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Airfix crowdfunds nostalgia with KitStarter

Published: June 19, 2015
One of the great pioneers in the earliest days of plastic kits, Airfix emerged from World War II to lead the way toward a boom in scale modeling with 1:72 airplanes and a variety of historical subjects, ranging from a Ferguson tractor to Cromwell and Henry VIII. Older modelers wax nostalgic at the sight of vintage plastic-bagged kits and exciting box art—yet Airfix is romancing memories in a decidedly modern way with a crowdfunding program that invites enthusiasts to revive their favorite discontinued kits by pledging to purchase them.

Based on a business model popularized by Kickstarter, Airfix calls its new program—what else?—KitStarter.

Delving into extensive archives, Airfix has selected and restored some of its old toolings to prepare them for production. The list is available for comment, campaigning  and voting in the forum at Fans share their thoughts on social media as well, using #airfixkitstarter.

Readers can back a kit by placing a preorder on the site. When a kit has reached a threshold number of orders—about 500 for most of them—a two-week, last-chance period ensues before the kit goes into production. From that point, Airfix estimates delivery will take about four weeks. Delivery is free in the UK; Airfix’s standard international delivery rates apply elsewhere. Customers will not be charged until the kit ships. In the event a kit fails to gain support, the customer will be notified by email that the order has been cancelled with no charge.

Production will be limited to the number ordered, and the kits will not be sold otherwise. However, if a subject proves sufficiently popular it may be available for a second round on KitStarter.

Early favorites for revival are 1977 kits: the 1:12 Black Prince and 1:1 Bluetits (both 1977).

Richard Ames, CEO of Hornby, which owns Airfix, says, “We get lots of feedback about which models people would like us to re-introduce. Our KitStarter crowdfunding platform will enable Hornby to interact much more closely with our consumers.

“We are also confident that KitStarter will help us reach a new generation of model enthusiasts that we can attract to the hobby.”
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