When considering which range should be the subject of this, my 13th (and probably final in this form) set of fighting toy stories, there was really no contest. When I was young, I was an Airfix Boy. Their kits were everywhere, and for many years I didn’t even realise that other makers existed! They dominated the market in the UK, and created hundreds, if not thousands, of kits covering a wide range of military, transport and other subjects, as well as ranges of soft plastic soldiers (see here for the very popular 1:32 range). So, Airfix it had to be.
Continue reading “Airfix Blisters – Introduction”
Successful toy ranges often need a USP – a Unique Selling Point, that makes buyers turn to their product over the competition. So, what was distinctive about the Skybirds range? Up front I’ll claim that they created a new type of aircraft kit, quite unlike most of their competitors, that had a unique appeal. Let’s look into this assertion by getting familiar with an important RAF warplane of the 1930s, the Hawker Hart.
Continue reading “Skybirds – Distinctiveness”
How far models faithfully reproduce a subject is a frequently discussed topic in the pages of FTS. Is a model accurate? It might seem a little heavy-handed to make this enquiry of cheap toys like the Skybusters range, but unless you examine the question, it’s difficult to form an opinion on their value. So, let’s dive in (pun intended) by assessing the Skybuster miniature of the German wartime bomber, the Ju 87 ‘Stuka’.
Continue reading “Matchbox Skybusters – Accuracy”
The word ‘playset’ is defined in online dictionaries as “A themed collection of similar toys designed to work together to enact some action or event”. In the context of military figures, this usually means a package of opposing sets of contemporary figures, plus terrain pieces to suit. Such sets are great presents: they create a convenient and immediate play environment for owners, and if produced with a care for historical accuracy, can be educational.
Continue reading “ESCI Figures – Playsets”
Obviously, Matchbox models are small. But are they too small to worry about their accuracy? I don’t think so!
Continue reading “Matchbox 1-75 – Accuracy”
As we have seen before on this website (for example, with Solido and Wiking), manufacturers love to release their models many times over, by changing the colour schemes and/or the accessories. Completist collectors can be driven to distraction by this practice – so many models with so many variations to find, and some of them exceedingly rare! Luckily, I don’t share this mania because some of the Skybuster range have many, many variants. But nonetheless, let’s take a look at the practice, using just a few of the most easily available models, to see what fun can be had.
Continue reading “Matchbox Skybusters – Variants”
Aircraft generally spend less time flying than on the ground, and this was especially true in the early years when flying at night was difficult. Most of the time they were parked at airports, either in the open or within a hangar. It’s not surprising then that Skybirds were quick off the mark to produce a range of airport buildings to complement their aircraft kits. Unlike the kits, these were finished models.
Continue reading “Skybirds – Airports”