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...
... and Roy Huxley will be immediately familiar.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
* 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.