Monday, November 30, 2009


We’re great fans of ‘what-if?’ scenarios at SMN, so the latest 1:72 scale kit from Fantastic Plastic really hits the spot. It features a spacecraft design that was certainly real enough, but that may - or may not - have been built and flown. During the 1960s, the US Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory (AF-FDL) built several small test models to discover the optimum shape for hypersonic re-entry from Earth orbit. Some reports suggest that several of these FDL concepts were blown up to full-size test vehicles. Among them was the FDL-6, a 10 m (33 ft) long spacecraft built under contract with Lockheed.

Drawn from official USAF documents, this new FDL-6 kit depicts the manned version of this top-secret test vehicle, as it may have been carried in (and flown out of) the Space Shuttle's cargo bay in the early 1980s. The 23-piece kit was created exclusively for Fantastic Plastic by BLAP! Models and includes a detailed cockpit with ejection seat, landing gear and markings for either a NASA test craft or operational U.S. Air Force version. The final model measures 114 mm (4.5 in) long.

The 1:72 scale FDL-6 is now available for $70 USD, plus shipping. Find out more at the Fantastic Plastic Virtual Museum Store here.

The pictures above show:
1 FDL-6 kit art
2 Parts laid out
3 One of two possible marking schemes.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


The HAMEX co-hosted event is on tomorrow Sunday, November 29. If you’re in reach (there’s a map on the link below), it’ll be well worth coming.

HAMEX (Hanslope Model Expo) model-master Mat Irvine, will be showing his BBC Special Effects models and props, including the Doctor Who K-9 robodog, the Liberator spacecraft from the classic Blake’s 7 TV series, and a world-first: space models from the 1973 BBC science fiction series Moonbase 3.

UPDATE Mat will also have some spacecraft models from the ultra-long running astronomy series 'The Sky at Night' hosted by Sir Patrick Moore CBE. Mat will also run question-and-answer sessions at 1130 and 1430, when K-9 will be rolling around!

HAMEX co-host Paul Fitzmaurice of Little Cars will be showing tools and accessories for model makers.

Scale Model News will display a range of items from the SMN vaults, plus a slide show.

Check out the Hanslope Model Expo here.

Check out Little Cars here.

If you like spacecraft models, check out the interesting Space Craft Science Kits site here.

Friday, November 27, 2009


This ocean liner kit makes a nice change from the fleets of warships on offer - it’s Revell’s 1:700 scale take on the Cunard vessel Queen Mary 2. According to Cunard the real ship is the “grandest, most magnificent ocean liner ever built”. Ooer, that’s some claim, though inspecting the Cunard website does make the QM2 and her sister liners look pretty amazing, so we won’t quibble with the hyperbole here. And at 345 m (1132 ft) long, with a 151,400 tonnage, she’s a mighty ship indeed.

As for the kit, 1:700 has quietly achieved a ‘standard scale’ status in recent years, and gives an impressive but manageable size for ships like the QM2 - she scales out at some 494 mm (19.4 in) long. The kit has 323 parts with a two-piece hull, and plenty of detail that includes eight launches, 14 lifeboats and a pair of speedboats. The funnel includes the signalling horns which, by the way, can be heard for 16 km (10 miles) on a quiet night!

Overall then, an interesting model for liner lovers. However, a ‘kit of kits’ waits in the wings for some manufacturer. Just take a look at the interior detail in the cutaway drawing above. Wouldn’t that be a totally droolworthy item in kit form, especially if it had LED lighting and even some nautical sound effects!

ps. If you take your terrier on a QM2 voyage, your pampered pet will receive not only the services of a special Kennel Master, but also a complimentary gift pack of animal goodies. Hey ho, meantime for the SMN crew it’s beans on toast for lunch...

The pictures above show:
1 Revell 1:700 scale Queen Mary 2.
2 Cutaway view of the QM2.
3 The QM2’s Grand Lobby.

Visit the Cunard QM2 site here. There’s also a link to a webcam on the ship’s bridge which refreshes every minute.

