Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Top Toys: Airfix

Founded in 1939, Airfix started life as a manufacturer of inflatable rubber toys. A decade later, it was commissioned to create a promotional model of a Ferguson tractor. The model was initially moulded in cellulose acetate plastic and hand assembled for distribution to Ferguson sales representatives. To increase sales and lower productions costs, the model was sold in kit form by F. W. Woolworth’s retail stores. The first aircraft kit was released in 1955, a model of the Supermarine Spitfire, in 1:72 scale. The rest, as they say, is history…

Although I had a number of Airfix kits as a kid (and a lot of Revell ones too) the whole model-building experience was far too fiddly, stinky and unrewarding for my taste. Maybe if I’d sunk my Tirpitz like May does here with the Bismark on a lake with a rifle I might have had more fun with it… Nope, to me, Airfix was more synonymous with their 1:72 scale polythene military figures, of which I had thousands from all periods of history. Great stuff — terrific box art. My favourite? The Ancient Britons, naturally.