Airfix Betta Bilda

Plastic scale model kit manufacturer Airfix may be more synonymous with aircraft and warships than little toy houses but in the early 60's they went head to head against Lego and produced their own building kit series.

Betta Bilda (often mistaken for 'Betta Builder' or 'Better Builder') was essentially a cheaper version of Lego. Although suitable for children of all ages, Betta Bilda sets were notoriously challenging and instructions recommended that you got used to how the bricks worked together to provide the best 'structural support' before endeavouring to set out to construct a bigger object.

Betta Bilda

At the time, Betta Bilda bricks were a little bit sturdier than Lego, so it was possible to make far more adventurous designs (although the huge Empire State Building design on the front of instruction booklet that was twice the size of the lad building it may have been a trifle ambitious).

The most popular Betta Bilda package was the housing set. The original 60's packaging was a cardboard box with a transparent blue tray inside. All of the various sized bricks were split into different compartments and included green tiles, windows and doors. The instruction booklet that came with the sets explained in great detail how you could gradually go from basic little huts to a more elaborate 'country club', 'office block' or even a 'tudor house'. 'Until you are familiar with the different components and their uses, start by making some of the smaller building illustrated in this folder,' explained the included booklet. 'First set out the necessary bases and then begin building the walls, interlocking the bricks as shown. This is particularly important as it adds strength to the whole building and prevents a wall collapsing due to lack of the proper support. Before putting windows and doors in position don't forget to snap in the correct size panes.' Although the Betta Bilda building kit didn't go to great lengths explaining how to build the various designs from scratch, like some Lego kit books did, it did provide some good, clear diagrams of some of the bits of architecture you could only aspire to create.

The other kits in the series, including the vehicles were suitably impressive. However, as well as getting your head around the ins and outs of building the basic structures, you also had to master the mechanics of a 'standard' or '4-wheel drive motor'.

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Betta Bilda value and price guide

What's your Betta Bilda worth in 2021? Here are some recently sold items.

Item Title Date Price
airfix betta bilda accessory packs tiles roofing gable Airfix Betta Bilda Accessory Packs Tiles Roofing Gable 10/2021 £18.14
airfix betta bilda construction set Airfix Betta Bilda Construction Set 10/2021 £39.45
500 gms airfix betta bilda 500 Gms Airfix Betta Bilda 10/2021 £30.24
airfix betta bilda mixed jog bricks windows wheels 1 35 Airfix Betta Bilda Mixed Jog Bricks Windows Wheels 1 35 10/2021 £24.99
job 16 packs of airfix betta bilda construction Job 16 Packs Of Airfix Betta Bilda Construction 10/2021 £70.18
no pictureSee all sold items on eBay for more prices12/2021£-.--

Betta Bilda forum

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Comments (3)
Mark - November 9, 2021
My brothers and I used Betta Bilda in the 1960s. Our introduction to Betta Bilda started with our parents building a fairly large house for my youngest brother as a Christmas present. The house has an extensive tiled roof. However, they decided that it should be a permanent present, so they glued all of the bricks together, though not the roof tiles. We obviously decided that the house should be deconstructed and the bricks reused to make other fascinating constructions. We also bought additional packs of bricks and things like the motorised units. Our specialities were Daleks; Robots with eyes that shone whenthere was a light source behind the robot ; and cable cars. All of these used the roof bricks that had sloped sides with a hole in them. The flexibility of Betta Bilda allowed us to be highly inventive.
Thanks for sharing these great memories, Mark!
Brian - September 11, 2020
I recently acquired a significant number of pre-1971 building accessory sets in original boxes which I would be happy to sell at a reasonable price. List available on request.
I'll forward any inquiries Brian!
Mike - March 25, 2020
Looking for beta builder sets