“Constant Scale” offers artist Roy Cross “Dogfight Doubles” guide

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.

This Beaufighter plus Messerschmidt Bf 109-G art was first utilised on Airfix boxes in 1966
This Beaufighter plus Messerschmidt Bf 109-G art was first utilised on Airfix boxes in 1966

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)

More about Constant Scale here on the Airfix Collectors’ Club web site | Read some sample articles

More Vintage Years of Airfix Box ArtBuy Airfix “Dogfight Doubles” Kit’s from Amazon (affiliate link, using this helps support downthetubes, thank you)

If you’re a fan of Roy Cross work, then check out The Vintage Years of Airfix Box Art and More Vintage Years of Airfix Box Art

There is a four part chronology of Roy Cross remarkable career on the unofficial Hatfield airfield web site

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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