The Airfix Kit Range
This page covers the Airfix kit range for the years of my own personal
interest in their models. This is basically from their beginnings in the
early 1950s to the time they went bust (for the first time!) in January
Airfix, in their later Palitoy and Humbrol years, introduced several kit
ranges that are not mentioned here. I have chosen only to list the older kits now regarded as "collectable".
||Gold Star - rare, valuable kit
||Silver Star - collectable, look out for these
The Airfix kit range :
See also my complete list of Airfix kits,
available as a spreadsheet - click here for information.
Airfix is probably most famous for its range
of aircraft kits. These were divided up by Series which span literally
hundreds of subjects in 1/72, 1/48 and 1/24 scale from the very first Airfix
aircraft kit of 1953 (the Spitfire Mk I) to the Series 20 kits of recent
years. Early kits were issued in plastic
bags, which later evolved into blister packs and then boxes. Larger kits
were always issued in boxes.
Dog Fight Doubles
Beginning in 1966, Airfix issued a range of
nine "doubles"- two kits with a special stand to simulate a mock dog-fight.
The subjects were WWI, WWII and Cold War aircraft.
Airfix produced a range of aircraft kits featuring
metal photo-etched detail parts. There was also a Hi-Tech NATO weapons
Top Gun Range
3 re-worked kits issued in 1987 to coincide with the film
Skykings - Airliner Series
Most (but not all) airliners were separated
off into a 1/144 scale Skykings series. Many of these kits were issued
several times with different airline liveries
Five kits announced in the 1981 catalogue. These were not continued by
Palitoy and must be rare now
There was also an Airfix-Bachmann range of
1/144 aircraft, but these were not kits. A picture can be found in the
||The very first 1956/7 plastic bag issues with Type 1a Header Cards - e.g.
Gladiator kit shown right
||Series 2 kits originally issued in plastic bags - e.g. Walrus, P38J Lightning, Swordfish, Anson
||Rare kits such as the Saunders Roe SR53 or Hawker P1127 (in the original
Type 2 bag, not the 2000 re-release)
||World War I Dog-Fight Doubles
||Airliners in original BOAC or BEA
liveries, also Fokker Friendship in Aer Lingus markings
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The very first commercial Airfix kit was the
Golden Hind of 1952. The range increased over the years to the following
Small Sailing Ships
A small selection of ships such as the Revenge,
Santa Maria etc originally issued in the late 1950s in plastic bags. Early
issues had a seascape base.
Large Sailing Ships
A range of large, very detailed models, some
of which duplicated the small sailing ships in a larger scale - eg The
Waterline 1/1200 scale warships
A limited range of six waterline kits, issued
in blister packs and boxes. Did not appear to have been too successful.
Warships in 1/600 scale
A successful and comprehensive range of (mostly) British warships, mostly
WWII or contemporary subjects.
Warships in 1/72 scale
Two MTBs and an RAF Rescue Launch
Liners in 1/600 scale
A small series of eight classic liners and
Two kits announced in the 1981 catalogue. These were not continued by Palitoy
and must be rare now
||SS Southern Cross - now very rare indeed
||MV Free Enterprise - sought after. Also USS
||Small sailing ships
in original 1950s plastic bags. The early header card styles were unique in the Airfix range, and come under the collector's classification of Type 0. Click on the link above for a larger picture - these Type 0 header cards were really attractive! The Santa Maria (right) should be compared with the Revenge (above) - there were two distinct types of early Header Card in this Airfix range.
The small ship range in Type 2 plastic bags are also collectable and sought
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The purchase by Palitoy in 1981 brought with it a huge (but temporary)
influx of car kits, mostly American, from MPC. By 1986 most of these
had disappeared. And it all started so well in 1961 with a nice range of
1/32 scale (mostly) British cars in plastic bags, together with a series
(again originally in plastic bags) of vintage and veteran vehicles.
1/32 Scale Cars
An extensive range of mostly British or European contemporary automobiles,
originally issued in plastic bags. Series 6 kits were the 1914 Dennis Fire
Engine and two versions of the Type B bus - London bus and WWI troop transport.
