Includes never before seen designs for toys & model kits from toy brands Airfix & Palitoy from the 1970’S & 80’S when under the General Mills umbrella of companies

UK. SEPTEMBER 2023 – Excalibur Auctions, a renowned name in the world of Toys and Collectables sales is excited to offer a recently discovered archive of the toy arm of American conglomerate General Mills, owners of toy companies Palitoy and Airfix in the UK (both also known for distributing the successful Star Wars franchise, alongside their toy ranges and model kits). The company is now known predominantly for its’ food interests (it divested its toy division in the mid 1980’s, which also included Kenner in the US), but was a hugely successful multi-industry company in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

 A small..

A selection of documents relating to the unproduced model kit of the Lamborghini Espada, including an introductory letter to Lamborghini Motors (Italy) from Airfix proposing the model (Estimate £40-£60 – Lot 241)


The toy archive features never-before seen designs, technical and production drawings, along with research material for model kits and toys. As there is very little production information in circulation from this period, with some of the only examples of production drawings from these companies being held in the archives of the V&A, this makes this archive exceptionally rare and highly desirable.

Commenting on this extraordinary find Jonathan Torode, Excalibur’s auctioneer said: “We were delighted when the seller came into see us with a box he’d found in a house clearance sale. He had no idea of the historical importance of its contents. Items like these seldom come to market and this archive offers us a fascinating insight into original designs that were never meant to be for the public’s eyes! It covers research and original drawings of familiar toys and model railways of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Among them are designs that made it into production and also items that never made it past the drawing board. The first group covers the kits and toys operation of Airfix, Kenner etc and the second group later in the auction, covers the model railways operations of Palitoy Mainline.”


Among the highlights is a selection of documents comprising a parts list and reference photographs marked ‘Airfix products drawing office please return’, which relate to the later cancelled and unproduced model kit of the Lamborghini Espada. The documents include the introductory letter to Lamborghini Motors (Italy) from Airfix proposing the model. The letter details Lamborghini’s existing rights agreement with ‘the toy manufacturer Palitoys’ regarding the rights to produce diecast models of the Espada and that this proposal would not conflict with that agreement (Estimate £40-£60 – Lot 241).

A group of paint plans/drawings for various McDonnell Douglas aircraft (F18A and DC10) used by Airfix as research material for their model kit (Estimate £30-£50 – Lot 242)


A group of paint plans and drawings for various McDonnell Douglas aircraft (F18A and DC10 in 1973 and 1983), believed to have been used by Airfix as reference material for their model kit (Estimate £30-£50 – Lot 242) is also on offer.


A large quantity of plans and technical drawings for Palitoy’s Mainline railway models from Kader Industrial in Hong Kong, is also included in the archive. Kader Industrial’s tooling (building the different types of components and machinery needed for production), was used to construct the main core of the ‘Mainline’ range. Dating from the 1970s the lot includes a handwritten note titled ‘H.K. Visit – Wagon Chassis (Goods)’ (Estimate £30-£50 – Lot 392).


A range of technical drawings and plans for the Palitoy Mainline Jubilee 4-6-0 OO gauge railway model from 1975-1979 offers an insight into the design process at the company (Estimate £40-£60 -Lot 393) and a selection of Palitoy Mainline technical drawings and plans for the OO gauge 56/6600 Class 0-6-2 steam tank locomotive, which dates from 1981 carries an estimate of £30-£50 (Lot 400).


An array of documents, drawings and paperwork for various Airfix model ships include: the Royal Sovereign, Golden Hind, Cutty Sark, SS Norway/France, SS Great Britain, St. Louis and The Prince. The lot contains research material, hand written notes, change notes/advice and drawings (including original drawings detailing the Shrouds and flags for the Royal Hinde at 1:1 scale). It carries an estimate of £40-£60 (Lot 235).



An original file titled ‘Airfix – Spitfire, Camel, ME109, Thunderbolt, Folland Gnat’, containing an uncut sheet of 30 decal sets to the named aircraft (full names: Vickers Supermarine Spitfire IX, Sopwith Camel 2F.1, Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6, Republic P-47D Thunderbolt, and Folland Gnat). Estimate £60-£80 – Lot 244



Many of the Airfix’s designs were based on real-life planes for the model kits and one example of the in-depth research that went into them is lot 240, which comprises a quantity of photographic contact sheets and 99 photographs of Jaguar and Harrier jets and personnel, taken for planned products (Estimate £30-£50).



A set of original photographs and internal paperwork for the Palitoy Mainline OO gauge ‘Warship’ Class diesel locomotive, with hand-made rough sketches of panels and photos of the prototypes of ‘Kelly’ and ‘Highflyer’, (Estimate £40-£60 – Lot 395)



Historical decisions on product ranges also become apparent in the archive, for example a small collection of photographs, negatives and correspondence relating to a cancelled Palitoy Mainline product ‘The Cambrian Coast Express’ OO gauge limited edition locomotive, includes a letter from Palitoy to the National Railway Museum in 1982, stating the reason for the model’s cancellation. The lot also includes the original artwork (Estimate £30-£50 – Lot 394).Image


Among more of the original designs is a set of original photographs and internal paperwork for the Palitoy Mainline OO gauge ‘Warship’ Class diesel locomotive, with hand-made rough sketches of panels and photos of the prototypes of ‘Kelly’ and ‘Highflyer’, (Estimate £40-£60 – Lot 395) and a large quantity of Palitoy Mainline and Kader Industries drawings, plans and notes regarding the production of the Mainline OO gauge steam locomotives ‘Royal Scot’ and the Jubilee Class engine are also revealed. Dating from circa 1976 these carry an estimate of £40- £60 (Lot 398).


This extraordinary archive will be offered in Excalibur Auctions Diecast & Vintage Toys & Model Railways Collectors sale on 30th September, 2023. The catalogue for this sale is published online now. The archive runs from lots 223-244 and lots 392-400. For more information about the auction, including registration and bidding details, please visit the official Excalibur Auctions website at


Daniel Pickett

AFi founder and Editor-In-Chief Daniel “Julius Marx” Pickett has been around toys his whole life. The first line he ever collected was Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes line back in the 70s. He has been surrounded by collectables ever since.

In 1999 he was confounded by a lack of information and news about some of his favorite toy lines he was collecting. Since he couldn’t find the information he decided to pursue it himself thinking other people might also be interested in the same news. He started writing a weekly column on the toy industry and action figure for a toy news site and in a years time he tripled the sites daily traffic with his updates, reviews and product features.

He built relationships with every major toy manufacturer and many sculptors, painters and mold makers. He grew his hobby into a world wide expertise that the industry has embraced.

In 2004 he teamed up with his toy buddy Jason “ToyOtter” Geyer and they created their own website

Daniel has been quoted in both industry and mass media press outlets. Over the years Daniel and AFi have been sought out as experts in the field. Daniel was regularly featured on “Attack of the Show” on the G4 network as the primary contributor to their “Mint On Card” segment, and our front page has been linked to from USA Today’s
“Pop Candy” Blog twice. Daniel’s content has also been featured on Bloomberg News,,, The Wall Street Journal, The Saturday Evening Post,,,, Boing-Boing,, Ain’t It Cool News, the Official
Star Wars blog, Geekologie, G4, CNet and Toy Fare magazine, among many
others. He has consulted on toy lines, books, documentaries and TV shows.

But all of that really just sounds snooty and “tootin’ his own horn” – the long and short of it is that Daniel loves toys and he LOVES talking about them.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Shopping cart