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 1981.
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 :

Aircraft Motorcycles
Ships Spacecraft
Cars Railways
Military Vehicles Forts, Playsets and Dioramas
Figures Miscellaneous Kits
The Rest...

See also my complete list of Airfix kits, available as a spreadsheet - click here for information.

The Aircraft
Wellington Type 0 box - 15k file FW190 Type 1 bag - 15k file Skyhawk Type 2 bag - 15k file Jetstream Type 3 box - 15k file
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.
Hi-Tech Series
Airfix produced a range of aircraft kits featuring metal photo-etched detail parts. There was also a Hi-Tech NATO weapons set.
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 Toys section
The very first 1956/7 plastic bag issues with Type 1a Header Cards - e.g. Gladiator kit shown right Gladiator - 15k file
Series 2 kits originally issued in plastic bags - e.g. Walrus, P38J Lightning, Swordfish, Anson P-38 - 15k file
Rare kits such as the Saunders Roe SR53 or Hawker P1127 (in the original Type 2 bag, not the 2000 re-release) SR53 - 15k file
World War I Dog-Fight Doubles Dog Fight Double - 15K file
Airliners in original BOAC or BEA liveries, also Fokker Friendship in Aer Lingus markings F27 Aer Lingus - 12k file

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The Ships
HMS Hood Type 2 box - 15k file Revenge Type 0 bag - 15k file HMS Warspite Type 2 box - 15k file
The very first commercial Airfix kit was the Golden Hind of 1952. The range increased over the years to the following series:
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 Revenge
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 cruise ships
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 SS Southern Cross - 15k file
MV Free Enterprise - sought after. Also USS Forestall
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 after Cutty Sark Type 2 bag - 15k file

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 The Cars
1932 Chrysler - 15k file Ford Zodiac Type 3 - 15k file Sunbeam Rapier Type 2 - 15k file Maserati 1980 box - 15k file
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.

Masterpiece Collection
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)
1/32 Trucks

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.
Hi-Tech Series
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 007 DB5 - 20k file
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. Mini Type 2 - 15k file
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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The Military Vehicles
25pdr & Quad Type 2 - 15k file Car 234 Type 3 - 15k file Dodge Command Car - 15k file
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 Pounder Gun. 
Russian SAM2 Guideline missile - original 1972 issue is very rare SAM-2 - 15k file
Like the aircraft - any Series 2 kits in plastic bags - eg Scammel Tank Transporter Tank Transporter - 15k file
Bristol Bloodhound in 1960s packaging Bristol Bloodhound - 15k file

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The Figures
Yeoman Type 2 - 15k file Robin Hood Type 2 - 15k file 1/32 Multi-pose - 15k file
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 Oliver Cromwell Type 2 - 15k file

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The Motorcycles
Honda 450 - 15k file
Small range of eleven motorcycle kits 
The 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? Ariel Arrow - 15k file

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Lunar Module Type 3 - 15k file Flying Saucer - 15k file Eagle Transporter - 15k file
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 Saucer, above)

Either of the Saturn 1B or Saturn V kits, in original boxes. The Saturn V was recently re-released
Original Vostok rocket issue of 1970-77. Do not confuse with the later 1990s re-issue in an updated box Vostok - 15k file
Original Orion spacecraft kit in Pan Am livery Orion Type 3 - 15k file
Angel Interceptor from the TV series Captain Scarlet Angel Interceptor Type 4 - 15k file
Sci-fi subjects like the Flying Saucer, Starcruiser, Cosmic Clipper etc

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The Railway Series
Station Platform Blue Box - 15k file Railbus Type 2 - 15k file Signal Box Type 2 - 15k file Diesel Crane Type 2 - 15k file
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.
Rolling Stock
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 couplings.
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). 
Early (1957) trackside series buildings in plastic bags. Also of interest due to their unique header card designs General Store Type 0 - 15k file
Two rare kits - Lowmac & JCB and Scammel Scarab Scarab Type 2 - 15k file
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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The Forts, Playsets and Dioramas
Jungle Outpost - 15k file Waterloo Assault Set - 20k file Sherwood Castle - 15k file Beach Head Invasion Set - 25k file
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 establishments
These were the "forts" but with added HO/OO figures. Example picture : 1990s edition of the Fort Apache playset
Assault Sets
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 : D-Day, Allied Forces
1/32 scale buildings
4 buildings to complement the figures and polythene vehicles in the same scale
Combat Packs
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. Gun Emplacement - 15k file
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 Combat Pack - 10k file

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There was more.....
A 1/1 scale series of six bird kits, including a Woodpecker, Robins, Kingfisher, Bullfinches etc.
Prehistoric Monsters
Eight kits including Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops
Museum Series
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.
Anatomical Figures
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 versions.
Sci-Fi Monsters
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 etc
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.
Promotional Toys
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).
The Fireball XL5 or the Stingray. Either of these kits will set you back about $700-800 !
Four 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.
James 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.
Marks & 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 Attack Force Patton Tank - 20k file
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) Colditz Glider - 15k File
Model World of Airfix presentation pack Model World Set - 20k file
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.
Slot Cars
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. 
MRRC advert - 55k 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

Building Sets
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 Toys 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
Craft Time
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 ?
The Books
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 many more.