The 1:700 scale QM2 will be available shortly from model stores and online suppliers. Meanwhile, the QM2 is already made in several scales, which you can look at here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Report: Mat Irvine
The model companies have made not only trains and boats and planes, plus cars and tanks and the odd rocket, but also a wide variety of, shall we say, somewhat ‘different’ subject matter. One favourite has been the ‘engine’ itself, whether it's a car engine, aircraft engine or, in Airfix’s case, early engines that powered the Industrial Revolution.

The first release in the 1970s Airfix ‘Museum Models’ range (later the ‘Collector’s Series’) was a Beam Engine, followed by the 1804 Trevithick Steam Locomotive, then a Paddle Steamer and Four Stroke engines were added. And now Airfix has reissued two of them, the Beam Engine and Trevithick’s Loco.

Presented in Airfix’s new-style boxes, the kits remain more or less as they were three decades ago, except that mention of potential motorization has been removed. This may leave modellers scratching their heads as to what the extra ‘mystery’ parts are for, and this isn’t exactly helped with the Trevithick especially, as the first instruction is an error - it has been reproduced from the Beam Engine plan. But once you’ve got over that, construction is straightforward enough.

The tooling has mostly survived the decades well (not always the case with old kits) and the moving parts still work, albeit with a bit of care. The finishing colour appears to be optional. One scheme is the all-black that appears on the box and on most replicas, but this does give a somewhat sombre look. My build was finished in the optional dark green, with a black funnel.

The Trevithick comes with a neat display base, which originally held the motorization components. Scale isn’t mentioned on the kit itself, but the Airfix website lists it at 1:32, which seems about right. At present it’s uncertain if the other two kits in the range will be reissued.

The pictures show, top to bottom:
1 Boxes for the Steam Loco and Beam Engine.
2 Trevithick’s locomotive in green and black finish.
3 Page from the 1976 Airfix 13th catalogue, showing all four Museum Models.

These models are available from model stores and online suppliers, including Amazon here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Hasegawa’s new take on the Ma. K (Maschinen Krieger) sci-fi universe, first created back in the 1980s by Japanese artist Kow Yokoyama, continues to expand, with a new combat craft soon to be available to 1:35 scale.

The Lunadiver Stingray from the Ma. K Mercenary Army looks to be a neatly crafted addition to the Hasegawa range, and a delight for all sci-fi buffs. It’ll fit neatly on a sheet of A4 paper, at 303 mm (11.9 in) long by 163 mm (6.4 in) across the bulging side pods. There are two well-sculpted figures included - and as it’s to the popular military 1:35 scale, you’ve got a wealth of choice for any extra figures you might care to add. A set of modern military figures, equipped with high-tech combat gear would complement the Lunadiver Stingray well, and of course they can be reconfigured in any way you like to ‘science-fictionalize’ them.

Incidentally, the Ma.K universe is set in the 2800s, and concerns the repopulation of the Earth as our planet cleans up after a nuclear war. The story concentrates on the fighting that happens between various factions trying to control gain control of this future world. So Ma. K’s creator isn’t looking for anything much to change in the human condition then...

The Hasegawa 1:25 scale Lunadiver Stingray should be available before Christmas.

Visit Hasegawa here.

Visit Kow Yokoyama here.

There’s a nice dirtied-up Lunadiver here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Here’s another trail for the HAMEX event we’re involved with this coming Sunday, November 29. If you’re in reach (there’s a map on the link below), it’ll be well a visit, so do come along and visit us if you can.

HAMEX (Hanslope Model Expo) is masterminded by Mat Irvine, who will be bringing along lots of his BBC Special Effects models and props, including the Doctor Who K-9 robodog, the Liberator spacecraft from the classic Blake’s 7 TV series, and a world-first: space models from the 1973 BBC science fiction series Moonbase 3.

Mat will be hosting two informal question-and-answer sessions, one at 1130, one at 1430 - and if you’re a dog-lover (or a robot fiend) then K-9 will be in rolling-robot demo mode!