1/32 Vintage & Veteran
Another large range, this time British and European vintage and veteran
automobiles, first issued in plastic bags, then boxes
1/32 Custom Cars
Four British cars were re-released in 1980 as "customised" versions
- the Ford Capri, Cortina & Zodiac and Vauxhall Victor Estate. Let
me say that again - a Customised Vauxhall Victor Estate! They went under
the names of Rebel Rouser, Krackle Cat etc. This range is almost forgotten
as they were discontinued when Airfix went bust in 1981. They must be rare
and collectable now.
1/25 TV Themes
In amongst the 1/25 car range were many car kits based on contemporary
TV shows like - Dukes of Hazzard, Knight Rider, Hardcastle & McCormick,
the Fall Guy etc
1/24 & 1/25 scale cars
This Airfix range started in the late 1960s and included both modern and
old cars (eg 1927 Lincoln). It was greatly expanded in the early 1980s
with US kits bought in from MPC, but these didn't last very long and none
were continued by Humbrol in the years 1986 to 1990.
In the early 1980s, Airfix gathered some
of its vehicle kits together and branded
them the Masterpiece Collection. This range
also included The General - a 1/32 scale
US American Civil War steam locomotive. (The Masterpiece Collection was later extended
to include the 1/24 aircraft range and the
large ship range)
A couple of trucks were issued in the early 1980s - 1/32 Ford tractor with
30ft trailer, and another with 40ft trailer.
A small range of 4 modern car kits announced in the 1981 catalogue. These
were not continued by Palitoy and must be rare now
A few cars were issued in the SnapFix range in the early 1980s (mostly
Dukes of Hazzard kits)
Other Scales (1/12, 1/20 and 1/16)
A mixed bag of oddballs, but again, mostly US cars but including the Christie
1911 US steam driven Fire Engine and the very famous 1/12 1930 Bentley,
which could be motorised.
Small range of very expensive, highly detailed kits, featuring metal photo-etched
parts issued in the early 1990s.
Motorised Car Kits
Some of the 1960s 1/32 cars were issued as motorised kits for the Airfix
Motor Racing / MotorAce slot-car range (see picture). They can be found in the Motor Racing and
MotorAce catalogues (and earlier, before
separate slot-car catalogues were introduced,
in the Toys & Games catalogue). They
were not listed in the kit catalogues
||James Bond edition of the Aston
Martin DB5. One of the most sought after of all Airfix kits! James Bond Toyota 2000GT is almost as valuable
||Original series (issued in 1960s in plastic
bags) of 1/32 British cars. Now very rare
-eg MG1100, Ford Cortina. See also comment
above about the very brief issue in 1980
of "customised" British cars.
||The Monkeemobile - issued in 1968 (sigh)
||Also collectable are the 1/32 vintage cars like the 1905 Rolls Royce in
the Type 2 bag shown right
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A significant range of mostly WWII military
vehicles, split into two sections:
HO/OO scale vehicles
Like the aircraft, the early kits started
off in plastic bags and then moved to blister packs before boxes. The first
kit of the range, the Bristol Bloodhound anti-aircraft missile system,
was issued in 1960. Although recent re-releases are referred
to as "1/72", and often marked
as "HO/OO", this range is in fact
OO scale (4mm to the Foot)
1/32 & 1/35 scale vehicles
Beginning in 1972 with Monty's Humber (WWII
general's staff car), this was a smaller selection of kits than the more
extensive 1/72 scale range. One of the nicest kits was the 1/32 scale 17
||Russian SAM2 Guideline missile
- original 1972 issue is very rare
||Like the aircraft - any Series 2 kits in plastic
bags - eg Scammel Tank Transporter
||Bristol Bloodhound in 1960s packaging
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Probably every school-boy of a certain era played with a box of Airfix
HO/OO scale ready-made figures! Each box contained approx 40 little figures,
and the range extended from Bedouins to Astronauts. There were several
ranges of Airfix figures, some kits containing many figures, some only
a single figure, as described below.
HO/OO scale boxes of figures
As mentioned above - everything from Cowboys
to Tarzan to Robin Hood. These boxes were issued in large number
of different box styles over the years. Some
of the sets were revised, and two versions
exist (click here for comparison picture)
The best possible information on Airfix HO/OO
figure sets can be found at the HaT Indutrie
web site, or Eric Williamson's web site.
