- Published on Friday, 23 December 2011 00:02 Robin Jenkins
Catalogue # A02026
Available direct from Airfix for £6.99
With the plethora of children's television channels available nowadays, it may seem strange to look back to the time I grew up in the 1960s and 70s when there were only 2 and then 3 television stations to feed my young viewing desires. I can sum up the influences that really impacted me in three phrases – Blue Peter, Oliver Postgate and Gerry Anderson. Blue Peter gave me a children's magazine programme with wide interests, kept me both interested and educated and had the fantastic John Noakes; Oliver Postgate gave the best of British stopframe animation, with Noggin the Nog, Bagpuss, Ivor the Engine and, best of all, the Clangers. But above everything else, Gerry Anderson gave me Stingray, Joe 90, Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet.......
This was children's TV produced as if it were a feature film, worlds of animated puppets that lead exciting and dangerous lives that thrilled and astounded the young viewer. I was bought almost everything that became commercially available as spin-offs from these programmes and, once my modelling had started, the fifth kit I ever built was the Airfix 1/72 Angel Interceptor aircraft from Captain Scarlet. Flown by 5 gorgeous female pilots (Harmony, Destiny, Melody, Symphony and Rhapsody) from the headquarters of Spectrum, called Cloudbase (basically a gravity-defying modern aircraft carrier!), their missions inevitably involved them in the fight against the Mysterons, inhabitants of Mars sworn to destroy life on earth who had the power to recreate destroyed objects or recently-killed people and have them act as their agents of destruction. The aircraft were sleek and powerful (below) and set a nice anthithesis to the more cumbersome Spectrum ground-based vehicles, such as the blue Spectrum Patrol Vehicle (SPV) and white Maximum Security Vehicle (MSV).
credit to TV 21st Century Official Photograph, 1969, provided from private collection by John Wilson
The kit has come and gone over the years and always climbs in value on Ebay when it is not available. Now, Airfix have re-released the old girl and I have her sitting in front of me.
The kit is not a complicated beast, with a small number of parts on 2 sprues, a canopy, decals and instructions. The first sprue (below) holds the port fuselage and upper wing, both lower wings, engine nozzle, seat and pilot (who I have always thought most resembled my favourite of the pilots, Rhapsody Angel). To be fair, the moulding does show its age, with the surface detailing being weak and some flash now showing up.
A close up of the lower wing sections does confirm this level of disappointment (above). The second sprue (below) holds the starboard fuselage and upper wing, tailplane, nose canard, both intakes, wingtip undercarriage "pods" and the nose ski undercarriage. Some of these parts remain remarkable fine in section and really look the part.
The canopy (above) is a simple one-piece moulding which will need the application of some polish to add shine and clarity. Whereas all of the kit parts mentioned so far are as they always have been, the decal sheet (below) is beautifully executed in Airfix's modern style, complete with stencilling, a vast improvement on the old decals (the coloured circles are Spectrum's insignia).
Instead of the colour scheme being on the rear of the box as with many of Airfix's recent releases, the Angel Interceptor's scheme and decal placement are shown in colour on the last page of the instruction leaflet (above).
I think it is worth pondering for a moment the question of repeated re-releases of old kits by companies. Taking Airfix as an example, I have reviewed some really nice modern releases recently, against which re-releases do not stand up well. On the whole, I am against the flogging of a dead horse approach to old mouldings; new releases should confine most old subjects to the collector's corner, and these older kits are more difficult to build well. However, in view of the tooling and development costs of a new model, some subjects do not warrant a new kit ever being commissioned. I would suggest that the Angel Interceptor is exactly the type of kit that can hold its head up as a re-release. Okay, it takes a bit more effort to build and the good modeller will re-engrave the surface detail. But, when it is finished, it looks exactly like one of the original models from that 60s TV series – and no-one will ever commission a new model from a 1960s TV series. Most telling of all is that Airfix have sold out of this kit pretty quickly every time it has been released in the past; I am certain good sales will occur again this time around.
So What Do We Think?
A true "golden-oldie", a model I am delighted to reacquaint myself with and proof that the reissuing of older kits is a valid practice for some subjects.
A great trip down memory lane
Our thanks to Airfix for the review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link.