HAMEX co-host Paul Fitzmaurice of Little Cars will be there too, with a galaxy of tasty tools and accessories for model makers.

David Jefferis (‘Mr J’) of Scale Model News will show a fascinating range of items from the SMN vaults, and with luck we’ll be showing some videos too.

Check out the Hanslope Model Expo here.

Check out Little Cars here.

Mat Irvine’s site is here.

Monday, November 23, 2009


The Modell Hobby Spiel (‘Model-Hobby-Play’) is held every October in Leipzig, Germany. It’s a show that features plastic kits, model rail, creative design, games and toys. And this year Revell-Germany decided to let visitors to the show vote for the winners in its annual ‘Scale’ model competition.

So, with no appointed experts in a judging panel, how have the results stacked up, now the winners have been announced? Well, as you can see from the pictures above, craft excellence shines through to expert and amateur alike, and there can’t really be any disputes as to the general quality of those chosen. The top winner is Peter Hofstetter, for his 1:24 scale Bussing 8000 truck (top picture). No arguments with this from SMN, and we particularly like Peter’s ripped canvas, which gives the model a nice used touch. Mind you, he had a good kit to begin with - many truck aficionados reckon this is one of Revell’s best-ever vehicle kits.

The other pictures give you a taste for the variety of winners, and it’s nice to see that this year Revell has introduced categories for younger model fans. Peter Hofstetter will be presented with the Scale 09 award on December 4, when he’ll also get the chance to meet the press and go behind the scenes at Revell-Germany. Great stuff Peter!

Pictures courtesy Revell-Germany.

Visit the winning entries page here.

Amazon has a wide range of Revell kits here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Now that dank winter's here (at least in northern climes anyway) we could all do with a reminder of those lazy, hazy days of summer...

And what better way than to dream about 2010's beach breaks in a VW camper van - so here's Revell's solution for model fans, the 1:24 scale Samba bus.

This pair of assembled beauties was spotted by Mat Irvine at the UK IPMS Scale ModelWorld show recently, so we thought you'd like a quick peep. It's also a trailer for the next SMN Freeebook which should be ready very soon, and these VWs, plus a host of other showstoppers, will be included for your delectation.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Ready-built models get bigger and better, and Japanese company Bandai’s 1:144 scale Apollo Saturn V just has to be the largest space item ever produced. The ‘full-stack’ Saturn is due in March 2010, and should have all space enthusiasts reaching for their credit cards, though it’s fair to say that the cost will likely be in the wallet-shredding $500-550 USD (£300-330 GBP) price band. Still, for something like this specialist mixed-material item, who’s complaining about price - after all the new Airfix 1:24 Mosquito is north of £120 GBP ($200 USD).

So what does Bandai supply with this 768 mm (30.25 in) high Apollo, produced in cooperation with the Apollo Maniacs website? Firstly, all sections separate like the real thing, including the cylindrical interstages. The Lunar Module (LM) can be linked to or separated from the Command/Service Module (CSM). As for display, the stand is mirrored so you can inspect the detailed Rocketdyne F-1 engine cluster at the base. There’s also an optional lunar surface base for LM, US flag and astronaut figures. A third stand allows the separated rocket sections to be displayed horizontally.

This looks like it’ll be a landmark product, and one we’ll be fascinated to see in closeup when it’s released.

Thanks to Apollo Maniacs for the video.

Visit Apollo Maniacs here.

Amazon Japan is taking discount pre-orders here.

Hobby Link Japan also features the rocket here.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Here’s one for UK visitors only: an ends-on-November-30 offer from Corgi. It’s for free post and packing on anything you order. It’s something of a tempter, especially if you’re already thinking about placing an order.

Corgi’s online shop is full of interesting diecast goodies - the 1:50 scale truck range continues to be a success story, as does the 1:36 scale James Bond series. These are attractively packaged in book-style boxes, with the Pierce Brosnan set a nicely crafted vehicle duo. This one packs the Aston-Martin Vanquish and Jaguar XKR which featured in the movie Die Another Day, one of the best of the newer Bond movies in SMN’s opinion. Not that you have to agree of course - we all have our faves!