I'll not repeat that information here. Please
go to my Links page and click through to these wonderful web
sites. But for the lazy, I've created a small
page with some more HO/OO figure set pictures
and a short description of the changing box
styles - click here.
1/32 scale - multi-pose
Six figures with variable limbs. A range of
seven kits of WWII figures to complement the 1/32 military vehicles. Re-released
in the 1990s in a larger box of 12 figures.
1/32 scale - fixed-pose
Originally sets of 29 pieces, but later reduced
to 14 pieces. A larger range than the multi-pose
figures, but although featured in the kit
catalogues, these were not kits.
1/12 scale figures
First released in 1959 in plastic bags, these
were single-figure kits covering historical
figures such as Henry VIII and Julius Caesar.
A couple of curious releases in this range
were the Showjumper (rumoured to be modelled
on Princess Anne), James Bond & Odd Job,
and a Boy Scout. These kits were also known
as "6 inch scale"
Collectors Series - 54mm figures
Although originally released in a unique
style of plastic bag, most of this series was issued in blister packs
before moving to boxes, and were of various
historical soldiers like the 1815 95th Rifleman
or 1815 British 10th Hussar. The range covers
Waterloo (1815), the English Civil War (1642)
and the American War of Independence (1776),
with a Bengal Lancer and a French Legionnaire.
Like the 1/12 range, these were not sets
of figures - there being only one figure
to construct in the kit.
||1965-72 issue of the 1/12 British Boy Scout - now very rare
||In fact, any kit in this range. Model soldiers, military figures and the
such-like have a huge collector's following. In the HO/OO range look out
for the original boxes, like the Robin Hood above, and rarities like the
Zoo Sets, Wagon Train etc.
||Any Type 2 bagged kit, like this 1/12 scale Oliver Cromwell
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Small range of eleven motorcycle kits
Ariel Arrow. This mould came to Airfix with the purchase of the Kitmaster
company in 1962. Why did Kitmaster have a single motorcycle kit in amongst
their range of railway locomotives?
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A considerable range of mostly Star Wars-inspired kits, including some
dioramas. Others include factual rockets such as the Saturn 1B and V, Vostok
and Space Shuttle. There were also a number of completely sci-fi
subjects like the Flying Saucer !
A small range of kits announced in the 1981 catalogue. These were not continued
by Palitoy and must be rare now
A few kits were issued in the SnapFix range in the early 1980s (eg Flying
||Either of the Saturn 1B or Saturn
V kits, in original boxes. The Saturn V was
issue of 1970-77. Do not confuse with the later 1990s re-issue in an updated
spacecraft kit in Pan Am livery
from the TV series Captain Scarlet
||Sci-fi subjects like the Flying Saucer, Starcruiser,
Cosmic Clipper etc
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Almost as popular with enthusiasts as the
aircraft range. Many of the Airfix locos and rolling stock came from Kitmaster
purchase in 1962. In 1982, when Airfix
was owned by Palitoy, the whole range was sold to Dapol. Dapol still manufacture
some of these kits in Wales, under their own logo.
A range of about twenty kits, some Airfix's own (such as the Diesel Railbus
of 1960s -see above) and some acquired from Kitmaster (such as the Evening
Star - which was the last steam locomotive built by British Railways).
Freight wagons also included in the series. There was also a box of spare
Trackside Accessories and Buildings
A very large range (over fifty) buildings,
stations and railway accessories. These were some of Airfix's earliest releases
(1957) and, of course, originally came in
plastic bags (later some kits moved to blister packs).
(1957) trackside series buildings in plastic bags. Also of interest due
to their unique header card designs
rare kits - Lowmac & JCB and Scammel Scarab
||Of curiosity value - the BR
Mogul loco. Roy Cross (Airfix's famous box-top artist) made a very
obvious mistake in his painting of this engine. The error is probably more
easily spotted by railway enthusiasts, but look at the box top carefully!(OK, the picture is too small.... one of the connecting rods is missing)
||Boxes marked "Limited Edition". These were produced in 1972 when
Airfix re-introduced some previously deleted models. Not really "limited"
as these kits seemed to have gone back into "mass" production!
