Aifix Collectors Club

Pre-Catalogue Kit Leaflets
Pre-Catalogue Kit Leaflets.
Airfix issued its first catalogue in early 1962. Prior to that, simple leaflets were made available on a regular basis to keep modellers informed of new releases and the current range. I have very few leaflets before the numerous Halifax leaflets of 1962/63, although I remember having some but I was too young to appreciate that I ought to save them! I have recently acquired a couple of earlier ones which are shown in this issue. Fortunately, John Wells produced a listing of the early catalogues back in the days when he was running the Club and he had a good selection of the early leaflets. Dave James and Mario Wens both have produced listings on their websites and so it is to these three, mainly, that I am indebted when I write this article. I hope that between us we have covered the early leaflet scene. It is, therefore, I believe the most complete listing but there may well be further leaflets out there which we have not seen. If anybody does possess a different pre-1962 leaflet I would welcome scans via email or photocopies to complete the listing. Again copies of the very early ones would be most welcome.

May 1957/58 Believed to be the first real leaflet but the year is not certain as it is not dated. It is a simple four page leaflet in landscape mode. Page 2 shows 17 series 1 and 2 series 2 aircraft with 1:32 vintage cars and sailing ships on page 3 along with mention of the Southern Cross and Ferguson, which I think must make it 1958 (See Autumn 1958, below). It was preceded by a simple handbill-style two-sided leaflet which was possibly released in the latter half of 1957, going by the kits shown. Arguably this is the first leaflet. This is, I believe, the leaflet shown in Arthur’s book “50 Years”. I now have a copy and it is reproduced below.

Autumn 1958 Similar to the May 1958 leaflet (with the year added) but with 20 series 1 and 3 series 2 aircraft kits listed.

F. W. Woolworth & Co. Ltd. 1958 Until the mid 60’s ‘Woolies’ would either have their own leaflets printed or had the standard leaflet “personalized” for their own use. This is believed to be the first ‘Woolies’ leaflet and was produced in portrait mode. The four-digit pattern numbers are not used, as they are in the earlier leaflet. 2 Leaflets were issued, an earlier and later one, both contained a separate leaflet showing the other kit ranges.
Later                                                                                                           Earlier


Spring & Summer 1959 The new Lancaster proudly adorns the front cover along with news of the forthcoming Wellington B.III at 6/- (30p). Inside are details of 23 series 1 aircraft and 5 series 2. Page 3 again features vintage cars and small sailing ships. Page 4 is devoted solely to the “Trackside” range, the series 2 kits being emphasised. It contains the last reference to the Southern Cross and Ferguson tractor. There are no pattern numbers. A Summer 1959 version was also released, again showing the Wellington coming soon.

Summer 1959 This leaflet is the first of the standardised leaflets in both presentation and content. The Wellington flies across the front page in what appears to be a Type 2 style, which was introduced around this time. Also for the first time, the famous logo “Constant Scale” is introduced and this is probably why the Southern Cross and Ferguson disappeared, because neither fitted the criterion. Basic colour was a dull red which along with light blue are the two colours used most in succeeding early leaflets. The new Type 2 Logo was prominent on the front cover possibly indicating the launch of Type 2 and it probably replaced the other Summer one. Again no mention of pattern numbers.

Autumn 1959 The same format as the Summer 1959 leaflet but with the following new kits added: Fiat G.91, Zero, Rotodyne and Platform Canopy.

Winter 1959 As for the Autumn 1959 issue but with the Rotodyne kit replacing the Wellington kit on the cover.

February 1960 This sees a return to “months” rather than “seasons” for the leaflets. The newly released Rotodyne is still on the front cover. New kits were: Typhoon and Bristol 192, Coldstream Guardsman, Lifeguard Trumpeter and Yeoman, Fencing & Gates, Telegraph Poles and Travelling Crane.

April 1960 Rotodyne kit on the cover.

May 1960 & June 1960 Still with the Rotodyne on the cover.

August 1960 The front cover is of H.M.S. Victorious, which is a photograph of the ‘real thing’ without the Type 2 divide.

October 1960 H.M.S. Victorious on the cover.

December 1960 H.M.S. Victorious on the cover.

January 1961 Believed issued.

February 1961 A splendid photograph of H.M.S. Hood at anchor on the front. This photograph captured the real beauty of this famous ship.