The set packs a nice addition, a set of four movie posters: Die Another Day, GoldenEye, The World is Not Enough and Tomorrow Never Dies. All boxes are individually numbered.

The pictures show, top to bottom:
1 Corgi 1:50 scale trucks.
2 Pierce Brosnan 1:36 scale Bond set.

Have a look at the Corgi online shop here.

And there’s a host of James Bond items here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Report: Mat Irvine
The UK branch of the IPMS (International Plastic Modellers Society) held its annual National Meeting at the International Conference Centre, Telford the weekend before last. There were two main halls, plus a slightly smaller one used for the competition area. The main halls were packed with trading stalls and club stands, which incorporated SIGs (Special Interest Groups) the ‘Interests’ of which ranged widely - Korean War, seaplanes, NASA, Wallace & Gromit and much more besides.

One of the show's prime interests for aircraft fans was the sneak peak of what has to be the most anticipated model kit ever - the Airfix 1:24 scale de Havilland Mosquito. Airfix Product Manager Trevor Snowdon talked kits with customers, while in front of him stood the ‘wooden wonder’ (well, plastic in this iteration) itself, a Mosquito in part-assembled test-shot form. And very nice it looked, with pale-grey parts laid out around. The box was there too, and really showed off the excellent design trend exhibited by Airfix these days - brightly attractive for general buyers, yet clean-looking and serious for experienced ones. Just right.

The Airfix 1:24 scale Mosquito will be available shortly. Meantime, other Mosquito kits are available here.

The pictures show, top to bottom:
1 Box-art for the initial version of the Airfix 1:24 scale Mosquito.
2 Test-shot of the Mosquito on display.
3 Trevor Snowden, Airfix Product Manager and one of the driving forces behind Airfix since the Humbrol days, discusss models with a customer.

SMN note:
Mat Irvine took many pictures at the IPMS show, and we’re planning to release these in Freeebook form for you shortly. There are many tasty items, so keep checking for the Freeebook release.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


SMN chanced upon a handsome diecast two-vehicle boxed set last weekend, a cleanish example of a 1992 Corgi release featuring the lead hero from an old UK comic called the Eagle. Launched in 1950, Eagle was a mega-success, with weekly sales regularly exceeding a million-plus. Its quality production (half in full-colour) made the Eagle unique at the time of launch, as did its lead character: a ‘pilot of the future’ called Dan Dare, whose adventures battling evil aliens such as the ‘melon headed’ Mekon inspired an entire generation of young readers to look up to the stars. Sad to say, successive UK governments proceeded to trash much of the UK’s aerospace industry in the years that followed, but that’s another story...

The 1:43 scale Corgi set features Bedford CA and Volkswagen panel vans, emblazoned with pictures of Dan Dare and the dread Mekon. The diecasts themselves are of fairly average quality, but the bright decals and well-produced box packaging turn them into a charming collectible set for lovers of the genre. The images are taken from the year-long adventure Prisoners of Space that began in May 1954. It’s actually one of the less successful stories, with art that came nowhere near the levels set by Dan Dare’s creator, Frank Hampson, but no matter: Corgi made a fine job of decorating its diecast vehicles. The box works for its living too, with frames from a mini-adventure called Operation Triceratops running around the sides. This story was an eight-pager that ran in the 1954 Eagle Annual.

Is the set an investment? Probably not, as it’s worth only about £10-20 GBP ($17-35 USD) despite the limited 7500 production run. On the bright side, this price range keeps the set firmly buyable for Dan Dare and Eagle collectors.

Incidentally, in 1990 Hawk Books published a full-size reproduction volume featuring both stories. There are newer versions available from Virgin which are are cheaper, but reduced in size. Take your pick!