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Playsets and Dioramas
To complement the kit ranges, Airfix also
produced a large series of dioramas and playsets, usually of battle scenes.
Some sets included vehicle kits (such as Sherman and Churchill tanks) and
some included aircraft kits (such as the Me109 or Zero). Other sets included
various soldiers from the Figures series. Airfix
were very skilled at combining their buildings, figures and vehicles into
a whole scheme of different offerings, as below:
Range of snap-together forts and other military
These were the "forts" but with added HO/OO
figures. Example picture : 1990s edition of the Fort
The forts, with figures, but also with vehicles from the polythene ready-made
range. The Battle of Waterloo Assault Set has a very much sought-after
unique accessory pack (see plastic bag at bottom of central picture above)
Dioramas of famous battles, including an aircraft
kit. Produced in pairs - one for each combatant side. Example picture :
1/32 scale buildings
4 buildings to complement the figures and
polythene vehicles in the same scale
1/32 scale buildings, with figures and vehicles
HO/OO scale buildings with bases. Some recently
re-released without the bases
||The 1661 Attack
Force set - very rare !
||An example of the Assault Set range. This one is the Gun Emplacement. Note contents - Fort, HO/OO figures and vehicles from the polythene ready-made range.
||1/32 scale Combat Pack - only two were released in 1976 - this one and the Desert Combat Pack. The gun emplacements actually fired little plastic discs - just seen in the larger picture picture, click here
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There was more.....
A 1/1 scale series of six bird kits, including
a Woodpecker, Robins, Kingfisher, Bullfinches
Eight kits including
Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops
Four "engines" of various sorts, from a steam
powered beam engine to a 4 stroke petrol engine. All the kits were motorised
when first released
Very weird indeed. Three kits of outrageous
figures riding a plane, a car and a motorcycle (two kits were ex-Hawk models)
The Hovercraft & Autogyro
Well ? Are they aircraft or boats ? My bets
says that hovercraft are ships and have to obey marine regulations, but
I'm sure somebody will correct me if I'm wrong. Airfix issued two kits
- the British SRN-1 experiment vehicle of 1960 and the SRN-4 car ferry
(which may still be in service ?). Even the Enthusiasts Guide isn't sure
where to categorise these - Pat Lewarne lists the SRN-1 twice - under Aircraft
and again under Miscellaneous. Pat lists the James Bond 1/24 scale Wallis
Autogyro also under Miscellaneous. I'd put it under Aircraft, but I suspect
the reason is that Airfix didn't include this kit in its aircraft series
in its Catalogues.
Single kit - The skeleton
Pre-Assembled Polythene Military Vehicles
A range of HO/OO vehicles originally sold under the Attack Force label.
Also a smaller range of 1/32 scale vehicles.
I don't care how valuable or rare they might
be, they are NOT kits! Airfix also owned Crayonne, who did
plastic bathroom accessories. To me, these models are in the same category
as an Airfix plastic towel rail.The HO/OO vehicles were released as two distinct
Two huge dioramas featuring kits of enormous
inserts attacking buildings - Scorpion
and Mantis. Now available from AMT/ERTL
Airfix also produced a range of fly-able gliders,
which were produced in polystyrene, card and waterproofed paper. The Colditz
Glider was the largest of these - British TV addicts will recognise this
one, and it can be seen at the back of the 12th Edition catalogue. The
glider range was called Skycraft and was available in the early 1970s. These gliders were listed in the Toy catalogues,
not the kit catalogues
Gift Sets, Starter Packs, Presentation Sets
Airfix began packaging their kits into Presentation
Packs in the late 1950s as they believed
this would enhance the perceived value, especially
for mail-order retailers. The Packs included
plastic bag kits and it is rumoured that
Type 0 Header Card variants exist because
the header cards were changed to match the
Presentation Pack styling.
In the 1980s, Airfix began again to package various kits into presentation
packs, the most famous of which is the 1985 Model World of Airfix. It's
not the two kits that make this presentation pack interesting - it's Arthur
Ward's book that was included. In addition, Airfix has always had a history
of combining with others (eg. recently UK retailers - WH Smith, Marks and
Spencer, and also manufacture by Natural Science Industries under the Smithsonian name in the US) to produce various gift sets.
