Being a child of the 1970's meant Airfix was always going to be in Phillip Rhodes blood. Plastic scale models featured prominently in many an upbringing such as 1/72nd scale Spitfires and Hurricanes, not to mention models of HMS Hood, and the German Tiger tank. Phillip's first model was an Airfix Fokker Triplane, moulded in red plastic. Until the mid 1970's, the smaller Airfix model kits came in plastic bags secured with an illustrated header card, which contained the instructions.
While his own era of Airfix model making was influenced by the phenomenal artwork of Roy Cross, Phillip found that recreating the header cards from a previous generation was an enjoyable, yet challenging, experience. The original idea was simply to create some cheap, affordable, homemade art - enlarged recreations of these early header cards. Thoughts drifted towards selling copies of his artwork after a stretched canvas of the De Havilland Mosquito (submitted and accepted for inclusion in the 2011 Hull Ferens Art Gallery Open Exhibition) sold within minutes of the opening. Thereafter, friends suggested his other recreations would also be popular with other enthusiasts. Recently Airfix, owned by Hornby, issued Phillip with a license to sell his prints. As they say, the devil is in the detail, and trying to respect the original has caused problems, especially when the original is slightly flawed. Take for example the Spitfire. Because the roundels and squadron markings aren't curved on the original drawing, it makes the Spitfire appear to have a flat sided fuselage. It looks odd, and it is, but the Spitfire is a popular aircraft, yet Phillip feels he has to honour the original. On another, Phillip comments "The original Hawker Hurricane type one header card looks awesome, but the undercarriage doors are definitely too small. Obviously I'm more than happy to correct poor print registration, but there is a delicate balance between being faithful to the original and recreating something that is aesthetically pleasing".
Phillip Rhodes open editions are fine art giclee prints, and as previously mentioned, are fully licensed. Airfix is a registered trademark of Hornby Hobbies Ltd and is used under license.