Airfix

Airfix is the oldest UK manufacturer of scale plastic kits & toy figures and has been producing plastic kits since 1952.

Airfix make a wide range of kit models such as: cars, ships, military aircraft, dioramas and licensed products such as Wallace & Gromit, and shortly Doctor Who.

History

Airfix was founded in 1939 by Nicholas Kove, a refugee from Hungary who originally produced rubber inflated toys. The name Airfix was chosen because part of the process involved fixing air into products. Nicholas also believed that all successful companies should have their names at the beginning of business directories and consequently the name Airfix was born.

After WWII he switched to producing plastic combs, and was the first manufacturer to introduce an injection moulding machine.

Model tractors

In the late 1940s Airfix was approached by tractor manufacturer Harry Ferguson to make a model of one of his tractors that could be used by his sales team as a way to promote his products. Because of problems making the model, it was decided to make it in a series of parts which were then to be assembled by a team of trained workers.

This ready-built tractor proved to be popular and Ferguson allowed Airfix to produce them as toys and sell them under the Airfix name. It soon became obvious that more tractors could be sold if they were cheaper, and to achieve this they sold the kits unmade with instructions. This proved to be successful and shortly after Woolworths approached Airfix suggesting that by using a more stable polystyrene plastic and poly bags with a card header, it would meet the Woolworths retail price of 2 shillings. The small scale Golden Hind was launched in 1952. Soon after Airfix began to produce a wider range of model kits, like the all famous Spitfire model appearing from 1953.

Popularity

Airfix grew throughout the 1960s and 1970s as the plastic kit modeling hobby became ever more popular. The range expanded to include military vehicles, spaceships, trains, figures, trackside accessories, large classic ships, engines, warships, liners, rockets, modern cars, motorcycles, vintage cars, and more.

Bankruptcy

In the 1980s the plastic kit modeling hobby went into decline, this was blamed on a number of factors such as the introduction of computer games, precision die-cast models becoming available, and a rise in oil prices. Due to this and heavy losses in Airfix’s other toy businesses, they were forced to declare bankruptcy, then later bought by General Mills.

Four years later, General Mills decided to abandon toy production in Europe resulting in Airfix coming back onto the market. This time it was bought by the Hobby Products Group of Borden who also owned other brands such as Heller (the French based plastic kit manufacturer) and Humbrol (producer of modeling paints and accessories).

In 1995 Borden then sold the Hobby Products group -which also included Airfix- to an Irish Holdings Company called Allen McGuire and continued to operate under the Humbrol name. In 2006 Humbrol Ltd. went into administration resulting in Hornby Hobbies Ltd buying both the Airfix and Humbrol brand.

In 2003, Airfix celebrated the '50th' anniversary of its first airplane kit, the Supermarine Spitfire. The celebration was two years early due to an incorrect 1953 date commonly accepted at the time. As the original moulds for the kit were long gone, Airfix reissued its 1/72 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Ia kit in blue plastic. The kit also included a large Series 5 stand (the moulds for the smaller Series 1 stand having been lost) and a copy of the original plastic bag packaging with paper header.

Links

Updated: 29 July 2020

Airfix value and price guide

What's your Airfix worth in 2021? Here are some recently sold items.

Item Title Date Price
oo gauge job hornby dublo trix mainline grafar airfix Oo Gauge Job Hornby Dublo Trix Mainline Grafar Airfix 07/2021 C $1 044.09
collection soldats et maquettes 1 72 Collection Soldats Et Maquettes 1 72 08/2021 C $598.53
pro built 1 48 boulton paul defiant mk 1 many extras by Pro Built 1 48 Boulton Paul Defiant Mk 1 Many Extras By 08/2021 C $365.00
airfix 180027 1 24 scale junkers ju 87b 2 stuka sealed Airfix 180027 1 24 Scale Junkers Ju 87b 2 Stuka Sealed 09/2021 C $344.25
1 24 scale airfix dehavilland mosquito fb vi 1 24 Scale Airfix Dehavilland Mosquito Fb Vi 08/2021 C $325.19
no pictureSee all sold items on eBay for more prices10/2021C $-.--

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