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'A gaping silken dragon,/Puffed by the wind, suffices us for God./We, not the City, are the Empire's soul:/A rotten tree lives only in its rind.'

Sunday, 16 June 2013


Right Off the Ground!  Yes, a FROG post. Today was 'Father's Day', and as a decent father (and son), I was cutting my mother's hedge when my own son came round with a really tip-top Father's Day present:

 Just look at this! Genuine, 100% not a reissue 1960s Classic Plastic! Oh, joy, oh, glory! Just looking at the box took me back through time and space. My main late 1960s/early 1970s source of kits and Airfix fighting men was a sports shop called Haskins in the small North-West town where I lived, but to buy FROG kits I had to walk to the next town, Hoylake (from where the asthmatic, Dutch-speaking King William III sailed to the Battle of the Boyne). I would walk down the cinder path between the railway and the municipal golf course, with the electric commuter trains (the carriages dating back to the 1930s, I think) droning past, and then I would emerge by the signal box and level crossing with its red lamp hung gates. Across the railway line and a bit further on and there was another sports shop, and this one was a FROG dealer, not an Airfix one. I'm not entirely sure now, but I think FROG were more expensive than Airfix. But, in any case, I can only remember buying a FROG 'Uhu', a Griffon engined Spitfire and V1 flying bomb, and a FAA biplane torpedo bomber (not a Swordfish, something a bit earlier). So, for me, my Father's Day gift has an aura of exotic expensiveness about it, as well as a distinct feeling of happy nostalgia. Thanks to my son.

And just look at the marvellous industrial, mass-produced, one size fits all, full employment, homogeneous perfection of the box contents:

Instructions (or, as my grandson calls them, 'constructions') on one sheet. And:

                                                                      A 'full' decal sheet.

With the parts displaying minimal detail (and no internal detail).  Aaaah, bliss.

But how is the Arado getting on? Slowly. For a simple 1970s mould, it is proving tricky. The canopy (in three parts) required a lot of careful masking:

Sadly, on completion of the masking, painting, then removal of masking, I found that paint had bled between the parts, sullying the finish from inside the cockpit! Aieeee.

But that's not all. The moulds might be from the 1970s, but the decal sheet is much, much more recent. Of course, my overall hellblau finish means that I will not be using the main markings, but there are more than enough stencils that I will be using. Just look at the stencils for the floats:


I managed to get a bit of work done on my allotment plot this weekend, and I even had a few moments sitting in my little garden, which, despite the chilly, wet weather is doing reasonably well. At least it comforts me. This is the view out of my downstairs window (I live in a terraced house with one room downstairs and two and a half up - England is a VERY crowded country with a bigger and bigger gap between the economic elite and the rest of us). I sit by this window and drink my pre-work coffee every morning:

Work. It's late Sunday evening now, and work in the morning. I could do with a permanent three day weekend - there's so much I want to do. Oddly, it occurred to me recently that my life is really a case of 'Work, Family, Country'. A fine slogan, except that it has been used (and abused) before. Just like all the others - 'Peace and Bread', 'Bread and Freedom' etc. But, for me, my life is, in fact, 'Work, Family, Country'. 

But in my Arcadia the yellow, climbing roses make a 'wall':

And, outside the kitchen door, by the drain, my Alpines dream of high pastures and rock faces:

Every time I water these pots by the kitchen drain I am reminded of the bit in one of George Orwell's books (it is probably The Road to Wigan Pier) when he sees, from a train, a young, dispirited woman poking at a blocked, back yard drain with stick. Happily, I have more than a yard (in the English, not the American sense), but I do remember the yards of my childhood, where my grandfather grew red, red geraniums, and the old mangle stood, rusting. 


  1. Replies
    1. Indeed - nostalgia and something to glue in one box.

  2. Replies
    1. I'm slowly sinking into the green-ness and the scent of roses. Prospero's isle, without the dodgy magik!

  3. Very cool, now move to Australia or New Zealand :)

    1. If it wasn't for family responsibilities... It's difficult to imagine how much space NZ has - the same size as the UK, but with only 4 and half million people - as opposed to 64 million here - most squeezed into England. Bugger.

  4. I agree with Al. Get that Skua underway already!

    1. Do you think it will get me to the Antipodes??

    2. I think it would be lucky to get you across the Channel!

  5. Yes indeed, what a thoughtful present. The first model kits I saw were Frog ones. The local newsagent stocked them and yes they wee slightly more expensive than Airfix, on a par with Revell. As well as the inevitable Spitfire, I had the Fokker D21, which was fascinating, a DUTCH aircraft-were not Fokker planes german? I remeber the plans were so much more informative in those days, as regards a potted history. Your garden does well, my brother tends ours.

    1. sorry my email is

    2. Yes, FROG seemed exotic somehow. I remember the DXXI - there was one in the shop I mentioned, so I saved up for weeks to get it - only, of course, to find it gone!