The new 2019 Airfix range was unveiled on the Airfix website at 2pm on Monday 7th January and for the modelling community, it was an exciting way in which to launch into a new year, especially as the range included no fewer that three previously unannounced new tooling projects, each one spectacular in its own right. This trio of new tooling delights were backed up by a plethora of modified tooling announcements, kits benefiting from new scheme options, much requested kit re-introductions and a new range of 1/35th scale military vehicles. In fact, there is so much information to bring you that this first blog of 2019 will be devoted to providing an overview of the new range, before we revert to bringing you more individual product development details in our next edition. As we do a little blog shuffling due to Christmas and the range launch, you will not have to wait long for this either, as the next edition is due to be published next Friday (18th January), where we will be enjoying a little Blackburn Buccaneer indulgence. Following this, Workbench will be back on schedule, reverting to its fortnightly publication slot. Right, it’s about time we took a closer look at all these new model announcements.
A trio of new Airfix toolings
With the 2018 release of our Handley Page Victor K.2 kit, we actually gave modellers a subtle hint as to the forthcoming subject of a significant new tooling project
We know that there is nothing our beloved readers like to hear about more than a new Airfix model tooling announcement and over the last three and a half years, we have been privileged to bring Workbench readers the exclusive announcements of many a new Airfix project and usually before anyone else gets to hear about them. This is something we look forward to repeating in the future, but in the case of this 2019 range launch, we are already playing catch up with no less than three new tooling projects which were all announced last Monday. Although we intend to provide more information on the individual development details of each project in forthcoming editions of our blog and also chart the progress of each as they negotiate the various production stages up until their eventual release, for now, lets just take a closer look at each of the new models joining the latest Airfix range.
A06021 – Blackburn Buccaneer S.Mk.2 Royal Navy
As one of the most capable post war British strike jets, the Blackburn Buccaneer saw extensive service with both the Fleet Air Arm and the Royal Air Force. This computer rendered 3D image from the Buccaneer project gives us all some idea of what we can look forward to
Aviation modellers will have been overjoyed to see the mighty Blackburn Buccaneer re-joining the Airfix 1/72nd scale range, but this time benefitting from all the expertise and production advances available to the development team. The Buccaneer has quite a long history with the Airfix range, with the original Blackburn NA 39 tooling first appearing back in 1960 and incorporating a couple of design features which made this an extremely popular addition to the range. It would, however, not be until 1989 that a newly tooled S.2B RAF variant of Britain’s famous Banana jet joined the Airfix range. As one of the most potent low level strike jets to have ever served with the Fleet Air Arm and the Royal Air Force, a newly tooled example of the Buccaneer is always a regular request submission to our Telford suggestions box and initial responses to the announcement of this kit appear to be overwhelmingly positive. It was extremely interesting to note that the appealing artwork produced in support of our late 2018 Victor K.2 Tanker release featured a pair of Gulf War Buccaneers taking up station behind ‘Lusty Lindy’ to top up their fuel reserves – if only we had a pound for every time we heard the comment – you just need a new Buccaneer now to go along with it. Well, you now have your new Buccaneer and ‘Lusty Lindy’ fans have the opportunity to re-create this fantastic box artwork in plastic. As usual, we are very much looking forward to bringing you more details from this project as they become available.
A03091 – Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17F ‘Fresco’
As one of the most distinctive early jet fighters, the MiG-17F will be a popular addition to our 1/72nd scale kit range
Inducting one of the world’s most famous early jet powered fighters into the Airfix 1/72nd scale hall of fame, those looking for something a little more Soviet in nature will be pleased to see the announcement of our new MiG-17F ‘Fresco’. Initially intended as an effective bomber killer and possessing more potent armament that its diminutive predecessor, the MiG-17 proved to have more than just a passing resemblance to the famous Mig-15 and retained much of its airborne agility. With this agility causing significant problems for the latest and more advanced aircraft of the USAF and US Navy during the Vietnam War, this fighter indirectly led to an immediate American programme to develop a new breed of agile fighters, capable of dominating any future aerial battlefield (this programme eventually resulted in the introduction of the F-16 and F-15). This distinctive Soviet fighter is undoubtedly an aviation classic and with over 10,000 aircraft produced, we are looking forward to seeing a myriad of appealing schemes adorning finished examples of this model, in the months following its eventual release. Watch this space for more Workbench ‘Fresco’ details.
