Note - AIRFIX re-issued these kits at the end of 2015 as a boxed set containing one of each model. The downside being that it made it very difficult to build up a Destroyer flotilla or have extra County Class cruisers for conversion.
For me the Airfix 1/1200 series played a pivotal role. I can still remember the delight on coming across my first Airfix in July 1975. The range fitted in well with the Eagle kits in that the list, in including HMS Hood, HMS Ark Royal and HMS Suffolk allowed one to add some of the units that were missing from Eagle’s ‘Sinking of the Bismarck’. The decade between had brought a vast improvement in the quality of detailing and the method of construction of the kits, leading to a much refined and more accurate model. The combination of the two set me off on the hunt for further manufacturers and to taking up the hobby after a lapse of ten years. The come back was sustained with the arrival of Minic and Revell and guaranteed with the advent of Clydeside and the further discovery of Ensign and Fleetline.
As for Airfix themselves, their presence in the market was to be only fleeting. For as the following extract from Kelvin Holmes’ Book ‘1/1200 Ship Models’ indicates the range did not develop and sadly soon disappeared.
“In the late 1970s Airfix came to the 1200 arena for the first time and it looked if the fine tradition established by Eagle was to be resumed. Their first two releases, Hood and Bismarck, enjoyed a mixed reception, but subsequently Ark Royal, Suffolk and Prinz Eugen were widely and justifiably praised, even if the Tribal class destroyers were not. With the German cruiser in particular, Airfix showed what modern technology could achieve and it is sad to record that the range was now complete. If only Airfix had appreciated that by producing an Illustrious class carrier, rather than the one-off Ark Royal, they would probably have sold six times as many models; similarly with a little extra effort a multi-part County class cruiser kit would have tempted modellers to buy kits for twelve different ships and possibly even attempt the 13th and heavily modified vessel, HMS London. The models were a boon to modellers and collectors alike - cheap, generally accurate and a good source of spares - but you are left with the feeling that so much more could have been achieved with a little analytical market research!”
[taken from page 37 (Third Edition) or page 61 (4th Edition on CD-ROM, which has 142 pictures including a fine one of an Airfix Prinz Eugen as Bulcher].*
ORIGINAL KITS Available individually: Royal Navy Ships: HMS Hood (Battlecruiser), HMS Ark Royal (Aircraft carrier), HMS Suffolk, (Heavy Cruiser), Tribal Class Destroyer (x2 per pack)
Kreigsmarine: Bismarck (Battleship). Prinz Eugen (Heavy Cruiser)