Building Typhoon was much harder than I remembered
ACOUPLE of weeks in advance of Christmas, bored one evening by what the telly was offering, I finally got around to opening a present my wife had purchased for me on my birthday back in September.
It was one of those tongue-in-cheek gifts, I guess, inasmuch that it was an Airfix construction kit for a Second World War Typhoon fighter aircraft.
As a kid I had built plastic construction kits almost as fast as a car production line.
I had an entire army, mainly American, of every kind of ground or air fighting machinery.
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I had often reminisced about my model-making skills which is how, I guess, this present was among my birthday gifts.
Anyway, this Typhoon fighter came with everything in the box, the glue, the paint, the brush... so I set to and then realised something had changed.
It was a heck of a lot more difficult than I remembered.
I was like butterfingers glueing the tiny bits of the undercarriage and cockpit together. And it took an age to position the miniscule figure of the pilot in his rightful place.
I came to the conclusion that, as we get older, our fingers and thumbs just get too big to do such fiddly work.
Undeterred, I soldiered on and, after a couple of laborious evenings, finally emerged triumphant with a fully painted, transfer-bedecked, model plane.
My wife was impressed. So was I. And it had been accorded pride of place on a bookshelf ever since.
If I thought there was some breathing space before someone thought it a good idea to get me another one, I should have thought again.
Come Christmas Day I was put to work on a model building site, this time by four-year-old granddaughter who had acquired a magic castle based on the children's TV series, Ben and Holly's Magic Kingdom.
I'd seen the series but never taken much notice of the wacky castle in which they live with their regal parents.
Now, though, thanks to a couple of thorough frantic hours assembling it and sticking stickers in all the correct places, I know it like the back of my hand.
Back in our own home and secretly buoyed by these two successes, I began pondering whether I might actually go and buy a more ambitious plastic model to construct during these dark winter nights – a B52 bomber, a Star Trek space ship, or, maybe, a Mississippi paddle boat steamer. I've spotted them all on the local model shop's shelves.
After all, my little Typhoon fighter didn't look out of place on the bookshelf.
But then a visiting family friend arrived and, admiring my handiwork, picked it up and promptly broke it.
"I was only trying to retract the undercarriage," he said, as he rendered the model plane totally useless and unable to support itself, by the simple idiotic expediency of breaking both its wheels.