The Airfix Phantom, nigh, the entire Airfix Junior range is just so 1990s it hurts. From it’s colour palette, marketing style, and comic rear box panels – it was a product very unique for ‘models’. As a child when this came out it really made an impact as a range I remember – though no-one else seems to anymore.
As previously mentioned the main draw is the design of the models; based on 1970s Heller-Humbrol Cliclak ranges the models snap/clip together without requiring any glue. They were always based on themes – safari, medivac, security etc – but Airfix took it further in the 1990s dividing the models into two distinct factions. The purple and black colours adorned the Shadow Fighters (that in my video I kept calling Shadow Force), whilst a turquoise, blue, and grey surrounded the Commando Force. No points for guessing which shadowy organisation represents the more menacing side of the fight!
Each box had a unique comic design on the back of each box. You can see these below – except for the two tanks (Gladiator – Commando Force, Eclipse – Shadow Fighters) – as these seem to have vanished to history. Hopefully someone can supply these and we can archive these for the future!
These comics featured the vehicle boxed in a ‘real life’ or ‘heroic’ scenario. Commando Force focusing on rescue or protection, where as Shadow Fighters seem to be more on eluding the enemy or secret strikes (shocker). I really like the designs, Commando-esque in design, but still unique and lovely. (As I’ve put them all up as I could find them at the mo, they’re at the bottom of the article).
The kits themselves are super simple and fit together in minutes. Designed to be unpainted but covered in stickers (either as the box shows or to your own desire) they are amazing for kids. Sadly the stickers in my kit were mostly un-sticky and curling so I gave it as a practice in freehand. I’m not good at freehand and I wasn’t worried about making mistakes as I could just black it out and start again! I covered the model in matt black, painted on ghosties and purple patches (with some lighter shades for edging) and boom – lovely little model.
Well, not so little. These are like somewhere between/around 1/72 or 1/48 – I’m not sure. They’re durable though. I’d be fine with someone playing with this for a day to aftermorrow without worry of it becoming too destroyed beyond repair. If anything not gluing it makes it more durable as it will just shatter to be repaired again!
Overall, a lovely kit – but not really worth the cash these go for. At shows you might get it for £5 – which is perfect. But anything more than £10 and I think most modellers will be severely let down – this is definitely a children’s toy and model, rather than intro to modelling. For me, however, it scratched an itch I needed to scratch and brings me joy looking at it’s goofy comical purple and black!