The latest edition of our Airfix Workbench blog is unashamedly an IPMS Scale ModelWorld Telford show special, as we mark our attendance at this huge model show over the coming weekend – we also have some BIG news to share with you, including three new models for 2016, the launch of the Airfix Yearbook and the date for the full unveiling of the 2016 Airfix range.
The Scale ModelWorld show, held at the International Centre in Telford is described as the World’s greatest model show and sees modellers, manufacturers and traders attending from all over the globe. Organised and run by the International Plastic Modellers Society, this impressive event utilises all four display halls at Telford, with exhibitions and displays from hundreds of modelling societies, with every genre of modelling being catered for. Many Workbench readers will surely be heading for the show over the coming weekend and if you are, please come over to the Airfix stand and meet the team – we will certainly have something interesting for you to see.
The IPMS show weekend is always a time of great excitement for modellers all over the world and this year will certainly be no exception. Airfix will be announcing a number of new models at this year’s show, but for those of you who will not be able to attend the show, we will try to give you something of a flavour. In this latest edition of Workbench, we will give you all the important model announcement information and include a show report in a future edition. Enough of this scene setting, let’s get on with the new model announcements!
When attending a show as important as the IPMS Telford event, it is always nice if you can mark your attendance with an exciting new model announcement – we have no less than THREE new models to tell you about. The really BIG news is a brand new 1/72nd scale tooling, which has been the subject of many modeller requests over the past few years and will certainly be of great interest to Airfix fans all over the world.
NEW for 2016 – Airfix to release the 1:72 Grumman Martlet Mk.IV
Computer rendered 3D image of the new Grumman Martlet Mk.IV
In a development that will be of great interest to the Fleet Air Arm modeller, we are pleased to announce that the new Grumman F4F tooling has been modified to include alternative parts to allow the construction of the Martlet Mk.IV. These were amongst the first aircraft to be handed over to Britain and were powered by the Wright Cyclone R-1820-40B single-stage, two-speed supercharged engines. The aircraft also features the distinctive Grumman folding wing mechanism and the heavier six-gun armament. The Royal Navy received 220 Martlet Mk.IV fighters, which proved to be absolutely invaluable in allowing Britain to continue fighting the war at sea.
During the early months of the Second World War, it quickly became apparent that the Fleet Air Arm lacked an effective single seat fighter aircraft and as naval air power was clearly going to be significant in the battles to come, a solution had to be found. The aircraft already in FAA service were found to be unsuitable for the role of fleet defence fighter and included the classic, but largely obsolete Gloster Sea Gladiator biplane fighter and the reasonably new, but totally unsuitable Fairey Fulmar heavy fighter. Neither of these aircraft would be capable of dogfighting with the latest German, Italian, or Japanese fighters they may encounter, but with the lack of a suitable alternative, that is exactly what they would be forced to do. The other aircraft in Fleet Air Arm service were the Blackburn Skua and the turret armed Blackburn Roc – again, these aircraft were rather large and unwieldy and if pitted against a modern enemy fighter, they would have little chance of success. Importantly, if these aircraft could not control the skies above British naval vessels, the ships would be in real danger of being sunk by enemy attack aircraft.
‘Test Shot’ image of the new Airfix Grumman Martlet Mk.IV model
As the US Navy were also looking to update their fighter capabilities, both Britain and France looked enviously at the aircraft being developed across the Atlantic. Of particular interest to them was a diminutive barrel shaped fighter from Grumman, which possessed greater performance than the aircraft currently in service with the Allies and was small enough to be operated effectively from their own smaller ships. Even before the US Navy had purchased the new Grumman fighter, both Britain and France placed orders for the aircraft, but configured slightly differently to suit their particular requirements.
Sure to be of great interest to Fleet Air Arm modellers, the Airfix stand at Telford will have a test shot build of the Martlet on display.
The 1:72 Grumman Martlet Mk.IV (A02074) is scheduled for release in September 2016 and can be pre-ordered now.
NEW for 2016 – the Junkers Ju-87 B-1 Stuka gets the Airfix 1/48th scale treatment
Computer rendered 3D image of the new 1/48th scale Stuka
One of the most instantly recognisable aircraft from the Second World War, the Junkers Ju-87 B-1 Stuka was a two man dive-bomber and ground attack aircraft which first flew in 1935. With a two man crew, up to three machine guns and the ability to carry 4 x 50kg bombs plus a 500kg weapon, the Stuka was rather a large aeroplane to be powered by a single V-12 Junkers Jumo engine and indeed the Stuka actually weighed over four tonnes. As a result of this, the aircraft was rather slow and suffered from poor manoeuvrability and very much relied on either close fighter support, or almost complete air superiority, for its effective use. When it was operated in favourable conditions, it was a devastatingly effective weapon, being both accurate and extremely reliable. During the first few months of WWII, the Stuka was unparalleled as a strategic strike weapon and was the spearhead of Blitzkrieg – the Battle of Britain proved to be something of a rude awakening for the all-conquering Stuka crews of the Luftwaffe.
3D CAD screenshot of the new Battle of Britain Stuka project
The launch of the 2015 Airfix catalogue at the end of 2014 saw the announcement of a number of exciting new tooling moulds. In order to give modellers a better idea of what they could expect, the catalogue also included some computer rendered images of the forthcoming new models, which clearly illustrated the impressive levels of detail incorporated into the tooling. Amongst this collection of new models was a Junkers Ju-87B-1 Stuka in 1/72nd scale, which had been produced using the impressive computer design techniques perfected by the Airfix team. This totally new mould would make the perfect partner for the Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I announced at the same time and further strengthened the range of 1/72nd scale Battle of Britain aircraft available to the Airfix modeller.
