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Celebrating Illustration, Design, Cartoon and Comic Art of the Mid-20th Century

Model Kit Box Art by "the Two Roys"

Monday, February 13, 2012

By Guest Author, Roger O'Reilly

For anyone growing up in Britain or Ireland in the 70's and 80's who had half an interest in building model airplanes, the artwork of Roy Cross...

Cross01

... and Roy Huxley will be immediately familiar.

Huxley01

They were both extremely talented draughtsmen who managed to put drama, action and excitement into what were the very limiting confines of the model kit's packaging.

Cross02

Airfix and Matchbox were the two biggest producers of model kits at the time, and although Airfix were well ahead in terms of the range of product, the newly established Matchbox were catching up fast, both in quantity and quality.

Huxley02

Roy Cross had been illustrating most of Airfix's output since the '60s and was well established by the time that Roy Huxley was hired to illustrate Matchbox's kits in the early '70s - in fact he was just about to retire from Airfix and concentrate on Marine painting.

Cross03

Since the kit manufacturers however, tend to run their box-art for decades or longer, the '70s and '80s saw the two Roys pitched against each other in the battle of the brands.

Huxley03

The two market leaders had plenty of competitors (indeed neither manufacturer necessarily made the best kits) but when it came to box art, there was no competition.


Continued tomorrow.

* Roger O'Reilly illustrates for advertising, magazines and newspapers in Ireland and around the world. His work has appeared in The Daily Telegraph, GQ, FHM, The Sunday Tribune and many others. His fine art paintings have been exhibited in Switzerland, Ireland, Holland and France, where he is represented in the permanent collection of the Musee D'histoire Contemporaine in Paris.

6 comments

  1. Leif,we need an in depth article on James Bama's AURORA MONSTER MODEL BOX ART!...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Does anyone have an idea of how the pay for these box covers matched up with other illustration work?
    Model box cover art usually seemed to go way above and beyond the call of duty....and not just these guys but there was amazing stuff coming out in Japan too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. 70s? try the 60s!
    I gazed without end at that Lancaster. Never bought though...that was a big outlay for a kid then.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Actually, I'd push for Shigeo Koike ahead of James Bama... :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. My favorite Art Center teacher, Jack Leynnwood was the king of Revelle aircraft model box art. Sorry I don't have any scans to share, but he really rocked.oldmodelkits.com has a page on him.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous6:14 PM

    Chris, If I rember correctly, your teacher had quite a bit of work in the "Remembering Revell Model Kits" book....on Amazon (here, if the link works)
    http://www.amazon.com/Remembering-Revell-Model-Thomas-Graham/dp/0764329928/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1329261122&sr=1-1

    ReplyDelete

 

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