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A BARRETT & SONS 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
ABEL, C D 1898-1914
Early British hollow-cast manufacturer Islington , London , England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  

Airfix is a UK manufacturer of plastic scale model kits of aircraft and other subjects. In Britain, the name Airfix is synonymous with the hobby, a plastic model of this type is often simply referred to as "an airfix kit" even if made by another manufacturer.

Founded in 1939, Airfix was owned by Humbrol from 1986 until Humbrol's financial collapse on 31 August 2006. As of 2007, Airfix is currently owned by Hornby.
Airfix was founded in 1939 by a Hungarian businessman Nicholas Kove, initially manufacturing rubber inflatable toys. The brand name Airfix was selected to be the first alphabetically in any toy catalogue. In 1947, Airfix introduced injection moulding, initially producing pocket combs. In 1949, 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.

A few years later in 1954, Woolworth buyer Jim Russon suggested to Airfix that they produce a model kit of Sir Francis Drake's Golden Hind, then being sold in North America as a 'ship-in-a-bottle'. The kit would be made in the more stable polystyrene plastic. In order to meet Woolworth's retail price of 2 shillings, Airfix changed the packaging from a cardboard box to a plastic bag with a paper header which also included the instructions. It was a huge success and led the company to produce new kit designs. The first aircraft kit was released in 1955, a model of the Supermarine Spitfire, in 1/72 scale. This was a scaled down copy of the Aurora 1/48 Supermarine Spitfire kit. Kove initially refused to believe the product would sell and threatened to charge the cost of the tooling to the designers.


Airfix models from 1957During the 1960s and 1970s, the company expanded greatly as the kit modelling hobby grew enormously. The Airfix range expanded to include vintage and modern cars, motorcycles, figures, trains, trackside accessories, military vehicles, large classic ships, warships, liners, engines, rockets and spaceships, as well as an ever-increasing range of aircraft. Most kits were created at the "standard" scale of 1/72 for small and military aircraft, and 1/144 scale for airliners.

The 1963 acquisition of the intellectual property and 35 moulds of Rosebud Kitmaster gave Airfix their first true models of railway locomotives in both OO and HO scales as well as their first motorcycle kit in 1/16th scale — the Ariel Arrow.

In the mid 1970s, larger scales were introduced, including the dramatic 1/24 scale models of the Spitfire and Hurricane and Harrier "jump-jet", which featured unusually extensive detailing at this scale. All the kits were manufactured using injection moulding of polystyrene. They were categorised into Series from 1 to 20 depending on their size and complexity and were priced accordingly. The only Series 20 product was a 1/12 scale kit of the 1930 Supercharged Bentley 4.5 Litre car with 272 parts and the option of a 3 volt motor.

The growth of the hobby launched a number of competitors in the field, such as Matchbox, as well as introducing new manufacturers from Japan and the US to the UK. During this period the company Humbrol also grew, supplying the paints, brushes, glue and other accessories for the finishing of the kits.

In this period, apart from model kits, Airfix also produced a wide range of toys, games, dolls and art & craft products. Airfix Industries acquired the Meccano and Dinky Toy businesses in 1971.

Airfix also launched a monthly modelling magazine, Airfix Magazine, which was produced by a variety of publishers from June 1960 to October 1993. During the 1970s, an Airfix Magazine Annual was also produced and Airfix books were published by Patrick Stephens Ltd on classic aircraft, classic ships and modelling techniques.

Decline, purchase by Humbrol

54mm American GIs by AirfixIn the 1980s, the plastic kit modelling hobby went into a rapid decline. Some think this was due to the rise of computer games, others that new manufacturing techniques such as precision diecasting took away the market for toys, where a person was less interested in the construction and finishing of a model, but simply wanted to play with the finished product, others the declining birth rates leading into smaller generations and declining numbers of potential enthusiasts. However, the decline may simply be a side effect of large increases in the retail price of plastic models following the oil crisis of the late '70s which led to high inflation as well as an increase in the price of plastics. This also may explain why the emphasis of the modelmaking hobby is today on adults rather than children.[original research?]

Due to large losses in Airfix's other toy businesses, even though the model business was still profitable, Airfix was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1981. The company was bought by General Mills (owner of rival US kit-maker MPC) through its UK Palitoy subsidiary, with the kit moulds being quickly shipped to its factory in Calais, France.

Four years later, General Mills withdrew from the toy market to refocus its efforts on its core food manufacturing business. At one point it looked as if the Airfix range might die out, but eventually, in 1986, it was bought by the Hobby Products Group of Borden, Inc., who had tried to buy the range in 1981. Borden were also the owners of British model company Humbrol. The moulds remained in France but were relocated to the Group's existing kit manufacturer, Trun-based Heller SA. This was a logical acquisition, since Humbrol's paints and adhesives could be used to complete Airfix kits and the Heller factory was under-utilised.

