By Rob Morgan
I built my first Airfix kit almost 60 years ago, and despite my youthful inexperience I made a fair go of it (the Boulton Paul Defiant 1940 Night Fighter, since you ask). Most of my older cousins were steeped in the flying model aircraft field — Kiel Kraft, I think they were called. All balsa wood and razor blades — far more complicated than plastic construction, at which, if I say so myself, over the decades I have become a skilled operator. I even built the Airfix Churchill Tank, and the Panther, both horrendous in terms of the suspension.
Now, as it’s Advent and I was feeling rather jovial, and in town with my eldest granddaughter, I bought a sort of gingerbread house thing, which seemed a sound idea at the time. Hm?
“Can we build it this evening, Grandad?”
“Of course!” Be positive.
The house, about 10 inches long and six inches high, came from TYGER, the Danish shop, plenty of them around all over the UK. Cost three pounds. It bears the splendid title, Byg Selv Brunkagehus.
A kit? So no problem. Right up Grandad’s street, eh?
All Nanna (that’s my wife) had to do — well, I like her to feel involved — was make a cup of stiff icing sugar for the joints, and provide some sprinkly things, snowflakes and such like, from her baking cupboard.
“Are you sure about this?” she said, after 40 years of marriage, no faith in me. Me. A man who once assembled 10 1/72nd Bren carriers in an hour.
There was, of course, no warning on the box , there’s just a two-part roof, and four walls and a four-sided chimney construction. All simple enough. One of us, she’s six, was very enthusiastic; well, the gingerbread smelled lovely. I have no idea if any of you, skilled modellers as you all surely are, have ever been defeated by a simple box structure made out of frankly … biscuit!
It’s taken three days to get it sorted, and I — all right, we — still haven’t finished. The roof just won’t sit right, and as for the ***** chimney! My wife’s icing sugar store has been sorely depleted and we have a rash of small crunchy things all over the cake board on which I’m supposed to be building it. This, ladies and gentlemen is causing me more trouble than the upper wing and struts of an Airfix 1/72nd WWI R.E.8, reconaissance plane.
Evie’s gone to bed, and I’m just pouring a stiff malt whisky. Be warned, some modelling skills definitely required. Merry Christmas to you all.