Matchbox kits originated in 1972 when Jack Odell and Leslie Smith, the management of Lesney Products & Co ltd, decided they wanted a share of the plastic model kits market. This is where Maurice Landi, a keen aircraft person, came in. Lesney management hired him to design a range of Matchbox plastic modeling kits. It was his job as project engineer to come up with subjects which could be found, measured and photographed. In other words those aircraft which he had access to. When he had prototypes made up by their own staff, they would be presented to the owners Odell and Smith. Lesney management would decide under his advice and give him the budget to realize the kits. To provide attractive packaging Roy Huxley was hired as illustrator to draw the box-art for the kits. Later other illustrators, Doug Post, Ross Wardle and Ken Rush, also worked on some of the Matchbox kit packaging. The majority of illustrations however remained to be drawn by Roy Huxley.
Scope of our attention
Matchbox as a brand name for plastic modeling kits has gone through a couple of curves. The classic British period practically ended with the receivership of Lesney. The Universal period still added kits that extended the ranges in the same Matchbox spirit.
We do focus on the kits that were released under the Matchbox label. For a couple of years Lesney owned AMT and both ranges were joined. AMT kits however are regarded out of scope for this reference. For a brief period original Matchbox kits have been sold in the US under the AMT brand. We show a just few examples of these and provide more detail in our catalogue area.
Pictures of all Matchbox kits throughout the years up to 1999:The Aircraft kit ranges by year of issueThe Armour kit rangesThe 1-700 Ships rangesAutomotive kitsMotorcycle kitsFiguresRevell-Matchbox 40000 rangesMatchbox and AMT/Matchbox cataloguesa classification guide with examples of box layouts and variations
Thanks to a few scrapyard panels and a few old but sturdy switches we were able to tinker a control panel that will allow you to select sections from our database to include or exclude. And the viewer can be switched to boxart as well. You can also control the pace, jump randomly or pause for a break. Switch it any way you like!
Robert Kaps shared more of his unpainted builds. Featuring:PK-004 – Mitsubishi Zero A6M2 Zero-senPK-011 – Hawker Hurricane Mk IICPK-026 – Henschel Hs 126PK-036 – Fairey SeafoxPK-047 – Dassault Mystere IVPK-048 – Messerschmidt Boelkow-Blohm BK-117PK-050 – Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XVIPK-124 – Grumman F9F-5 Panther Blue AngelsPK-062 – Narvik class German destroyerPK-351 – The Bismarck
We have added some additional shots of the instruction sheets for:PK-507 – Aerospatiale Westland SA 330 PUMA HelicopterPK-047 – Dassault Mystere IVPK-062 – Narvik class German destroyerPK-351 – The Bismarck
We added a picture to PK-27, The Hawker Siddeley Hawk, regarding the variations with and without window at the back. Courtesy of Asoka Indrasoma.
For PK-130, the Tornado F3, and PK-412, the Phantom FG1/FGR2, instruction sheets have been added in PDF format, courtesy of Richard Mills.
For PK-121, The Fairchild A-10A Thunderbolt, several pictures of a nice build by Akira Shiomi have been added.Orange range ships kits – PK-161 to PK-165. For the Admiral Graf Spee, USS San Diego, HMS Tiger and USS Indianapolis we have added box variations with smaller and larger windows at the back. These are shown at the end of the series of pictures for each kit. Courtesy of Dirk Ommert.Figures (Yellow range) – Matchbox figure kits were identified by a P- number instead of PK-. We correct this slip of the keyboard in this update. So now you will see the correct identifications under the yellow ranges. Meanwhile Dirk Ommert provided boxart pictures for P-5001, P-5002, P-5003 and P-5005.Catalogues – With the help of Miguel Duque we finally could add the English version of the 1977 Matchbox catalogue.
A couple of long wanted additions:With the help of Roy Huxley we have been able to identify for many kits the artists who drew the boxart. In some cases the artist signature is a dead giveaway, but others are not so obvious. The vast majority of kits from the Lesney and Matchbox International era now contain unambiguous references.Derek Stowe was so kind to contact us and clarify the origins of the “Impulse Puzzles”. Please visit guided tour number 8 to read the Impulse Puzzles story.
For some of the exotic kits added during the Revell-Matchbox period we have been able to trace the origins: see kits 40143, 40147, 40148, 40200 and 40201.
Thanks to Mike Dean for a fruitful collaboration!
Some categories have meanwhile been adjusted on the site, PK-20 does seem to have appeared only on the second batch!
We will extend the details per box type in the future, so this is just the beginning.
If you have new information on things we missed out on or mixed up please contact us.
This will take out the guesswork incase you lost the paperwork.
Added a guided tour on the whereabouts of the Matchbox brand name in the nineties when licenced to Revell. Here you find some fascinating details about this period. Based on first hand experiences, drawn up by Dirk Ommert.
English catalogues added for the years 1986 to 1989 that surprisingly show differences with catalogues issued in other languages. Courtesy of Tony Benstead.
Kits added:Aircraft – PK-20 reissue of 1977Ships – PK-61 and PK 351Automotive – Four AMT/Matchbox reissues
A whole collection of Matchbox catalogues has been added. These complement our range of catalogues well into the nineties. A number of gaps that we had in the eighties range have now been closed as well. Courtesy of Dirk Ommert.
Several pictures added in the ranges Automotive, Ships, Aircraft and Armour:PK-301, 302, 303, 304, 306, 307, 312, 451, 452PK-62PK-405, AMT 7117PK-72, 76, 79, 82 and 172
Many thanks to the support by the Classic British Kits SIG, operating on the Unofficial Airfix Modellers Forum, and their fabulous PK-2008 project. Besides the many pictures that have been offered generously by the builders we have many pictures taken at Telford by Oliver Holmes. Our aim to collect pictures of built kits has therefore been coming along nicely. We are now able to show a variety of painted and unpainted models with the listed boxart. In our guided tours section a topic has been added to show an overview of the PK-2008 display as it was seen at Scale Model World, November 15 and 16 2008 at Telford UK.
Our virtual shelfspace has been significantly expanded. And our traffic limit has expanded likewise. That means we are adding more pictures to the site. We have included pictures of sprues, instruction sheets and decals for many kits. The catalogue range has been expanded extensively, ranging to the AMT/Matchbox merger up to the last catalogue produced under licence by Revell in 1998.
During the summer of 2008 quite a few AMT-Matchbox kits arrived from the USA. Which allows us to show some more of these package variations that originated around 1979. Check out the category Aircraft/AMT-Matchbox! For a complete overview the 1979 and 1981 AMT Hobby Kits Catalogues have been included in the catalogues area.
The range of Armour kits has been added. Also some pictures of built aircraft.
The launch of the site after three years of ideas and preparation! The first content contained a range of catalogues and almost all Matchbox aircraft kits.
Let us know what you think. Do you like the site? Use the Contact Us form to send us your input. Much appreciated!