A model masterpiece

In the 1960s, like many children of my age, I was an avid builder of Airfix plastic model aircraft. I made a reasonably decent job of them, but I remember the slight disappointment that the final results never quite resembled the smart looking painting on the box.

Then, one recent Christmas some 50 years after I had last opened up an Airfix box, I was given a present of a model Lancaster.

I toyed with the idea of building the model myself, but in the end my nerve failed me and I put it away in a cupboard. There it languished for a year or two, until I had an email exchange with my old friend Dom Howard, the great nephew of Dams Raid pilot Cyril Anderson. Several years ago, we had both been active on the old Lancaster Archive Forum (still much missed by those of us of a certain age) and I knew that this had a sub-forum on model aircraft. A prominent member of this had been a model builder called Ian Collis, whose pictures of his work in progress showed that he was a real ace at this kind of detailed work.

So I decided, as a treat to myself, that I would ask Ian to build the model for me. It was to be decorated with the markings which my uncle, David Maltby, had carried on his aircraft ED906 AJ-J on the night of the Dams Raid. Ian kept me informed about how he was getting on and posted the occasional shots on his Facebook page of the work in progress. Then a few days ago he put up the final series showing the completed work. Here is a link to the page on which they are displayed.

Talk about Wow factor! In every shot one can only marvel at the level of detail of his work. Here is a shot of the cockpit, front turret and bomb aimer’s position, each with an individual figure.

And here’s the bomb aimer himself, apparently crafted from a model soldier using a pair of binoculars, using the famous wooden bombsight, made to 1:72 scale!

I’m just overwhelmed by the pictures and am much looking forward to collecting the finished model from Ian very shortly. A masterpiece indeed.

15 thoughts on “A model masterpiece

  1. Dominic Howard February 7, 2019 / 12:16 pm

    Another master piece by Ian. Ian has made two models for me that of Cyrils Dams raid aircraft ED924 AJ-Y and the Messerschmitt ME110 flown by Lt Heinz Grimm , Heinz was the night fighter who brought Cyril and his crew down in September of ’43,
    Charles I can promise you will see some new detail every time you look at the model they are a masterpiece.

  2. MALCOLM PEEL February 7, 2019 / 12:28 pm

    A wonderful piece of work — I too was always disappointed with the end result which as you so rightly say, never came up the the standard shown on the box. Still if I stuck it high enough on my bedroom ceiling, nobody noticed!!

  3. Barry Wayne Smith February 7, 2019 / 12:36 pm

    All I can say is that you make me envoise, I keep meaning to visit David Maltby at wickhambrue as I only live in Cliftonville.

  4. Tim Parry February 7, 2019 / 1:00 pm

    I took great delight building “Bismarck” and promptly destroying it from 25ft with Diana air rifle.Simple pleasures to re-inforce patriotic pride and ideals still powerful to this day.

  5. Darrell February 7, 2019 / 4:35 pm

    Less and less people are on Faecesbook, can’t you use email or something more acceptable?

    • charlesfoster February 7, 2019 / 5:46 pm

      Not sure what you mean by this comment, Darrell. I’m not on Facebook myself and neither is this blog. — CF

      • tesseractorion February 8, 2019 / 4:09 pm

        LOL There’s always one, isn’t there?! 😉

      • tesseractorion February 8, 2019 / 4:11 pm

        I think he means the link to more pictures embedded in the text…

      • E.Towson February 11, 2019 / 1:48 pm

        He means modelmaker Ian’s pictures and post, I think.

    • ian collis February 12, 2019 / 9:00 pm

      Darrell! Can you see this picture album at all ? There are more pictures of AJ- J as well as other types of Lancasters.


  6. Alan Drew February 7, 2019 / 5:25 pm

    Supreme Effort – thanks for sharing

  7. Edward Brady February 7, 2019 / 11:14 pm

    Ian is a true gent and a very talented modeller. This is a real marvel of a model and it looks amazing when its “crewed up”.

  8. E.Towson February 11, 2019 / 1:52 pm

    I did enjoy this post (I too have a couple of old airfix boxes tucked away somewhere – retirement project maybe!). The model has been beautifully crafted and the ingenuity with the figures and bomb sight is impressive! You’ve a treat in store when you collect your uncle’s Lanc – fly it carefully.

  9. Philip Johnson February 15, 2019 / 8:48 pm

    So impressive to see the skills of others – what a treat to see meticulous attention to detail. Fly me one to New Zealand soonest!!

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