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The model railway company Dapol started in the early Eighties, and were responsible for rescuing a range of model railway moulds and machine tools that might otherwise have been scrapped with the breakup of Airfix. Airfix had prevously taken over the moulds of the well-respected Rosebud Kitmaster range, and had then extended the range. Before this, Meccano Ltd. had gone bust in the mid-Sixties, and been taken over by Lines Brothers (Tri-ang), and then Triang themselves had gone bust, and in the febrile acquisition-hungry financial climate of the Seventies, their assets had largely been acquired by Airfix. Airfix in turn then became too unwieldy as a company and also went bust.

With Airfix being run by people whose sympathies were more attuned to finance than of British modelmaking history, the company archives were gotten rid of, and without Dapol's intervention, these moulds might have been simply sold off as scrap metal.

Company history


Dapol was formed in the early Eighties when David Boyle decided to channel his original model railway and aviary bird business, Highfield Birds and Models, into model railway production.

In the background, Airfix sold the model railway part of their company to Palitoy, the UK subsidiary of General Mills, a large American conglomerate, who produced the Mainline range. Dapol was able to acquire a quantity of spares, oddments, wagons and locomotive parts not required by Palitoy, which were then offered through the shop.

New wagons were produced by Dapol and released in 1983, with new moulds being made for some of the popular ex-Airfix lineside accessories. The first new Dapol locomotive, the ex-L&Y Pug was released in 1984, followed by the 4-6-0 County.

By 1985, General Mills announced that they were diversifying out of the model railway market and Mainline was offered to Dapol. After long negotiations, Dapol/Airfix/Mainline were combined into the largest single British Outline range, marketed under the Dapol label. This position has now been greatly strengthened by further acquisitions.

Over the years, some of the former Airfix/Mainline ranges have been improved and re-released, such as the Castle with its new locomotive driven, pancake motored chassis. Entirely new locomotives, such as the Terrier, J94, Classes 150/2 and 155 and rolling stock have expanded the range.

Development is always ongoing and new and/or improved items are constantly being released.

— , Dapol, , Dapol Catalogue, 4th Edition, , ~1995

Introduction to the Dapol catalogue, 4th edition (~1975)

The fourth edition of our catalogue contains a wide range of model railway equipment, suitable for both the dedicated enthusiast and the raw beginner, who is starting with a simple train set.

Dapol produce a broad selection of locomotives and rolling stock, from pre-grouping days to the latest modern image two-car sprinter units. This is backed up by one of the largest ranges of scenic accessories manufactured in this country.

Every locomotive and item of rolling stock produced is based on- the original drawings and, where possible, on-site research using the full size versions. Dimensions are as accurate as can be made, within the constraints of the methods of modern mass production. The incredibly fine lettering on some of the locomotives can only be seen properly with the aid of a magnifying glass. They are precision models and careful handling and regular maintenance will greatly extend the life of the models.

We have greatly increased both the styles and liveries of our range of rolling stock, believing it now to be the finest available. Over the next eighteen months, we will see some favourite locomotives of the past being re-introduced, some in much improved form, with different mechanisms and new liveries.

You can be assured that when you purchase a Dapol item, you will have the benefit of years of experience behind the manufacture and a product that will give you tremendous enjoyment.

— , Dapol, , Dapol Catalogue, 4th Edition, , ~1995

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