Aifix Collectors Club

 
Kit Catalogues and Leaflets 1962-1981

Airfix Catalogues

& Leaflets - 1962-1981
 

In Part One in CS16 I tried to cover all the UK leaflets issued by Airfix up to and including the First Edition catalogue. I have since received details of a few more early leaflets and these have been added to page one of “Pre-Catalogue Kit Leaflets” which is shown on a separate page. The Halifax leaflets were issued from late 1961 until 1965 and were issued separately to the catalogues. The early catalogues, 1st to 5th Editions also had special non-illustrated leaflets included in them. After this the annual leaflets were either included or available separately on the counter. This article should take the story up to 1981.

1st Edition Catalogue – 1962 – 9d (3.5p):

This was issued in early 1962 and cost 9d (3.5p). The first mention I can find is in a kit advert in the April 1962 Airfix Magazine. Being the first catalogue it is possibly the most sought after. Since I started collecting Airfix paperwork in mid 1963, until recently I did not have a copy. However, I did pick up several of the early light blue catalogue leaflets but I cannot say for certain whether they were included in the catalogue.

It ran to 32 pages, including covers and measured 211 mms by 140 mms. The covers were in full colour but the insides were in black and white and two shades of blue. The inside back cover has a three quarter page advert for Airfix Magazine which shows the November 1961 magazine. The other quarter has details of Airfix Paints and Cements (see CS32). The inside cover announced that “Airfix Modelling is definitely 5 Star Modelling”. Details of around 135 kits were given. One of the first of the light blue price lists (624/05) appeared on the counters and may have been included in the catalogue because it lists 17 “New items not included in Catalogue”. It was double-sided and measured 202 mms by 127 mms in portrait orientation.

However, whilst writing this article I came across another earlier leaflet which did not have the asterixed kits (Harvard, Anson, Heinkel, etc) and did not mention “* New items not included in Catalogue”. It was being sold with a 1st Edition catalogue so I believe it must be the first of two price lists for the 1st edition.
 



 

2nd Edition Catalogue – 1963 – 9d:

Issued in 1963, it is the same size as the first edition and with the same number of pages there were now details of about 165 kits. The new Motor Racing sets were on the back cover. It was announced in Airfix Magazine for September 1963. The 1st edition still appears in kit adverts in Airfix Magazine until December 1964, when the 3rd Edition was announced!  On the inside front cover is a drawing of a boy resting his head in his hands which would feature on the front of the third catalogue leaflet. The main difference between this and the 1st edition is that some of the aircraft were doubled up to allow new additions to be fitted in and this feature is reflected in the order in which kits appear on the leaflet, also numbered 624/05 which was issued at around the same time. Only 3 kits are listed as not being in the catalogue.
 





3rd Edition Catalogue – 1965 – 9d:

There were 213 models illustrated in this catalogue, which ran to 36 pages and may have been available at the end of 1964. More kits were doubled up to allow new ones to be inserted. The insides were still in shades of blue. Several 4 page landscape mode leaflets were issued at around the same time, the front page of which incorporated the inside page of the 2nd Edition, including the 'thoughtful' small boy.

Some of the models were now listed as “*New items available soon”. The first listed exactly those models in the catalogue, though some were asterixed and was I think included in the catalogue as well as on the counter. It may have also been included in the last 2nd editions sold. Two further variants were produced. The first featured extra kits plus the three new Dogfight Doubles and the Dennis Fire Engine, which was moved to Series 5. The second featured only one new kit, the Boomerang, but had the catalogue number 25M/5-65/BC appended, which I assume makes it May 1965.
 

4th Edition Catalogue – 1966 – 1s (5p):

Announced in the February 1966 Airfix Magazine, the 4th edition ran to 48 pages and was slightly larger than the first three being 230 mms by 161 mms. The inside covers featured colour reproductions of some the new Type 3 paintings. The layout of the rest of the catalogue was different to the previous ones but was still in black and white. Inside was a new four page leaflet in yellow (222 mms by 153 mms), slightly larger than the blue ones. It still stated over 200 kits, but no mention was made of glue in series 3, 4, 5 and 6 kits (see CS32).

