Airfix Shaun the Sheep: with Land Rover

KIT #: A50018
PRICE: $44.95 MSRP
DECALS: Sheep don't need decals
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New mold, scale undetermined

HISTORY

WAs I am obviously horribly culturally deprived and have never seen an episode of Shaun the Sheep, I've had to rely on Wikipedia for an idea of what is going on. Of course, as an Aardman production, it must be first rate.

"A premise of the series is that Shaun the sheep exhibits human intelligence, creativity, and behaviour in a farm setting, which usually provides a situational comedy conflict which Shaun must resolve before the end of each episode. Recurring themes include the characters evading the sheepdog Bitzer (though he is sometimes with the sheep in their escapades) and avoiding discovery by the Farmer. In the first episode, a stray cabbage bouncing into the field provokes an impromptu football game. In the second episode, a freezing cold sheep dip sends Shaun on a commando raid to get hot water from the Farmerís bathtub.

Episodes are a combination of slapstick and classic silent comedy in Aardmanís recognisable animation style. There is no spoken dialogue, even by human characters. In this way it is reminiscent of silent comedy films and even Pingu and the animated version of Mr. Bean.

Based on the theme-song a longer CD-version was released under the title Life's A Treat, sung by Vic Reeves, which became a major hit in Britain and Germany, there sung with German text by comedian Ralf Schmitz.

The Naughty Pigs are housed in a sty next to the sheep field, and are the bane of the sheep's life. Mocking, cantankerous, greedy and generally lazy, they still find time to cruelly waylay Shaunís and the other sheep's schemes, but often ending in backfire or not to their advantage. They also have taste--they never eat their food until it is sprinkled with freshly-ground black pepper. They have a loathing for pork sausages.

THE KIT

This is not a kit for those with AMS. The general molding is fairly good, but as its target market is not adults, things are a bit on the soft side. Those who have been working on these kits report that assembly is straight forward but that seam work is required with much frequency.

The kit comes boxed with 13 Humbrol acrylic paint colors, three brushes and a tube of glue. Of course there is insufficient quantity of the blue required for the Land Rover as the little plastic containers are relatively small. The kit is molded in two colors. Blue for the Land Rover (which I guess takes care of the painting problem) and grey for the figures. There are 8 figures; three pigs, four sheep and Bitzer. All of this is packaged in a sturdy box that is specially designed to be too small for the parts once they have been removed for inspection.

There are few options, though on the Land Rover, the doors are designed to be opened and closed as is the tail gate. These have very sturdy looking pegs and hinge mechanisms. The Land Rover can also be built as either right or left hand drive. Of course, to be totally accurate, it should be right hand drive. In line with the Anti-Pesto Morris Van, rust areas are molded in place. I found the 'screw on' wheels to be ingeniously designed and it will be interesting to see if this actually works to help mount the tires.

Instructions come in a small color booklet with large illustrations for all the assembly steps. Painting information is provided throughout and there are two pages on painting techniques, all geared towards the brush painter.

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, a most interesting kit and while the price may seem high, when one considers the amount of plastic and paint that one gets, it is quite a deal. It will make for a pleasant diversion from engines of death.

REFERENCES

http://en.wikipedia.org

Thanks to me and my fondness for anything different from the norm for this one.

April 2009

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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