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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 October 2005, 16:17 GMT 17:17 UK
Airfix heads 2,400 years into future
One of Airfix's new Robogear machines
Children today want toys with more gimmicks and tougher names
Model maker Airfix is looking to the future of its business - 2,400 years into the future to be precise.

The company, famous for its fiddly plastic reproductions of World War II planes, tanks and battleships, is launching a range of robot fighters from the 45th Century.

It seems that the Spitfire and Lancaster Bomber no longer cut it with today's younger generation, brought up on a diet of Power Rangers and Pokemon.

And in a move that will appal purists, the new models will be snapped together instead of requiring painstaking, and often frustrating, gluing.

Brave new world

Called Robogear, the models will be aimed at children of between eight and 14 years of age, and will come with a set of combat rules which enables them to be used as a game.

Each player will control an army, and can decide either to use dice to determine the direction of the game or fire the toys' weapons for real.

"Robogear is set in the 5th millennium of mankind, where the two great armies of humanity - the Trade Protectorate and the Empire Polaris - fight for supremacy," Airfix said on its website.

Airfix model plane kit
An Airfix kit could mean hours of frustration, tears and gluey fingers

"Army commanders will have to use brains as well as brute force to emerge victorious."

Not like in the past, when children had to employ the staccato "nanananananana" of a rapid-fire machine gun or the "kaboom" of an exploding bomb.

'Sci-fi epics'

Airfix spokesman Gary Bent explained why the company has decided to provide a more futuristic product.

"A new generation has grown up on sci-fi and fantasy epics rather than the World War II films and comics that fired the imaginations of their fathers," he said.

The company lamented the fact that parents are not spending as much time with their children building models.

Instead children prefer to play with games consoles like Sony's Playstation and Nintendo's Gameboy.

Despite the changes, Airfix has reassured fans of its more time-honoured models that the fighting machines of World War II will remain a key part of its business.

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