Monday, January 9, 2012


SMN update:
The 2012 Airfix catalogue is with us, and the company has a host of tasty new products in the pipeline for the coming year. Here’s a look at some of the good stuff to come.

Big scale helicopters
Airfix is making a name for big helicopters, and here we have two in 1:48 scale. The AgustaWestland Merlin HC3 is a medium-lift tactical machine, and one that’s often seen flying nap-of-the-earth training missions around SMN Towers, announcing its presence with a throaty roar from the triple engines. The Airfix kit will feature a rear loading ramp, plus the assortment of pods, humps, bumps and antennas that sprout from the capacious fuselage of this army combat machine. The model will look good when paired with the Supacat AFVs coming soon from Airfix. 

Lynx helo
The 1:48 scale Westland Lynx comes in three versions, with markings to match. The kit assembles to show that the Lynx is a smaller machine than the Merlin, with a length - even at 1:48 scale - of 318 mm (12.5 in), compared with the Merlin’s 407 mm (16 in). Both kits feature the shovel-shaped rotor tips used on these types, an aerodynamic design feature that combines increased blade lift, while also reducing noise levels.

The Type 45 is the British Royal Navy’s latest destroyer design - one is being deployed to the Persian Gulf just this week - and this kit is to big 1:350 scale, making it ideal for showing off the slab-sided stealth features. At this scale the kit should build to a length of some 435 mm (17.13 in).   

The latest Ford Fiesta is a big sales success in all markets where it is sold, so it’s good to see Airfix bringing us a 1:32 scale rally version. Wide wheels, aerofoils, antennas and assorted body mods make this storming machine much more impressive than the cooking road car, so all the better to build a kit of it. Nice too, that it’s to the same scale as Scalextric cars from the same Hornby group of companies.

The Supacat Coyote is a 6x6 tactical support vehicle that’s a big brother to the Supacat Coyote, also coming from Airfix this year. Both vehicles are in production for the British Army, and we’re pleased to see that 1:48 scale has been selected, making either or both models ideal for diorama displays with other modern weapon systems, especially those Airfix helicopters.

World War II
Excellent news in this department, with a 1:72 scale Spitfire F22 leading the pack. This later-model ‘Spit’ had a five-bladed propeller, retractable tailwheel and bubble canopy. A nice addition to the 1:72 collection, as will be the biplane Fairey Swordfish floatplane. This was an SMN ‘please make’ request when the standard wheeled Swordfish was announced last year, so we’ll be up for this one, just as soon as it’s available.

Photo-etch accessories and add-on parts
Airfix is getting into the aftermarket business with items like this bag of photo-etch accessories for the Supacat Jackal/Coyote. Some might say this is a clever way to keep kit costs down by leaving bits out of the box, but we say it’s a good option for specialists, as mass-market buyers - prime taget for Airfix - are unlikely to want such stuff. Either way, an interesting development for Airfix, as is the Photo-Reconnaissance (PR) and Refueller parts set for the Airfix Valiant V-bomber kit. Note to Airfix btw - spelling on the package header should be: “Refueller”, not “Refeuller”. We're looking forward to many more Airfix 'detail-plus' packs in future.

It’s going to be a busy year for the revitalized Airfix, with plenty to keep modelmakers busy throughout 2012. We’ve only touched on the new-stuff list here - for other items, visit Airfix here.

More Airfix kits here.