Around the same time the first of the B-29 leaflets appeared which replaced the 9th edition Halifax ones. There were in fact two leaflets, a light blue one and a pink “See the Airfix range at your local F.W. Woolworth Store” one. The only difference apart from the colour and mention of Woolies was the price of the paint packs – only 1 shilling (5p) in Woolworths! There were a few extra kits listed and they were slightly larger than the yellow one at 217 mms by 167 mms.
 



5th Edition Catalogue – 1967/68:

This catalogue was slightly unusual in that it seems to have lasted two years. It was announced in the April 1967 Airfix Magazine. In the May 1968 Airfix Magazine the “new catalogue”, 1s 6d (7.5p) was announced and included a supplement listing the 1968 releases.

I have two, purchased new in 1967. John Wells, in the 12th Edition of his Constant Scale (1997/98), says that there were four slightly different 5th Editions. One without the price (first), one with the price (second?), one with price and “Including Latest 1968 Additions” (third?) and one with a slightly different typeface for the cover. I expect that there were four runs to cater for the longer period of the catalogue.

Two blue price lists were issued, each showing the B-29 model. They were the same size as the yellow one but were in portrait mode. They were clearly labelled “Price List” and stated that the new catalogue had over 250 kits in it. The first was intended for the first issue catalogue and new models were listed as “available soon”. The second one had several new kits listed which were asterixed as “Not featured in Construction Kit Catalogue”. The second issue of this 5th edition catalogue had “Including Latest 1968 Additions” on the cover along with the price. Issued at the same time as the new catalogue was the first of the “Stirling” leaflets. The back page showed the 5th Edition catalogue and the B-29 price list. The listing was identical to the price list and was clearly intended to be a counter-top leaflet. A second issue "Stirling" leaflet included several more “available soon” models.

A third revised "Stirling" leaflet was made available in 1968 and was recognised by “1968” on the front cover. The prices had also been increased. An orange version without prices was issued, plus one with Woolworths on. A fourth 1968 leaflet was issued which had several more kits added plus another price increase (see CS19). A fifth leaflet which was also labelled 1968 had the 6th edition catalogue and leaflet on the back. This was the last of the "Stirling" leaflets.

The “Latest Editions” leaflet was an eight page fold-out leaflet, 223 mms by 153 mms in portrait mode. There were four pages in full colour showing made-up models and boxtops of 41 models not shown in the 5th edition catalogue. With so many new kits it is surprising that a new catalogue was not produced, presumably a colour insert was cheaper. I never saw a second issue 5th edition catalogue at the time but picked up several leaflets from counters.
 

   






 

6th Edition Catalogue – 1969 – 1s 9d:

Announced in the December 1968 Airfix Magazine was the 6th edition catalogue which had the same number of pages but was roughly 25% larger than the 5th edition at 239 mms by 205 mms.  The layout was similar to the previous one(s) but the extra space allowed for national insignias and airline markings.

A blue price list, identical in size to the B-29 one was issued with it, number P.L.900207, and it had photos of the Blenheim, T-34 and James Bond Toyota on the front. Over 300 kits were mentioned on the cover. It was the last of the separate price lists.

Two colour leaflets were also issued. One was clearly intended as an insert for the catalogue and it is shown as such on the back of the other leaflet. Both have 1969 on the front. The Insert was a 6 page leaflet with full colour cover and insides. It was sub-titled “1969 Additions and Price List”. Kits were available from toy model & hobby shops, departmental stores and F.W. Woolworths! The cover kits, with the exception of the Pan-Am 2001 were all in the catalogue. Inside were photos and boxtops of 21 new models (inc. Pan-Am 2001).  Notable were the 1:32 German Infantry and the first two Waterloo figure sets. It carried the catalogue number of INS.900207.

