Airfix faces administration

31-08-2006

Grown-up children and their offspring face a future in which they will no longer be able to construct plastic versions of military aircraft made by Airfix.

The plastic modelmaking kit manufacturers' owner, Humbrol, has gone into administration amid long-term falls in orders and the general manufacturing decline, Keith Hinds of administrator firm Grant Thornton has confirmed.

At the root of the problem is a cashflow bottleneck caused by the French supplier which provides the models going into administration, a disaster which Mr Hinds told the Today programme had "brought about the insolvency of the [parent] company Humbrol".

"I would like to think an iconic name like Airfix and Humbrol and Plasticine which Humbrol owns, would be capable of onward sale and investment by a larger organisation that would take it on forward," he said.

"It does have product to sell, it's got stock it can sell which we're trying to release through to customers, although that's on a very restricted basis," he explained.

Airfix had produced to-scale models since 1949, when it released a model kit of the Ferguson tractor. Its first military aircraft was the classic Supermarine Spitfire Mk IV model and the company enjoyed a golden age in the 1960s and 1970s.

However, the advent of computer games helped contribute to a rapid fall in the popularity of modelmaking as a pastime for the nation's children.

Airfix would have collapsed then had it not been for the intervention of Humbrol, which itself now faces collapse.


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