Fantastic Plastic!

Welling Air Cadet Luke ARPINO (15) of 358 Welling Squadron Air Training Corps (ATC) was celebrating his success in winning the 'Best in Show' at the recent Kent Wing Air Training Corps' annual aero-modelling competition held at the Kent Wing ATC, Headquarters in Maidstone, Wednesday 8th September.

Welling Air Cadets have continued their dominance of the event by yet another clean sweep of the silverware. They have won the 'Best in Show' and the Senior category trophies since 2004, and the junior trophy since 2005. They also won the 'new' Unthank trophy for the diorama competition. The 2011 team consisted of ;

Junior; Luke ARPINO (15) 1st, Joe RIDLER (14) 3rd;  Senior; Thomas RIDLER (16) 1st , Lewis SOUTHGATE (16) 2nd ;  Diorama; Thomas & Joe RIDLER, and Lewis SOUTHGATE; Best in Show; Luke ARPINO for his model of a Corsair. They were formally presented with their trophies by Wing Commander GARROD-BELL, officer commanding Kent Wing ATC.

A resurgence in the aero-modelling has been seen after James May, presenter of Top Gear built a life-size Airfix model of a Spitfire for the TV programme 'Toy Stories', and Luke's model of a Corsair was fortuitously only 1:72 scale and therefore considerably easier to get into the judging room. This years competition had the largest number of entries for recent years and Air Cadet Civilian Instructor, Mr Brian Marsh said “This years competition was very good and Luke's achievement is fantastic. I am pleased that the number of entrants generally and the overall standard of the other squadrons models gets better each year. Our cadets have already decided what they want to build for next years competition... It's just where to put them all!”.

Mr Marsh was recognised by the Jack Petchy Foundation in 2010 for an 'outstanding leaders award' in recognition of his continued dedication to the Air Cadets. Each model represents dozens hours of patience and diligence for the cadet concerned. It is a testimony to the dedication of Mr Marsh and his modellers that despite fierce competition they excelled yet again.

Bizarrely, the original senior and matching pair to the junior trophy was returned this year after an absence of over 15 years! Squadron Leader Robert 'Bob' Unthank, former officer commanding of 1579 Erith Squadron ATC, and Wing Sector Officer (WSO) for the London Borough of Bexley Squadrons and surrounding area had presented Kent Wing with a replacement senior trophy. This year it retired from long service as the senior trophy and was re-allocated to the Diorama Competition, for which there was no award.

Flight Lieutenant Kris Cottier, officer commanding 358 Welling Squadron ATC described the cadets accomplishment, “It is to be recognised that the Junior Trophy has been won by Welling Air Cadets repeatedly since 2005, and yet no name appears twice. It is not just one super cadet, but a succession of cadets who have been inspired by Mr Marsh and his wife Brenda to find a new hobby and excel at it”.

Aero-modelling is just one of the multitude of opportunities available to Air Cadets. 


Junior; Luke ARPINO 1st, Joesph RIDLER 3rd
Senior; Thomas RIDLER 1st , Lewis SOUTHGATE 2nd
Diorama; Thomas & Joseph RIDLER, and Lewis SOUTHGATE
Best in Show; Luke ARPINO.

Shows L2R
Cadet Joe RIDLER, Corporal Lewis SOUTHGATE, Cadet Luke ARPINO, Corporal Thomas RIDLER, Wing Commander (Wg Cdr) Greg GARROD-BELL officer commanding Kent Wing ATC

Trophies L2R
The Unthank diorama trophy; The Eddie Beacon memorial trophy [tallest] for best in show; the senior trophy; the junior trophy [with name plaques]