01 January 2023
Famous for their model kits of cars, planes and military vehicles, manufacturers Airfix also produced a number of other toys in their earlier years, as revealed in our exclusive article ...
Whilst Airfix is mostly associated with scale models, the company didn’t start out in the kit business and the conjunction of ‘Air’ and ‘fix’ has nothing to do with either aircraft or assembly. The name was chosen as the new business specialised in air-filled products. When the company started it didn’t make a single kit but was big in lilos and rubber novelties.
Because it was one of the earliest British companies to possess state-of-the-art injection moulding machines and, post-war, plastic goods were fast becoming king, Airfix expanded rapidly. By 1953 there first Spitfire model was launched, but there were a number of less successful toys released along the way.
A kennel of dogs
Created in the 1950s, this 'Airfix Kennel of Dogs' featured a set of 1:32 scale dogs of different breeds which came in a cardboard kennel. Described as 'the doggiest toy ever' on the packaging, the toy was made at a time when many different types of plastic were being used, and such figures often varied greatly in quality.
Airfix arts and crafts
It wasn’t all about war. Airfix never forgot mothers and their daughters as this popular planter from the extensive ‘Craft Time’ range illustrates. Airfix’s arts and crafts division was doing very well producing an assortment of painting by numbers sets (remember ‘New Artist’?), glitter kits, cotton craft pictures and a variety of modelling clays.
Airfix Pin Head Game
Airfix also produced a number of family games, including Pin Head from 1969 and the rather surreal Big Ear, which challenged family members to don large plastic ears, complete with long string earrings, and carefully hook tokens from the floor. Another toy, the Hanky Panky Magic Set, gave budding magicians the chance to perform a range of tricks.
Originally published May 2013. Reviewed January 2023.
Arthur Ward is the author of The Other Side of Airfix from Remember When.