ESCI Figures – Pantography

Big Brothers

Scaling Up

In 1988, ESCI produced a surprise. A new range of plastic figures was launched in the larger 1:35 scale. If the figures looked strangely familiar, this was because exactly the same figures had appeared in their 1:72 range. So, obviously, some sort of re-use or re-engineering was involved here. More importantly, how do the larger figures compare?

Continue reading “ESCI Figures – Pantography”

ESCI Figures – Plastics

Hard or Soft?

Plastics

Over the years, military figures have been made in various types of plastic. The two forms most used are polystyrene and polythene. The former can be categorised as ‘hard’ because it is rigid and the latter ‘soft’, because it is flexible. ESCI has used both types, so let’s explore why by taking a look at a typical set that has been modelled in both materials – the Afrika Korps.

Continue reading “ESCI Figures – Plastics”

ESCI Figures – Introduction

1980s Benchmark

ESCI

ESCI was established in Italy in 1930, to trade goods between the mainland and the Italian colonies – hence its name “Ente Scambi Coloniali Internazionali” or, roughly translated, the “International Colonial Trade Exchange”. In the 1960s ESCI began importing Japanese plastic construction kits, and in 1972 began producing its own kits. It was the first firm to produce 1:72 military vehicles (Airfix at that time were working in 1:76) and as part of this range produced small sets of hard plastic infantry.

Continue reading “ESCI Figures – Introduction”

Matchbox Aircraft Kits – Box Art

Capturing the Dream

Packaging

The packaging that a kit is supplied in fulfils a number of functions. Primarily it gathers and protects the contents of the kit from damage prior to sale, but of course it also has a role in both identifying the subject of the kit, and persuading you to buy it! In these latter regards, the most significant feature of the packaging is the colour illustration on the box top. Airfix blazed the way and are famous for the quality of their box art, especially the iconic images painted by Roy Cross. With this example in front of them, Matchbox had a lot to live up to, and live up to it they did!

Continue reading “Matchbox Aircraft Kits – Box Art”

Matchbox Aircraft Kits – Updating

Keeping Up To Date

When manufacturers release kits of contemporary subjects, they usually represent the version currently in service. Sometimes, in the haste to release a kit of a new subject then in development, they have to base their research on prototypes. This can pose a problem of accuracy if the subsequent production version differs to any great degree. But even an accurate kit can find itself left behind if the subject it models is upgraded and visually altered during its service lifetime, as often happens with successful aircraft. What does a manufacturer do in this situation?

Continue reading “Matchbox Aircraft Kits – Updating”

Matchbox Aircraft Kits – Uniqueness

Modelling the Unusual

Unique Selling Point

When it came to choosing subjects for their aircraft kits, Matchbox seems to have followed a policy of backing two horses. On the one hand, they followed the other major manufacturers in creating kits of the most well-known and popular aircraft but on the other, they also modelled some very unusual subjects.

Continue reading “Matchbox Aircraft Kits – Uniqueness”

Matchbox Aircraft Kits – Options

Construction Choices

Construction Choices

Choices are good. The more choices there are in a plastic construction kit, the more attractive it can seem, because the purchaser has agency over how the finished model turns out and the kit has more potential. Further, it may be worth buying multiple copies of the kit in order to create the different options. So, what sort of choices might a manufacturer offer? To look at this, let’s turn for a change to a largely civilian aircraft, the de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter.

Continue reading “Matchbox Aircraft Kits – Options”