'Twas the Week Before Christmas

Twas the week before Christmas and the world had gone mad
I'd used up all the spare time that I had
Once Christmas was over everything was a breeze
And surfing the web I could then do with ease

I randomly surfed stopping here for a look
Sometimes a model, sometimes a book
Then I hit Google!... what could I find?
I really had nothing specific in mind

There were lots of various links up on my screen
I decided to punt on one (it seemed to be "clean")
So off an a series of tangents I bound
For your reading pleasure — here's what I found!!

Kit Form Services was established in 1987 by Howard Whitehead. A former commercial vehicle mechanic and British Army recovery mechanic with 20 years experience `on the spanners`. Howard's modelling background is much like that of most modellers, starting as a boy with Airfix Model Aircraft. The company is a one-man operation.

Initially the work of KFS revolved solely around the building of commission models for customers in the road transport industry. However, it was not long before Howard identified a definite lack of conversion parts to make the Italeri & Revell kits (the basis of most of his commission built models) more accurate & realistic.

Howard's answer was to learn how to resin cast & make the parts he needed and when the word got out among the modelling community he was soon advertising parts for sale on a regular basis. Other like minded modellers soon made their interest known & before long his range had expanded to include waterslide decals, photo-etch parts & imported ranges from the USA & Australia. Today the range is so big that KFS no longer casts resin parts in house - everything they carry is professionally made by other manufacturers.

To meet the demands of both ends of the market, KFS have introduced a superb quality TQ Range of cast resin items as well as maintaining their more cost effective & budget minded Standard Range. KFS aims to supply quality parts & modelling aids at a value for money price to both the UK and International markets.

Although my interest lies mainly with 1/43rd scale models I was impressed by the range of items available for 1/25th scale conversions. Items such as right hand drive dash conversions, wheel trims, mudflaps, bug deflectors, personnel, etc are available as cast or photo-etched items. In particular I was taken by the range of pose-able drivers and crew (see photos) which I believe can only enhance any trucking model. Imagine how much better some of the excellent examples of truck models our members build would be with the inclusion of a driver and crew (£2.95 each)....

Click photo to see larger version...

or how about some custom seats (£3.00 each)

or some photo-etched naked ladies, V8 badges and number plate surrounds (£4.50)

or even a folding Hiab unit (£29.99 each)

If you are seriously into modifying truck kits then I recommend a visit to Howard's site – even if you are not seriously into truck kits take a look anyway, you will be impressed!

All photos in this article are copyright Howard Whitehead and reproduced with his kind permission. Phone, fax, postal & email enquiries are always welcome. All postal enquiries should be accompanied by an appropriately sized stamped addressed envelope for inland enquiries or by at least three I.R.C. (International Reply Coupons) in the case of overseas enquiries.

Tel/Fax: 0044 1902 677467 (Overseas)
Email: Howard@kitformservices.fsnet.co.uk


Kit Form Services
105 Parkes Hall Rd
West Midlands DY1 3RH

Please note our new address & telephone/fax number
(as of 12th January 2007) is as follows;-

Kit Form Services, 7 Horbling Lane, Stickney, Boston, Lincs, PE22-8DG, England.
01205 480766


Now for those kit bashers amongst you who are not into trucks, here's the site belonging to the MassCar Model Club. What's interesting about this site is the amount of information available, not only on the Club itself, but on its members and their interests (including some photos of models they have built).

Especially interesting are the pages devoted to current "on-line" projects, but be warned, some of these pages are in Adobe PDF format, not browser displayable HTML and therefore they tend to activate your computer's download software (if you have some loaded) rather than opening in a browser window as expected. On the other hand this makes it easier to print off the articles for off-line reading!

Also take time to look at the Put Up or Shut Up project pages. This details (with photos) member's kit building efforts after names were drawn from a hat and kits issued to those selected. The resulting models were displayed at a later club exhibition.

The site also has an extremely good links page ( http://www.masscar.com/links/links.htm ) to sites such as the major kit and resin manufacturers; after-market companies that supply decals, spun aluminium wheels and diorama detailing items; sources of kits and after-market parts (some in 1/43 scale); and tool, paint and specialist decal suppliers.


Here's one for the truckers among you! ... but be prepared to mortgage the house due to the current UK-NZ exchange rate! This site appear to be "owned" by HartSmith Models and concentrates on 1/48th scale trucks and heavy haulage equipment produced by Hart Models Limited, A Smith Auto Models and Enstone Emergency Models. Most are white metal hand built models and therefore are more expensive than the usual mass-produced metal or plastic kits.