The other leaflet did not carry page numbers and new releases were shown as “available soon” or “summer” or “autumn”. There were three issues. The first came in two versions: “900032 HOME” and “900113 FWW” (with F. W. Woolworths on the front). I have a FWW one with a dealer’s stamp on the back so presumably not all found their way into Woolies! The second issue were all numbered “900032 HOME” and differed in having several “available soon” comments removed and several ‘Elite’ series kits were deleted. The third issue was also numbered “900032 HOME” but had five new kits added.
 

 





7th Edition -1970 – 2s - (10p):

By now the catalogues had settled down into an annual routine and they tended to appear in model shops immediately after the January Toy Fairs or shortly thereafter. I was often able to flick through a retailer’s copy which had been brought back from the toy fair before retail copies were made available.

It was the same size as the 6th Edition and had the same number of pages. A separate counter-top leaflet was issued which also found its way into many of the catalogues. It was numbered: “PL900249” and one was numbered: “EX PL900249” (without prices, probably for EXport). It was based on the first issue. There were three issues in all which only had minor variations in them. They were a six page fold-out, each page measuring 111 mms by 221 mms.
 



8th Edition – 1971 – 15p (3s):

This was the first of the full-size catalogues at 230 mms by 279 mms. It was printed in January 1971 and I bought mine from Hannant’s in Lowestoft High Street in late January. It ran to 56 pages, excluding covers, and was numbered 900 294.

The six page fold-out leaflet measured 110 mms by 238 mms, slightly larger than the 1970 ones. It was also numbered PL900249. They were available with and without prices. Prices were shown in decimal first and the old “pounds, shillings and pence” after (“D” Day or Decimal Day being the 15th February 1971).

A “Summer Reprint” was issued. It featured the 1:24 “ME109E” on the front with new additions on the back. The Type 4 logo also appeared for the first time on a leaflet (see CS29). Two were issued which had slightly different prices due to a small reduction in Purchase Tax (see CS19).
 





9th Edition – 1972 – 15p:

This was the first catalogue to feature the Type 4 logo although all the boxtops inside were Type 3. It was printed in January 1972 (90040-1) and was now 64 pages, excluding covers.

There were two leaflets. PL90040-1 was printed in January 1972 and there were two versions, one with prices and one without. 90040-1 was printed in July 1972 and had slightly revised prices (see CS19). The front cover had “AUTUMN EDITION” stamped on it. I reproduced it along with the 9th Edition catalogue covers in CS1, the “Relaunch Issue”.
 



  

10th Edition – 1973 – 15p:

Printed in January 1973 (90049-8), it ran to 64 pages excluding covers. Most ranges were now illustrated in Type 4 packaging.

There were three issues of the 1973 leaflet. The first marked “SPRING EDITION” was numbered 90056-8. There were two copies, with and without prices. The second issue was marked “SUMMER EDITION”, still 90056-8. It had slightly revised prices (see CS19) but no new models and one or two asterixes dropped. The “AUTUMN EDITION” was identical with one or two more asterixes disappearing but on the back page the “Enamel now in tins” was rearranged.
 



11th Edition – 1974 – 15p:

Printed January 1974 (90060-5) it was again 64 pages and the new “Blister” packs were announced.

Only one leaflet was produced, the 1st Edition. It was the first to be titled “Kit Catalogue Price List”. There were two issues, one with prices and one without. In one of each I have a separate insert with new prices on and these were both reproduced in CS19. The magnificent Harrier picture graced the front cover. Page size was now 173 mms by 243 mms.
 



12th Edition – 1975 – 22p:

Printed January 1975 (90070-2) it ran to 64 pages. The cover pictures were by a Pete Kelly. It was reprinted in June 1975 and a small “R” was stamped next to the price. I have a third variant (90071-5) which does not have a price on it but was printed in January 1975. I believe it was probably an export version because the inner back page about the Modellers Club was replaced with the back page of the 11th Edition. 22p is written in pencil on the front.