Computer rendered 3D image of the fantastic new 1/48th scale Ju-87 B-1 Stuka
You may recall that in a previous edition of Workbench, we brought you the news that the impressive new Defiant had been ‘up-scaled’ to the larger 1/48th scale – we can now announce that the Stuka will also be produced in this fantastic larger scale! This really is great news for modellers, as the wonderfully distinctive shape of the Stuka will look fantastic in 1/48th scale and will further increase the growing number of Airfix kits in this popular larger scale. Again, we will bring you more details of this new Stuka project in a future edition of Workbench, but for anyone visiting us at Telford over the weekend, there will be a prototype example of this model for you to inspect.
The 1:48 Junkers Ju-87 B-1 Stuka (A07114) is scheduled for release in June 2016 and can be pre-ordered now.
NEW for 2016 – Airfix 1:72 Handley Page Victor B.2
Computer rendered 3D image of the new 1/72nd scale Handley Page Victor
Many aviation enthusiasts will now be aware that the world’s last flying Avro Vulcan has made its final flight and will now reside at Doncaster Robin Hood Airport. Even though the Vulcan has enjoyed extremely high profile during 2015, many military historians and general enthusiasts regard one of its contemporary aircraft as the most accomplished of the three V- Bombers – the Handley Page Victor. The third and final of Britain’s V-Bomber aircraft to enter RAF service, the Victor was a distinctive jet-powered strategic bomber, which served alongside the Vulcan and Valiant throughout the Cold War, as Britain’s primary nuclear deterrent. It was to end its service career with the Royal Air Force as a tanker and actually remained in service for nearly ten years after the retirement of the Vulcan. The Victor was also faster, could fly higher and had greater bomb carrying capacity than the Avro Vulcan, attributes which clearly made the aircraft more suitable for the in-flight refuelling role.
The announcement that Airfix will be releasing a totally new 1/72nd scale version of the Victor B.2 is BIG news and will be welcomed by modellers all over the world. The new model will obviously be quite large, as the Victor had a wingspan of some 120 feet, an increase of 3 feet from the B.1 with the insertion of an extra section at the wing root. It will also benefit from the impressive development and production processes now in place at Airfix, with the associated detail levels such as the inclusion of the Blue Steel missile in the first release.
Computer rendered 3D images of the new 1/72nd scale Handley Page Victor
The Victor B.2 version of the aircraft saw some significant improvements to the existing B.1 design, which allowed the aircraft to operate at higher altitudes. Powered by Rolls Royce Conway engines, these air hungry beasts required a re-design of the air intake section of the wing roots, to increase the amount of airflow into the engine. The B.2 also featured a pair of distinctive retractable air intakes, which were positioned on the upper fuselage of the aircraft, just in front of the tail fin – known as the ‘elephant ears’, these scoops would feed ram air turbines, to provide electrical power in emergency situations. The B.2 Victors were also capable of carrying the Blue-Steel nuclear stand-off missile and acted as Britain’s nuclear deterrent, until this role was taken over by the Navy.
Obviously, we know this announcement will be of great interest to modellers and we intend to bring you much more detail over the coming weeks, but for now, the BIG Telford announcement from Airfix is the all new 1/72nd scale Handley Page Victor B.2. For anyone able to visit the Airfix stand at Telford, we will have a prototype Victor model on display and will be happy to show it to you.
The 1:72 Handley Page Victor B.2 (A12008) is scheduled for release in November 2016 and can be pre-ordered now.
You can read more about the fascinating history of the Victor B.2 in this week’s Aerodrome.
Airfix Yearbook 2016
We’re excited to announce the launch of the first Airfix Yearbook at Telford this weekend. Rather than just being a traditional product catalogue, the Airfix Yearbook will be your one-stop source of information for all things Airfix in 2016, with exclusive news and information about the latest products and new releases for the year. Whether you’re just starting out, or a fully-fledged expert modeller, the Airfix Yearbook is packed with handy tips and information, builds of key releases such as the Beaufighter and HMS Illustrious, a full list of the 2016 Airfix range and much, much more.
As the year progresses, we’ll build on this information with further exclusive announcements on Workbench, plus posts on our Facebook and Twitter channels.
The Airfix Yearbook will be available from your local Airfix stockist and newsagents nationwide from mid-November, and is available to pre-order on the Airfix website for £7.99.
Airfix 2016 range unveiling
As the Airfix Yearbook contains a list of our new 2016 Airfix range, we’re pleased to announce that the online launch of the new range will now take place next Thursday 12th November 2015 here at Airfix.com. Make sure that you’re signed up to the Airfix email newsletter, plus keep an eye on Facebook and Twitter for the exact time of the launch!
Well, there certainly turned out to be a lot of information to cram into the eighth edition of Workbench. If any of our readers have already started building their new F4F Wildcat, please let us have your feedback and finished model images on one of the Airfix media channels. We have our dedicated Workbench thread on the Airfix Forum, or alternatively, you could use either ourFacebook or Twitter social media channels, using #airfixworkbench.
We look forward to bringing you more Airfix news in the next edition of Workbench!
The Airfix Workbench Team