James May’s Airfix kit

I’ve just watched James May’s Toy Stories. The first episode was about Airfix plastic model construction kits. He set out to interest a group of 13-year olds in making Airfix model kits. I vividly recall the acetone whiff of polystyrene cement, rekindling my memory of Airfix. I was so buzzed by Jame’s introduction, that I thought it would be good. I was wrong. It was much better than merely good.

His tactics to tempt the teenagers into make Airfix kits were predictable yet surprising. I winced along with every misstep, and fell for every dummy. Beautifully assembled. The kids were amazingly co-operative.

The goal was a dream of every 13 year old Airfix-er of my generation, and better. It was to build a full size, 1:1 scale, Airfix Spitfire kit. Cooler than a Bose–Einstein condensate. I was so pleased, my jaw still aches from an hour-long manic grin. I haven’t wanted TV, or a movie, to work out right so much since “The Shawshank Redemption”. The climax was inspired.

The 13-year olds were stars, and did a great job under the pernickety eye of a ‘benign, but obsessive codger’ (I hope James doesn’t mind this characterisation, but that’s his TV persona, and neither of us are at all bad :-). The prospective builders reactions were illuminating. I felt it a worthwhile watch for folks trying to develop projects with teenagers.

I beg every fan of Airfix kits to watch this. You may even be delighted at the use of your BBC TV license fee! May I be even more gushing and say ‘heart warming’? (Yes, I liked Airfix kits).

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