1st and 2nd edition leaflets were produced. There were three issues of the first, the only difference I can see is that the Prinz Eugen is shown in series 6, then crossed out and put in series 5 and finally just shown in series 5.

The 2nd edition was numbered 90077-3 and had an all-white logo on the front. As far as I can tell it was unaltered from the 1st but contained separate price increase inserts (see CS19).
 



 

13 Edition – 1976 – 30p:

Printed in January 1976 (90080-9) there were two versions including an unpriced “English Export” (90081-2) version which had the back page of the 11th edition substituted. The catalogue was now A4 size and was printed in landscape mode. Subsequent ones would be in portrait mode and apart from 2000 and 2001 would all be A4 size.

There were two leaflets, the 1st Edition (90077-3) and 2nd (also 90077-3). Both had prices (see CS19) and page numbers included. The new McDonough Concorde adorned the cover of the 2nd Edition.
 





14 Edition – 1977 – 35p:

Printed in January 1977 (90049-8), there were two Price List leaflets, the 1st and 2nd Editions, neither of which bore catalogue numbers. Both referred to the catalogue as the “14th” Edition. Ken McDonough’s Stuka painting (see CS33) dominated the portrait-mode cover of the 1st Edition A4 size leaflet.

The 2nd Edition had the short-lived Type 5 logo on the front (but not the back) and was completely filled with Geoff Hunt’s “Golden Hind” painting. He would of course later illustrate the covers for the “Master and Commander” series of novels. Oddly the Golden Hind is not listed in either leaflet despite being in the catalogue.
 



 

15 Edition – 1978 – 40p:

Printed in January 1978 (90091-9), the Type 5 logo was used inside but not on the covers. Only one “Price List 1978” was issued, called the 1st Edition (A4-size 90077-3). Again it featured the Type 5 logo on the front and Type 4 on the back and referred to the catalogue as the “14th” Edition. Page numbers and prices were included. The 1:12 Bengal Lancer occupied the entire front page. Since there was not another price rise that year (see CS19) presumably one leaflet was sufficient.
 



16 Edition – 1979 – 40p:

Printed in January 1979, no catalogue number is given. There were no less than five leaflets issued, three price lists and two supplements.

The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Edition Price Lists were all numbered 90077-3 and had plain white covers with a large Type logo on the back and a ‘winged’ Type 4 on the front. The main catalogue is referred to as the “16th” Edition. The 2nd Edition had the kits from the first supplement added inside but the 3rd has revised prices (see CS19) and the “Complete Model Building Set” added but was otherwise identical to the 2nd.

The “Supplement to the 16 Edition Kit Catalogue” was printed in May 1979 and featured 10 further kits which were listed in the 2nd Edition price list.  The “2nd Supplement”, September 1979, showed another 11 releases with the Type 6 logo on the front and back. They are not shown in the 3rd Edition price list. All the leaflets were the same size (A4).
 



   

17th Edition – 1980 – 50p:

Printed in December 1979 for issue in January 1980, again there is no mention of a catalogue number. Only one “Kit Price List” (A4-size 90077-3) was issued, the 1st Edition which refers to the “16th” and 1979 inside! The page numbers referred to the 17th catalogue.

There were to be no “supplements” issued since I suspect that the 1981 catalogue was expected to fulfil this role.
 



New Kits Catalogue – 1981:

Printed in December 1980, (90013-9) it stated: “Airfix believe that 1981 will mark the beginning of another new period in the company’s history…”! It is basically a supplement showing only the the 1981 releases plus a few released in late 1980 and was not a full catalogue as such. It was to be the last kit catalogue/leaflet issued by Airfix.
 

Since from the 2nd Edition catalogue onwards all the information is taken from my own records, compiled at the time, I believe this listing to be substantially complete – until new leaflets turn up!
 

Jeremy.

This article last appeared in "Constant Scale" No 33 - 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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