The Hobby Products Group was sold to an Irish investment company, Allen & McGuire, in 1994 and continued under the Humbrol name.

50th anniversary
In 2003, Airfix celebrated the "50th" anniversary of its first aircraft kit, the Supermarine Spitfire. The celebration was two years early due to an incorrect 1953 date commonly accepted at the time. As the moulds for the original 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.

Demise of Humbrol and acquisition by Hornby
On 31 August 2006, parent company Humbrol went into administration, with 31 of 41 employees being made redundant. This was largely due to the collapse of Heller SA, who still manufactured most of Airfix's kits. On 10 November 2006, Hornby Hobbies Ltd. announced it was to acquire Airfix and other assets of Humbrol for £2.6 million,and relaunched the brands the following year.

As of October 2008, Airfix's factory in Hull was undergoing demolition.

Model railways
From 1975 to 1981, Airfix also manufactured a line of ready-to-run (i.e. non-kit) model railway stock in OO gauge (1/76.2 scale). These models were based on British prototypes and at the time of introduction, they represented a significant improvement in detailing and prototype accuracy compared to British outline model railway stock from other British ready-to-run manufacturers such as Hornby. The product range expanded fairly rapidly in the first few years. A model of a Great Western Railway (GWR) 0-4-2 autotank steam locomotive and GWR autocoach are amongst some of the many memorable and important product releases. Airfix also offered an analogue electronics-based multiple train control system (MTC) allowing independent control of multiple locomotives on the same track. Airfix produced a large number of plastic kits for both railway stock and scenic items. Some of these such as the footbridge and engine shed became instantly recognizable to almost every railway modeller in the UK.

The brand label was changed to Great Model Railways (GMR) in 1979, although the Airfix name was still included. However, Airfix left the model railway business in 1981. The models were sold to one of its main competitors, Palitoy who produced the Mainline range of products. The former Airfix moulds together with the Palitoy designed 2P 4-4-0 and Class 56 diesel were later re-sold to Dapol Ltd and then subsequently to Hornby. Dapol provided new chassis for the 14xx and Castle. The remainder of the Mainline Railways had been produced for Palitoy by Kader Industries and ownership of those tools remained with Kader, being later used to form the basis of the Bachmann Branchline models. Dapol continues to produce (but not promote) most of the kits but as the moulds (some now over forty years old) wear out the kits are being discontinued. Hornby continues to make 4mm/ft scale models from the Airfix mouldings.

A monthly magazine, Model Trains, was published by Airfix from January 1980. The magazine included especially good articles aimed at newcomers to the hobby and also included many articles about modelling US and Continental European railways, as well British prototype railways. The publication of Model Trains continued for some years after Airfix ceased ownership in 1981. A change in the editorial team saw the original Model Trains editorial staff launch a new title as Scale Trains, in April 1982. A slight name change followed in April 1984, as Scale Model Trains following the final issue of Model Trains in December 1983. Scale Model Trains ran till June 1995, when a new publisher was found and the magazine was relaunched in 1995 as Model Trains International, the November/December issue being issue number 1. As of 2007, it continues to be published bi-monthly.

Airfix Motor Racing
In 1963, the Airfix Motor Racing slot car racing system was introduced. While they produced specially made racing cars, with front-wheel Ackermann steering, they also later made conversion kits so that normal Airfix 1/32 kit cars such as the Ford Zodiac and the Sunbeam Rapier could be made to race. The first set had Ferrari and Cooper cars, an 11 foot figure-of-eight track, and cost 4 pounds 19 shillings and 11 pence.

Always in the shadow of the Scalextric range, the Airfix version attempted progress with the Model Road Racing Company (MRRC) higher-end range of cars and accessories, but eventually the venture was abandoned.

Video game
In 2000, EON Digital Entertainment released Airfix Dogfighter for Microsoft Windows. The game featured computer representation of Airfix's Second World War-era model aircraft with a total of over 15 playable aircraft, including the German Me262, and the American F6F Hellcat. The game featured 20 total missions, allowing players to play 10 missions as both the Axis and Allies. Players fought their way through the game's 1950s-era house, destroying enemy planes while trying to collect healing glue packets, new model kits, weapons schematics, and paint to customise their aircraft for on-line battles. Pilots would battle enemy model aircraft as well as U-boats, warships, tanks, flak guns, airships, and fortresses. Players could also design their own fighting emblem, call sign, and even their own battle maps based on the missions in the game. The whole game is an advertising venture, as the paints are Humbrol and the kit upgrades show actual pictures of Airfix packages.

