Tuesday, October 23, 2012



On November 6, Vectis Auctions, the world's largest toy auction house, will hold an auction featuring an impressive collection of Airfix kits. And that’s not all, for the sale includes the magnificent Roy Cross box art ‘Bomb the Tirpitz’ shown here, reckoned to be in with a chance to fetch between £9500-£15,000 GBP ($15-24,000 USD).

The painting shows an attack by British Fairey Barracuda dive bombers on the German pocket battleship Tirpitz, in 1944. The artwork is close to my heart, as many years ago I had possession of it for a while as reference for a book I was working on. Like a good boy, I returned it safe and sound, but would have loved to have framed it for the wall! My advice to anyone who’s interested is this - whatever you pay, it’s worth the money for a gorgeous piece of art, signed by master artist Roy Cross.

Vectis has this to say
Airfix Original Artwork, comprising: Gouache Painting for the box top of the 1968 release: 1/600th Scale German Battleship Tirpitz by Airfix Master Marine Artist Roy Cross. The image measures 27" x 15" (the largest Roy Cross Artwork ever sold by Vectis) on Artist’s Fine Surface Art Board and depicts the Tirpitz under attack on April 3, 1944 (Operation Tungsten) by Carrier Launched Barracuda Aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm. Presented as a leaving gift to a member of the Airfix Art Department it has been kept in a secure art folder since, the image therefore is as bright and vibrant as the day it was finished. Acknowledged by Cross himself to be one of his finest works commissioned by Airfix. An Iconic image in Mint condition. Superb.” 

Absolutely right, Vectis. I envy the buyer.

A brace of Spitfires
Another winner for the nostalgic kit-builder is the reissue above. Vectis says, “Airfix - Spitfire ‘BTK’, comprising: a limited edition re-release (1990s) of the 1953 kit that originally launched Airfix’s 1/72nd Scale Aircraft Series. Moulded in Blue Plastic and contained in a sealed (facsimile) Header Carded Polythene Bag. Mint overall. Estimate: £25-£50 GBP ($40-80 USD).

Spitfire Mk IX
And here’s another Spit, though this is no reissue. Vectis says, “Airfix - Spitfire IX, comprising: First Issue, 1955 release 1/72nd scale Spitfire. The only Aircraft kit from four released in 1955. Mint, contained in a near Mint (sealed Type 2) Header Carded Polythene Bag. Estimate: £35-£70 GBP ($56-112 USD).

Big bomber - my Christmas fave
The Avro Lancaster was the first really big Airfix kit, and I recall as a boy being given one for Christmas. What my parents didn’t know was that I spotted the box on top of a cupboard a week beforehand, and sneaked up for a few minutes a day to drool over the biggest model aircraft I’d ever seen. After Xmas Pud was gobbled down on the Big Day, it was poly cement and construction time for me.

Vectis says
“Airfix - Avro Lancaster, comprising: Second Issue, 1959 1/72nd scale Avro Lancaster Bomber. Mint, contained in a near Mint (Type 2 - 1959/63 “Vertical Stripe”) illustrated set box. Extremely Rare to find complete and in this condition. Estimate: £60-£120 GBP ($96-192 USD).

1:600 scale HMS Daring
Another of my boyhood buys, though 1:600 was a bit too small to be satisfying, as I really really wanted to sail the thing on the open sea. I tried launching on the local pond, but the ship turned turtle and sank within seconds. Vectis says, “Airfix - H.M.S. Daring, comprising: First Issue, 1961 1/600 scale Royal Navy Destroyer - H.M.S. Daring. Mint, contained in a near Mint (Type 2 - 1959/63 “Vertical Stripe”) illustrated set box. Extremely Rare to find complete and in this condition. Estimate: £35-£70 GBP ($56-112 USD).

Fantastic stuff on offer at this Vectis sale, and a chance for the avid collector to gain a piece of Airfix history. The items we’ve shown here are just a few of the 60-plus lots on offer. You don’t even have to be at the sale either, as it’s all available online. Brilliant!

Pictures courtesy Vectis Auctions.