The BAe Hawk has acted as the RAF's advanced trainer since 1976 and is also flown by the Red Arrows aerobatic team. This box set gives you the opportunity to paint the Hawk in a paint scheme devised in 2013 by the RAF to publicise the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. For every kit sold, Airfix have pledged to donate 50p to the RAFBF.

What you get in the rather larger than normal box is an Airfix Hawk T1 kit, a collection of acxrylic paints suitable for the rather psychedelic scheme (red, white and blue, with cream and grey to finish the details), two brushes (nos 0 & 4), a tube of glue and some decals that allow you to complete the plane in the RAFBF scheme. There is a paint scheme sheet and Airfix's quite distinctive instruction leaflet.

The brushes are quite decent quality, the acrylics will always come in handy and the glue will also make a useful addition to the modelling tool box.

The kit itself comes in four grey styrene sprues (and one clear canopy part) and is rated at Airfix's Skill Level 1 (the easiest skill level). The parts are nicely molded with engraved panel lines of intermediate finesse (some of Airfix's kits have panel lines that Luke Skywalker could fly his X-Wing down). The detailing is pretty good all 'round, and the cockpit interior and undercarriage legs are quite decently represented. Fit is good and there shouldn't be much need for filler or sanding. Some aspects of construction will need some skill - the tailerons and dorsal strakes need to be carefully set with a particular angle off the true (dihedral) and the kit will require a little weight added to the nose if it is to sit on it's own undercarriage. Consequently, I think, the Skill Level 1 is a tad optimistic, especially if you consider the intricate paint scheme which will need a steady hand and eye.

I think this is a really nice kit and it will make a very distinctive stand-out piece in any modeller's collection. The charity connection makes it particularly special.


Airfix 1:72 Scale BBMF Collection Gift Set
Airfix 1:72 Scale BBMF Collection Gift Set
Price: £26.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My god! It's full of aeroplanes!, 18 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight was formed in 1957 and operates a large number of historic aircraft. Amongst these, Lancaster PA474 is it's most iconic member - one of the two surviving airworthy Lancs in existence. Spitfire MkIIa P7350 is an actual Battle of Britain veteran and Spitfire PRXIX PM631 is the flight's longest serving member.

A real bruiser of a kit, this gift set comes in an enormous box and allows you to build the Mk IIa and PRXIX Spitfires and the Lancaster. You may be tempted, as I first was, to consider that a Spitfires is a Spitfire is a Spitfire and two in one box is a bit much... why not a Hurricane? But actually the MkII and PRXIX are two very different looking aircraft - even down to the colour schemes (green and brown camouflage and photo recce blue). Still and all, it would have been nice to have a Hurri instead of, or as well as, the Spifires.

As for the kits themselves, these are Airfix's more recent versions of these aircraft, and beautifully rendered they are too. The Lancaster in particular has a wealth of internal detail on the cockpit, undercarriage and bomb bays and the gun turrets. The external detailing is great too, including Airfix's now familiar engraved panel lines. There are some extremely fine parts to be added (aerials and the like) and, with 108 construction steps and 236 pieces, this is NOT a kit for the beginner. You will also need a fair bit of display space for the Lanc - the model tops out at 432mm in span - not far shy of half a metre.

Although technically complex, the Lanc builds well with little need for filler or advanced techniques. You will need to drill some holes in the fuselage and do some internal paintwork before you close it all up so careful attention to the instructions is essential.

The two Spits are equally nicely manufactured although, being rather smaller, they are also much easier to build.

There is a nice three 'plane display stand and the kit includes all the paints you will need to finish the models (as well as a tube of glue and two rather nice brushes).

This is a lovely kit and it will keep the modeller of the house occupied well past Christmas and into the New Year. The Lanc is definitely NOT for the newbie though and a little experience is essential.

