Sources of Information
have found useful the following sources of
information on Airfix plastic
- Humbrol Limited.
The current owners of the Airfix marque and
range of products. Humbrol
took over Airfix in the mid 1980's, and have
a Customer Services Department
at the following address:
Telephone : (+44)-1482-701191
E-mail addresses : email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Web site : www.airfix.com
The Customer Services Administrator at Humbrol
is Ms. Liz Murray
The Airfix Collectors Guide- Volume 1 : the Early Years (1949-1980) and
Volume 2 : the Palitoy and Humbrol 80s (1981-1990). A complete list of
all the Airfix kits produced from the very first Ferguson Tractor up to
1990 (over 800 kits). The lists are in Microsoft Excel spreadsheet format.
Information provided includes - kit description, kit catalogue number,
first release date, scarcity or rarity indication, re-release dates and
catalogue re-numberings. Many kit entries have additional comments. The
spreadsheets are constructed with space for the collector to add notes
and to "tick-off" kits in their collections. Available from the
Webmaster - click here for ordering information. A small charge is made for production, a CD-ROM
and mailing. The CD-ROM also includes this complete web-site, plus 1300+
extra Airfix vintage kit pictures. Click here for a screen-shot of a sample page from the spreadsheet.
Airfix by Arthur
Ward. Subtitled - "Celebrating 50 years of the greatest plastic kits in
the world". A 1999 follow-on to his earlier 1980s book (see next). Nearly
200 full colour pages of absolute Airfix nostalgia, mostly re-told through
interviews with Airfix employees and former managers. Lots of very good
pictures of rare kits, plus many Roy Cross original artworks. This book
is the only place that I have ever seen a photograph of the SS Southern
Cross kit. It also provides some information on the Airfix toy ranges.
If you expecting definitive lists, tables and description of all the kits,
packaging types etc you will be disappointed. This book certainly is a
"must have" for all those who enjoy Airfix, but it only skims the surface.
Great pictures, though! Published by HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-472327-9,
price 19.99 UK pounds.
The Model World of
Airfix by Arthur Ward. This book was released as a set in the mid-80's
with two kits - Heracles HP42 airliner and Kamov helicopter. It was written
at a time when the owners of Airfix were Palitoy, part of the American
General Mills Toy Group. It is no longer in print, although copies often
appear at trade fairs etc. Current price (if you can find one) is approx
10 UK pounds. It was written when Arthur Ward was 24.
This book was
announced in the June 1984 edition of the
Airfix Magazine, with the following
words: ".....and what about the book? For a start,
rather more than a book. Included in the
package will be two specially-produced
kits: at the moment the choice is settling
on the Heracles and the Kamov
helicopter. Arthur's text will, he assures
us, be 'as complete as it can
be'. There will certainly, for instance,
be a complete list of production
details. But the emphasis of the book is
on its personal content: not only
the author's involvement in Airfix modelling
from an early age, but that
of other well-known names in the hobby. Arthur
has been talking to fellow-enthusiasts
- Chris Ellis, Roy Dilley - as well as old
Airfix employees, obtaining
their views on the development of the brand.
For a product history the
book is surprisingly idiosyncratic. There
is a long section on how to get
the best out of your modelling - which sounds
suspiciously like the sort
of thing we attempt in Constructor - and a complete indication of
how kits are made, from the initial design
idea, through the construction
of moulds, production, and the final appearance
in the shops. The approach
is predominantly a visual one: 'lots of photographs
- from the first colour
bagged models to the classic car kits'. But
Arthur stresses that this is
in many ways a personal history. He wants
to highlight a few past oddities
- that Boy Scout we mentioned earlier - talk
about his personal favourites:
'I don't intend to ramble on and bore everyone'.
The result, kits and all,
promises to be diverting..."
Not bad for a 24-year-old!
It is a 48 page
book containing many good photographs, and
its chapters cover the Airfix
history from 1939 to 1983, how kits are researched
and manufactured, collecting
and rarities and a production list of the
plastic kits. Recommended!
- Classic Kits by Arthur Ward. Subtitled - "Collecting the Greatest Model Kits in the World, from Airfix to Tamiya". Published by Collins in 2004, 192 pages of kits and manufacturers. Airfix has a chapter to itself, with many new kit photogrpahs and previously unseen artwork. Another magical book from Arthur Ward, and like his others there is a lot of space devoted to the real people in the kit and kit collecting world. ISBN is 0-00-717695-3 and the price was GBP 20.00 in early 2005.
Let's Stick Together by Stephen Knight. See
Old Home page. Excellent book. Price is 14
UK pounds, plus mailing. Copies are available
from either the Kitmaster Collectors Club
(see links page) or directly from the author
Don't be misled into thinking this book covers only Kitmaster or just railways.
It is a thoroughly good reference for any Airfix enthusiast.
The Enthusiasts Guide
to Airfix Models by Pat Lewarne. This book was published in 1987 and is
still available from:
35 Chapel Avenue
10 UK pounds. An excellent publication, some
good black & white pictures,
but it is acknowledged to contain a few errors.
