Has Airfix lost it?

Discussion in 'Model Kit Reviews' started by Airframes, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    That household name, and one of the first to enter the plastic construction kit market, Airfix, introduced the plastic kit to the British market in 1952, the year I was born.
    In the (almost) 57 years since then, the Airfix brand has seen many changes in fortune, but always produced a large, and very good range of kits, in a wide number of scales. Some of these kits were, and still are, outstanding, especially for the period when first introduced. It is highly probable that most, if not all British modellers of a 'certain age' started in the hobby by building Airfix kits and, because of this, the name retains a certain place of affection in the minds of those modellers.
    However, over recent years, the output from this revered company has been somewhat haphazard; only to be expected, with the various take overs. Since being acquired by Hornby, I, for one, thought that things might change, and that the flow of new, updated and long awaited kits, particularly in the larger scales, would recommence. But it seems that this is not to be, and, if anything, the opposite is happening.
    Some of you will have noticed my comments regarding Humbrol paints. This manufacturer was part of the same group acquired by Hornby and, since the closure of the Humbrol factory in Hull, the quality and consistency of the range of paints has changed dramitically, in a negative way.
    Now, under the control of Hornby, the Airfix brand seems to be having similar ups and downs, with some ancient kits been reissued under 'new' label designations, some of these being of not particularly good quality by todays standards, whilst newer kits, only just being launched, or about to be, when Humbrol 'went under' being late to appear, or not reappearing at all (eg the 1/48th scale Canberras.)
    In the middle of last year, Airfix announced the eagerly awaited TSR2 kit; then, the release date was repeatedly put back until now, it is announced that it will be available next week. Similarly, the 1/24th scale Mosquito was announced, with one release date being given as October 2008. Then it was put back until November, then December. The latest information is that it will be released 'in 2009'!
    These sort of delays (or stalling tactics?) are bad enough, but, that's not all.
    Today I received the weekly News e-mail from Hannants. In it, they give the latest news regarding the Mosquito kit.
    Now get this!
    Not only is there still no release date, but the price has been increased!
    The kit was advertised at a retail price of £80 ($130 US), which, by anyone's standards is fairly expensive. However, for THAT kit, I was prepared to pay the money, knowing that, with its size alone, an outstanding replica could be built of one of my favourite aircraft. Accordingly, I pre-ordered the kit through my local model shop.
    BUT!
    Airfix have now increased the price, from £80 to... wait for it.... a massive £130 !!! ($211 US). Thats a 62% increase, even before the kit is available!
    The reason given is the state of the Pound!
    So what!? If it was going to be releasd at £80, and still return a profit, then, accept a lower return.. everyone else in business has to!
    I'm beginning to wonder what is happening at Airfix/Hornby. Is it the result of poor management, hiring-in 'hot shot' consultants, or what?!!
    The thing that, for me, really puts this '**** up' into perspective is the latest release from Revell. As most of us who read the pages of this forum know, from Guttorm's excellent posts, Revell (Germany) have just released a 1/32nd scale Junkers JU88A1. From what Guttorm has told us, and the pictures we've seen, this kit is outstanding, with excellent, accurate detail, lots of finely moulded parts, and a very large decal sheet. In the UK, this large kit retails for around £27.
    Bear in mind, in 1/32nd scale, a JU88 is not that far different in size to a 1/24th scale Mosquito, yet Revell can design, manufacture and market their kit at a realistic and affordable price. Airfix not only started out by pricing their, as yet to be seen, Mosquito kit at three times this price, but are now telling us it is going to cost nearly FIVE times that price!
    I think they are extracting the liquid effluent!
    Sorry Airfix, my order is cancelled - the allocated shelf space will now be occupied by a second Revell JU88, which is available now, not at some unspecified time in the future!
    And, if any of the 'management' of Airfix (Hornby) happen to read this - don't just growl and make some rhetorical reply - have a look at the way the company is organised, including the rather amateurish web-site, and think about which way it can be improved. Or are Airfix going to be yet another 'institution' that will disappear forever?
     