The site is well laid out and clicking on the thumbnail photos either leads you to the relevant section of the site or, if already in the relevant section, to a text price list. Prices appear to start at £38 for a kit and rise to £75 for a built small model or £300+ for a larger truck in built up form.

Sadly the site has few photographs of the vehicles I am most likely to be interested in. Being of the age I am, vehicles from the 30s to the 70s are the ones I gravitate toward. While this site has some excellent photos of the more modern trucks and heavy equipment modelled, it has yet to load the photos of the Old Timers and Heavy Haulage categories [2003} — Now loaded at Old Timers and Heavy Haulage{2013].

Having said that the site has some really good photos of the US Macks, Peterbilts, Kenworths and a single Australian Mack. Check carefully at the end of each page as some categories span more than one page! Indications are that the site will be updated with the missing photos as time permits. Well worth the visit!


 [WARNING: this link is no longer valid as at May, 2005 and I am waiting for a reply from "navy.mil" as to what happened to these pages.]
[The site is now back and the full 11 page article is available again]
GONE AGAIN!... and no replies from the webmaster at navy.mil.
BACK AGAIN AT A NEW URL! - use the link above which has been corrected.

Here's an article I located that might help explain why so many of the older models (and even some new ones) develop that white powdery finish both on the axles and the castings and why some models develop a bubbling effect in the paintwork.

The crux of the matter appears to be a chemical inter-action between the various component metals used in the die-casting process and organic compounds found in the packaging of models or in the cabinets we use to house our collections (pg 2 of the article). Of these organic compounds, acetic acid is the most harmful to items containing lead and, to a lesser degree, zinc, aluminium, magnesium and copper (the component metals that form MAZAC/ZAMAC from which die cast models are made). Common sources of the acetic acid are cardboard and various woods including oak. Various paints and glues also contribute to the presence of acidic conditions that can be detrimental to our models.

Various woods also produce formic acid that is also detrimental to the metals used in die-casting. A list of woods (and fireproofed products) is given on the site (pg 4). A list of paints, glues and other materials that can contribute to the problem is given on page five (pg 5).

All in all it appears that no matter what we do with respect to housing our collections, some deterioration is to be expected due to the impact of the materials used to package or house our collections. Stagnant air and damp conditions (either in rooms or in cabinets) will further create conditions detrimental to the models and that increase the production of acidic conditions that will lead to corrosion and deterioration of the component metals.


GONE... try www.f1m.com for an F1 modeling fix!
Got an interest in Formula 1? Then this site is for you! Broken down into three basic sections the site covers Latest Model News, a photo gallery of F1 models (click on the thumbnail photo for a series of better photos of the model in question) and Model News Forums. Choosing Latest Model News then brings up an extended menu that includes Release Info, Links, Ebay Auctions and "How to Spot a Fake". The latter topic is marked as "coming soon".

There are some interesting articles in the Forums area - well worth a browse. The latest news section could do with a search feature otherwise it appears to be a long haul scrolling through the monthly digests of news. All the same it's an interesting site!


www.aquitaine33.com/dinky seems to be the site to refer to now...
www.aquitaine33.com/dinky/forum.htm for the forums (Google lists "New Site for DinkyFr.com") [Webmaster 2013].
Here's a very interesting site for the Dinky collector - IF you speak French! And if you don't speak French then use the Altavista.com translator to translate the pages for you into very bad, broken English! I tried this and got myself to a page claiming to be about "limp - UK" and "limp - FR" -- since I know a little French I decided to see what the original french word on the site had been - "Boites"!. Just a small case of some critical accent being missed out from the web page - it should have read "boîtes" & the correct translation of this is boxes (the subject of the page) - without the ^ above the "i" the translator read it as "boites" which apparently is french for.... "limp"!

The hidden treasure on this site is a series of articles on French Dinky Toys, written in French of course, but accessible via the Altavista Babbelfish translator in broken English. I say hidden because, although I knew of their existence having been a subscriber for some time, I could not find them on the new site. A bit of persistence paid off and after checking various links I found them hidden away under the "all files" or "Tous les dossiers" link at the top right of the page (next to the page counter). The articles are not only full of information on the Dinky toy but also on the history of the actual vehicle. It's worth persevering with this site if you are interested in French Dinky.


Ian Cousins, Wellington

December, 2003



Ian Cousins