Friday, 25 July 2014

MPC Space 1999 Eagle Transporter (1)


Forget your X-wing fighters, or Battlestars, your Tardises, Liberators or Red Dwarfs, forget even the dear old USS Enterprise, because for me the coolest space vehicles from any sci-fi franchise were those sturdy, modular, one might say utilitarian workhorses of Moonbase Alpha, the Eagle transporters from Gerry Anderson's 1970's space saga, Space 1999. My love of them today is perhaps nostalgia driven as that series appeared smack bang in the middle of my childhood and I have fond memories of it. At the time it had all the style and high production values of Star Trek, with some of the thought and quirkiness of the earlier Gerry Anderson creations, such as Thunderbirds or Stingray.
 
The Eagles were short, squat, a little bit clunky-looking, yes, but such an iconic part of the series; they were inspired, I've often thought, by the multi-purpose nature of Thunderbird 2 - and what play potential that promised! Back in the 70s and 80s you could not move for Eagle models, be they die-cast versions, cardboard cut-outs or plastic model kits (Airfix, Aoshima and MPC were the main ones), but I never had any of these. My parents sought to feed and clothe a family of four hungry kids on minimal wages and had no extra money for fripperies such as rather pricey (for the time) plastic toys. I recall trying to fashion a balsa wood version, but it's just not the same. Anyhow, the dreaded hormones kicked in after that, then college, uni and work and by the time I came back to making models, Eagles had become rare birds, if you'll pardon the pun. The kits, once so common had become collector's pieces commanding rather high prices. I still could not own one ...yet.

Nostalgia, though, is a growth industry, be it in fashion, style, or plastic model kits and I was pleased to discover earlier this year that the old MPC Eagle kits had been reissued by Round2 Models. One of my favourite UK suppliers, Hannants carried these, though they were out of stock at first and I have only now managed to get one. Hannants, though, sent the kit post-haste, top marks as always. Priced at £29.99, you get a big box for your money containing a sizeable model, which when assembled measures 12 inches in length. There is an instructions sheet and set of decals included and several bagged sprues of parts in white plastic. The instructions are fairly basic, but that is largely because the kit itself seems to have been originally designed with younger model makers in mind. According to the box there was a chance that I might get a photo card signed by actor Nick Tate who played Eagle pilot Alan Carter; there was indeed a card inside, but, alas, no signature. As can be seen from the pictures included here the interior box carries good quality colour pictures showing various options for your Eagle and its detachable cargo pod.


 

Anyhow, tempted to play with my new toy, I spent a little time that evening assembling some of the larger parts. As I'll be house sitting for my brother for the next week I shall be taking the kit with me to keep me good. It will probably be fully assembled when I return.

 


 

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Perry Miniatures 28mm French Napoleonic Line Infantry


Though by no means an expert on the period, I do enjoy painting Napoleonic figures and when I first saw a set of Perry Miniatures figures I had a Scarlett O'Hara moment. 'As God is my witness, as God is my witness,' I said, shaking my fist at the sky, '… someday I will get myself a set.' I have now taken the plunge, buying this set of their 28mm French Napoleonic infantry from a supplier on eBay for just under £20. I don't war-game myself, being a maker and painter, (getting my arse kicked 100% of the time on the few occasions I did venture onto a gaming table soon cured me of any thoughts that I might be a budding Napoleon or Wellington) but I know a few people who do, so should I decide not to keep it I know some good homes that this set can go to.
 
At first blush out of the box it seems to be a very well modelled and interesting set of figures, there being 42 in all, the majority are in set poses representing a battalion on the march, but the kit includes numerous separate items such as backpacks, drums, muskets and extra arms and heads to add a little variety. The figures are all made in hard plastic (hurrah!) which will enable me to easily clean the figures up and glue the added accoutrements in place without any difficulty. The kit also comes with a sprue of stands ready for the figures. These can be assembled and painted up to represent the various sections of a French battalion, the skirmishers, fusiliers, grenadiers, etc.
 
 

I always appreciate model kits that give you detailed painting instructions and pictures are always good and the instructions sheet though only small, carries plenty of info on how to paint up your troops as either French Light infantry or a Swiss regiment in French service, while the reverse of the box has pictures showing French Line infantry. The instructions sheet also has two small flags that can be cut out to use with the figures.
 
© Perry Miniatures
 
Project, project ..! I already have three models on the go at the moment, so I may regret buying this kit, as I'm sure it will distract me from them, even though I know that I'm a real sluggard when it comes to doing multi-figure kits. Ah well, it can be an ongoing work-in-progress, it'll keep me off the streets.