The pictures show, top to bottom:
1 The boxed set, complete with numbered certificate.
2 Bedford CA van.
3 VW van.
4 Hawk Books hardback jacket.
5 Page from the Prisoners of Space strip.

Have a look at the Corgi sets we found on eBay here. If they've been sold by now, a fresh search may bring up some replacements, and also try looking for the Hawk Books hardback if you fancy one.

Copies of the reduced-size Virgin Prisoners of Space can be found here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


More detail please! It’s the cry of many a model fan, and it’s fair to say that over the years the manufacturers have done us proud, regularly achieving levels of quality that were unheard of in times past. And Dragon’s 1:700 scale USS Hancock aircraft carrier is a case in point - it’s packed with useful innovations that allow the keen builder to produce a model with that ‘little bit extra’.

For a start, the 387 mm (15.2 in) long USS Hancock can be built as a waterline or full-hull vessel, making it equally usable as a diorama or display piece. Many fine details have been captured in photo-etched metal form for that extra touch of quality. A transparent flight deck option allows you to see into the hangar deck below. A full-hull or waterline tugboat is included as an attractive come-on to anyone wanting to add nautical interest. There’s also a flight deck crew included, though at just 2.6 mm (.10 in) tall, these are tweezer-only humans! The list goes on, with aircraft that are moulded in transparent plastic, so that even at this scale, you can opt for see-through canopies.

So the answer to the question “can we ever have too much detail?” is probably not, provided it’s well done and doesn’t overwhelm the practical aspects of model building. This particular kit is a fine effort from Dragon and is becoming available through model stores and online suppliers, including eBay here.

The pictures show, top to bottom:
1 Attractive box art.
2 Transparent deck options.
3 Tug boat option.

Monday, November 16, 2009


You might notice a new picture box at top right. This is the 'Expert Guide Library', which is SMN's term for ebooks on a wide range of model subjects, produced in a unique and easy to view screen format.

You can flip from page to page, zoom in and out, read online, or download to pdf for offline viewing. There are just the two entries there at the moment, but we've new titles in the works, from Air Shows to Traction Engines, Model Displays to Doctor Who, Robot Collectibles to Model Trains.

We'll flag out new additions in future, as and when they are ready to view.


Palm-of-the-hand sized 1:43 is the most popular scale worldwide for diecast vehicles, and quite right too - for both display and storage, it’s ideal. Not too big, not too small, and with enough real estate for a good manufacturer to pack in the detail that’ll please most of us.

In the kit world it’s a different matter though, with the bigger 1:24/25/32 scales being far more popular than 1:43. There are some exceptions, including a selection offered by the French Heller company, but while these are OK enough, they're not the absolute state of the art for detail and presentation.

The prize for 1:43 detail really belongs to Monogram’s short-lived ‘Ultimates’ kits, produced in 1990-91. There were just two kits in the ‘range’, a Chevrolet Corvette and an AC Cobra. Nearly two decades on, an Ultimates kit still looks good, presented in a biggish box containing a fine combination of plastic, rubber, and photo-etched metal components, plus decal sheet. The shiny bits are neatly chromed, and the one-piece body free of flash or distortion, just as it should be. The box-top shows the kit’s quality off well - the photo is about twice life-size, yet looks very good indeed.

It’s a pity production lasted for such a short time, and that the range never expanded past these two desirable sports cars. Still, if you’d like to try one or both, Monogram Ultimates appear on eBay from time to time, and are not expensive. It could be worthwhile getting two of each - one to build, one to lay down for the future. We came up with these items here.

Here are some Heller kits to various scales, including a Lotus F1 racer to 1:43 scale here.

The pictures above show:
1 Boxes for both Ultimates kits.
2 Parts for the AC Cobra.
3 Assembled Ultimates Chevy Corvette.
4 A pair of Monogram Corvettes, to 1:43 and 1:8 scale.

