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Airfix Wallace and Gromit Kits

n by Magnus Fridsell

Wallace and Gromit ...

kit boxart.jpg (24841 bytes)...have been long time favourites both with me and with my girlfriend Ulrika, so when the newsletter from Hannants dropped in to my mailbox I promptly ordered both the available kits. Those are from the film "A Close Shave" from the middle of the nineties, one is Wallace and Gromit on their way to a window cleaning job, travelling in their motorcycle with sidecar (kit 51100). The other one is the sidecar in its aeroplane form (kit 51101).

With the Airfix EE Lightning in fresh memory, my expectations were enormous! The plan was to build these kits during the summer so that they were finished in time for the club meeting in August. The kits contain everything that is needed, including glue, Humbrol acrylic paints and a paintbrush and are recommended from eight years up. The price is fairly high, £12.99.

After having started dry fitting the aircraft, I soon realise that the eight-year-old who can build this one hasn’t been born yet! And a non-modeller parent won’t be able to offer much help either! The most glaring problem yet is the wing, which is to be fitted in a cutout in the fuselage halves. A cutout is a very correct term since this has to be carved out to fit the contour of the wing! This is a result of the silly use of the same mouldings for the fuselage of the aircraft as well as for the sidecar! Even if the sidecar converts into the plane in "A Close Shave", there is certainly no reason for doing this in the kit as well. Except for economic reasons of course but I rather exchange the unusable paints, the glue and the brush for some good plastic instead! There is also some mismatch between the mould halves and a generally rather tatty finish of the parts.

The figures are portrait like but using the same Gromit in the sidecar as well as in the aircraft results in that he doesn’t come near the controls with his paws. Also, when travelling in the sidecar, he looks distinctively "Jesus-like" with forward reaching arms.

So, after I had been waiting for more than a week for the packet, the elation was exchanged for deep disappointment within ten minutes. This kit is miles from the Lightning in quality and I wouldn’t recommend it even to someone I dislike horribly! And if you think this is the ideal introduction to the hobby for some younger sibling: FORGET IT, it will scare him away from the hobby for the rest of his life!

ax51100_1.jpg (40633 bytes)

ax51101_1.jpg (28202 bytes)

For the rivet-counter: in the last issue of IPMS (UK) Magazine, there was an article on how to correct the aircraft. Considering that the original is a model as well, it is remarkable that the kit needs any corrections!

Airfix, this is a rip-off! This is an insult to people wanting to introduce their children in to the world of modelling and I am terribly disappointed of you! This is 1950:s standards at a 1990:s price!

However, I will still build them since I love Wallace and Gromit, but please, this could be so much more fun if the kits weren’t like the worst short run specimens!


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