The Airfix history has ensured that the company, its products and its brand has entered modern culture, especially in the Anglo-centric world, in its own right.[5] There is even an advert for Santander bank based around a Lewis Hamilton Formula One kit.[6]

A lifesize model of a Spitfire in the style of an Airfix kit was made as part of the BBC TV series James May's Toy Stories in 2009.

Product ranges
1:24, 1:48, 1:72, 1:144 and 1:300 scales, covering aircraft from World War I to the present day. Perhaps the most well known range of Airfix models.
Rockets and Spaceships
1:72 and 1:144 scales. A small range from the Lunar Module to the Saturn V. Also some TV/film science fiction spacecraft, usually in odd scales.
Famous Warships
1:400, 1:600 and 1:1200 scales. From World War I to modern.
High Speed Boats
1:72. A small range of mostly World War II boats.
Classic Historical Ships
A number of 15th to 19th century ships in small scale (about 1:600) and large scale (from 1:96 to 1:180).
1:12, 1:24, 1:25, 1:32 and 1:43 scales. The range includes a series of Veteran and Modern cars.
1:8, 1:12, 1:16 and 1:24 scales. Includes bikes from the 1960s to present day racing bikes.
Trains and Trackside Accessories
1:76 scale. Includes a number of ex-Kitmaster kits. The moulds for these kits were sold to Dapol in the 1980s.

1:72 scale T-34/85Military Vehicles
1:32, 1:35, 1:72 and 1:76 scales. Airfix was the first company to release small scale military vehicles in 1960 with the 1:72 Bloodhound. The following vehicles were in 1:76 or OO scale.
Diorama sets
HO/OO scale World War II scenes including the "Battlefront History" series. Also the "Rampaging Scorpion" and "Colossal Mantis" science fiction dioramas. A new series of Airfield Sets has recently been released, with Aircraft, Military Vehicles and Figures included in the box. Airfix also produce a range of Military Vehicles such as the RAF Refuelling Set to be used with Structures like the Airfield Control Tower.
1:76, 1:72 and 1:32 scales. Sets of mostly military figures (approximately 14 to 30 per box for 1:32, 30 to 50 per box for 1:72), of subjects such as World War I, World War II and Modern Infantry, Waterloo, Arab Tribesmen, etc. These are made in polythene, a soft durable plastic. Some vehicles of simpler casting and detail than their polystyrene equivalents and buildings were also available and included in larger play sets, e.g., the Coastal Defence Assault Set which included polythene tanks and infantry for either side plus a polystyrene Coastal Defence Fort kit. Collectors of vintage toy soldiers have reported brittling and disintegration of Airfix 1/76 scale plastic figures.[7]
Multipose Figures
1:32 scale. A small range of World War II figures in polystyrene that could be assembled in different poses.
Collector Series
54 mm. These were plastic kits of single figures, mostly from the Battle of Waterloo, American Civil War, and English Civil War. Some kits have a rider, e.g., George Washington, on a horse.
Historical Figures
1:12 scale. Famous figures from history, mostly from the England, e.g., Queen Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn, Black Prince, Henry VIII,[8] Julius Caesar, and Oliver Cromwell. Also produced were a showjumper with horse (rumoured to have been based on the young Princess Anne), a 1:6 scale human skeleton, and a James Bond and Oddjob paired kit.
Wildlife Series
1:1 scale. Models of British garden birds in a diorama form, e.g., two bullfinches on a branch.
A small range of kits of pre-historic dinosaurs, e.g., Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Museum Series
A small range of motorised engines. Includes a Beam and Four Stroke Cycle Engine.
science fiction wargaming models.
Doctor Who
Various models from the Doctor Who TV series including the TARDIS.[9]
Airfix also produced a small number of Card Construction kits for use with the Airfix Railway System. These were included with some Airfix GMR Train Sets.

9 7 10-09-11  07:57 am Jan Werner
ALF ( Ukraine Toy Manufacturer) 1 2 12-30-08  03:47 pm David John Busfield
A Birmingham trade wholesaler in Birmingham,England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
ARBUR 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
Die-cast figures manufacturer of London, England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
ASTRA PHAROS 1935-1960
Manufacturer of die-cast guns and accessories London, England.
From Member Chris Clemons 9th August 2007:-
Until recently very little was known about the history of this company and its products. However the Astra-Pharos toys are quite collectable and increasing in value. The most well known are the guns, which could fire'shells' and caps, searchlights and traffic/railway signals. Lesser known items include harbours for waterline ships, lighthouses and petrol stations with illuminated petrol pumps.