Five sumptuous, glorious and well-earned stars.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 18, 2014 9:09 PM BST


Airfix 1:72 Scale RAFBF Design a Hawk Scheme Gift Set
Airfix 1:72 Scale RAFBF Design a Hawk Scheme Gift Set
Price: £12.80

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All you need to build the model and a charity donation as well!, 16 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The BAe Hawk has acted as the RAF's advanced trainer since 1976 and is also flown by the Red Arrows aerobatic team. In 2013 Airfix and the RAF Benevolent Fund held a competition for members of the public to design their own paint scheme for a Hawk aircraft. This box set gives you the opportunity to paint the Hawk in the winning scheme - one that apparently may be adopted by the RAF for one of their aircraft. For every kit sold, Airfix have pledged to donate 50p to the RAFBF.

What you get in the rather larger than normal box is an Airfix Hawk T1 kit, a collection of acxrylic paints suitable for the rather psychedelic scheme (red, blue and black, with cream and grey to finish the details), two brushes (nos 0 & 4), a tube of glue and some decals that allow you to complete the plane in the competition winning scheme or a slightly modified RAF markings version. There is a paint scheme sheet and Airfix's quite distinctive instruction leaflet.

The brushes are quite decent quality, the acrylics will always come in handy and the glue will also make a useful addition to the modelling tool box.

The kit itself comes in four grey styrene sprues (and one clear canopy part) and is rated at Airfix's Skill Level 1 (the easiest skill level). The parts are nicely molded with engraved panel lines of intermediate finesse (some of Airfix's kits have panel lines that Luke Skywalker could fly his X-Wing down). The detailing is pretty good all 'round, and the cockpit interior and undercarriage legs are quite decently represented. Fit is good and there shouldn't be much need for filler or sanding. Some aspects of construction will need some skill - the tailerons and dorsal strakes need to be carefully set with a particular angle off the true (dihedral) and the kit will require a little weight added to the nose if it is to sit on it's own undercarriage. Consequently, I think, the Skill Level 1 is a tad optimistic, especially if you consider the intricate paint scheme which will need a steady hand and eye.

I think this is a really nice kit and it will make a very distinctive stand-out piece in any modeller's collection. The charity connection makes it particularly special, although 50p out of a £13 kit feels a little bit stingy.


Airfix Quick Build Challenger Tank Model Kit
Airfix Quick Build Challenger Tank Model Kit
Price: £9.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a big challenge, 16 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Airfix's Quick Build range is a bit like a cross between a traditional Airfix model and a Lego kit. Actually, it's more Lego than Airfix and when Lego's patent ran out recently, Airfix clearly saw an opportunity for a construction kit for younger, budding model builders.

So, this is something that falls somewhere between a real model and a toy. Whereas a "proper" Airfix kit will require glue, paint, a fair bit of time and no little skill, the "Quick Build" line is constructed very much along the line of Lego kit. You get about 30 parts, some stickers and a nicely visual instruction sheet and a stand and the whole thing simply clips together in a few minutes to produce something that looks rather like a Challenger tank.

All in all, this is a nice looking kit and good enough to serve as a toy, an introduction for the young up-and-coming modeller or a quirky desk ornament for a grown-up armour enthusiast.


The Martian
The Martian
Price: £3.42

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mars a day stops your work, rest and play, 15 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Martian (Kindle Edition)
Mark Watney* has a problem. Quite a big problem. He's stranded on the planet Mars (it's a long story) with a year's worth of supplies. No one on Earth knows he's alive and the planned return mission won't land for another five years. What's a guy to do? Well, most of his survival tactics seem to involve setting fire to his habitat...

Andy Weir self-published The Martian in 2012 and if there's any proof needed that self-published novels CAN be good, then this - emphatically - is it. The self-published ebook sold like hotcakes before it was picked up by a print publisher the following year and it's now in development as a big-name movie.

The story is good, solid, hard science fiction, a cross between any castaway story you care to name and any astronaut-in-peril story you care to name. There's a healthy dash of techno-thriller in the mix with plenty of MacGyveresque science to keep the nerds happy. To be honest, some of the technical descriptions left me standing but it's easy enough to step around these points and get on with the story.

