For almost one hundred years Humbrol has been producing superior quality paints. During that time Humbrol has become perhaps the best-known name in the modelling field and has established a world-wide reputation for excellence. Founded in 1919 as the Humber Oil Company, Humbrol initially supplied bicycle oil for Hull's growing army of cyclists. In 1935, however, the company was asked to produce paints for renovating cycles, and came up with Art Enamel. At first only black was available, but demand for other colours rapidly followed, and two years later a range of twelve colours was launched. These came in 'tinlets' sufficient to repaint a complete cycle frame and mudguards - and all for just sixpence! That emphasis on value was to become a central feature of Humbrol’s operations, and remains so to this day.
The Humber Oil Company Ltd
Sixty Minute Success
In the early 1950s the introduction of the plastic kit ushered in a new era in modelling - and Humbrol responded with One Hour Humbrol Plastic Enamel Paint in some fifty shades, and the 'Paint Locker' display cabinet that swiftly became a vital feature of any modelling shop.
New Products for New Trends
The increasing popularity of DIY provided a further challenge, and in 1965 Humbrol launched a range of paints and adhesives created specifically for this market. These were followed, in the seventies, by the introduction of artist’s brushes, and modelling craft tools. Additionally, the number of shades in the standard colour range tinlets rose to 80, and has subsequently risen to its present total of 171.
An Internationally Acclaimed Brand
Humbrol’s range of colours now exceeds 170 colours, and each year millions of tinlets are exported to over 56 countries around the world. From being a modest supplier of cycle oil, Humbrol has become recognised worldwide and is one of the largest and most progressive brands in the fields of modelling, hobbies and crafts.
The Modeller’s First Choice
The name Humbrol has become synonymous with quality, and there can hardly be another name more familiar and popular among the model-making fraternity.
A Comprehensive Range of Compatible Products
Humbrol's fame was founded on paint, but today the range includes a wide variety of other products such as application products, glues & adhesives, modelling tools and craft products.
Since Humbrol was founded in 1919 the brand has been under several owners. In 1976 Humbrol became part of the Hobby Products Group of the International Borden Inc group and then later in 1986 the Airfix brand also joined the group. In 1994, the group was acquired by an Irish Investment Company, Allen & Maguire.
In November 2006 the Humbrol and Airfix brands were acquired by Hornby Hobbies Ltd where they sit alongside some of Britain’s best-loved toy and hobby brands – Hornby model railways, Scalextric slot racing and Corgi die-cast models.
Humbrol has traditionally supported the iconic model brand Airfix, and a number of products have already been introduced to strengthen this strategy. However under Hornby’s ownership it has broadened its target market with a diverse product range giving a new, wider focus towards model railways and war gaming. Re-branding its products also enables Humbrol to focus on the fast growing hobby and craft market, with new ranges already in development.
In 2012 Humbrol moved over 60% of its manufacturing back to the UK from China to improve supply, and ensure high quality standards continue to be met. Humbrol’s well-established and most popular range of enamel paint as well as their new acrylic sprays are now produced in London and Manchester. Humbrol produces over 460 different products and accessories and are sold in all major and independent craft and model retailers.