The series is about beloved childhood toys and whether today's kids can still get behind Lego, Meccano and Plasticene. In last night's opener, May masterminded the production of a 1:1 scale Spitfire model kit and put it together with the help of a class of schoolchildren.
I get fonder and fonder of James May (when he's not banging on about cars) and his enthusiasm was charming, though he lost brownie points with me by referring to 'clunky old biplanes made out of bedlinen'. I'll take a Sopwith Camel over your Spitfire any day, matey.
I was pleased that he chose girls as well as boys to be his helpers, and impressed by their youthfulness; I was in my late teens when I started aeromodelling, as we called it in the Air Training Corps. (Frankly, it was very much an option for the wimpier cadets while the more psychotic element went out shooting and orienteering.)
Some model-enthusiast points that occurred to me:
- Were those real decals? We didn't get to watch them go on. You'd need an enormous bowl of water!
- What sort of paint did they use? Given how much a titchy tin of Humbrol costs...
- The wheels on kit models don't usually go round, at least not if I've been at them.
Smashing entertainment, though. The moment when the completed model rolled out of the hangar at Cosford, thoroughly lifelike apart from its wings flapping a bit, to be greeted by not just the modellers' proud mums and dads but some of the men and women who actually flew the real thing was just beautiful.
I certainly feel inspired to get that Revell Fokker DrI out of the cupboard and cover my fingers in glue.