Assembled Corvettes supplied by Mat Irvine.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Iron Sky looks like it’s going to be an intriguing 2010 movie. Judging from the video clip we show here, Iron Sky should have Luftwaffe 1946 enthusiasts in seventh heaven (and we’re keen L46’ers here at SMN) as it includes so many popular themes and memes. Secret advanced technology - yes! Secret UFOs - yes! Secret moonbases - yes! There’s even a military sidecar outfit bopping along a lunar highway, though we’re guessing that, conceptually at least, it’s not powered by a BMW flat-twin internal-combustion engine. Pressurized gas from that big tank behind the handlebars might push the cylinders though...

These days the Luftwaffe 1946 fan has a huge range of choice, with even mainstream manufacturers like Revell providing some excellent kits to build. Among Revell’s L46 squadron is the 1:72 scale Focke Wulf TL Jager Flitzer (‘Hunter Streaker’) pictured above, which is a little more ‘real’ than many Luft 46 models, because the original did get as far as wind tunnel testing, though it was cancelled before entering production. The twin-boom layout echoed other designs of the era, including the British Vampire, which test-flew as early as September 1943, and the Flitzer’s predicted single-engine performance was as good as the Messerschmitt Me262 flying on two engines. A rocket booster could have increased speed to nearly match the climb-rate of the famed Me 163 Komet interceptor.

To Revell’s model - the Flitzer is neat and tidy, though it's a confirmed tail-sitter, so you need to pack the forward fuselage with lead-weight if you want the aircraft to stand on its undercarriage unaided. Panel detail is crisp and neatly done, and the general fit of components is good too, which means little filling is needed at the seams. The kit was first released some ten years ago, but it’s lasted well, and would look good in any lineup of Luftwaffe 1946 aircraft. Next year, let’s have some Iron Sky UFOs to build!

There’s an excellent review of the Revell Fw Jager Flitzer by model fan Adam Rehorn here.

You can obtain the Fw Jager Flitzer here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Christmas is coming, and for those living in the US at least, it’s also time for the Hallmark Corporation’s annual Keepsake Ornaments to decorate the tree. Hallmark’s early Keepsake offerings (the line started in 1973) included Santas, fairies, elves, polar bears and the like. But today Keepsake subjects range across the spectrum.

Still, that’s good for us model fans, as Hallmark includes items that are much more interesting than a bunch of mere elves. 2009 includes sci-fi offerings such as the speaking Robby the Robot from the movie Forbidden Planet as featured by Mat Irvine in our video above. The picture shows another movie tie-in, the Ecto-1 Cadillac from Ghostbusters, to roughly 1:50 scale. It too has a good quality sound chip, this time with an excellent rendering of the Ghostbusters musical theme.

Earlier Hallmarks have included spacecraft and characters from Star Trek and Star Wars. You knew Christmas was changing forever when you were presented, not with a festive Santa, but a laser-firing Klingon Cruiser! Hallmark's earthbound styles of transportation currently include both American pickup trucks and classic American cars. Although the scales are not stated, they are pretty detailed representations.

Robby the Robot is in the ‘Nostalgia and Fun’ section of Hallmark’s Keepsake Ornaments site here.

To give you a feel for prices on older items, there’s a collectible Star Trek shuttlecraft on eBay here.

There are other collectible Forbidden Planet items to look at here, and Ghostbusters stuff here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Jenson Button was testing tyres in Japan, so we didn't manage to see him yesterday. Even so, Brackley town centre came to a cheerful halt as just about every spare body in the town turned out to cheer on Team Principal Ross Brawn and CEO Nick Fry, plus three open-top buses loaded with smiling members of the Brawn GP race car team.

Strictly speaking this is not a ‘model fan’ video, but we thought you’d enjoy a look even so. Locals I spoke to all reckoned that Ross Brawn is a decent guy, and the team has certainly put this sleepyish market town on the map. After the speeches, the cameras went among the fans to peek at Ross signing some autographs.

Visit Brawn GP here.

Have a look at some F1 diecast models here.

And some Jenson Button stuff here.