Now a new book, "The Toys of Astra-Pharos" by David J. Booth, published by the author, describes in detail the history of the company and its products. He also claims to list every toy produced by Astra-Pharos.With over 100 photographs, chapters include the history of the company, early toys, the military range, post war toys, boxes, catalogues and instruction leaflets. There are also descriptions of model variations and subsequent models made by Johillco and Wend-al when the moulds were sold off. I have no connection with the author but recommend the book because I think it has been well researched and is a valuable reference book on this interesting toy company. It is currently for sale on Ebay.

7 5 03-06-11  04:25 pm David John Busfield
Die-cast , Tin and Wire farm model wholesale agents London, England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
Archives of Discussions 273 18 10-25-10  02:08 pm David John Busfield
B & S 1950
Die-cast makers of garden accessories (NOT Barrett & Sons) London,England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
B & T 1949
Die-cast model maker London, England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
BARNES & BULLER 3 1 09-23-13  02:10 pm Jacques Dujardin
BASSETT-LOWKE LTD 1899-Present Day
Commissioned William Britain to produce a series of railway passengers for 'O' gauge trains.Also produced figures of famous people Charlie Chaplin etc. Northampton, England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
BAXTOYS 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
BAYKO 1 2 07-21-08  05:57 pm Administrator
BELL 1936-1939
Die-cast figure manufacturers London, England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
Company founded by Nathan and Jack Bennison Die-cast figures which are very much like 'TIMPO' moulds. Walthamstow,London, England.
9 4 11-15-08  10:41 am Paul Owen
BETAL 1951
The Company of J H Glasman traded under the name 'BETAL' manufacturers of hollow-cast toy figures. London,England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
French makers of hollow-cast Zoo Animals.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
Die-cast 'in action' military figures located in Brighton and London, England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
BREN L TOYS 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
Composition farm and military figures manufacturer. London,England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
BRITAINS 1893-Present day
Founded by William Britain the firm was the pioneer of the British hollow-cast figure and is widely belived to be the inventor of the hollow-cast method of manufacture.London,England.
34 11 07-30-11  01:39 pm Geoffrey r GR Webste
BRUMM 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
BUDGIE 13 10 09-30-13  07:20 pm David John Busfield
CAN ANYONE IDENTIFY THE MANUFACTURER OR MODEL ? 6 3 05-01-14  02:37 pm Administrator
Manufactered solid historical figures British Army,Napoleonic etc. Mr Carman was a founder Member of the British Model Soldier Society. London, England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
Manufactured toy soldiers, games and a footballer with a pin in his head which moved a kicking leg.Cartwright operated from Prospect Street,Rotherhithe, England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
CASTLE ART 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
CHAD VALLEY 1920-1972
Chad Valley is a long-established brand of toys in the United Kingdom owned by Home Retail Group. The company has its roots in a printing business established by Anthony Bunn Johnson in Birmingham in the early 19th century. Under the management of his son Joseph and grandson Alfred the company moved to the suburb of Harborne, in the valley of a stream called the Chad, from which the name comes. The company was one of the UK's leading toymakers for most of the 20th century, but in the 1970s it closed several factories and was taken over by Palitoy in 1978.