A04104 – de Havilland D.H 82a Tiger Moth
Destined for Airfix greatness, our new 1/48th scale de Havilland Tiger Moth already looks like being one of the highlights of the 2019 range and one many Workbench readers will be looking forward to getting their hands on
Undoubtedly one of the most important aircraft of the 20th century, the de Havilland Tiger Moth was the aircraft responsible for training many of the pilots who went on to see British and Commonwealth service in the RAF during WWII and was an aircraft which was described as being easy to fly, but difficult to fly well. Interestingly for an aircraft which made its first flight in 1931, the Tiger Moth is still providing the same service today as the one it performed during the Second World War, by allowing future Warbird pilots the opportunity to gain valuable tail dragger experience before progressing to a more powerful trainer, such as the North American Harvard. An aircraft which is still familiar to millions of people, examples of these beautiful aeroplanes also allow members of the general public to experience the thrill of what still has to be considered relatively basic flying, with several operators offering experience flights from airfields around the country. Indeed, any Duxford Airshow will usually be preceded by the sight of numerous Tiger Moth experience flights taking place, as there seems to be a never-ending stream of people clamouring to take their place inside the open cockpit of this famous aeroplane.
The long association between Airfix and the Tiger Moth dates back to 1957, when the first 1/72 scale kit was introduced to the range in the original bagged presentation packaging. This classic kit was a regular in many an Airfix range, benefiting from a series of cosmetic presentation changes, until a completely new and much more detailed kit was released in 2014, again in 1/72nd scale. With the release of this new Tiger Moth in the slightly larger 1/48th scale, the famous attributes of this magnificent aircraft will be presented to an even greater modelling audience, who will all come to appreciate that whilst this may not be a Spitfire or Messerschmitt fighter, it is still one of the most significant aircraft in the history of flight. Our new 1/48th scale de Havilland Tiger Moth already seems destined to enjoy the coveted Classic Airfix status. We are excited at the prospect of keeping you informed on this beauty, as it negotiates its model flightpath through the development process.
Fillet-less Mustangs, Widows and Vixens
This latest 1/48th scale P-51D Mustang release presents the aircraft without the more common addition of the tail fillet, giving the aircraft a distinctly different appearance
As many Airfix fans will be aware, there is an incredible amount of work that goes on behind the pages or every new catalogue and the latest 2019 range is certainly no exception. Aside from the fantastic news of three completely new model tooling announcements, the range is so full of new and interesting models that it is difficult to know where to begin – let’s attempt to guide you through a few of the highlights.
One of the recently released new model toolings in 1/48th scale to have already proved a popular addition to the range is the magnificent North American P-51D Mustang and the latest catalogue includes a release featuring additional parts which almost makes this kit as good as a new tooling release. The definitive combat variant of the Mustang was the P-51D, which introduced the low back rear fuselage and teardrop canopy appearance to this classic fighter. Indeed, the earliest examples of this variant looked quite different to later Mustangs of the same series, as they were produced with a relatively straight back and did not feature the more usual tail fillet addition to the rear fuselage which was commonplace on this variant. These early examples were found to suffer with some flight stability issues, which required the later modification of a tail fillet to be fitted to the base of the tail, solving the problem immediately. This interesting period in the Mustang’s development produced an aircraft which looks distinctly different to other P-51Ds and one which served as the mount of several of the most celebrated USAAF ‘aces’ of WWII – this latest release from our successful Mustang tooling will also include two of these iconic ‘ace’ schemes and will undoubtedly be of great interest to Mustang aficionados and Eighth Air Force enthusiasts alike. Other recently released new tooling projects to benefit from additional parts during 2019 are the attack bomber version of the Messerschmitt Me262 jet, the Doolittle Raid North American B-25B Mitchell, Vickers Wellington Mk.VIII and the magnificent 1/48th scale Hawker Hunter F.4, which presents modellers with an earlier variant of this classic British jet fighter.