The Airfix annual catalogues. These began
in the early 1960's and were issued every
year. The catalogues are now very collectable
and, inevitably, demand high prices. I've
seen prices of 50 UK pounds, and above. I
have a collection of most of the catalogues
which I found in either specialist plastic
model shops or at trade fairs. There were
also supplemental Price Lists (see right
hand picture below) - these often listed
kits which did not make it to the Catalogues.
For a complete list of Airfix catalogues
- click here.
The Insert Slip.
Early Airfix kits, both bagged and boxed, contained an "insert slip". This
was a complaint slip, whereby you could write to Airfix if you found, for
example, a piece was missing. On the reverse side of the complaint slip
was a listing of the current Airfix range. This list is useful if you want
to date your kit. By comparing what Airfix was listing as its range with
the annual catalogues or the kit release dates (available from Ward's or
Lewarne's books) you can reasonably accurately find the age of your kit.
The listing on the insert slip was kept up to date by Airfix, often more
than once a year.
The Airfix Magazine.
There are still articles in this magazine which could well be of interest
to today's modellers - especially the guides to conversions. From the collectors
point of view, I find the old advertisements of most interest. Produced
in large numbers beginning in the early 1960's, there are many magazines
still available. They are easily obtained at low prices. There was also
an Airfix Magazine Annual - of the same format, but without adverts, letters
- The Collectors Value Guide (or CVG) by John
W. Burns. The seventh edition (CVG-7) was
available in 1999 and I'm not sure if there
is now an 8th Edition? This guide covers
all plastic kits and has a listing for Airfix.
CVG-7 has 456 pages of kit data, company
histories and the current market value for
33,500 kits of all kinds. Over 350 box-art
photos are also included. The price for air-mail
to the UK is currently $50. John doesn't
take credit cards. A wonderful book and a
recommended read !John can be contacted at 3213 Hardy Drive, Edmond, OK 73013, USA or e-mail
email@example.com. John also runs the KCC. The Kit Collector's Clearinghouse (KCC) is a bi-monthly publication of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Scale Model Kit Collecting (SPESMKC) which has been serving serious kit collectors and model builders since 1974. Annual subscriptions are $15 for the US/Canada and $20 for all other countries.
Ramsay's British Model Train catalogue, 2nd Edition. Edited by Pat Hammond.
This 272 page catalogue produced by Swapmeet Publications provides an excellent
insight into British model railways - Hornby, Tri-ang and the rest. There
are chapters on Kitmaster, Airfix and Dapol. The Airfix information is
comprehensive and price guides are provided for the locomotives. This book
unravels the complex relationships between Kitmaster, Palitoy Mainline,
Airfix Railway System, Airfix GMR, Dapol, Hornby and Bachmann (yes, they
are all linked!). Price (April 2001) was £17.95 plus postage. ISBN 0-9528352-5-8.
Order from firstname.lastname@example.org
Encyclopaedia of 1/72 Scale Models (or ESM72). This catalogue is produced by Tom and Lynne Young and has been available
for many years - it is now in its 8th Volume. Volume 8 , Number 2 was available in March 2005. For subscription details
contact Tom at Model Aire International, 38 Prince Royal Passage, Corte
Madera, CA 94925, USA. Cost is $30.00 for all four issues of Volume 8.
Also, Tom Young is a regular contributor to the newsgroup rec.models.scale
(see below), and can be contacted via this route.
The Internet. In
addition to the web site links I've provided, you could try the rec.models.scale
This newsgroup is used mostly by modellers, rather than collectors, but
the contributors are very knowledgeable about plastic kits and may be able
to answer specific questions concerning particular models.
Airfix Collectors Club in the UK. The club was set up in 1994 and covers
the whole spectrum of Airfix. They are supported by Humbrol Ltd., and they
produce a newsletter called 'Constant Scale'. Their president is Roy Cross,
who was the artist responsible for so much of the famous Airfix boxtop
artwork. Currently about 200 members.
29 Elley Green
For more information
- go to the Airfix Collectors Club page on
this site - click here.
The Frog & Airfix Model Aircraft Society (FAMAS) group. This club has
an annual subscription of 7.50 UK pounds for which you receive a bi-monthly
newsletter. Although aimed only at aircraft kits, the articles in the FAMAS
newsletters are of a great deal of interest to Airfix kit collectors. Formed
in May 1995, with a growing worldwide membership.
Update February 2006 - FAMAS is now considered disbanded and no longer exists
- "Celebration of Flight - The Aviation Art of Roy Cross" by Arthur
Ward. 128 pages, 113 colour plates, 69 black and white illustrations, Price £25.00.
This book is a selection of Roy's best sketches, paintings and technical
drawings, gathered together in chronological order.
- The above list is
inevitably UK-biased. If anybody knows of other sources of Airfix plastic
kit information, please e-mail me and I'll gladly add them to this list