The History of Humbrol and More about their products

Airfix, which originally started out in 1939, was bought by Hornby following a recent chequered ownership past. The ownership problems started in the 1980’s when, after the boom times for plastic modelling kits in the 60’s and 70’s, the market went into decline, this unfortunately resulted in bankruptcy. As such the brand was sold out to Hobby Products Group who also owned Humbrol, the famous model paint company used by hobbyists for generations. This new group incorporating Airfix then was sold to an Irish holding company and again the group went bankrupt. However, all was saved when a white knight appeared in the form of Hornby Hobbies which bought both the Airfix and Humbrol brands, a successful union given Hornby’s other own well known brands. The brands have eventually settled into a comfortable amalgamation and once again continue successfully, which will come as welcome news to Airfix and Humbrol fans.

There are a number of different Airfix glues and adhesives available. Liquid poly is a liquid form of solvent glue and comes with integral brush and is suitable for plastics only. Poly Cement is basically the same product in a paste form and comes in a tube and the Precision Poly adhesive comes with a needle like attachment on the lid for more fine, accurate gluing and this is recommended by Airfix as it is easier to apply and control. Balsa Cement is generally used for Balsa Wood or other soft woods and model filler is available to fill any gaps after gluing or for hairline cracks prior to painting. Humbrol Clearfix is needed when you are gluing clear parts. Airfix have a number of tips to give when gluing. Always start with a clear table and cover with paper, making sure the paper won’t blow onto the area you are working on. Before commencing any kit read the instructions fully and familiarise yourself with all the pieces. Cut only the items required off the sprue as you need them and have a dry run before applying the glue, so you can be sure of how they fit before the glue is applied. Keep fingers clean and this will avoid transferring glue to areas you don’t want. Glues generally surface dry in 10-20 minutes and are fully dry after 1 hour. The more care taken at the gluing stage the better, as the end paint finish will be affected by any gluing errors.

Airfix recommend Humbrol paints and these are available as either enamel or acrylic and some also in a spray can form. Acrylic comes as gloss, matt, metallic, or satin finishes. Enamel also comes in these along with metalcote and clearcote. Some users prefer the acrylic versions as these are water based rather than the enamel which is solvent based. Acrylic paints although water soluble still are water resistant after drying which only takes 1-2 hours (maybe longer for the gloss or metallic finishes), plus being water soluble the brushes are easier to clean and are also child friendly. They are also said to be more suitable for airbrushing. Enamels generally dry quite quickly but not as quick, are touch dry in approx 1-2 hours and hard dry after 24 hours and result in a hard glossy finish. Recoating for enamels needs at least 6 hours and overnight if possible. However this said both types have an excellent finishing quality.

Generally paints come in small tins or pots, the acrylic ones having a flip lid and drip minimising rim. A wide selection of colours is available including some of the key colourings used by the armed forces which are needed for the completion of military kits. Remember when painting, always stir well before use, use sparingly and don’t be tempted to recoat or examine too soon before the paint is sufficiently dry and have a clean, draught free area to work in. For small fiddly bits consider painting them on the sprue, and that way they won’t get stuck to your fingers as only a small area remains unpainted after detachment (keep the bonding areas paint free though otherwise the glue may not stick).

One of the key tips for a good paint finish is to use a good brush. Not every brush is suitable for every paint or usage and some give a better result than others. For instance the Coloro range is particularly designed for using acrylic paints, but can be used for other paint types too. The Palpo is a top notch natural sable hair brush and as they keep their points make for excellent detailing work. Finally the Evoco and Senator Brushes are good all rounders and are natural hair too. These brushes are designed for use in conjunction with the Humbrol paints this means you will get the best possible results.

Lastly the Airfix tool kits are useful in that they have the basic tools needed for modelling, including things like clippers, tweezers, files and knives and if you look after them they will last you years. Look no further for all Airfix’s recommended ranges of Paints and Accessories.