Model plane business takes off

A model plane business that started small is really taking off, exporting to 58 countries from the Derbyshire Dales.

And the Vintage Model Company has expanded thanks in part to free business advice from your District Council.

It's a niche business manufacturing vintage model planes for hobbyists and as high quality gift items, and has grown to become the biggest manufacturer in the UK in its sector.

Businessmen Tim Wilcox and Hadi Kanan launched the enterprise in 2012 after city-based careers, researching the market to home in on a high quality vintage style product.

Based previously at Great Longstone and Ashford in the Water, the company relocated recently to their current premises at Flagg as they needed more space to expand their business.

Tim and Hadi were helped through the process by professional business adviser Heather Bradford, of the District Council's Derbyshire Dales Business Advice service. With the support of the D2 Enterprise Growth Fund they bought and converted redundant farm buildings to suit their purposes.

Part of the D2N2 LEP Growth Hub, the service - part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the District Council - provides free face to face support for businesses in the Dales wanting to grow.

Said Tim:
"Model aeroplane kits were very popular in the 1950s and 60s but the hobby gradually died out over the years. We wanted to revive the pleasure of building from a kit, not just for the dedicated hobbyist but for anyone who appreciates the nostalgia and heritage of vintage aeroplanes."

Hadi explained:
"The run up to Christmas is of course a busy time for us as many of our models are bought as presents. We sell the range through retailers, museums and tourist attractions throughout the country as well as Amazon."

The company now comprises six people, including a digital specialist who is using social media to raise awareness of the company, which can be found online at

Tim added:
"We are very conscious of using sustainable materials. All kits are manufactured at our premises in Flagg using fast-growing balsa wood and biodegradable plastic parts. We started with one machine and now have five laser-cutting machines to cut the wood."

The company also rent out units on the site at Holly House Farm to four small businesses and hope to offer more business accommodation in the future.

Leader of Derbyshire Dales District Council, Councillor Garry Purdy said:
"The free business advice delivered by our own service continues our commitment to help small local businesses develop and grow – and it is great to see this particular enterprise doing so well and taking on staff.”
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A model plane business that started small is really taking off, exporting to 58 countries from the Derbyshire Dales.

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