The brand name was bought by Woolworths in 1988 and remained in use until that company's closure due to insolvency. The retailers Homebase and Argos' parent company, Home Retail Group, purchased the brand for £5 million on 20 January 2009. The Chad Valley brand is now available exclusively in the new Argos catalogue
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
CHARBENS 1920-1966
Founded by Charles and Benjamin Reid. Manufacturer of lead and later plastic figures.Hornsey,London,England.
18 10 05-16-10  11:39 pm Paul Owen
Formed in 1946 by Mr J Leaver and Mr W Cherrington.Diecast manufacturer of lead and later plastic Animals and figures. Burnley and Blackpool , England.
1 1 01-31-08  04:53 pm Ian Law
CIJ ( Compagnie Industrielle du Jouet ) of France 2 1 11-14-11  01:30 pm Geoffrey 'GR' Webste
CITY TOYS 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
Die-cast manufacturer Farm animals , soldiers. Liverpool and Stoke , England.
1 1 09-22-10  05:36 pm Peter Golden
CONDON 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
CONRAD 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
Mettoy (metal toy) had been set up in 1936 to make metal toys,but it wasn't until 1954 that their first drawings for die-cast cars appeared.Realizing that copying the existing Dinky Toys cars wouldn't be good enough,they decided to make cars with windows - and that became the company slogan: "The First With Windows". Mettoy branded the new range Corgi. On July 9th 1956 ,the first Corgi car appeared .Sales for the first year reached 2.75 million .Soon cars had not only windows,but seats steering wheels and spring suspension.The top selling Corgi toy was Bruce Wayne's 1966 Batmobile with over five million sold.
131 77 03-02-14  11:10 am David John Busfield
CORNELIUS W H 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
Lead Toy figure manufacturer. London, England.
50 23 02-09-14  09:36 am Walter Herter
DCMT - Die-cast Metal Tools 1950
Die-cast manufacturer of models and figures. London, England.
8 4 11-19-08  06:32 am Chris Clemons
DENZIL SKINNER 1 2 08-10-07  10:49 am Nigel Austin Pearson
DIAPET (Japan) 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
DINKY TOYS (DINKY TOYS NOT MADE BY MECCANO 1980 ONWARDS) 122 24 02-06-14  10:55 am Marc Sysmans
DINKY TOYS 1933-1980 14684 3468 07-17-14  02:39 pm Jacques Dujardin
DORAN, E A 1932
Manufacturer's soldiers, cowboys, Indians,knights etc. Islington, London.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
DUCKER, P 1952
Made a range of 8.5mm composition, gloss-painted souvenir type ceremonial figures on thick tin bases. London, England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
Manufactured Soldier Tin Toys maybe hollow-cast too. Stratford, London, England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
EAGLEWALL PLASTICS 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
EMPRO 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
ERIE METAL SPECIALTIES INC. 5 1 07-30-11  01:48 pm Geoffrey r GR Webste
Boxed sets maker of Big Bad Wolf and the Three Little Pigs based on the Pre-War Disney film. Lead Houses with bricks and straw were also issued to enhance the series. London, England.
1 1 02-11-08  05:16 pm Ian Law
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
F G TAYLOR & SONS 6 1 02-13-09  11:50 am David John Busfield
F J MEE , Greeenwich Road,London,S.E. 10 2 1 07-28-08  05:12 pm Administrator
Export and wholesale house who used third party manufacturers to produce hollow-cast figures to sell at trade toy outlets.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
FRY, A 1915-1922
Mr Fry traded as the "ERECTO TOY COMPANY" produced boxed display sets of Fry's fighting soldiers with accessories like barbed wire. Tottenham, London, England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
Before Cherilea took over the Company in 1950 the Company manufactured hollow-cast military figures and animals. Blackpool,England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
GAIETY 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
Manufactured die-cast chocolate machines ,road signs, low-bridge , roundabouts. Birmingham , England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
GIVJOY is a trade name associated with Skybird and in particular J Holloday who used the trade mark on boxes of toys other than lead figures. London, England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
GOODY TOYS 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
Die-cast and Lead figures and animals. Banbury, England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
Boxed sets of airmen and sailors and what is now a very rare horse. London , England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
H R PRODUCTS 1951-1953
H R PRODUCS or REYNOLDS was started by John Zanger his sons initials were in the name Harry Reynolds.Produced various figures Vikings,Policemen and the "Bumblies". Fulham,London,England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
Castings of Nigerian rifles,Russian cossacks and games. Preston, England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
Mostly direct copies of Britains figures.Later they produced there own original figures. London, England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
HARVEY 1949-1951
Crescent look-a-like figures. London, England.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
HEYDE , GEORG of Dresden, Germany 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
HORNBY 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
This section covers the many model horse-drawn Vehicles made mainly in wood from around the World.
0 68 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
HUBLEY 5 6 03-17-10  04:57 pm Administrator
IN THE NEWS! 4 3 06-20-10  09:52 am Mike Ennis
JAMES SHACKLETON & SONS LTD 2 1 06-28-11  07:02 pm David John Busfield
JOHN HILL & CO (JOHILLCO) 1898-1960's
Manufactures figures,boxed sets,motorcycles,tanks .. a huge range and production Company. London and Burnley, England.
10 2 08-27-10  05:40 pm Mike Ennis
JOLLY ROGER (Wales) 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
KEMLOWS 13 1 03-06-13  08:32 am Jacques Dujardin
KENBO 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
KENBRO 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
KITMASTER 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
KNIGHT 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
Lledo was a brand of die cast toys, founded in 1982 by Matchbox co-founder Jack Odell and Burt Russell.

Lledo was a reversal of Odell's own surname, which set out to specialise in replicating early Matchbox series styles. Odell and Russell bought machinery from the Universal company of Hong Kong, who had brought and shipped the Matchbox manufacturing plant to Hong Kong. Odell and Russell re-shipped the machinery back to a factory in Enfield, England where in April 1983 a new range called "Days Gone" was launched.

The favourite model of collectors of the company's products was a Ford Model T van, which then became the basis for the start of a series of limited edition models for gifts, product launches and special promotions; most commonly produced in limited edition runs of 500 or 1000 models. The company later launched the "Vanguards" range, which specialised in replica classic cars.

