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MCHOF’23: Roy Huxley Was the Visionary of Matchbox

Roy Huxley is an artist whose work you may be quite familiar with. If you collected Matchbox diecast or built their military kits in the 1970s, there’s a good chance he created the images that adorned the packaging. For his engaging and irresistible style, Roy Hyuxley is the Model Car Hall of Fame’s Automotive Artist of the Year.

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At least a good chunk of his work was automotive. For about 20 years, especially throughout the 1970s, Huxley was THE guy for Matchbox military model kit illustrations. His ability to create accurately detailed planes in dynamic action was legendary. Unlike Otto Kuhni, whose Hot Wheels illustrations allowed a bit of distortion and exaggeration, Huxley had to appeal to aviation modelers, who can get pretty picky about every rivet and seam.

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If you think about it, model kits often relied on illustrations for their box images, as the finished product was not ready to be photographed as the art was going into production. So someone like Huxley could carve out a niche career by understanding just the right level of realism needed for this task.

Huxley also created art for the boxes, blister cards, and catalogs for the main Matchbox line of diecast vehicles. He often worked in a mural format, creating little vignettes into a larger image. Since much of the Matchbox theme was tied to racing or emergency vehicles, there was plenty of room for his patented energy. There’s a book of his work available that should appeal to such fans.

Add up all the hundreds of illustrations he did for Matchbox, multiply that by thousands of copies of each kit or car, and Huxley had a very prolific career. Kids and collectors may not have known his name, but they sure loved his art. For those memories, Roy Huxley is our Artist of the Year for 2023.

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