Probably the most sought after Airfix kits
of all time are the two promotional kit give-aways. Small boys were invited
to collect Lyons Maid ice-lolly wrappers and exchange them for kits of
the Stingray and Fireball XL5 (both Gerry Anderson TV series).
Fireball XL5 or the Stingray. Either of these kits will set you back about
Airfix Presentation Sets issued in the late 1950s. These are Galleons,
Sports Cars, Aircraft and starting in 1957 with the Trackside Presentation
Set. The Trackside set was issued in two versions with different contents.
Bond Autogyro. Do not confuse with the later re-release of this kit. The
truly valuable one was produced in 1967-70 and has real firing rockets.
& Spenser sets, like the one shown here:
||Some of the HO/OO and 1/32 scale polythene
ready-made military vehicles are much sought
after and hence valuable
||The Colditz Glider mentioned above. Note
the Swastika - wouldn't be allowed these
days! This picture was taken from the 1975 Airfix
Toy catalogue. (see comment above - these gliders were "toys"
not "kits" but are mentioned here
as they seem to fall within the interest
range of most kit collectors)
||Model World of Airfix presentation pack
||In fact, almost anything in this category.
All are a bit rare and certainly interesting.
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The Rest....other Toy ranges
And so we come to some other well-known examples
from the other Airfix Toy product range.
Most of the ranges listed below are featured
in more detail in other parts of this web
site... click here
Electric Train Sets
Airfix produced a considerable range of HO/OO
electric train sets and accessories. I guess these were competitors to
Triang and Hornby in their day. These were not kits, but pre-assembled
rolling stock. Known as the Airfix Railway System, but later re-named to
GMR (Great Model Railways). Track was made by
PECO, much was manufactured in Hong Kong.
Airfix purchased the Model Road Racing Cars
(MRRC) company in 1963, and so marketed a range of slot car sets and accessories.
(Although I do admit to not being clear on this - it is written that Airfix
were already producing their own range of slot-cars sets under the banner
"Airfix Motor Racing" BEFORE they bought MRRC. Today. MRRC exists as a
small independent company, still producing slot cars in the Channel Islands).
Some of Airfix's own 1/32 scale car kits were released in motorised versions
- eg the Ford Zodiac.
||This advertising slip was found in an old
1960s kit. Youngsters and the non-British may be wondering about the price
shown on the ad? It is very simple - this is British pre-decimal currency
from a time prior to 1971. The set price was 5 pounds, 17 shillings, and
6 pence. We have to remember that there were 12 pennies in a shilling and
20 shillings in a pound. Not forgetting a guinea which was 21 shillings
or a half-crown which was two shillings and six pence. Ah, nostalgia. But
it did mean we had to get rid of this stuff before we could start using
pocket calculators. Note also the unique Airfix logo created for this range.
The slot car range is one of the most sought
after Airfix products now. I've seen mint motorised car sets at $150.
Go to Airfix Motor Racing section of this site
- click here
Airfix produced two construction sets - their
Building Set (see my Toys page, and also
my Links page) and the Betta Bilda range.
It may be considered that Betta Bilda rivalled
Lego as they were both around at the same
time. One lost out - guess which?
Click here for Building
Set picture gallery
Click here for Betta
Bilda picture gallery
If you look at the back of old Airfix kit
catalogues you can get a feel for the "toy"
ranges. I have no detailed knowledge of these,
but I do know there are collectors (see my
page). Includes classics like the World of Weebles. I dare not think
what it means in the 12th Edition kit catalogue when it says "Family and
ADULT games". The Flight Deck aircraft-carrier landing game is probably
one of the best known toys.
Paint by Numbers
The New Artist range of painting sets
Make your own plastic jewelry box, plant holder,
book-ends or plastic-framed mirror. The boxes said "A pleasure to
build, and joy to give". Oh, dear - did this stuff ever sell ?
In addition to the well known Airfix Magazine,
there were also the Annuals, Classic Ship Series, Classic Aircraft Series,
Modelling Guides, Wargaming Guides and many