Although shipping high volumes of product, the company could not compete against low cost producers from both Hong Kong and China, who also entered the special promotions market with high quality products. As a result, Lledo went bankrupt in 1999, and the naming right and model range bought by Corgi. Corgi continued producing the range of models in China until 2005, when the remaining models were merged into the Corgi Classics range.

0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
LONESTAR 72 70 07-30-11  02:24 pm Geoffrey r GR Webste
Louis Marx and Company was an American toy manufacturer from 1919 to 1978. Its boxes were imprinted with the slogan, "One of the many Marx toys, have you all of them?"

The Marx logo was the letters "MAR" in a circle with a large X through it, resembling a railroad crossing sign. Because of this, Marx toys are sometimes misidentified as "Mar" toys.

Marx's toys included tinplate buildings, tin toys, toy soldiers, playsets, toy dinosaurs, mechanical toys, toy guns, action figures, dolls, dollhouses, toy cars, and HO scale and O scale toy trains. Marx's less-expensive toys were extremely common in dime stores, and its larger, costlier toys were staples for catalog retailers such as Sears and Montgomery Ward, especially around Christmas. Although the company is now largely forgotten except by toy collectors, several of its toys remain well known. Rock'em Sock'em Robots, introduced in the 1960s, remained popular for years and has been reintroduced by several different companies. Its last hurrah was the Big Wheel ride-on pedal toy, which was introduced in 1969 and became one of the most popular toys of the 1970s.

Founded in 1919 in New York City by Louis Marx and his brother David Marx, the company's basic policies were "Give the customer more toy for less money," and "Quality is not negotiable," which made the company highly successful. Initially the company had no product designs and no manufacturing capacity, so Marx raised money by positioning itself as a middle man, studying available products, finding ways to make them cheaper, and then closing a sale. Funds raised from these effort proved sufficient to purchase tooling for two obsolete tin toys—called the Alabama Minstrel Dancer and Zippo the Climbing Monkey—from toymaker Ferdinand Strauss, one of Louis Marx's former employers. With subtle changes, Marx was able to turn these toys into hits, selling more than 8 million of each within two years. Marx then bought the company it had subcontracted to manufacture the toys. By 1922, both Louis and David Marx were millionaires. Initially Marx produced few original toys, but was able to predict what toys would be hits and manufacture them less expensively than the competition. The yo-yo is an example: Although Marx is sometimes wrongly credited with inventing the toy, Marx was quick to market its own version, and during the 1920s sold an estimated 100 million of them.

An O Scale Marx train set made in the late 1940s or early 1950s.Unlike most companies, Marx's revenues grew during the Great Depression. By 1937, the company had more than $3.2 million in assets ($42.6 Mil. in 2005 dollars), with debt of just over $500,000. Marx was the largest toy manufacturer in the world by the 1950s. In a 1955 article, Time Magazine proclaimed Louis Marx "the Toy King," and that year, the company had about $50 million in sales. Marx was the initial inductee in the Toy Hall of Fame, and his plaque proclaimed him "The Henry Ford of the toy industry."

At its peak, Louis Marx and Company operated three manufacturing plants in the United States: Erie, Pennsylvania, Girard, Pennsylvania, and Glen Dale, West Virginia. The Erie plant was the oldest and largest, while the Girard plant, acquired in 1934 with the purchase of Girard Model Works, produced toy trains, and the Glen Dale plant produced toy cars. Additionally, Marx operated numerous plants overseas.

In the 1960s Marx capitalized on the space toy and robot craze. It produced the Big Loo "Your friend from the Moon" in 1964 and originated the popular Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots.

"Donald the Demon" figurineIn 1963, they began making a series of plastic figurines called the Nutty Mads which included some almost psychedelic creations such as Donald the Demon: a half duck half madman, driving a miniature car.

The Company slowly lost its preeminence from the 1950s on, perhaps due to not aggressively advertising on television as its rivals did. In 1955, with sales of US$50 million, Marx only spent $312.00 on advertising for the entire year. By contrast, Mattel Toys in the same year had sales of $6 Million but spent $500,000 for advertising, sponsoring shows like The Mickey Mouse Club.

In 1972, Marx sold his company to the Quaker Oats Company for $54 million ($246 Mil. in 2005 dollars) and retired at the age of 76. Quaker owned the Fisher-Price brand, but struggled with Marx. Quaker had hoped Marx and Fisher-Price would have synergy, but the companies' sales patterns were too different. Marx has also been faulted for largely ignoring the trend towards electronic toys in the early 1970s. In late 1975, Quaker closed the plants in Erie and Girard, and in early 1976, Quaker sold its struggling Marx division to the British conglomerate Dunbee-Combex-Marx, who had bought the former Marx UK subsidiary in 1967.