  2. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    I know how you feel Terry, I grew up with Airfix myself in Sweden and I was devastated when they were about to go under. I was really happy to hear when they were saved from the dry and dusty pages of the history books, by Hornby, and there's a name that's been around for a while as well. I hope that they get their finger oot as we say here and get things sorted. Airfix hsa something that many names in the business todays market lack....HISTORY from 56 years of hard work, making children like myself and many adult happy for many hours building their kits...
    Wouldn't be surprised if there's some spotty and snotty wee fella or fellas trying milk the brand for what it's worth....and stuffing their own pockets. :(
     
  3. 109ROAMING

    109ROAMING Active Member

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    Shame really:( :evil:

    I love the old Airfix kits (one of my favourite's in the pic,the boxart does wanders for me:D ) but It really is a shame its turning to ****

    When I got that kit ,I couldn't of cared less about the qaulity(only cost $12 about 3-4 pound)I loved it!

    I know exactly what you guys mean ,which is why I don't buy modern kits .Its just some F**kwits trying to squeeze something out of a good name:evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:
     

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  4. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    No name brings flashbacks of my youth (stop laughing) as much as Airfix do with their box art for me and I'm there's a few on here that feels the same about Frog and other long gone names....
     
  5. Catch22

    Catch22 Well-Known Member

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    Being one of the "younger breed" (18 in 13 days!), I haven't built many Airfix models. I know I built a 1/72 Dora years ago, as well as their 1/24 P-51D, once again years ago. About 2 years back I built their 1/24 Emil. While I understand it's an old kit, it was pretty bad, and I've stayed away from Airfix ever since. I know that's probably not a fair evaluation of their quality, but I've never been a fan of theirs, and would much rather build a Tamigawa model, as with my abilities are limited to making the model as is, as I'm poor at trying to fix problems with models. Judging with the direction they're going, I think I'll be keeping well away from them.
     
  6. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Dead right, Daniel and Jan! something else I noticed; Airfix have released, and made a great big 'hype' about, a 1/32nd scale kit of the McClaren Mercedes F1 car, with a larger scale figure of Lewis Hamilton included. Fine, no problem. BUT, for what it is, it's very expensive (I believe around £22 !) and, to me, this release smacks of some young team of 'suits', sitting around the boardroom table, discussing the future in buzz words and other b****cks!
    Instead of jumping on the band wagon of the limited, 'latest success story' niche market, hoping to capture the younger modeller back from the world of 'X-Box' etc, they should be looking at what really keeps model manufacturing companies afloat these days - the keen, serious modeller. The days of every kid on the block spending his pocket money on model kits are long gone - it's the people like us who buy the ever more epensive kits.
    As for the box art, once a famous and beautiful hallmark of Airfix kits, the company have recently contracted a company in my town to produce CGI box art, which does look good, I admit. But, it is CGI that looks in between the real thing, on a plain background, and the model, assembled and on the same background. Not as inspiring to a would-be purchaser of the kits! I also heard, from my LHS, that one of the reasons for the delay in the TSR2 kit, and probably others, was that some of this artwork required changes; not the thought of the CGI artists, but those of the 'suits' at Airfix!
    I despair!
    Sorry to rant, but this is yet another example of 'divvy's' running businesses, and f*****g it up!
    Just seen Cory's post (Catch). a prime example of what I mean!
    Those 1/24th scale kits were brilliant when first released, in the late 1960's! They cost around £2.75 then, the equivalent today , by 'disposable income' standards, of, I'd guess, £12 to £20 (I know, bit of a wide, possibly inaccurate estimate!)
    But, they are still being released, evidently from the SAME MOULDS, judging by the 'soft' and 'worn' appearnce of the parts, and poor fit, and retailing in the UK for an average of £40 upwards!
    No wonder younger modellers, when comparing Airfix to the likes of 'Tamigawa', think the kits are cr....poor!
    How the heck can they expect to market, and sell, even the best kit on the market, if they are releasing that sort of thing at those prices!
    I'll shut up now, but had to say something, after getting on towards 50 years of enjoying Airfix products.
     
