Veteran aviation artist Roy Huxley is apparently selling original Matchbox model kits artwork on the Guild of Aviation Artists website, images that are sure to conjure up plenty of fond memories for some downthetubes readers.
Some of the art on offer is also new, but inspired by those classic kit boxes.
HS Buccaneer Matchbox Model Kit box and “Sea-Rover”, a re-working of the art, both by Roy Huxley
The Guild of Aviation Artists is recognised throughout the world as the premier society for the promotion of aviation art. With over 300 members, who also include comic artist Keith Burns, the organisation brings together the worlds of art and aviation and stages exhibitions and events across the UK.
The Guild’s aim is to promote aviation art in all its forms and to encourage interest in the genre by artists and non-artists alike.
Matchbox Model Kit Memories
Back in 1973, an exciting new range of ‘pocket money’ model kits was launched in the UK, much to the delight of schoolboys up and down the country. These Matchbox kits were cheap, simple to make and moulded in two or three different coloured plastics so that the younger modellers didn’t even need to paint them. The most memorable thing about them however, wasn’t the multi-coloured plastic or the slightly eccentric choice of subjects, it was the dynamic and action packed box-art, painted almost exclusively by Roy Huxley.
Roy’s style was part comic book and part aerospace illustration which perfectly captured the imagination (and the pocket money), of thousands of schoolboys around the world. As the boys grew, so did the kits, with ever bigger and more ambitious projects including four engined bombers and ultimately a huge 1/72 corvette, HMS Bluebell.
Nearly 50 years after those first kits were created and the first bits of artboard painted, The Golden Years of Matchbox Art, released last year, brought together Roy’s exciting paintings for the very first time. Remarkably, although many of the original paintings were lost over the years, Roy managed to keep a very comprehensive transparency archive of his work, allowing publishers Red Kite Publishing to reproduce these classic pieces of box-art in the vibrant colours last seen in the 1970s.
Featuring over 100 large paintings and many more smaller illustrations, the book offers a journey down memory lane, not just for those long lost schoolboys but also for any fan of military art.
Roy Huxley was born in Bedfordshire in 1940. He left school at 17 with an obvious talent for art and searched the London art studios for a job. Through a contact, he was fortunate to get work with a leading Art Agency specialising in brochures for big car and truck companies and remained there for several years developing his skills.
In 1969, he turned freelance and shortly afterwards was approached by the Tudor Art Agency to create some paintings for a new series of aircraft model kits under the brand ‘Matchbox’. Roy produced paintings for Matchbox from 1973 onwards for nearly 20 years, making him one of the most recognised box-artists in the world.
After the demise of Matchbox, he worked for several leading companies such as British Airways, Marconi, The Bradford Exchange and Rothmans.
His work is renowned for its detail and accuracy, especially his aviation subjects, which has resulted in him being the three times winner of the coveted Guild of Aviation Artists “Aviation Painting of the Year” award. Roy and his wife Sue have always been keen sailors and would go to their sailing yacht in France to unwind whenever time allowed. Although their sailing days are now over, they still travel extensively from their home in a quiet Kent village.
• Buy Vintage Years of Airfix Box Art from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)
• To find out more about the Guild of Aviation Artists, click here
With thanks to Jeremy Briggs
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. 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 “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.