The latest issue of the Airfix Collectors’ Club magazine Constant Scale is out with an updated version of downthetubes contributor Jeremy Briggs article on Eagle/Swift artist Roy Cross’ Airfix “Dogfight Doubles” kit series getting the cover.
The article originally featured on Steve Holland’s Bear Alley over five years ago, but Constant Scale editor Jeremy Brook (who’s also Honorary Archivist for Airfix at Hornby Hobbies Ltd) still wanted to run it because Cross is revered within the Airfix community.
In his book Remembering the Cultural Geographies of a Childhood Home, Peter Hughes Jachimiak notes how, in the 1970s, the stunning art of Roy Cross and Brian Knight helped make Airfix kits a commercial success, boosting Airfix Industries profits and making them the top-selling kits on the high street. The “Dogfight Doubles” were a huge part of this, although later in the 1970s, just as with weekly comics, fears about violence led to a “sanitisation” of box art.
Born in Camberwell, London, in. 1924, Roy Cross was introduced to art by an aunt who lived at Smallford. His natural talent and ability helped him play a modest yet important role as a youngster in World War Two, creating work for numerous publications, firstly the Air Training Corps Gazette, his talent leading to him gaining Air Ministry approval as an approved representative for press visits to RAF airfields, which allowed him to sketch aircraft.
As a commercial artist after the war, he captured the imagination of generations of young boys and, working for the company for ten years, helped establish Airfix as one of Britain’s leading toy brands of the 1960s and ’70s – mainly through his aviation art.
When he moved into the fine arts in the mid 70s, he became a marine painter, and is recognised today as one of the finest in the field (and in aviation art).
Constant Scale, the Club journal, is published four times a year and includes articles about the history of Airfix, its products and information supplied by former Airfix employees who are members of the Club.
Several “Club Guides” have been published, including two Contents and Indexes for Airfix Magazine and the Complete Airfix Artist and Kit List – 1949-2015 – now in its fourth edition, which lists artists against box releases.
• The current subscription to the Club (for 2017-18) is: £18 (UK), £28 (Europe & Eire) | £30 (Airmail outside Europe). It includes four issues of Constant Scale (Nos. 65 – 68). 24 pages (A4) per issue and includes four pages of colour. Back issues cost £2, or £6 for a complete year (UK). (All issues from No. 1 to No. 64 – Price on application)
• Buy Airfix “Dogfight Doubles” Kit’s from Amazon (affiliate link, using this helps support downthetubes, thank you)