AR Kits is an Australian model railway business which produces quality Australian-outline kits. The business commenced operation in November 1979 under the control of Arthur Robinson. A friend designed the logo which still exists to-day and the business was named AR Kits referring to Australian Railway Kits. Both the logo and Australian Railway Kits are registered trademarks.
Arthur's dream of having a long rake (train) of (only) BCH coal hoppers was the driving force behind the formation of the business. Tooling for the BCH kit began shortly after, but problems delayed its introduction. So much so that the first kits to appear on the market were the NSWGR (New South Wales Government Railways) GLX/GLV louvre vans. Advertising for these kits first appeared in issue 109 of Australian Model Railway Magazine (AMRM), July/August 1981. A review by Mr Bob Gallagher is recorded in the September/October issue. The modelling fraternity were informed in AMRM issue 114 May/June 1982 of the imminent release of the NSWGR BCH and the projected release of the BWH variant. The model was eventually reviewed in issue 116 of AMRM. By the end of 1983 the proposed BWH was still not available.
Arthur was finding it difficult to manage both his fledgling business and permanent employment which resulted in the sale of the business to Rodney and Cheryl James of Rails North Models. Advertising on page 60 of AMRM issue 118 confirmed the sale and the business was relocated to Grafton in northern New South Wales. Consolidation of AR Kits continued and in the September/October AMRM came news of the next models to be released, these being the NSWGR BDX and CCX set down for October, plus the long-awaited BWH and MLE. A preview of the BDX and CCX appeared in the March/April 1985 issue of AMRM with a review taking place in the following issue. Things were starting to move and in the July/August issue of AMRM the MLE wagon was reviewed. Then came the eventual review of the BWH/FWH wheat hopper albeit a bit late and in the middle of a manufacturing rush. The review took place in September 1985 and with it came the news that AR Kits was about to release a WHX Wheat Hopper and CH Coal Hopper. The following month saw the review of these hoppers along with the first high-quality, injection moulded delrin bogies for the Australian market. The 2CL (XCL) and 2CF (XFA) freight bogies were to be the bench mark for Australian manufactured bogies for years to come. Fitted with high quality brass wheels they gave running qualities previously only seen in overseas manufactured products.
AR Kits have incorporated some of the lines from Main West Models and introduced all of those items formerly owned by L&C Kits, The Footplate Models range of DJH Locomotive Kits, LMR Locomotive, railmotor and rollingstock kits and the Flushglaze range of model loco and carriage window inserts produced by South East Finecast exclusively for AR Kits.
Lloyd's Model Railways was bought by AR Kits, and its models are progressively being brought back into the AR Kits range.
AR Kits is currently up for sale, and the names "Footplate Models", "Flushglaze", and "LMR" will be eliminated, and will become either Main West Models or AR Kits.