We simply had to include this computer rendered 3D image, as it attempts to replicate the queue of B-25B Mitchells on the crowded deck of USS Hornet, prior to the launch of the Doolittle Raid
The unmistakable profile of ‘Black Mike’, one of the most distinctive Cold War jets to have ever worn the famous roundel of the RAF. This artwork is not the final version for this release and is being used for illustrative purposes only
Several other kits have been enhanced by the addition of interesting new scheme options for the modeller to consider completing their build projects in, most noticeably the beautiful and iconic ‘Black Mike’ Phantom scheme worn by RAF No.111 Squadron’s most famous FG.1, one of Britain’s most distinctive Cold War jets. This famous aircraft was selected as the aviation canvas for a striking squadron commemoration for Leuchars based No.111 ‘Treble One’ Squadron, intended as a high-profile acknowledgement of the illustrious history of this famous flying unit. In the past, the squadron had operated large formations of Hawker Hunters (The Black Arrows) and English Electric Lightnings during the classic jet era, thrilling tens of thousands of Airshow enthusiasts with their demonstrations – wishing to mark this aviation heritage, the Phantom was given a handsome gloss black paint scheme and adorned with the famous yellow Squadron markings of No.111 Squadron ‘The Tremblers’. Phantom FG.1 XV582 was selected because her extensive service dictated that she was categorised as a limited fatigue life remaining airframe and it was initially intended that this visual tribute would just be a short-term arrangement. The smart all black Phantom caused so much interest that she immediately became one of the most distinctive and popular aircraft in RAF inventory and although initially only intended for static display duties, the aircraft continued to be flown for a short while, as it seemed anyone with the authority and capability to do so wanted some flight time in this beautiful aircraft. Retaining its ‘M’ code, Phantom XV582 was quickly referred to as ‘Black Mike’, a name which has become synonymous with British Phantom operations and one of the most distinctive jet aircraft ever to see Royal Air Force service. From the enthusiasts’ perspective, her new found popularity and the decision to allow the aircraft to continue flying for a short while resulted in a number of stunning air to air pictures being taken, which now serve as a fitting tribute to the British Phantom and its years of exceptional service throughout the Cold War period – this will definitely be a popular scheme with many modellers and a striking way in which to finish the relatively new Airfix British Phantom tooling.
Other kits to benefit from new or additional decal scheme options in the coming year are the Hawker Typhoon, Gloster Gladiator,Jet Provost and Boeing B-17G in 1/72nd scale, the Ju-87 Stuka in 1/48th scale, a new ‘captured’ Luftwaffe scheme for the 1/24th scale Hawker Typhoon and confirmation of the four scheme options to be included in the recently announced 1/24th scale F6F-5 Hellcat.
The Vintage Classics range can now boast one of the most interesting aircraft of the Second World War amongst its ranks, in the shape of the sinister looking Northrop P-61 Black Widow
There is no doubting that the Airfix name means many things to a great many people, but certainly invokes a pleasurable nostalgic trip back to the carefree days of modelling before jobs and mortgage payments got in the way. Nothing speeds us back to memories of those days than the return of some classic Airfix model kits to the range and we have been truly spoilt in this regard with the announcement of the latest catalogue. Some of the most iconic kits from the past have been re-introduced, either to the main ranges or as part of our Vintage Classics revival – seeing the original artwork used on these kits once more is a real treat for Airfix fans. Classic kits such as the Bristol Bulldog and RAF Dominie T.1 will allow some nostalgic modelling to be planned during 2019, as well as heralding the welcome return of the Northrop P-61 Black Widow, without doubt one of the most interesting looking aircraft of the Second World War and a deadly, specifically developed, nocturnal hunter.
