Published: 11:42, 12 September 2018
| Updated: 12:02, 12 September 2018
A former MP has called on model-kit company Airfix to withdraw a “tasteless” toy of a bombed Afghan house.
Ex-Canterbury MP Julian Brazier, who sat on the Commons Defence Select Committee for nine years, said the company should not be cashing in on the plight of civilian casualties.
He was speaking after the firm, owned by Sandwich-headquartered Hornby, came under fire for producing the £32.99 model.
The company, which has its warehouse and distribution facilities in Hersden, describes the product as “a typical single storey house found in Afghanistan used for both living space and storage”.
It continues: “The collapsed wall and rubble adds to the diorama possibilities.”
But Mr Brazier, who used to be an officer in the Territorial Army and is a member of the South East Reserved Forces and Cadets Association, believes the toy maker has made an error of judgement.
“Sadly, civilian casualties happen in war although we make every effort to avoid them.
“But there is something a little tasteless about bringing in a model of a bombed house given it is still an active situation in Afghanistan.”
He added: “I also think it could give offence two ways - to those with ethnic connections to Afghanistan and people who served there”.
He says he agrees with his former Commons Defence Select Committee colleague Madeleine Moon MP who has expressed her doubts about the model.
“This conflict is not in the dim mists of time, it is going on today,” she said.
“Civilians are being killed in air strikes on an almost daily basis and there are still British personnel involved in the conflict in Afghanistan and trying to stop the bloodshed.
“I think it is insensitive and that the model trivialises the trauma of everyday life in Afghanistan.”
Royal British Legion veterans in Canterbury have also expressed disappointment at the model.
President Gerry Ferrett said: “Why have they done that? It seems a very odd choice of a toy to me.”
Chairman Eric Hearn added: “It’s certainly seems inappropriate and not something we can approve of.”
But former SAS soldier Ben Griffin, of the Veterans For Peace group, said: “The brutal reality of modern warfare is often excluded from news reports and TV dramas.
“Coalition forces destroyed thousands of homes in Afghanistan, often injuring and killing the families inside.
“If anything, this Airfix model does not go far enough.”
Hornby Hobbies did not respond to a request for a comment.
What do you think? Is the Airfix model insensitive? Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.