A downturn in the British economy in conjunction with high interest rates caused Dunbee-Combex-Marx to struggle, and these unfavorable market conditions caused a number of British toy manufacturers, including Dunbee-Combex-Marx, to collapse. By 1978 the Marx brand disappeared, and Dunbee-Combex-Marx filed for bankruptcy and was liquidated in 1980. The Marx assets were then liquidated, with many of the patents and molds going to Mego Corporation, another famous maker of dime store toys, and a large number of them going to Canadian toy maker Aurora.

The rights to some of Marx's toys are now owned by other companies, and some of its former products are still in production. Marx Toys, Inc., was sold and transformed into 'Marx Toys & Entertainment, Inc.' Marx Trains, Inc. produces lithographed tin trains, both of original design and based on former Louis Marx designs. K-Line produced plastic O scale train cars and scenery using former Marx molds, which are now marketed under the 'K-Line by Lionel' brand name. Model Power produces HO scale trains from old Marx molds. Rights to the original Marx Big Wheel, an all plastic three wheeled tricycle for kids, are owned by KidsWheels, Inc. and still sold in the U.S., and Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots is claimed by Mattel. Marx's toy soldiers and other plastic figures are in production today in China for the North American market and are mostly targeted at collectors, although they sometimes appear on the general consumer market, particularly at dollar stores.

The Marx name itself has changed hands several times as well. Despite the similar names, neither of the Marx-branded companies of today have any connection to the original Louis Marx and Company.

The original Marx toys are highly regarded by collectors.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
LUNTOY 4 4 11-05-08  06:58 pm Administrator
LUSO (Portugal) 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
MAFWO 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
MANOIL 12 1 07-30-11  02:04 pm Geoffrey r GR Webste
MARKLIN (Germany) 2 2 07-30-11  01:57 pm Geoffrey r GR Webste
MATCHBOX [Lesney Products & Co] 1953-1992
The company that would go on to make Machbox cars was founded in 1947 by Rodney Smith and Leslie Smith (not brothers) who formed a company called Lesney (their first names combined).They bought a second-hand die-cast machine and started to make electrical components.Lesney's first toy was a tin-plate creature called Jumbo the Elephant which,though it sold well,wasn't going to really fly for them.They made anything they could sell and specialized in Royal souvenirs.In 1952,when Princess Elizabeth was crowned Queen Elizabeth II ,they made a commemorative Royal coach.It was a huge seller.
27 20 09-25-12  06:02 am Jan Werner
2 2 02-27-10  04:53 pm Jacques Dujardin
This Area is a training section for members to ask how to do things when using this site.
The administrator will try to answer these questions for you with worked examples.
3 3 06-22-13  12:46 pm John Pogson
MICRO MODELS New Zealand 3 1 05-13-14  09:33 am Gethin Lewis
MILLBO 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
MILLBRO 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
Minichamps is a die-cast car producer founded as Paul's Model Art GmbH in 1990 in Germany. The first Minichamps diecast model was created in 1990 (scale 1/43): Audi V8, driver Hans-Joachim Stuck, German Touring Car Champion 1990. The company officially changed its name to Minichamps GmbH in 1996. It produces die-cast models of the following categories: Formula One, Racing cars, Street Cars, Motorcycles, Trucks & Buses, Military vehicles. The excellent quality of Minichamps' die-cast models has been appreciated not only by car manufacturers, many of whom, like Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche and BMW, have entrusted Minichamps with the production of official car replicas, but also by model car collectors. In fact some of their 1/43 scale models are amongst the most sought after and most expensive die-cast cars. Maybe the best example is the McLaren F1 GTR West Promotion model made by Minichamps as a promo for the West cigarette company and which trades for well over $1000 on ebay. Another rare item produced by Minichamps was the Michael Schumacher Benetton B195 #17 which was recalled after an error was found: it has been known to fetch over £1000.

A small line of 1:64 models was introduced but later discontinued. The line was called "Micro Champs" and included a series "Michael Schumacher", "McLaren", but were sold separately as well.

