Humbrol was founded in Kingston-upon-Hull as the Humber Oil Company in 1919. During the 1950s and 60s, Gerald Barton turned Humber Oil Company into Humbrol which developed a range of model paints and other modelmaking paraphernalia. In 1976, Humbrol became part of the Hobby Products Group of the international Borden, Inc. group. Five years later, Borden also acquired the French kit manufacturer Heller.
Humbrol is possibly best known for the enamel paints manufactured for use with plastic model kits. The archetypal container was a 14 ml tin with the lid coloured to illustrate the paint colour and an embossed reference number. Humbrol did, however, sell 50 and 120ml tins and spray cans in some colours. The 50ml enamel paint tins and spray paints are still available. The Tins are called "Humbrol DIY".
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