Category:Airfix Railway System

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index
Jump to navigationJump to search
Toy Brands and Manufacturers

Airfix Railway System (AirfixRS 1976).jpg

Airfix Railway System

1976 -     

The Airfix Railway System was a range of ready-built 00-gauge model railway sets launched in 1975/1976.

The range seems to have appeared shortly after Airfix bought some of the tooling for the short-lived but well-respected Rosebud Kitmaster plastic kit range, and Airfix seemed to have decided that some of the mouldings were good enough to be repurposed not just for their own model kit range, but as the basis of a commercial range of model railways. Some of the Kitmaster range were already explicitly designed to be fitted with electric motors, which probably made the decision easier.

The move may have seemed to make sense to Airfix – if they were already had the correct scale mouldings, why not equip the shells with electric motors and sell into an additional market? Having their own model railway range might have also seemed to give additional promotional opportunities for their range of model railway-related kits.

Marketing issues

In the 1960s and 1970s, Airfix seemed to have a company policy of trying to avoid sub-brands, and promoting new ranges with just the Airfix name and a literal description of what the range was. Airfix's "LockBricks" building sets were initially marketed as just Airfix Building Sets (before the mk2 version was released as "Betta Bilda"), and their slotcar system was initially marketed as "Airfix Motor Racing", before the half-hearted introduction of the "MotorAce" brand. With this philosophy it might have seemed sensible to market a railway system as "Airfix Railway System".

However, by this time the Airfix name was so strongly associated with kits that seeing it on prebuilt components and systems was probably too confusing for the average customer. Did the sets need assembling? Did one have to paint them and add transfers? If not, why were they Airfix?

While the Airfix company management knew that the "Fix" part of their name was a historical accident that dated back to before they made model kits, and didn't refer to the idea that the buyer had to make anything themselves, the association between Airfix and modelmaking (especially model aircraft) meant that the public probably assumed that this is what "Air-Fix" meant, and that Airfix was a "kit" brand by definition. Without its own identity, the Airfix model railway range felt like an afterthought that hadn't even been considered important enough to deserve a proper name, and the system is now largely forgotten.

April 1976 launch announcement

THE BIGGEST NEWS from Airfix is the announcement of a brand new range of 00 and HO scale train sets, locomotives and rolling stock. No prices are yet known, but they are expected to be competitive, and the models should be in the shops later this year.

The first sets are as follows: British steam goods set, comprising a Prairie tank 2-6-2T, class 6100, in British Rail black, with 25-ton Lowmac machine wagon, 12-ton ventilated goods van and 20-ton brake van; British steam passenger set, comprising the same Prairie tank loco but in GWR colours, with two GWR 60-foot Suburban Brake coaches; British diesel goods set, comprising an AIA-AIA Brush-type 2 diesel electric loco in BR green with the same wagons as in the steam goods set; British diesel passenger train set, with the same diesel electric loco in BR blue and two Inter-City coaches. All these are in 00 scale and come complete with track lengths and 12 volt battery controllers.

In addition, for the kiddies there is a 'Dr X Adventure Set' comprising the BR blue diesel, two wagons, a half-barrier type level crossing, and a tunnel with opening side to reveal 'Dr X's' secret hideout complete with spring-powered guided missile, a rocket transfer van and a breakdown truck.

Finally, in HO scale is a 'Wild West Adventure Set' comprising a 'Jupiter' 4-4-0 Central Pacific loco with a passenger car and a baggage car which 'explodes' to reveal a safe and strong box inside, plus a gantry, log cabin and six 'bandit' figures.

In addition to the sets all the locos and stock will be available as separate items, with the addition of an HO scale Union Pacific 4-4-0 loco, as will short, standard and double straight track lengths, half, standard and double curves, right and left-hand points, a universal crossing and length of isolating track.

— , -, , News From Airfix, , Airfix Magazine, , April 1976

1976 promotional text:

151st Year of Railways

In 1825, the Great Railway Age began. Now, in this hundred-and-fifty-first anniversary year, Airfix are proud to announce the introduction of the Airfix Railway System, specially developed to meet the needs of the true railway enthusiast.

