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Classic Kits: Collecting the Greatest Model Kits in the World, from Airfix to Tamiya Hardcover – October 1, 2004

3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Classic Kits treats you to an international tour of model–kit history, taking in all the favorites—Airfix, Monogram, Mattel, Frog, Matchbox, Bandai, Merit Aurora, Esci, Heller, Tamiya, Fujimi, Eaglewall, Italeri, and more. Not only does this nostalgic guide allow you to compare and contrast the different models and their historical development (and, in some cases, demise), it also notes the rare and the valuable, so you can re–evaluate those pieces you have stored in your attic. Packed with color photos and valuable information for collectors, hobbyists, and enthusiasts, Classic Kits is a one–of–a–kind history of the giants of miniature modeling. Arthur Ward, the leading expert on the history of model kits, is the author of The Model World of Airfix and Airfix: Celebrating Fifty Years of the Greatest Modeling Kits in the World.

About the Author

Arthur Ward, the leading expert on the history of model kits, is the author of The Model World of Airfix and Airfix: Celebrating Fifty Years of the Greatest Modeling Kits in the World.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins UK (October 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007176953
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007176953
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,690,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark A. Taylor on August 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is professional to look at, but amateur hour to read.

Ward loves Airfix. It showed in his solo work on that firm's kits, he was on task. The personal stories and anecdotes were on-topic, and the work was coherent.

This book is...frankly....a huge mess. It's nearly impossible for me to see how it was published. First, unless you're a huge fan of Frog, or Airfix 1/72 airplane kits there's nothing here for you. Most of the companies (regardless of size, importance, or the number of kits they produced) get only a couple of pages. Frog and Airfix are the lion's share of pages here, and most of it was done first and better in Ward's book on Airfix. Also, even though Ward's "airplanes only" bias is kept somewhat in check in the Airfix book, it's rampant here. Builders of armor, autos, and ships have some pictures to look at but nothing in the way of text that is worth your time. Plus, I don't feel that I needed to pay good money to hear which companies his (non-modeler) friends and neighbors remembered. The side stories here are painful.

To be fair Aurora, Tamiya, and Revell get decent coverage...problem being they get more and better coverage in single-company books by other authors. To me, the reason to get a book like this isn't to read about the kit companies you can still find represented in the local hobby shop, but to see and remember (or discover) the lost past of the hobby.

Slim pickings here. Go buy some more kits instead, or back issues of vintage hobby magazines. There's no meat in this sandwich....
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Format: Hardcover
You'll enjoy this book whether you're a collector of vintage plastic kits or built models in your childhood. There are wonderful photographs of some the the older kits especially from some of the more obscure companies such as Eagle,Kleeware and Rosebud. And the coverage of Airfix, Frog and Revell is excellent. However, I was disappointed in the manuscripts for some companies as there was an inconsistency in the degree of detail. Keep in mind that the author is English and as such, the descriptions definitely have an English viewpoint. The history of Airfix, Aurora, Frog and Revell are all well chronicled in other books including the excellent review of Airfix by this same author. I would have enjoyed reading about the smaller companies who struggled mightily to exist and sell their unique model kits. I also felt that the title of this book, "Classic Kits, Collecting the Greatest Model Kits in the World, From Airfix to Tamiya" was inaccurate. Where are the gift sets and isn't it a bit premature to include DML/Dragon in this group of manufacturers? Nevertheless, this is a good addition to my library and I appreciate the quality and clarity of the photographs.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not a bad book, by any means, as some reviewers would like us to believe. Yes, the author is British, so most of this book deals with British brands (especially Airfix!) at the expense of US, Japanese and other countries' brands, and yes, the title misleads because this is not so much about classic kits as it is about kit brands and collecting those classic kits, but it's a very good book! I enjoyed it very much!

Mr. Ward lays down the purpose of this book himself in the book's Introduction: "...the focus of the narrative is a survey of the most famous and enduring kit brands.", and not the kits themselves. Chapter 1 deals with the History and Development of model miniatures through the ages, the rise of plastic model kits after WWII, and how many companies evolved into manufacturing plastic model kits.

Chapter 2 is the bulk of the book and reviews the Classic Brands of plastic model kits from their beginnings to their ultimate demise, either through acquisition by other firms or outright dissolution. For those companies still in existence he offers opinions on why they have remained in business and optimistism for their future success. Chapter 3 deals with kit Genres (military, figures, aircraft, ships, cars, etc.) and the reason many modelers choose one genre over another.

Chapter 4 is devoted to Kit Collecting, or why modelers often become kit collectors by default because they buy more kits than they will ever be able to build. One collector he interviewed for the book has over 12,000 unbuilt kits in his collection! Chapter 5, The Future, offers a very short discussion of the future of plastic scale modeling.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Still reading it but good so far
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