Our 1/48th scale de Havilland Sea Vixen is probably the model we are most implored to re-release by Airfix fans, so its inclusion in the 2019 range will be welcomed by many
As far as the most heavily requested kit re-introduction goes, this honour definitely has to go the 1/48th scale de Havilland Sea Vixen, one of our most popular kits in this scale to date and one which will be wholeheartedly welcomed back into the range by thousands of modellers all over the world. They can now look forward to adding one of these distinctive twin boom fleet defenders into the second half of their 2019 build schedules, as this fantastic model is due for a June release and destined to create something of a modelling clamour. As so many people have been waiting for this kit to re-appear, it may prove to be something of a short lived return, as we are definitely expecting some legacy purchasing to take place, with modellers making sure they have a couple of Sea Vixen reserves in the stash, just for posterity’s sake. As the kit is currently on the Airfix website for pre-order, it could be a good strategy to ensure you have one reserved well before its anticipated release date, just to avoid any disappointment after such a patient wait for its return.
‘One small step for man, one giant leap for modellers’
No conspiracy theory here, the classic Airfix Apollo 11 Eagle Lander is back in the range as part of the 50th Anniversary moon landing gift set
Coming on the back of the centenary of the end of the Great War and RAF 100 last year, 2019 will be another year of significant anniversaries, including the 50th anniversary of man landing on the moon, one of the most significant human achievements and a source of fascination for millions over the years. For anyone who is old enough to remember watching the Eagle Lander on the surface of the moon and the crew of Apollo 11 being the first humans to set foot on earth’s natural satellite, it is difficult to imagine any event having more impact on their lives as this – the entire world was glued to their television screens for the duration of this mission and absolutely everyone must have been talking about it. In commemoration of this lunar achievement, the 2019 range includes the re-introduction of a trio of classic space models, each one with links to Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, the intrepid crew of Apollo 11 – a Saturn V rocket, a moon landing gift set and an astronaut figures and accessories set. These fantastic models represent some of the most famous releases in the history of Airfix and many Workbench readers will undoubtedly have fond memories of building these kits over the years. As our skills have increased with time, perhaps attempting these models once more will result in the most accurate scale representations of the actual craft most of us will have ever achieved and will undoubtedly rekindle an interest in the fascinating subject of space exploration.
Many modellers will be delighted to see the return of a decent selection of Airfix ship kits in 2019, including the magnificent 1/600th scale HMS Hood – a true Airfix Vintage Classic
The new 2019 range also marks the welcome return of several nautical model kit releases, which will be great news for the many modelling enthusiasts who regularly request the re-release of some of our ship models during the Telford weekend or directly via our usual e-mail address throughout the year – as you can see, we really do take notice of your requests! The latest model range includes an impressive selection of ship kits, from the stunning RNLI Severn Class Lifeboat to three different versions of Titanic and a selection of classic sailing ships, to the impressive HMS Hood, which was the pride of the Royal Navy at the start of WWII. What with this collection of classic ships and the return of some space related releases, there will be plenty of Airfix modelling nostalgia doing the rounds during 2019.
Rumbling towards D-Day 75 – New Airfix armour
The first box artwork reveal for our new 1/35th scale Military Vehicle range features this British Army operated M3 ‘Honey’ light tank
If military vehicles are your thing, the latest Airfix range will be one of the most memorable for many a year and includes an impressive selection of kits in two distinctly different scales. To mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, our Vintage Classics rangehas increased dramatically with the inclusion of some of the best loved 1/76th scale tanks and military vehicles in the history of modelling, each one presented in classic packaging, using the original box illustrations wherever possible. The latest announcements include the distinctive Wehrmacht SdKfz.234 Puma armoured car and the impressive Scammell tank transporter, along with a fantastic selection of ‘Hobarts Funnies’, which were a series of modified tanks designed to perform specific tasks during the amphibious D-Day landings in Normandy. Again allowing modellers of all ages the opportunity to build some of the most iconic kits from the Airfix back catalogue, these magnificent models will be of interest to wargamers, military enthusiasts and those simply looking to produce their own modelling tribute to this year’s 75th anniversary commemorations.
