Sunday, February 27, 2011
Did The King's Speech get it right ?
Except in one area.
During scene where Bertie (soon to be KG6) is talking to Lionel (his speech therapist, not the model train producer), he fiddles with a model aeroplane that one of Lionel's children is half way through building. The King-to-be confesses that he had always wanted to make models but his father had said that he collected stamps, his son would do the same.
Anyway, the models hanging from the ceiling are clearly carved from bits of wood but the one in Colin Firth's hands isn't. As a model making anorak, I can see it is injection moulded plastic. No schoolchild would have carved the canvas sags between the ribs of the bi-plane top wing so well. Even if he had wanted to, he'd have had to use a hardwood rather than the more common balsa or obechi to get that level of detail.
So, the producers used a plastic kit, but is that right ?
Well, according to Arthur Ward's book "Celebrating 50 years of the greatest plastic kits in the world", the first Frog "Penguins" range included a Gloster Gladiator in the range in the 1937/38 catalogue and as that is the same era the film is set, it it just conceivable that the kids could have been assembling such a model. However the material the model was moulded in was cellulose acetate rather than polystyrene so would it have exhibited the same fine detail ? Even if it could, was mould making as sophisticated art then as it later became ?
Bertie proceeds to stick the wing to the rest of the place with some glue from an open pot. That would be appropriate for a wooden model where the glue is animal bone or even flour based, but simply wouldn't work for a plastic kit. The correct alternative might not have worked in the dramatic context though.
I suspect that the production team cheated and just bought a modern Airfix kit assuming that no one would notice. I did and if I'm right, I reckon those Oscars should be handed back !