Welcome to Mike's autumnal World

Here we go - or perhaps went - again!

One of the often-heard descriptions of the IPMS/UK ScaleModelWorld is as The Modeller's Christmas. While it isn't actually signalled by the arrival of expected and flamboyantly promoted kits in a supermarket or three at the end of September, it arrives on the second weekend in November with a regularity that I find increasingly comforting ; for those of us of a certain age and with a military interest its coincidence with the marking of Armistice day has its own significance, and for those of us for whom *NEW* has as a persistent pull there's usually something to take home loosely wrapped in a plain brown wrapper.

Then of course there's the meeting and greeting. Not far from the back of my mind is a theme that was the basic theme for the IPMS column that I wrote for SAM from the beginning, which carried on when it transmogriphied in to Tailpiece, trying to persuade people who might have seen it as a solitary hobby that getting together with others of a similar persuasion would give what's now known as added value to modelling, or even just making kits; I have always born in mind the question posed fifty years ago by Harry Woodman, who as I recall made superb WWI models, "are you a modeller or an assembler of plastic kits?". I've known my place for a very long time of course, but I still put some of my work out in public, not least these days for the great satisfaction of a double take or two.

The prime joy that Telford has for me and I know for many other, evolved over the years - many, many years - is the talking to those similarly afflicted that I've come to know, and with luck recognise; it's now a polystyrene and resin version of craic as Joe Maxwell would confirm. My evolved master plan is to start talking to people as early as possible on the Friday - this year it was in the check-in queue at 2.15 - in the hope of chatting to as many as possible before five on the Sunday and by and large it worked, though as always I found out afterwards that I'd missed one or two that I'd really have liked to chat to. For quite a few it's an opportunity to see each other only once a year, especially if rhey're from Foreigh Parts; this time Pat Martin. author of several Phantom tomes and the three invaluable books on post-1946 Canadian colours and markings, was over from the far west, and there was the annual sighting of Joe Cherrie with news of a new venture which promises some unexpected models (do you remember The Plane Makers, or perhaps XS341?). The first of a new series of kits under the name of Spot-On are due early in 2019, and should offer me at least just one more attempt to persuade Their Airships to reform 74 Squadron even if it's not until 2025.

My older son Dominic who used to appear regularly in Tailpiece, not least in the photo of the pair of us spotted asleep side by side in the sunshine of an Air Tattoo by Neil Robinson,and I now have an established and properly sanctioned annual routine where we spend much of the SMW Saturday catching up with each other and those - quite a few - that we both know. I had not expected to find much this year to justify inflicting GBH on my piggybank, but I found more takeaway than I'd expected; the necessary plain bags of books - this year again Crecy were to the fore and I suspect a consequent upcoming shelf shuffle - as well as models did take me most of Tuesday to unload and sort in to Later, Now and NOW!! Most kit manufacturers were keeping their 2019 news for the toy fairs, though Airfix/Hornby did Announce A Big Announcement which turned out to announce a 1:24th Grumman Hellcat to, I suspect, less cheers than they would have liked. Their new Hunter was not quite available, but even though it's a 1:48th F.6 I will almost certainly succumb when it hits the shelves; I wonder how long it'll be before there's an F.4 conversion set and a suitable set of 1:48th 2TAF decals. I have a slightly bleary eye on their 1:48th Blenheim I which I could well mark as a 57 Squadron aircraft on its way Combart Aircraft Mantis, 41 Sqnto France in September 1939.

Something much more unexpected raised at least one eyebrow soon after we started putting models on the SIG table, in the distinctive shape of the BAE Mantis UAV with its overwing-mounted twin pusher motors. You'll see that this one is in current RAF colours and undergoing tests with 41 Squadron, but there are several alternatives; my next will probably be in Qinetic markings and the third in those of 744 NAS either at Culdrose or on Prince of Wales if there are no F-35s available (I find it very hard to call it Lightning). These are from Combat Models, and while I am slightly nervous of a long list of What I Brought Home From My Holidays in case one or two Plans go astray they were also the source of the resin Single Pin which is inevitably destined for squadron markings (probably 20, but just possible 74 to go with an FGA Lightning). Obsessed, moi?

I've done very little modelling since mid-November, the post-telford torpor even more marked than ususal, but I seem to have added to my stash with of course the usual good intention. I have at least started one model which flouts my self-imposed resriction by being bigger than a 1:72nd Canberra, and in accordance with the Standing New Year Resolution may lead to more shelf clearing, by/in the spring. Have a good one. 31.12.18..

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