Category:Betta Bilda

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index
Toy Brands and Manufacturers

Betta Bilda Set No1, box lid (Airfix).jpg

Betta Bilda

1962 -     

Betta Bilda from Airfix appeared in around 1961/1962 (and was was essentially another Lego clone), but like Meccano's "Cliki", it included a few technical innovations of its own. We don't know if it survived the failure of the Airfix Group in ~1971.


Other than the green roof tiles, the sets tended to stay with the same basic colour scheme used by Lego - white for the more generic blocks commonly used for walls, and red for window and door components.


Betta Bilda is chiefly remembered for its solution to the problem of how to build slanted roofs using a block-based model.

Manufacturers of plastic building-block sets usually "cheated" when it came to roofing, and supplied folding pieces of printed card for the roof ... while Lego ended up using chunky angled versions of standard blocks for roofing, Betta Bilda's approach was to invent their own dedicated roofing system, using angled blocks for roof supports, but to make the roof itself from more realistic plastic roof tiles that clipped together using a peg-and-hole arrangement that was not too dissimilar to real tile fixings.

Two sheets of roof tiles could then be connected together with "spine" tiles, and the whole structure carefully set down on the rest of the building.

The other distinctive aspect of the Betta Bilda roof tiles was that they were green.

~1962: Manufacturer's description:


The Betta Bilda Sets are suitable for children of all ages and all components are scaled so that buildings may be produced for inclusion in H0 and 00 Scale Railway Layout.

The No. 4495 Starter Set (packed in acetate tube size 2 38 inches diameter × 6 38 inches) is suitable for making simple buildings such as the Cottage illustrated overleaf.

The No. 4500 Building set (boxed) has sufficient parts to build a range of houses and buildings of which the Bungalow and Detached House and Garage shown on this leaflet are typical examples.

With the addition of the Betta Bilda Accessory Sets unlimited larger buildings may be constructed.

Bases included with the Betta Bilda can not only be used as bases of buildings, but can also be used as Balconies, Flat Roofs and Internal Flooring.

1966 advertising description:

Hours of pleasure with AIRFIX BETTA BILDA

Making models with Betta Bilda gives trememdous scope for the imagination. The colourful plastic pieces lock firmy together to make fascinating buildings in an endless variety. Parts dismantle easily too, and the building begins all over again.

Thee's a choice of five complete sets at 6/6, 10/6, 22/6, 32.6, and a huge set with over 1,850 pieces for only 50/. Twenty accessory packs enable you to make even bigger and more exciting buildings – 1/8d each.

— , Airfix Products Ltd., , Full-page advert, , Hobbies Annual, , 1966

Sample designs:

These are taken from the Betta Bilda Instruction Book, supplied with the sets. We don't think this was ever updated, which would suggest that they date back to when the product was originally launched, in ~1962.

See also:

External links


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