Royal Air Force Museum needs Airfix enthusiasts to help with major exhibition in 2013

By Richard Moss | 19 September 2012
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a photo of an Airfix model Spitfire
Spitfire MK IX Airfix 1/72© By 1vince (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
A visit to the Royal Air Force Museum in London has probably resulted in more sporadic outbreaks of Airfix kit-building by boys and men than any other museum in the UK.

Now the Hendon home of one of the best military aircraft collections in the world is honouring the iconic scale model manufacturer with a major retrospective exhibition in June 2013 that it says will “commemorate and celebrate the national institution that is Airfix”.

Working closely with the team at Airfix HQ in Humberside, curators have sourced several original models and artworks, but they are now appealing to the public to track down more.

“Although the Museum does have a plethora of materials to draw upon, it was common practice when staff retired from Airfix for them to be awarded original artwork as a thank you from the team," explains Andrew Cormack, the Keeper of Visual Arts, Medals and Uniforms at the museum and Curator of the Airfix exhibition.

“This means that in terms of the proposed exhibition there are a couple of minor gaps in the artwork we would like to hang.”

Andrew and his colleagues are particularly interested in artwork from the Historical Personalities series, the Sailing Ships series and Airfix’s military vehicles series during the 1950s and 60s, including the work of Roy Cross and Michael Turner.

They are also interested in any surviving models made by children during the same period. “After all", he adds, “the pleasure of making a kit experienced by an eight-year-old – the majority of purchasers in the 1960s – was more about imagination and inspiration, perhaps even emulation, than it was accuracy.”

Featuring original Box Art as well as Airfix’s most popular models from the 50s, 60s and 70s, the exhibition in the museum’s Art Gallery will examine how Airfix has become part of the social fabric of the United Kingdom and how it has influenced the leisure activities of generations of young men and women since the company’s foundation in 1939.

  • Any members of the public with original Airfix paintings or models from the 1950s, 60s and 70s who are willing to lend their items are asked to contact Andrew on 020 8205 2266 or by emailing him at fine-arts@rafmuseum.org
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