Aifix Collectors Club

Toys and Games Catalogues
Toys & Games Catalogues

In earlier issues of Constant Scale I have printed sections from several early Toys and Games catalogues. Unlike the kit catalogues, Airfix did not, it seems, issue regular catalogues for the public but mainly a series for Trade customers. There were a few leaflets which were given out but most of the proper catalogues were intended for the retailer.

Betta Bilda and Weebles often had leaflets put on the counters but any for the toys were few and far between. In this article I shall attempt to list all the leaflets and catalogues put out by Airfix from the mid 1960s until 1980.

In CS19, I printed pages from a loose leaf folder that was sent to retailers in the late 1950s or early 1960s. The first proper catalogue I am aware of is the 1965-1966 two-tone blue catalogue (204 x 255 mms). It was intended for retailers and pointed them in the direction of all the other Airfix ranges.

Around 1968, a 16-page fold-up leaflet was issued and I picked one up off a counter. 12 pages were devoted to the Cragstan range and only 2 to the other toys. The presence of the polyprop DUKW and some early Playforts sets the date at around that time. Page size: 108 x 141 mms.

In 1969, a 12-page concertina leaflet was issued, which showed many more toys and included a page devoted to Betta Bilda and New Artist. Page size: 106 x 210 mms.

In June 1970, a larger 12-page concertina leaflet was issued which showed a few games and a dozen New Artist sets, but no Betta Bilda. Page size was 153 x 225 mms.

It was followed in 1973, by a 12-page stapled leaflet which showed a selection of the “Rainbow” games and Hanky Panky Magic sets. Page size was 151 x 204 mms. These are the only Toys and Games leaflets I am at present aware of. I have one or two Weeble leaflets but they are specifically for Weebles and do not have other toys and games in them. I am not sure if proper catalogues were issued to retailers between 1966 and 1971, when I believe a catalogue was produced but I do not at present have a copy. All 1972 and later catalogues were A4-size.

The first of a regular annual run of Toys & Games catalogues, I have a copy of, is the 1972 catalogue.

1972 Toys & Games Catalogue: Printed in January 1972, it is a 32 page, landscape-mode, catalogue. All of the toys and games are listed and 4 pages are devoted to the 1:32 soldiers, polyprops and buildings, the pattern numbers suggesting these are considered to be toys rather than kits. Art & Crafts get 2 pages and Betta Bilda and the construction kits 1 each.

1973 Toys & Games Catalogues: January 1973, saw the next catalogue printed. Now in portrait-mode, it also has 32 colour pages. 1:32 scale figures and buildings had 1 page, whilst the OO/HO range had 2. Kits and books shared a page as did Arts and Crafts and Betta Bilda. Unfortunately mine has some scribbles on the cover.

1974 Toys & Games Catalogue: In 1974, a 40 page catalogue was printed. It was definitely a trade catalogue and contained 7 pages of the 1:32 and OO/HO ranges. Kits got half a page as did Arts & Crafts. No mention of Betta Bilda.

1975 Toys & Games Catalogue: Printed in 1975, there were now 44 pages. 8 pages were devoted to the 1:32 and OO/HO ranges and there was no mention of kits.

1976 Toys & Games Catalogue: Still with 44 pages it saw a return to landscape-mode. Oddly, some of the pages were in black & white, which may have been a printing error. Mine has some felt tip around the titles.

1977 Toys & Games Catalogue: A 44 page colour catalogue was issued for 1977. The Eagles were launched and 7 pages were devoted to the 1:32 and OO/HO ranges.

1978 Toys & Games Catalogue: Again running to 44 pages, it was numbered 90066-3 and announced the Micronauts to join the Eagles. All mention of the kits and figures ranges were missing.

1979 Toys & Games and Arts & Crafts Catalogue: This was the first catalogue to combine the two ranges. Running to 84 pages, 20 pages in the middle were devoted to the Arts & Crafts ranges, which were relaunched and repackaged for 1979. Toys & Games saw the launch of the “Sportstime” range of products, which was added to the following year.

1980 Toys & Games and Arts & Crafts Catalogue: The 1980 catalogue ran to 60 pages, 16 of which showed the 1980 range of Arts & Crafts products. Both ranges were improved and there were several new and exciting toys like the Hovercraft and BMW Data Car.

It is not known whether a 1981 catalogue was prepared and or produced, but the events of January 1981, would see the toys, games, arts and crafts disappear. Some like the Weebles returned to their owners who continued to produce them.

This Article first appeared in "Constant Scale" No. 53 - May 2004

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