March 1961 H.M.S. Hood at anchor on the cover.

April 1961 The presentation is the same as the March 1961 leaflet but again the cover has lost its Type 2 divide and the range of kits was now too big for the available space (5 pages and a cover) and the aircraft photos were cropped to fit the page. Clearly a proper catalogue would soon be needed and these leaflets could become price list/leaflets to support the catalogue(s). The warships were advertised as being available in a “5-colour varnished box”.

May 1961 I have a colour copy of this leaflet and it does not appear to be different internally to the April issue. I have seen one without prices (English export?) on sale from Belgium.

Autumn 1961 H.M.S. Tiger is now on the front. How many leaflets were produced between it and the May issue is at present not known.

Winter 1961-62 This was the first of the Halifax leaflets and presumably similar to the following ones.

First Edition Catalogue – 1962 – 9d (3.5p) Separate price lists without pictures were produced for the early catalogues. The very earliest were two-sided portrait orientation. Later ones had four sides and were in landscape to fit the early catalogues.

Spring 1962 Leaflet Released in early 1962, it was similar to the Winter 1961-62 and different to all the other previous leaflets and could be described (with the previous) as the first leaflet/price list. It would spawn more leaflets than any subsequent leaflet. Like its predecessors and later leaflets it was free. Later leaflets would often appear in the catalogues as well as in a pile on the model shop counter. The first few catalogues had separate price lists included, although these too could be picked up from the counter. One such was used to illustrate the Type 2 releases in CS14. The cover photograph for all these 62-64 leaflets was of the Halifax bomber. The code on the back page was “KL 250 362” seeming to indicate Kit Leaflet March 1962. Also on the back was the November 1961 issue of Airfix Magazine.

Summer 1962 June 1962 saw the third of the new style leaflets released.

Autumn 1962 Released in October of that year, it was similar to the three previous but listed the following new kits: He III, 1904, Mercedes, Scarab, Bismarck and Vickers Vanguard. Code KL 250 1062. The covers of the above three were red with the insides two tone blue.

Spring 1963 As before but the code on the back now read “KL 250 363”. Several new models were inside.

Summer 1963 – F. W. Woolworth Released in May 1963, this leaflet carried the legend “See the Airfix range at your local F. W. Woolworth Store” printed across the top. The “New Models Every Month” slogan appeared for the first time in the bottom right hand corner of the cover. Presumably there was a ‘standard’ Summer 1963 leaflet. Code was: FWW. 250/5/63.

Autumn 1963 A change to a blue cover to match the insides. Code was now “KL.250/10/63”.

Spring 1964 All blue, the November 1963 Airfix Magazine was now on the back. Code was “KL.250/2/64.
Spring 1964 – F. W. Woolworth Identical to the above but in two tone red and with code “FWW.250/2/64.

7th Edition The cover remains as before but now it is the “7th Edition”! There is no obvious reason for the change. There are at least 7 Halifax leaflets prior to this so it probably isn’t the 7th edition of these. However, if you take the Summer 1959 as the first proper leaflet/catalogue, then we do have 6 “editions” prior to the 7th edition. These are: Wellington, Rotodyne, Victorious, Hood, Tiger and Halifax. Are these the 1st to 6th editions, or am I just trying to make it fit. We shall probably never know. The internal layout and photos are different and the September 1964 Airfix Magazine is now on the back. The code number has also disappeared. The whole leaflet is blue.

7th Edition – F. W. Woolworth As above but with the “Woolies” legend on the front. Clearly now Woolies leaflets are not considered to be separate editions. Leaflet all red.

8th Edition Blue leaflet released in early 1965. Some new models and the 1:12 figures now all listed in Series 2.

8th Edition – F. W. Woolworth As above in red with the Woolies legend.

9th Edition In blue with a few new models.

9th Edition – F. W. Woolworth? Exactly as the 9th Edition including the blue colour. However, the Woolies legend is on the front but is blacked out (it can just be read on the original).

B-29 Leaflet The next leaflet to be issued had the B-29 on the cover, issued around the time of the 4th Edition catalogue. There were probably export versions of all the above but they do not come into the scope of these articles.

That's about it for all the pre-catalogue leaflets. The later ones are shown alongside the catalogues. I haven't images for every known issue of the early ones and there may be several more out there waiting to be discovered.

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


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