BrickJournal.com is offered the opportunity to review items and kits from time to time that may have appeal to LEGO builders. Most of these are third-party producers or offer an item that LEGO does not produce. In this case, brick standards are used to make models. Interested? Read on…
Building for many of us began before brick building. For me, I started at a young age making scale model of planes. By the time I was in high school, I had built a little in LEGO, but also was building and painting 1:48 scale models of World War 2 planes. I loved the Monogram models because they had extra details, such as support crew figures and vehicles. Another of the companies that I bought models from was Airfix, which had smaller scale models and more interestingly, figures. However, the smaller scale kept me from building more from them.
Airfix has continued to produce models and a few years ago began producing Quickbuild sets – what makes these of interest to LEGO builders is that they use the brick standard to make their models – so no glue is needed. The brick standard, in fact, is LEGO compatible (I checked)! I was sent a couple of Airfix sets to review: A Messerschmitt Bf 109 and a Volkswagen Camper Van. This review is for the Messerschmitt model.
As a Quickbuild set, the plane is made up of 36 pieces. An exploded view gives you an idea of the construction of the set:
You can see the studs that are in the parts pretty easily here. If you look at the box, you’ll see the age level this set is pointed at: 5+ . This sets a low bar for building, but a high bar for accessibility. The good news is that the set meets both bars easily.
The plastic used is more of a styrene than the ABS of a LEGO brick, so it’s not as ‘soft’ when parts are put together. Clutch is pretty good – in fact, I was able to build and take apart the set a few times without issue.
One things that is neat is how the parts are broken down by color. The upper part of the fighter plane is in a camouflage pattern that is done by the parts. Since there are no seams for studs, the model comes together with only small gaps.
The propellor is a neat idea in construction.
With the cowling placed, the set is almost complete
The last item to the plane is the drop tank. This is an optional part, as you’ll see later.
The last thing to build is the stand.
After that, the only thing left is stickers.
All in all, this is an easy model that yields a a nice rendition of the source plane. It’s a decent size to show and sturdy enough to play with. This will take less than an hour to build, and is a good starter model for beginners and those wanting a, um, quick build. With this set, I have one complaint and one request.
The one complaint is that the model has a drop tank (which is something I didn’t know they had, so points for teaching me something new!) that prevents the stand from being used. You can either mount the plane without the drop tank or display the model with the drop tank. This leads me to my request: could there be an option to have open landing gear? It could be folding landing gear (which would be cool) or a separate building option. Either way, that would allow the model to be displayed without the stand in a landing mode.
But that’s all that was amiss with the set. One thing that I would like to take a closer look at is building with the parts – while they are LEGO standard, they are specialized enough to make it a challenge to use with LEGO elements. However, that doesn’t mean that the sets can’t be combined with other Quickbuild sets. Using duplicate sets could create some unique builds – a Twin Mustang could be built with two Mustang sets with some alterations. Modifying could be an interesting and fun challenge.
The Quick Review
If you want a model that is a couple of steps away from a LEGO set, the Airfix Quickbuild sets are a good option. The ease of build and price (under $20) makes these an accessible set to start building scale models. With a little paint and weathering, this set can take its place on a desk or shelf to display with other more difficult models.
This set can be found on the Airfix site (if you’re in the UK) or on Amazon (seen below)
Many thanks to Hornby Hobbies for providing me with this review set.