The basis of this eagerly-awaited system is a collection of train sets, locomotives and rolling stock ranging from the British Rail Prairie Tank locomotives in "OO" scale back to superb replicas of North American locomotives in "HO" scale.

All the specialist knowledge and expertise of Airfix has been marshalled to create these brilliant miniature reproductions. Minute attention to detail means that every possible facet of the originals – from basic design to authentic livery – has been reproduced as faithfully as our present day technology allows.

To this has been added the range of finely detailed Airfix Railway Construction Kits, to add the final authentic touches to a model railway layout.


Over the years we at Airfix have built up a reputation among model enthusiasts. A reputation for greater accuracy, better realism and more detail. Take a close look at the Airfix Railway System and our experience shows.

All the British locomotives are scaled from original GWR Swindon and British Rail drawings. Every attention has been paid to detail and authenticity and this also goes for our North American locomotives and rolling stock. Livery is equally important and great attention has been paid to reproducing the colour schemes from the pastas well as those used at present.

  • Airfix locomotives and rolling stock wheels are made to the closest manufacturing tolerances.
  • Airfix coach and rolling stock have plastic wheels on carbon steel axles.
  • Airfix coach and rolling stock have needle bearings on the wheel axles and frames to give free running.
  • Airfix bogey material is designed for free-running axles.
  • Airfix couplers are compatible with most other leading British couplers.
  • Airfix couplers can be automatically uncoupled.
  • Airfix wheels are made concentric to the closest manufacturing tolerances.

We put our locomotives to the test before you do.

All our specially designed motors are inspected at each stage of manufacture and tested again when they are installed. They are load-tested on a 7° gradient and line tested to check traction force.

Designed to give scale hauling and handling characteristics, the motors are 5-pole armature double-magnet types and are 12 volt D.C., rated at ½ amp. The current consumption under load is 0.35 amps. The ring-field motors fitted to the "HO" scale "Jupiter" and "119" locomotives are 3-pole types, still retaining smooth take-offs and low-power consumption characteristics.

Airfix locomotives are designed to have the correct weight-to-traction ratio and the motors have self-lubricating bearings with carbon graphite brush contacts which are replaceable.

  • Airfix locomotives and rolling stock are finished in quality paints.
  • Airfix paint finish is authentic to applicable British Rail and GWR specifications.
  • Airfix paint finish is clean and well applied to the correct B.R. painting diagrams.
  • Airfix use new printing techniques to give finer detail paint jobs.
  • Airfix steam locomotive wheels are plated to give positive wheel-to-

track contact and smooth running.

  • Airfix Diesel locomotives have nickel-plated brass wheels giving positive electrical rail contact and authentic colour.
  • Airfix wheel sets are precision-moulded in black and balanced to give free-running performance in needle bearings.

Keeping on the right track.

The Airfix Railway System track has been specially manufactured to the highest standards and precision by PECO. A new formula metal alloy gives improved conductivity and minimises corrosion, and stainless steel connectors are used to align the track and conduct current. The rails are moulded into the sleepers giving rigid, firm sections and the sleepers are finely detailed for extra realism.

The Airfix Track System allows layout flexibility with extensions and can be fixed in position in permanent layouts using standard pin-tacks. Airfix points are smooth acting with short non-conducting sections and can be motorised.

Airfix Rail is to code 100 scale profile.


Only the Airfix Railway System offers you a range of railway construction kits designed to add greater realism and authenticity to an ambitious working railway layout, be it large or small. On pages 14-17 the railway modeller will find a kit of outstanding detail that can only enhance the pleasure of operating the Airfix Railway System.

— , Airfix Products Ltd., , Airfix Railway System, First Edition, , 1976

1976 range:

British Rail and Great Western Railway

US outlines (H0 scale)

See also:

External links

Media in category ‘Airfix Railway System’

The following 25 files are in this category, out of 25 total.