The writing is strong, competent and easy to read. However, the delivery swaps between First Person (Watney's Mars Survival Journal) and Third (events back on earth. This jarred to begin with in more ways than one. In particular, Watney's personal account helps to build a strong and sympathetic character portrait, whereas the characters covered in the other sections seem to lack any real oomph, faceless bodies for the most part, whose only role is to move the plot forward. As the story moves forward this becomes less of a problem, but it never quite goes away and the book suffers for it.

But what the hell?! The plot is a real corker! While it's nothing new (stranded, struggle to survive, race against time), follows a very klinear and predictable course and the eventual outcome is hardly beyond doubt, Weir somehow manages to weave a classically unputdownable story that easily transcends the narrative problems and literary cliches. I loved it. It's been a long time since I've read deep into the night but, having started reading one evening in bed, I eventually had to force myself to go to bed at 2:30 the following morning and then squeeze in a couple more chapters before truddging - gritty-eyed - to work a few hours later**. Every other chapter seems to be a cliffhanger and the lead character is so engaging (and witty) that you're dragged (willingly) from page to page.

In spite of its flaws, this is an enjoyable and hugely impressive debut.

* "Mark Watney" is no name for an astronaut. "Buzz", "Buck" or "Jim" perhaps, but "Mark Watney"? It makes the poor guy sound like the third-in-line heir to a failed brewing empire...

** Hence the review's title


Airfix Quick Build Bae Harrier Aircraft Model Kit
Airfix Quick Build Bae Harrier Aircraft Model Kit
Price: £9.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jump!, 14 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Airfix's Quick Build range is a bit like a cross between a traditional Airfix model and a Lego kit. Actually, it's more Lego than Airfix and when Lego's patent ran out recently, Airfix clearly saw an opportunity for a construction kit for younger, budding model builders.

So, this is something that falls somewhere between a real model and a toy. Whereas a "proper" Airfix kit will require glue, paint, a fair bit of time and no little skill, the "Quick Build" line is constructed very much along the line of Lego kit. You get about 30 parts, some stickers and a nicely visual instruction sheet and a stand and the whole thing simply clips together in a few minutes to produce something that looks rather like a Harrier jump-jet.

This particular kit isn't quite as good as some of the other Quick Builds. The fit of the parts ain't great and some force was required to get some oif the bits to mate properly - also, the wings in particular were a little unsatisfactory. The instruction sheet was also a tad off and I'm pretty sure that the recommended order of construction for the fuselage parts was wrong - I would suggest using the instructions as a guide and following your instincts. On the other hand, once constructed, it looks pretty good and there is a surprising amount of surface detail.

All in all, although it is let down a bit by the overall quality, this is a nice looking kit and good enough to serve as a toy, an introduction for the young up-and-coming modeller or a quirky desk ornament for a grown-up aircraft enthusiast.


The Moon's a Balloon
The Moon's a Balloon
Price: £4.68

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit name-droppy..., 6 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
David Niven started life relatively inauspiciously; having lost his father to the Great War, he was unceremoniously shunted from boarding school to boarding school, gaining a reputation as a bit of a delinquent and suffering somewhat as a result. He eventually earned a commission to a Scotish Regiment in the British Army, but soon discovered a talent for acting. He travelled to Hollywood and, not without difficulty (and the intervention of the Second World War, in which he played an active part) he achieved the stardom he craved.

Despite his image as a genteel upper class Englishman, his first speaking part was as a cockney sailor, uttering the words ''Orl right. I'll be off then.' before being hurled into the street through the window of a brothel. He went on to star in a number of films of note from the inter war and post war periods; "The Prisoner of Zenda", "Dawn Patrol", "Wuthering Heights", Powell & Pressburger's classic A Matter of Life and Death, before winning a Best Actor Oscar for "The Moon is Blue".

