About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

A is for Airfix (and Craft, Dairylea, Tehnolog, Humbrol, Robogear...)

Ringing in the changes with the old and the new I thought I'd look at a couple of Aifix rarities.

Among the first sets issued by Airfix was the Farm Stock set, and in common with other early sets it was snapped up by the food industry as a premium, in this case by Craft Foods for their Dairylea Cheese Spread. The Cowboys and Combat Group had both been used by comics and the Civilians were issued on the cover of a Railway modelling magazine. The Astronauts too were used for a mail-away promotion.

The box (big enough for a whole set!) clearly states 'Three Animals' yet this is the second set I've seen with 4 animals, both times it's the very small animals, and the conclusion is that they felt three weren't enough if using the smaller one's so included an extra without reprinting or printing a new box graphic.

Just before they went bust for the umpteenth time, Airfix bought-into this system from Russia. At the London Toy Fair in about 2005 or '06? I ran into the Airfix stand (first time they'd had a stand for a long time) and they were showing these with their own label.

As they had only just appeared in the Pocketbond catalogue in the Russian graphics, I was impressed by the speed Airfix had got on what could have been a profitable bandwagon and told them as much - anything anybody does to break Games Workshop's monopoly is OK by me!

The box art, they weren't designed to be 'multi-pose', but the judicious use of glue, stretched sprue and spare bits of plastic soon made them as versatile as anything GW have produced. Sadly once Heller had taken them under, this range failed to survive the Hornby takeover! The Robogear website was last updated in January 2007 so I'm afraid the promising range is dead?

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