I was "working" the Battleground show in Stockton this weekend doing a demo on the Hawk Wargames stand. Just after arriving I took a stroll around and there, looking up at me from a box of plastic kits, was a bit of my childhood.
It was an Airfix 1:72 Scale Series 5 Handley Page 0-400. This always held a special place in my heart. I think the kit was released somewhere in the late 1960s. When I was a young boy my grandfather would walk me to the newsagents on a Sunday morning and buy me an Airfix kit, which we would solemnly assemble that afternoon. I must have gone through hundreds of kits, but two always stick in my mind, the Sunderland and the HP 0-400. The reason for this is that these two were both on the top shelf behind the counter, and importantly in the section of the shop that doubled as a Post Office. Post Offices were shut on Sundays, so even if I got the chance at a Series 5 (not that it happened often, I was usually restricted to Series 1&2) we couldn't buy it because the Post Office was locked up.
I must have spent months staring up at the box, which showed the HP being attacked by a number of red Fokker Triplanes. The box was enormous, and being out of reach made it even more special. I could go to the shop through the week, but only on Sunday with Grandad, so I never managed to get one...sob!
The kit was re-released in the 1980s in a lacklustre red stripe box. Sadly at this time I was doing the sixth form \ university thing and my mind was elsewhere. It was released again in 2012 but the box was wrong, I needed the original or nothing at all. On occasion I have seen them on ebay bit they go for silly prices.
Anyway, a small amount of haggling later and I was the proud owner of my very own HP 0-400!!! The chap said he thought it was complete bit couldn't guarantee it, but at that point I couldn't care less, it was mine.
So I have it in front of me now.
I can say I feel pretty happy when I look at it. Its great to finally get hold of something you dreamed of as a child, and it brings back some lovely warm memories of my halcyon days with my Grandad. I also have to say the box must have shrunk, because it used to look huge to my childs eyes.
I've opened it, and yes, I think it looks complete, and looking at the number of parts (167!) this is no easy build kit - I shudder to think what me and Grandad would have made of it back then if we ever had managed to get it out of the Post Office.
The thing is, should I try building it, or is it better to leave it as it is as a memento? I'm tempted to do the latter. Sometimes it is good to have unfulfilled dreams, and it wont be the same without Grandad