I have the pleasure to be currently – and have been for some time – the acting Chairman of the Poole Vikings Model Club (also IPMS Dorset and BMSS Dorset) down here on the south coast of England. Our club is one of the most successful in the south of England, with a major annual show, and monthly club meetings that often include over 30 members present. Some of these folks are useful contacts for my writing business, as we have several historians in the club who have, like myself, good contacts world-wide. Our most recent annual show was held on April 13th, 2019. The next show will be in April 2020, date to be confirmed, as usual at Parkstone Grammar School, Poole, Dorset . . . The model club’s web site and Facebook page can be accessed via the link below –
During 2011 I had the pleasure to write a number of features for ‘Airfix Model World’ magazine, and was asked by the very accomplished editor of this publication, Glenn Sands, to write a brief autobiographical piece about myself for that magazine’s regular ‘Cutting Mat Chat’ column. It is included here in its entirety, unfortunately an enthusiastic sub-editor rather changed my words before they reached the pages of the magazine, but the sentiments remain the same. Here is what I wrote –
“Like many of us, my modelling inspiration and early familiarity came from my Father. He was already an experienced ‘scratch-build’ modeller even before the advent of Airfix kits, and continues to model to this day. Our first ‘joint’ project was a Revell 1/72 Albatros (which I still treasure), before my own ‘solo’ efforts, an early example being for me the highly inspirational and influential 1970’s Airfix 1/72 scale Dornier Do 17 ‘flying pencil’. Graduating from university with honours in History (actually Canadian studies) I took up professional writing, journalism and photography, and happily succeeded from early on in building modelling into the mix of magazine articles that came my way. Working with big names in the model publishing business, such as Alan W. Hall, Mike Keep and Chris Ellis, was a great help to getting established, and the rest thankfully has been history. Writing in the original ‘Airfix Magazine’ in its 1990’s incarnation was a particular pleasure and kept me ‘within the loop’ with developments and new releases at Airfix and wider afield.
For me model-making and research are truly international activities, and I am very lucky to have friends and contacts world-wide, some of these being of vital help in the research for my newspaper and magazine articles, and books. One of my great thrills has been to make friends, and business connections, with many people in Central and Eastern Europe. I was one of the very first journalists to visit the former Czechoslovakia after the 1989 Velvet Revolution, and places such as the Aviation Museum at Prague-Kbely are now a second home to me. Indeed I do have a continental home, in France, a true ‘writers’ retreat’.
Book writing became vitally important from a professional standpoint from 1999 onwards, and I now have some 20 published books to my name, thankfully all receiving good reviews. Specialist areas include the wartime Luftwaffe (remember that influential Airfix ‘flying pencil’ model?), French, British and US aviation and ‘military’ of all shapes and sizes, the Warsaw Pact, and various other ‘nooks and crannies’. Professional model-making includes creating masters of vehicles for such companies as Model Alliance and Matador Models. I can honestly say that I have never been bored at all in my life, I am lucky to have so many interests and fascinations. But as a backdrop throughout has been the enduring influence and presence of Airfix, a name that now seems stronger than ever – long may it live!”
– Malcolm Lowe
MODELS by MALCOLM V. LOWE
‘Meteor Night Fighter’ Rareplanes 1/72nd scale vac-form
Revell Junkers F 13, 1/72nd scale converted to Ad Astra Aero configuration with a fully scratch-built interior
Hawker Siddeley HS.748, 1/144 scale, Welsh Models vac-form
Airfix 1/72 scale Messerschmitt Bf 110E from the rather taxing recent tooling, as featured in ‘Airfix Model World’ magazine December 2011 issue.
Standard Beaverette (as preserved at Duxford) in 1/76 scale modified from the Matador Models resin kit
(all model photography by Malcolm V. Lowe)