Monday, November 9, 2009


The Formula One world champions this year are UK driver Jenson Button and his Brawn GP race car team. Home town for this winning crew is the market town of Brackley, Northamptonshire, where Brawn’s gleaming new high-tech HQ has been rising during the last few months. And after lunch today, Brackley’s main street will host a homecoming parade and presentations from the town’s worthies to its local heroes. The event should be great fun, and if the weather’s good for the calvacade, we’ll be posting a video here ASAP.

However, Brackley is also home to a model fan or two, including ace designer David Bartlett, who has created some superb paper-engineering projects. Among them is a pair of classic F1 racing cars from the early 1990s, Michael Schumacher’s Benetton B192, and Nigel Mansell’s Williams FW14. These are big models - the Benetton is some 600 mm (23.6 in) long, while the Williams measures 450 mm (17.8 in). The FW14 is one that you could build yourself, for David has made it available as a downloadable pdf on his fascinating paper sculptures website.

The pictures above show:
1 Jenson Button powering to victory in his Brawn F1 car.
2 Benetton B192 paper sculpture.
3 Williams FW14 paper sculpture.

Visit David Bartlett’s paper sculptures here.

Visit Brawn GP here.

Have a look at a mouthwatering range of F1 diecast models here.

And there’s a 1:43 Minichamps diecast in the markings of Button’s teammate, Rubens Barichello here.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


The BBC’s Doctor Who is one of TV’s all-time top sci-fi series, and has a world-wide following in the millions. All the better then, for a sale of Doctor Who items at Amazon, which features a pair of gift sets from Airfix at more than 70 percent off the normal price.

These are a little unusual for Doctor Who memorabilia, as most items on sale out there are ready-builts of one sort or another. The Airfix duo Welcome Aboard and Daleks in Manhattan (video clip shown above) include paints, brushes and glue - just right for whiling away a few of these dark November nights. Even better for this reviewer, sound and light effects are included in both sets, which should really bring these dioramas to life. They’re a good size too - at 1:12 scale, the Doctor’s TARDIS* police box measures more than 240 mm (9.5 in) high, while the Dalek is just over 140 mm (5.5 in).

* Just in case you didn’t know, the name for Doctor Who’s blue transporter vehicle is an acronym for Time And Relative Dimension In Space, and it’s based on an old-style British police box. So that’s all right then - IWOOT!

Visit the featured pair, plus other Doctor Who items here.

Friday, November 6, 2009


00 gauge (1:76 scale) train enthusiasts might like to visit the Hornby website, where there are some mouthwatering bargains to be had. SMN’s choice is the ‘Running light’ pack, with a 4-6-2 West Country class loco and tender, two coaches plus a brake van. The quartet comes priced at a mouthwatering one-third off normal, which has to be good for the pocket.

Hornby trains have come on a storm in recent years, and these models are no exception, with fine detail and good slow-speed running from the locomotive. There are many other items in the sale, including lots of buildings and some N gauge (1:148 scale) products.

Incidentally, there’s a downloadable supermarket interior available as a pdf here.

Check out the Hornby bargains here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Here’s a trail for a UK model event later this month. If you’re in reach (there’s a map at the link below), here’s the date for your diary: Sunday, November 29. It’ll be the first - of many we hope - model events that SMN will be co-sponsoring.

HAMEX (Hanslope Model Expo) is masterminded by Mat Irvine, who will be bringing along lots of his BBC Special Effects sci-fi stuff, including the Liberator spacecraft from the classic Blake’s 7 TV series (top pic above), the Doctor Who K-9 robodog (bottom) and much more besides.

HAMEX co-host Paul Fitzmaurice of Little Cars will be there, with a galaxy of tasty tools and accessories for model makers.

David Jefferis (‘Mr J’) of Scale Model News will present the Win-A-Prize competition, plus a fascinating gallery of items from the SMN model vaults, and with luck we’ll be projecting some videos too.

Check out the Hanslope Model Expo here.

Check out Little Cars here.

Mat Irvine’s site is here.