Plane to See


BILLY'S CONTRACT



Now that dark nights are upon us, and prompted by my mate,  I thought that in order to keep mind and body alert, I would task myself with building a model aircraft. 1/48 scale.

With that idea in mind my first port of call was Boyes in Billingham who. to my surprise, had been cleaned out of every type of model kit, be it aircraft or armoured vehicle. The shelves were bare. I recently read in the press that Hornby, who now own Airfix, had to ramp up production of Spitfire kits on a scale not seen since the Second World War in order to cope with demand.


In the same article, it also stated that Hornby had made their first profit in years and a handsome one it was at that on the back of the Covid pandemic, based on young and old saddos alike wanting to construct their kits.

Disappointed, I then took myself off to the City of Kulture, to the Stockton Modeller which, for those who are not familiar with it, is based in Stockton. Before reaching the model aircraft section of this splendid emporium one has to pass through the various brands of electric train sets and accessories, all types of Scalextric racing car sets as well as remote controlled aircraft, cars and tanks. Honest to God I felt like a kid in a toy shop. (Was that one really worth the wait?)
"Hornby, who now own Airfix, had to ramp up production of Spitfire kits on a scale not seen since the Second World War in order to cope with demand"

Having arrived in the aircraft aisle, which kit should I choose from such a large selection? My first choice, a Stuka dive bomber was disappointingly not on the shelf. When I drew this to the attention of the proprietor he was most surprised. I skipped the Spitfire and the Lancaster bomber as my mate, who was urging me in the first place to buy a kit, already had these.

Then I came upon a Messerschmitt 109 which looked the business. Before taking it to the till, I quickly opened the box to take note of which colour paints I would require. It turned out that the cost of the paint would be considerably more than that of the kit itself and along with not having any swastika tail fin decals it found its way back onto the shelf. After much deliberation between the De Havilland Mosquito and the Bristol Beaufighter night fighter I opted for the latter, for the simple reason that being a night fighter it would only require one tin of matt black paint.

A few days after I purchased the model I was having a quick look at its contents to give me an idea of the timescale required to put it together. To my horror I noticed something so stomach-churning that it would not allow me to keep this model aircraft in my home and made me put the contents back into the box sharpish, resolving to return the kit, Covid permitting, back to its place of purchase with immediate effect. 

Dear reader, why you think that this model Bristol Beaufighter is being returned to its place of purchase?

Please put a tick beside one of the following and send your answers into Monkey Business. The first ten readers with the correct answers will be entitled to a season's free subscription to view Monkey Business on-line.

1 The price (£25.99)
2 The mid-fuselage canopy spoils the look of the aircraft
3 Tamiya, the model manufacturer, is a Japanese company whose European head office is in Germany
4 I would have preferred the torpedo bomber version of the Beaufighter rather than the night fighter version
5 The aircraft's markings
6 There was no adhesive cement included with the kit

(For those of you doing this for fun, the answer is number five.)

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