Jon’s Models: Military aircraft in 1/48, 1946—

I’ve made plastic models since I was five, my first kit being an Airfix 1/72 Spitfire in 1983 that my mum bought in a jumble-sale. Since then, more plastic has passed through my fingers than I care to imagine. Early favourites were the Matchbox series of aircraft kits in 1/72 that I could just about afford if I saved up two weeks pocket money (they cost £1.10). Those kits were great because they were moulded in several bright colours which were very pleasing to an 8-year old when stuck together with good old tube cement — no paint necessary; that would merely delay the point at which the ‘plane could be flown around the house. Unlike many others, I never had a break from modelling and kept it up through my teenage years. A big leap in the quality of my models occurred when I was twelve and I discovered Hasegawa 1/72 kits. These were lovely kits and at the time very reasonably priced (Hasegawa’s Tomcat, including photo-etch, was about £12). This phase was marked by building exclusively US Navy planes. A couple of years later I obtained my first airbrush, a Badger 200, and discovered that the finished article looked a lot better if I made the effort to sand and remove the plastic seams and paint the airframe as a finished assembly rather than in its component parts.

The aircraft shown on this website are my current collection of aircraft in 1/48. I build only military aircraft post-World War II, and only one of each type, or subtype. The oldest model in the collection is from 1994. The aircraft are organised in reverse order in which they were built — the newer, and thus (hopefully) better, models are towards the top of the list. You can see the progress in my model building by the use of new tools and techniques in the kits I’ve made more recently.

Finally, a word on accuracy. Most models are inaccurate at some level, and I don’t claim that any shown here are accurate. I do usually make an effort to make a model accurate in form, but not necessarily function. By that I mean that I want the shape of the plane to be accurate, but I am less fussed with a realistic depiction of the aircraft. So many of my models have open access panels with full bomb loads and no RBF tags, or flaps up/down when they shouldn’t be, etc. I generally don’t care about this kind of inaccuracy because I am interested in modelling the plane itself, not its operational use. Another way of looking at it is to see my collection as a museum. Many full-size aircraft are not displayed in museums as they would be on an operational airbase — things are open when they shouldn’t be, etc. The accuracy is in the form, not the setting. My newer models are generally more accurate, but there are limits and I don’t go in for serious remodelling to correct stuff. My fascination is with all things miniature, and to that end I build stylised, idealised representations of reality — I don’t try and replicate reality itself.