I grew up in the days just prior to internet ordering. Obtaining model kits meant ringing up or going into to a local model shop. Not being old enough to own a credit card the only option for me was cash in hand. Unfortunately learning to drive was still a long way off so trips to a proper model shop were rare and came at a price – having to accompany my mother when she decided she was bored of the local shops and wanted to browse the department stores in the larger surrounding towns. Que many hours of frustration as the model shop was the last on the list and my mother seemed to want to browse through every item of clothing on display. Furthermore, attendance was conditional on me demonstrating the very best of behaviour…..
At this time the family car was a Volvo and the dealer for servicing was located in York. By lucky chance the garage at that time was within walking distance of P&S Hobbies and Models (a great model shop still open to this day) and if I accompanied my father he was agreeable to visiting the model shop. P&S Hobbies had a considerably larger range of models and this included Veron and Keil Kraft kits. After a diet of museum gift shop purchased Guillow’s kits, complete with their distinctive large moulded plastic cowlings, radiators and exhausts, the Veron Tru-flite kits took me by surprise when I first came across the kits on display. How was the cowling reproduced in such a thin box? Well curiosity took over and I purchased an ME-109G.
Unwrapping the cellophane in the car on the journey back it was with more dismay than excitement when I found merely printed balsa sheets, with not a die-cut part in sight, and that the more complex detailing had to be reproduced entirely in balsa. This may sound trivial but it was a difficult hurdle when I wasn’t old enough to buy scalpels, there was nowhere in my local town that sold them anyway and my budget did not stretch far for additional building accessories. In short I was forced to cut-out, craft and finish off the entire model with one ‘throw-away’ hobby knife!
That said I spent a few pleasant winter evenings in front of the hearth fire putting the kit together and ok, the exhaust stubs disappeared as a lot of crumbled balsa but the overall effort was reasonably aeroplane shaped and they did fly.
Back to the present day and this eBay purchase served as a bit of light relief between other more important commitments. I’ve already mentioned how I feel strongly about ‘collecting’ unbuilt kits and that models should always be built. Consequently I had no qualms about taking a knife to the contents, no doubt much to the disgust of those hoarders! I’ve left this model in bare doped tissue to replicate how my childhood attempts would have looked. This time the balsa details are fitted and I’ve given the model a couple of extra coats of dope for longevity.