  7. Catch22

    Catch22 Well-Known Member

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    I certainly enjoy my Xbox (perhaps a little too much at times :lol:), as do many of my friends. Of my friends, there is only one other guy who I know does modelling at all, but he doesn't do a lot. I'm the only person my age (other than here of course) that I know who builds models.
     
  8. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    If I had the money and I had bought Airfix, I'd have released some new models, not done by any other, or if so, in expensive vac and resin.
    I think that a good 1/48 Handley Page Hampden and a Halifax, not like those horror stories that you've seen here, would make decent sell. I'm sure that knowledge and ability is NOT lacking from the Airfix people more that from tiemafia, who doesn't know tw*t...!
     
  9. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Dead right again Jan! I'm giving Airfix two years, then they'll be no more. Unless they buck-up, sharpish!
     
  10. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    I really hope that you're wrong Terry boy...! :(
     
  11. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    If ANY of you Airfix goonies read this....read up on Airfix history, learn what the name AND company represents for many, not just here but all over the world, start using your heart and brain, don't just think with your already stuffed wallet!
     
  12. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Airfix was one of the few brands available when I started modelmaking, and their 1:72 P-51D Mustang (in incorrect Preddy 'Cripes a mighty!' markings) was the first plastic kit I built, I think - I made two of them at any rate. My first bomber was the Airfix Hampden, the second their Do 217E/F.
     
  13. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    I've done their Mosquito, Lancaster, Stirling.....
     
  14. rochie

    rochie Well-Known Member

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    if the beaufighter and 109 G-6 that i was given are anything to go bye i won't spend money on an airfix kit.
    i know they are old mouldings but if so why are they still more expensive than most other brands of the same scale?
    not to mention no cockpit parts for my beaufighter and 110 decals for the 109 !!!!!!!
    they also put 6 small pots of acrylic paint in with the hit but thats not enought to complete both kits as not all the paints are there for the basic paint schemes of both A/C
     
  15. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Another reason why someone who knows what he's doing should run the show instead for some moneyhungry sharks...
     
  16. Heinz

    Heinz Active Member

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    Yeah its a shame, I think mainly its because of the Hornby ownership.

    Airfix to them is a side interest there being a big boom in their model railways since they outsourced (like every other bugger to china) and upped the priced and quality of their trains.

    I too love the old airfix kits and still quite a few in my stash, they are a portal back to happier and simpler times i think

    Regarding the attitudes to the hobby i started a thread talking about the current attitude and future of kit building which I cant find at hand. Generally hobbies have boomed overe the last 10 years however we may see a fair down turn with the surplus cash not being around as much.

    I will however summise it will survive with most modellers being of a paitent and cautious nature as thats vital to be good/enjoy the hobby, lets hope that transcends to their wallets as well therefore keeping the many companies at the moment afloat during these choppy times.


    Cheers.
     
  17. 109ROAMING

    109ROAMING Active Member

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    Ya I know what ya mean Karl

    last time I was in a model shop ,about a week ago.I saw an Airfix Bf-109G-6 for $12and yet from another model shop I could pick up an Academy 109G-6 for the SAME price

    So what do you think I'm gonna buy???
     
  18. 109ROAMING

    109ROAMING Active Member

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    My advice guys

    Do what I did on the 28 of December and buy these....(keep things from the good old days around)
     

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  19. badbear

    badbear Member

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    yep they have really lost it i fell through the floor when i saw the price of the mossie they are really taking the .... i won,t be getting one now no matter how good it is.
     
  20. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Thanks to tie mafia running and ruining the company...!
     
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