Airfix Wallace and Gromit on Motorcycle




$29.98 (in the US)


Yep, for the motorbike


Frank Spahr



Geronimo! or: Beware of the window-cleaner!


Wallace (surname unknown), somewhat doughy-looking knitwear-loving inventor and cheese aficionado, has set up a business in window-cleaning. Aided by his faithful canine companion Gromit, he forms a rapid deployment force against grimy glass. Aided by a launching system faintly resembling the one from the series S.H.A.D.O., the intrepid cleaners hazard British city streets on their motorcycle with sidecar, the latter harboring some very useful gadgets ...

Nick Park's brainchildren have starred in three animated movies so far, becoming extremely popular. So there's no wonder that merchandising has discovered the popular duo. To my delight, Airfix has produced two W&G kits after scenes from the latest movie, „A Close Shave", the one on the motorcycle and Gromit alone in the detached-and-turned-fighterplane sidecar, firing the devastating porridge gun. I choose the former, since I was looking for something very politically correct and non-violent to display in my practice. I wasn't so sure how far some people's tolerance would go facing a porridge gun point blank.


Getting the model wasn't so easy. I tried to order it from one of my favorite mail orders in Braunschweig, but they were out of stock almost immediately. It took some weeks, but – finally – there was that big package. The kit is packed rather nicely, with color pics from all sides on the box. Beside the styrene parts and the decals plus a steel axle for connection between bike and sidecar, there's glue, a kind of a brush and acrylic paint in all necessary shades included, prompting a friend of mine to the comment: „That was one for the kiddies." Editor's note: for more on the kit go here: Airfix's Wallace & Gromit with Motorcycle

I don't know about the glue or the brush, but the paint is a big helper in achieving this kit's unique goal: You don't have to make it look like real, but like a real model. The acrylic paint gives the plastic the appropriate finish to make it look like play-dough. I used the acrylic paint for everything I brush-painted, but not for the red parts. I spray-painted these with Revell red, since I preferred the even surface and did not dare using the supplied paint in my airbrush. All the rest was brush-painted like in the (good) old days.

This ingenious bridging leads me to a sentence I always wanted to write since I assembled Grommet's body: There are those who lament the passing of the good old modeler's days, when sparsely detailed and ill-fitting kits had to be assembled using, blood, sweat and tears, the days when men were still men, women still women, and furry little aliens from Alpha Centauri ... well, you know about that, don't you? Anyway: Build this kit, and you're straight back into these days. Honest.

You don't look for much crisp detail or recessed panel lines or authentically reproduced fabric covered ailerons in a kit like this, but you might expect a more than basic fit in the figures, especially since the „clay" originals never show any seam lines. So this is where work really starts. I used mainly wax as a filler, since the model won't be touched or used after completion (no kiddies going „brrm-brrm" with it), and in my opinion, it's easier to use than conventional putty.

I read Magnus Fridsell´s article on the W+G kits when I was just at this point of writing, and, although I only built the sidecar and cannot speak for the plane, he's perfectly right. Well, the kits are something for real fans of W+G plus modellers with some experience, definitely not for the 8-years-old mentioned on the box.


I completed the motorcycle plus sidecar first before I finally assembled and painted the figures, in order to adjust the arms correctly. Some mistakes in the model are that the gun should have a swivel mount (it would have been easy to do, and should be easy to correct, but I didn't use the gun anyway) and, what really angered me: The connection between motorcycle and sidecar. Airfix provided a very strong steel rod for the connection, but it is to be glued into a hollow footrest that itself is mounted by a styrene pin less than 0.5 mm strong. Well, given this assembly, a styrene mount would have done equally. Moreover, the mounts don't fit at all, and you have to do quite a lot of adjusting work until you have the sidecar in the proper distance and angle with the motorcycle. And I haven't mentioned at all that the mount is nowhere like the one in the movie (with the peg that vibrates out and leaves the sidecar alone).

Having completed the vehicle, I mounted the figures´ arms, Gromit´s arms lifted as he does when Wallace races towards Wendolene´s shop. Having sanded, filled, smoothened and polished, I spent an afternoon with the acrylic paints and completed the model. As always, I discovered some paint job flaws only on the pics, be assured I corrected them in the meantime ...




SStrictly not for the kids, overpriced when considering value for money, but the only available W+G kit anyway.

Surftip: Aardman Animation studios have a fine website covering much of their activities at

Frank Spahr

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