Modelling is a fascinating hobby. People get into it for all sorts of reasons. Some got into it as kids – building their kits and blowing them up to re-create battles. Some did little war games, like my own father did as a kid. For some, it was about re-creating their heroes or favourite subjects in miniature (the closest a lot would ever get to the real thing).
My modelling adventure comes in two parts. I can remember my first ever model kit. This was a 1/48 Spitfire. My dad had bought it to do with me. I remember sitting at the dinning room table in the first house I remember. The now-garish wallpaper, and not-so-bright lights yellowing the environment. My father did most of the construction, as I was only about 3 or 4. But I took great joy in painting the plane.
My dad started to take me to airshows starting in 1997. My passion in aviation grew and grew. Model kits would remain a large part of my passion. As where there is an airshow, there are model kits.
When I was old enough I would start doing model kits myself. They were, it is safe to say, not very good. They had thick paint, fogged or not properly applied (or not painted) canopies. But they were mine. I’d built them by myself and had great pride showing my mum and dad. Below are some pictures from when I dug out my old models in 2016.
I remember when we were at a car racing day (with two air displays) and I saw it – the Airfix SM.79 – for about £4 (About €6 at the time). My dad let me buy it – but we didn’t know if it was complete. Luckily it was 100% with decals too!
I took it home, smitten with my purchase. I thought it was really unique as it had 3 engines and was really pretty. As soon as I was home I started layering on the paint (quite literally). I can remember constantly opening the box to look at it, with my dad telling me to wait until we got home to make sure I didn’t lose any parts.
Did I ruin the model? Yes. Did I finish it? No.
For some reason, as a kid I stopped modelling. Studies got intense, my sense of self was changing and developing as it does for any adolescent. I just didn’t keep up with my modelling.
Years later I had just finished university. I was pretty depressed with the horrible job that I found myself in. I went for a trip down to visit my parents for a few days and I discovered this kit in a box when exploring the garage. It was still complete. Painted and layered in paint.
I quickly scoured the internet to find a paint remover and settled with some stuff from my local model shop. which removed enamel paint with ease. I was not experienced with modelling. Not only had I not done it for around 10 years, I was never really any good as a child without my dad. I had no clue what I was doing.
But I went for it. Oh god I went for it.
After stripping this beast of all it’s paint I felt revitalised. But I wanted to take my time and make sure this was done right. So I decided to build some other kits at the same time – some I wouldn’t be upset with if I messed them up.
But work slowly and surely continued on my SM 79.
It was built. But it wouldn’t be for another 2 years before I finished it. Finally, this month, I decided it needed to be finished. Now that I’d finally got my love for the hobby back, I figured I needed to close the door on this kits construction, and open it up to being displayed with pride.
Being satisfied doesn’t even begin to cover it. I’m so happy with this model…this hobby. Modelling has helped me gain life long friends, has been something to escape to, and something to sink myself into. It’s been a constant source of happiness.
Some say I’m odd for liking this as a hobby. They may be right – but what matters to me is that I’ve met and made friends with people around the world. I’ve met people who I would never have had the opportunity to in my everyday life. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters – happiness.
I owe all of this to my amazing dad – who got me into this hobby, and my mothers constant encouragement (even though aviation is really not her forte).My dad got me a passion for aviation photography (and photography in general). He got me into military history and learning about cultures around the world. So, well, thank you dad. This SM.79 is dedicated to you.
Review by Lexi (Little Miss Modeller).
8 Comments Add yours
What an amazing story
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Thank you ❤️
I’m not an aircraft modeller but I will share any knowledge I have to help you reach even further in your quest for greatness.
Thank you 😀 I feel I’ve grown a lot already – but I will always take on any advice! 🙂
What a wonderful- and familiar- story Lexi. Thanks so much for writing it, and the great rebuilding of your
SM.79- it looks great 👍👍
Some 50+ years ago, when I was about 12 and started making my own money delivering newspapers, I wanted so much to buy my own model car kit ($2.12 back then😲) because my parents always gave me models to build that THEY picked: the big metal Hubley cars, balsa wood P-51, and the 1/4 scale Visible V-8 engine. I was working on that V-8 when I wanted to buy my own model, and my Mom said, “No! Not until you finish that V-8 model we bought you!”
So after I stopped pouting- I gluebombed that big Visible V-8, and got it “done” in 20 minutes….LOL!
It had an electric motor to move the crankshft and pistons up and down in the cylinders, and spark plugs that lit up…… But not mine….😅 I glued it all together solid. Not sure if my Mom knew it was supposed to work or not, but I was allowed to go buy my own model then 🤗 A 1962 Rambler American sedan kit by Johan.
Thanks again for sharing your modeling memories, and I hope you are still building.