A new armour range which has already been the cause of some modelling excitement is our new 1/35th scale range of highly detailed kits, introducing some of the Second World War’s most famous military vehicles to the 2019 range in this slightly larger scale. Allowing us to swell the range with an instant collection of impressive 1/35th scale military vehicle kits, these models are being released in partnership with one of our modelling associates, but will be given a distinctly Airfix flavour before they appear on the website and in good model stores everywhere. Benefiting from new box artwork and Airfixised instruction booklets, the initial range consists of 16 tanks and one US tractor, each one produced to exacting standards and incorporating impressive levels of detail. Each model will include two meticulously researched scheme and decal options for the modeller to consider and the kits will be released in three production batches throughout the year – we intend to bring you much more information about this exciting new range in the coming weeks, but are pleased to share some exclusive images with you straight away.
Announcing the existence of this range and acting as a section header in the catalogue and on the Airfix website, the box artwork for the M3 Stuart light tank has already been produced and shows what we can look forward to when the rest of the models advance towards release. It shows an M3 in British Army service, secured from the Americans via the Lend-Lease act and providing a welcome boost to Britain’s offensive capability in their hour of need. The first US tank to see service with the British Army, the M3 was well made, reliable and easy to operate, earning it the nickname ‘Honey’ amongst its British crews. Despite its diminutive good looks, the Stuart light was quickly outclassed by the majority of German armour and whilst it continued to be used throughout the rest of the war, it was mainly in the role of a highly mobile reconnaissance tank.
We are pleased to bring you this exclusive first look at the two scheme options which will be included with the release of A1362 Pz.Kpfw. 35(t) German light tank
Each of these new armour releases will include two scheme options for the modeller to choose from and we have the exclusive first look at the options to be included with the forthcoming Panzer 35(t) release A1362. A relatively advanced tank for its time, this Czech designed and produced light tank tells a fascinating story about the years leading up to the Second World War and how the German military were extremely resourceful in equipping their forces with weapons. Even though Blitzkrieg proved to be a frighteningly effective military tactic at the start of WWII, the rearmament limitations placed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles meant that they were not as well equipped as they would have liked and captured weapons were immediately pressed into service wherever possible. The light tank model 35 was in widespread Czech military service at the time of the German occupation in 1938 and 244 machines were commandeered for immediate Wehrmacht use. They were used extensively during the invasion of Poland and the strike west, but by the time of the offensive against Russia, a lack of spares and continued mechanical issues saw the type relegated from front line operations. Highlighting the fascinating history of this tank, the letter (t) used in its description identifies is as tschechisch (German for Czech).
Without doubt, when you think of tanks, you invariably conjure up an image of the mighty German Tiger, which still seems to represent the epitome of effective tank design, even though the first examples began to appear on the battlefields of Russia and North Africa back in the Autumn of 1942. This fearsome weapon must have served to bolster German resolve at this stage of the war and spread panic amongst the Allied forces, as this monster was almost impervious to attack by existing British designs and its might 88mm gun could effectively target and destroy opposition tanks well before they were in a position to return fire. Although there have been many better tanks introduced across the world since the advent of the first Tigers, there is still an enduring fascination with this mighty fighting machine which is as strong today as it has ever been.
For many people, the work tank begins and ends with the mighty German Tiger, one of the most distinctive vehicles ever created by man and one which enjoys almost mythical military status
This first range of 1/35th scale tanks includes no fewer than five different examples of the Tiger, each one presenting the tank at different stages of its service career and serving to further enhance our infatuation with this distinctive machine – if the Messerschmitt Bf 109 was the epitome of German air power during WWII, then the armour equivalent was unquestionably the Tiger tank. In yet another Workbench exclusive for our readers, we would like to end this overview of the new 2019 Airfix range by bringing you two hot off the press images of a built sample from the new Airfix Tiger 1 kit, which we think you will agree look extremely impressive. As with all the other kits featured in the overview above, we look forward to bringing you regular updates throughout the coming year and promise you plenty of exclusive first looks at all the modelling projects you are most interested in.