Perhaps the whole superstar autobiography has been cheapened over the intervening decades by the "famous for being famous" bio, written a few months after the sleb's first film/eviction from the BB house/second place in Britain's got talent. At least Niven could claim to have earned a notable place in the entertainment industry's history books before sitting down to write about himself. When he did so, he indulged in a fair bit of unapologetic name-dropping, which does become a little repetetive after a while. Perhaps this is why the book does seem to lack a little of the charm for which he was himself noted.

Nevertheless, it sold over five million copies. "The Moon's a Balloon" is certainly an engrossing account of the early days of the Hollywood phenomenon, interlarded with a number of amusing anecdotes - he was considered by some to be a better raconteur than actor. And when he does name-drop - and, of course, he was perfectly entitled to do so, having mixed with the great and good (and not so good) - there is nothing superficial about it, providing an unique insight into many of the legendary denizens of the West Coast film industry.

A classic.

"Guy Gibson ...was in a rare state of excitement because Winston Churchill had invited him to dinner at 10 Downing Street on the Monday. Guy made a date with us for luncheon at one o’clock on the following day so he could report everything the great man said. ... three o’clock when he came tottering in looking ghastly, eyes like dog’s balls. ‘How was it?’ we asked. ‘Marvellous – fabulous!’ he croaked. ‘God! I’m tired – that was the best yet!’ ‘What did he say?’ ‘Who?’ said Gibson. ‘Churchill,’ I said with a touch of asperity. Gibson looked stricken – Then he clutched his head. ‘Jesus Christ! – I forgot!'"


Airfix Quick Build Messerschmitt Desert Model Kit
Airfix Quick Build Messerschmitt Desert Model Kit
Price: £7.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Achtung! Messerschmitt!, 22 Sep 2014
Airfix's Quick Build range is a bit like a cross between a traditional Airfix model and a Lego kit. Actually, it's more Lego than Airfix to be honest and when Lego's patent ran out recently, Airfix clearly saw an opportunity for a construction kit for younger, budding model builders.

So, this is something that falls somewhere between a real model and a toy. Whereas a "proper" Airfix Messerschmitt 109 will require glue, paint, a fair bit of time and a little skill, the "Quick Build" line is constructed very much along the line of Lego and simply clips together in a few minutes to produce something that looks a little (well, more than a little - I'm being uncharitable) like a Bf109.

You get about 35 parts, some stickers and a nicely visual instruction sheet and a stand.

For those who are interested, the finished plane is about 25cm across the wings, making this model roughly 1/40 scale.

As far as the "lego-ness" is concerned, it's not quite as high quality as the real branded stuff, and the fit is just a little sloppy in places. Nothing to write to your MP about, but not excellent.

I do rather like this kit. I bought it for a slightly whimsical desk ornament at work and it fits that bill perfectly. I shall certainly buy the Airfix Quick Build Spitfire to go alongside this chappy.


Airfix Quick Build Lamborghini Aventador Car Model Kit
Airfix Quick Build Lamborghini Aventador Car Model Kit
Price: £7.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Airfix Aventador, 20 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Airfix's Quick Build range is a bit like a cross between a traditional Airfix model and a Lego kit. Actually, it's more Lego than Airfix to be honest and when Lego's patent ran out recently, Airfix clearly saw an opportunity for a construction kit for younger, budding model builders.

This IS a very easy kit to build and it took me about 10-15 minutes. The 30+ parts snap together fairly easily although one or two were difficult to locate or resisted joining up with their neighbours. The stickers (there about 25 of them) are also quite fiddly and I needed a pair of tweezers in order to place some of them.

It builds up to a nice representation of a sports car and it runs along the floor smoothly enough on rubber tyres. Building it lacked a lot of the satisfaction from a traditional glue & paint kit, so while it's makes a fun, novelty toy (albeit not a cheap one) it's probably not for the serious modeller.

Photos uploaded


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