Recently, the company has been authorized to produce a 1:43 scale replica of the Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
MMC [MARLBOROUGH MANUFACTURING COMPANY] 1919 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
MODEL TOYS 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
MORESTONE 1948 1 2 11-15-08  11:58 am Paul Owen
MOULTOYS LTD 1 1 02-08-08  12:41 pm Ian Law
MSR 1952 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
NOBLE 1951 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
OLIVER, HARPER & CO 1915 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
OXFORD DIE-CAST 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
PIXYLAND - KEW 1920-1931 1 2 02-11-08  07:51 pm Ian Law
QUIRALU 1 1 08-03-11  09:02 am Geoffrey r GR Webste
RACO 1934-1939 1 2 02-11-08  08:10 pm Ian Law
REKA 1908-1932 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
RENVOIZE, A & J 1900-1914 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
REVELL 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
RIDINGBERY AND CO LTD 1952 4 2 02-04-08  03:33 am Mr Barry Japak
RIO 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
ROYDON 1949-1952 1 2 02-08-08  10:20 pm Ian Law
RUSSELL MANUFACTURING CO 1908 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
SACUL 1951-1954 6 2 02-11-08  04:34 pm Ian Law
SALCO 1949 4 3 02-11-08  07:38 pm Ian Law
Makers of die-cast racing cars.
5 1 09-03-07  12:06 am Walter Herter
SEEN ON EBAY 32 2 07-14-13  04:12 pm Chris
SEGAL, PHILLIP, TOYS 1938-1951 2 1 02-11-08  07:22 pm Ian Law
SLIKKA 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
Solido is a french manufacturer of model cars. The model cars are usually made of the alloy zamac in varying scales and precision.

At its beginning in 1937, Solido only made model cars as toys, but since the 60s they make really realistic models, often based on the blueprints of car manufacturers.

The company was bought by the famous concurrent Majorette in 1980 (except the military models), and then made part of toy producer Smoby when they bought Majorette in 2003.
48 65 08-06-11  04:09 pm Geoffrey r GR Webste
SPOT-ON [Tri-Ang] 4 3 01-24-09  06:27 pm David John Busfield
SR (Simon & Rivollet) of France 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
STADDEN 1949-Present day 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
STODDART 1916-1939 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
SUNDAW 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
TAG 1951 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
TAL DEVELOPMENTS 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
TAYLOR & BARRETT 1920-1984 7 1 04-27-08  04:09 pm Peter Golden
TEDDY TOYS 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
TEKNO - Denmark 7 4 07-31-11  08:07 pm Jan Werner
TIMPO TOYS 1945-1978 6 5 11-13-08  10:40 pm Paul Owen
TOBY 4 2 01-12-11  05:28 pm Paul Owen
TOMTE LAERDAL (Norway) 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
TONKA TOYS 1946-1991
Named after Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota,Tonka began life in 1946 as Mount Metalcraft, a company set up to manufacture garden instruments.When a client asked them to make steel toys,they came up with two models-the Steam Shovel and the Crane and Clam.These sold far better than any of Mound's gardening tools and soon the company's new line,now called Tonka Toys,was the dominant one.In 1956,Tonka launched the Fire Engine,a bright cherry-red vehicle.It was hugely popular but incurred the wraith of parents when legend has it kids began starting real fires to test the toy.In 1964,the company's most successful toy made its first appearance the Yellow Mighty Dump Truck.It was so successfull that in 1982 - the same year Tonka introduced its first battery-powered toy,the power Shift Mountain Master - the seven millionth truck rolled off the production line. United States.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
TOOTSIETOYS 1922-Present-day
This is where the story of the die-cast car begins.Samuel Dowst of the Dowst Manufacturing Company has his first big success in 1906 making miniature Model T Fords, eventually selling an estimated 50 million toy cars.In 1922 he made some metal furniture for doll's houses. Looking for a name he chanced upon the grand-daughter of his brother.Her name was Tootsie - and that furniture was the first Tootsietoy.In 1934, the Company (which had been bought out by Nathan Shure's Cosmo Manufacturing Company in 1926) changed the materials used in Tootsietoys from lead to mazac - a zinc-based alloy that was more durable and lighter.Despite the depression,they survived by maintaining their penny toy ethos and diversifying into making planes and trains as well as cars and doll's houses.In 1961,NSCMC bought the toy line of the Strombeck-Becker company.It changed its name to the Strombecker Corporation but kept the Tootsietoys stamp on the bottom of its toys.Tootsietoys are still made today,but the old lead toys are highly collectable. Chicago, United States.
22 2 03-16-10  11:36 pm dave boreham
TOY PRODUCTS 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
TREMO MODELS (South Wales) 5 3 10-25-09  07:12 am Richard John Tremell
TRENT PRODUCTS 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
TRI-ANG 14 9 11-09-10  09:27 pm David John Busfield
VEB PLAHO of East Germany
East German makers of plastic Zoo Animals.
0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
VEREM (France) 0 1 07-17-14  08:03 pm  
VILMER of Denmark
Danish Diecast Lorry and Truck makers.
1 2 02-10-08  02:22 am Administrator
WARDIE 47 48 11-13-08  10:11 pm Paul Owen
WARNEFORD FLYING AIRCRAFT (Greenwich Road , London, SE10) 1 1 12-05-09  04:25 pm Administrator
WELLS BRIMTOY 3 3 02-02-10  08:32 pm David John Busfield

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