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At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Friday, 2 April 2021

Severn Class lifeboat

 Friday 2nd April 2021

Severn class lifeboat - work-in-progress

Airfix were the pioneers of plastic modelling. They arose from producing other items from 1939 and produced the first plastic injection moulded kit in 1949 when they were commissioned by Ferguson Tractors to make a model of the Ferguson TE 20 tractor. In order to make that worthwhile Airfix made this in quantity to retail through Woolworths as a kit to assemble at a cost of two shillings.

Airfix were taken over by Humbrol and then both by Hornby. The history is quite interesting and worth a look on Wiki.

From my re-entry into this hobby I have concluded that the quality of Airfix kits, although pretty good, has been overtaken by the Japanese Tamiya who produce kits of outstanding quality. I have built from both these sources including this current effort from Airfix.

Quality is defined by:

1. Detail and crispness of moulding.

2. The way parts go together. Airfix have a lot of butt joins whereas Tamiya more often engineer proper joints.

3. Clarity and accuracy of instructions. I have found a few wrongly described positioning with Airfix and a scanty colour identification of parts. Even when indicated they just show a colour number which one then has to cross-check with their colour catalogue - Tamiya give you the colour and number on the instructions.

4. The parts come on several "sprues". With Tamiya parts are numbered and the numbers are logically close together on the  sprue in number order. With Airfix they are scattered over four sprues at random on this current kit. It can take lots of time searching for a particular part  - very irritating.

Kits from most manufacturers have highly attractive artwork on the boxes to lure you in, but they are also useful as reference during the build.

With this kit there are four of these sprues. Some parts have already been detached here. From the start the sprues are washed in warm soapy water to remove injection moulding release agents. Most modellers then spray prime all the parts in situ on the sprue

Here the hull parts are held together with masking tape to keep the butt joins in place while glue dries

I bought a set of 1/72 scale figures to paint and add a more lifelike presentation


  1. Maybe Airfix do it this way to keep one on one's toes (as it were) and to simulate the production of a real item, where things don't come neatly cut-out, packed and labelled but out of lumps and sheets of metal (plastic etc.).
    OK, on modern production lines in modern factories - or shipyards - they may be brought in or prefabricated, adorned with alignment marks and labels, but not neatly stuck together in rows - thus, altogether, providing you with a deeper experience of real life. For which, apparently, the nation is yearning . . . and certainly needs.
    Or maybe what was good enough in 1940 is good enough - or, thinking about it, even better for today's model fabricators - who may evolve into the real engineers of tomorrow (may be not, in all cases, of course !) instead of screen warriors only.

  2. or maybe it mirrors in miniature the causes of the decline in British shipbuilding (or most other large-scale industry, of course) - out of date, cumbersome and error-prone methods (to say nothing of bad labour relations and antiquated management), swept away by Japanese (and now Korean) efficiencies and reliability. Better now, but too late, even for cruise liners and railway trains.

  3. Gimmer - You have gone straight to my jugular with your "mirror in miniature" reflecting the trouble I am having at the moment making pieces fit. I hate to use a filler but have had to resort to that. I think the parts fit alright but getting them perfect with a butt join is not easy and half a millimetre out can create problems which then extrapolate. All will be well in the end, but I will know myself as one of your lacklustre British shipbuilders.

  4. Your other models have made realistic appearances in the garden - will you be going down to the coast with this one?

  5. BC - I'm working on some fake Force 8 sea. We modellers call it a diorama.

  6. In my experience,Tamiya kits are way superior to both Revell and Airfix, with Airfix models being generally poor on joins, quality of plastic, clarity of instructions and, in the case their Saturn V model, inaccurate on several counts. Hope you are well Conrad and have had your first jab, at least.

  7. Get ready for release next week and launch the lifeboat.

  8. afoot - I'm glad to find you agree with my assessment of these kit manufacturers. I'm now finding that the Airfix is from time to time reluctant to be glued and I am having to proceed by taping or clamping one joint at a time and waiting for glue to dry before proceeding. OK, that is probably because I am glueing pre-painted parts but I do remove paint from the glue surfaces as much as I can and don't experience similar problems under those circumstances with Tamiya.
    BC - The lifeboat is far from launch date so I'll have to keep clear of water.