It was a couple of days before Father’s Day this year when I walked past this poster on the London underground:
I was suddenly struck by memories that hadn’t crossed my mind in years, those of my father and my brother and their endless dedication to Airfix models when I was young. From seeing that poster I was hit with all kinds of imagery and thoughts; the smell of the turps to get the brushes clean, the drips down the side of the little metal paint pots and the endless, tiny, fiddly plastic parts that they used to spend hours agonising over at the kitchen table. I never took part in the Airfix painting, it was something for my brother and my dad, plus I was the youngest and as such had little time or patience for such delicate matters. My brother used to take part, but really, it was my dad’s hobby, something he did as a child and would probably still love to do given half a chance.
My brother and I were going home to surprise my dad on Father’s Day, so, inspired by the poster, I decided to make my dad Airfix cakes. Actually, my first idea was to get him to the exhibition, which proved impossible as he is not London based, my second idea was to get him a book about the exhibition, but I didn’t get a chance to visit before I went home, so I settled on cake.
I was in a rush (when am I not in a rush?) to complete these, but decide to make a fully assembled plane, parts of the model before it had been assembled and, of course, a little paint pot.
The paint pot was my favourite part:
I used glycerine to make it look shiny like the paint. I’m sure the plane isn’t anatomically correct (in fact I know it isn’t, my dad told me as such and explained why, but I’ve forgotten!), but I went for ease rather than true to form as I was so pushed for time. I was also working in marzipan as it is my dad’s favourite but I find it is a bit trickier to get as neat as fondant icing.
I then had to carry these across London on a very hot day, home to Stratford-upon-Avon and by the time my dad got to open them, they were a little worse for wear. He liked the sentiment though and had fun crash landing his plane before eating it: