Nostalgia for Airfix ain't what it used to be

Martin Belam  by Martin Belam, 11 November 2006

The British toy business world had big news this week when Hornby (small models of trains) bought up the brand of Airfix (small models of planes). These is a lot of press coverage, although I haven't spotted anyone yet blaming Airfix's decision last year to move towards snap-together robotic kits as a reason for the company's final decline.

Airfix robo kits

Everyone is much keener to put the boot into computers, TV and the internet. There was a great paragraph in the Guardian's online coverage of the story:

Airfix models, loved by children in the 1960s and 1970s, suffered a sharp decline in recent years as young people have become more interested in computer games, television and internet than assembling miniature aircraft, ships and cars.

If only there was some online archive of newspapers from the 1960s and 1970s. I feel sure you'd be able to find a paragraph somewhere bemoaning an old wooden toy manufacturer going out of business:

Catching a ball-on-a-string-in-a-cup, loved by children in the 1930s and 1940s, suffered a sharp decline in recent years as young people have become more interested in "pop" music, television and in assembling miniature aircraft, ships and cars using new-fangled mass-manufactured plastic "kits".
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Mind you, I wouldn't be that hopeful of continued success for Airfix having visited Hornby's website - the homepage positively reeks of "We used to be popular, you know"

Hornby – a name that means so much to so many. Whether 'memories' or 'hobby', above all the Hornby name stands for quality, reliability and service. The attention to detail on our new models undoubtedly marks a new era in modern image modelling from Hornby.
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