Airfix first began producing plastic scale model kits for the mass market in 1952 with the 1/72 scale Attack Force series following in the late 1960s. Made as cheap plastic toys in budget card boxes, they were hugely popular with a generation of children but seldom treasured.
Today, examples in original packaging are among the rarest sets known to the collecting hobby. This goes some way to explain the feverish competition for this battle scene gift set offered by Lacy Scott Knight (20% buyer’s premium) in Bury St Edmunds on June 27.
These sets, appearing in the Airfix catalogue of 1968, contain over 90 American and Japanese figures, nine support vehicles and a plastic battlefield play base.
Miraculously this set, consigned by a local private vendor, was housed in the original all-card lift-up lid box and included printed instructions. It was estimated to bring around £100 but it sold for £3100 to a buyer in Scotland bidding online.
Last year Tunbridge Wells auction house C&T sold a smaller bubble-backed set from the Attack Force range for £1700.
The Mad Barber and the Golden Bat
Some very rare 1960s-70s plastic assembly kits from the US and Japan formed part of the June 17-18 Toys, Books, Ephemera, Sporting, Stamps, Postcards & Cigarette Cards auction at Lockdales (18% buyer’s premium) of Ipswich.
An Aurora Mad Barber in original box sold for £440 (estimate £20-40). The Aurora Plastics Corporation was founded in 1950 in Brooklyn, New York, by engineer Joseph E Giammarino and businessman Abe Shikesas.
Two years later it began to make its own line of plastic model kits, with ‘TV toys’ produced under licence from Universal Studios in the 1960s particularly popular.
The Mad Barber seems to be from a ‘Mad Professionals’ series made for sale in Canada in the early 1970s. The striking box artwork by James Bama is a big part of its attraction.
Consigned by the same local private collection were two kits by Japanese firm Imai. Both anime toys were unmade in original pictorial boxes retaining instructions and the small battery-powered motors that set these toys apart from their rivals.
A Model V Mark 3 Robot made £480 (£40-60), and a Golden Bat, c.1966, went for £380 (£80- 120) – each going to different UK bidders on thesaleroom.com.