A Chat With Uncle Jules*
and Hurricane Mk.I Engine Bay Preview
Classic Airframes, 1/48 scale
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by Brett Green
I n t e r v i e w / P r e v i e w
I know that limited run kits and resin parts might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I always looked forward to Classic Airframes newest releases.
To me, Jules Bringuier from Classic Airframes had a happy knack for picking interesting subjects, usually previously unavailable in 1/48 scale injection moulded form, and often firing my enthusiasm to build the kit straight away.
Granted, we have had plenty of first-rate kits to keep us busy in the few years since Classic Airframes new releases slowed, including Wingnut Wings’ superb WWI aircraft, Tamiya’s benchmark 1/32 scale Spitfire Mk.IX / VIII / XVI family and even Airfix (firmly in Classic Airframes’ subject territory) with their excellent Sea Vixen, but I still miss breaking out the razor saw and sandpaper for Jules’ latest unique collection of plastic, resin and photo-etch.
It is now more than a year since we have seen a new Classic Airframes kit. The 1/48 scale Fiat BR.20 was their last release in early 2010. Jules has been adamant that Classic Airframes is not dead, but it does seem to have been in suspended animation for a while.
It is therefore pleasing to hear that there will be a new Classic Airframes release soon, although it will not be a full plastic kit.
I had the chance to speak to Jules at some length last week about this new release and Classic Airframes. First, I asked Jules about the future of Classic Airframes.
“Classic Airframes never went away. It has been inactive. Classic Airframes has been around since 1994 and I wanted to make sure the brand survived. It was a simple business decision; protect the company from bleeding to death. The Global Financial Crisis has been rough on a lot of companies, and the hobby business is no exception. I am being cautious and I expect that Classic Airframes will still be around on the other side of the GFC”.
So what about new releases?
“This seemed like a good time to try something a bit different," said Jules. "I will be offering a very limited number of resin/plastic accessories for subjects that I am interested in, and that I hope will be interesting to other modellers too. The next Classic Airframes release will be a 1/48 scale engine, including mounts, separate cowl panels and firewall, for Hurricane Mk.I kits.”
Jules has already sent an early casting of the resin parts, which are exquisitely detailed and perfectly cast. The engine, supercharger / carburettor and other elements have wiring and plumbing moulded in place, delivering maximum detail with minimum assembly effort.
My next question was about the donor kit, as Classic Airframes’ two production runs of their fabric wing Hurricane Mk.I sold out very quickly in 2003 and 2005; and Hasegawa’s 1/48 scale kit can be hard to find today.
Jules replied, “Active modellers will likely have one of these kits in their stash. If not, there is always Ebay or club swap meetings. If a Mk.I really can’t be found, a modeller could always cut the nose off Hasegawa’s readily available Hurricane Mk.II kit and hey presto, you have a Mk.I! The new conversion provides the shorter nose and cowl panels.”
I was curious to know whether this would be the first of many new releases from Classic Airframes’ new accessory and upgrade range:
“Frankly, it depends whether this Hurricane engine bay is a success - meaning it sells. If there is interest, there will be more releases. I am also considering an accurate 1/48 scale Mk.II Beaufighter plastic wing conversion for the excellent Tamiya kit.”
And how will modellers be able to buy this new Hurricane engine bay?
“The accessories will be available direct from Classic Airframes or from a one-source outlet, likely someone in Europe. I will let you know the details closer to the release date.”
I am sure that the question on many modellers’ lips is whether we might ever see a re-issue of some of Classic Airframes’ more popular releases such as the Meteor Mk.8, Fairey Gannet, Defiant day fighter, Dornier Do 17 Z and, of course, the rag wing Hurricane Mk.I available again in the future.
Jules’ ambiguous but encouraging reply was, “I wouldn’t rule it out. We’ll see!”
Of course, we all want to know if an all-new kit is likely:
“There is a contingency for that option, but frankly it depends on as-yet unfinalised business arrangements. I am not able to further elaborate at this time.”
We'll have more news as it comes to hand.
* No, Jules is not my Uncle. It is just a nickname that he picked up on the Forum some years ago...
Text and Images Copyright © 2011 by Brett Green
This Page Created on 11 April, 2011
12 April, 2011
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